STAFFING AGENCY PARTNERSHIPS

AI and Hiring. Evolution or Revolution?

by Sara Bennett | September 28, 2023

0 ACA Compliant Benefits, Author-Jeanne, Hiring Strategies and Tactics, Thought Leader / Featured Blogs*, WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW. Data. Trends. News* Employer Buzz, get connected, main whats happening

The role of AI in the hiring process has been an unexpected story in 2023.  Everyone is asking “how will this “technology” impact me?”. Recruiters, Hiring Managers and job Candidates are no exception.  … Read More »

What Makes PACE Such a Great Partner!

by Sara Bennett | February 20, 2023

0 Agency Pricing Practices, Author-Jeanne, PACE in the News!, STAFFING AGENCY PARTNERSHIPS, Thought Leader / Featured Blogs* get connected

We don’t like to brag, but one of the things we think is really special about PACE Staffing Network, is our track record of success when it comes to retaining clients.  In an industry where client relationships are historically fickle with client turnover across the board exceeding 50% a year, the fact that so many PACE clients have been with us 20 years or longer is something we think is worth talking about.

How do we do it?

I think it starts with how we view ourselves – as partners not vendors – avoiding all those mistakes we see our competitors making that can’t help but believe causes their clients to look elsewhere for more or better.

Here are 6 things we do (that most of our competitors don't) that we know makes us a great partner....

  1. We work in teams which creates the consistency in service and outcomes our clients can rely on!  At PACE how you experience our services is not dependent on you being assigned to work with one of our staffing superstars!   When someone on one of our client teams is absent or, god forbid, gets hit by a truck, there is always another member of the team who can slip into their spot, assuring our clients that their service from PACE doesn't miss a beat.   PACE clients never get one of those “Hi – Im your new Account Manager and would like to get to know you” e mails – first of all because we have very low levels of internal staff turnover, but more importantly our clients already know their team, people already familiar with who they are and what they do.  Our team approach purposefully creates a better and more consistent service for PACE clients!
 
  1. Our mindset is not on selling our clients anything, but helping them solve their staffing problems.  And there is a big difference.  Our interactions with clients are all about uncovering what's unique about them - their pain points, finding the solution that fits them, not us.   If that solution happens to be one of the services we offer, we’re all in.  But even if it isn't, we don't stop until we know there's a solution in place.  That's why we built the network in PACE Staffing Network, which refers to the partnerships we’ve formed with other staffing agencies and companies, who, in aggregate can offer our client’s specialized solutions in all facets of their business that PACE doesn’t personally provide.   We’re serious about providing solutions even if those solutions aren't something we can personally deliver! 
 
  1. We’re really good with feedback.  While a lot of vendors ask for feedback, very few actually make changes based on that feedback.    It’s a big deal for us to get a suggestion from a client and turn that suggestion into a change in process that works better not just for the client who made the suggestion, but other clients as well.  Many of our best partnerships started with a problem that our vendor level competitors wouldn’t or couldn’t solve because they couldn't move out of their "cookie cutter" mindset.  It was not by mistake that we made it one of our key differentiators to be “world class” at customization.
 
  1. We are always transparent – particularly when it comes to pricing. Our pricing models are rationalized based on one thing – the costs we incur to deliver something our client’s value compared to the costs of alternative solutions.  And for us transparency is all about at least once a year laying out all the costs we incur to deliver our services and asking our client’s if we are delivering the value we promised or they expected.   One of our most popular blogs was created to help potential clients understand all the elements that get factored into a temporary staffing bill rate.  We followed that up with a blog to help employers negotiate more effectively with their  staffing vendor.
 
  1. We do our homework. When we help a client find that “just right” employee for either a temporary, direct hire, or temp to hire staffing model, our conversations with clients are anything but one and done.  We go in depth into any facet of your work environment or needs that we know from experience that will impact the success of the person you hire!  While many vendors in the staffing industry sound like “do you want fries with that burger”, when you ask us to find your an employee our order taking process is more like a discovery, a peeling back of the onion so to speak, to reveal what matters really.  Yes, it takes longer, but that’s an investment in a partnership we know has big payoffs both short and long term.
 
  1. We keep a diary. Yep, we’re like the FBI when it comes to taking careful notes and turning those notes into something actionable…either now or in the future. Every conversation we have with a customer or candidate gets captured; every nuance about how a recruiting project is being organized gets documented.   When we say “we keep an up to date profile” of each client, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
  The difference between a vendor and a partner couldn’t be more obvious than how you experience the different ways staffing or recruiting vendors work with their clients.   PACE clients have come to “experience the difference” in the way we do partnerships so different from what others do.  Experience the difference has been our motto from the first day of our founding and has served us well.      For more information about what PACE does, how we set ourselves apart from our competitors, and our focus on the unique needs of small to medium sized Northwest business, we’d love to have a personal chat. You can reach us by using the contact form below, emailing us at partnerservices@pacestaffing.com  or calling us at 425-637-3312.[gravityform id="56" title="false" description="false" ajax="false"]

Is Your Recruiter a Vendor or a Partner? Why it Matters!

by Sara Bennett | June 8, 2021

0 Author-Jeanne, Hiring Strategies and Tactics, STAFFING AGENCY PARTNERSHIPS, What Makes Us Different? get connected

Just like personal relationships, business relationships, including relationships with staffing providers, come in all different sizes, shapes, and packaging.  … Read More »

Negotiating Staffing Agency Bill Rates – the Inside Scoop!

by Jeanne Knutzen | June 10, 2020

0 Agency Pricing Practices, Author-Jeanne, STAFFING AGENCY PARTNERSHIPS, Thought Leader / Featured Blogs* get connected

When it comes time to talk about your staffing agency's bill rates, here's some things to pay attention to.... … Read More »

Are Temporary or Contract Workers Eligible for Overtime Pay?

by Jeanne Knutzen | June 1, 2020

12 Agency Pricing Practices, Author-Jeanne, Hiring Strategies and Tactics, STAFFING AGENCY PARTNERSHIPS, Thought Leader / Featured Blogs* get connected, main whats happening

Most temporary employees are subject to overtime pay rates regardless of the type of job they do. Here's why its important to know if your agency is paying them accurately. … Read More »

How Much Should My Temporary Employee Cost?

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 29, 2020

0 Agency Pricing Practices, Author-Jeanne, Thought Leader / Featured Blogs* get connected

Learn more about how your staffing agency bill rate is calculated and what it includes … Read More »

What Kind of Staffing Agency Is the Right Fit For You? Local Employers have MANY Choices!

by Jeanne Knutzen | January 30, 2019

0 Author-Jeanne, STAFFING AGENCY PARTNERSHIPS get connected

Today's employers face a wide range of staffing challenges and staffing agency solutions. Here's how to make sure you are using the right staffing agency for your needs. … Read More »

What You Need to Know About Your Staffing Agency’s Compliance

by Jeanne Knutzen | June 26, 2018

0 Author-Jeanne, STAFFING AGENCY PARTNERSHIPS get connected

As your co employer, how your staffing agency manages its employer and compliance responsibilities can impact you. Here's how.... … Read More »

Temporary Staffing Bill Rates – Getting the Most Out of Your Staffing $$$$!

by Jeanne Knutzen | July 14, 2015

0 Agency Pricing Practices, Author-Jeanne, Flexible Staffing Strategies and Tactics, STAFFING AGENCY PARTNERSHIPS get connected

We'd like to take the mystery out of your staffing agency invoice and the pricing models used by most temporary staffing agencies. Get the inside scoop here! … Read More »

Co-Employment – An Over Used Scare Tactic or a Must See Reality Show?

by Jeanne Knutzen | November 24, 2014

0 Flexible Staffing Strategies and Tactics, STAFFING AGENCY PARTNERSHIPS Affordable Care Act, Affordable Healthcare – ACA Smart, Co Employment, Employee Benefits, Employee Hiring Decision, Employee Placement, flexible workforce strategies, Workplace Harassment

With the launch of the employer mandates of the Affordable Care Act in January 2015, staffing agencies and their clients have one more reason to worry about co-employment. While the ACA clearly states that only the “common law” employer is responsible for “offering insurance,” and case law strongly supports the notion that the staffing agency is the “common law” employer, what happens if your staffing agency doesn’t offer ACA mandated benefits as required by law. Is there any way you might be liable for fines or penalties? Questions about co-employment get triggered any time two parties share rights and responsibilities inside the traditional employer relationship which is the case with all staffing arrangements involving a third party staffing company and their clients.

  • Most staffing companies recruit and screen candidates, conduct background and reference checks, pay wages, calculate and pay wage related taxes and benefits, complete required reports, and retain at least some right to hire and fire an employee.
  • Most of their employer clients take on the responsibility of supervising, directing, and controlling the employee’s daily activities.
What creates confusion is when the client starts to specify pay rates, directs the hire or fire of employees, or involves themselves in administrative processes that should only be performed by the staffing agency. Since I’ve been in the staffing business, I’ve heard it countless times, “Don’t do ______________, or you will create an issue with co-employment.” And the “what we can’t do” has ranged from “allow our temporary employees to attend a client’s company meeting” to “allow an employee to work on an assignment for no longer than a (year, six months, or other time period “du jour”). Some of these “rules” have blurred the fact that co-employment covers many different types of overlapping liabilities—some that need to be avoided; some requiring co-management and partnership. Here are some of the co-employment scenarios we see on a regular basis and our somewhat common sense approach to how we look at each: Employee Placement/Hiring Decisions “I’m Perfect” (IP) Staffing Agency recruits and screens candidates for “I’m Even More Perfect” (IEMP) client for a 3-month technical help desk role. IEMP refuses to interview Julie, an African American female who appears to meet most, if not all, screening requirements. IEMP chooses instead to interview and hire Andrew, a Caucasian man. Julie believes she has been discriminated against because her application was not considered. Without IP’s awareness, Julie files a complaint with the EEOC. What will the investigator want to know about the roles of IP and IEMP?
  • What reasons were given to IP about why IEMP didn’t interview Julie? Were those reasons valid? Staffing companies who do not ask their client to disclose reasons for considering or not considering each candidate submitted for a job and employers who do not provide those reasons, often leave themselves open to charges of (unfounded) discrimination.
  • What screening requirements did IEMP give to IP? Were all of IEMP’s screening requirements job relevant? Screening requirements that aren’t clear or are so broad that everyone is lead to believe they are qualified, are asking for trouble. Establishing job relevant screening criteria is a joint responsibility of the staffing agency and their client.   
If IEMP’s hiring manager requested only male Caucasians and IM complied with that request, both parties are liable for that violation. If IM rejected IEMP’s illegal screening request and refused to work their request, only IEMP is liable. If IM rejected IEMP’s illegal screening request, but continued to work the request even when the client was discriminating, IM would be considered complicit. In today’s world, claims of discrimination rarely stem from overt acts of discrimination. Usually, they stem from perceptions of impropriety created by poorly designed or improperly executed screening processes. Both the staffing agency and their clients should be reviewing all recruiting and selection processes regularly to ensure that what they are doing is free of unintended consequences. Claims of Workplace Harassment… …often happen because employees don’t know who to talk with about things bothering them at work. George is 60-year-old Caucasian male working for IM, but being supervised on a daily basis by Andrea, a “20-something” supervisor who works for IEMP. Andrea is constantly harassing George about how he doesn’t fit in, and accuses him of “being slow” even though he is meeting all production requirements. George is frustrated but doesn’t know who to talk with about his concerns. He can’t go to Andrea; he goes to the Washington State Human Rights Commission. Who’s at fault? Clearly any staffing agency who doesn’t set up a formal process to receive and manage employee “concerns” is asking for a problem that can impact both themselves and their client. Most investigators consider the question “did they know” less important than “should they have known” and if IM doesn’t have clear communication policies for their employees, they are subject to liabilities stemming from workplace harassment. If, on the other hand, IM went to IEMP with George’s issue and IEMP chose not to do anything about it, it is only IM who would have a valid defense, not IEMP. Access to the Client’s Benefits As we learned from the early 90’s Microsoft settlement (90 million+ paid to its temporary and contract workers), if employers don’t adequately spell out the employees who will and will not be covered under their benefit plans, they can face serious and unexpected benefit liabilities. But avoiding unwarranted claims of benefit entitlement is not about shortening assignment lengths or requiring “breaks in service”—it’s about making sure benefit plans clearly spell out who is and is not eligible for benefits, specifically excluding employees from all third party employers. Unfortunately the core reasons behind the Microsoft settlement were never fully understood by the business community and ended up putting a whole lot of Microsoft staffing policies into mainstream HR policy without a clear understanding of what might have been an easier, less costly, solution.    Co-Employment and the Affordable Care Act… …should be as simple as making sure all contracts with staffing providers clearly state (affirm) the agencies role as the common law employer and their responsibility to administrate all ACA related requirements. This means that while it may be of interest to an employer whether or not their staffing agency is “playing or paying,” and who they would be offering benefits to (or not) they would not want to involve themselves in those decisions.    I-9. Immigration. Privacy Issues. Your staffing agency is responsible to administer the I-9 process. If they purposefully or thru negligence place an illegal employee into your workforce, they are liable for that violation. If an employer becomes aware of this practice, and fails to take action, they would be complicit in the violation and fined accordingly. If an employer stipulates that only US citizens work for them, they would be subjecting themselves to claims of discrimination based on national origin. Additionally, if they require copies of I-9 documents or any materials that include social security numbers, they incur risks of violating certain “privacy” requirements which could result in significant and costly damages (ex. identity theft, etc.). In general, employers should stay at arms length from any administrative process used by their staffing agency including how they administrate qualifications to work, pay and benefits. FMLA. ADA. Accommodation Issues. The co-managed version of co-employment is definitely alive and well when it comes to most FMLA and ADA requirements. If an issue or need comes up, particularly on a long term assignment, both staffing agency and their client are responsible for providing employees with time off to address a medical issue (FMLA) or to provide an accommodation (ADA).  Safety. All employers, both the staffing agency and their client, are responsible to provide a safe and hazard-free work environment for their employees. While the lion’s share of that accountability lies with the client, a staffing agency cannot knowingly assign its employees to work in environments where there are known violations of OSHA standards. As a matter of routine, staffing agencies should be inspecting their client’s worksites, ensuring that OSHA standards are being followed; that the work is being properly described and that employees are being issued the appropriate clothing, equipment, and instruction to ensure their safety. An employer’s safety record is a matter of public record and should be reviewed by the staffing agency before assigning an employee to begin work. Staffing agencies and their clients will typically work together to address any and all safety issues as they are revealed. Staffing agencies, who are concerned about an employer’s safety practices and repeated failures to act to remedy known issues are duty bound to remove employees from those assignments. Property Damages Frank is working in an IEMP warehouse, placed by IM. Frank drives a forklift and accidentally drives it into a wall, destroying $25,000 in product and doing another $10K in damages to the wall and the forklift. Who pays for the damages—IM or IEMP? Here are the factors that will likely make a difference to the final outcome:
  • What does the contract between IM and IEMP say should happen? Typically these contracts indemnify the other from acts of negligence—so who’s at fault? Which party was negligent?
  • Did IEMP require that IM screen Frank be a qualified forklift driver? Did they disclose that he would even be driving a forklift?
  • What training or instruction did IEMP provide Frank before asking him to drive a forklift?
  • How closely did IEMP supervise Frank’s work on the forklift?
If Frank was in an administrative or professional role, his damages might be different (ex. a violation of confidential information), but the considerations are the same:
  • Did IM screen Frank for a job that required him to handle confidential information?
  • Did IEMP properly protect the information they needed to be kept confidential?
  • Did IEMP properly instruct and supervise Frank on how to handle confidential information?
For more information on co-employment or how to implement flexible workforce strategies that minimize the impact of unforeseen co-employment liabilities, contact PSN at infodesk@pacestaffing.com or by calling 425-637-3312 to arrange a complimentary consultation with a member of our Partnership Development Team. jeanneThis article is intended for general informational purposes only and in no way is intended to provide legal advice or to circumvent the need each employer has to seek competent legal counsel. This article was written by Jeanne Knutzen, founder and CEO of the PACE Staffing Network.          

Countdown to ACA Compliance

by Jeanne Knutzen | August 19, 2014

0 ACA Compliant Benefits 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.”  

When It Comes To Purchasing Staffing Solutions – Words Matter

by Jeanne Knutzen | June 27, 2013

0 Agency Pricing Practices, Hiring Strategies and Tactics get connected

What you call your flexible worker makes a difference in what vendor you talk to, how much you pay, and what you can expect! Here's why.... … Read More »