For the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council’s 2018 Summit, MeetGreen had the opportunity to contract temporary staffing with an organization serving people with disabilities through a variety of programs, including job placement. For the many hands needed to keep a conference engine running, conference planners typically look to temporary staffing agencies specializing in event staff. However, other resources are available to get the job done that provide employment opportunities for underrepresented populations.
Hosted in various locations throughout the U.S., SPLC’s annual Summit brings together 500 purchasing and sustainability professionals, suppliers, and NGO experts from diverse sectors and regions to share and promote sustainable purchasing best practices for organizations.
LifeWorks is a Minnesota nonprofit organization founded in 1965 by parents of children with disabilities. Their mission is to serve the community and people with disabilities as we live and work together. They envision a community where people with disabilities are more broadly valued, hired by employers, receiving support, and participating in ordinary activities.
LifeWorks was brought to the attention of SPLC through BestBuy, one of the conference’s sponsors. Contracting temp staffing services with an agency that serves people with disabilities was a natural fit for this conference, not only to showcase a sustainable staffing solution for conference attendees to bring back to their own organization, but to further the sustainability mandate for the conference in regards to social responsibility.
The logistics of contracting with an organization such as LifeWorks was no different than when using a traditional temp agency. MeetGreen provided the scope of services needed including job descriptions, shifts, and number of staff for each shift. In order for the arrangement to be successful, planners should be prepared in the following ways:
- Host a meeting with the agency’s representative to review all job descriptions in detail. A verbal conversation is recommended, as the agency rep will have the opportunity to understand the environment their staff will be working in, delve into any idiosyncrasies to the job not easily captured in a written description, and determine the best staff for the job based on a deep knowledge of the scope of work.
- Be flexible to how the job shifts are accommodated. In the case of LifeWorks, most of the temp staff traveled to the conference via public transportation or transport services with specific schedules. As well, some staff were able to work 2-3 hours at a time while others were able to do longer shifts. Regardless of differing abilities and circumstances, the staffing was seamless and all shits were filled.
- Speak to the agency representative about any space considerations on site. With LifeWorks, some temp staff were accompanied by support. These are service facilitators who shadow the staff person and help with whatever aspect of the job that may be a challenge to the individual.
SPLC will be in Portland, OR for the 2019 Summit. This year MeetGreen is working with Galt Foundation to provide temporary staffing. Similar to LifeWorks, Galt Foundation is a Qualified Rehabilitation Facilities Program (QFR) with the State of Oregon. Agencies such as these can be found in all major metropolitan areas of the country. We encourage you to seek them out and make an impact in every aspect of your next meeting.