Priority Personnel Blog

Strategies to Make Staffing Work for Central Texas Employers

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.

Keys to Developing a More Diverse Workplace

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.

The American Jobs Act: What it Means for Central Texas Employers

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.

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.