Jesuit Social Services is a social change organisation that works to build a just society. Jesuit Social Services works in some of the most difficult and demanding areas of human service, including the areas of crime and justice, addiction, mental illness, suicide bereavement, long-term unemployment and entrenched social disadvantage. Their work is based on building relationships as a basis for effective, holistic interventions and by building the capacity of all.
Over the past 42 years, the organisation has worked to improve the economic, social and cultural conditions of communities and advocated to change policies, practices, ideas and values that perpetuate inequality, prejudice and exclusion.
One of the key ways Jesuit Social Services seeks to achieve this is by partnering with companies to connect them with a diverse talent pool of qualified people who seek to obtain corporate experience whilst assisting employers to meet diversity and inclusion objectives.
The organisation has established Corporate Diversity Partnerships with the likes of John Holland, the Australian Taxation Office, Yarra Valley Water and Melbourne Water, and has delivered the African Australian Inclusion Program in partnership with NAB since 2009 to break down barriers to employment commonly experienced by African Australian communities.
“We work with each business to learn about their specific needs and we design a program that achieves their business goals as well as ensuring a positive social impact for the community,” explains Paige Van Every, Relationship & Operations Manager – Corporate Diversity Partnerships at Jesuit Social Services.
Corporate Diversity Partnerships offers a supported recruitment process and structured preparation training so as to give every intern the best start, and ongoing support for the individual and their manager. Cultural agility training is also offered to the company employees.
With growth on the horizon, Jesuit Social Services needed to acquire a professional and sophisticated approach to talent management. This was critical, given that the system would be used by both Jesuit Social Services and their future partners.
Van Every outlines why a change was required:
“The software in place for the African Australian Inclusion Program required a lot of manual movement of data into and out of Excel spreadsheets. It was extremely resource intensive and of course there was a high risk that data could be lost. We realised we would need a better solution as our program grew. What’s surprised us is how user-friendly the system is for our candidates for whom English may be a second, third, or even fourth language.
“As a not-for-profit, we do not have the time and resources of many corporate entities, so it was also critical that any solution implementation be quick and seamless.
“I was quite nervous as there can always be risks when implementing a new system, even with the best of contingency plans. In addition, I was hopeful that the feedback from our partners would be happy and comfortable using the system.”
Corporate Diversity Partnerships engaged ELMO and decided that the ELMO Recruitment and ELMO Performance Management provided the functionality required, while ELMO as a service provider could provide the support needed to get the solutions up and running as quickly as possible.
“Elmo’s approach to the project management side of things was fantastic,” says Van Every. “ELMO set up a project schedule. Every second day we’d have a phone hook-up with the ELMO team and we had to have certain things done by that day. We’d run through all our questions and then we’d go for the next milestone, and so on. We were ready early, with a week to go, before we had to go live with the new round of jobs on our website.”
Van Every was aware that software implementations can be stressful. She also knew that some service providers can be ambivalent about client concerns. ELMO was different. “I thought they were the most flexible and positive team to work with. They just made the process easy….and they all had a good sense of humour!”
She adds that her team initially used the ELMO Academy to familiarise themselves with the new software – but help was always available over the phone.
“Whenever I asked about particular functionality, there was never a ‘no, that’s not going to work’ response. It was, ‘let’s explore that and we’ll come back to you with a solution’. That out-of-the-box approach was the big differentiator for me.” Van Every says.
ELMO’s solutions have provided time, resource and cost savings for Jesuit Social Services. Just as critically, ELMO has provided the foundation for them to expand their partnerships.
ELMO Performance Management is used to complement the various performance management systems used internally by partners, adding another layer of confidential performance-related information about placed candidates. “Having a system lifts us out of Word or Excel documents,” Van Every says.
In terms of functionality, ELMO Performance Management also provides Jesuit Social Services with the ability to have multiple users in the system concurrently.
“It’s saved a lot of time. Now we’re able to have multiple team members in the same system at the same time recording updates,” Van Every says.
ELMO Recruitment has facilitated panel interviewing and also made information sharing with partners more streamlined. “We can now securely share an unlimited number of resumes for a particular role with a partner organisation via the link and they can easily view candidate application questions and access their resumes and cover letters,” says Van Every.
Candidate management has also been enhanced. Candidates can now register an expression of interest for open jobs or future opportunities with Corporate Diversity Partnerships. Van Every explains: “Previously we were using a CRM system to manage our mailing lists, but now we have the ability for candidates to create a profile including their qualifications and experiences. Additionally, we can automatically alert candidates when we have new opportunities. Even if we are not advertising any roles, it enables us to see the need and any emerging patterns in those applying in terms of disciplines.”
“It’s a system that’s intuitive and easy to use,” Van Every adds.
The African Australian Inclusion Program, delivered in partnership by Jesuit Social Services and NAB, has demonstrated just how successful these programs can be. On average, at the end of each round of the program, 80 per cent of participants end up employed by NAB or in their chosen field. New partnerships have been formed with the Australian Taxation Office, John Holland, Yarra Valley Water and Melbourne Water.
“Our candidates just need an opportunity to excel and that’s what our Corporate Diversity Partnerships provide. We hope to be able to expand these initiatives as employers increase their understanding of the many benefits that a real commitment to diversity and inclusion can provide.”