Connect the agencies and build relationships
Article

Connect the agencies and build relationships

Bringing people back to work is a task too complicated for one single government agency. In order to help the unemployed navigate the complex issues that are facing them, agencies and specialists should collaborate in order to work toward this common goal. A strong personal relationship between agencies and those who seek jobs also fosters commitment and trust, and increases success rates.

Looking for a job is a tough job in itself. This is especially true for people with complex health, social or educational challenges. When designing any support program, it is essential to put ourselves in the shoes of those who lost their job due to illnesses or other issues, or have not worked for a significant amount of time.

Their issues span from health and social stability to training and recruitment. They need a range of support from specialists to help them navigate the complexity of issues facing them. No single agency is capable of fully supporting them. Therefore, a connected approach between government agencies, combined with a personal relationship, can make a difference.

Build trust and hope

Unemployed people stay out of work for a very wide range of reasons. It is important to focus on gaining their trust and giving them hope while connecting with them. People such as reformed addicts, fellow carers or peers from religious institutions are often more able to empathise with vulnerable individuals, and are more likely to become trustworthy partners to help people overcome life challenges.

Connect and collaborate

Once an agency identifies a person’s primary barriers to work, oftentimes the best support is already available in other specialist agencies. These barriers could be ill health, or a lack of the right training, or insufficient confidence or motivation. Therefore, connections between agencies are vital to put someone back to the job market.

For agencies which focus on competing for funding or clients, meeting the actual needs of individuals could come second. An “umbrella agreement” that sets out guidelines on how agencies should collaborate and not compete with each other is therefore very productive. Chances are high that the agencies would then focus more on individuals and play their strengths to achieve the common goal of getting more people to work.

The depth of experience within Livework, their customer-focused approach and their sensitivity to our needs as an organisation have all contributed to a productive and useful partnership which we value.

Tony Coultas, Head of service innovation

A collective task

A good personal relationship boosts trust and commitment. Therefore, it helps if clients stay with the same specialists and agencies throughout their journey of job seeking.

Supporting people to go back to work should be a collective task for any government. Specialist agencies should also be brought in for more effective services. Such collaborative public service requires diversity across government agencies and a common goal among them.