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Effective recruiting with the Hire a Worker program

Published on: March 31, 2023

When a worker is injured on the job, WorkSafeBC’s goal is always to help that person recover and return to their previous role or employer.

By Tiffany Sloan

But sometimes that’s not possible, and a workplace injury or disease prevents a worker from returning to their previous line of work.

In that case, workers are referred to WorkSafeBC’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services team for support in developing their return-to-work plan. One of the resources available through this team is the Hire a Worker program, a free service designed to match B.C. employers with experienced workers who have recovered from a workplace injury and are ready to return to the workforce. It’s a service that benefits both parties equally.

Looking beyond your industry

When labour shortages during the pandemic made finding the right workers challenging, it meant Justin Leisle, director of health, safety, environment, and quality at Burnaby’s Ventana Construction, had to explore other recruitment options. He reached out to a contact at WorkSafeBC and was connected with Shirley Caldwell, one of the job developer and employment specialists on the Vocational Rehabilitation Services team. Shirley introduced Justin to the Hire a Worker program and walked him through the support WorkSafeBC would provide, from subsidizing workers’ wages and training to assisting with developing on-the-job orientation and training plans for new workers.

Since publishing its first job posting with the program in the spring of 2020, Ventana has hired eight workers: six site health, safety, and environment coordinators, one manager in the equipment division, and one traffic control person. Even though the workers didn't have much experience working in the construction industry before coming to Ventana, Justin says that, with instruction, training, and supervision, they’ve come to be very effective in their roles.

He notes that one of the unique aspects of the program is having the opportunity to hire individuals who come from entirely different industries and have skills they would never have thought transferable to a construction site. “And sometimes [traditionally recruited] workers have all the technical skills but they’re not the right fit with the team or the company’s approach,” says Justin.

“Another key part is that the workers we’ve hired through the program are very eager to return to work and motivated to learn,” he says. “We’ve found we get much better employees when we hire people who have the right attitude, and then develop their technical skills through training.”

A smart way to recruit

For Justin, the Hire a Worker program has turned out to be a great option to add to Ventana’s recruitment strategies. He especially appreciates that the program paired him with a job developer and employment specialist who has been incredibly helpful with the hiring and onboarding process, and communicates regularly throughout the process with both Justin and each new hire to see how they are adjusting.

Looking ahead, Justin has no doubts Ventana will continue using the Hire a Worker program to supplement its recruitment efforts. It’s been a worthwhile investment that benefits both the company and the workers it hires.

Learn more about the Hire a Worker program

For more information, visit our Hire a worker program webpage. Or contact the team at 1.866.266.9404 or — our job developer and employment specialists are ready to work with you and answer any questions you may have.

This information originally appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of WorkSafe Magazine. To read more or to subscribe, visit WorkSafe Magazine.

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