Posts Tagged ‘retention’


Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
Some businesses are finding that refugees make great employees.

I know refugees who are eager to work at any job so they can start supporting their families. They are so grateful for a second chance at life, difficult as starting over may be, that they often make enthusiastic and loyal employees. In fact, the research shows that retention is high (and not just because poor English skills keep some in low-level jobs).

As Adele Peters reports at Fast Company, “When an Atlanta-area manufacturer was struggling to keep workers on staff, they turned to a new pool of applicants: refugees. Engent, which makes headlights for Tesla cars, started working with a staffing agency called Amplio Recruiting, which connects refugees with full-time jobs, in 2016.

“One of the first hires, a refugee from Afghanistan named Rafi who had worked as a translator for the U.S. military–-and then had to flee after the military withdrew and insurgents bombed his house because he helped the Americans-–took the job soon after moving to the U.S. Nearly two years later, he’s still there, and is now a shift supervisor at the company. …

“A new report looking at companies that hire refugees saw [that] 73% had higher retention rates for refugees than for other employees. Among a handful of companies that shared detailed internal data with the researchers, the turnover rate for refugees was 7% to 15% lower than for the workforce overall. …

“For businesses, better retention rates save money. A 2012 study estimated that if a worker leaves and they are replaced, that costs around a fifth of the worker’s annual salary. In the jobs studied in the report–including jobs in hotels, factories, and meat packing plants–workers typically earned around $13 an hour. For companies, that means saving $5,200 a year for each worker who doesn’t need to be replaced. …

“ ‘The things that cause somebody to leave a job-–it’s usually either that life is messy or that you get a better job,’ [acknowledges] Lisa Cooper, president of Figure 8 Investment Strategies. ‘I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people whose lives have been disrupted in horrible ways have some messiness to deal with, maybe more than people who haven’t had a refugee experience.’ …

“Still, the company has also witnessed the benefits that companies in the report saw-–people who are refugees tend to have a stronger sense of loyalty to a job. ‘Someone who has been forced to flee their country because of violence or persecution and is now in a new country is really eager to build a new life and settle down and provide for his or her family,’ says [Gideon Maltz, executive director of the Tent Partnership for Refugees]. ‘I think then when a company offers them a position, I think refugees really crave stability, and I think they really feel a sense of loyalty to companies that might have taken a chance on them.’ ”

Read about other benefits in addition to retention at Fast Company, here.

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Photo: Deborah Amos/NPR
Elias Kasongo, from Congo, came as a refugee in 1994. Marc Schulman, president of Eli’s Cheesecake, hired him to wash cake pans and, over the years, promoted him to purchasing manager.

See what I mean? I can hardly keep up with all the stories of Americans who help refugees (and refugees who give back). I feel a kind of duty to let you know about them in case they aren’t part of your daily fare.

National Public Radio’s Deborah Amos reported this next story about refugees working in some surprising Chicago businesses.

“In Chicago,” she reports, “war refugees have a hand in the city’s most famous handmade cheesecake.

” ‘People who come as refugees have great skills,’ says Marc Schulman, the president of Eli’s Cheesecake, which has sold cheesecakes and other baked desserts since 1980. One-third of adult refugees arriving in the U.S. have college degrees, according to the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., a think tank that tracks the movement of people worldwide. And refugee employment is a successful model for finding skilled workers for a food business that has become high tech, says Schulman.

“A cheesecake at Eli’s is still based on the simple recipe of the founder, the late Eli Schulman, Schulman’s father, who served his famous confections to political leaders and Hollywood stars. Marc Schulman wears the Cartier watch that Frank Sinatra — a regular customer — sent his father in 1987. …

“The mixing and baking are computerized, so the 220 employees have to be highly skilled. Schulman recruits about 15 percent of the workforce from refugees resettled in Chicago. The employee list reflects the waves of flight from war-torn countries — Iraq, Bhutan, Kosovo, Congo, Myanmar.

“Elias Kasongo began working at the bakery in 1994 after fleeing unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo. …

” ‘I’ve been here at Eli’s for the past 22 years. It’s my home; it’s a beautiful thing,’ says Kasongo, who is now a U.S. citizen. The job was all he had when he was starting his new life in America. Today, he’s a homeowner. …

“Schulman’s hiring strategy is used at other well-known companies in Chicago, including Tyson Foods and Trump International Hotel & Tower.


” ‘Every major hotel works with a refugee agency,’ says Sean Heraty, manager of workforce development at RefugeeOne. ‘Job retention is through the roof.’

“Employers have ‘awakened to the potential of refugees,’ says Kathleen Newland, at the Migration Policy Institute. That’s because they are hardworking and loyal and tend to stay on the job longer than American-born workers, she says.”

More here.

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According to wikipedia, “The term chimera has come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals.” Which explains why it has been appropriated in genetics where it relates to the phenomenon of different creatures sharing T-cells.

Anyway, I have a brother who studies chimerism and its potential application for organ-transplant retention. I may not have this quite right, but I think if you could have enough of the cells of an organ donor in you when you get a transplant, you wouldn’t need to take antirejection drugs.

I had been trying to explain this to people when I decided to go out for a walk in Fort Point Channel. Eerily, this sign greeted me.


I think it’s an eclectic gift shop or interior decorator business.

Other signs and portents on the same walk related to Suzanne and Erik’s Year of the Dragon baby.

dragon on roof

dragon sculpture in fort point

Who is the dragon artist? I need to know more.

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