I recently attended the SIA’s 2012 CWS Summit in San Diego with a number of my ATR colleagues. We were actually a sponsor of the event for the first time and we had a wonderful experience! The sessions addressed a variety of subjects related to contingent workforce programs. They were interesting and provided great learning opportunities, but, as usually is the case with conferences, the best part was simply the chance to meet and speak with people. In our fast-paced, technology-laden world, a face to face conversation can turn into a rarity. The Summit was just the latest reminder that it’s important to make time and get out there! I learned just as much by simply talking to those who stopped by our booth. In fact, I actually missed a few of the sessions because I was deep in conversation (thank goodness for MP3s)!
September 10th-16th is National Staffing Employee Week honoring the contributions of America's temporary employees. No one is happier to recognize these men and women than those of us at ATR International. We are so proud to work with the wonderful, talented individuals that are part of the workforce at client sites all over the United States. Theodore Roosevelt said "far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." Our contractors are looking for the chance to do just that and it is our privilege to help them find the right opportunity.
I’m always interested in what others have to say about the staffing industry and what I can learn to make me a better staffing firm owner and ATR International a better staffing provider. Two recent articles by Staffing Industry Analysts’ Bryan Pen͂a, a VP of Contingent Workforce Strategies and Research, caught my attention. Bryan’s columns echo thoughts and opinions that I have previously shared in Staffing 360.
In current political discussions there is a lot of talk about what hurts or helps job creation and unnecessary regulation is often cited as a culprit. There is little agreement on what exactly “unnecessary” is though and people argue at both ends of the spectrum from all to none. I’m not one to advocate abolishing the EPA, the Department of Labor or the IRS. Society cannot function without rules that address real problems and protect its citizens from real harm. The importance of appropriate regulation in business is precisely why it is so important to speak out against the unnecessary kind, for example, regulations that impose significant administrative costs while addressing no real problem or providing no significant benefit. I’ve written before about this kind of unnecessary legislation and today I bring your attention to California AB 1744.
The Memorial Day weekend serves as a time to honor our country’s veterans as well as marking the unofficial start of summer for everyone. Therefore, I want to thank all the men and women serving in the military currently as well as those who are veterans: your service, hard work and sacrifice is noted and appreciated so very much. In communities across the U.S. our veterans and military families will be honored with ceremonies and parades, and celebrated with BBQs and picnics. This is as it should be.
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.
One of my colleagues, Bryan Harter, brought to my attention an article on RecruitingBlog by Debbie Fledderjohann entitled “The Secret to Hiring for Attitude.” The post references a Forbes online interview by Dan Schawbel with Mark Murphy, the author of Hiring for Attitude. The interview covers a number of topics including why so many new hires don’t work out, and so quickly (46% of them fail within 18 months), the differences between technical, soft skills and attitude, and the ways that screening for these attributes are driving changes in the interview process. Ms. Fledderjohann points out that testing out a worker’s suitability on the job is a great way to ensure that they are a good fit as it reveals things the traditional interview does not. I couldn’t agree more: contract-to-direct, temp-to-perm, “try before you buy,” whatever name it goes by, can be a great way for both the prospective employee and the company to test things out and make sure both are happy before making a longer term commitment.
Happy New Year readers and welcome to 2012!
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.
Last week’s post was about the business community and the government working together to create a climate conducive to job growth. That was the Business community with a big B. This week I want to address the lower case b, the men and women like me who run companies or are in management and in a position to hire. It is up to us too. We cannot just wait on the sidelines and expect our government or someone else to take action. The private sector must act too. In recent columns I have told workers they must take risks and I have urged the government to do so as well. Now it’s our turn.