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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.

Seattle Accounting Career Options

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 22, 2013

0 Blog, Finance/Accounting Roles, INFO AND RESOURCES FOR JOB SEEKERS accounting jobs in seattle wa, jobs in seattle, Jobs In Seattle WA, jobs seattle, jobs seattle wa

Are your about to complete your degree in accounting or finance and start searching for accounting positions in the Seattle area? Maybe you’re in the midst of a career transition and you’re on the verge of completing your CPA exams and taking a full time position in field of public accounting or private financial management. In either case, now is the time—if you haven’t done so already—to explore your options in three different areas of the accounting field. Seattle positions in all three of these focus areas are widely available, but each field varies widely in terms of growth, responsibilities, and continuing education options. So you’ll need to conduct some research and choose the path that best fits your personality and long term goals. Tax Accounting As a tax accountant, it will be your responsibility to make sure your clients are following applicable tax laws and making accurate payments based on current state and federal requirements. Available exemptions, payroll taxes, taxes on investments and dividends, and taxes on imported and exported products will all fall under your purview. Financial Accounting Financial accountants also help clients stay compliant with financial reporting requirements, including accurate communication with shareholders. As a financial accountant, you may be reviewing quarterly reports before they’re disseminated and helping shareholder boards make financial decisions that keep them in line with their fiduciary responsibilities. Financial accountants also help companies monitor expenses and track revenue streams in order to use financial resources efficiently. Management Accounting Management accounts focus on helping the company cut expenses and increase its revenue by making intelligent decisions based on cost-benefit ratios and customer demand. If you pursue this type of accounting career, you’ll be employed by one company, and you’ll play a crucial role in helping the company pursue a strategy that leads to growth and long term financial health. This position may require some management training and a CMA certification. For more information about the specific responsibilities and training required for each of these areas of public and private accounting, arrange an appointment with the Seattle financial staffing experts at Pace. If you are looking for accounting jobs in Seattle WA, contact us today.

Step into a Position in Healthcare Administration

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 16, 2013

0 Blog, Healthcare Staffing healthcare jobs in seattle wa, healthcare jobs seattle, healthcare jobs seattle wa, jobs in seattle, Jobs In Seattle WA, jobs seattle wa

A promising career in healthcare administration starts with an undergraduate degree (and ideally a graduate degree as well) in business, finance, healthcare administration, or healthcare policy. Some administrators begin with a degree in the life sciences, or even a full initial career in a clinical healthcare setting. But when it’s time to make the transition, most career shifters need to return to the classroom to gain the administrative and management background that employers usually require. But what comes next? When you’re ready to step onto the job market with your diploma in hand, how can you give yourself every available advantage in a competitive marketplace? Networking is Essential Start by growing your network. In fact, it’s a good idea to start building your network long before you complete your course work and exams. Join professional societies and local networking groups, and spend some time and effort reaching out beyond the boundaries of the healthcare industry. The more connections you maintain and the more you circulate actively among those who hold second and third degree connections that can help you, the faster you’ll reach your destination. And remember: what you can do for others is always more important than what they can do for you. Think in terms of offering and providing instead of requesting and demanding. Licensing and Professional Memberships After you acquire your state license, improve your marketability by applying for professional membership in any of the following societies: the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM), the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), “a resource leader for healthcare administration management and medical practice managers”, and the Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals (AHCAP), an “organization for administrative professionals who support our nation’s healthcare leaders.” Your specific career goals will determine which professional societies are right for you, but it’s a good idea to conduct some research and make contact with the branches in your area. In the meantime, determine the skills and specific areas of expertise your target employers are searching for and be ready to work your way into the field from the ground up. Reach out to the healthcare staffing experts at Pace for more information. If you are looking for healthcare administration jobs in Seattle WA, contact Pace today.

IT Management: Should You Hire Externally or Train Existing Employees?

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 10, 2013

0 Blog, IT Staffing information technology employment agencies, information technology employment agencies seattle, information technology employment agencies seattle wa, information technology employment agency, information technology employment agency seattle

Almost every business owner or decision maker will eventually face some version of a universal staffing question: Is it wiser and more cost effective to launch an external search for new managers? Or can the best candidates usually be found among existing teams? Should candidates be sourced through national job boards, or groomed and trained through an existing internal pipeline? This can be an especially challenging question in the IT field. Excellent IT employees usually possess strong technical skill sets, some of which can take years to acquire, but technical and programming skills don’t automatically translate into management skills. And IT leaders often make the mistake of promoting employees to management positions based on their technical performance. Before you take this route or decide to do the opposite and focus your search outside the company, ask yourself these three critical questions. How much time do you have to fill the gap? If you have the luxury of time, you can start cultivating leadership skills in high potential employees who won’t officially step into management roles for months or even years. When you’re faced with an open position, you can carefully evaluate candidates drawn from both internal and external sources, and simply chose the candidate that best meets your established criteria. But be cautious; if internally trained and groomed employees know that they’re competing with outsiders for management positions, they may resent taking a subordinate position to the applicant who represents you final choice. Are you dealing with a skills issue or capacity problem? Do you simply need managers to handle budgets, schedules, motivation, and workflow for a growing group of employees? Or do you need managers who can address skill-based performance problems and direct employees on the finer points of specific programming issues? If capacity is your primary concern, outside candidates with no need for management training may be easier to find. But if skills are your focus, trusted and proven internal employees may be a better bet. Will your decision be a short or long term goal? Where would you like this decision to take the company in six months? How about five years? If one matters far more than the other (if, for example, you have a very short term, high-demand project to complete for a single client), then you’ll need to factor this into your decision to mentor and train an internal candidate or hire from the outside, possibly through a respected staffing firm. For more information and guidance that can help you resolve tricky management questions like this one, reach out to the Seattle IT staffing experts at Pace. If you are looking for information technology employment agencies in Seattle, contact Pace today.

Are You Making the Most of Your Temporary Staffing Options?

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 1, 2013

0 Blog, Human Resource Roles Contract Employees, Downsizing, Flexible Staffing Models, PACE Staffing Network, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, Shamrock Organization, Staffing Solutions, Temporary Staffing, WorkForce Optimization

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]1. What percentage of your total workforce currently falls into one of the flexible worker (temp, contract, part-time) categories?  While there is no magic ratio of flex-to-core employees, if your percentage of core to non-core staff is 10% or below, look hard at the things your company is doing to embrace the “flexible work” model. The “shamrock organization” that has been widely touted as the model for the future, suggests that as much as 33% of your workforce can be contingent workers, while another 33% are the workers provided by “outsourced” service providers. Only 33% of this shamrock workforce are core employees, with the responsibility to manage and coordinate the work of the contingent others. Does this staffing model make business sense for your company? Your team? How much money could you shave off your operating budget if you became more “shamrock” like? 2. Is the demand for your goods or services increasing or decreasing? How have you adjusted your headcounts to deal with these trends? Reducing or adding to your temporary/flexible workforce is fast becoming the preferred staffing model to cushion the highs and lows of economic volatility. The notion of “right sizing” isn’t just about reducing staff; it’s also about not making permanent commitments to core employees until you know for sure that a business trend is stable. Using a flexible staffing strategy to always stay “right sized” has become a strategic method used by employers to transition wage costs from a fixed cost to a variable cost. Investing in or holding onto fixed costs that your competitors treat as variable will eventually impact profitability and your ability to compete. 3. Do you have a good handle on the rhythms of supply and demand for your department’s particular goods and services? The reoccurring low and high points of your team’s work cycles? With the growth in popularity of temporary and contract staffing options, an employer’s ability to move employees in and out of work environments quickly has significantly improved. Many employers have made a science out of staffing their teams at levels to support the lowest points in the demand cycle and using flexible workers to cycle-up or cycle-down in response to business need. “Workforce optimization” software’s have been developed to help companies track productivity requirements prior to impact. 4. How much overtime is currently being required of your workforce – core and flex? Overtime is very costly and is often a reactive strategy rather than the result of a well thought out plan. Staffing with the right number of core employees and augmenting up or down with flexible employees should eliminate most overtime requirements. 5. When special projects or reworks come up, do you typically have enough employees currently on staff to handle the extra work load? If you have core staff that consistently have the time to volunteer for additional work, chances are your company has too many fixed wage costs embedded into your workforce strategies. Most work that is non-reoccurring or not part of your regular routine should be done by your flexible workforce, not your core. 6. How long is it taking you to hire a core employee? What is the impact to your business of an inability to hire? If you need to move quickly and it takes too long to hire a core employee, you can miss important opportunities. Temporary or contract employees with the skill sets you need, can be brought in and put to work quickly. Temp-to-hire staffing models have dramatically increased over the last two years. Workers who have found themselves suddenly out of job are oftentimes willing to work in non-core ways. Many of these employees will bring new ideas and new ways of working to your company, promoting an atmosphere of change. 7. Are there jobs under your direction with high turnover, requiring you to be constantly in “hire” mode? Reoccurring turnover can be a sign that the job you are trying to fill just might not lend itself to a core staffing model. Many work groups composed of workers with low to moderate skill levels have been fully converted to a temporary staffing model. Another way of dealing with a high turnover job is to use a rotating group of auditioning contingent workers who you can use to keep work flowing, while giving workers a chance to demonstrate their special interest in or talent for the work to be performed. This auditioning process allows you to “always be hiring” while outsourcing much of the staffing costs to a third party employer. 8. Are there jobs under your direction where the morale of the work group seems to be an issue? Or where a large number of employees are no longer on their A-game? In large teams performing repetitive tasks, there are oftentimes cycles in employee performance that can be managed just like any other business cycle. If your productivity goals are such that all employees need to be on their A-game always, you might consider a more flexible staffing model that capitalizes on the opportunity to bring fresh new employees into your work group at just the right time—recycling employees who might have “burned out” into other work or jobs. 9. Is your team undergoing significant process changes? Bringing on new ways of working? New technologies? Periods of rapid or longer term change are often times when you need to slow down your commitments to core hiring and convert to a more flexible and short term work model. It is not unusual for work groups dealing with extended periods of uncertainty or change to be composed of more temporary than core workers. 10. How much of your operating budget can you devote to temporary or contingent staff? Many companies that monitor hiring levels carefully will at the same time provide considerable budget dollars for temporary/interim staff. One of the ways to add to your workforce without breaking full time employee (FTE) rules is to identify an employee you want to hire and instead of hiring them directly, you use an “employer of record” service through a third-party employer service. This staffing strategy avoids most of the hidden costs associated with core employees, retains the flexible component of an hourly employee who can go in and out of your workforce “at will”, plus protects your current core employees from the stress of trying to do more than they have core FTE to do. For more information about ways to drive down fixed costs by using flexible workforce strategies, contact the PACE Staffing Network at infodesk@pacestaffing.com.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Benefits of a Temp Job in Seattle

by Jeanne Knutzen | September 26, 2013

0 Blog, INFO AND RESOURCES FOR JOB SEEKERS temp jobs in seattle, temp jobs in seattle wa, temp jobs seattle, temp jobs seattle wa, temp jobs seattle washington

If you've been on the job market for a while and you haven’t yet secured the permanent, full time position you’re looking for, you may be thinking about taking a closer look at your options, revising your search strategy, or starting to reach out for professional career guidance. These are all wise moves, especially if you haven’t received any viable offers for six months or more. While you’re turning outward for resume assistance and job search tips (the experts at Pace are a great resource!), it’s also a great idea to consider stepping into a temporary job. If you've never considered this option or you think temp jobs aren't right for you, take a closer look. Decades ago, temporary employment provided a transitional option for those involved in secretarial or administrative work, but at this point, temp agencies have come a long way. These services now provide support to almost every profession, from food service to engineering, healthcare, manufacturing, and marketing.  Regardless of your skill area or level of expertise, a professional staffing agency can connect you to the employer client you need.  Here are a few ways a staffing firm can support your career. A Temp Job Keeps Your Resume Active Stop worrying about the growing gap in your resume. Even if the temp job you step into isn’t what you want to be doing from now until the day you retire, this position can keep your resume fresh, updated, and active. It feels nice to list a “current employer” at the top of your work history section when you send your resume off to a hiring manager. New Experience and Skill Sets No matter where your next temp job takes you, this position will provide you with exposure to a new aspect of your current business, or a new business altogether. And with new experience coms new skill sets. Learn how to handle a new content database or customer relationship management system and you can add this to your career toolkit (and your resume as well). A temporary position can also keep you immersed in your own field and allow you to stay on top of industry trends and changes. New Names and Faces Along with new skill sets and exposure, a temp job can introduce you to new people and keep your network active and growing. The more people you meet and contacts you establish, the stronger your foothold will become in a job market where no position is entirely secure. If you are looking for a temp agency in Seattle WA, contact PACE today.