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

  • 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.

What Employee Turnover Really Costs Your Company

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
  • interviews
  • 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!



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

  • 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.

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.

Quick Tips for Better Job Postings

December 14th, 2010

Before you click the “Submit” button to upload your next job posting, consider the following:

  1. Make sure the title accurately describes the position.  Consider including common keywords qualified applicants are likely to use when searching for an opening.
  2. Provide a comprehensive list of skills and qualifications.  Differentiate between those that are required, as opposed to desirable.
  3. To reduce the submission of unwanted résumés, be clear about:  salary range; start date; years and type of experience necessary; essential certifications; and required tests and/or background checks.
  4. The Internet has created a global workforce.  Make sure you supply details about where the job is located, and whether or not telecommuting is possible.
  5. Provide clear instructions for application.  Give candidates multiple methods of applying.  Be sure to list e-mail address, fax number, mailing address and the contact person’s name and job title.
  6. Include preferences or equal opportunity statements.
  7. When posting to multiple sites, assign unique job codes for tracking leads.  This step will help you monitor the quantity and quality of leads coming from each site.
  8. Keep in mind that if you send an announcement to an e-mail list or newsgroup, it will likely be picked up by any number of websites and forwarded, re-forwarded, etc. – and you will have no ability to control the accuracy or content of these listings.
  9. Don’t use all caps in your posting online.  It is the printed equivalent of YELLING. (See?)
  10. Copy and paste from a simple text editor, and avoid special codes or characters used in word processing software.
  11. Always, always proofread for content and check your spelling.

As you know, it takes substantial time and effort to post a job correctly.  And even the most carefully crafted posts don’t always yield the best candidates.  So why do it on your own? 

Priority Personnel’s direct placement services save you time, increase your focus and deliver only candidates who accurately match the available position.  We offer this service to San Marcos, Texas employers on a contingency-fee basis; in other words, you will not be charged until you hire the right person for your company.  Contact us today to learn more.

Co-Employment Law: Quick Quiz and Tips for Success

November 8th, 2010

Test Your Knowledge
Co-employment laws are those that govern any situation in which two legally distinct employers (typically a staffing firm and their business client) 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 temporary and contract staff. 

So how up-to-date is your legal knowledge?  Find out by taking the American Staffing Association’s Staffing Smarts Quiz on Co-Employment Law.  This quick 5-question quiz tests your knowledge of the legal issues involved in temporary and contract staffing arrangements.

Tips for Making Co-Employment Work
When co-employment problems occur, they often stem from situations in which a client company unnecessarily assumes employment responsibilities over temporary or contract workers.  To maximize the effectiveness of your co-employment arrangement, while minimizing the potential for problems, use these practical tips:

  • Let the staffing firm do its job.  When you pay a temporary or contract employee’s hourly bill rate, included in that rate are the services the staffing firm provides – recruiting, interviewing, testing and selecting candidates.  To head-off potential problems, allow the staffing service (who is the employer of record for these workers) to perform these tasks.
  • Take advantage of on-site coordinators.  If you have a large temporary workforce, ask your staffing service to provide an on-site representative.  This individual can reinforce the staffing service’s role as employer, by carrying out administrative functions, handling performance counseling and addressing disciplinary action.  Although there may be a charge involved, the benefits usually far outweigh the costs of an on-site coordinator.
  • Give the staffing firm specific feedback on their employees’ job performance.  If performance issues arise, it may seem natural for you to speak directly with the temporary or contract worker assigned to you.  But to steer clear of potential co-employment problems, you should instead speak with your staffing representative about your concerns.  That way, when the individual is subjected to disciplinary action, the staffing service will be able to provide him or her with the performance-related reason for the action – making the individual far less likely to consider the action to be discriminatory, or to file a charge.
  • Allow the staffing firm to handle employee termination.  If you are dissatisfied with a temporary or contract worker, ask your staffing provider to handle disciplinary action and / or termination and replacement.  Provide information about the individual’s work performance to your staffing representative, and then allow them to handle the rest.
  • Review your benefit plan descriptions.  Ask an expert to make sure that the language in your benefit plan effectively excludes temporary employees.  To guard against lawsuits that stem from ambivalent wording, be sure to incorporate exclusionary language that makes benefit entitlement dependent upon your employment classifications – regardless of common law definitions.

Ensure Successful Co-Employment with Priority Personnel

As a leading staffing firm in San Marcos, Texas, Priority Personnel’s staffing experts can work with you to develop effective co-employment procedures from both a legal and operational standpoint.  Give us a call to learn more .

Employee Appreciation: Effective Ways to Motivate Your Staff

October 19th, 2010

At Priority Personnel, we regularly recognize both our internal employees and field associates (temporaries on assignment) for their responsibility, integrity and work ethic.  Why?  Because showing our employees how much we appreciate their hard work and service to the company is a great way to raise morale (and profits, too).

So what does your company do to motivate employees?  Looking for some new ideas?

Beyond straightforward cash incentives (which are great, but not always financially feasible), here are a few thoughts and tips on how to effectively show your appreciation:

  • No occasion is necessary.  You can tell others how much you value them and their contributions any day of the year – really!
  • Ask employees what’s important to them.  The more closely your incentives align with employees’ wants and needs, the more effectively they will motivate.
  • Find opportunities to recognize employees at all levels.  While you’ll logically want to reward top sales performers, don’t forget about the less visible employees who facilitate their success.  Make sure that your incentives send the message that all employees in your organization are valuable.

Five Ways to Show Appreciation

  • Say “Thank you.”  Do you hear these two words enough?  If not, start a new trend on the job.  Remember, this simple phrase is extremely powerful – and it’s free to share.
  • Provide new opportunities.  Give your employees chances to learn more (via training or cross-training), use their talents, attend association meetings, or represent your organization at civic and philanthropic events.  In addition to motivating your staff, you’ll wind up with more well-rounded employees.
  • Distribute coupons for a paid hour off.  For many employees, knocking off an hour early, or coming in an hour late is a huge morale booster.
  • Create and celebrate a fun holiday or seasonal tradition.  Schedule the celebration at the end of your busiest or most stressful time of year, to give employees something to look forward to.  Get creative with your ideas and ask for employee input.
  • Offer flextime.  Permitting flex time allows employees to work the same total number of work hours, just at different times or locations.  This gesture lets your employees know that you respect their lives outside of work.  And during stressful economic times, facilitating healthy work/life balances for employees is a huge motivator.

Need to motivate a staff that’s stretched too thin?

If you or your staff is working too hard, Priority Personnel can help.  Use our staffing services to offload non-essential activities, reduce overtime, minimize burnout, and reduce turnover due to overwork.

Five Traits to Help Identify Mentors in Your Organization

July 6th, 2010

An effective mentoring program provides a wide range of business benefits:

  • Facilitated onboarding.  Mentoring speeds up the process of bringing on new hires as well as redeploying existing employees into new lines of work.
  • Increased employee satisfaction and retention.  Research has shown that employees who participate in mentoring programs have higher job satisfaction and reduced turnover.
  • Improved employee productivity.  When employees are mentored, they can get answers to common problems quickly – without wasting time on rediscovering or re-inventing solutions.
  • Effective career growth / succession planning.  Mentoring programs help employees reach their full career potential, grooming them to fill key roles as part of an organization’s succession plan.
  • Knowledge management and retention.  Mentoring promotes effective knowledge sharing, to reduce the risk of losing critical skills and knowledge when employees leave.

Obviously, mentors can play an important role in ensuring your company’s continued success.  But while identifying a budding protégé may be straightforward, identifying a potential mentor can be more complex.  Whether that person is you, one of your managers, or an outside expert, a mentor should possess the following professional and personal attributes:

  1. Senior-level business experience.  To provide guidance, the expert should have several years experience working in senior corporate positions.  At a minimum, the expert should be a professional peer to the protégé.
  2. Interpersonal and political “know-how.”  The expert ought to be proficient in handling all sorts of complex interpersonal dynamics within the context of office politics.  To be an effective trainer, the expert must be able to help the protégé navigate the tricky political waters of his organization.
  3. Integrity and confidentiality.  Professional development involves discussing high-level, strategic, off-the-record information, as well as sensitive personal issues.  Honesty and discretion are essential when broaching these confidential topics.
  4. Organizational and personal insight.  The expert must have an in-depth understanding of the company’s objectives, needs and hierarchy.  Equally, he must also appreciate the protégé’s strengths, weaknesses and goals.  To achieve professional development goals, the trainer must align both the company’s and the protégé’s interests.
  5. Flexibility and ingenuity.  When egos, ambitions and agendas collide, sparks fly.  What works for an organization one day may be thrown out the window the next.  An expert trainer must be able to shift gears, develop solutions on the fly, throw out tactics that prove ineffective and come up with new ones – fast.  He must be comfortable dealing with uncertainty to navigate a corporate environment rife with change.

Need a promising protégé?  Looking for your next mentor? Contact us today.  As San Marcos’ leading staffing firm, Priority Personnel can provide the talented individuals your organization needs.