INFO AND RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS

The Number of Employees Testing Positive for Marijuana Is Up Significantly

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 21, 2014

0 Blog, Legal Issues - Staffing, Management.Supervision drug testing, Employment Agency Bellevue, Employment Agency Everett, Employment Agency Kent, Employment Agency Seattle, Employment Agency Tacoma, Employment Agency Washington State, hiring, Hiring Bellevue, Hiring Everett, Hiring Tacoma, Marijuana testing, Marijuana testing Colorado, Marijuana testing Washington, Temporary Staffing Bellevue, Temporary Staffing Everett, Temporary Staffing Kent, Temporary Staffing Seattle, Temporary Staffing Tacoma, Temporary Staffing Washington

As reported by Allen Smith, Manager of Workplace Law for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), in a mid-September announcement. Using data provided by Quest Diagnostics for calendar years 2012 and 2013, the increase reported represents the FIRST INCREASE in marijuana positives since 2003! After reaching a high of 13.6% in 1988, positive drug testing outcomes had been steadily decreasing. In 2013, positive test results were up 3.7%, following a 3.5% increase in the positive rate the year prior. The connection between this increase and the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington did not go unnoticed. Positive results for marijuana use in Washington increased by 23% and in Colorado 20%, compared to a 5% increase among the US general workforce covering all 50 states. The PACE Staffing Network has been offering and then administering drug testing on our client’s behalf since the early 1990s. Initially, our clients got a lot of push back on their drug testing policies, but today, both pre-hire and random drug testing practices are considered the norm with only an occasional challenge from the ADA related to screenings for prescription drugs. While “for cause” testing is more frequently contested, according to Quest, it is the most common reason why workers are drug tested. At the current time, our clients range from zero tolerance employers who require all applicants for either permanent or temporary employment to be rigorously drug tested, to employers who openly request that we not drug screen, concerned that recruiting results will fall short of the numbers of employees needed—particularly when the workers are being used for short term, temporary assignments where product out the door is the driving factor in HR policy. Some employers claim that while some of their workers are known weekend marijuana users, they are amongst their best workers and don’t want an unnecessarily “restrictive” HR policy to interfere with their “business as usual” mentality. The type of drug testing our clients ask us to administer provides some clue as to their level of “tolerance” they are willing to enforce and at what cost. Employers who are serious about eliminating any type of drug use from their workforce typically require hair testing over urine or saliva testing because of its ability to uncover signs of drug use for up to 6 months. Unfortunately, we anticipate these will be the first types of drug testing methods to be legally challenged. While at the current time employers in both Washington and Colorado retain the right to restrict the recreational use of marijuana by employees and can impose sanctions on employees testing positive for marijuana whether it was ingested during a work day or on the weekend. Many believe that the court test of these “one size fits all” types of drug testing policies and sanctions are just around the corner.

How Long Should I Keep Electronic Recruiting Correspondence?

by Jeanne Knutzen | September 29, 2014

0 Blog, Management.Supervision Electronic Recruiting Correspondence, Hiring Practices, HR Management, Inc., Strategic Human Resources

By Strategic Human Resources, Inc. Question: Much of our recruiting is now done online and via email. Do I need to keep the emails generated from our last round of hiring? Does it matter if the candidate followed through with a response or not? Answer: You need to keep any records from the search for one year–those that you were considering AND those that you were not (even those that applied but may not have followed through with a response to your email). Keeping them in an electronic file is great–date it and pitch it next year. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires employers to keep employment records for one year. After that time, employers can either discard the record or archive it, provided they maintain the confidentiality of information contained in each record. Suppose you have a resume, cover letter, list of references, and brief notes from a telephone screening, yet you decided to select other candidates for in-person interviews. The records generated, including electronically, during the course of the preliminary screening are, in fact, hiring records. They must be kept for one year, pursuant to EEOC regulations. Another important reason to keep hiring records on file even if the applicant wasn't hired is so applicants don't have possible recourse if they are rejected during the hiring process. Applicants who claim they weren't hired based on factors not related to the job (i.e, race, sex, national origin, age or religion) have up to one year to file a formal discrimination charge with the EEOC. Should the EEOC decide to investigate the applicant's complaint, the agency can ask employers to produce records used during the hiring process. The company's hiring practices don't look favorable if the employer can't comply with the request because it has discarded the hiring materials. Strategic Human Resources, Inc., is a national full-service HR management firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Our president and founder, Robin Throckmorton, can be reached at Robin@strategichrinc.com.

Tips for Finding and Developing HiPos in Your Company

by Jeanne Knutzen | September 29, 2014

0 Blog, Hiring.Best Practices Darcy Jacobsen, high potential employees, HiPos, HR position, IED and Stanford Business School, succession plan, succession planning

By Darcy Jacobsen According to a study by Quantum Workplace, 1 percent of executives believe that their succession plans are excellent. Okay. You might be in the lucky minority. You might be that rare company that has a fantastic multi-level succession plan based on substantive, nuanced data, which not only makes your high-potential employees feel invested, but also yields great leadership for your organization. But it's statistically unlikely. You're probably more like the rest of the world. You would love to have that kind of succession plan. It comes up in meetings all the time, but when it comes to actually creating it, there's a sort of paralysis that sets in. Shoulders are shrugged. Helpless looks exchanged. There's no clear path. No sense where to start. And it all gets pushed off to the next meeting. Or quarter. Or decade. "The majority (of executives) do not think that their organizations are doing enough to prepare for eventual changes in leadership at the CEO and C-suite levels," says Stanford professor David Larcker in the 2014 Report on Senior Executive Succession Planning and Talent Development. "Nor are they confident that they have the right practices in place to be sure of identifying the best leaders for tomorrow. These findings are surprising, really, given the importance that strong leadership has on the long-term performance of organizations. Research shows that companies with sound succession plans tend to do better." I got an email from a reader the other day who provided a great view from the trenches on this topic. He is a candidate for a director of HR position at an IT company, and after an interview where the CEO and COO grilled him about his ideas for succession planning, he wrote: "Succession planning from my experience (or lack of) is like the HR equivalent of searching for the Holy Grail! I have yet to work for a public or private company that has been able to even dip their toes into this sacred pool." According to a 2010 survey by Korn/Ferry, 98 percent of companies believe a CEO succession plan to be important–but only 35 percent actually have one in place. Likewise, DDI's 2011 Global Leadership Forecast found that only 1 in 3 organizations have high-quality, effective development plans for leadership in general, and in a 2011 AMA Enterprise survey only half of survey respondents said their organizations were somewhat effective in their ability to retain high-potential employees. Would we all like to have a great succession plan? Yes. Do we all know where to start? Apparently not. According to the 2014 Report on Senior Executive Succession Planning and Talent Development published by IED and Stanford Business School, here are the Six Key Elements of Successful Succession Planning:

  1. Strategic Planning – Determine what capabilities, roles, and talent are needed to execute the business strategy today and in the future.
  2. Talent Assessment – Gauge the executive team's bench strength. Do we have who we need (now and in future) and if not, how do we get there?
  3. Recruiting – Develop a talent pipeline for key roles/jobs.
  4. Performance Assessment – Let people know they are valued contributors and provide them opportunities for development, exposure to executives, networking across divisions, etc. (Get them on the corporate radar screen.)
  5. Development – Create development plans for individuals. (e.g., leadership workshops, classes, on-the-job learning, assignments, special projects, 360s, external classes, etc.)
  6. Retention and Engagement – Rewards and recognition, work environment, opportunities for development, job autonomy and scope of responsibilities, etc.
This is fantastic advice, but it may not have gotten you any closer to implementation. If you're like most companies, there are three underlying challenges that are preventing you from putting that plan into practice. They sound like this:
  • How do we identify and assess succession candidates and HiPos in the first place?
  • What are the components of a development plan that keeps them engaged and onboard?
  • How do we track their work performance and growth over time?
Here are five brass-tacks tips we can offer for overcoming those challenges:
  • Stop talking in generalities. What is the definition of "high potential" in your organization? Not the Wikipedia definition. YOUR definition. Your culture is unique, and so is your leadership style. If you have not defined what it means to be high-potential–specifically at your company–how can you expect people to execute on that? This paper from Kenan Flagler Business School at UNC includes some nice case studies, and did find some commonalities among the competencies organizations look for in their high-potential candidates. 70 percent of respondents looked for future performance potential and 69 percent looked for strategic thinking ability. Other criteria included a drive for results, current and sustained performance, culture fit, and commitment to the organization. Ultimately, though, the definition has to come organically from your own company culture.
  • Use recognition data to find your HiPos. This is the single best piece of original advice I have in this article. Want to find your best future leaders? Look at who your employees are already recognizing as informal leaders. Performance management cannot always discern high performance from high potential. According to the Corporate Leadership Council, only 29 percent of high performers are also high-potential employees. If you want to see who the informal leaders in your organization are, look at the recognition work circles. Those people who are in the center of them? Those are the people who have the biggest influence on your company. Chances are, all of your future leaders are there.
  • Be more incremental. Many companies focus all of their planning on their chief executives, and go no further. Succession planning cannot be for the CEO alone and focusing all your attention only on getting people to the top spot can be paralyzing. Creating a healthy talent pipeline means developing at all levels. As former Campbell's Soup leader Doug Conant recently shared in an interview: "To succeed in an enduring way, you must develop well-rounded leaders who can work in a frenetic environment. If you're not looking forward, watch out. Even the mighty will fall. While the CEO manages succession, the board needs to champion the development of talent. Leaders change, markets change, and it's hard to find and maintain an enduring proposition without an enduring stream of talent." Instead of worrying about getting the elite on a direct track to the C-suite, concentrate more of your succession efforts on simply getting a pipeline full of people with leadership potential.
  • Use positive feedback as a development tool. There's a raging debate out there about whether or not you should tell your HiPos that they are being developed for leadership. No matter which side you fall on, it is critical to make these employees feel that you are developing and valuing them. Positive feedback is critical to this process, and it will keep HiPo employees feeling aligned, engaged, and relevant. I think this CCL paper has some other terrific insights into what specifically companies are doing for development of HiPos, and how HiPos feel about it. Note the word "cloud" on page 13 of the CCL paper. HiPos equate their identification with recognition, so it is important to continue that reciprocal process throughout their development.
  • It's a marathon, not a sprint. Identifying candidates and throwing development their way isn't enough. You need to assess, track, and continually evaluate their progress. Mentoring is a fantastic method for both development and assessment, because it puts someone on the ground with the candidate who is focused on their progress and well-positioned to judge their progress. Performance evaluations are also important, of course; but again, recognition can be an invaluable tool to give you insight into how those identified future leaders are performing, and how valid that assessment continues to be. There's some good advice in this Aon Hewitt paper on both initial identification and ongoing assessment of succession candidates.
I hope as you seek to transform your organization's succession plan into one that's a cut above the competition. Let us know how you do, and please share any insights you might have with us. Darcy Jacobsen is a content marketing manager at Globoforce, the world's leading provider of SaaS (software-as-a-service)–based employee recognition solutions. Through its social, mobile, and global technology, Globoforce helps HR and business leaders elevate employee engagement, increase employee retention, manage company culture, and discover the power of real-time performance management. Contact her or follow her writing at www.globoforce.com/gfblog.

Countdown to ACA Compliance

by Jeanne Knutzen | September 23, 2014

0 ACA Affordable Healthcare, Blog, Legal Issues - Staffing Employment Agency Bellevue, Employment Agency Everett, Employment Agency Kent, Employment Agency Seattle, Employment Agency Tacoma, Employment Agency Washington State, hiring, Hiring Bellevue, Hiring Everett, Hiring Seattle, Hiring Tacoma, Temporary Staffing Bellevue, Temporary Staffing Everett, Temporary Staffing Kent, Temporary Staffing Seattle, Temporary Staffing Tacoma, Temporary Staffing Washington

Part II. ACA Requirements and Penalties - 2015! Yes, the 2,300 pages it took to write the law, followed by the 10,000+ pages of regulatory interpretation can be daunting, but with the January 1st launch of our transitional year just around the corner, we are taking the time to boil down the complication into the “critical few”—things our clients MUST KNOW about what lies ahead. In Part I, we provided a complete glossary of ACA terms—just so you would have a playbook. In Part II, we are providing a simple outline of employer and employee requirements for 2015.

  • Employer (Shared Responsibility) Requirements: In 2015, employers with 100 or more full time employees (or full time equivalents) must offer a healthcare insurance plan that provides Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) to 70% of its full time employees and their dependent children or be subject to “failure to offer” penalties described below.
  • Individual (Shared Responsibility) Requirements: As in 2014, individuals must enroll in a healthcare plan that provides themselves and their dependents with MEC level coverage. If they do not obtain MEC insurance, either through their employer or Medicaid, they are required to purchase an ACA approved plan through a State or Federal Exchange—in Washington we have a “working” Exchange.
  • Employer Penalties: It is important for employers to distinguish between two important differences in mandated plans:
    • MEC/Minimum Essential Coverage plans are typically very low cost plans that meet both the individual and the employer mandates.
    • MVP/Minimum Value Plans are most costly plans that must meet ACA actuarial value standards in addition to “affordability” standards. Most MVP plans will meet MEC requirements, but not vice versa, making employers subject to two types of penalties.
1. Failure to Offer Penalties. Employers who fail to offer a MEC plan to 70% of their eligible employees (and their dependent children) will pay a monthly tax/penalty of $167 or $2,000/yr.—for each eligible fulltime employee. This tax/penalty is calculated on your entire eligible workforce and will include all those employees who have been offered and accepted coverage. Deductions: In 2015, you can deduct 80 employees from your count of eligible employees. In each year after 2015, you can deduct only 30. For example, in 2015 if you have 100 employees working for you in a month and do not offer coverage to at least 70 of those employees, your monthly penalty will be based on 20 employees (100 minus 80) calculated at $167 each for a total of $3,340 tax or penalty each month you fail to offer. 2. “Inadequate Plan” Penalties. If the plan an employer offers is either “unaffordable” or does not provide “minimum value” (MVP) the tax/penalty per month for employers increases to $250/month (up to $3K annually). This penalty is unique and much more complicated to administrate in that it is applied only to those employees who seek and are granted a government subsidy as a result of applying for insurance on a State Exchange. If an employee is offered both a MEC and MVP plan and EITHER refuses both, or ELECTS only the MEC option, they WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR A SUBSIDY. NOTE: Most employees are not aware of this special provision of the law and may enroll in a low cost MEC plan believing that by enrolling they will become compliant with the individual mandate while preserving the option of receiving subsidies at a later date. An employee who has been offered both MEC and MVP coverage and elects the lower cost MEC coverage, loses their eligibility for subsidy. 3. Individual Penalties/Taxes/Fees: For your employees, the penalty (technically referenced as a tax or fee) for failing to obtain the required insurance coverage is either a flat dollar amount per person or a percentage of household income. These penalties are already in effect for 2014, but go up significantly in 2015.
  • In 2014: the penalty is $95 per person, $47.50 per child (up to $285 per family) or 1% of household taxable income, whichever is greater.
  • In 2015: the penalty is $325 per person, $162.50 per child (up to $975 per family) or 2% of household taxable income, whichever is greater.
  • In 2016: the penalty is $695 per person, $347.50 per child (up to $2085 per family) or 2.5% of household taxable income, whichever is greater.
  • In 2017 and beyond: the penalty will be the same as 2016 with Cost of Living increases.
4. Your Employee’s Eligibility for Subsidies: Individuals with household incomes determined to be 100-400% of federal poverty levels may be eligible for government funded subsidies to buy their insurance. Employees become ineligible for these subsidies if:
  • They are already on Medicaid.
  • They have been offered and refused an employer’s offer of a healthcare plan that is both affordable and meets MVP requirements.
  • They purchase insurance through venues other than a “qualified” Exchange—in our case the Washington Exchange.
In 2014, the poverty level for an individual is $11,670, which means that for families of four, subsidies will likely be available if the family earns anywhere from $23,050 and $92,200 annually. The eligibility boundary for 2015 is not yet available, although current estimates are that in 2015 over 26 million people will be eligible for subsidies. 5. Discrimination. The regulations relating to the new discrimination provisions embedded in the ACA have not been written and the IRS has promised it will not enforce any of its discrimination provisions until regulations have been published. We know that sometime in the near future employer funded plans will become subject to tests ensuring that differential treatment not be awarded to highly compensated employees, but it is the nature of these tests that has not been determined. Employers need to be paying attention to these regulations likely to be published in 2015 as the challenge of avoiding discrimination will be a significant cost management issue for employers with diverse workforces and an historical pattern of providing unique benefit options to their highly paid employees. In the meantime, in 2015 employers will be able to offer different plans to different employee groups and can contribute differently to employees based on “their group.” If the plans offered meet MEC, MVP and “affordability” tests, typical tiered/pay up plans are allowable in 2015 without risk of penalty. 6. Record Keeping. 2015 adds several new layers of administrative and reporting requirements for ACA defined “large” employers (50 or more employees), regardless of whether or not you are subject to the employer mandates in the 2015 transitional year. Notices to Employees. Since October 2013, all “large” employers have been required to provide new hires with a statement of their eligibility for coverage that they can either obtain through you or the Exchange. The IRS has made this compliance requirement easy to administer by providing samples of required letters. They are available for download via the IRS website: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform/regulations/coverageoptionsnotice.html Forms 1095 C. In accordance with section 6056 of the IRS code, employers offering a self-insured MEC plan AND employers considered “large” under ACA standards will be required to report annually on all employees who worked for them as a full time employee for at least one month during 2015 and each reporting year thereafter. These reports, using Form 1095-C need to be prepared monthly throughout 2015, but will not be submitted to the IRS until March of 2016 (if filed electronically). Form 1095-C must be submitted to employees by end of January 2016.
  • The data required, organized by month, includes:
  • The number of full time employees (each month).
  • The name, address, and SSN of each full-time employee (each month).
  • The months during which coverage was available.
  • A certification, month by month, of the employer size.
  • A certification, month by month, as to whether the employer offered the full time employee (and his or her dependents) the opportunity to enroll in employer-sponsored coverage.
  • The amount the employee would need to pay if they accepted the lowest cost monthly premium (for self-funded programs only).
  • The months, if any, during which the employee was covered.
Forms 1095 B. The ACA also added section 6055 to the IRS Code, requiring all insurers and self-insured employers providing minimum essential coverage (MEC plans) to submit annual reports (Form 1095-B) identifying the costs of their plan and who was covered. If you are an employer who offers a fully insured group health plan, your insurance issuer is required to submit the returns, but if you offer a self-insured plan, you are required to submit the returns (even though a third party may prepare the return). Employers are generally subject to penalties for failure to file Forms 1095 -B and C; although the IRS has said that in 2015 they will not impose penalties for incomplete or incorrect information if the employer made a good faith effort to comply. W-2 Reporting. The requirement to include the costs of certain healthcare benefits on the employees W-2 at the end of each year has been in effect since 2012, but has only been loosely enforced. From 2013 on, employers filing 250 or more W-2 forms annually are required to report the total value of certain employer-sponsored health benefits to all employees receiving this benefit. The amounts reported are strictly informational and have no impact on the employee’s taxable income. In Part III of our Countdown to ACA Compliance, we will be discussing the special provisions of the ACA that apply specifically to temporary and contract workers—our specialty. There are provisions in the law that you should know about to protect yourself from unforeseen fines and penalties. jeanneThis article was prepared by Jeanne Knutzen, CSC, the President and Founder of the PACE Staffing Network. PACE remains committed to full compliance with the ACA and offers a variety of staffing products and services designed to ensure that our clients have options for containing the costs associated with ACA compliance. For a confidential discussion of how these services might be applied to your workforce, particularly your temporary and contract employees, contact a member of our PSN partnership team at infodesk@pacestaffing.com or 425.6376.3312.    

Retain Employees. Manage Turnover. Which Is It?

by Jeanne Knutzen | September 9, 2014

0 Blog, Flexible Staffing Strategies, Management.Supervision Employment Agency Bellevue, Employment Agency Everett, Employment Agency Kent, Employment Agency Seattle, Employment Agency Tacoma, Employment Agency Washington State, hiring, Hiring Bellevue, Hiring Everett, Hiring Seattle, Hiring Tacoma, Temporary Staffing Bellevue, Temporary Staffing Everett, Temporary Staffing Kent, Temporary Staffing Seattle, Temporary Staffing Tacoma, Temporary Staffing Washington

Okay…while not a pure play contrarian, I’m finding myself reacting less than enthusiastically to all the talk on employee retention that has been hitting the airwaves lately—apparently the hot topic in the staffing world. For me, the mandate that companies do what is necessary to retain their high value talent is HR 101. So when I read all the hoopla on the value of retention, I want to make sure our readers also hear the other side of the story—that for some jobs, the goal can’t always be about reducing turnover/improving retention, but needs to be more about better managing the turnover they have—smartly, proactively! MANAGED TURNOVER is a different sort of staffing strategy that I believe has a legitimate place in any hiring manager’s arsenal of staffing options.    Most (but not all) of the MANAGED TURNOVER staffing models we put together for our clients are developed in response to scenarios involving what we call High Impact/Low Appeal (HI/LA) jobs! You know those jobs—ranging from that pesky front office job that was crafted from all the work no one wants to do, to the folks in your warehouse doing that boring, repetitive assembly type work that no one could pay you enough to do. No matter how great the manager’s motivational skills or generous the company’s pay programs, the nature of HI/LA work lends itself to workforce issues—increases in absenteeism, accident rates, and other workplace mischief that makes HR shutter. Sooner or later most HI/LA jobs suffer from high levels of voluntary or involuntary turnover, directly impacting team or company performance. When asked to find employees for HI/LA jobs, one of the first things we explore is the option of ending the uphill battle for retention, and replacing it with a staffing model involving a strategically rotating group of temporary workers. Here’s why:

  • New temporary workers can come to HI/LA jobs fresh, ready to perform at high levels when their motivation to meet a new challenge is at its highest.
  • Temporary workers are easily rotated out of HI/LA jobs when the work is no longer new; the employee is no longer fresh.
  • Turnover (for the client) goes away, replaced by assignment starts and ends,
  • …as does the costs and hassle of recruiting and vetting new employees. That work is shifted to a third party staffing agency.
MANAGED TURNOVER programs are built around statistically measured cycles of performance that exist for all jobs, all employees. While specific timelines and measurement units (ex. productivity, attendance, etc.) vary, each employee’s performance in an HI/LA job usually comes out in some version of a bell shaped curve. When the employee is new, they are motivated to learn and fit in with the team. Productivity increases until the newness wears off and the signs of boredom or discontent start to surface in the form of issues with attendance, carelessness, and other forms of worker misconduct. Chart for Blog The goal of a MANAGED TURNOVER staffing model is to optimize the number of workers in the earliest, most productive, stages of the performance cycle, while systematically cycling out employees just before they start into the downward cycle. When done proactively, the employee’s temporary assignment begins and ends at predetermined times, most correlated with optimized worker performance. One of the important benefits of a MANAGED TURNOVER staffing model is that it side steps all the negativity embedded in a core employee staffing model applied to HI/LA jobs. Employers no longer spend time outlining their defense of a decision to terminate a core employee. Employees no longer struggle with a job that is no longer challenging. Assignments begin and end in accordance with a custom designed staffing plan based on the performance cycle typical of that particular job or workforce. Minimal hassle, minimal complication. The heavy lifting of replacing departing employees is assigned to a third party staffing agency, reducing if not eliminating internal recruiting costs. Another side benefit of a MANAGED TURNOVER staffing model is that your temporary workforce becomes an always-available pool of candidates for hire. As all hiring managers know, when it’s time to hire the ramp up time, costs to find, screen and hire a new employee can be significant. And there is no guarantee that who your hire will work out. Having a large number of auditioning workers continuously available for hire allows employers to hire in a timely way, selecting only the very best to become a part of their core team, reducing the costs and disruption of hiring errors. Not to worry, a MANAGED TURNOVER model doesn’t mean your entire workforce becomes "temps." Depending on the work to be performed, there are identifiable ratios of core and non-core workers that optimize overall performance. Too many temps and stability suffers. Too many core workers and your operational costs will eat away at your bottom line during your less busy periods. Ratios of temp to core workers can range anywhere from 10-15% to a high of 85-90%, depending on your business cycles and the nature of the work. Here are two examples where one of our PSN partnership teams implemented “managed turnover” staffing models that improved worker outputs, dramatically reduced recruiting costs, and/or improved overall team performance and morale: Some of our earliest converts to a managed turnover staffing model were call center clients who were hiring large numbers of entry level employees for service roles. One particular call center was facing a serious issue with first year turnover which was both increasing their internal recruiting costs, while also impacting service levels. 1. In partnership with our client’s HR team, our call center recruiters augmented the client’s recruiting team, reducing our client's internal recruiting costs. We worked in partnership to implement a uniform staffing process where all employees, sourced either by the client or our own recruiting teams, were screened and onboarded in the same way. All new call center reps were employed by PACE during the first 90-days of their employment. This “audition period” allowed employees who were unable to meet the client’s expectations to be systematically removed from their assignment so that at the end of the audition period, the client offered employment only to those employees who were able to meet the full scope of their expectations. Those not measuring up were either given an extended “audition” period or their assignment was ended. Using this “managed turnover” staffing model in effect transferring most of the first 180-days of turnover to PACE, the client’s first year turnover rates were cut in half. Employees whose assignments were ended during the audition period became available to be placed on other PACE assignments, better suited to their personality or skill sets.  2. A second example is provided by one of our large healthcare clients who were experiencing turnover, attendance and workplace injury issues in their laundry area. After viewing the work, it was easy to see the classic HI/LA profile—physically demanding, repetitive, and ultimately boring work. While the client initially asked us to help them improve their hiring outcomes (i.e. reduce turnover), our recommendation was that they focus instead on better managing the turnover we suspected was there to stay. With the client’s guidance, we implemented a MANAGED TURNOVER staffing model.  As each core employee left we replaced them with a temporary employee, whose assignment varied in length depending on our client’s anticipated needs. The employer’s workforce was soon “mostly temps” who were hired for specific work performed for a specified time period—and were oriented and managed accordingly. The PSN partnership team set up a performance management system which, with our client’s help, was used to manage the employee’s performance. When an employee started to fall below defined standards, PACE, not the client, invested its recruiting resources to find a replacement candidate. For this client, the MANAGED TURNOVER staffing model delivered a level of orderliness and predictability to their staffing process they hadn’t experienced in the past. It eliminated the negative impact of unexpected turnover, as well as taking away the pressure on their internal recruiting teams to staff a high turnover workforce. For our temporary employees, it provided them with assurance that when their assignment ended, their performance would earn them the opportunity to be placed elsewhere.   Workplace injuries were reduced by cycling temps in and out of the performance cycle, avoiding the burnout that had been a contributing factor to both attendance and workplace accidents.             Obviously this MANAGED TURNOVER staffing model can’t be applied to all jobs and all work environments. And even if you determine that one of the HI/LA jobs you manage would lend itself to a MANAGED TURNOVER staffing model, there are some basics that need to be in place: The Right Staffing Partner. A staffing agency who only knows how to recruit people is not the partner you need to implement a MANAGED TURNOVER staffing model. Look for an agency who knows how to address productivity issues, has tools and systems in place to help you manage employees, and can bring you ideas about how to implement a managed turnover staffing plan. Look for a staffing partner as interested in solving your operating challenge as you are. The Right Financial Model. You will need to keep your CFO aware of what you are doing and why as you will be purposefully expanding your budget for temporary staffing while decreasing the monies you spend on high cost core staff. While the per hour costs of temps and core employees is almost identical (by the time you factor in all the regulatory and benefit costs of core employees), depending on how your company organizes its budgets and expense allocations, the costs of these two different types of employees can end up in different places on your financial reports and may trigger questions from “up the chain.” You will likely need at least one senior manager on your team who understands the shift you are making in how you are doing “staffing,” and why. The Right Mindset. Most of the MANAGED TURNOVER staffing models we implement with clients tend to migrate into very objective, data driven, staffing processes. Even though you are no longer managing core employees, the need for clear performance standards, transparent metrics, and fair administration does not go away! jeanneThis article was written by Jeanne Knutzen, the founder and CEO of the PACE Staffing Network. The PSN partnership teams are well versed in a variety of flexible staffing strategies, including MANAGED TURNOVER programs. For a complimentary consultation on what flexible workforce recruiting and staff strategies might work in your organization, contact us via our InfoDesk at infodesk@pacestaffing.com or by calling 425-637-3312.

How to “Do” Employee Engagement – Not Just Talk About It!

by Jeanne Knutzen | September 2, 2014

0 Blog, Recruiting. Best Practices Employee Appreciation, Employee Engagement, Employee Leadership, Employee Motivation, Fierce Inc., Halley Bock, Leadership

The following article was written by our good friend and professional colleague, Halley Bock, CEO of Fierce Inc. Fierce is a world class leadership training and development company headquartered in Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington, but with clients working with Fierce leadership concepts all over the globe.  This particular piece appeared in a recent Fierce newsletter, but was originally posted on TrainingMagazine.com. We thought our readers and other friends of PSN would benefit from reading about simple, hands on ways to engage employees in meaningful ways. Marbles Thanks to Gallup’s annual State of the American Workplace survey, we know that employee engagement statistics continue to fall short of expectations and what we know is possible for our companies and ourselves. The short and sweet of it is that only 30 percent of the U.S. workforce is engaged, with the actively disengaged costing our economy somewhere in the range of $450 billion to $500 billion per year. That’s a lot of dough to leave on the table and certainly nothing to pride ourselves on. And while so many managers are aware of this issue—we know we need our employees engaged and we can discuss this topic at great length—we don’t necessarily know how to do employee engagement. It remains a statistic we strive for: intangible, elusive, and ever increasing in importance. When it comes to employee engagement, three key trends have surfaced as the most critical for increasing and maintaining high levels of engagement: Candor, Collaboration, and Development. Big topics, yes. But when broken down, we begin to see how we can get our hands on the levers and actually do engagement. Candor According to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, companies rated by their employees as being in the top quartile in openness of communication delivered an average total shareholder return of 7.9 percent over a recent 10-year period, compared with 2.1 percent at companies in other quartiles. According to another study by Corporate Executive Board, the key indicator most strongly correlated with 10-year returns is employees’ comfort in speaking up, even when they have negative things to say. Clearly, candor is important and explains why companies with higher engagement create more profit. Here’s how to do candor: Tell the truth, always. Corporate America continues to squander employee trust, be it through the housing crisis and subsequent collapse of the economy, or the recently revealed GM safety issues and subsequent recall. Little by little, lie after lie and deceit after deceit gets revealed to scores of innocent employees who unknowingly participated in massive schemes rooted in corruption, greed, and mendacity. The devastation to our livelihoods and trust is immense. The only viable way for organizations to regain trust is simple: Tell the truth and keep telling the truth. No. Matter. What. Avoid making excuses for employees, believing they are unable to handle the truth because the truth is, they can handle it. What they can’t handle are the lies and the “massaged” truths. By speaking the truth in a skillful way, employees can rise to the challenge and actively engage themselves in the solution. Ask for the truth, frequently. Candor is a two-way street—an unending feedback loop—that should be traveled often. As much as we deliver candid feedback (both positive and critical), ask for the same in return. No matter what a person’s title, we all have blind spots and could use a refreshing, outside perspective on what we’re doing well and what we could improve. Collaboration In our own survey, The Six Key Trends That Increase Employee Productivity and Engagement, 98 percent of respondents believe exploring other points of view improves decisions. Gallup found that engagement increases at all levels of tenure as employees continue to participate in focused initiatives to improve their engagement. Imagine that: engaging employees in their own engagement through collaborative means. Here are some ideas on how to do collaboration in a way that directly feeds into increasing engagement: Work the lattice, drop the ladder. The ongoing resilience and health of any organism, animate or inanimate, depends largely on its ability to withstand change. Structures that are able to weather these storms are typically well footed, with reinforcements that tie in both vertically and horizontally. Why we believe higher safety, stability, and success exist through creating siloed organizations remains a great mystery to me. Decisions made within a vacuum are dangerous as they are less informed and, therefore, run a higher risk of failure. When making decisions that affect a strategy, customers, and/or employees, take the time to seek multiple, diverse perspectives. Reach across the lattice of the entire organization, pull in insights that will create a better outcome, and strengthen engagement across the board. Create an engagement committee. As per Gallup’s own statistic, employees appreciate having a hand in creating and sustaining their own engagement. This explains why many firms with coveted top engagement levels have teams or committees focused solely on this initiative, or on being a “best place to work.” A company’s engagement culture is not something that can be managed from the top down. Culture is an outcome that results from the quality of relationships employees have with one another, with their company, and with their leaders. Because it is such a vast ocean and because engagement is created through different means for different people, it makes a heck of a lot of sense to create a cross-boundary committee to help guide this ship. By inviting employees in at the ground level we can increase engagement levels immediately. The upside only gets better from there. Development Individual development and the ability to make an impact on an organization is an increasingly hot topic for high potentials and Millennials. To pull another statistic from Gallup’s survey, Gen X and Baby Boomers are the least engaged, but Millennials are the most likely of all generations to leave their companies in the next 12 months if the job market improves. Why? Because they often feel road-blocked from reaching their full potential due to outdated development and promotion programs. These are typically programs that are blindly followed and have very little to do with the individual on the other end. Rather than do development on behalf of others, let’s involve employees so they can do development for themselves. Ask the questions, lose the assumptions. Another danger of living within the confines of a ladder, silo, or closed system is that we lose sight of all the possibilities and begin to view the world in a fairly one-dimensional way. We begin to assume that the only way to progress in a company is to go “up.” Or that it involves managing more people. Or that it means adding an “S” to the “VP” within a title. Or that it certainly must involve a merit increase. In short, we begin to make assumptions that may have a lot to do with our own values and experience but may have little or nothing to do with the individual sitting in front of us. Before envisioning a development path for employees and starting them down that journey, ask them how it is they see themselves growing within the organization. Put the onus on them to create a vision of their future and then develop a path that speaks to them. In essence, engage them in their own development right from the beginning. Challenge status quo. Gone are the days of applying one rule across multiple cases with the expectation that it will “hold water” for an extended time. The world, and thereby business, has become too dynamic and so have the generations of people we employ. To engage today’s workforce and meet their development needs, focus on individuals and their capabilities when assessing new opportunities. For example, revisit how quickly a high-performing employee potentially could make the jump from a junior to senior position. Does it really have to be after a two-year term or after having managed x number of projects or people? If employing a remote workforce is currently off-limits yet a top player requires this shift, lean into the possibility and seriously consider why this would not/could not work. Chances are, those fears are not based on reality and are tied to something else that needs to be challenged. Bottom line, when a top performer challenges your beliefs, rather than defend the policy or your stance, get curious with yourself and the employee. Genuine exploration into a juicy topic alongside any employee automatically will create engagement, and will do so no matter what the outcome. In summary, engagement requires engagement. There’s a lot of doing required—transforming this huge, amorphous topic into something tangible that we can act on. It won’t happen as a result of offering extravagant perks but comes through reinforcing each and every connection within an organization. Creating an intentional culture by focusing on candor, collaboration, and individualized development will put a company well on the path to achieving the statistics we all aspire to.  

Culture Fit? There’s an App for that!

by Jeanne Knutzen | August 21, 2014

0 Blog, Hiring.Best Practices Culture Fit, Employee Culture fit, Employee Selection, good.co, HR Professionals, Job seekers and employees

By Ira S. Wolfe Culture fit is very often the determining factor on whether an employee stays at a job long-term. With one out of two workers quitting before 18 months, managers could use some help. Despite years of urging hiring managers and HR professionals to focus employee selection on culture and team fit, many hiring decisions still ignore attitude and personal values, especially at a time when skilled workers are scarce and unfilled jobs plague many businesses. When the education and experience fits, it seems to blind managers to the fact that no matter how good the wings, pigs won't fly. However, if managers don't get the importance of culture fit, job applicants sure do. A new app has been released that helps jobseekers and employees figure out how well matched they are–or aren't–to the company. The app, developed by Good.co, is another warning shot across the employer's bow when it comes to hiring. Too many companies prefer to ignore and look the other way. Employers aren't the wizard behind the curtain anymore. When they finally pull back the curtain and look outside, the job and labor markets will look much different. Job applicants are now often more savvy, more sophisticated, and better equipped to make job choices than managers are prepared to make good hiring decisions. While employers have been reluctant to assess jobseekers for job and culture fit using various assessments, jobseekers seem to be doing it on their own. Jobseekers–at least the ones owning the skills and talent–are now making the decision to apply or accept a job based on fit, not the other way around. This reversal of fortune should scare the bejeezus out of management. What's more is that Good.co ditched their web application and decided to focus exclusively on mobile devices. It's another sign as to how job applicants are using mobile devices to look for and apply to jobs...while many companies are still living in a world of paper and email applications. Jobseekers want to apply for a job, chat with management, participate in an interview, and even complete pre-employment assessments via their mobile devices–just like they shop, buy, communicate, and even complain with businesses every day as customers. Yet employers still insist jobseekers fill out lengthy applications on paper or on a non-mobile-friendly website or email a resume. Far worse, the response and feedback to jobseekers is slow to non-existent. It's another indication of how out of touch many businesses are with the new realities of staffing a workforce. I'm not saying that this app is the end-all-and-be-all of employee screening. It's not. But it is the beginning of a tsunami-like shift in how employers will hire and how jobseekers (and employees) will find new jobs. It's an indication of how much technology, social media, the Internet, and a demographic shift has changed recruiting and employee screening. For now, these jobseeker-side personality quizzes are mostly entertaining. But as tech companies accumulate more and more data, hiring and retention will become very interesting as jobseekers and employees assess their fit with a company long before the company even has a chance to contact them. Ira S. Wolfe is a nationally recognized thought leader in talent management and an expert in pre-employment assessment testing, workforce trends, and social media. Wolfe is president of Success Performance Solutions (www.successperformancesolutions.com), a pre-employment and leadership testing firm he founded in 1996. He is the author of several books, including Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization; The Perfect Labor Storm 2.0; and Understanding Business Values and Motivators. He can be reached at iwolfe@super-solutions.com.

Ground Rules for Applicant Follow Up

by Jeanne Knutzen | August 21, 2014

0 Blog, Hiring.Best Practices Applicant Follow Up, Application Process, Interview Process, Recruitment Process

By Debbie Hatke Question: What are the ground rules for following up with job applicants after they've applied (even ones that aren't even minimally qualified)? Answer: This is definitely a challenge in today's job market when applying to a job is a click away. If the candidate was interviewed but not selected, it is extremely important that you send them a letter notifying them of your decision. Doing this is beneficial to both you and the candidate. Notifying someone that they did not get the job is respectful; it allows them to "move on" and continue their job search. This can help establish you as an employer of choice–a company that treats both their employees and prospective employees with respect. You should also keep in mind that current interviewees may be future customers of your business or know someone who already is. Sending a candidate a letter can be good for your reputation as a business as well as an employer. If you are worried that you simply don't have the time to write and send a candidate letter, consider that doing so will actually help you organize your recruitment process, which will save you time in the long run. By telling interviewees that you will follow up with them and then doing so in a timely manner, you'll have fewer calls and emails to respond to. Also, once you get a basic letter written, it will take very little time to personalize before sending it out to each candidate. Some important things to consider when writing the letter are:

  • Address the candidate by name, and try to personalize the letter as much possible.
  • Always thank them for their time, effort, and interest. It's nice to include a heart-felt compliment such as, "Your qualifications were impressive."
  • State the reason why they did not get the position. Generally, the reason given is that the position has been filled by a candidate whose credentials were better suited to the position. There is also nothing wrong with simply stating that the position has been filled.
  • Describe the company procedure, if there is one, regarding keeping resumes on file. You may also offer the applicant the opportunity to apply for future positions. Of course, only do so if you are sincere.
  • Wish the applicant well in their future job search.
  • If you are sending the letter by regular post, always include your signature.
It's important to keep the letter brief, and remember to be honest, kind, and tactful. Finally, be sure to send the letters out quickly after making your decision, but not so quickly that the candidate feels like you didn't give them fair consideration (Two to three days post-interview is a good rule of thumb). A well-thought out hiring process helps you better target candidates, and how you treat current candidates definitely has a positive impact the response you get with future searches. Debbie Hatke is the Talent Strategy Manager at Strategic HR, Inc., a national full service HR consulting firm based in Cincinnati, OH. If you have questions or comments about this article, you can contact her at Debbie@StrategicHRinc.com.

The Rehire: How To Win Back Good Employees

by Jeanne Knutzen | August 21, 2014

0 Blog, Hiring.Best Practices Boomerang Employee, Employee Rehire, Hiring Manager, Returning Employee, Snyder Effect

 By Jessica Miller-Merrell The economy is like a pendulum and has been swinging back toward prosperity. As a hiring manager or organizational leader, it may have been only a few short years ago you were scheduling meetings in regard to corporate layoffs. Layoffs cost your organization more than the size of its employees. And, you lost more productivity than you can simply regain with the sourcing, hiring, and training of a new body. Experience, insight, and industry knowledge walked out the door with every pink slip. Today, you want to regain the momentum you lost, wind up, and take off down the path of prosperity and growth. Add the extra challenge of the talent that stayed the course with you through the slowdown which is now being syphoned off by other companies, further weakening your company's internal talent. You need to add new talent. You need qualified candidates. You need them now. You may be faced with the prospect of a rehire. Often referred to as a boomerang employee, a rehire is defined as someone who is a returning employee. Their role may be the same or different, but they left the organization at some point either voluntarily or involuntarily. They already understand the culture of the organization; they know what is expected and are familiar with the work environment. The boomerang employee doesn't just have to be a victim of a layoff. He or she could have left for what seemed like a greener pasture. Maybe they retired and realized they weren't quite ready. Whatever the case may be, they used to work for your company and now don't. But, having them back could mean a boost to your company's productivity and talent. I call this the coach Snyder effect. Rehires come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Take head football coach Bill Snyder of the Kansas State Wildcats. Snyder took the head football coaching job at Kansas State in 1989. What Snyder did for the Wildcats is nothing short of legendary and his list of awards and accomplishments through the years are amazing. He retired in 2005 and Kansas State moved on; the tradition amazing football KSU fans had grown to expect took an immediate nosedive. It didn't take long for rumors of a return from retirement to start churning. And, in November 2008, coach Snyder was rehired and returned to the sidelines in 2009 – a rare return in college football. The same holds true for Howard Schultz, former Starbucks CEO, who returned to lead the then struggling coffee house chain in early 2008. Schultz returned to replace Jim Donald as the head coffee bean. Upon Schultz's return, organizational changes were made resulting in store closures, layoffs, and product offering changes. It seems that this boomerang made an impact as sales for Starbucks continue to soar since his return. Jay Leno is another great example. In 2004, NBC brought on Conan O'Brien with the intentions of replacing Jay Leno as late night show host. Leno retired as host in 2009 ushering in a new era as O'Brien took the lead spot. Ratings suffered and Leno was effectively rehired into his old position, debuting the new old Late Show in March 2010. Should you bring back lost employees and is it a good idea for your company? Before you start sifting through past employee files, there are some things you should consider. HOW-TO: WIN BACK GOOD EMPLOYEES Continue to establish a line of communication. Keep the communication lines open with former employees, often referred to as alumni. This could be through LinkedIn, alumni networks, and/or an alumni newsletter. Be creative, but don't badger. Demonstrate value. This means giving something to your alumni community first that creates value, conversation, and discussion. Maybe it's a free resume writing class or webinar. Create value and put yourself in the shoes of your alumni network. What's important to them should be what you're writing/talking to them about. Build a rehire database. Just like a talent pipeline within your organization, your rehire community and database should include ratings, information, and insights from previous managers and management. Build your most wanted list and target your must hires and re-hires. Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is an author, speaker, HR professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president/CEO of Xceptional HR and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience.

Countdown to ACA Compliance

by Jeanne Knutzen | August 19, 2014

0 ACA Affordable Healthcare, Blog, Legal Issues - Staffing ACA and contract staff, ACA and temporary staff, ACA compliance, ACA Definitions, ACA glossary, ACA vocabulary, Affordable Care Act and temporary staffing, Variable Hour Employees

Part I. A Glossary of “ACA Speak” With the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act just around the corner (January 1st, 2015 for employers with 100+ FTEs), employers everywhere are facing the last round of ACA challenges. To make sure our clients and friends are tracking with ACA requirements, particularly those that impact their use of temporary or contract staff, we will be publishing a series of informational pieces about the ACA called “ACA Smart.” We will be identifying those provisions in the law that we know will drive up your staffing costs, but also the opportunities we see to drive down these costs by making adjustments in how temporary and contract staff are put to work. “ACA Smart” will also cover the operational policies we recommend employers put in place to protect themselves from unanticipated costs or penalties stemming from misguided co-employment protocols. In Part I of “ACA Smart,” we offer a dictionary of ACA terms - all those new words that will soon become part of the regulatory landscape. Key ACA Terms and Definitions Applicable Large Employer (ALE):  In 2015, refers to an employer with 100 or more full time equivalent employees. In 2016 will be adjusted to include employers with 50 or more full time equivalent employees. Only ALE’s are subject to the employer mandates and related penalties. Full Time Equivalent (FTE):  A term frequently used in the context of determining an employer’s size – the number of people they employee. When applied to a part-time or non-classified employee, it is used to determine what percentage of a full time employee each part-time worker represents. Employer Size:  The size of an employer’s workforce is determined by counting all full time employees and adding to that number a calculation of the aggregate number of FTEs stemming from part-time or non-classified (variable hour) employees. The FTE assigned to a part-time employee is calculated as a percentage of the number of hours actually worked during a month divided by 120 hours. For example, if a part-time employee works 110 hours, their FTE = .917 or 110 divided by 120. (Eligible) Full Time Employee:  Any employee who averages at least 30 hours per week (130 hours per month; 1560 hours per year). Only full time employees are required to be covered under ACA employer mandates. (Non-Eligible) Part-Time Employee:  Any employee who averages less than 30 hours per week (130 hours per month; 1560 hours per year). Part-time employees are not required to be covered by an employer, but must be included in a calculation of company. Seasonal Employees:  Employees working less than 120 days in a year for “seasonal” reasons. Seasonal employees are automatically excluded from ACA coverage. Variable Hour Employees:  Refers to employees who, at the time of hire, cannot reasonably be classified as either part or full time. Variable hour employees are classified as either part or full time depending on the number of hours actually worked during either an “initial” (IMP) or “standard measurement” period (SMP). Many temporary or contract workers, but not all, will be classified as “variable hour” employees depending on how the conditions of their assignment is described. Your staffing agency is responsible to classify each employee as full, part or variable hour at the point of hire. Ongoing Employee:  An employee who has been employed for at least one standard measurement period (SMP). Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC):  The requirement to be ACA compliant is a healthcare plan must cover certain healthcare basics – “the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease.” All individuals are required to purchase MEC compliant plans, unless they are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIPs) or a Veteran based plan that is automatically classified as MEC compliant. MEC plans are also referenced as “skinny” plans. Of note, is that most of the healthcare plans currently available for temporary or contract workers are “fixed indemnity plans” that do not meet MEC standards. Minimum Value Coverage (MVC):  The requirement to be ACA compliant is a healthcare plan must cover over at least 60% of the overall costs associated with, 1) physician and mid-level practitioner services, 2) hospital and emergency care, 3) pharmacy costs, and 4) laboratory/ imaging services. Of note, is that prior to the ACA, most employer plans had an actuarial value exceeding 85%. The lack of availability of 60% plans in the insurance marketplace is a significant issue for all employers focused on containing costs. Affordability:  Refers to the ACA requirement that the employee’s share of the costs associated with their purchase of a healthcare plan for themselves (not their spouse or family) can be no more than 9.5% of the employee’s gross income. If an employee earns $2,000 per month, (approx. $11.60/hr.), they cannot be asked to pay more than $190/month towards their healthcare plan in order for the plan to be considered “affordable.” A plan costing an employer $400/month will, therefore, require that employer to contribute $210/month. Play:  Refers to the decision an employer makes to offer a healthcare plan that provides Minimum Essential (MEC) coverage to 70% of its full time employees and their dependent children under age 26 in 2015, 95% in 2016. NOTE: 1) It is not mandatory to offer coverage for spouses, only dependent children under age 26 and 2) employers who “play” are still subject to penalties if:

  1. their plan is not affordable,
  2. they fail to offer the mandated coverage to the required percentage of eligible employees, or
  3. if they do not offer coverage that meets Minimum Value requirements.
Pay – “Failure to Offer” Penalties:  Refers to an employer’s decision not to offer a MEC qualified plans, making them subject to penalties for “failure to offer.” The “failure to offer” penalty is assessed on the basis of the number of employees in the employer’s workforce otherwise eligible to receive coverage. Pay – “Unaffordable or Minimum Value” Penalties:  Refers to the outcomes of an employer’s decision to offer insurance that is either “unaffordable” or that doesn’t meet minimum value requirements. This penalty is assessed against every employee who goes to a State Exchange and receives a subsidy. Administrative Period:  Refers to the days of employment within which an employer is required to offer an eligible employee the mandated benefits. For new full time employees the administrative period is 90 days. For ongoing employees in a standard measurement or look back period, the administrative period is 30 days. Initial Measurement Period (IMP):  References a period of time starting with the date of hire and ending at a defined date based on the length of the IMP. An IMP is applied only to “variable hour” employees where their classification as either a full or part-time employee is determined on the basis of actual hours worked during the IMP. Benefits, where required, are offered in accordance with the applicable classification at the end of the IMP. Initial measurement periods (sometimes referred to as look back periods) can be 3-12 months, with the specific length of the IMP set by the employer. Standard Measurement Period (SMP):  References a recurring method and time period used to determine whether an ongoing employee is full or part-time. The SMP is fixed, usually based on a calendar year and must be the same for all employees in the same category. Unlike an initial measurement period, the SMP is a reoccurring event that starts at a specified date each year, independent of hire date. IMPs and SMPs may overlap. The Stability Period:  The period of time from the point of benefit offer where the employee must be provided benefits/coverage regardless of how many hours actually worked. Stability periods can be no less than six months and must match the IMP or SMP if it is six months or longer. For example, if an employer elects a standard measurement period of 12 months, the stability period must also be 12 months. Exchanges:  The mechanism through which insurers will be able to offer small employers (less than 100 employees) and individuals the ability to purchase health insurance. If a state doesn’t provide an exchange, the federal government is required to do so. Washington State has an exchange. Subsidies:  The credits available to individuals who qualify for assistance in order to purchase insurance coverage through a state or federally operated Exchange. The subsidy is paid directly to insurance carriers as a way to lower the premium costs for eligible individuals. Employees earning anywhere from 100-400% of the “poverty” level can be eligible for subsidies depending on number of dependents. In part II of our “ACA Smart” series, we will be covering the specifics of the ACA penalties – when and how they are assessed. If you would like a personal conversation with a member of the PSN partnership team to better understand the ACA and its impact on your flexible workforce strategies, contact our info desk at 425-637-3312 or by emailing infodesk@pacestaffing.com. Make sure your subject line references the ACA or “ACA Smart.”  

Need Your Temporary Employee to Make A Difference? Try Beefing Up Your Onboarding Process!

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 6, 2014

0 Blog, Management.Supervision Contract Employee, contract staffing, Flexible WorkForce, hiring, Onboarding, Orientation, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Temporary Employee

Speaking as a company who takes the time to 1) understand the work our temporary employees will be doing for our customers, 2) determine the skills, knowledge, and experience our workers need to have to do the work at the levels needed, and 3) evaluate each employee in terms of the soft skills important to placement success – we know that even the “right fit” isn’t always good enough to ensure that a temporary employee will hit the floor running. If our clients have high stakes work in play and need our temporary employee(s) to perform at high levels right out of the gate, we suggest a thorough onboarding process to get our employees up and running quickly. It goes without saying that the days of greeting a temp, showing them their work station, lunchroom and bathrooms, and then leaving them alone to figure out what to do next, are long gone – if they ever existed. Work is much too complex, the importance of following work policies too critical, etc. to leave a temp’s orientation to chance. While temps are known for the ability to figure things out, because work environments are almost never the same, when it comes to temporary or contract workers more time needs to be spent up front, explaining all those things that are unique about you, your work environment, and your expectations of their work. In some ways, because you need/expect productivity quickly from your temporary/contract workers, the timing and importance of their orientation may even be more important than the timing and importance of the orientation you provide to your core workforce. The two orientations are, of course, quite different. Orienting your temporary/contract employees must be done quickly and efficiently, requiring a clear roadmap or checklist of what they need to know. Here are FIVE THINGS you likely will want to cover: 1.  The Circumstance – the reason why you chose to hire a temp rather than a core worker.  Why does their job, even if temporary, exist? What goals must be reached in order for the employee’s work to be considered successful? You might be amazed at how important it is to share your reasons for hiring a temp instead of a core employee – it gives the temp a sense of purpose, sometimes showing them how they are both a unique and special contributor to an important team goal, “I chose to bring on as a temp, because I needed a level of skill and experience I didn’t have with my current team. Your skills are so strong in (describe) we are going to let you take the lead in those areas where that skill is needed.” A temp, who clearly knows you value them as a “contributor” if only for a short period, is an employee you can count on to go out of their way to “make a difference.” 2.  Your Expectations and Priorities.  “In order for our time together to be considered successful, I need you to__________________.” Define the work outcome you are trying to achieve, how success will be defined and the impact of success. Examples of goals might be, 1) “I need you to complete this project within the time frame frames we’ve discussed,” 2) “I need you to work very cooperatively with our accounting team who is watching this project with a very critical eye” or, 3) “I need you to bring any issues to my attention right away as it is important that we work through any and all problems very quickly. Senior management has their eyes on this project.” The impact of their work is also an important element to be communicated, “This project is one of three projects we will be working on this year that are most related to our company’s ability to compete for business in South America.” 3.  Explain when, how and how often they need to be checking with you.  If you need quick updates at the end of each day, let them know. If you want them to stop by your office at least once a week, let them know. Knowing what you expect from them in terms of keeping you informed is a key element of placement success. We’ve seen very talented temporary or contract employees not meet our customer’s expectations simply because they didn’t know when or how often to communicate with our client. 4.   Identify challenges and what they should do when they encounter them.  “I want you to know you are likely to uncover challenges with_______________________. When that occurs, I want you to get help from George who knows how to push through these types of obstacles.” Fill in the blank, honestly and completely, so that your temporary worker knows what to expect and how to get issues resolved. 5.  Your hiring policies. The employees’ chances of being hired.  Don’t beat around the bush – implying there is a chance your temporary employee can be hired if that chance is minimal. At the same time, if the chances are good that their time as a temp is looked on as an audition for a direct hire opportunity, let them know. Describe the policies and processes in place that allows a hiring manager to consider (or not consider) hiring a temporary employees and what they would need to do in order to be considered. If you have clear policies, you can expect your staffing vendor to have shared this information with their employee prior to their placement, but re-stating these policies during an onboarding process, is a good way to reinforce the rules. Some hiring managers will imply a higher probability of hire than actually exists as a way to keep the temporary employee motivated. In fact, just the opposite is what’s created when the offer of employment isn’t forthcoming. Kyle Update SignatureThe onboarding of temporary employees is another area of managing a flexible workforce that needs careful planning and preparation. The PACE Staffing Network typically works closely with our employer clients to share the responsibility of a well engineered communication process where both PACE and our clients need to pay a role. For more information about employee onboarding and other factors important to managing a high impact flexible workforce, contact me, Kyle Fitzgerald, at kylef@pacestaffing.com. I am PACE’s Director of Business Operations and part of what I do is consult with employers on how to use temporary/flexible employees in ways that create a competitive advantage.  

My “Go To” Interview Questions

by Jeanne Knutzen | April 29, 2014

0 Author-Jeanne, Blog, Hiring.Best Practices, INFO AND RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS, Recruiting. Best Practices, Temporary Staffing.Best Practices get connected

Getting to know a candidate quickly requires a simple set of interview questions designed to cover the "discovery" basics. … Read More »

Five Ways to Make a Difference as a Recruiter

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 11, 2014

0 Blog, Recruiting. Best Practices job seeker, recruiters, Recruiting, recruiting team, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, social media, staffing

When recruiters think about improving their effectiveness as recruiters or as a recruiting team, they often think in terms of what changes in technology or recruiting content might do for them. We could be so much more effective if we had a new ATS? More access to (expensive) job boards? A better social media strategy? A more attractive compensation or benefit package? Because of the many things in the recruiting process recruiters can’t control, they often overlook the things they can. Here are five things that come to mind for recruiters who want to make a difference: 1.  Know Your Recruiting Story – Tell It Often and Well A good recruiter knows that at some point in the recruiting process, the mechanics of a particular ATS system or their skills to find the hard-to-find no longer matter. Their ability to tell the story of “why this job, this company, should be the job or company for you" is what makes the difference. “Why do I want to work here?” is the fundamental question candidates are asking as they start an application process or accept a job offer. Effective recruiters have a range of stories to answer that question. And for different candidates, a different job, the story needs to be told differently, depending on the candidate’s individual needs and preferences.

  • How will taking this job impact the life or career aspirations of the “right” candidate?
  • What causes are important to your employer that will mean something to a particular candidate?
  • What will working for this company, this boss really be like? Can you tell that story in an honest compelling way?
It goes without saying that at some point stories can’t be told via recruiting brochures or e-mail exchanges. Good recruiters need to be able to tell their stories in up close and personal ways. 2.  Be Honest. Be Real. Make It Easy! Fancy job postings filled with standardized text describing a lot of company information many times irrelevant to a particular job seeker, can be a turn off to job seekers who prefer to be talked to in a more personal, authentic way. While your job postings need to be well organized with key information easily available, the words you use to describe the job and your company need to be believable—as if you are talking in person to the right candidate. Avoid company jargon, keep the writing simple and short, organize information so that the job postings can be skim read quickly. And a special touch would be to invite candidates to engage with you in ways other than filling out a lengthy application—a real differentiator in today’s marketplace where candidates are  tired of dealing with the black holes of “in the cloud” interactions. Most will welcome a chance to "interact" either before, during or after the formal application. Top candidates always have choices as to where to work, and often need to be romanced before the dating can effectively begin. 3.  Prioritize First Impressions – Be Urgent. Responsive.     Moving quickly and responsively to the candidates who elect to approach your company for a job is a HUGE opportunity for differentiation in today's job market. If part of your job includes a responsibility to respond to candidate inquiries, make sure you respond with URGENCY, preferably NOT with an automated response. You would be amazed at how many companies lose talent battles simply because their initial contact to a candidate was too slow (someone got there first) or impersonal, treating the candidate as if they were one of thousands. Candidates form first impressions about your company and you as a recruiter just like you do. The kind of impression you have on job candidates in general can make a difference to how your candidates think about you and your company as a place to work. 4.  Become a “Servant Recruiter”       Using John Kennedy’s famous challenge to America in his inaugural address “Ask not what the candidate can do for you, but what you can do for them,” we believe the impact of the same paradigm shift for some recruiters can be dramatic. You’ve heard of becoming a “servant leader,” well by becoming a “servant recruiter” can significantly grow your recruiting effectiveness. Here’s how it works. Instead of being that “gate keeping authority” messaging to candidates that they either “meet certain job requirements or go away,” become a career partner—someone candidates can share their true selves with, someone who candidates know cares about them as individuals, someone candidates can invite into their professional lives as a valued adviser and partner. Talk about a way to build pipelines of active and passive candidates for future staffing needs? It goes without saying that a candidate who experiences you as a “recruiting servant” will become a candidate who is not only ready to go through the application process today, but someone who will sing your praises to others in the talent community tomorrow. 5.  Optimize Technology But Know Your Value! The range of recruiting technologies available in the current marketplace is mind boggling and there is no question that the impact of these new technologies has been game changing for both recruiters and their employers. The truth is that these technologies are tools – simplifying and automating those parts of the recruiting process that are amenable to that automation, but leaving a lot of room for recruiters to make a difference in all those places in the recruiting process that only humans can impact. A recruiter 1) who tells the “why this job is the right job for you” story often and well, 2) who has changed their paradigm from “gate keeper” to “servant recruiter,” 3) who is prioritizing urgency in how they create first impressions, and/or 4) who knows how to communicate simply and authentically in ways that invites candidate trust is a recruiter who will always be more effective than their more technology-reliant counterparts.   Keep your technology robust and current but make sure the “human touches” that only recruiters can deliver are the real differentiators in your recruiting process.    The PACE Staffing Network has been using cutting edge recruiting technology since we first automated our staffing operation in 1984 – long before automation was a staffing necessity. We have learned firsthand the things even the most powerful recruiting technology can do and the things it can’t. Our strategy is to take full advantage of the best technology has to offer, while preserving our up-close-and-personalized approaches to candidate and client relationships. Our staffing network is made up of independent recruiters and staffing suppliers who operate from that same operating philosophy. Our unique network approach is why, regardless of our client’s needs, we always have either the candidate they need somewhere in our network, or the recruiting solution that will uncover them quickly. For a personalized introduction to the power of our recruiting network and how it would deliver value to your company, contact us at 425-637-3312.

A Check Up for Your Team – Eight Factors Important to High Level Team Performance

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 5, 2014

2 Blog, Human Resource Roles Assessment Center, Candidate Assessments, Hiring Team Players, Hiring/Firing, Seattle Staffing, staffing Seattle, Team Performance, Team Problem Solving, Team Work, Teams

Doing the work to build a high performing team always seems like a daunting task. So many different personalities, agendas and styles have to come together in order for the team to achieve its goal of accomplishing considerably more than what could be accomplished by individuals, working separately. And when you think you’ve (finally) arrived, figuring out how to keep a successful team motivated to keep performing at increasingly challenging levels can be an equally daunting challenge. What does it take to keep a team continuously improving? To embrace a new mission? To tackle new goals? Sometimes the real issue isn’t about the team’s performance, but about a lack of recognition of where the team is going, or knowing when you’ve arrived—making it easy to get lost or disillusioned along the way. The following is a list of eight characteristics we believe define a high performance team. To get your team involved in their own self-assessment, ask each team member to rate their team on each characteristic using a scale of 1-5. At your next team meeting, have each team member share their scores and comments to see where the team agrees there is opportunity for improvement. 1.  Problem Solving. The team has normal and routine ways of tackling problems, addressing issues, and handling conflict together. All team members know when and how to escalate issues to team problem solving formats and do so as needed. Problems tend to be addressed proactively, before they have grown into serious issues. Rating                                                   2.  Synergy. It is clear to all team members that they accomplish more together than they could individually. Team members feed off one another, generating new and creative ideas that wouldn’t be generated by working alone. The team regularly sets goals for what they can do together, that are much bigger than the sum of their individual efforts. Rating                                                   3.  Adaptation. Flexibility. High performing teams have learned how to be flexible, responsive, orderly and direct. They regularly move into unknowns where they must quickly adapt to new information or situations as they are presented. They have routines, but are open to changing them quickly when they no longer work. Rating                                                   4.  Open and Authentic. The team regularly uses active listening to ensure information is exchanged between team members as intended. Conflict is encouraged as a way to constructively explore something new or different. Curiosity is more important to the team than is judgment. Rating                                                   5.  Results Focused. No matter the obstacle, the team finds a way to deliver the high quality work they all know is ex pected of them—on time and within budget. The drive for results frequently trumps other considerations and team members “buckle down” when the going gets tough. Personal challenges are acknowledged, but are never allowed to supersede the team’s mission. Rating                                                   6.  Always Learning. The team places a high value on its collective learning and is constantly exploring new knowledge and new ways of working together. Individuals frequently take responsibility to bring back information to the team as a way to grow the team’s expertise and ultimately its performance. Rating                                                   7.  Accountability. Team members take full accountability for both team results and their own contributions to those results. When things go wrong, there is no finger pointing or blame—team member’s step up to the plate regularly to diagnose personal or team mistakes and explore ways to avoid them in the future. Rating                                                   8.  Support.  Members of most high performance teams spend time supporting one another in a variety of ways that reflects their mutual respect and encourages their enjoyment of each other. Team members regularly extend their personal efforts to ensure the success of others on the team. Rating                                                   The PACE Staffing Network has been helping HR and Hiring Managers put together the right combinations of people and skills to create high performance teams for over three decades. Our Assessment Centers help customers not only select employees who have the hard skills needed to be successful on a team, but the necessary aptitudes and work styles needed to become strong team contributors. If you’re having difficult putting together the right team, please contact 425-637-3312 for a complimentary exploration of the many things you can be doing to improve team performance.

Looking for Top Financial or Accounting Job Candidates?

by Jeanne Knutzen | February 13, 2014

0 Blog, Finance/Accounting Roles Accounting and Finance, Linked:Seattle, Recruiting Agencies in Seattle, Recruiting Agencies in Seattle WA, Recruiting Agencies in Seattle Washington, Recruiting Agencies Seattle, Recruiting Agencies Seattle WA, Seattle Accounting and Finance

Check Out LinkedIn! We find that LinkedIn will help you find:

  • active candidates who are looking for work and possible fits for your open job(s)
  • passive candidates—folks who are not actively looking for a job but might be willing to listen to information about a current or future opportunity
  • potential job candidates nobody knows about, yet
There are many benefits to sourcing job candidates via LinkedIn—a mix of candidate possibilities, new ways to validate information a candidate is providing you, the ability to quickly connect with others, geographic reach, etc. We also use LinkedIn Groups to build proactive talent pipelines by either starting or sponsoring a specific group or by joining already established groups. By starting or sponsoring a group, you can target and engage very specific candidates. As the owner of the group, you are immediately seen as a knowledge leader, which is a perception you can reinforce by regularly sharing quality content and answering questions from group members. Targeted candidates can get daily content and immediate customer service through your group, allowing you to easily connect with candidates. However, if you are looking for a broader reach than what your LinkedIn Group can offer, there are 3 key Seattle based LinkedIn Groups that we have found to be beneficial. 1)  Seattle Accounting and Finance Professionals Group—with over 4,500 members, this network is used by professionals to develop their network and share their knowledge. Both job seekers and recruiters are part of this group. Over 31% of the group’s members work within accounting, while 29% work within finance. This group also contains several subgroups including:
  1. Seattle Accounting and Finance Executives and CFOs
  2. Seattle Audit and Assurance Professionals
  3. Seattle Payroll Professionals
2)  Accounting and Finance Jobs in Seattle – This group, with over 1,700 members, was formed for general discussion, posting and seeking of accounting and finance positions in the Seattle area. As with other groups, both job seekers and recruiters are members. Over 31% of the group’s member’s work within accounting and 23% work within finance. 3)  Linked:Seattle—One of the largest networking groups, with over 48,000 members, Linked:Seattle is not only online, but it hosts a monthly professional networking event on the third Thursday of every month.  Subgroups include:
  1. Greater Seattle Events
  2. Greater Seattle Small Business
  3. Great Seattle Arts and Entertainment
At PACE Staffing Network, recruiting is our specialty. We know how to find the right people, when you need them, in Seattle, Washington. Get the personalized attention you need and the results you want. If you are looking for recruiting agencies in Seattle, WA, with a strong specialty in finance and/or accounting, contact our partnership development team at nancys@pacestaffing.com. 

Why “Hands Off” Always Starts with “Hands On”

by Jeanne Knutzen | January 20, 2014

0 Blog, Management.Supervision direct hire, Seattle Temporary Staffing, staffing agency Bellevue, staffing agency kent, staffing agency seattle, staffing partnerships, Temp to hire, Temporary Staffing

Part of our “How to Get the BEST from your Staffing Partner” Tool Kit       While many staffing companies, the PACE Staffing Network included, will advertise their services as a  “hands free” staffing solution, in reality we all know that getting to  “hands free” always starts with our customer’s “hands on” commitment to building a staffing partnership.    Here are 7 “hands on” things you can do to get the best out of PACE or another staffing partner of your choice, when it comes time to use our services to hire the “just right” employee. 1. COMMIT TO A PARTNERSHIP, NOT A SCRAMBLE.  Some hiring managers believe that the best way to ensure hiring success is to bomb the market - to send out written job descriptions to multiple staffing agencies, post their job on multiple job boards, and then sit back and wait for the response. The motive for this approach is to hire quickly and efficiently, finding the employee amongst the sea of candidates that will be uncovered using this approach.   In reality, the result is often an unintended and unwanted opposite. Here’s why… Most high performing staffing companies will not commit internal resources to work on requests where they believe success is either not likely or determined more by luck than skill. They are also reluctant to represent jobs that have been commoditized, i.e. widely available in the candidate marketplace. They know that when multiple agencies are asked to scramble for candidates, the candidates that are assembled quickly are often not the right fit, lengthening the hiring process and expanding the time spent screening unqualified candidates The alternative? Select one, possibly two, staffing companies who have a financial incentive to invest in the time necessary to ensure quality screening. Spend YOUR time making sure your staffing partner has the information they need to source the right candidates and screen them according to your criteria. Let your staffing partner decide how best to source for the right candidates, so that you no longer have to worry about job postings. If you have given your staffing partner enough time to do their work in a quality way, and they don't perform in the timeframes needed, you've likely selected the wrong partner—a staffing company that doesn't have the resources you need. The right staffing partner will align their services with your work style and standards. 2. PLAN FOR SUCCESS. One of the best ways to start a partnership is to spend time at the beginning of your HIRING project, planning for a successful outcome and all the steps in between. Share all you know about the job you need filled and the type of candidates you believe are most likely to be successful in the job. Your pre-hire homework should include talking to those people who know what the job entails; who have a perspective on what type of candidates will do the job well, and where there have been problems with certain types of candidates in the past. Make sure the information you are providing to your staffing partner captures current work content and all the nuances important to placement success. Job descriptions are helpful, but typically need to be updated when it's time to replace an existing employee.  And if you’re hiring a temporary or contract worker to fill a job formerly filled by a core employee, make sure you assess exactly what you need from that temporary or contract worker. The work to be done and the skill requirements for the right candidates are typically quite different for temporary compared to core hires.   Create a realistic timeline for each step in the hiring process—sourcing, evaluating, interviewing, selecting and onboarding the right candidate. Know what’s at stake if the steps in the timeline aren’t completed as planned so all eyes stay focused on addressing the business need, knowing where you have wiggle room and where you don’t. Memorialize your timeline so that both you and your staffing partner know exactly what’s expected, and by when. Reach agreement about how, when, and what will be communicated throughout the hiring process so that you stay in sync throughout the process – no surprises for you or your staffing partner. 3. DEDICATE THE TIME NEEDED! In today’s job market, the competition for talent often translates into the need for hiring managers to give the hiring process their undivided attention. Once your staffing partner has sourced, recruited, evaluated and submitted candidates, there are critical steps in the process—interviewing, evaluating, and deciding—that, only you can do. Trying to sandwich in resume reviews or candidate interviews in-between other work you consider more important, is not a formula for hiring success. So, we like to make sure our client’s work schedules are arranged to have enough time to review submittals, conduct interviews and provide timely feedback. Because the best candidates are typically in the job market for short periods of time, we recommend that you stay prepared to respond to candidate submittals within 24 hours of receipt and be available for a candidate interview 1-3 days from their submittal.    You also must be available to provide feedback, field questions, or address issues with your staffing partner as they come up. Your staffing partner’s recruiters need to know that the work they are doing to attract candidates to their client's jobs will have a payoff for themselves and their candidates. In the staffing business, we refer to customers who request and then don’t respond to candidate submittals, as “black holes.” Too many “black holes” and even the most sought after clients can lose recruiter attention, reducing the chances of a positive outcome. 4. GET CLEAR ON KEY REQUIREMENTS – REALLY! It’s easy to create a long list of “attributes” that you’d like to see in the hired employee. It’s much harder to prioritize that list so that you know which requirements are key to placement success! If you ask your staffing partner for candidates lucky enough to have “everything” on your list, be prepared either to get no candidates or too many candidates, who perhaps more problematically, lack the requirements you believe to be key. Make sure you are clear on the difference between attributes candidates “must have” and the attributes that are better left as “would like.” The take away from any planning process is full agreement with your staffing partner on a SHORT LIST of candidate attributes considered “key” to placement success. And here’s an important tip, once you’ve agreed on key requirements, ask your staffing partner to present prospective candidates using a summary worksheet of how each candidate meets your key “must have” requirements. Don’t let yourself get distracted by impressive resumes or cover sheets that cover up a lack of skills or experiences in areas considered key—a common cause of hiring errors.     5. MAKE SURE THE CANDIDATE YOU REQUEST IS THE CANDIDATE YOU CAN AFFORD. The candidates who CAN DO the job come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and costs. They will have different skill sets, work experiences, each dictating the amount of money they will request as their pay and benefit package. Be prepared for your staffing partner to share information about the realities of the current job market—things you need to know about what type of candidate’s are available in the marketplace, at what price. If you find that the information you are getting differs from what you thought, don’t shoot the messenger or ignore their message by continuing to insist on the impossible. To make the right hiring decision, the type of candidate you are looking for has to be available in the marketplace and meet the parameters of your budget. Sometimes this requires both discovery and negotiation. For example, let’s say you need to hire an administrative employee to manage your calendar, schedule appointments, and remind you of upcoming tasks. This is a job requiring a very specific set of mechanical skills and a mastery of calendaring technology. If, in addition to these skills, you want to hire someone who will work independently, use their own judgment to arrange meetings and activities on your behalf, keep others informed of projects you are managing, etc. that’s a different set of skills and experiences. Do you need to pay for the higher of the two skill levels? Only you can decide. However, your staffing partner should be able to point out the impact of each requirement on the required pay package. Some employers will simply elect a “developmental” strategy and hire the lesser skilled candidate in order to stay within budget requirements. Others will spend the money on the more highly skilled employee because they need the services of an assistant, not just a technician. 6. BE PREPARED TO BE FLEXIBLE – TO ADJUST THE PLAN. While pre-hire planning is important to an organized, efficient, hiring process, some of the steps in the process or plan often need to be adjusted when faced with the nuances of candidate needs and availability. A candidate who needs to relocate in order to accept your job offer may delay the starting date, requiring you to decide if the candidate is “worth the wait.” A highly skilled candidate whose pay requirements are considerably more than what you had budgeted may or may not be the right hire—but you need to be prepared to decide. Our point? Be prepared to deal with real life candidate situations as they come up, knowing that hiring in today’s marketplace often requires flexibility and creativity. Don’t be afraid to use your staffing partner as your marketplace expert. If you don’t hire the candidate that needs to relocate, what are your chances of finding a similar candidate locally? Is the job you have going to be meaty enough for the higher skilled candidate? Let your staffing partner guide you through your search for answers to these questions. 7. COMMUNICATE CANDIDLY AND OFTEN.  When things change for you, make sure you let your staffing partner know. The work it takes to source, screen, and prepare a candidate for specific work requirements takes time. Your staffing partner doesn’t like wasting time any more than you do and that’s what happens when they don't have the information they need to do their job efficiently. Reciprocally, expect your staffing partner to keep you posted on their candidate sourcing successes as well as information they gather as they track their candidates throughout the placement process. Many times they will be privy to candidate information that will let you know if your preferred candidate is actually going to accept your job offer if extended. We recommend daily touch-points between our recruiting team and our clients to make sure we stay current on what each of us is experiencing as we interact with potential. Feedback processes should be honest, candid and ongoing. This is particularly true with regard to submittal reviews and/or follow-ups after interviews. Your staffing partner needs your feedback ASAP, as they use that feedback to make adjustments in their sourcing and evaluation activities. Don’t be embaNancyrrassed if you don’t think the candidate your staffing partner thought “should be perfect” was not the right fit for you. Selecting the right candidate isn’t about being “right or wrong” in your assessment, but is about gathering as much information as you can on each candidate so your hiring decision can be based on a broad base of information and perspectives. For more information on “how to get the best from your staffing partner” contact me, Nancy Swanson, at nancys@pacestaffing.com or (425) 454-1075 ext. 3010. I’m PACE’s Vice President of Partnership Development – I am focused on helping our customers develop the type of recruiting partnerships that we know will optimize their staffing results.  

What to Look for in a Military Candidate Resume

by Jeanne Knutzen | January 15, 2014

0 Blog, Recruiting. Best Practices Job Recruiters for Veterans in Seattle, Job Recruiters for Veterans in Seattle WA, Job Recruiters for Veterans Seattle, Jobs for Veterans in Seattle, Jobs for Veterans in Seattle WA

Resumes come in all shapes, sizes and formats, and they can be extremely difficult for many people to write, especially our returning military veterans.  This is a key issue for many, because of the nature of the job search today. Today, veterans are returning to a grateful nation, but also to an economy that has been challenged by stagnant job growth.  Competition for any available job is fierce. This is a hard set of circumstances for any job seeker, but it is made a thousand times worse for returning veterans. Many, after their discharge, simply do not know how to begin looking for a job in a planned, productive way. They have received little job search training, and most do not know how to write a resume, one that adequately translates military jargon to “civilian speak,or how to handle themselves in an interview. For most veterans the key stumbling block is the resume. Many were recruited right out of high school and have simply never had the need to write a clear and compelling resume. Because it is not up to par, they do not even make it through to an interview.  Therefore, in order to benefit from these high-caliber job seekers, employers should look for certain components within the veterans’ resume. 1. Key “soft skills”. Veterans are different kinds of candidates—invaluable candidates—with battle-tested leadership skills, a strong work ethic, and the ability to learn new skills quickly. These skills will serve you well, but are hard to quantify and define on a resume. Look for proof of their existence throughout the document. 2. Achievements. Everyone has achievements, regardless of their background. Everyone is proud of what they have done.  Achievements should be listed on the resume, and will help you understand the vet’s character, work ethic and values. 3. Proof of training. If the veteran has trained others, that indicates an ability to communicate effectively, learn difficult/complicated material and engage others in the process. 4. Applicable skills. A veteran’s resume is never going to a mirror your job requisition. The working environment within the military is simply too different. However, approximately 80% of the jobs in the military are non-combat oriented. This means that veterans are learning applicable skills in addition to their strong work ethic, dedication and leadership skills. Read through the job duties listed in the resume and look for evidence of any applicable skills—management of resources, supervisory experience or network / programming knowledge. Veterans will not enter your hiring process empty-handed. They bring stupendous leadership and management skills to the table—skills that are the hardest to grow. If you are interested in leveraging this powerful arm of the American workforce, the hiring experts at PACE Staffing Network can help. If you are looking for job recruiters for veterans in Seattle, contact our Hiring Heroes placement consultants today.

Use Your Company Culture to Attract Talented Healthcare Employees

by Jeanne Knutzen | December 17, 2013

0 Blog, Healthcare Staffing Seattle Healthcare Staffing, Seattle Healthcare Staffing Agencies, Seattle Healthcare Staffing Agency, Seattle Healthcare Staffing Company, Seattle Healthcare Staffing Firm, Seattle Healthcare Staffing Firms, Seattle WA Healthcare Staffing

If you’re a staffing manager or an administrator for a successful healthcare facility, then you already understand the value of selective hiring, strong retention efforts, fair compensation, and worker friendly company policies. You know how to earn the respect of your staff by placing patient care and employee needs at the top of your long list of corporate priorities. But how much do you invest in workplace branding? The best way to manage and retain great employees is to attract great employees in the first place. And sometimes the best way to attract great employees is to leverage the ones you already have. Keep your teams happy and thriving, and they’ll become excellent ambassadors and terrific recruiters. Here are a few ways to set the stage. 1. Keep an open door policy between your teams, their managers, and your HR department. Strong relationships based on open communication form the foundation of any healthy workplace culture. If your employees have complaints or suggestions, they should feel no sense of hesitation about speaking up. And when they need to clear the air or make a request, they should have easy access to all the proper channels. 2. Keep a close eye on bad apples. If you have individual staff members or managers on your teams who bring others down, recognize the signs and know when it’s time to step in. Coaching and clear performance management can keep toxic vibes from spreading. Walk chronically angry employees toward the door, and recognize the red flags that indicate bullying and harassment. 3. Take complaints and resource requests seriously, and act on them immediately. Don’t make your employees jump through hoops to gain access to the basic tools they need to do their jobs. And when something goes wrong and it’s brought to your attention, act. Don’t delay your decision hoping your employees will forget about the issue. 4. Show gratitude. Thank your employees loudly and often. Show appreciation verbally every single day, and make sure your individual managers and team leaders do the same. 5. Spread the word. If you have a great culture that makes you proud, and your employees feel the same way, encourage them to share this fact. Reward employees for posting positive comments about the company on social media. And when you have an open position to fill, ask your current teams to solicit applications from their friends, family and personal networks. Provide generous bonuses for successful referrals. For more on how to make your employees happy, and then leverage that happiness into a magnet for talented applicants, reach out to the Seattle healthcare staffing pros at Pace.

How do I Format and Draft a Job Offer Letter

by Jeanne Knutzen | November 26, 2013

0 Blog, Hiring.Best Practices, Human Resource Roles accounting staffing agencies seattle, staffing agencies in seattle, Staffing Agencies In Seattle WA, staffing agencies seattle, staffing agency seattle, staffing agency seattle wa

After weeks of careful sourcing, resume collection, conversations with recruiters, and a long, meticulous interview process, you’re finally ready to choose a candidate. And luckily for you, the choice is easy. Your final contender has it all: wits, drive, a strong work ethic, a pleasant attitude, and affordability. So now you need to make it over the final hurdle: presenting an offer she can’t refuse. And making sure she isn’t lured away by your competitors before her start date. Just to stay on the safe side as you draft your offer letter, keep a few tips in mind: first, retain two back up candidates so you can don’t have to start over if this one gets away. And second, remember that your letter is only part of the process. You also need to reach out to the candidate by phone, and you’ll want to stay socially connected with her between the date of the offer and the day she steps onboard. Try to prevent a change of heart by keeping her thoughts focused on a future with you, not her past with the company she’s leaving behind. Here are a few ways your offer letter can send the right message and accomplish this goal.

1. Be personable. The legal language of the letter is important, but give your words a personal touch, and make sure the tone is warm, welcoming, and enthusiastic. Make it clear that her arrival is considered an exciting and positive event, not just another bureaucratic item to check off a list.

2. If the offer will be contingent on anything, from a criminal background check to a medical exam, social media review, reference check, or blood test, make each of these items clear. Arrange them not in a block of text, but in a list of distinct bullet points.

3. Provide clear instructions to the employee regarding her next step. Will she need to sign the letter and return it by mail or email before a certain date? Will she need to contact the HR office by phone to formally accept the offer? Will she need to submit any additional material to deal with the contingency items listed above? These instructions should appear in the letter’s final paragraph, right before the close.

4. The terms of employment should be made clear in the letter. If this is an at-will agreement or a defined contract, include the terms in the letter or attach them in a separate document.

5. Summarize the insurance benefits associated with the position and clearly state the annual compensation.

The requirements and recommendations associated with your offer letter will vary with the position, the industry, and the laws in your state. If you are looking for staffing agencies in Seattle, contact us today.

How to Include Temp Work on Your Resume

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 29, 2013

0 Blog, Human Resource Roles, INFO AND RESOURCES FOR JOB SEEKERS temp agencies in seattle, temp agencies seattle, temporary employment agencies in seattle, Temporary Employment Agencies Seattle, temporary employment agencies seattle wa

As some job seekers look for a long term position in their chosen industry, they tend to reach the “work history” section of their resumes-in-progress and pause to consider a nearly-universal question: What’s the best way to address a period of temp work? How can you use your resume to frame your short term job and clarify the relevance of your temporary responsibilities to the position you’re currently pursuing? Some job seekers are tempted to gloss over this period as a necessary, but not very noteworthy, place holder. Some even omit this entire chapter from their resumes. But there’s no need to take this step if you can describe your temporary work accurately and stay on message. Keep these tips in mind. 1. Include the name of the staffing firm that placed you in the position. Some staffing firms are known for their specific focus on IT work, financial clients, or medical positions, and some have a reputation for working with clients in every industry. Listing the name of your firm can help employers understand a bit more about your focus area and the kind of work you’re looking for. 2. Include the length of your assignment or assignments. Just add start and end dates to each temporary position you held while you worked with a given staffing firm. This can give employers a sense of your versatility and your ability to handle different types of responsibilities. It can also show how adept you are at learning new procedures quickly and staying flexible. 3. Include specific detail about the responsibilities you handled during your longest, proudest, or most relevant position. Feel free to describe the professional teams you joined or supported, the larger goals of your projects, and the ways in which your work contributed to company success. Even if you weren’t there during a project’s inception and didn't stay to see the ultimate outcome, you still invested heavily in the company during your tenure. Share your level of commitment and document what you accomplished. 4. Explain how your temporary accomplishments and responsibilities contributed to your growth as an employee, and discuss how this work prepared you for the job at hand. Employers will want to know how your three months as an admin or technician helped you learn the finer points of customer service, sales, public speaking, horizontal management, etc, etc. For general job search guidance and more on how to use the details of your temp position to help your resume stand out, contact the Seattle staffing pros at Pace. If you are looking for temporary employment agencies in Seattle, contact us today.