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Growing up in Moorestown, Bill Emerson was aware that his parents made a point to support community causes while building their staffing and recruiting business. His mother Annette spent untold hours serving on boards and running events, including activities for his boy scouts troop which she started. His father Skip coached lots of sports teams and volunteered with the Special Olympics, among other local organizations. Bill and his 3 brothers often tagged along to help.
“Giving back has always been important to Emerson Group and to our family,” says the second-generation owner of the recruiting firm. “A lot of organizations we help out are ones we’ve supported for more than 50 years, since my parents started the company. A good portion of our clients are non-profits and we always like to give back to them.”
Helping others become more successful is Emerson Group’s core purpose. It drives the business of recruiting and placing the area’s top talent on a temporary, temp-to-hire, contract and direct hire basis. The company is laser focused on matchmaking – finding a custom fit for both client businesses and job candidates. In addition to evaluating a prospective candidate’s skill sets and credentials, Emerson recruiting specialists are strong communicators. They take the time to understand each candidate’s skills, talents and motivation to make sure they will match their client companies’ corporate philosophy and culture. The company also prides itself on extensive follow up after the hiring process is completed.
“Emerson’s foundation is built on honesty, integrity, communication and loyalty,” says Bill, who officially joined the business in 1990. “We all still live by it today. Helping others become more successful is what drives us every day.” “It’s not just helping a candidate find a job, or talent for a client,” he adds.
“It’s about helping our communities and each other become better people. So we’re constantly looking at little and big ways to give back. When we hire our own people, that mindset is something we’re looking for. It is what attracts us and it becomes so natural and genuine for our whole team to live by our values.”
Emerson employees understand their clients’ needs, in part that’s due to their close connections. Emerson recruiters run workshops for several of their clients – including the Greater Philadelphia YMCA’s Women’s Opportunity Center and HopeWorks Camden, which prepare people to enter or re-enter the workforce. These workshops typically include resume review and mock interviews. They also collect and donate business clothes to these organizations.
In addition, employees serve as panelists or speak to groups about the job market, the art of interviewing and recruitment. They do this for colleges, unemployment offices, chambers of commerce as well as religious missions. Employees also help out at more general events in their communities, such as making and serving meals at the Ronald McDonald House and Bancroft, participating in fundraising walks and bike rides as well as numerous golf tournaments for charity.
Besides volunteering with employees, Bill is a current trustee of the Greater Philadelphia YMCA, past chairman of the board for the Burlington and Camden County YMCA and past president of the Mid-Atlantic Staffing Association. He has held leadership roles within numerous local organizations, including the Tender, Moorestown Football Parents Club and Moorestown Youth Football.
Employees often enlist their coworkers and involve the company in charity projects they care about personally, says Karen Miller, Emerson Group marketing manager. Doing these projects as a team is the ultimate bonding experience, she adds.
“I love working for a company whose mindset is to ‘pay it forward’ and to help others become more successful – heck it’s our core purpose statement,” says Miller. “Honestly working here makes it easier for me to be involved in so many causes and to contribute to the local area in many diverse ways. So, if I haven’t done something recently on my own, I know I have contributed somehow, some way, while just being involved with everything Emerson Group does.”
While the past 2 years of pandemic living did curtail most face-to-face interactions, Bill says, employees stayed as involved as possible. “From a financial standpoint, we still supported the non-profits and continued to give time and efforts as members of trustee boards.”
He adds that employees have been eager to jump back into that fulfilling work as more and more is opening up.
“We’ve helped so many causes over the years, and will continue doing so,” Bill adds. “This is how we live by our core purpose of helping others become more successful.”
Women’s Opportunity Center
Alice Conroy was nervous about entering the job force after taking years off to raise her kids. A divorce and the loss of the family’s home forced her hand. Fortunately she found the Women’s Opportunity Center of the Greater Philadelphia YMCA, which hooked her up with the Emerson Group to help her prepare for her future.
The Center, located in Burlington City, helps women who are going through major life transitions, such as divorce, death of a spouse or disability, get back on track. They take a holistic approach, says Donna Lombardo, program director, offering educational opportunities as well as training in job readiness and emotional support. When the women are ready to seek employment, the first thing Lombardo will do is contact Emerson Group to help them figure out their next step and find them jobs.
“In general, they’re just shell shocked and overwhelmed,” she says. “Everything seems new. Some haven’t ever managed a household budget or paid bills on their own. Yesterday I connected with someone getting a divorce after 38 years of marriage.”
“A typical situation,” she adds, “is either they’re unemployed or underemployed. A lot of times they’ve been at home taking care of kids. Some of my ladies have degrees, they just haven’t worked in their field, or did and it’s been awhile. Their volunteer work may be transferable skills that we can use to build a résumé. That’s where Emerson Group is so helpful. They understand our clients.”
Conroy’s prep work with Emerson Group recruiter Sue Whelan was key. “I got dressed up, wore makeup and Sue did a mock job interview with me that built my confidence,” says Conroy, a mother of 3.
Still, getting hired in early 2021, when so many businesses were struggling due to the pandemic, was a challenge. So when Conroy landed a job as a greeter at the vaccination mega-site at the Moorestown Mall, she felt like she hit the lottery.
“It was so exciting,” says Conroy. “I couldn’t wait to start. But the first day I walked into this busy, massive operation and I didn’t know if I could do it. I felt like trying to jump in on people doing double dutch jump rope. The next day I jumped right in there, and now I’m a pro at it.”
At the site’s peak, she was greeting some 5,000 people a day. “It was a wonderful experience,” she says. “People would come in for their shots and get all emotional. Some were crying. And it was amazing working with all the National Guard and Virtua employees.”
Conroy worked at the mega-site for months, and then again when it opened as a booster clinic. She says Whelan checked up on her several times to see how the job was going. As the center is winding down to close, Conroy says it’s bittersweet. She’s now working with Emerson Group again to prepare for her next chapter. “We all got to know each other really well,” she adds. “I’m really going to miss everybody. Doing this work changed my life for the better. But with my youngest in high school, I’m ready for a fulltime job.”