WEC Awards 2020: who are the finalists?

2020 has been challenging – to say the least! – and we definitely need to conclude it on a uplifting note! On December 10, we will grant our 3 WEC Awards 2020, rewarding our National Federations for their “Leadership in Social Innovation”, “Outstanding Advocacy” and “Rising Federation” efforts. And because the year was special… there will be a special surprise as well! But for now, let’s meet the finalists!

Published on 17th November 2020

The WEC Awards is the occasion to reward the work of our national federations in advancing the private employment services industry and the enhancement of labour markets. 2020 has been particularly challenging for all players across the world due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic but that has not stopped the creativity and resourcefulness of WEC members.

Three categories are available: “Leadership in Social Innovation”, “Outstanding Advocacy” and “Rising Federation”. And because the year was special, the Head Office has decided to hand out extra “Honours” to federations which have really leaped forward and made a difference during the Covid-19 crisis. This one will remain a total secret until the Awards ceremony which will be held online for WEC members on December 10 (block off your calendar and register to attend the ceremony via the Members Area!)

Here are the federations who made it to the final stage.

Leadership in Social Innovation

In a changing world of work characterised by more volatility, uncertainty and diverse forms of work, the employment industry must come up with innovative solutions for working, learning and providing social protection for all. For federation members of the World Employment Confederation to genuinely lead in this changing world of work they must innovate with schemes and activities to empower people and companies. This award recognises the true federation leaders in the changing world of work and aims at rewarding experience and concrete initiatives that WEC national federation members have developed to improve the working lives of people.

ASA (United States) – Covid-19 Response & CSR Programs

As the Covid-19 crisis hit the U.S. in early spring 2020, the American Staffing Association (ASA) ASA pivoted on every front to address this economic and societal crisis. The association rapidly shifted priorities and undertook several actions to tackle the entirely new wave of challenges that the American staffing industry was facing.

From a daily updated information hub on its website to regular webinars on critical pandemic-related legal/legislative issues, advocacy to protect the interests of the industry and setting up a partnership with the retail sector to address the immediate, acute need to fill openings at essential businesses, the ASA deployed all possible means to support its members.

The association’s focus on Corporate Social Responsibility also expanded significantly to include diversity and inclusion—particularly during this time of social unrest in the U.S.

ABU (The Netherlands) – From-Work-To-Work training vouchers

As the Netherlands went into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 45,000 temporary agency workers lost their jobs in the period of March-April alone. The Federation of Private Employment Agencies (ABU) turned to DOORZAAM, the sector’s fund for sustainable employability, to work together in order to get those people back to work without delay.

Private employment agencies can use these vouchers, each worth 500 euros, to offer job-seeking temporary agency workers courses, training programmes, on-the-job training, training periods or on-boarding at the client. The voucher is only redeemed when the private employment agency has actually found a job for the temporary agency worker. Thanks to that initiative, more than 4,000 temporary agency workers were reassigned and returned to work within a short period of time.

Outstanding advocacy

The World Employment Confederation is the voice of the employment industry and, in a changing world of work, the strength and influence of this voice must be compelling. This award recognises the critical importance of outstanding advocacy program, campaign or event that has delivered respect, understanding and real impact through stakeholder influence.

ISF (India) – Bringing Regulation through National License

India is one of the most regulated labour markets yet the least protected. There are little or no incentives for the youth to enter the formal workforce which already counts over 350 million people in the country. Since 2012, the Indian Staffing Federation has petitioned for the implementation of National License for the staffing industry.

After several years of advocacy at multiple levels – including working together with international organisations such as the ILO, raising awareness of the importance of ethical behavior, gathering data to enable fact-based decion-making and dialoguing with all stakeholders – the Indian Ministry of Labour and Employment accepted the ISF’s recommendations and the National/State License became reality in September 2020. Thanks to this new legal framework, the Indian staffing sector will be able to fully play its role and offer more opportunities of formal work for Indian workers.

ASA (The United States) – Covid-19 & State-Level Advocacy Campaigns

Shortly after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, the U.S. Congress began consideration of several bills to address the financial hardship that was about to hit businesses and their employees. ASA was concerned that one of these bills did not take into account the unique nature of the staffing industry and that many companies on the brink of financial collapse in the sector would not be able to utilize the program to sustain their businesses. On the state level, ASA extensively engaged on two adverse bills which, by restricting clients’ use of staffing, the legislation would have denied jobs to thousands of temporary and contract workers.

ASA could count on the support of its members throughout the campaigns, with un unprecedented number of senior executives from member companies engaging in meeting decision-makers, resulting in successful outcomes on both federal and state level.

Rising Federation

The World Employment Confederation derives its strength through the commitment of its federation members to leadership, continuous improvement and good governance. This award recognises the inspirational development of a national federation, over the past three years, such that the federation stands as a model for other confederation members, in its class, to admire and follow.

ASA (The United States)

Over the past three years, the depth and breadth of services offered by ASA has significantly evolved. The addition of online/cloud staffing platform provides a new membership target and ensure “gig” companies are part of discussions on the future of staffing. ASA also invested in greater new member engagement through customized orientation sessions and personalized outreach.

The association continually engages with members to learn about their “pain points” to strategically develop programs, services, and products to address them in a rapid, nimble manner. Annual measurement of member satisfaction has kept improving, moving from a score of 57 in 2017 to 75 in 2020.

Another top area of focus is promoting a positive industry image. Thanks to the ongoing efforts – including recently during the Covid-19 crisis, the staffing industry has a positive coverage in numerous articles in U.S. media.

NRF (Ireland)

From a staff of two, the NRF grown to currently eight full-time employees, one part-time person and four sub-contracted experts serving 180 members (about 95% of the industry’s revenue turnover). Being very committed to upskilling members and to raising the standards of the profession, the NRF is consistently pioneering to improve education. In 2020, the federation played an instrumental role in launching the first undergraduate degree for recruiters in the world positioned on the national framework of education, giving recognition as a professional career path for recruiters.

The Covid-19 crisis also challenged the NRF to think outside the box and to act swiftly. Through its “Keep Ireland Working” campaign, a dedicated portal on its website, a taskforce of experts and one to one support to smaller agencies, the NRF spurred the the spirit of Collaboration within its members and helped them cope with the crisis.

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