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Outreach to Employers

Basic Steps to Effective Employer Outreach

Published: May 11, 2012
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies, Employers, Tribal Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Employer Responsibilities
Types:
Outreach/Brochures

There are four basic steps to effectively perform outreach to employers:

  1. Identify your employer community
  2. Work with professional and trade associations
  3. Determine the information to be conveyed to employers
  4. Use the appropriate communication media

Identify your employer community

Identify and target employers based on:

Size

Large and mid-sized employers

  • Create a profile of corporations in your state; it may be helpful to categorize the corporations by industry (for example, agricultural employers may need specialized information on new hire reporting and income withholding for seasonal employees).
  • Small and "mom and pop" employers
  • It is often difficult to reach smaller employers (with 100 or fewer employees).
    • Consider working with the Small Business Administration's district and field offices to reach this population.
    • Contact your State Workforce Agency (SWA), state department of commerce, treasury office, or revenue and taxation office for listings of smaller employers.
    • You may be able to do outreach through these groups or their continuing education units.

Years in Business

Employers may be more easily reached by differentiating between new and established enterprises. Work with your state business/corporations commission to:

  • Obtain a listing of established companies licensed to do business.
  • Receive periodic listings of new businesses that are starting up.
  • Send them a packet of information about their child support responsibility.

Type of business

Employers in certain types of business or industry will need more specific information about employer responsibilities.

For example, companies with large numbers of seasonal employees will need specific instructions on when to report an employee as newly hired, or terminated. They may need instructions on what the employer must do to resume income withholding for child support when a seasonal employee returns to work, and whether the temporary employment agency or the interim employer must report a temporary employee as a new hire.

Work with professional and trade associations

You can target your message in a more meaningful, cost effective way if you identify and categorize the employer community you are trying to reach. Use the master list of employers registered to do business in your state (available from the state corporation commission, or equivalent agency).

Most employers are members of professional trade organizations. You can reach larger numbers of employers by targeting your message to these organizations.

Determine the information to be conveyed to employers

  • Determine if all employers need to receive the same information, or if some employers, such as larger employers, need to receive different information than smaller employers.
  • Decide if all information concerning child support should be combined into one comprehensive message, or if topics should be conveyed separately.
  • Select the best product for dissemination such as:
    • Booklets describing all the responsibilities an employer must meet to comply with program requirements
    • Shorter pamphlets, each dedicated to a single topic, e.g., new hire reporting, income withholding, or the National Medical Support Notice (NMSN).
    • Television or radio ads with brief statements on where an employer can find more information about a particular topic
    • Fact sheets with step-by-step instructions for responding to an income-withholding order or the NMSN.
  • Include a list of frequently asked questions ("FAQs") in your outreach materials.
  • Review other states' outreach materials.

Use the appropriate communication media

  • Determine the best media to reach the widest audience.
  • Determine the most cost effective media to reach the audience.
    • Publications
    • Website
    • E-mailings
    • Direct mailings
    • "Piggyback" mailings (see below)
    • Radio
    • Television
    • Conferences
    • Training
    • Teleconferences
    • Newsletters
    • Articles published in trade magazines or newsletters, local newspapers, etc.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Use existing routes of communication.
  • Develop a special section for "employers only" on your state website.
  • Work with your state department of finance/revenue/labor or the State Workforce Agency (formerly the state employment security agency). These agencies usually do quarterly mailings to every employer in the state. "Piggyback" onto their mailings by including a flyer, newsletter article, or brochure.
  • Collect employer email addresses into a distribution list for mass electronic mailings at a fraction of the cost of paper mailings.
  • Convene an "Employer Advisory Board" that meets regularly to provide input to your agency on pending legislation or regulations affecting employer participation and compliance with the Child Support Enforcement Program. Early participation by the employer community often facilitates faster and more efficient implementation, since employers will scrutinize the potential impact on business practices.
  • Face-to-face presentations and/or training sessions go a long way toward building partnerships with your employer community.
  • Offer to speak at the local chapter meetings of employer organizations such as the American Payroll Association , National Payroll Reporting Consortium or Society for Human Resource Management.
  • Conduct training sessions for local employers at the agency office.
  • Conduct face-to-face presentations.