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Coalition launches to connect unemployed with jobs

Backers of the free B2B service say it may help hundreds of thousands get back to work.
By: | April 14, 2020 • 2 min read
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

With unemployment numbers skyrocketing by the day because of the coronavirus pandemic, a coalition of corporations this week announced the creation of a new online initiative designed to connect those out of work with open positions.

Called People+Work Connect, the online employer-to-employer initiative was unveiled Tuesday by CHROs from the four leading partners: Accenture, Lincoln Financial Group, ServiceNow and Verizon. Built by Accenture in just 14 business days, the analytics-driven platform allows companies with at least 100 roles across levels and industries—both that are being eliminated or that are open—to share information.

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“We believe it has the potential to put hundreds of thousands of people back to work around the globe,” said Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture.

Lisa Buckingham

Lisa Buckingham, executive vice president and chief people, place and brand officer at Lincoln Financial Group, noted that the platform is not a money maker. It’s available at zero cost to employers. All CHROs who collaborated on the initiative donated their time, and the team at Accenture built the platform pro bono.

As a B2B resource, it can only be accessed by organizations and not individual workers; it’s not a job board or recruitment site, she emphasized, and no outplacement services are offered. Rather, People+Work Connect is a way for HR managers and recruiters on both sides of the current employment crisis—those who are reducing headcount and those still urgently hiring staff for essential work—to connect. Organizations that are eliminating or furloughing workers input basic information about the roles; those looking for talent can sort the positions by details like geographic location and experience. That information is non-confidential, but no personal information about affected workers is shared.

“The world is looking for a solution, and businesses are uniquely qualified to move at scale and speed to provide that solution,” said Christy Pambianchi, executive vice president and CHRO at Verizon.

“We have an opportunity to lead and help the world in its time of need.”

Pat Wadors

The platform is designed to “remove friction from hiring,” added Pat Wadors, chief talent officer at ServiceNow, allowing both applicants and employers to circumvent the more tedious aspects of filling a role.

“If we can remove the friction in this process to simplify the finding and onboarding of talent,” she said, “we can impact the economy and especially those with families in need.”

A dozen companies have already joined, and the partners said about 250 organizations will be onboarded this week. Public-sector jobs will be added soon.

Pambianchi noted that we’re in the midst of the largest labor-force shift since World War II—and it will take innovative leadership from HR for workforces to successfully come out the other side.

“These are unprecedented times,” she said. “As CHROs, we’re on the front lines of this. If we come together as a collective of business leaders, we can have a huge impact.”

Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at hreletters@lrp.com.

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