For the first blog in this series on business engagement, let’s start by attempting to develop a common definition for business engagement. After that, we will talk a bit about why active business engagement efforts are so critical for the workforce system and our partners, and look at some of the critical elements of successful business engagement programs.



What is Business Engagement?


Business engagement is a comprehensive, value-added set of strategies, activities, and partnerships designed to support and promote economic prosperity by providing valuable solutions for the needs of businesses.


What do you think of this definition? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!


What is the purpose of business engagement?


The purpose of business engagement programs is to address the needs of businesses, workers, and communities to promote long-term economic stability, competitiveness, and growth.  


Do you agree that this is the primary intent of business engagement programs? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!


How Do We Propose Business Engagement Programs Work?


Here’s where we may see some dramatic variance in visions for how business engagement programs work. Here’s one vision that may be helpful:


Fully-realized business engagement approaches act as a sort of concierge, addressing the varied needs of businesses through the development and maintenance of a comprehensive network of partners and resources that can be activated to deliver solutions.  Business engagement programs must be focused on identifying business needs through numerous channels, ensuring the full range of possible resources and benefits are considered, and that the precise solutions are delivered in a timely manner—in other words, there’s no wrong door through which a business might enter and not receive the full array of possible solutions.


Business engagement efforts must be customized to the specific needs of the businesses that will be served, but most successful approaches:

  • Include the participation of all programs and assets across the spectrum of government programs and the broader economy (the right team is critical)
  • Derive from comprehensive strategic planning, data gathering and analysis designed to anticipate, prepare for, and manage economic transition (create the environment for successful engagement)
  • Rely on the development of long-term relationships and partnerships (business engagement is all about relationships)
  • Are not siloed or menu-driven but focus on delivering solutions to expressed business needs (think SOLUTIONS, not SERVICES)
  • Ensure continuity of solutions for businesses across the business lifecycle (no matter where a business is in its lifecycle, we have solutions that can help)
  • Are led by a comprehensive group including high-level leaders from the primary organizations supporting the efforts (crafting the right team is critical)
  • Require strategy and asset alignment to maximize effectiveness (and everyone participating in the project needs to understand these)


What additional success factors did we miss? Do you have concerns with any listed? Let’s discuss in the Comments section below!