Thinking About Career Choices in the 4th Industrial Revolution

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A friend of mine sent me an article, knowing I’m in the staffing industry and that I routinely talk to job-seekers including young folk right out of college on career options as well as early retirees looking for a second career or a nice and interesting part-time job. After reading this article, I thought I’d share it giving food for thought on the future of work.

The article started out with the fall of Kodak (a household word), a large and profitable company with 170,000 employees in 1998 and selling 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt. What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 5-10 years and most of us won’t see it coming as we capture the moment with our IPhones and digital cameras. At first digital cameras were a disappointment with only 10,000 pixels but as with all exponential technologies, the digital camera became way superior and became mainstream in only a few short years. It will now happen again and faster with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs. All in the Exponential Age.

Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years. Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world although they don’t own any beds nor any property. AI: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go-player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected. In the US, young lawyers may be hunting for jobs. Because of IBM’s Watson, you can get legal advice, mainly basic advice so far, within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. Watson already helps doctors diagnosing cancer and treatment options, and it’s 4 times more accurate than humans only. Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. Will computers become more intelligent than humans by 2030? What do you think? To be continued……

Job Market is Hot, Hot, Hot!

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Employers had more than six million job openings in September, twice as many as during the recession, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Voluntary quits set a monthly high, and the number of unemployed who are “discouraged” has declined steadily. Most job-seekers have a better chance of landing a good position these days, and job hunters with the right skills, especially in digital technology, have real power in today’s labor market as reported in Dallas Morning News by Joseph & Schnurman.

Surviving the Future in the Automation Age-A New Approach

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In reading a summary of a recent book by authors, Hess and Ludwig, entitled Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age, kind of a long title :-), I wanted to share the new skillset that they said would help one to survive and…drumroll please, the new skillset is called “NewSmart.” Before I explain what that is, here is why the authors say that this new skillset is necessary for survival and perhaps for job-protection. They cited research coming out of the University of Oxford that showed there is a high probability of 47% of jobs in the U.S. becoming automated over time. That’s over 70 million jobs lost. Nationwide, we will see millions of jobs replaced by automation such as smart robots, driverless cars, 3D manufacturing, artificial intelligence and smart machines over the next 15 years. That’s not that far away. Hence employees will have to learn new skills and new behaviors that machines cannot master. The NewSmart skill requires quieting the ego, better managing your thinking and emotions, and learning to reflectively listen. The authors go on to list the Seven Commandments that will help you Survive the Smart Machine Age. They are:

  • Become humble, because it’s not really all about you
  • Slow down and live in the moment
  • Think like a good scientist
  • Talk less, listen closer, and ask more questions
  • Have the courage to try
  • Manage your emotions
  • Embrace “Otherness” which is the science of how to connect, relate, and emotionally engage with other people

When these seven commandments are applied, Hess and Ludwig state that you will be able to achieve the type of excellence that makes you an indispensable leader and a better human being. You will become NewSmart. It’s worth a try.

Offshore Recruitment Services (ORS)-a Sign of the Times in the Staffing Industry

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When I first read a recent article about staffing services resorting to offshore recruitment services, I then realized how many offers I get in my email box from recruitment services on a list of candidates who can ostensibly do anything and everything. I either delete or unsubscribe from these unsolicited companies. The article by J. Nurthen in our trade magazine, Staffing Industry Review, went on to say that because of the low-cost disrupters that have emerged in the human cloud to challenge the traditional staffing model, many staffing firms have looked at the potential of offshoring parts of their processes to less expensive labor markets. The benefits from doing so list cost reduction, flexibility, efficiency and focus. Something just doesn’t feel right about this. Even though the 23 vendors in India and the 4 in Pakistan mentioned may provide general administrative support, research, training, website design, SEO, IT consulting and technical support, our staffing team also provides these services and likes to recruit for these areas locally, right here in Tucson. We really like to sit down with the candidates, get to know them and understand what they are interested in doing, what their expertise is, their skillset, their career history and spend time in developing a relationship with them. The better we know our candidates, the more success we have in placing them with our clients. One staffing firm in Pittsburgh with 6 offices tried to use ORS and their experience was not very positive. The owner said that the off-shore companies really do not understand your geographic market.There are several areas of Pittsburgh that are very difficult to commute to because of traffic although the mileage seems ok. Candidates in our market understand this, however, off-shore recruiters do not. Other red flags appeared also. What kind of cultural fit seems best for a particular client? How well are the candidates screened and understood and, most importantly, valued?  We appreciate our candidates deeply and want to do the best job possible in finding them suitable, interesting, and engaging work in our local Tucson market. If we are old-fashioned in this respect, I think that’s OK. Don’t you?

Ellie Patterson has been in the staffing industry for twenty-seven years and is a co-founder and partner at The Temp Connection in Tucson, AZ. She can be reached via email at ellie@thetempconnection.com.

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Need Help with your Job Search? Look to a Temporary Staffing Company to jumpstart your efforts

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The Recession and The Baby Boomers

Let’s face it. The Great Recession put quite a dent in the careers of many of us, particularly in the Baby Boomer generation. Those in the 55-and-over age group, got hit particularly hard as many employers needed to seriously cut costs in the face of drastically reduced revenues.

Older employees, while certainly highly experienced with 20+ years of OJT, often found themselves the first-to-go, as many employers saw their higher salaries as “low hanging fruit” from which to improve short term results by slashing payroll.

While we don’t aim to justify nor criticize these tactics, the fact remains that a lot of highly qualified professionals are out there looking for meaningful employment, and admittedly, it is still tough to find work in the aftermath of all these cutbacks.

Here’s a suggestion

We would like to offer a suggestion to those experienced candidates looking for employment: apply to a Temporary Staffing Company. A Temp Agency can offer a number of advantages to help you in your search:

  • Applying to a Staffing Company doesn’t cost you anything: fees are included in the billing rate paid by the client-company.
  • Skills evaluation: A reputable Staffing Company, will perform an assessment of your technical skills. They’ll let you know how you stack up against other candidates in your field and give you some very valuable insight as to any training gaps that you should address. They even have training modules that you can use to brush up on your skills for free.
  • Identifying Potential Employers: A Temporary Staffing Company spends a lot of time on marketing and developing client relationships in order to uncover good employment opportunities. Why duplicate their efforts? You can leverage those relationships to quickly find good positions that meet your skills and experience.
  • Finding good matches. Nothing is more frustrating than blindly sending out cover letters and resumes in hopes of getting past a company’s screening process and getting an interview. A reputable Temporary Staffing Company already has established contacts developed good relationships within the prospective company’s HR department or other key decision-makers. If you are a good fit for an open position, the Staffing Company can often make that interview happen a lot faster than you can on your own.

Next Steps

So why not think “outside the box” a little bit and let a Temporary Staffing Company help you find a good home for your experience and hard-won skills?

I can tell you we are always looking for good candidates and would love to hear from you.

photo of Ellie Patterson, The Temp Connection

 

Ellie Patterson has been in the staffing industry for twenty-seven years and is a co-founder and partner at The Temp Connection in Tucson, AZ. She can be reached via email atellie@thetempconnection.com.

Staffing Services Agency – Your “Ace in the Hole”

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ace of spadesBusinesses these days, whether large or small, have a lot on their plates. Staffs have been stretched pretty thin. Workers have been cross-trained to handle multiple-areas. In the face of a growing economy (finally!) and the need to fill growing business needs, finding time to hire new employees either to handle the new growth or manage workplace peaks and valleys can sometimes seem daunting.

Ask any business owner who is faced with the task of hiring a new employee and they’ll usually tell you: “I just don’t have the time.”

And you know what? They’re probably right. Just look at the tasks involved in finding a new hire:

  • Write a job description
  • Place a want ad, take out an ad on the employment websites, social media sites, craigslist, etc.
  • Receive and screen resumes. This often involves reading and rejecting the vast majority of applicants who invariably respond
  • Narrow down the list to the best candidates and schedule interviews
  • Hold the interviews and select one or two prime candidates
  • Assess their skills and suitability for the task
  • Check references
  • Perform background checks
  • Make a decision on who gets the employment offer
  • Schedule their first day of work, prepare the necessary employment tax forms, payroll forms, present them with employee manual, arrange for their orientation and training.
  • Hope that, after all that time, effort and money, the employee is a good fit and lasts more than a few months.

It’s a sometimes overwhelming process, filled with pitfalls and requiring an investment of time and energy that most business owners simply do not have.

That is where a staffing services agency can be a business owner’s “ace in the hole.” When using a staffing agency, all an owner needs to do is:

  • Write a job description
  • Contact the staffing services agency, send them the job description along with your desired skills and experience for the position.
  • Wait for the agency to send you resumes of pre-screened, pre-interviewed, pre-assessed, pre-referenced checked and, if desired, pre-background checked or even drug-tested candidates.
  • Interview the best candidates and make a hiring choice.
  • Greet the employee on their first day and arrange for their orientation and training (the agency has handled all the first-day paperwork)
  • If the employee doesn’t work out for any reason, call the agency and the agency will arrange for reassignment with a new candidate.

While it is true that temporary employees may cost the employer a higher wage rate in the short term, most employers soon learn that the savings due to the less extensive hiring process coupled with the faster speed in getting the new employee hired is a very economical and very smart tradeoff.

So, the next time your business needs to bring on a new employee, play that “ace” that you’ve been hiding up your sleeve, and call a staffing services agency, like The Temp Connection.

And please remember, The Temp Connection strives for your total satisfaction, if you, as our client-company, are not happy with our staffing placement we will replace the employee, refund or credit your account. You can be completely assured that we will provide you with a pre-screened and qualified employee to fulfill your staffing needs.

photo of Ellie Patterson, The Temp Connection

 

Ellie Patterson has been in the staffing industry for twenty-seven years and is a co-founder and partner at The Temp Connection in Tucson, AZ. She can be reached via email atellie@thetempconnection.com.

 

image courtesy foto76 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Temporary Employees and Quality

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Quality spelled out in building blocksIn a recent survey among staffing services buyers, the respondents were asked, “When you think of recruiting a staffing firm, what criteria do you use?”

The respondents were asked two ways: “What’s your top criteria?” and in another question, “What’s your top three criteria?”

More than half of the participants responded that quality was their top criteria. More than 78% had quality in their top three criteria.1

So given those results, it is only fair to ask this question as a buyer of staffing services, “How do I know I am getting quality employees?”

In our opinion, providing quality temporary workers to a client requires a partnership between the client and the staffing company. In this article, we will list those factors that we feel are critical to that partnership.

Agency Responsibilities

  • The staffing company / temp agency should select candidates via a comprehensive recruitment program that includes local and national job boards, social media, local media, community networks and any other sources that will help locate qualified and talented people.
  • Candidates should be evaluated by the staffing company / temp agency to verify that the candidate has the required skills before they arrive at the job assignment. At The Temp Connection, we evaluate our candidates with our advanced assessment tools which feature over 1000 validated assessments.
  • The candidate should be interviewed by a member of the staffing company / temp agency staff before they are introduced to the client company.
  • The candidate’s professional references should be validated by a member of the staffing company / temp agency staff.
  • It only makes sense that competitive wages and benefits are essential in order for an agency to maintain a portfolio of quality employees. The best employees expect the best wages and benefits. A temp agency with no benefits program for their employees or a low-ball pay scale should serve as a warning sign.
  • A temp agency should be expected to provide evidence of all required liability insurance and bonding. They should also provide unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation insurance and pay all necessary withholding taxes.
  • The temp agency should have the capability to provide credit and background checks as well as drug screening.
  • The temp agency should have some type of customer satisfaction guarantee.2

Client Responsibilities

  • The most important thing that an employer can do to maximize their chances of getting a great employee is to provide the agency with a detailed job description of the desired position. The Job Description should include:
  • Any specific job skills, certifications, or equipment familiarity that is required.
  • Any specific work hours required, whether part-time, full-time or overtime. There is nothing worse that providing an employer with a great candidate only to find out later that the candidate is unable to work the schedule that the client requires.
  • Any physical requirements like extended standing or sitting, or needing to lift a certain amount of weight.
  • We’ve all heard that “you get what you pay for,” and we all know that for the most part it is true. The same thing goes for employees. An employer can’t really expect a great employee to come along with a bargain-basement, low-ball rate. Demanding a below-market rate for a great employee is, quite frankly, an unreasonable request. Be willing to pay a fair market rate for an excellent match. It will save you in the long run by maximizing your chances of getting a quality employee on the first try.

 After all, putting the right employee in the right job is what we all want, isn’t it?

photo of Ellie Patterson, The Temp Connection

 

Ellie Patterson has been in the staffing industry for twenty-seven years and is a co-founder and partner at The Temp Connection in Tucson, AZ. She can be reached via email at ellie@thetempconnection.com.

 

References:

  1. Sriram, Subadhra; “There’s a Staffing Firms – Buyer Disconnect, and it’s in the Marketing”; staffingindustry.com; June 10, 2015.
  2. “Welcome to The Temp Connection”; http://www.thetempconnection.com

Temporary Employees and The Law

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by Ellie Patterson

image of reading glasses and a medallion of the scales of justiceMany employers utilize temporary employees in order to handle seasonal business demands, temporary surges, or an extended sick or maternity leave from one or more of their regular permanent employees.

Temporary employees may be hired directly by the employer or through a temporary employment agency such as The Temp Connection. When hired through an agency, the employee is typically paid directly by the agency and the employer is billed by the agency for the temporary services. This arrangement saves the employer much of the expense of on-boarding the employee: advertising, screening, interviewing, skills assessment, etc.

Wages and Hours

Temporary employees are subject to the provisions of the Federal Labor Standards Act1 (FLSA) like any other employee. What this means to an employer is that any temporary employee who works a job that is defined to be “nonexempt” under the FLSA is entitled to overtime bonus pay of 1.5 times their base wage for any hours over 40 hours per week.

Discrimination and Harassment

Generally speaking, a temporary employee is entitled to the same non-discriminatory and harassment-free workplace as any other employee. Temporary employees should be provided access to the same facilities, parking, restrooms, break facilities and business meetings as regular employees.

Benefits

While a temporary employee is not eligible for benefits under the employer’s benefits plan, many agencies provide their temps with benefits under the agency’s plan. The Temp Connection offers a package of comprehensive benefits for our employees which includes:

  • Medical
  • Vacation
  • Holidays
  • Profit Sharing
  • Referral Bonus
  • Direct Deposit
  • And more

 FMLA and ACA

Employers should be aware that certain Federal Laws, like the Family and Medical Leave Act2.3 and the Affordable Care Act,4,5 require companies to abide by provisions of the law after they reach a certain threshold number of employees, typically 50 or more. Generally speaking, the number of temporary employees that an employer uses will count toward that threshold. The laws here are complicated and vary with each individual law so we recommend you do your research and seek the advice of counsel if you have specific questions.

photo of Ellie Patterson, The Temp Connection

 

Ellie Patterson has been in the staffing industry for twenty-seven years and is a co-founder and partner at The Temp Connection in Tucson, AZ. She can be reached via email at ellie@thetempconnection.com.

 

References:

  1. FLSA Home Page, http://www.flsa.com/coverage.html
  1. United States Department of Labor, Family and Medical Leave Act, http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/
  1. United States Department of Labor, FMLA2003-1-A, http://www.dol.gov/whd/opinion/FMLA/2004_04_05_1A_FMLA.htm
  1. gov, “About The Law,” http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/about-the-law/index.html
  1. Shawe Rosenthal LLP, The Labor and Employment Report, “The Affordable Care Act Complicates the Use of Temporary Employees,” http://www.laboremploymentreport.com/2015/05/22/the-affordable-care-act-complicates-the-use-of-temporary-employees/

 

Tips for Choosing a Staffing Services Agency

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lots of question marksAs more companies are using Staffing Services Agencies in order to manage their workplace needs in our currently tight labor market, we thought it would be helpful to offer some tips on what to look for when choosing your next agency.

Length of Time in Business

What’s true in other industries is true in the employment business: An agency who has been around for a while has demonstrated that it can provide great employees to their clients, has a solid number of candidates in reserve from which to choose, keeps up-to-date with technology and understands what it means to be in business by providing great staffing services in good times and not-so-good times.

Employee Professionalism and Turnover

There is no better indicator of what kind of candidates you will be getting from a staffing company than the quality, competence and professionalism of the people who answer the phone and respond to your emails. Also consider the average employee length of service and rate of employee turnover. One can’t expect an agency to provide great employees for their clients if they don’t know how to find them for themselves.

Areas of Specialization

A key criterion for finding good matches is for the staffing services agency to fully understand the businesses that their clients are in. A staffing company that specializes in placing health-care workers may not have the same expertise as one who staffs IT positions. Look at the agency website or ask for references from companies who are in a business segment similar to yours.

Candidate Screening Process

What sort of screening process does the staffing services agency provide to assess workplace skills? Do they use validated assessments to determine a candidate’s skill level? Do they perform background checks? What about drug screening? An important factor in reducing your costs of onboarding is having a high degree of confidence that the candidate has the required skills and will not pose a risk to your business.

Employee Benefits

Great employees, even temporary employees, are attracted by great benefits. Does the staffing company have a comprehensive benefit program? Does it include medical benefits? Vacation time? Incentives? Ask to see a copy of their benefits program or check the agency website.

Reputation

Membership in the American Staffing Association is an indicator that your staffing services agency maintains a superior professional reputation and is committed to high standards of legal, ethical and professional practices in the staffing industry. Check to verify if your prospective agency is a member.

photo of Ellie Patterson, The Temp Connection

 

Ellie Patterson has been in the staffing industry for twenty-seven years and is a co-founder and partner at The Temp Connection in Tucson, AZ. She can be reached via email at ellie@thetempconnection.com.

 

References:

Need a New Employee? Try a “Temp-to-Hire”

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sad business red haired woman in stress at work asking for help isolated on white background

The most recent employment figures show the unemployment rate at 5.1%. That is very close to the 5% historical definition of “full employment.” Over the last several years businesses got “lean-and-mean” in response to the Great Recession. Small businesses cut back their labor forces often to the bare minimum to fulfill the company mission for the business they were able to keep in those difficult times.

Now here we are with the economy growing again, at almost 4% per year, and we need to start thinking about, can you believe it, managing growth. This presents a real challenge for those lean-and-mean’ers. They have to find the best candidates in what has become a tight labor market with a management team that has already been stretched pretty thin. These companies may simply no longer have the time, energy, bandwidth – whatever you want to call it – to invest in advertising, screening, interviewing and on-boarding new staff.

That’s where “Temp-To-Hire” can help.

In a Temp-to-Hire situation, the employer calls a temporary employment agency to fill a permanent position with an employee that has been screened and evaluated by the agency. The employee remains an employee of the agency for a certain period of time. The employer doesn’t have to invest excess staff resources or pay benefits during this temp-hire period. The employer and employee each get to test each other for that “Perfect Fit” before a true commitment is made. I like to compare it to an engagement before marriage. Although both parties are truly committed at the time of engagement, the official commitment comes with the conversion of the employee to the client’s payroll. After a pre-determined period of time, the employer can decide if they want to convert the employee to permanent status. The employee then goes on the employer’s payroll and leaves the agency’s payroll. In some cases, but not here at the Temp Connection, a set fee is paid to the agency at the time of “conversion.”

At the Temp Connection, we place Temp-to-Hire employees with companies of all varieties and sizes. Best of all, we don’t charge the employer a conversion fee after the employee has worked for 90 days or longer. That helps make Temp-to-Hire an even better solution for our clients.

Please contact us at 323-3100 or email us at info@thetempconnection.com if you would like to learn more about filling your current openings with a Temp-to-Hire employee.

photo of Ellie Patterson, The Temp Connection

 

Ellie Patterson has been in the staffing industry for twenty-seven years and is a co-founder and partner at The Temp Connection in Tucson, AZ. She can be reached via email at ellie@thetempconnection.com.