2013 / 03

H-1B Visas 2014!

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 26, 2013

0 IT Staffing, Staffing News

Here is a heads up to our customers and suppliers in need of employees working on H-1B Visas. We received the following information in regards to the process used in applying for 2014 Visas. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions for FU 2014 cap on Monday, April 1st, 2013. The cap, which is the numerical limitation on H-1B petitions that will be accepted for 2014, is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions from individuals who have received a master’s degree or higher will be exempt from this cap. If USCIS receives more petitions than it can accept, they will use a lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions allotted to reach the numerical limit. The lottery method was last used in April, 2008. In light of the volume of petitions that are anticipated to be filed in the first few days of April, USCIS has temporarily adjusted its current premium processing practice. While petitioners may still request premium processing for cases filed on April 1st, the 15-day adjudication period will not begin until April 15th, 2013. For more information about how your company can access high quality IT talent, with or without H-1B status, contact our infodesk@pacestaffing.com.

Tips for a Competitive Recruiting Strategy

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 26, 2013

0 Human Resources Staffing Competitive Recruiting Tips, Keys To Successful Recruiting, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Seattle WA Staffing, Staffing In Seattle WA, Temporary Staffing In Seattle, Tips For A Competitive Recruiting Strategy

Recruiting is a tricky business with a definition of “success” that varies widely from one open position to the next. Sometimes a position needs to be filled fast, above all else, and candidate credentials are flexible. Sometimes only one credential matters, and the identification of a candidate with this unique skill set can be considered a home run, even if the process takes six months. Sometimes strong recruiting requires a sharp eye for red flags, sometimes it takes a wide network, and sometimes it takes the ability to pitch a company and position to a star candidate buried in competing options. And of course, sometimes excellent recruiting requires all of these things and more. Here are a few recruiting tips that help you leverage your advantages and overcome the obstacles that stand between you and the candidates you need.

1. Set clear goals.

Before you set off on a sourcing mission, make sure the requirements of the position are crystal clear. Maintain open communication channels with the client if you’re an outside contractor, and if you’re recruiting in-house, stay in touch with HR, the position manager, the department head, and even the financial pros who set the budget for this specific salary. Know what you want—and what you can afford—before you start looking.

2. Lean hard on your network

Don’t leave any stone unturned, and don’t leave any option unexplored. You may start by running a keyword search through your current resume database, but don’t stop there. Attend networking and industry events, visit job fairs, and collect resumes from any likely candidate through any available source.

3. Don’t waste time.

If excellent, top tier candidates have special requirements (like salary adjustments, moving allowances, or the ability to work remotely) then go ahead and negotiate. Present them to the client anyway and be clear about the terms. But if a candidate is a marginal match and comes with a list of deal breakers, just move on.  The right match is out there, and the longer you wait to find her, the more likely she is to land another position first.

4. Most important, when you find your star, move fast.

Don’t lose your top choice to a competing offer after you've made up your mind. Put the HR wheels in motion, cut through the red tape, and get the offer in to her hands before she’s lured away.  During the entire process, treat the candidate with respect and keep her updated whenever your timeline changes.

For more information on competitive recruiting strategies, or for a consultation on how to turn your contingent staffing strategies into a competitive advantage, contact infodesk@pacestaffing.com.

Top Skills Accounting Managers Will Need In 2013

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 20, 2013

0 Finance/Accounting Staffing accountant staffing seattle, Accounting Management Skills, Management Skills for 2013, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agencies, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Staffing In Seattle WA, Temporary Staffing In Seattle, Top Skills For Accounting Managers, Value Managerial Skill Sets

You’re no longer just an accountant or an employee; you’re a manager now. And it’s no longer 1995; this is 2013. Before you leap into the year ahead thinking your technical job skills and basic, outdated management approach will carry you to easy victory, think again. Make sure you work hard to actively build each of these core competencies into your career toolkit. Mast Valued Managerial Skill Sets for 2013 1. An entrepreneurial approach It’s no longer enough to simply execute the tasks handed to you by your boss. Recognize that your company is a work in progress, a growing entity that depends on your ideas and energy, not just your willingness to follow orders. Keep the big picture in focus—not just sometimes, but all the time. 2. Coaching ability The world of effective management has evolved, and it’s no longer enough to simply tell employee what to do and expect them to clamor for your approval. Teach, don’t dictate. And coach; don’t just expect employees to pursue new information, new regulations, new software language, and new skill sets on their own. 3. Emotional intelligence Human capital is the most valuable capital your company owns. It’s also the most expensive and the most complex. If you’re not using every part of your brain to understand your employees and help them do their jobs—including your intuition, your experience, and your emotional intelligence—fix this. That includes your ability to read between the lines of human interaction. 4. Replace cost cutting with ROI Build your company’s investments with the future in mind. Don’t just look for ways to save nickels and dimes at the expense of global initiatives and long-term goals. 5. Situation awareness Before you can develop a plan of action and make a move, you need to fully understand all of the current factors at play. This takes a sharp understanding of your business model and target market. It also takes a willingness to listen before you speak, stay awake to nuance, make complex connections quickly, and think before you act. 6. Social media skills The internet is now an established way of life and a permanent presence in the global marketplace. And while individual social media utilities may come and go, your ability to master new ones and understand their general impact on your business will be crucial in the years ahead. 7. A focus on personal development Great managers are always growing, on both a professional and personal level. If you never rest, never become self-satisfied, and keep embracing change and staying flexible, you’ll be poised to thrive no matter what comes your way. Turn to the Seattle staffing and business management pros at Pace for more information on how to get ahead of the curve and stay ahead, whatever the future may bring.

Employment Background Checking – What’s happening?

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 13, 2013

0 Staffing News Background Checks, Credit Reports, Employee Screening, Employment Background Check, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Fair Credit Report Act, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency

While more and more PACE customers are requiring an increased number of background checks prior to allowing even their short term temporary employees to work on-site, recent trends are starting to reveal just how slippery a slope we’re all on. Here are the trends we see and want our clients to know about. 1. The EEOC is watching closely. With 9 out of 10 employers conducting criminal background checks on some, if not all job candidates, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been paying increased attention to the employer communities’ improper use of arrest and conviction records as part of their hiring process. Their concern?  Making sure that an employer does not check for criminal history too early in the process or reveal the results to all players in the hiring process—thus creating unfair or discriminatory barriers for ex-offenders. Don’t expect them to be definitive—just pay special attention. 2. New Regulations (Re: Credit Reports). Seven states, Washington being one of them, currently have laws limiting the use of credit report checks by employers for employment purposes. Washington’s law, passed in 2007, prohibits employers from obtaining a credit report as part of a background check unless that information is substantially job related.  It requires employers to state in writing their reasons for using this information—for example, could their credit information be relevant to their job performance. 3. Social Media – Increasingly prevalent, but still controversial. While some employers have been found negligent by not tapping into information readily available to them via social media venues, employers have also learned to tread with caution.  The information you read is not always 100% accurate and you could face issues related to violation of privacy and possible discrimination.  A recent study by social media thought leader, Jobvite, suggests that 86% of recruiters will, on occasion, view a candidate profile on a social media venue—61% say they do so regularly.  By searching these social media venues for possible job candidates, employers are potentially facing a slippery slope. 4. Automation – Balancing efficiencies with risk. While technology advances have created a robust landscape for employers to select their screening providers—who advertise fast, accurate and inexpensive results–the risks of misusing unfiltered or inaccurate information continue to increase. Whole new industries and services are being created to certify a vendor’s use of “best practices.” For example the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) has created an accreditation rating for its screening provider members. Employers are urged to select their background check vendors against measured forms of knowledge and process execution. 5. Lawsuits – More coming on all fronts! With the advancement of Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) regulations, employees and their attorneys are now looking closely at how those regulations have been implemented inside specific employer organizations and how they have impacted specific employees applying for work. Not unexpected, however, are the increasing number of FCRA infractions and other related lawsuits. The result is the “perfect storm”—with employers facing the risk of being sued by their own employees for workplace crimes committed by other employees that were negligently hired, while also facing lawsuits from job applicants complaining of inaccurate reports or failures to meet FCRA disclosure requirements.

75% of Your Workforce is “Always Looking”

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 12, 2013

0 How To-Career & Job Finding Info for Job Seekers, Staffing News American Staffing Association, American Workforce, Facebook, Job Seekers, Jobvite, LinkedIn, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temp Staffing, Social Media Recruiting seattle, Twitter

According to social media thought leader, Jobvite, in their 2012 Social Job Seeker Survey, 75% of US workers are constantly looking for work—a number that is up six percentage points over the comparable count in 2011. While 1/3 of these job seekers feel less optimistic about finding a job today than they did a year ago, 41% of employed job seekers believe they are overqualified for the jobs they currently hold.  Jobvite's Social Job Seeker Survey 2012 polled over 2,100 adults, 1300 of that number were either currently employed or unemployed and considered themselves actively looking for work. According to the Jobvite survey, Facebook is the leading social network in the American workforce with 83% participating at some level in Facebook activity. Both Twitter and LinkedIn enjoyed major increases in 2012 compared to 2011 with Twitter now being used by 46% of the workforce; LinkedIn used by 41%. Not surprising, those people considered job seekers were shown to be more social than the overall workforce—88% had at least one social networking profile; 64% had accounts with at least two networks and 44% using three or more. With 1 in 4 job seekers (24%) indicating that they were asked for their social media profiles as part of an application process, more workers reported they had updated their profile content with professional information in 2012 than they had in the year prior. In previous studies, Jobvite has found that 86% of recruiters occasionally look at social profiles for candidates they interview, with 48% reporting they always do so.  According to press releases by Jobvite, Dan Finnigan, President and CEO said that “maintaining an online presence and keeping employment top-of-mind at all times are vital to professional success.” Facebook Stats

  • 52% of job seekers use Facebook to help find work, up from 48% in 2011
  • 14% searched for jobs on Facebook
  • 17% provided their Facebook profile on a job application or during an interview
  • 70% of Facebook-using job seekers are male, 63% are under the age of 40, 40% earn more than $75,000 and 36% are college graduates
LinkedIn Stats
  • 38% of job seekers use LinkedIn to help find work; up from 30% in 2011
  • 19% had a contact share a job on LinkedIn (vs. 8% in 2011)
  • 11% searched for jobs on LinkedIn
  • 9% provided their LinkedIn profile on a job application or during an interview
  • 60% of LinkedIn-using job seekers are male, 62% are under the age of 40, 51% earn more than $75,000 and 50% are college graduates
Twitter Stats
  • 34% of job seekers use Twitter to help find work; up from 26% in 2011
  • 11% had a contact share a job on Twitter (vs. 7% in 2011)
  • 10% searched for jobs on Twitter
  • 10% provided their Twitter profile on a job application or during an interview
  • 67% of Twitter-using job seekers are male, 69% are under the age of 40, 46% earn more than $75,000 and 44% are college graduates
Jobvite is a leading recruiting platform for the social web, providing companies with applicant tracking, recruiter CRM and social recruiting software.  Information on their press release was provided by the American Staffing Association. For more information on Jobvite and their 2012 Social Media Survey, visit www.jobvite.com.

Lean Manufacturing Principles: Can They Reduce Costs in Healthcare?

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 12, 2013

0 Healthcare Staffing healthcare staffing agencies in seattle, healthcare staffing agencies in seattle wa, healthcare staffing agencies seattle, healthcare staffing agencies seattle wa, healthcare staffing seattle, healthcare staffing seattle wa, staffing agency seattle wa

While the economy recovers and many business sectors return to normal rates of purchasing, hiring, and expansion, the healthcare industry is still experiencing enormous—and growing—financial pressures. In the face of these pressures, healthcare managers are predictably turning to staff reductions, workforce shaping, and layoffs. But a closer look often reveals that drastic staffing cuts aren’t the only solution. In fact, relying on layoffs may actually not lead to long term cost reduction and may allow mangers to ignore more pressing cost-control issues inherent in weak processes and procedures. If you’re in a healthcare management position and you’re looking for ways to cut costs while avoiding layoffs and improving patient care, consider borrowing from the manufacturing sector and incorporating the principles of lean manufacturing into your facility or clinic. Start with the recommendations below. Cut Costs in Healthcare Using Lean Management 1. Streamline clinic design Attack construction and expansion projects first during times of high financial pressure. Instead of expanding recklessly, reduce capital spending and find ways to make better use of existing equipment and space. This may require revaluating floor layouts, or redrafting plans to make pending expansions more efficient. 2. Reduce preventable events Insurers and Medicare are increasingly unwilling to pay for events and conditions considered “preventable”. These can include anything from pressure ulcers, to falls, to accidental amputations. Since these events tend to occur more often when clinics are understaffed and professionals are overworked, reevaluate layoff plans and instead, take a close look at documentation procedures, training protocols, and other ways to reduce these problems at the source. 3. Take a closer look at your supply chain. Re-examine vendor contracts at least once a year, and in the meantime, consider the ways in which products are ordered and stored. Receiving items in smaller batches, for example, can reduce problems due to rotation, shelf life, and excess capital tied up in overstock. 4. Streamline charting and other processes to cut back on staff overtime. Cutting back on overtime can go long way toward reducing payroll costs without alienating employees through layoffs. While you’re at it, extend your good stewardship of financial resources by removing extra steps from the billing process, and reducing the degree of unnecessary tests and diagnostic procedures performed by doctors and technicians. Reach out to the Seattle staffing experts at Pace for specific guidance on reducing cost, waste, mistakes and billing delays at your healthcare facility. If you can make better use of your existing human capital, you’ll reduce the morale problems and other risks that can result from unnecessary staff reductions.

5 Tips for IT Managers: Hold Onto Your Millennial Employees

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 9, 2013

0 IT Staffing it staffing agencies seattle, it staffing firms seattle, it staffing in seattle, it staffing in seattle wa, it staffing in seattle washington, IT Staffing Seattle, it staffing seattle wa

Having members of the millennial generation on your team can provide an incredible boost to your bottom line and plenty of intangible benefits for your workplace culture. Millennials—the post collegiate workers at the youngest end of the age spectrum in the professional world—are generally a delight to have on board. Young workers need managers with a distinct approach to retention, one that may not apply as well to mid-career, gen X, and older workers. Here are a few steps that can help keep talented young workers on your team as they gain experience.

Tips for Retaining Millennial IT Employees

1. Pay attention to where they’re headed. Most post collegiate workers don’t expect to stay with their current employers for very long. A first job is first job, and you can expect your millennials to get restless and make a move within one to five years. If you want to hold onto them, be ready for this, stay in touch with their personal career goals, and make sure you have room available for in-house advancement when the time comes.

2. Offer flexibility. Younger workers usually prefer freedom and flexibility over money, retirement plans, and job security. This doesn’t mean you have carte blanche to underpay and exploit them in exchange for offering dress-down Fridays. But it does mean you’ll get positive results if you let them work from home whenever possible and allow them to use their personal devices on your network.

3. Respect their devices. Let them use their iPhones and tablets while at work if this use doesn’t undermine productivity. (This doesn’t mean you can expect them to use their own devices to accomplish work related tasks. If you do this, you’ll need to contribute to their data plans.)

4. Listen to their crazy ideas. Young people don’t know very much about how the world, or this business, really works. But their ignorance sometimes makes them brilliant. Tune in. Encourage them to express their ideas, risk failure, try new things, and speak up when they may have something to offer.

5. Provide them with structure. Just because they seem bold and free spirited doesn’t mean they are. All young people experience uncertainty now and then, but the members of this generation in particular are known for their highly sheltered, over-validated upbringings. They may sometimes chafe against the training wheels and restrictions placed on them, but before you send them out on their own, give them very clear instructions, rules with consequences, and the assurance of support.

Hire millennial workers who will make you proud, and once you bring them on board, take all the steps necessary to train them, encourage them, and retain them as their skill sets grow. Pace Staffing can help. Reach out to our office for more ways to get the most out of your post collegiate workforce.

IT and Healthcare – Where the Jobs Are!

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 8, 2013

0 IT Staffing, Staffing News Healthcare, Healthcare Industry, Healthcare Jobs, IT, IT Job Market, IT Marketplace, IT Professionals, PACE Staffing Network, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the IT job market added 62,500 jobs in 2012, a good start, but not yet a number that returns the sector to its pre-recession highs. But for those of us staffing IT professionals for the healthcare industry, we have seen an exceptionally robust demand for IT talent over the last three/four years. In 2012, IT jobs in healthcare and healthcare insurance lead the way as the fastest growing segments of the IT marketplace. 2013 is shaping up to look the same. Part of the reason for healthcare-related IT growth is driven by an overall growth in healthcare services in general—the growing patient population fueled by our aging baby boomers. Overall healthcare employment rose by 338,000 jobs in 2012, and is expected to surpass that number in 2013. According to the Center for Health Workforce Studies one in nine Americans will be working in a healthcare related job by the year 2020.  IT growth is also being fueled by changes directly impact the healthcare industry. Two of the primary drivers of growth in healthcare IT have been the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the 2010 Affordable Care Act, (ObamaCare). The Recovery Act set new technology standards for medical providers, requiring that hospitals, clinics and insurers adapt standardized electronic systems for storing and sharing patient health records. The new ICD-10 billing and coding standards are being implemented now. In similar fashion, the Affordable Care Act has created a whole new set of IT jobs stemming from the state-based online health insurance marketplaces that must be operable by January, 2014. By all counts, the basic infrastructure that needs to be in place just to meet the new service needs of the millions of new patients/consumers who will be entering the healthcare marketplace between 2013 and 2020 ensures strong growth in the IT job market for several years to come. As healthcare providers have been turning more and more to new forms of virtual care as a way to lower their operating costs, IT professionals have been expanding the quantity and quality of ways patients and providers can interface virtually. In the last two years, those interfaces have had to accommodate an increasingly mobile population of healthcare customers, requiring constant changes in mobile friendly interfaces. Other IT projects have been focused on improving clinical data searches, business intelligence, and the development of systems to allow various software, apps, databases and clinical hardware to share and exchange information. Big data has definitely been a trend alive and well in healthcare IT. With some variation between surveys, IT salaries have been slated to grow somewhere between 1-5% over the next 12 months, with the bulk of the higher percentage increases being earned by the IT professionals who are involved with healthcare. For more information about jobs in IT, healthcare, insurance and financial markets in particular, contact infodesk@pacestaffing.com—please include IT jobs in the subject line.

When is Work, Work?

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 7, 2013

0 Human Resources Staffing Employer of Record services, Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, FLSA, Non-Exempt Employees, PACE Staffing Network, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, Temporary Workforce

Under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all non-exempt employees must be paid the minimum wage for all hours worked in a work week and must be paid overtime at the rate of 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a work week. What isn’t often discussed is what hours of work or work related activity must be included in the count of hours of work paid at either regular or overtime rate. We run into these issues periodically when working with our hourly paid flexible workforces. Whether these workers are categorized as exempt or non-exempt, they must be paid for all hours of work. The following is a list of situations where we frequently field questions from our clients:

  • Pre and Post-Job Activities. All job-related activities required as a part of an employee’s work must be calculated as hours of work.  This includes work performed either before or after the employee’s  actual work schedule and includes pre-start orientations, required after hours meetings, or any hours spent by workers for their employer’s (or our client’s) benefit. Examples of time to be paid would be the time it takes to complete a time card, to change in or out of required work clothes or equipment, to assemble materials needed to perform the work, or to receive instructions about the work—all are considered hours worked and the employee must be paid.
  • Waiting Time. Employees who arrive at a work site early—earlier  than the required start time—are not automatically entitled to be paid for any time they spend waiting to begin work.  However, if an employee reports at the required time and then waits because there is no work to start on, the waiting time is compensable.
  • Stand-By Time. Workers who are required to stand-by at a worksite “ready” to work, must be paid for this waiting time.  Stand-by time typically refers to short-term time periods where a worker is not officially working but is asked to “stand-by” ready to work. The defining rule for stand-by time is that if the employee remains under the employer’s control to the point where they cannot use their time for their own purpose or benefit, the stand-by time must be paid. 
  • On-Call Time. On-Call time is different from Stand-By time in that it includes time spent by an employee “available” to be called into work while free to pursue activities for their own benefit. The FLSA requires employers to compensate workers for on-call time when such time is spent “predominantly for the employer’s benefit.” This means that an employee, who is only required to be available for work if asked, is not considered working and is not paid for their time on-call.
  • Meal and Break Periods. Under FLSA rulings, time spent for meal or rest periods may or may not be compensable, depending on the amount of time provided for the break and to what extent the employee is relieved from their work duties while on break.
Bona fide meal periods need to be of sufficient duration (30 minutes or more) and free of work duties in order for the meal period to be exempt from required pay regulations. If, for example, an employee is asked to sit at their desk to answer phones during their lunch break, they should be paid for their meal break. While employers can have policies prohibiting employees from leaving the work site for a meal break, it is only when work is required of them during the break, that their time must be compensable. Rest periods, on the other hand for shorter periods (5 to 20 minutes) are always counted as hours worked.
  • Unauthorized Hours of Work. Employees who, with the direct or implied awareness of their employer, start work before their work is scheduled,  work through unpaid breaks,  or continue to work after their work schedule is officially over, are considered to be working during all these times periods and their time “at work” must be paid. This is true even if these hours of work were performed voluntarily and are considered by their employer to be “unauthorized.” If the work performed during these “unauthorized hours” benefits the employer, the FLSA requires that the employee be paid. This puts the burden on management to make certain that regular work time rules are rigorously enforced, perhaps even promising disciplinary action for employees who work in unauthorized ways.  Merely stating that all work be authorized is not sufficient.
For more information on the work rules outlined by FLSA regulations and as applied to either your temporary or hourly workforce, contact our infodesk@pacestaffing.com.