With the end of the year fast approaching, we’re thinking about making gravy for Christmas lunch and helping our clients to establish a sustainable gravy base for the coming year. 

The recipe for making gravy, made popular by Paul Kelly’s famous song, is pretty simple: a little flour, salt, red wine, and don’t forget a dollop of tomato sauce. The gravy boat is front and centre on the belly busting festive menu. 

The recipe for making gravy in employment services is a little more complex, particularly with the changes coming with the New Employment Services Model (NESM) in 2022. At Prospert, we’re coaching clients on developing their proactive business development strategies to create and foster trusted relationships with employers. What more could you want for Christmas? 

Time to schedule annual reviews 

The first step is to lock-in a full diary of annual reviews with high potential employers from January 2022. Annual reviews are formal employer meetings with three simple objectives in which the employer is: 

  1. Providing constructive feedback on how your organisation is looking after them 
  2. Keeping you abreast of changes in their business or industry 
  3. Giving you opportunities to capture any immediate or upcoming employment needs. 

Annual reviews are an excellent way to maintain strong and healthy relationships with employers.   

The new year is the perfect time to schedule annual reviews with both parties feeling fresh and re-energised after a challenging year.  We also find that business owners and managers have had time to reflect on the past year, plan for the new year and make key strategic decisions that lead to employment opportunities. Most importantly, it’s often quiet in January with competitors still getting back to work and employers with empty diaries. 

What are the essential ingredients for making gravy?

A sales plan helps.  Identify your high potential employer targets – active, lapsed, or new business – and make contact to set appointments.   If it helps, have a centralised “appointment setting” team to manage the logistics across your region or Employment Services Area.

A structured questionnaire helps to gather feedback, probe on future plans, and capture business referrals.   After the Annual Review, document your findings and note when placement opportunities are likely.  Then update your sales plan with your “bottom up” forecast for 2021.   Remember to note any seasonal peaks.   And, don’t forget to alert your teammates.

Hopefully, at least one employer can provide you with a current vacancy you did not expect to find in January!

What about a little extra flavour? 

Twenty-five years ago, Paul Kelly’s song suggested “a dollop of tomato sauce for sweetness and that extra tang”. If you’re keen to go the extra mile on your gravy recipe, how about setting up a personal or team challenge for achieving a set number of annual reviews.  

Try meeting with 20 or 30 employers during January (including your annual reviews).   If appropriate, share feedback both ways – collect your employers’ feedback and then ask for an invitation to suggest ways they might improve onboarding and developing your next placement. 

Depending on how many programs are running in your site, organise cross discipline meetings – invite a colleague who works in Disability, Youth or jobactive to meet your contact.  This helps deepen and broaden the relationship. 

How does the gravy taste?

Let’s share an example from a recent mentoring session. An active employer met with their employment consultant for an Annual Review. The consultant had placed three staff in their business in the previous year. After receiving positive feedback on their service (a rating of 10 out of 10), the employer provided the consultant with two referrals to new businesses. They then mentioned their expansion plans, including establishing a new warehouse in another location. This second warehouse needed 70 staff, and the employer offered 40 of those roles to the consultant to fill!  

Now, that’s a great way to start a new year! 

Like to know more?

Prospert believes maintaining employer relationships is essential to growing your employer caseload. This step and more are covered in our Effective Employer Engagement training. Here, you receive the kinds of tools, techniques and templates that make you a proactive business developer.   Find out more by visiting us at www.prospert.com.au.