Priority Personnel Blog

HR Responds as Older Workers Delay Retirement

September 6th, 2011

U.S. workers are working longer – and retiring later.  Why?

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s Retirement Confidence Survey (as reported by Workforce.com):

  • about 36 percent of respondents cite the poor economy;
  • 16 percent say their lack of faith in Social Security is forcing them to postpone retirement;
  • 13 percent claim they simply can’t afford to stop working.

As a result, workers say they are more than twice as likely to work up to age 70 or older – a 25 percent increase from just a decade ago.

Rising numbers of older individuals remaining in the workforce creates both challenges and potential benefits for employers.  On the one hand, workers delaying retirement adds pressure to companies already struggling to reduce payroll as profit dwindles.  A glut of older workers also threatens to clog the talent pipeline for organizations who want to bring in new employees – at lower salary levels.

On the other hand, companies for which knowledge loss is a concern stand to gain a welcome benefit from a more mature workforce – less “brain drain.”  Key managers have more time to plan for the departure of older workers, and therefore can be more strategic in retraining or transferring institutional knowledge.

As older workers continue to delay retirement, HR needs to respond by reevaluating the way they manage human capital.  Instead of paying older workers to retire, HR should look for creative ways to take advantage of the shift in workforce demographics:

  • Create cross-mentoring relationships. In a traditional mentor relationship, older, more experienced workers share knowledge with their less experienced counterparts.  When it comes to technology, however, younger employees are often more savvy.  Organizations can foster reverse mentorships, in which younger workers share their knowledge in areas like online social networking.
  • Find new ways to attract younger workers. In a time when career advancement is likely to become more difficult, organizations should focus on new ways to bring top performers on board.  When HR can’t necessarily offer rapid upward mobility to new talent, they can offer lateral movement.  Lateral moves can help younger employees broaden their knowledge bases, become more valuable to the employer (increasing job security) and become more marketable overall.

Priority Personnel can help your organization proactively manage its personnel needs as our workforce changes.  We provide temporary, temp-to-hire and direct placement services to employers throughout Central Texas.  We are able to recruit and assess candidates for the following types of positions:

  • Light Industrial
  • Office/Clerical
  • Technical
  • Professional
  • Retail

How will your organization address the shifts in workforce demographics?  We at Priority Personnel would like to know.  Please leave your comments below.

Top Staffing Myths and Misconceptions

August 30th, 2011

The staffing industry is not what it used to be.  In decades past, employers typically viewed staffing services as a “necessary evil” – a last resort when a low-level employee called in sick.

But not anymore.

Today’s staffing industry is comprised of diverse, robust organizations whose services can greatly enhance your company’s productivity and profitability – even in a tough economy.  Still, a significant portion of the business community doesn’t really understand what we do, or how we do it.

So if you think that staffing services are too expensive, or that you can’t find an ideal candidate through an employment agency, take a read through this quick post.  It debunks five common staffing myths:

Myth #1: Staffing firms are too expensive.

Fact: If you focus solely on bill rates and placement fees, you may conclude that staffing services are more expensive than a DIY staffing approach.  In reality, staffing firms can actually save you money.  You can leverage their recruiting expertise and economies of scale to quickly and cost-effectively access the talented candidates you need.

You can also reduce overtime, training and payroll administration expenses by using temporary employees to handle your extra workload.  Additionally, staffing experts can show you how to lower your labor costs by reducing your core staff to meet the low end of your production cycle, and then bringing in supplemental help for busier times.

Myth#2: Temps are all secretaries.

Fact: Temporary employees now work in virtually every industry and increasingly include highly skilled professionals.  In additional to administrative and industrial workers, staffing firms now regularly supply medical, technical, legal and executive-level professionals to tackle mission-critical projects.

Myth #3: You can’t hire a good employee through a staffing firm.

Fact: Staffing firms use rigorous screening, interviewing, skills testing and background / reference check processes to ensure the quality of talent they supply.  And unlike an individual you recruit on your own, a staffing service’s candidate comes with a guarantee.

Myth #4: Staffing firms only provide “temps.”

Fact:  Today’s staffing suppliers offer a wide variety of services that can be customized to suit your workforce needs, including:  temporary help, direct hire, temp-to-hire, contract staffing and payrolling services.

Myth #5: Temps are only good for “fill-ins.”

Fact: Beyond filling in for vacations or illnesses, employers regularly use temporary and contract employees to: provide extra support during busy times; staff special short-term projects; access specialized talent; evaluate talent for permanent positions.

The Truth about Priority Personnel

The truth is, Priority Personnel can certainly fill your last-minute staffing needs.  But we can do so much more for your business!  With eighteen years of experience serving Central Texas employers, we can help you use staffing to reduce overhead, complete critical projects and improve productivity.

What can Priority Personnel do for you?  Contact us today.

Assessing Your Hiring Needs, Part 2: Should you DIY or use a direct placement service?

August 16th, 2011

Once you’ve determined that it’s time to hire, you face another critical decision:  should you do it yourself, or work with an experienced recruiting service like Priority Personnel?

It would be easy (and logical) to use this question as a launching pad for a sales pitch.  The true answer, however, is more complex.  What’s right for one employer, under a certain set of hiring, employment and market conditions, is not necessarily right for another.

So how do you decide if you should hire on your own, or partner with a recruiter?  Here are a few critical questions to consider:

Evaluate Your Current Hiring Practices

  • How do you typically hire personnel?  Have you always done it yourself, or do you have a good working relationship with a recruitment firm?
  • How much do you really spend on hiring on your own? Be sure to consider HR time, legal costs, management interview time, opportunity costs, vacancy costs and the cost of a bad hire – in addition to the cost of advertising.
  • Do your DIY recruiting methods yield enough qualified candidates?

Conduct a Needs Analysis

  • Do you have the time and resources available to properly recruit, screen, interview, assess, reference check and follow-up with candidates on your own?
  • How much would it cost you to replace a bad hire in this position (i.e., do you need a guarantee)?
  • Does your hiring situation require confidentiality or anonymity?
  • How quickly do you need the available position filled?

Consider Current Market and Employment Conditions

  • What is the current unemployment rate – not just in general, but specifically for the level/type of candidate you need?
  • How desirable is your location?  Have you had difficulty attracting candidates to work there in the past?
  • What are the emerging industry trends which could impact your ability to hire the talent you need?

Consider the Advantages Recruiters Offer

With budget constraints remaining a key concern, you may lean toward a DIY approach for recruiting.  But before you start posting to job boards, remember these key advantages Priority Personnel can provide:

  1. Improved focus. We free you to focus on your key priorities.
  2. Specialization. We know how and where to find the high-caliber talent you require.
  3. Temporary and contract staffing options. If your needs are short-term or project-oriented, we can provide access to the skilled individuals you need without adding to your headcount.
  4. Access. We maintain robust candidate databases and relationships with passive job seekers.
  5. Simplification. We save you considerable time and stress, while ensuring that correct selection and screening procedures are utilized.
  6. Guarantees. We reduce the stress, expense and risk involved with hiring and/or replacing a new employee.

When working with a recruiting service makes the most sense for your organization, Priority Personnel is the ideal choice for your placement needs. With over 18 years of experience serving the central Texas area and diligent screening processes, we are uniquely qualified to deliver the talented candidates you need.

Contact Priority Personnel today.  We can help you analyze your recruiting needs and determine if our services could help you hire more quickly, accurately and at a greater cost savings.

Assessing Your Hiring Needs, Part 1: Do you really need to hire someone?

August 2nd, 2011

Has business picked up for you?  Is your company experiencing growing pains?  Are your employees putting in overtime?

All of these may be signs that you need to start hiring again.  But with fluctuating workloads and an uncertain economy, determining whether or not you need to add permanent headcount can be a real challenge.  On the one hand, you need to control overhead – hiring employees and then not having enough work for everyone can be financially devastating. On the other hand, you need to have sufficient staff to meet deadlines, keep employees working at peak efficiency and capitalize on new business opportunities.

So how do you know if you really need to hire someone?  These questions will help you determine if you’re adequately staffed:

  1. In the past two months, have you needed to extend deadlines to meet commitments to your customers or employees?
    Although managers often rationalize missed deadlines by pointing to factors unrelated to headcount, lack of people is usually the primary reason.
  2. Are employees complaining about working conditions?
    An increase in the number of complaints – either casually or formally – may be a result of overwork or inadequate staff.
  3. Is your increase in business likely permanent?
    If your organizational capacity is strained, but you’re not sure if the surge in demand will be permanent, you may want to consider using contract or temporary staff.  Staffing services can quickly deliver the experienced talent you need to get work done – without adding to your direct headcount.  If the increase in business proves permanent, you can then approach your staffing provider about converting contingent staff to direct employees.
  4. Are employees calling in sick more and more, or have health insurance claims risen?
    Some employees choose not to express their dissatisfaction verbally.  If they’re under too much stress, they may turn to doctors (medical or mental health professionals) for help, or simply choose not to come into work at all.  If there’s been a recent rise in sick time or health insurance claims at your company, it may be caused by an overworked staff. Your employees may be doing too much with too little.
  5. Are employees taking advantage of vacation time?
    If employees are not taking the time off they’re due, this could also be a symptom of overwork. They may feel like there’s simply too much to do, so they can’t take time off.
  6. Are overtime costs consistently on the rise?
    If your overtime costs are going up on a regular basis, then you may be understaffed. You simply do not have a large enough workforce to meet the needs of your workflow.
  7. Have you turned down new opportunities because you don’t have enough people?
    You’ll lose your competitive edge without the right people with the right skills in place.
  8. Are you following your business plan?
    You created a business plan for a reason. But if you’re not following through with it, it may be due to a lack of time and resources.

Is it time to hire?

Priority Personnel can help you answer this important question.  As a leading staffing and employment services company serving central Texas, we can help you determine if you need temporary, contract or direct staff to cost-effectively get your work done.

We invite you to contact us today to schedule a free workforce consultation.  Together, we can critically examine your workforce challenges and design a staffing plan that makes the most sense for your business.

10 Must Ask Interview Questions

July 27th, 2011

Finding out how a candidate will fit into your corporate culture is nearly as important as technical skill, education and professional background. As competition for positions remains fierce, some candidates are also skilled at giving the “right” answers to popular interview questions. So how do you break through and determine if a candidate is the right fit?

Here are 10 questions that can help you dig a little deeper, and determine if a candidate is a good fit, personality-wise…

10 Ideas for Better Staffing Results

July 19th, 2011

Great staffing results don’t happen by accident.

They occur when smart people (like you) invest in creating the best possible relationship with a quality staffing firm (like Priority Personnel).  Don’t leave your staffing success to chance.  Use these 10 ideas to achieve better staffing results:

  1. Give temporary employees formal job descriptions. Job descriptions should be well-defined, prioritized, current and submitted in writing to your staffing firm.  They should include your expectations in terms of candidate abilities and experience, along with specific performance goals and standards.
  2. Give your staffing service as much lead-time as possible. This will optimize your chances of finding an ideal candidate for the assignment and may give you more than one suitable candidate to choose from.  And when lead-time isn’t an option, let your staffing provider know which skills and traits are most critical for the assignment.
  3. Be mindful of cut-rate deals. People – including temporary employees – are your organization’s most important asset.  They should be viewed as an investment, not an expense.  When it comes to staffing, you get what you pay for, so work with a staffing service that takes the time to fill your needs correctly.
  4. Train your staffing services representative. Educate your staffing representative on your company’s mission statement, goals, culture, history and current performance.  Tell them what types of work styles or personalities will fit best in your organization.  Familiarizing your representative with your company’s needs and preferences helps your staffing partner become a more knowledgeable extension of your human resources department.
  5. Take full advantage of your staffing vendor’s resources. Invest a little time to learn about your staffing firm’s full range of capabilities and value-added services, so you can take maximum advantage of their resources.  A good service can provide not only qualified candidates, staffing flexibility and cost savings, but staffing expertise and employee relations support as well.  To learn more about your staffing service, request a tour or a capabilities demonstration.
  6. Set clear expectations. Establish mutually agreed upon expectations for interaction with your staffing supplier at the beginning of your relationship.  This may include order-placing procedures, appropriate quality control checks and feedback methods.  Setting expectations will ensure clear communication and expedient service.
  7. Benchmark performance. Find out what tests candidates are required to take at your staffing firm.  When candidates are referred to you, ask what their test scores are.  Establish preferred scoring levels for placements within your company, using your own employees as benchmarks.  Additionally, encourage your temporary employees to take advantage of training available at the staffing firm.
  8. Provide feedback. Maintain an ongoing dialogue and honest relationship with your staffing contacts, keeping them abreast of changes in your company.  Provide feedback on their service and the performance of their temporary employees.  Meet regularly to obtain their input on what you can do to improve the quality of service and placements.
  9. Create a partner in your success. Consider involving a staffing firm in your company’s business planning.  For example, you might include your staffing representative in an annual meeting to plan staffing strategies.  Staffing experts can offer valuable insight regarding the possible uses of strategic staffing to meet your needs for workload variations, new hires and managing attrition.  They can also offer valuable market data to help you retain key employees.
  10. Reward results. High quality staffing firms focus on more than filling orders.  They want to help you save time, lower expenses and get work done.  When you find a vendor who does a great job, look for opportunities to enhance the relationship.  Invite them in.  Challenge them to help you solve problems.  See what you can do to reward their good results.  Not only will you make your top vendor happy, you’ll increase their commitment to your success.

What can Priority Personnel do for you?  Give us a call.  Together, we can explore opportunities to enhance your staffing results by:

  • identifying inefficiencies where work could be performed at a lower cost;
  • providing access to qualified and diverse candidates seeking temporary employment;
  • offering the staffing flexibility you need to stay fluid during economic challenges.

 

Time Out! U.S. Workers are Foregoing Vacation Plans, But is This Really in Your Company’s Best Interest?

July 5th, 2011

Work/life balance.  It’s one of those nebulous issues with which employers continually wrestle.  On the one hand, work needs to be done.  On the other hand, the pressure to get that work done can lead to a host of problems which zap employees’ productivity.

Financial constraints and demanding work schedules have made work a higher priority than ever for Americans.  A recent study by CareerBuilder shows that, as a result, many U.S. workers are foregoing vacation plans this year:

  • 24 percent of full-time workers say they can’t afford to take a vacation in 2011, up from 21 percent in 2010.
  • An additional 12 percent can afford a vacation but don’t have plans to take one in 2011.

While these statistics may mean more total hours worked in your organization, your company might actually see greater benefits from encouraging employees to take time-off.

Why?

Overwork can increase absenteeism, burnout and turnover, and make employees more prone to errors on the job.  Conversely, workers with a healthy work/life balance tend to have less burnout, greater creativity and higher quality output.  And when things get stressful on the job, “balanced” employees are better equipped to handle the burden.  Bottom line, taking time-off is vital not only to an employee’s well-being and performance, but to your company’s, too.

As our economy heals, here are a few recommendations for encouraging your workers to take the time-off they need, while keeping your business running smoothly:

  • Require sufficient notice.  If you don’t have one, develop formal policy outlining guidelines for taking vacation (i.e., giving adequate notice, coordinating with other employees’ requests for time-off, scheduling time-off before or after big projects/events, etc.).  The more lead-time you have, the better equipped your company will be to handle the extra workload.
  • Encourage shorter, more frequent breaks. If employees can’t take a number of days off at once, suggest they take long weekends or midweek breaks.  Shorter vacations still afford employees the ability to recharge, with less disruption to your workflow.
  • Ensure adequate coverage. Require employees to cross-train and prepare co-workers, to ensure adequate coverage while they’re gone.  At a minimum, ask employees to review: critical responsibilities, upcoming deadlines, where information is stored, key contacts and parameters for reaching them while they’re on vacation.
  • Lead by example. Are you a workaholic?  If so, here’s a perfect reason to reform your ways.  Management support for work/life balance is critical and must come from the top.  Set an example of maintaining a healthy balance and make it known that the same is expected from rank-and-file employees, too.
  • Call Priority Personnel for the support you need. If your business is like most, your staff is already stretched thin.  When one person goes on vacation, it can be difficult for others to manage the additional workload.  Call Priority Personnel to provide the talented, reliable individuals you need during vacation periods.  Our employees hit the ground running and keep your business running smoothly, so your employees can take the time-off they deserve.

Profitable Temporaries: Ways Temporaries Can Drive Profits in Your Organization

May 31st, 2011

Can staffing services really drive profits?  In a word, “Yes!”

In today’s economy, businesses need to do everything possible to maximize the R-E=P equation.  And if your company is like most, your employment-related expenses are among the biggest line items on your company’s P & L.  The more actively you manage these expenses, the more profitable you can become.

Of course, driving profits is about more than just cutting costs.  It’s also about maximizing workforce productivity and effectively matching your human resources to the changing challenges and opportunities your business faces.  Used properly, staffing services can play a vital role in achieving all these ends.  Here are just a few ways temporary employees can drive profits in your organization:

  • Stay lean and flexible. Design a strategic staffing strategy that limits core employment to that necessary for minimum production volumes.  Staff up with skilled temporary employees to meet peak demand periods or sudden surges in business.
  • Focus on core activities. A staffing professional can help you critically examine work flow processes in your organization to identify administrative, repetitive or other support tasks that are being performed by highly compensated employees.  Bring in temporary or part-time contingent staff to take over these tasks and free valuable team members to focus on their most vital priorities.
  • Lower employment-related costs due to turnover. Take a look at your hiring and termination costs by job functions.  Determine where high turnover positions exist and re-staff with temporaries to reduce hiring, training and termination costs.
  • Reduce overtime expenses.  Work with your staffing representative to analyze your overtime expenditures.  Look for opportunities to use supplemental temporaries instead of overtime to reduce labor costs and prevent employee burnout.
  • Shorten learning curves. As your company incorporates new technologies, bring in contract technical professionals to support your project teams.  They can help get your employees up-to-speed and productive more quickly, saving time and money in the process.  Once training is done, so are your training expenses.
  • Capitalize on new opportunities. Have you ever had to table a great idea, simply because you didn’t have the resources to work on it?  For those times, consider supplementing your team with temporary and contract employees.  From support staff to senior executives, highly qualified temporary employees can be brought in to either manage the execution of new ideas or support your internal team while they work on the new opportunities.

Priority Personnel – Driving Profits for Central Texas Employers

Need to aggressively manage staffing expenses?  Looking for new ways to increase productivity?  Have a great business idea, but lack the human resources to turn it into a reality?  Contact us todayPriority Personnel has the knowledge, business expertise and highly skilled candidates you need to get work done and become more profitable.

The Benefits We Offer Our Temporary Employees Directly Benefit YOU

May 17th, 2011

Benefits.  Perks.  Extras.  Whatever you call them, they really make a difference in today’s changing job market.  Here are a few key ways the benefits we offer our temporary employees directly benefit you and your organization:

  • Attract the best candidates. Today’s job seekers are savvy.  Most know to choose a reputable staffing firm that provides extras like health insurance, dental/vision benefits and direct deposit.  Priority Personnel’s value-added services help us attract, recruit and retain central Texas’ top talent – and put them to work for you.
  • Keep the best candidates. Some staffing services are plagued by extremely high turnover rates, which translate into a “revolving door” of temporaries for their clients.  The benefits and value-added services we provide not only attract top candidates, but keep them working for us.  When temporary employees stay with us, they’re much more likely to stay working for you, delivering greater continuity throughout your assignments.
  • Ensure workers stay healthy, focused and productive. The medical, dental and vision benefits we offer allow our employees to take care of their health issues.  When employees are healthier, they have better attendance records and stay more focused on the work they do for you.

Priority Personnel Benefits – The Right Thing to Do

The economy is still tough and we realize that many people who come to us have lost their jobs and health benefits, too.  Admittedly, Priority Personnel offers benefits to gain a recruiting advantage and deliver the best results for our clients.  But honestly, the main reason we do it is because it’s just the right thing to do.

Why HR Professionals Need to Participate in Social Media

May 3rd, 2011

Still on the fence about using social media?  Consider these statistics from the recent Cone Business in Social Media Study:

  • 93 percent of Americans believe that a company should have a presence on social media sites.
  • 85 percent believe that these companies should use social media to interact with consumers.
  • 60 percent of Americans regularly interact with companies on social media sites.

The truth is, social media can help expand your business network, enhance your career, recruit employees and more.

According to HR expert Susan M. Heathfield, About.com Guide, HR professionals need to participate in social media for career success – and she should know.  She is a management and organization development consultant who specializes in human resources issues and in management development to create forward-thinking workplaces.  Susan is also a professional facilitator, speaker, trainer and writer.

Heathfield’s About.com article “10 Reasons Social Media Should Rock Your World” details the rationale behind making social media time investment mandatory for every HR professional:

  1. Stay in touch with colleagues and friends. Social media makes it easier than ever to re-connect with former colleagues, classmates, teachers and other professional contacts.
  2. Make it easy for others to find you. Maintain both individual and company profiles to make it simple and convenient for customers, employees and candidates to reach you.
  3. Find potential job candidates. For example, you can e-mail social media contacts with job requirements and ask them for referrals.
  4. Investigate potential career opportunities. If you’re interested in finding a new job, social media sites like LinkedIn can be invaluable in your search.  You can use the site to network, garner recommendations and learn about new job openings.
  5. Establish your online brand. You can use social media to promote your career progress by establishing an online presence that defines who you are professionally and what you want to be known for accomplishing.
  6. Join groups that share your professional interests. As a group member you can give and get information about recommended reading, industry trade shows or other professional meetings/events.
  7. Develop social connections. Sites like Facebook are rapidly gaining mature professional members.  Unlike LinkedIn, Facebook is ideally suited to having fun and developing social contacts over time.  A word of caution:  carefully manage your Privacy Settings and critically examine content – before you post or upload – to make sure it’s compatible with your professional image.
  8. Provide a space in which users of your products/services can interact with you. Use social media to expand your customers’ opportunities to discuss their wants and needs – with you or with other customers.
  9. Build community around your products or services. The people who are the “face” of your company should leverage social media opportunities to build relationships with consumers.  Forums and blogs on your company website (and within your HR Intranet), as well as fan pages, can help you build this sense of community.
  10. Finally your company, in addition to individual employees, should establish a company presence on major social media sites to stay in step with the changing interests and needs of consumers.  The Internet has opened up worldwide communication.  Why not use its social media components to make you and your company more successful?

Priority Personnel – Leveraging Social Media for Recruiting Success

Priority Personnel leverages social media to locate the talented, experienced and hard-working individuals you need.  Contact us today to learn more about our staffing and recruiting services for San Marcos, Texas employers.