May 4th, 2015
Part 1: Test Your Knowledge
Today’s post is the first in a two-part installment on co-employment laws – those that govern any situation in which two legally distinct employers (typically a staffing firm and their business client)Â have employer-employee relationships with the same person.
Over the past several years, co-employment law has rapidly evolved in response to the increased use of on-time (temporary) and contract staff. Is your legal knowledge up to date? Find out by taking the American Staffing Association’s Staffing Smarts quiz on Co-Employment Law.
When you have a few minutes, take this quick 5-question quiz that tests your knowledge of the legal issues involved in on-time (temporary) and contract staffing arrangements. Then, check next week’s post for helpful tips on making co-employment work for your organization.
January 2nd, 2013
Below is the article that we saw on LinkedIn’s page and wanted to share with you. Hope you find this information useful.
You landed the interview. Awesome!
Here are eight practical ways to shine:
- Be likable. Obvious? And critical. Making a great first impression and establishing a real connection is everything. Smile, make eye contact, be enthusiastic, sit forward in your chair, use the interviewer’s name…. Be yourself, but be the best version of yourself you possibly can. We all want to work with people we like and who like us. Use that basic fact to your advantage. Few candidates do.
- Never start the interview by saying you want the job. Why? Because you don’t know yet. False commitment is, well, false. Instead…
- Ask questions about what really matters to you. (Here are five questions great job candidates ask.) Focus on making sure the job is a good fit: Who you will work with, who you will report to, the scope of responsibilities, etc. Interviews should always be two-way, and interviewers respond positively to people as eager as they are to find the right fit. Plus there’s really no other way to know you want the job. And don’t be afraid to ask several questions. As long as you don’t take completely take over, the interviewer will enjoy and remember a nice change of pace.
- Set a hook. A sad truth of interviewing is that later we often don’t remember a tremendous amount about you — especially if we’ve interviewed a number of candidates for the same position. Later we might refer to you as, “The guy with the alligator briefcase,” or, “The lady who did a Tough Mudder,” or, “The guy who grew up in Panama.” Sometimes you may be identified by hooks, so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be clothing (within reason), or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career. Hooks make you memorable and create an anchor for interviewers to remember you by — and being memorable is everything.
- Know what you can offer immediately. Researching the company is a given; go a step farther and find a way you can hit the ground running or contribute to a critical area. If you have a specific technical skill, show how it can be leveraged immediately. But don’t say, for example, “I would love to be in charge of revamping your social media marketing.” One, that’s fairly presumptuous, and two, someone may already be in charge. Instead, share details regarding your skills and say you would love to work with that team. If there is no team, great — you may be put in charge. If there is a team you haven’t stepped on any toes or come across as pushy. Just think about what makes you special and show the benefits to the company. The interviewer will be smart enough to recognize how the project you bring can be used.
- Don’t create negative sound bites. Interviewers will only remember a few sound bites, especially negative ones. If you’ve never been in charge of training, don’t say, “I’ve never been in charge of training.” Say, “I did not fill that specific role, but I have trained dozens of new hires and created several training guides.” Basically, never say, “I can’t,” or “I haven’t,” or “I don’t.” Share applicable experience and find the positives in what you have done. No matter what the subject, be positive: Even your worst mistake can be your best learning experience.
- Ask for the job based on facts. By the end of the interview you should have a good sense of whether you want the job. If you need more information, say so. Otherwise use your sales skills and ask for the job. (Don’t worry; we like when you ask.) Focus on specific aspects of the job: Explain you work best with teams, or thrive in unsupervised roles, or get energized by frequent travel…. Ask for the job and use facts to prove you want it — and deserve it.
- Reinforce a connection with your follow-up. Email follow-ups are fine; handwritten notes are better; following up based on something you learned during the interview is best: An email including additional information you were asked to provide, or a link to a subject you discussed (whether business or personal.) The better the interview — and more closely you listened — the easier it will be to think of ways you can make following up seem natural and unforced. And make sure you say thanks — never underestimate the power of gratitude.
January 17th, 2012
If there’s one thing you can be certain of in 2012, it’s change.
Issues like the fragile economy, looming elections and changing employment legislation make it more difficult than ever to predict what will happen in the next year – let alone the next month. Constant changes in your workload and available labor only compound your challenges. As such, a staffing approach that worked for you in the past may not prove as effective this year.
This doesn’t mean you’re out of luck; it just means that you may need to re-examine your staffing strategy. So start 2012 off right. Consider these staffing best practices which have proven effective for corporate human resources executives across the country, courtesy of workforce.com:
- Make sure the staffing partner has an adequate balance sheet. Given the relatively low barriers to entry, it is too common to see staffing companies struggle financially.
- Be sure the staffing partner has sufficient size and financial resources to manage the contract. Sourcing 100 or more contract workers on an ongoing basis requires a very different type of staffing organization than providing two or three temps at a time.
- Visit the local office of the staffing company as part of the due-diligence process, especially for large projects, to make sure the operation meets expectations.
- Give your staffing partner feedback on all candidates that you review to help refine the recruiting strategy, and make it easier to find the best candidates.
- Be open-minded about “teachable” candidates, especially for hard-to-fill skill sets. Candidates who are a strong cultural fit and possess transferable skills are likely to succeed and thrive with some training and support.
- Provide enough training, rewards and feedback to keep temps engaged and motivated. One employer notes that small rewards—a free lunch for good performance, for example—go a long way toward winning the loyalty of temps.
- Beware of unfair negative stereotypes about the quality of temp workers. Temps can be—and often are—as qualified as full-time employees, and their skills can be equally useful.
Priority Personnel – Your Best Staffing Strategy for 2012
Priority Personnel is an award winning staffing firm that has been serving the central Texas area since it was founded in 1993 in San Marcos, Texas. Over the years, we’ve grown to become a recognized leader in the development, implementation and support of personnel services in Central Texas. Rest assured, we are a stable, successful partner you can trust with your all your workforce management needs – no matter how large or small.
Call us to schedule a 2012 workforce consultation. Together, we can identify your upcoming needs and develop a proactive, cost-effective staffing strategy that will deliver real bottom-line results.
January 3rd, 2012
Voice mail. E-mail. Smart phones. Tablets.
Technologies like these are making managers more self-sufficient than ever – or are they?
I recently read a Harvard Business Review article entitled “The Case for Executive Assistants,” by Melba J. Duncan that changed my thinking. In the article, Duncan justifies the expense of having an assistant by showing the true value he can deliver. She argues that the average company has actually gone too far in cutting back on administrative help, and that – beyond merely writing business letters and scheduling meetings – a skilled executive assistant can:
- boost productivity and free you to focus on your top priorities;
- assist in on-boarding new managers;
- provide reverse mentoring;
- and act as the air traffic controller of an office, particularly for managers who travel frequently.
The bottom line? In many cases, having an assistant makes good business sense – but only if he’s used properly. So if and when you decide to add this valuable resource to your staff, remember these suggestions maximize his effectiveness:
- Develop a checklist of responsibilities. Consider tasks that could be shifted from higher level employees and add in new tasks that are important, but not currently being carried out. If several people are sharing the resources of your new assistant, be sure to clearly establish how he should allocate work time, to whom he should report, etc.
- Properly introduce and orient your assistant. Let your colleagues know that your assistant speaks and acts for you (or your work team/department).
- Don’t be afraid to delegate. If you hire intelligently, you should trust your assistant to figure out how to do the things you need accomplished.
- Have your assistant attend important meetings. This will facilitate his understanding of the issues facing your staff or department and help him to be viewed as an important contributor.
- Offer training. Technology and managerial training may help your assistant fill his changing role effectively – while making him a more valuable team member.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Make it easy for your assistant stay in touch with you, and let him know your preferred methods of communication. When delegating and giving instructions, be sure they are clear and precise. And since communication is a two-way street, listen to your assistant. Because he plays such a central role, he may be privy to vital information that you don’t readily have access to.
- Show him your appreciation for a job well done. Your assistant’s job is to help you be more successful in yours. Don’t forget to thank him when he’s made your job easier or helped you look good.
Let Priority Personnel Find You the Perfect Administrative or Executive Assistant
Surprisingly, hiring the ideal executive assistant can actually be more difficult than filling other management jobs. Priority Personnel can make the search quicker, easier and more cost-effective.
As an award-winning central Texas staffing firm, we know that personal chemistry between you and your assistant is paramount to long-term success. To that end, we will work diligently to understand the key traits and skills you require, as well as your company’s culture, business philosophy, values and goals – and then find you the perfect assistant. Contact us today to get started.
December 13th, 2011
Many surveys say that the number one issue facing businesses today is finding and keeping good employees. That’s partially because nationally, the average annual employee turnover rate is 14.4 percent – and it can cost companies thousands or even millions of dollars a year.
While companies normally record and report costs such as wages and benefits, workman’s compensation insurance, utilities, materials and space, most companies don’t track and report the cost of employee turnover.
How to Estimate Turnover Costs
- SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, once estimated that it costs $3,500.00 to replace one $8.00 per hour employee when all costs — recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, reduced productivity, etc., were considered. But SHRM’s estimate was the lowest of 17 nationally respected companies who calculate this cost!
- Do a quick calculation: Think of a job in your organization that has experienced high turnover, maybe supervisors. Estimate their annual average pay and the number of supervisors you lose annually. If their average annual pay is $40,000, multiply this by 1.25 (125% of their annual pay). The result? It costs $50,000 to replace just one supervisor. If you lose ten supervisors a year, you’re spending $500,000 in replacement costs just for supervisors.
Do These Numbers Seem Unbelievable?
Actual turnover costs are usually much higher than we think they are.
If you want to find out exactly how much turnover is costing your organization, find an online employee turnover calculator. Just remember that only tangible costs can be calculated on these sites. Intangible costs are just as real and sometimes much greater than quantifiable costs, but they are difficult if not impossible to measure.
Why Don’t More Companies See This as a Costly Problem?
Many companies don’t realize the true cost of turnover, which costs companies in both expertise and dollars, because they have never examined it. Here are four possible reasons:
1. No process is in place to tabulate the costs of turnover.
2. If they are measured, those costs are not reported to top management.
3. Employers think it’s an inescapable cost of doing business — but it’s not!
4. Costs are underestimated, so they don’t cause concern.
How Can You Measure Turnover Costs in Your Organization?
A comprehensive program measures the following costs:
- · Separation costs
- · Replacement costs
- · Training costs
- · Vacancy costs
Separation costs include:
- administrative functions related to termination
- separation/severance pay
- any increase in unemployment compensation.
Replacement costs include the cost of:
- attracting applicants
- preemployment administrative expenses
- acquisition and dissemination of information.
Training costs include both formal and informal training costs. Vacancy costs include the net cost incurred due to increased overtime or temporary employees needed to complete the tasks of the vacant position.
How can you reduce turnover?
When turnover costs are unacceptably high, do an assessment. Find out who is leaving and why. Exit interviews can help you gain information. Then develop a retention program based on your findings.
As an award-winning employment agency serving central Texas employers since 1993, Priority Personnel can help you lower your turnover costs. Contact us today!
November 29th, 2011
Have you seen the commercial where the guy is standing in his front door while his new 3D TV is being delivered, only to see a van drive by advertising 4D TV?
Technology – even recruiting and interviewing technology – is changing rapidly.
Until recently, job boards were the “latest and greatest” way to connect with job seekers. The advent of social media, smart phones and free online video technology, however, has created yet another paradigm shift in the way we attract and recruit top talent.
While job boards should remain part of your recruiting mix, consider incorporating the following emerging media to remain competitive:
Online interview technology has revolutionized the hiring process. This cost-effective tool allows you to rapidly connect with viable candidates anywhere, while greatly simplifying interviewing logistics. Instead of spending valuable time and money on travel, you can now use services like Skype and TokBox to virtually meet applicants and determine their potential early on in the recruiting process.
According to statistics from Pew Research Center, 83 percent of Americans own cell phones. Nearly half of them (44 percent) use their mobile devices to get access to the internet. Leverage mobile technology to reach potential job seekers anytime, anywhere by sending text alerts about your job openings and recruiting events. Additionally, you may want to consider making your website more “smart phone friendly,” so that it facilitates the job search and application processes.
Digital video enables you to get your company’s message across like no social media tool can. By allowing candidates to literally see and hear what the true employee experience is like, video offers a powerful way to influence and engage potential candidates:
- Use online videos to enrich your online job postings.
- Add video clips of your offices, production facilities, etc.
- Interview current employees about what it’s like working for your organization.
- Demonstrate ways you take care of your employees, work for the greater good and/or stay on the cutting edge of your industry.
To ensure your videos are viewed, add them to your homepage, job postings and social media, or use QR codes to direct job seekers to them.
Twitter can help you contact candidates in real time by instantly broadcasting or “tweeting” available jobs. If you have a Twitter account:
- Search for relevant hashtags that qualified candidates might be using and integrate them into your tweets. Tools like Search.Twitter.com, Twubs and Tagalus can help you identify hashtags your target candidates may be using.
- Shout out new job listings. Services like jobshouts.com and jobamatic.com allow you to automatically feed new job listings to your Twitter account. You can even add custom prefixes and hashtags to make the content more user-friendly and searchable.
Recruiting technology will continue to evolve at a rapid pace. If, like many employers, you find this rate of change intimidating, remember that you don’t have to go it alone.
As an award-winning employment agency serving central Texas employers since 1993, Priority Personnel can help you win the war for talent. Strategically located in San Marcos, we can provide you with the most highly-qualified and trained professionals available throughout our service area. Contact us today!
November 15th, 2011
Fact: Around our country, every day, employees and job applicants encounter discrimination.
Although today’s typical workplace may be generally more welcoming and accepting than one of generations past, many employers and workers still struggle with issues of diversity and tolerance. For a variety of reasons, employees continue to feel excluded from certain occupations – regardless of their qualifications and experience.
Earlier this year, President Obama signed an executive order creating an initiative to “promote the federal workplace as a model of equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion.” While this order applies specifically to the federal government as an employer, it drives home the importance of workplace diversity for all American organizations.
Promoting diversity in the workplace is vital for a number of reasons:
- It helps organizations actively identify and remove barriers to equal opportunities in all aspects of employment, including recruiting, hiring, promoting, retaining and developing professionals.
- It improves workplace cultures and team performance, by helping employees and managers alike to overcome long-held stereotypes and misconceptions.
- It encourages employers to develop and retain diverse, competitive workforces that draw on the talents of all parts of our society.
Unfortunately, factors such as age, race, gender, sexual preference and religious affiliation still influence recruiting, hiring, promotion and daily interaction in the workplace. The good news is, you have the power to change this reality. In addition to providing diversity training for your employees, use these ideas to help improve and promote diversity in your workplace:
Formalize anti-discrimination policies. Make it clear to all employees that discriminatory hiring, promotion and other practices will not be tolerated. If you haven’t already, formally introduce, implement, enforce and update clear anti-discrimination policies. Countless resources are available online, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website. Their site provides guidance to help you add anti-discrimination policies to your employee handbook.
Establish responsibility and accountability. Diversity promotion and training usually falls to HR. If no such department exists, create a committee to help implement the policy you develop. Encourage members to continually develop new ideas on how to attract more diversity to your company.
Reach out to local organizations. Take a look at your existing workforce. Does it resemble the communities in which you operate? If not, develop a hiring strategy that allows for greater inclusion and representation. Talk to community leaders from churches, cultural institutions and colleges. Ask them to help you better connect with potential candidates who are under-represented in your workforce.
Ask employees for referrals. Your current staff may have peers in the industry or know qualified candidates who may be looking for work. The referring peer can help your new employee more easily adjust to his new work environment, especially if he is part of an under-represented group.
Expand your reach. Appeal to a wider audience by participating in job fairs and career expos. Make available postings more attractive to diverse job hunters by emphasizing details that will attract them.
Offer benefits that appeal to a diverse workforce. Demonstrate your willingness to hire from all segments of the workforce by offering programs such as:
- onsite daycare
- flexible work schedules
- job sharing
- childcare subsidiaries
- religious holiday accommodation
- diversity-friendly (but office appropriate) dress codes
Support new hires. As you develop a more diverse workforce, make sure the new employees you hire feel welcomed and valued. The first few weeks can be challenging for a new employee, so do what you can to help him get acclimated. Pair him with a mentor to help him develop new working relationships, and clearly communicate opportunities for advancement. Show him that he has a future in your company and he’ll be much more likely to stay.
Priority Personnel understands and promotes the value of diversity in the workplace. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer in Central Texas, helping all job seekers find rewarding employment opportunities.
November 1st, 2011
It’s that time of year again – the holiday season.
Whether you’re in manufacturing, retail, hospitality, shipping/delivery, travel or even customer service, you can expect a significant surge in business. Despite a flagging recovery, the National Retail Federation still predicts a holiday spending increase of 2.8%, which is slightly higher than the 10-year average.
If you anticipate requiring extra help this holiday season, it’s time to gear up. Use this list of tips to find the best seasonal employees and get the most from them:
Find the Best
Bring back your superstars. Start by contacting your best holiday workers from last year. If you used a staffing service last season, you can even request specific temporary employees again. Because they’ve already proven themselves on the job, and understand your company and its workflow processes, these workers are the smartest choice.
Consider a variety of sources. If you will be recruiting on your own, cast a wide net to develop your applicant pool. Sources of potential seasonal employees include job fairs, classified ads, online job sites, social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and referrals from current employees.
Partner with a staffing service. Because they maintain databases of highly skilled candidates who are ready to work, a staffing service can quickly supply the temporary help you need to closely match your fluctuating demand. As an added benefit, a staffing firm handles all the recruiting, interviewing and background checks you require, so you can stay focused on your most important priorities. To get the best results, invite the staffing representative to your work location, to tour your site and develop a first-hand picture of your exact staff requirements.
Offer competitive pay. Make sure you attract top performers by paying at or above competitors’ rates. During your busy season, you need high quality supplemental staff who can learn quickly, perform consistently and ultimately increase productivity – so it’s worth it to pay a little more for the right people.
Manage for Success
Start off on the right foot. The seasonal rush can be hard and stressful on everyone – especially workers who are new to your company. Get everyone on your staff (direct, seasonal and/or temporary employees) together for a pre-rush kick-off to let them know how much they are appreciated. Use this opportunity to orient and introduce new employees, wrapping up with a formal tour and review of company policies.
Provide adequate training. Although it’s time-consuming, be sure to give seasonal employees the training they need to succeed. They may only be working for you for a short time, but their performance is no less important to your company’s success. After an initial orientation, pair each supplemental worker with a permanent employee for practical training and support during the learning curve. Ultimately, well-trained workers will be more independent, productive and less likely to make costly mistakes.
Closely monitor initial performance. During your busy season, you shouldn’t tolerate – and can’t afford – mediocre performance. If a seasonal worker isn’t living up to your standards, replace him. Staffing services provide a distinct advantage in this respect, because most offer replacement guarantees on their temporary workers. If the assigned employee does not perform as expected within an initial time period, the staffing service will provide a replacement, free of charge.
Consider completion bonuses. Dealing with high turnover during a critical time can disrupt workflow, waste valuable time and potentially cost you customers. Encourage seasonal workers to stay for the duration of your busy season by offering a cash incentive or gift card for completion.
Plan for Seasonal Staffing Success – This Year and Next
The holiday season is already ramping up, and Priority Personnel is ready to answer your call. Throughout Central Texas, we deliver the light industrial, office-clerical, technical, professional and retail staff our clients need to thrive during their busiest time of year.
Successful seasonal staffing requires careful planning, so learn what you can from this year. As you progress through the next few months, take notes on what works and what doesn’t. Keep records of what types and how much supplemental staff you require, so you can refer to this information next year. Mark your 2012 calendar with dates to begin recruiting early and/or meet with Priority Personnel to plan your seasonal staffing.
October 18th, 2011
Are you familiar with House Bill 449?
House Bill 449, if passed in it’s current form, would prohibit agencies in any branch of Texas state government from considering an individual’s credit information or credit score in deciding whether to hire the individual. Certain notable exceptions include:
- a position that involves access to or the direct handling of money or negotiable instruments;
- a position as a peace officer, reserve law enforcement officer, public security officer, or county jailer;
- a position as a corrections officer; or,
- a position that involves investigating possible violations of law or state agency rule.
The National Conference of State Legislature’s (NCSL) website indicates that changes in credit screening legislation are occurring from coast to coast. Seven states now limit employers’ use of credit information in employment: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon and Washington.
Is our state next?
As an employer in Central Texas, you still have the right to check a job candidate’s credit. The current form of HB449 only applies to state agencies. Still, it raises the question of whether or not credit screening is smart business practice. Before screening any applicant’s or employee’s credit, you should consider:
- how relevant the information you’re collecting is to the available position;
- the cost involved versus the benefit to be gained;
- whether or not your internal staff is trained in how to interpret the complex information contained in today’s credit reports;
- whether or not there may be potential adverse effects to checking an applicant’s credit.
While the use of credit checks has grown over the past several years (with some 60 percent of U.S. employers using credit reports for some or all of their background checks), this practice is now becoming illegal for many employers. In the future, it will be interesting to see if and how this ban will help people with financial problems find employment.
What is your take on the new credit screening laws? Will it affect the way you screen and hire candidates? We at Priority Personnel would like to know. Please leave your comments below.
October 4th, 2011
“The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working.”
—President Barack Obama, September 8, 2011
In a time when some workers are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck or day to day, President Obama claims he can help our ailing economy by: introducing new tax cuts to help small businesses hire and grow; putting workers back on the job while rebuilding and modernizing America; creating pathways back to work for the unemployed.
Here is what President Obama says his American Jobs Act will do, if it is passed in its current form:
- Lead to new jobs for construction workers, teachers, veterans, first responders, young people and the long-term unemployed.
- Provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers or raise workers’ wages.
- Cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business.
- Repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools.
- Give companies extra tax credits if they hire veterans.
- Give companies a $4,000 tax credit if they hire anyone who has spent more than six months looking for a job.
- Extend unemployment insurance for another year.
- Jolt our stalled economy and give companies the confidence that if they invest and hire, there will be customers for their products and services.
Follow this link to read the full text of the American Jobs Act.
Follow this link to read the short fact sheet for the American Jobs Act.
Follow this link to watch President Obama’s American Jobs Act speech on September 8, 2011.
What will the American Jobs Act mean for your business? That depends upon whom you ask. Here are two differing perspectives:
From Mokoto Rich (New York Times):
“The dismal state of the economy is the main reason many companies are reluctant to hire workers, and few executives are saying that President Obama’s jobs plan – while welcome – will change their minds any time soon…The plan failed to generate any optimism on Wall Street as the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index and the Dow Jones industrial average each fell about 2.7 percent.”
From Dan Pfeiffer (The White House Blog):
“Today, we’ve seen reports from economic analysts and statements from CEOs. All of their statements underscore the same message: the American Jobs Act will create jobs and is good for the American people. It will grow the economy, help middle class families and strengthen communities across the nation.”
As you can see, opinions about the potential effectiveness of the American Jobs Act vary greatly. The fact is, San Marcos employers won’t know for sure how it will impact business until Congress passes it (and there’s a chance it may not even pass).
In the meantime, Priority Personnel continues to help drive the local recovery. We deliver customized staffing solutions to help Central Texas employers achieve sustained business success in a volatile economy. What can we do for you? Contact Priority Personnel today.