September 16th through the 20th is National Staffing Employee Week (NSEW), a time to recognize the hard work and valuable contributions that temporary and contract employees make working at firms ranging from small to large and encompassing all industries. I want to thank the many people who we have placed in contract positions this past year for trusting us with a part of your career and, in fact, an important part of your life. As you all probably know, I have been contemplating the staffing industry as a whole and ATR’s place in it quite a bit over the last few weeks as we prepared to celebrate 25 years in business (ATR International Celebrates 25 Years). I am happy to repeat myself when I say that putting people to work is one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences and it is a privilege to be in this business; the fact that NSEW falls right after our anniversary celebration seems only fitting!
Last week I wrote an article about the minority of staffing firms that engage in illegal and unethical behavior giving the industry as a whole a bad reputation. This week I’m going to offer some thoughts to counter the negative view.
The American Staffing Association (ASA) recently highlighted its 2013 Staffing Industry Employee of the Year, Kevin Miller, in the January/February issue of Staffing Success. I encourage you to read the full story but in short, Miller was a recent college graduate facing the same challenging employment landscape as so many other grads. He was interested in a career in marketing and turned to a staffing firm and its capable recruiter for help. Miller was placed with a Fortune 500 company and at the completion of his assignment was offered a permanent position.
A couple of months ago I read What Drives Me Nuts About Staffing Agencies, and many of the points made by author Matt Lowney really stuck with me. I also have 20+ years of experience in the staffing industry but I’m on the other side of the table from him. I might even be one of those folks driving Lowney so nuts, but I don’t think I am and here’s why. I agree with him.
As a business owner myself, I understand that choosing the right companies to do business with is an important component of success. Whether it’s our telecommunications network, our lawyers and accountants, or our data storage provider, we rely on business partners to supply critical services, and that includes your contingent workforce program and the staffing suppliers you employ. The high stakes involved in selecting suppliers can make the whole process seem very daunting but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve collected the experience of the ATR team, and my personal observations over the past 25 years, in our eGuide 6 Best Practices for Selecting Excellent Staffing Suppliers. A good selection process allows you to make an informed choice that truly meets your requirements and serves your particular needs. Our advice will help ensure that your selection process runs smoothly, takes less time, and returns better results. It covers the following 6 areas:
As I posted earlier this week, I thoroughly enjoyed the 2012 London Olympics! As always, the Games were replete with memorable moments, outsized personalities, quiet determination, amazing individual achievements, and a welcoming and festive atmosphere for fans and athletes alike. There are so many topics worthy of consideration but today I want to talk about what we can learn from the Olympic teams. As a staffing firm owner, my clients want to build successful teams and I am a provider of team members. So what lessons did the Olympics provide for us?
This week I’m providing a bit of a legal/legislative update – highlighting some things that have caught my attention in the past few weeks that are relevant to all employers but particularly important to staffing firms. It is always a challenge to stay ahead of all the new and updated rules and regulations governing the workplace and my post today should not be a substitute for your own research or advice from legal counsel. As a staffing firm owner, I know the importance of getting it right, for my own company and because of the key role a staffing provider plays in helping their clients stay on the right side of the law when it comes to employment issues. I hope you will find this information helpful.
Over the past few months I’ve noticed an increase in the number of staffing firms being acquired. On the one hand, increased M&A activity in any industry is a good sign in a sluggish economy. On the other, if it’s your supplier of staffing services that is acquired you may not be so thrilled and you have every right to be concerned. An acquisition can be a positive for clients, bringing access to new talent pools and the knowledge and experience of the acquiring company’s leadership team, but there can be a downside too. What should you do to ensure that it remains “business as usual” for your company if your staffing provider is acquired? I’m not an M&A expert but in my years of experience as a staffing firm owner I’ve seen the good the bad and the ugly. I humbly offer the following words of advice to managers dealing with this issue:
Eighty-five percent of respondents said that their company was not able to create lower skill positions because of an inability to fill higher skill positions that would be tied to those roles.
Now I’ve been in the staffing industry for over 13 years. I’ve participated in many surveys. I’ve read through dozens of survey results. I’ve attended staffing conferences, participated in workshops, read articles, spoken to “industry experts”, and even spent a little bit of time in sales speaking to hiring managers. Never before have I seen this stat. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard this idea discussed.
So often we look at each individual position as an island. We either find someone or we don’t. But the bigger issue is that there are certain positions, higher skilled ones to be exact, that have an exponential effect on the level of production within each and every company. Filling those positions is key in more ways than one.
For example, within the software development cycle, the role of the architect is critical in determining how all the various configuration items connect. Dependencies need to be identified and any issues uncovered and addressed. So without the architect, other positions such as software engineers, software testers, etc. aren’t needed. This is one example of many.
From the perspective of the company, this means the proper amount of resources must be focused on filling higher skill positions. More resources than lower skilled positions. In fact, based on this information, one could argue significantly more resources. More recruiters, more sourcers, and maybe even an experienced staffing firm that has spent 23 years building a network of qualified highly skilled candidates. I know where you can find one if you’re looking.
I recently attended the SIA’s Executive Forum and as always found their Voice of the Customer panel interesting and insightful. Hearing directly from the buyers of our services is invaluable and gives us an opportunity to learn and improve in our own delivery of IT contract staffing services. There were many sessions and speakers sharing their knowledge and experience and I encourage to listen yourself to get the full benefit but here are two things that I think were particularly useful to hear.