This past fall, PacMtn business service leadership engaged in a partner meeting with Overstock’s executives alongside local elected officials, the Port of Grays Harbor, Satsop Business Development Park Management, Grays Harbor College, and the Economic Development Directors for Grays Harbor and Thurston Counties. Workforce and the ability to find, recruit, and hire the quality and quantity of workforce necessary to launch a full new call center operation within a couple of months became a focal point in conversations.
We provided labor market data alongside the EDCs and discussed at length the nature of the work, the type of skill sets required, and other qualities Overstock desired in their workforce. A core focus for Overstock considering potential locations for a call center is the local unemployment rate. Overstock believes in the value of locating to regions with higher than average unemployment so that Overstock can become a part of the solution and invest in the local economy and community. Satsop Business Development Park in Elma is uniquely positioned equal distance between several of our regions hardest hit communities during the recession, with unemployment rates still hovering around 8 percent.
Based upon this conversation we were able to provide an overview of what the WorkSource America’s Job Centers Network can provide and devised a multi-pronged recruitment strategy for Overstock to review. Within this strategy, we took in to consideration other factors that often lead to recruitment and retention challenges in our rural communities such as transportation. Together with our transit partners, we were able to present van pool program options for individuals, which offer low cost commuter vans to groups of workers commuting to the same workplace. Additionally the recruitment strategy emphasized a regional approach, utilizing B2B staff in Grays Harbor, Mason, and Thurston Counties to host targeted hiring events for Overstock in multiple counties, and assistance with posting and pre-screening applicants prior to these recruitment sessions.
Overstock officially signed their lease with the Port of Grays Harbor at the end of December 2016, and recruitment began immediately after. The B2B team assisted with the online posting process, publicized the available opportunities throughout the region, and worked with Overstock’s HR team to schedule meet and greet information sessions and group interview sessions beginning in late January and early February across the region. The excitement of Overstock’s arrival coupled with the opportunity to discuss and interview for employment led to the large success of these regional recruitment sessions. In total, 340 job seekers attended the recruitment events, with a majority granted the opportunity to participate in a group interview. Based upon the group interview, Overstock scheduled individual final interviews and successfully filled their initial startup openings of 90 people. Overstock’s recruitment team is pleased with the quality and quantity of applicants, and our business service team’s coordination and assistance during this initial recruitment and hiring process. New employees began company led training at the end of February. Positions start at $12.50 an hour with full medical, dental and vision benefits plus a 401K employer match.
PacMtn WDC enthusiastically welcomes Overstock to our community! Opportunities such as this offer quality jobs and expand the employment pathways for our residents!