As one riffles through national headlines, the overwhelming number of articles discussing the demand for staff cannot be ignored. “Help Wanted” signs are in every window locally, and large billboards detail the employee benefits for a variety of companies as you maneuver through the traffic in Hampton Roads. Employees, depending on their skills, appear to have the luxury of being very selective in their career choices. Job seekers no longer have to settle; they are able to commit their time and energy to organizations that offer more—more benefits, more advancement, and more purpose.
While these other companies are struggling to fill vacancies, The James Barry-Robinson Institute (JBRI) has 95% of positions filled! So how is a nearly ninety-year-old nonprofit in Norfolk, Virginia, not only filling those vacancies but also filling them with exceptional candidates that see a future with the organization?
There are a few variables to consider:
The leadership is outstanding! While other firms post jobs on the standard job boards and websites and wait for calls, the team at JBRI seeks out candidates who not only have the qualifications but also understand the culture of the organization. A huge part of the mission at The Barry Robinson Center, JBRI’s residential program, is to serve military- connected youth and their families. Candidates who have an understanding of military life and the challenges military-connected youth often face arrive on campus, and they instantly find a connection to the incredible work being done. Jen Padavana, Director of Engagement, states, “We place our mission first. The youth and families we serve deserve to interact with a staff that puts the “why” into their role every day.”
The culture of the organization is central to its success! CEO Robert McCartney often says, “To work here, you have to be competent, be kind, and have fun!” While many companies might portray a similar ethos as they share smiling stock images on recruitment ads and talk about the family environment future employees may enjoy, the team at JBRI lives by the standard. Recently, employees were asked, “Why do you love working here?” for a simple video to obtain organic reactions in an impromptu setting. It was remarkable how, regardless of which department we were speaking to, the answers were very similar. They genuinely love their job, the mission-driven work they do, and the environment in which they work.
JBRI has enjoyed unprecedented growth over the last ten years! With the expansion of the Intensive Outpatient Program for teens and young adults as well as JBRI’s poverty initiative, Next Step To Success, aimed at helping teens in Norfolk realize their incredible potential, the organization not only seeks new hires but also looks within when promotions are made and new projects need an inspirational leader.
Prospective employees want to know they can look forward to new roles, professional growth, and, of course, competitive compensation. They trust that those opportunities can be found within JBRI; there is no need to look elsewhere.