Business of the Month: BOTS is creating jobs for the underserved
April 11, 2019
by WS Chronicle
By Busta Brown
I did a Q & A with Gloria Hairston, the president of BOTS, Be One To Succeed Staffing, LLC, a staffing company in Winston-Salem. Hairston walked away from corporate America in 2017 and hit the ground running. BOTS has become one of the most important staffing companies in the Twin City.
1. Why did you feel the need for BOTS?
It was my awareness of the disproportionate number of individuals who desire work, need work, and have families to support that led me to advocate for less fortunate local individuals. Clearly there is a disconnect between available jobs and the available workforce, and this gap is affecting our ability to prosper economically. The desire to make a difference, to not only talk about change but to be about change. I want and need to make a positive impact in the lives of people who would otherwise not have a “second chance” to pursuit of happiness.
2. I love what you said about saving businesses time and money. Explain …
Businesses who hire former felons within one year after they are convicted or released from prison may qualify for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit that gives employers a maximum of $2,400 for each adult hired. Our primary objective is to meet or exceed your expectations in consultation with your marketing and human resources leaders. By thoroughly assessing the clients’ needs, our task is to recognize and prepare the employees that will best fit them. We want to take the hassle out of employee recruitment and offer solutions to today’s retention challenges while providing consistent high-quality employee selection.
3. Do your clients need to make an appointment?
Employee candidate appointments are based on the need(s) of my clients (businesses). Therefore, potential employees may be contacted on short notice. Likewise, BOTS Staffing participates in job fairs that involve people who are sometimes former offenders, and others who are unemployed due to terminations and lay-offs.
4. Tell us more about bonding, if needed, identify pre-employment candidates and assessing work skills.
If needed, the Federal Bonding program offers insurance policies that protect employers against possible losses incurred due to actions by high-risk employees. The program is designed to help former offenders and convicted felons who are qualified to work, but still need a second chance. The program can also be used to assist high-risk youth find employment. It is sponsored by the Department of Labor. The bond insurance covers theft, forgery, larceny or embezzlement. It does not cover job injuries or work accidents. Other help offered by the program includes assistance to anyone who has ever been on parole, probation or has a police record; anyone lacking work history due to low-income families; recovering substance abusers; anyone being rehabilitated through drug/alcohol abuse; and anyone with poor credit history or declaration of bankruptcy.
5. What other services does BOTS provide for their clients?
Believe it or not, BOTS has taken some employees to work on many occasions in order to ensure they keep their jobs. At every opportunity, BOTS Staffing accommodates its clients by maintaining open lines of communication, as well as providing my personal contact information.
6. Why is BOTS good for the community as well?
Providing second opportunities and access to jobs to former offenders in our communities could be key to a fresh start and unleashing the secret to a vibrant local economy. This will also decrease the incidence of community crimes, secondary to high unemployment and low economic growth. Since most people who have spent time in prison find it difficult to get jobs and re-enter society, they’ll more likely be extremely grateful and loyal to any employer who gives them a chance. I have hired eight former offenders. I maintain constant communication with probation officers of my employees. I also provide random and regular feedback relative to job performance. It is fulfilling to me to hear my employees revel about getting a job and being able to contribute to their success.
7. How does BOTS provide businesses with high-caliber employees different from other staffing agencies?
Many larger staffing companies focus on providing the best candidate, based on resumes, college degrees. People who spend time behind bars are able receive vocational training and participate in certification programs for GEDs and college degrees, which can help prepare them for employment and provide valuable skills that transfer across fields. It might also mean they are familiar with discipline and hard work. They’ll stay with you longer. People who have been incarcerated greatly value their jobs when they get hired, according to the Travis County Offender Workforce Development Program in Texas. Their website says: “The ex-offenders in our program have demonstrated a commitment to leading an honest and responsible life. Finding employment is not easy for them – once hired they are not likely to quit – they are highly motivated to become long-term employees.”
8. How has your previous careers help prepare you for BOTS?
I have a plethora of experience in marketing, public service, business, healthcare, and soft-skills coaching. I am compassionate, understanding and extremely empathetic. I am referred to as a custodian of good will!
To learn more about BOTS, visit botsstaffing.com or contact Gloria Hairston at: [email protected].