Kevin Monroe met Chris Chancey seven years ago and they kept in touch. Two years ago Kevin visited Chris’ company Amplio and immediately knew that a conversation would happen in due course. Chris’ recently released book – Refugee Workforce: The Economic Case for Hiring the Displaced – provided the opportunity for Chris’ appearance on this week’s show.
Listen to the Episode:
About the Book
The book highlights the lessons Chris learned from five years of working with companies in manufacturing, construction and hospitality, to fill their labor shortage with a dependable refugee workforce. Chris says that over seven million jobs will go unfilled in 2019, mostly in those three categories.
What Refugees Really Want
We often stereotype refugees in two ways: we either think of them as charity cases that we need to provide for, or we consider them a terrorist threat that we need to be wary of. On the contrary, Chris says, refugees want to contribute, they want to pay taxes, they want to use their skills and time to provide for their families. They want to be seen as people who have value. The average length of time for a refugee to be in a refugee camp is 10 years. They’re not allowed to work while they’re there. Chris sees this as wasted potential, since these are the prime years of their working lives. When they do get an opportunity to work, they have a hunger to prove themselves.
Kevin asked Chris to talk about the win-win-win opportunity Amplio is helping businesses discover. Chris responds that we have persons with strong motivation to work, for whom drug abuse is not an issue, and who are legal to work in the US. Amplio matches them with companies that have open positions. Very quickly they started seeing the true impact of engaging the refugee workforce at companies:
- Increase in retention: the industry standard in manufacturing is 40%. With refugees, the retention rate is 80%.
- Increase in productivity: Refugees are highly motivated to work so they can provide better for their families.
- Increase in profits: with higher productivity comes increased profits.
It’s a win for the refugee, it’s a win for the employer, and it’s a win for Amplio, being the one making that relationship happen. Kevin calls this win-win-win state Shalom, as it’s the right order in all relationships.
A Challenge for Listeners
Chris throws out a challenge to listeners, which Kevin endorses: Let your table be filled with people not like you. He invites you to find someone from a different background or culture, and engage with them in deep, meaningful conversation. He promises that you’ll come away with insights and perspectives that you didn’t have before.