Priority Personnel Blog

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.

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.

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.

 

Finding the Right Fit: Is Values-Based Recruiting Right for Your Business?

April 19th, 2011

One of the biggest challenges facing HR and other hiring managers is finding candidates who are the “right fit” for their respective organizations.

But just what, exactly, is the “right fit”?

For many employers, it means finding a candidate who shares the same belief systems and values as the company, and who meshes with the corporate culture.  To identify this type of individual, these employers often turn to values-based recruiting.

Values-based recruiting goes beyond examining competencies and experience.  It’s about creating a values match by building a model that outlines behaviors associated with corporate values, and then assessing candidates for those behaviors.  The process typically yields hires whose thinking, values and ways of doing business closely match those of the employer.

But what if your company needs a proverbial “shot in the arm” to fuel its success – a new direction, fresh business perspective or innovative ideas to re-energize your organization?

In a case like this, the right fit for your organization will be an individual who, by definition, is not a perfect values-based match.  Rather, this candidate should be selected based on a model that outlines behaviors associated with leading your company in a new direction.  To begin this process, your company must first determine new goals, create a list of competencies and values for the available position that will support those goals, and then recruit and select accordingly.

Which type of recruiting is right for your business needs?

Priority Personnel’s recruiting experts will work with you to determine how to find the right fit for your company’s needs.  Whether you require an individual whose values closely match your company’s, or someone who will bring fresh ideas and perspective to your business, Priority Personnel will deliver candidates who exceed your expectations.  Contact us today to learn about direct hire services for San Marcos, TX employers.

Experts Look to the Staffing Industry for Signs of Recovery

April 5th, 2011

A recent Reuters article by Kristina Cooke shares some good news:

“The pace of temporary job creation after the most recent recession – an average of about 25,000 per month – has been faster than the past two, potentially a good sign for a labor market struggling with a jobless rate of 9 percent.”

This Reuters graphic of BLS data illustrates why experts look to the staffing industry for signs of recovery:

If you compare temporary employment to overall employment, you can see how the number of temporary workers declines faster heading into a recession and rises more quickly in a recovery.

In fact, research from the American Staffing Association indicates that temporary help employment is a strong coincident economic indicator when the economy is emerging from a recession.  Overall, temporary hiring rose steadily through 2010, with U.S. employers adding more than 300,000 temporary jobs (about a quarter of the 1.17 million in overall job growth last year).  Translation?  The sustained upturn in temporary staffing is good news for the economy.

But Cooke goes on to temper this enthusiasm, noting that a faster pace of temporary hiring hasn’t yet translated into significant full-time job creation – a critical piece of the recovery puzzle.  Experts such as Peter Capelli, professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, say that because employers are now using temporary assignments to try out potential employees on the job, the increase in temporary hiring could be masking direct hiring.

Priority Personnel – Driving the Recovery in Central Texas

As businesses throughout Central Texas begin to staff-up again, Priority Personnel is driving the recovery.  We deliver customized staffing solutions to help companies like yours achieve sustained business success in a volatile economy.  What can we do for you?  Contact Priority Personnel today.

Why Written Job Descriptions Yield Better Temporary Staffing Results

March 1st, 2011

Ever play “whisper down the lane”?

Also known as ”telephone,” this popular children’s game provides a simple, yet critical illustration of how important information can get lost in translation.

Great fun if you’re just playing around, but not so great for business.

When it comes to ordering temporary personnel, many of our clients call in their job orders.  Sure, it’s quick and convenient, but did you know that placing your order verbally is not the most effective way to work with us?

The reason is simple – verbal job descriptions can change as they’re transmitted from person to person, resulting in a “whisper down the lane” effect.  Consider, for example, how many people are potentially involved in the “lane” of communication when a job order is placed.  A department manager contacts HR with a need; HR contacts a staffing service coordinator with the order; the coordinator speaks with the staffing firm’s recruiter; the recruiter then communicates the job description to an employee.

See the potential problem?  While a verbal approach may seem easier, challenges can arise when duties get added or subtracted, or if job titles change over time.  As a result, the staffing provider may not send you the best match for the assignment.

At Priority Personnel, we highly recommend that you submit or approve a written job description to which everyone in the line (or “lane”) of communication can refer.  Doing so will eliminate miscommunications, misunderstandings and confusion, and ensure that you get the best employee for the assignment.

Improve your temporary staffing success by working with Priority Personnel, your Central Texas staffing service.

Strategic Workforce Management for Central Texas Employers

January 18th, 2011

What is strategic staffing, and what can it do for your organization?

Many of our clients enjoy the benefits of our temporary staffing services for last-minute and short-term staffing requirements.  But depending upon your unique workforce needs, one of Priority Personnel’s strategic workforce solutions may be the right choice to help your company stay flexible, competitive and efficient.

Here is a quick overview of our services and what they can do for you:

Planned / Just-in-Time Staffing:  Regular, planned use of temporaries to handle your peak production periods, seasonal activities or special projects.  Our staffing experts will help you analyze your workload throughout the year and determine the right times to bring in supplemental staff.  Together, we can develop a proactive staffing plan that saves you money and minimizes your need for layoffs by supplementing your core workforce with temporary help during your busiest periods. 

Find out how Priority Personnel helped a manufacturing client use planned staffing to reduce costs, while effectively managing their busiest season.

On-Site Staffing:  If you have high-volume staffing needs, Priority Personnel can provide a staffing manager to work on-site, directly at your location.  Your on-site coordinator will handle every facet of coordinating, ordering, planning and tracking of contingent employees.  Because the on-site coordinator acts as the central contact for hiring managers, coordinates recruiting activities and handles personnel-related issues, you are free to focus on your most important priorities.

Find out how Priority Personnel helped a manufacturing client use an on-site coordinator to simplify staffing and give more time back to HR.

Managed Staffing:  The staffing service assumes responsibility and accountability for your entire staffing function, from hiring and recruiting to managing temporary employees.  Managed staffing services provide the convenience of having a single source for all your staffing requirements.  It eliminates the most time-consuming and frustrating parts of hiring, delivers the best candidates available, improves efficiency and reduces your staffing costs.

Priority Personnel – Your Organization’s Key to Strategic Staffing Success

As a leading San Marcos staffing firm, Priority Personnel can do much more than provide great workers for your short-term needs.  Our staffing professionals can help you critically examine your workforce needs, and develop a staffing strategy that makes your organization more successful.  Call us today to schedule a free workforce consultation.