June 3, 2021
In this webinar, Engage by Cell Senior Mobile Solutions Consultant Patty Ruland chats with Barbara Weir, Senior Program Analyst for Burlington County Employment & Training Division. Barbara shares her experience using Engage by Cell’s text messaging and mobile app to improve job seeker outreach and engagement.
Here is a summary of Patty and Barbara’s conversation:
What is Engage by Cell’s Technology for Workforce?
Engage by Cell is a dual platform, SaaS product. It's cloud based and has two components: text messaging for communication and a mobile app. The text messaging platform allows you to push out information about hiring events and links to presentations. Some organizations have their career counselors or job counselors communicate via text through our platform with the job seekers that they're working with. With our a mobile app platform, organizations can upload any type of content, whether it be audio files, video files, PowerPoints, PDFs, or images. You can also create forms, like intake forms, and you can have people upload documents to it. The possibilities are endless. — Patty Ruland
Text Message Communication Versus Email
We have more participation through this platform than we have with just an email. When it comes to phone calls, a lot of people don't answer something they don't recognize and they're not going to respond to a voicemail. So it's wasted time. If we spent all that time, emailing and calling, I would honestly still be working on last December's list. — Barbara Weir
Putting Your Organization in a Job Seeker’s Back Pocket
Being able to curate all the information and put it in one simple, easy-to-access platform is so efficient. Your organization is in their back pocket, literally. Job seekers don't have to look anywhere else like Google. They don't have to be tethered to a computer. It's all right there. And when they download it in their browser, it's all in this app. — Barbara Weir
Coaching Job Seekers on Virtual Interviews
There are certain employers who aren’t meeting in person, but they still are hiring for warehouse positions, logistics, or healthcare. But how are they going to interview? Well, you're looking at a virtual interview. So we had to coach new job seekers on how to do this. We created a PowerPoint and blasted that link out via text message. Now our job seekers have access to this new PowerPoint and steps on how to interview in a virtual setting. We were the rock in our job seekers’ time of need. We've gotten a lot of response back saying “This is fabulous. Thank you!” — Barbara Weir
Tracking Leads to Measurable Results
We've incorporated Engage by Cell as part of our process. If a career counselor has five people starting training on Monday, we send a quick text message reminder. These little touch points go a long way. People feel that they're being cared for. So they're going to give you results back by letting you know, “Yes, training is great. I completed training, I got this certificate, and now I have a job.” All your performance measures are met and no federal funding is lost.
— Barbara Weir
Too Many Text Messages?
One of our concerns was, are we sending too many messages out? Is someone going to opt out? We're not seeing that at all. Everybody's on an even keel whether they have a job or not. They are still interested in what we're pushing out. — Barbara Weir
Job Seekers Still Want Info After Placement
One of our clients shared that even when people are finding jobs, they're not necessarily opting out. They will get information about a hiring event and they have a sister or brother or a child who's interested. — Patty Ruland
Do You Need to Be a Techie?
I really enjoy the platform. It is so efficient. I'm not a tech person. So if I can do it, you can do it. — Barbara Weir
Why Did Burlington County Start Using Mobile Technology?
The reason we got involved with Engage by Cell is we needed to connect with our customers: job seekers, employers, youth, or veterans. You can connect with anybody using this platform. We saw that Middlesex County was using the service and that peaked our interest. — Barbara Weir
Evolution of Burlington County’s Text Messaging and Mobile App
First, we just used text messaging for notifications on hiring events or information sessions. Then, when I realized I could create a mobile app, I began organizing our resources. I needed things for employers and I needed things for job seekers. Right now, I have eight categories on our mobile app. I included a toolkit for businesses and for our job seekers. I have youth programming and I have adult basic education. So if anybody is in need of county resources, it was in their back pocket. Getting it planned out was was easy peasy. — Barbara Weir
The Mobile App Creation Process
When creating your own app, it's so easy. It's literally drag and drop. You can add text. You can make a carousel. You can add a file like a PowerPoint. I can create a survey, scavenger hunt, or polling. I don't need to type anything out, it's just a simple click of a button. And you can have as many pages as you want. Under the job seeker toolkit, I have 28 pages right now. This is super simple. I feel like a rock star when I'm doing this. — Barbara Weir
Benefits of the Platform.
Adopting this technology will be the best decision you've ever made. Whether you're going to see people in person or virtually. It cuts down your marketing, it cuts down your paper, it cuts down your need to send out emails. We're a limited staff here. It's made us so efficient. — Barbara Weir
Builds Trust with Employers
When a company is having a hiring event, they need to get the word out. So I create a page on our mobile app and blast it out via text. When the companies ask job seekers, “How'd you hear about us?” People say, “I got a text.” Well, that's me. The companies are extremely grateful. So now I have an employer who trusts the way we are operating and knows that we're going to help fill their employment gaps. For example, Amazon was having info sessions and they noticed a spike in attendance when I did the text message blasts.
— Barbara Weir
Marketing the Service to Job Seekers
In the very beginning, we made a little little postcard and just blanketed the town. It's also lot of word of mouth. It's a lot of telling your partners how it works. I embedded the QR code into my email. Any email that I send out has my QR code, and it takes you right to the mobile app.
Right now we are taking the information to food banks. If people are in need of food, chances are they may be in need of employment or other resources.
— Barbara Weir
Backend Reporting and Analytics
I can see how many clicks a page has received to know whether or not it's working. For example, we have an assessment called career coach. Job seekers don't know what a career coach is, so we changed the wording to “Discover Your Career.” It went from zero clicks on that page to 66. — Barbara Weir
Engage by Cell Customer Service
Everybody at Engage by Cell has been super wonderful. If I have a question, I email, and I get an email back right away. — Barbara Weir