Discrimination against the unemployed is a topic that has been garnering headlines and political attention for the past year, significantly more so since the September 2011 American Jobs Act called for “prohibiting employers from discriminating against unemployed workers when hiring.” Others have weighed in on the issue and I’m adding my voice here.
I’m heading to Ashland, OR next week. Home to the annual Shakespeare festival where the universally recognized genius is celebrated. His longevity is indicative of at least one thing – he must have something important and useful to say. So I wondered, what could we learn from Shakespeare about the staffing business? It turns out plenty.
1. “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!” from Richard III.
As King Richard fights for his life on the battlefield, he is left without a vital resource, a horse. His eventual demise is a reminder that one must create a plan that incorporates and plans for all necessary resources.
Workforce planning that includes your company’s contingent labor plans is critical to success. Understanding how your needs will change and planning for busier times or special projects will help ensure that you have the resources you need, when you need them. Of course you can’t anticipate everything and there will always be a few surprises, but planning for at least what you can predict will help you weather the surprises better. And don’t keep that information in a drawer or to yourself. Share it with your staffing firms – the more they know, the better they can help you!
2. “To thine own self be true” from Hamlet
In order to find the right candidate, you need to know what you really need. Be sure to consider both hard and soft skills and what qualities are most important for the position and your company overall. A good fit usually involves more than just knowledge of a particular program or experience with a certain application. Cultural fit is often the difference between success and failure. Understanding what matters to you and communicating it to your staffing agency is the key. And don’t accept candidates that don’t meet your needs just because an agency says that’s the best they can do. If you aren’t getting what you ask for, consider expanding your vendor base, especially in niche labor markets like IT staffing.
3. “Our doubts are traitors and makes us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” from Measure for Measure
This one is near and dear to my heart because I think it speaks to the crisis of confidence that we face in our country right now. Too many businesses seem scared to expand, scared to hire, to invest, to take that leap of faith necessary to grow any business. Now I’m not suggesting you make frivolous decisions not based on good business sense. I’m just suggesting that you remember there are no guarantees of success in business or in life; at some point we all have to push aside the doubts and just do it. I also want to remind you that using contingent workers can help reduce some of those worries. A good CW strategy can help your business expand smartly at the right pace, address seasonal spikes in demand without losing customers, and by testing an employee’s suitability in real time, on the job, make the best hiring decisions.
Three quotes, three pieces of advice from the Bard interpreted for the staffing industry. I hope you enjoyed them!
There are many misconceptions about temporary, or contract, staffing. Here are the six most common myths and why they are not true.
1. Temps aren’t as important to a company as regular employees.
This myth probably came from the early days of temporary staffing when companies used temporary employees to fill in for clerical workforce gaps. “Temps” were brought on when regular employees were out for an extended period of time for a variety of reasons including vacation, medical, maternity leave, etc. And while this is still a common use of temporary employees, temporary staffing has taken on a much broader and more strategic purpose.
Companies now use temporary or contract employees as a way to make themselves more competitive. And its not just for administrative or clerical work. Temporary workers are typically deployed across every department of a company including accounting, IT, engineering, marketing, HR and just about any other department you can think of. It not only offers flexibility, but a quick way to find an deploy necessary skill sets across a company, making temporary employees a vital part of any companies success.
2. Temps aren’t committed to a company the way regular employees are.
This is simply not true and potentially an insult to the millions of temporary employees across the world. Individuals choose temporary jobs for a variety of reasons. They may be trying to get their foot in the door of a particular company. They may like the flexibility of periodically moving from one company to another. Or they may like the pay, which is often more then a regular worker.
There are many reasons people choose temporary work, but lack of commitment to the success of a company is not one of them. In fact, temporary employees are often more motivated and committed to success because they are always having to prove themselves to ensure job security.
3. Temporary staffing firms try to prevent workers from getting permanent jobs.
Just the opposite is true. While it is true that staffing firms make money for each hour a temporary employee works, having a worker accept a permanent job means the staffing firm has a champion for their service within that company. This is often much more valuable in the long run.
4. Temporary jobs aren’t “real” jobs.
A temporary job is simply another form of a job. It is neither more or less real then a “permanent” job. All jobs within a company are important, otherwise they wouldn’t exist. It is also important to note that no job is permanent, even if it is referred to as a “permanent” job.
5. Temporary jobs don’t have benefits.
Not necessarily true. Depending on the staffing firm and the staffing firm’s individual clients, the varieties of benefits available to employees are just like “real” company benefits including: direct deposit, holiday, medical/dental, employee referral bonuses and 401K benefits. Typically, the benefits offered are negotiated between the staffing firm and the client company at the onset of their business relationship.
6. Temporary work is low level work.
Temporary work has evolved over the years. In fact, the fastest growth is occurring in the professional and IT occupations as both businesses and professionals from all backgrounds are realizing the benefits of greater flexibility. High level professionals have embraced the lifestyle because it offers challenging, diverse assignments with highly competitive compensation. Companies have come to realize they can easily gain access to highly skilled professionals who can provide much needed expertise for short and long-term projects.
Over the past few weeks, while I wrote about job creation and career development, others were writing as well. I am at the 2011 TechServe Alliance Conference and Tradeshow in Phoenix this week, which leaves me with less time than usual to share my own views. Instead, I thought I’d share a few articles that cover some of the same issues in new and thought provoking ways. Enjoy!
VMS and MSP are acronyms that have changed the staffing industry landscape significantly over the past decade and, for better or worse, they are here to stay. I say “better or worse” because my own experiences have sometimes been mixed and I believe, based on anecdotal evidence and published industry analysis, that this is the case for other firms and our clients as well. Good software and well run programs that are embraced by hiring managers can improve efficiency and results while reducing costs. Bad programs range from ineffective to costly; if your systems are complex and cumbersome and your processes are too restrictive and inflexible, managers may grudgingly comply until they find ways around it. Efficiencies will be ephemeral and cost savings short-lived.
Jobs, jobs, jobs. It continues to be the hot topic with discussions on a variety of job related issues happening everywhere from the boardroom to the campaign trail to the dinner table. Two headlines caught my eye recently: