The Marion Area Employer Resource Network (ERN) is a low-cost, shared resource to help improve employee retention and productivity. The local ERN Success Coach, Natalie Longmeier, provides on-site coaching to employees of participating businesses through this program of Marion Matters.
“The program ultimately helps shape a positive culture that businesses care about their employees,” says Longmeier. “Employees have access to call me 40 hours a week if they need connections to resources or have barriers that need to be addressed.”
Longmeier spends dedicated time with each employer in the network. She meets with employees to coach them on an ongoing basis. She assists those who face a crisis from lack of resources. A direct connection is established with access to resources in the Marion community.
Longmeier helps employees of members of the ERN who have barriers that include attendance or job performance, budgeting, childcare, transportation issues, family challenges, substance abuse and more. Additional educational programs employers can request for employees include Financial Literacy, Getting Ahead in the Workplace, and Workplace Stability Training. Longmeier believes businesses that use her services to the fullest extent are very successful.
“Employers want employees to be productive while on the job. If they’re facing barriers, a success coach can help bridge the gap to local resources to make obtaining resources more efficient,” says Longmeier. “Retaining employees creates stability.”
What do businesses that use Longmeier’s services say? “It’s great to have an insider with outside connections,” says Jamie Hawkins from MARCA Industries.
Longmeier explains there is a relationship-building component. Each business buys a share of her time and she will be on-site during that time to deliver results. She helps people stabilize their credit and get on the path of homeownership. She says there is a compassionate aspect in that people succeed.
Longmeier says some employers will utilize her as part of their orientation and training. She helps gain perspective for employers to understand an employee’s situation outside the job. She provides interviewing tips and growth in management skills for those looking to advance in their companies.
“It’s so rewarding for people to invite me along on their journey.”
In 2019, ERN added a new component. The Student Resource Network (SRN) is available to students at Marion Technical College. She provides similar services to students at the college that she does to employees at businesses. She can be found in the newly unveiled Connections Center in Bryson Hall on campus.
“Education creates stability,” Longmeier says.
The director of the Connections Center agrees.
“SRN services are a much-needed service for students at MTC. As an instructor, it’s become more and more apparent to me that students are not always successful in their studies due to non-cognitive barriers they encounter outside the classroom. We cannot expect our students to persist and be successful if they are hungry, can’t find affordable childcare or housing or have to take care of sick or aging family members. This is where Natalie’s services come into play. She, as the SRN, is able to help students navigate how to find the services and assistance they need in order for them to be able to focus on their studies and hopefully graduate,” says Primrose Igonor, director of the Connections Center. “It certainly helps that Natalie is very personable, knowledgeable and confident in her role as that helps keep our students engaged and motivated in the classroom which ultimately leads to their success.”
Longmeier is passionate about helping people prosper in whatever success looks like to them. She enjoys helping retain students at Marion Technical College and employees elsewhere. Longmeier notes that you do not have a business without people. She is ultimately helping businesses succeed.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is that we all need help – whether to vent, find resources or gain another’s perspective,” Longmeier says.