Tag: get connected

What’s Your Recruiting Story?

by Sara Bennett | April 8, 2024

0 Author-Jeanne, Hiring Strategies and Tactics get connected

The right recruiting story makes a difference to who you hire. Here's some ideas on how to create the right recruiting story and get it told - often and well! … Read More »

What do your employee’s cost – really?

by Jeanne Knutzen | April 6, 2024

0 Author-Jeanne, Hiring Strategies and Tactics, Thought Leader / Featured Blogs* get connected

When taking a closer look at the true costs of being an employer, temporary employees are often much less expensive. Here'why.....   … Read More »

A 7 Step Journey to Stress Free Firings!

by Jeanne Knutzen | April 1, 2024


Hiring and firing are not just the opposite ends of the staffing spectrum, but together represent the two most important staffing decisions managers make when building their teams. … Read More »

Technology. Relationships. Are your people finding the right balance?

by Sara Bennett | March 18, 2024

0 Author-Jeanne, INFO/RESOURCES - FOR PEOPLE MANAGERS / HR PROFESSIONALS get connected, main whats happening

As a recruiting organization, AI is on deck to change just about everything we do, including how we interact with each other.

What's AI on deck to do for your company?  

In our case, we know we've always been a bit geeky – in fact we were one of the first staffing agencies in the nation to embrace basic computer technology to classify and store records of candidates, clients, and job orders. Yes, we even had the audacity to believe that a computer could find the right matches between candidates and jobs faster than we could do it manually.  We were somewhat alone at the time - but not for long!

To be honest when we first got our big IBM computer in a box (1984 to be exact) our competitors actually wondered what we were doing – claiming we were using our new big computer to get us out of the people business. My guess is they were simply resisting the inevitability of change. I can’t believe they actually liked the very hard and tedious work of thumbing  through stacks of resumes, job order records, and business cards to do their business. But perhaps they just didn’t see how much of their day was spent doing all those tedious tasks instead of interacting with people. Today  - we’re still geeky. We think AI has a really important role to play in how we go about our day. It's already helping us do our work faster, speeding up the time it takes to get thru all those tedious and redundant tasks that are a part of every hiring process. It takes notes at meetings. It reminds us of our promises to one another. And we so appreciate all that help! That said, we also learned a long time ago that it is the relationship side of our business that actually drives success. Today we are  quick to use AI wherever we can, but we also preach the importance of the relationship side of our business reminding folks it has to stay in tact. Our leaders remind our people of that truth each and every day. We’re sharing all this because we know that at the core of every successful business, not just staffing companies, its the strong relationships between people - co workers, staff and management, account managers and customers - that make the difference. And these relationships are built on the time honored values of trust, understanding, and authenticity – qualities that to date AI can’t quite replicate for either our team or yours. We believe that getting too far into the AI camp, can actually hurt our businesses. We’re also  suggesting that as we move into an era where technology can do so much, it might be time to take a good look at the people who are interacting with our customers - making sure they are the kind of people who will continue to value relationships in a world where its just plain too easy to hide behind a smart phone, a computer, an AI bot. We've already seen - not all employees know where to draw the line.

Here’s some of the ways that we believe that its still going to be the people in our companies, not just the latest technologies, that will make a difference to our success!

We think of these as important elements to the relationship side of our business, and may be important to your relationship side as well!  These are the questions that company leaders might want to start asking about to make sure that as once again start to indulge our geeky sides, we have the right people on our bus who are both geeky and relationship builders.    

Are your people asking the right questions?  We've always been proud of the fact that in our intake meetings with a new client, we so often hear –“That’s a great question.  I’ve never been asked that before.” Internally, we don’t look at our questions as that  magical. In fact from our perch we are simply asking about things we need to know more about if our goal is to help our clients hire people who can not just do the job, but people who want to do the job and want to do it well. People who are the "right fit" for the team they will be joining. Why are you hiring now? What results are you expecting this employee to achieve? On day one? On day 555? What challenges do you anticipate they will face if the goal is to get them to day 555? We think that’s all important, and are always surprised to hear that not all recruiters ask these questions.

Maybe we’re just the curious type, but in our our business, we assess the quality of our work by the quality of our questions!  Are your people curious enough to keep asking the kind of questions that make a difference?
Are your people coming up with new, more innovative solutions? While AI can offer up recommendations based on data, they can’t come up with solutions that haven’t been thought of before. In our business, for example, we hold ourselves accountable to be the ones who think outside the box, use our experience and intuition to come up with ideas to help our clients solve their staffing challenges that AI simply might not know exists. That’s why our intake calls and the level of homework our recruiting teams do before we even start a search is so important to the success of our staffing projects. Yes, we have to ask the right questions to get our clients to articulate the key elements of their company culture, but we also have to ask our candidates questions about what’s important to them about the type of company culture that works best for them, to make the right matches. Asking great questions starts the matching process, but you don't have the right solution to put the the two sets of answers together, it doesn't work. We believe it takes the human touch to make that match. AI is great at capturing history, but the solutions worth their salt have to be focused on the future.
Someone famous once told us you can’t solve a problem by using the same thinking that created the problem in the first place.   Are your people creative and bold enough to come up with new solutions that make a difference to your customers?
Are your people taking the time to discover the bigger picture of what's going on with their customers - their  CONTEXT?  For PACE whether our customer is a hiring manager or a candidate, understanding the context in which their need or want is being surfaced is vitally important to recommending the right solution. A candidate can go on forever describing their dream job but unless we know their real goal is to go to work now to pay next month’s mortgage, we will not be doing our job. A hiring manager can give us a long list of skills, knowledge and work experiences they think are necessary to "do the job", but unless we have that conversation about the personal qualities that matter to “fit”,  and identify all the temporary hurdles they will need to overcome in order to achieve the expected results, all the skills, knowledge and experience a candidate brings to the table, won't translate into a successful hire.
A good understanding of reality is what it takes to be persuasive. Are your people savvy enough to explore all aspects of your client's CONTEXT?             

In Summary....

As organizations continue to embed AI into their operations, we think finding the right balance between a company’s geeky side and their ability to keep it real with their customers is going to be a key driver of their success. At PACE we know we need to leverage the right technologies just to get in the staffing game, but to stay in the game we need to build and nurture the up close and personal side of our business. For us, this "balancing act" is the foundation of the strategies and tactics you'll see us using on the go forward.  Everyone we touch -  job seekers, hiring managers, HR leaders, CEO and CFOs – will feel heard, valued and understood, and we think that will be a different experience from what they might experience elsewhere.
Do you have enough difference makers on your team?  As we steadily march into a world dominated by technology, we think all businesses are going to need more of them!

How can PACE help?

Focusing our recruiting services on helping clients identify employees who can not only do the job but are the right fit for the teams they enjoy, is one of the mainstays of our service platform.  Finding employees who are the "right fit" doesn't happen just by scanning resumes, asking a few questions in a screening interview, and then turning to AI to identify the matches. No, our services are much more than that. Making a difference in who and how our our clients hire starts with detailed homework about the job, the company, and the client's current context, rolls into state of the art candidate screening and fit finding assessments that are built into every step of our hiring process, and providing clients with information about their candidate of choice every step of the way. Whether our client's use us to find an employee to hire direct, or a temporary or contracted employee to staff a project or cover for a leave of absence, what we do to find the "right fit" breaks all norms to avoid those costly staffing mistakes.  
PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 45 years. A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction. PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditionsdirect hire professional recruiting servicesEmployer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte. To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees,  contact our Partner Services and Solutions team at 425-637-3312, email us or visit our website.

How to Keep Your Dream Team Together!

by Sara Bennett | March 18, 2024

0 Author-Jeanne, INFO/RESOURCES - FOR PEOPLE MANAGERS / HR PROFESSIONALS get connected, main whats happening, Whats Happening

No matter how tenured or loyal your admin team, it's never a good idea to believe they'll be there forever! 

Yes, key members of your admin team, like all your employees, are vulnerable to turnover - no matter how important they are to your company, how much you rely on them for everyday support, how loyal you believe they are to you, their team, the company. And when a valued admin team member quits, its not always pretty. It often happens unexpectedly, at a time when you have the least bandwidth to deal with change. And yes, losing a member of you admin team always means change! And shame on any of us who didn’t take the time to see it coming. The reasons why admin employees quit sound very much like the classical reasons for all unwanted turnover.
“I wasn’t really looking to change jobs, but an opportunity came up that I just couldn’t pass up.” 
And these "new opportunities" should sound familiar.  Your favorite person on earth, your admin support, has just told you something you should have known.  I just wanted to....…
  • Make more money.
  • Get better healthcare benefits for my husband's new illness  
  • Work closer to home (or in today’s market - to work more days from home)”
  • Find better work/life balance – less stress, fewer hours of work
  • Try something new (or more meaningful)
  • Get away from ________ who has been pissing me off for some time 
Yep, we’ve heard it all. It might be of interest,  and psychologically soothing,  to know that turnover and all the disruption it creates is a much bigger component of everyday life at enterprise level organizations (as compared to what happens  in smaller organizations like ours). According to some recently generated research sponsored by customer.ai, the Northwest “bigs” deal with a level of churn that would bring most of us to our knees. Check out this data showing the average length of time an employee is in the workforce for the following companies…
  • Facebook 2.02 years
  • Google 1.9 years
  • Apple 1.85 years
  • Amazon 1.84 years
  • Microsoft 1.81 years
Looks to me that one of the ways smaller organizations can compete for talent is to find new ways to retain their employees for more than 2 years. Now that’s not a high hurdle.
And keep in mind that when you get better at retaining your admin staff you also impact the retention of the people they support.  The old trickle down effect. Putting focus on retaining the key members of your admin team can indeed create a competitive advantage.

We’ve put together some ideas to help you retain the members of your admin team...

...these are suggestions we’ve used on our own team, plus seen our clients use in their work environments - in most cases very successfully.  As we all know there is no ONE magic bullet that fixes everything.  Nor should we expect to get to a level of turnover that keeps us safe from an unwanted turnover.  What we can do is a whole bunch of little things that we think will impact how you work with and develop a high performing admin team. Certainly those of us who fall into the small to medium sized group (SMEs) can do these things better than our Northwest bigs. Check out these ideas….

Adjust your expectations for longevity.  You're not living in the 80’s. 

Gone are the days when an admin employee earns their stripes only after being in their job for a “really long time.” Based on the data we see, and the resumes we review, employers who can keep a good member of their admin team happy, productive and contributing for 3 or more years should consider themselves successful. That said, if you aren’t retaining who your new hires in their admin roles for more than a year it might be time to re think your hiring process. The data clearly suggests that to avoid surprises, you need to stay close, checking in with an employee on what’s going on with them, every six months, or even more.

Remember what was important to your employee when they were hired!

We believe that any retention strategy worth its salt, starts during the hiring process.   As part of the hiring equation, a hiring manager needs to learn about why the employee works, what they want to achieve through their work. The employee needs to learn about the company and its mission. Where is it going? How they will fit in? If you’re walking thru all the steps in a results based hiring process you’ll know at the point of hire what’s important to your admin employee and why they chose to work for you.   Veer too far away from their beliefs about who you are really, and the chances of an unexpected  turnover increase. And if you’ve found one of those high performing admin folks who simply wants to do a job and do it well with a stable source of income, your risk of an unexpected turnover goes down if you continue to provide them with steady work. But if you’ve hired someone looking for an opportunity to grow, you’d better make sure you give them those opportunities from time to time or they’ll likely find a reason to check out.

Stay connected to the “person” who is your employee.  

People’s lives change, and so do their needs for what they want from the “work” side of their lives. Stay close to your employee’s personal lives, paying attention to any issue that might change their job needs. When life gets a bit too dicey, be ready to offer short term part-time arrangements. When life needs an energy boost, a trip to attend a conference in New Orleans might do the trick.  A sudden health issue can change an employee’s need for expanded healthcare benefits or a pay increase so they can cover new out of pocket costs. The bottom-line you need to know who you are working with, not just what they do!

Build in opportunities to develop new skills, new work experiences.  

Your admin employee isn't just an admin so take them out of that box.  Admin employees in particular are often in roles filled with their share of work (i.e. tasks) that are more routine and boring than challenging and creative.  Many admin employees originally took those jobs because it involved work they could do - they were organized, they knew how to use all the Microsoft software, they were pleasant to be around. But landing an admin job they can do, doesn’t mean that’s where a talented admin employee wants to end up. Finding opportunities for members of your admin team to flex their career focused muscles, to learn new skills, to practice leading others on short or long term projects or initiatives are pieces of work you can give to your admin staff that will keep them active and engaged. And you might want to stop thinking of them as admins…and more as folks who can make important contributions to your company’s success. Better yet, organize your admin work so that it includes natural paths of advancement opportunity. An entry level receptionist, for example, should be able to advance into other roles – a team assistant, a project coordinator or even a project lead. If you’ve got a clear career path for members of your admin team, spell it out clearly. Also get really good at hiring at the entry level – knowing they will be employees you can count on to advance, always building from the bottom up. (These kind of “advancement” stories, by the way, are great recruiting tools.)

Play with job titles that actually reflect the employee’s real contribution.

And when one of your admin employees is doing work that goes well beyond the admin title, adjust their job title to reflect their contribution. Admin I, II and III are job titles that only make sense in an enterprise level organization where pay plans often dictate job titles. Not the case in a small to medium sized company where you have lots of room to develop the job titles that employees want – titles that reflect the value they have to the organization. Ask yourself in what areas your admin employee is making a difference and create an out of the box  job title that matches their contribution. How about Social Outreach Manager for someone who is executing your social media campaigns? How about Director of Business Execution for someone who is working in your back office making sure all your operational teams are working together?

Keep up with what’s going on with pay in your market.

Market competitive pay rates can shift quickly if you’re not looking at the market regularly and adjusting pay levels accordingly.  This is oftentimes tough to do with admin jobs where the actual duties and levels of responsibilities attached to a role can vary significantly from job to job, company to company.
If you have a question about what you should be paying for someone who does ________________________, give us a call and we’ll try to benchmark that work against what other companies in this market are paying for the same or similar type work.  Market competitive reviews of your pay plans for all job categories are critically important and should be done annually.

Believe what you’re being told.

Ask the right questions and your admin employee, any employee, will tell you what you need to know about where they are with respect to their job. Stay interviews have become increasingly popular over the last several years but they need to be for real – authentic discussions of “how are you feeling about your job right now” "Is there something a competitive employer might offer that would convince you to make a change?"  Know where you stand so you don’t have surprises.

Never take your admin employee for granted.

Just because a member of your admin team was willing to work some extra hours during a product launch, doesn’t mean they want to keep working at that level on the go forward.  Never take advantage of your admin employees sterling work ethic - any employee's sterling work ethic. Keep in mind a member of the admin team doesn’t always get to set the company’s agenda but is expected to respond to it. This means that your admin’s employee’s work life balance is always in some sort of ebb and flow and not always at their own direction. You can’t expect to keep your admin staff perpetually operating on the flow side of the ebb and flow and get their best performance.
And don’t forget to show your appreciation for everything your admin does -  even if deep down you believe its stuff in their job description. Showing appreciation, making sure your admin knows you see the link between their hard work and the results the organization enjoys, is worth its weight in gold.

Bring in a temp from time to time for some mental health relief.

You know that pile of paperwork over in the corner that your admin team never quite gets time to process?   That project you asked your admin to do "when they had time." Well, those stacks of paper, those projects that stay on the to do list forever, can be a really big source of stress for the conscientious people on your admin team. They hate not checking things off their to do list.  They hate boxes of paper sitting in the corner. Bringing in a temp every once in a while to do clean up projects, answer phones when things get super busy, or just cover work that tends to stack up on when someone is on leave or vacation, is a nice mental health thing to do for your admin team. Trust me, they will appreciate that you noticed!

How Can PACE Help?

First of all we can help by making sure your hiring process helps you identify the kind of admin employee who is the “right fit” for your team. That “right fit” is key to long term retention of any employee.  Admin employee’s, in particular, like to have some kind of affinity or personal connection with the people they work with .  That doesn’t mean they hang out for a beer after work, but it does mean that there needs to be a good match between an employee’s preferred work environment and team culture and what the employee will actually experience at work.  r. Our team can help you piece together the key factors impacting the type of candidate who will be the “right fit” for your team, plus help you source and then assess potential candidates to meet those requirements. And we don't see any two work environments the same, particularly thru the eyes of the admin staff who work in these environments.  Personal initiative for example, is a quality required for many admin roles while in others not so much, where a willingness to do things as directed is more valued. The employee’s communication style always makes a difference – some employees being really good at keeping others in the loop, others not so much. Which communication style works best for your team? Some admins are most effective when they can work alone with minimal interruptions while others thrive on ongoing interactions to keep them alert and productive.  Some admins love jobs with lots of details and prefer work environments with enough space to do high quality, no mistakes level of work. Others prefer a faster moving environment, where mistakes can be made and corrected quickly.
What we’re trying to say is that particularly for an admin employee a candidate’s work experience or hard skills are not the only factors that need to be considered when it comes to finding the "right" employee.  
Another way we can help is to do exit interviews with admin employees who have decided to leave their job. Finding out from the horses mouth why they decided to leave the stable, can be invaluable in profiling the right replacement candidate – what type of candidates to interview, which candidate is likely to be the right hire.  We are big fans of exit interviews, particularly for smaller employers who can’t afford to repeat past hiring mistakes.
PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 45 years. A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction. PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditionsdirect hire professional recruiting servicesEmployer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte. To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees,  contact our Partner Services and Solutions team at 425-637-3312, email us or visit our website. [gravityform id="56" title="false" description="false" ajax="false"]

Employee or 1099? Time to Take Another Look!

by Sara Bennett | March 6, 2024

0 Author-Sara, INFO/RESOURCES - FOR PEOPLE MANAGERS / HR PROFESSIONALS, Legal Issues get connected

New IRS regs require you to take another look at your 1099 workers. What you need to know!  

Most employers are not aware that independent workers make up nearly 45% of the US workforce. According to a 2023 report by MBO Partners, 72 million Americans go to work each day classified as independent contractors. 30 million of these folks do their work as 1099s in a full-time, every day capacity. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your POV,  there are some new rules for how employers are allowed to classify a worker as a 1099 (non W2) worker that may impact your business in 2024. These rules were passed in early January but despite law suits from several states will go into effect now - March 11th, to be exact.  

Why Does the IRS Care About How You Classify a Worker? 

The IRS has always been interested in how employer's classify their workers because it directly impacts their tax revenue. Independent contractors are responsible for paying their own taxes, including self-employment taxes, whereas employers are responsible for paying their share of the payroll tax plus withhold the employee's share. Misclassifying workers as independent contractors when they should be employees can result in significant revenue loss for the government. The Washington State Department of Labor and the Employment Security Department also pay attention to worker classification issues because a W2 employee is entitled to certain wage and benefit protections that are not available to workers classified as independent contractors. When it comes time to make a claim for unemployment, a 1099 contractor is not typically eligible, but a W2 worker is. Yes, both state and federal levels of government have a vested interest in how you classify one of your workers.

A Brief History of Classification Rules

The distinction between independent contractors and W2 employees has historically been a talking point between employers and various regulatory bodies for as long as I can remember. From an IRS POV, its always been just a bit too easy for employers to misclassify a worker as an independent contractor to avoid the hassle and costs associated with payroll based taxes, benefit administration, and other administrative and fiduciary obligations that would normally be attached to a W2 employee. The IRS has a long history of inserting rules and "guidelines" for employers to use when establishing the "right classification. I remember when there were 20 factors the IRS felt employers should consider when making classification decisions. Somehow that got whittled down to 3 factors in 2021. In the 2024 guidelines, the IRS has added some new considerations, even referencing options for more, under a new "totality of circumstance" rationale.

What's Changed?

In 2021, the IRS established rules that put emphasis on the degree of control the employer exerted over the worker as the primary driver of worker classification. The 2024 adds additional considerations, requiring employers to take a second look at workers who they have formerly considered 1099s. Employers are now required to use what is called a "totality-of-the-circumstances" analysis, in which multiple factors are considered - all weighted equally. The key factors specified in the 2024 ruling include....
  • The degree to which the employer controls how the work is done - Who sets hours of work, when, where and how work is performed. This is not anything new.
  • The worker’s opportunity for profit or loss - Which requires the employer to get clear about who benefits when a worker's managerial skills impact the "profits" (or losses) generated from performing the work. For example, who controls the purchasing of the tools or equipment used to do the job? Does the worker have overhead requirements needed to perform the job that the employer does not control?
  • The amount and level of skill and initiative is required to do the work - What skills and initiative is required by the worker to complete the work assigned? The more independent the worker is from the employer's scrutiny of either the worker's skills or their personal qualities to perform the job, the more likely they are to be considered an independent contractor.  Interview them like you are hiring an employee and run the risk of mis-classification.
  • The degree of permanence of the working relationship - How long will the worker be attached to the workplace/company? The longer they work for a client, the closer the IRS scrutiny
  • The worker's investment in equipment or materials required to do the work - What are the tools the worker needs to bring to the table in order to complete the work assigned to them;  what tools belonging to the employer can the use without compromising their independence. This "who owns the tools" factor that has been around for a long time. A contractor using only the tools provided by an employer has never been a good look if the goal is demonstrate independence.
  • The extent to which the service rendered is an integral part of the employer's business - If the work performed is critical to the employer's principle business, it is generally considered integral to that business and supports the need to make the worker a W2 employee.

How Will these New IRS Rules Impact Local businesses? 

In the State of Washington, these rule changes are likely to require action from employers who have long standing relationships with workers formerly classified as "independent contractors". Up until recently, Washington, like several other states, has been using what is referred to as the ABC test to determine whether a worker should be classified as an independent contractor or an employee. The ABC test evaluates only three criteria: A) Is the worker free from the control and direction of the hiring entity, B) Is the the work performed outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business, and C) Is the the worker is engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business. We are assuming that certain workers who can meet these ABC requirements might fall short under the new rules. It surely means that for employers who regularly use independent contractors, it's time to re-look at current documents, agreements and contracts to make sure the terms of engagement are clearly spelled out and in sync with the new regs. At minimum any agreement with an IC needs to spell out...
  • The nature of the work. What results or deliverables are key to the agreement
  • What each party will do or provide as part of the agreement - eliminating as much as possible any obligation by the client to provide tools or equipment necessary to do the work.
  • Payment Terms. Clear outlines of how and when the contractor will be paid for services rendered. Hourly pay agreements are generally not considered favorable to claims of "independence."
  • The Client/Contractor relationship - clearly specifying their independence of one another.
It also means that employers need to maintain accurate records of payments to independent contractors. This includes invoices, receipts, and any other relevant documentation.
In summary, for Washington employers who rely on the use of independent contractors or freelancers on a regular basis, understanding and adhering to the new "totality of circumstance" classification guidelines is critical to avoid potential penalties and issues with misclassification. 

What Happens If You're Audited for Misclassification Issues.

Not to be scary, but we know that an unfavorable misclassification audit can be costly. Not only is an employer subject to unpaid back taxes (and some cases penalties), you might also be liable for the payment of back wages due to being out of compliance with minimum wage and/or overtime pay requirements.   

What Can You Do?  

I recently chatted with the owner of a marketing firm in downtown Seattle who was concerned about the growing number of 1099 contractors who had been added to their firm's "bench list" over the last 6 months. Their bench included copy writers and digital designers who worked on various client projects from time to time but not at a level consistent enough to warrant making them even a part time W2 employee. She had been paying them as 1099 contractors whenever they got assigned to a project as her way to contain her level of financial commitment to her "just in time" workforce. She considered this type of flexible staffing strategy to be key to her business model. Preparing herself for a potential audit given her growing use of 1099s, her goals was to keep her "bench" concept in tact, but do so by avoiding the risk of IRS insertion. We discussed her options which included... Requiring any worker assigned to a project to be paid as a W2 employee, in essence prohibiting the use of 1099 contractors on all client projects. This solution avoided IRS scrutiny altogether, but also required her to absorb the extra work and costs it would take to formally hire each worker assigned to a project -even when the workers actual hours of work turned out to be much less than originally anticipated. She was anticipating a lot of hiring and quitting, and lots of paperwork that would accompany those activities. We talked about whether or not this was a staffing alternative that made business sense given the extra liabilities she would assume to provide these interim workers with W2 driven benefits - both those that are mandated by the State of Washington and or part of their current benefit offering to all W2 employees. She, like most employers attached to these types of flexible staffing models, resisted the idea of incurring the process costs of hiring someone for an unspecified amount of interim work, recognizing it would more than likely slow down her ability to deliver services to her clients in the timeframes required. We discussed the option of using an Employer of Record (EoR) Service provider (like PACE) to automatically convert all their current 1099  workers to W2 status, but as employees of a co-employer partner, not their own. By finding an EoR partner she could outsource all the steps of hiring and onboarding to a third party plus ensure that the IRS would never come calling about any misclassification, as all workers would be made the W2 employees of a third party staffing partner. I reminded her that EoR services differed from more traditional payroll service options in that in an EoR service relationship your "partner" doesn't just calculate and deliver a paycheck to your worker, but does everything necessary to be formerly recognized by the IRS and state regulatory agencies as their "employer of record" - thereby eliminating any hidden costs related to the employer liability. In the end, she elected to use our EoR service model, customizing its execution so that each hour of work performed by one of her former 1099 workers would not only be attached to our W2 employee's payroll record, but would be used to track work performed to a unique project code. We made some simple changes to our current automated time tracking system that required each employee to submit their hours of work not just by date they were performed by but work type and project code, allowing  PACE to provide weekly reports of pay and potential client billing back up.  Our ability to customize this payroll process to add value to our client's pricing and billing model was clearly a plus! PACE has been offering Employer of Record services to our client base for more than a decade, starting during that time after 2008 when worker classification issues first started to get serious IRS attention.   One of our clients has been using our EoR service model on an ongoing basis for over 6 years, asking us to hire, onboard and assignment over 200 professional workers each year.  These employees would get assigned to a variety of service projects on an interim, hourly basis throughout the year. Again we can deliver our client reports of the payroll costs attached to each project, each type of work performed by their 200 workers who are now our employees. We believe our EoR service option has delivered significant value to this employer or any employer who has an ongoing need for interim workers who they can easily source on their own but need to get to work quickly and efficiently while operating in an IRS  compliant way.

Using EoR Services to Manage an Out of State Employment Arrangement

Another set of clients have used our EoR services to maintain a W2 working relationship with valued employees who would have otherwise been forced to terminate their employment given their family's decision to move out of State. These employees were open to continuing to work remotely, so, rather than our client going thru the costs and hassle of establishing a nexus with another State's  workers comp and employer services regulatory bodies, they elected to use our EoR service model so that we became their employee's W2 based employer of record.  In each case we already had established a payroll based nexus with that State allowing our clients to smoothly and seamlessly retain a valued employee despite their physical relocation.      

How PACE Can Help?

At PACE, we understand the challenges of managing worker flexibility while also staying compliant with regulations that are frequently changed or adjusted at either the State or Federal level.  Our Employer of Record (EOR) services offer a solution for businesses seeking to engage workers in flexible work arrangements while mitigating the risk of IRS insertion.  By serving as the official W-2 employer for tax and legal purposes, handling all payroll, benefits administration, and compliance requirements, our clients can stay focused on their core business activities, not having to worry that they will trigger an IRS sniff check! Transitioning a long term 1099 worker into a W2 employee role also is a win for the independent contractor, providing them with greater financial stability (they get paid weekly) legal protections, and access to benefits they otherwise would not be able to tap into in their 1099 format.  Ultimately, we have used the EoR service model to support a more positive and risk free employment relationship for both our client and their worker. In a typical E of R service process PACE....
  • Streamlines the onboarding process including all compliance requirements 
  • Collects timecards and pays all workers weekly
  • Administers all mandated and voluntary benefit offerings
  • Manages rate of pay agreements
  • Submits pay and tax reports to regulatory agencies 
  • Processes annual W2 preparation and follow up  
  • Oversites all state regulatory requirements including responding to claims of unemployment benefits
Mark ups over bill rates for EoR services are nominal and typically decrease as the volume of employees covered under an EoR service agreement increases. PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire high impact employees based on the “right fit” for over 45 years. A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction. PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditionsdirect hire professional recruiting servicesEmployer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

If you’re a hiring manager looking for a service that will actually “make a difference” to who and how you hire, contact us at 425-637-3312 or fill out this form and we’ll be in touch

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Hiring for Results: A Shift in Mindset Will Change Who and How You Hire!

by Sara Bennett | January 29, 2024

0 Author-Jeanne, Hiring Strategies and Tactics, INFO/RESOURCES - HIRING / CANDIDATE SELECTION PROCESSES, Results Based Hiring Processes*, Thought Leader / Featured Blogs* get connected

Getting Clear on the RESULTS You Need Your Next Hire to Deliver Makes a Big Difference in Who and How You Hire! 

When you're competing for talent in a fast changing candidate market, how you organize the steps in your hiring process can make a big difference in who and how you hire.  Your process can't just be a series of steps you go thru to satisfy your boss or HR.  Each of the steps in your hiring process needs to be focused on delivering a quality hire.  But how do you define a quality hire? At PACE, our RESULTS FOCUSED hiring model is all about delivering quality hires.  We use it internally with our own team.  We use it externally with our clients to help them select the right candidate to hire or even to put into a long term temporary assignment. It has several steps, some of which are all about the science of hiring.  Others lean more into the intuitive or artistic side of successful hiring.  but our hiring model  differs from other models  because of its focus on HIRING RESULTS.  It was specifically designed to help clients select the right candidate which in their world is the candidate most able and willing to deliver the results they have determined up front are most important to hiring success.  It was also designed to enhance how a high talent candidate would experience of the hiring journey.  Not just to attract them the job, motivate them to accept our client's job offer, but also to get them ready to perform on day one post hire! This blog is being written to introduce our readers to our  RESULTS-BASED hiring model. We use this model when selecting an employee to refer to a client for hire  or to be assigned into a short or long term temporary role. It involves a series of steps just like any hiring process, but starts with the need to get clear on the results the hiring manager states is important for a successful hire to achieve. It involves a vetting process that includes engaging with the candidate on those results and finding out how they think they would achieve them if offered the chance.   It is a model that includes multiple screening, evaluation and assessment activities designed to provide the hiring manager with the information they need to predict which candidate is most likely to turn into a quality hire!  It also becomes a strategy for retention since it prioritizes underlying talents that can be developed over time,  not just here and now skills.        The PACE team has been using our RESULTS BASED hiring model for over a decade now. Whether our client needs to find a temporary powerhouse or hire a key player for a pivotal role, we help our clients define what an employee needs to deliver to be considered a quality hire, and then we help them find and id the candidates who fit that mold.  We’ve recently added some new features to the process so wanted to update our description of the journey – the steps our clients will experience along the way. To give full credit where its due - the inspiration for this model came from staffing guru, Lou Adler, and what he calls a Performance Based hiring process. Here are the key steps in our version of Mr. Adler's model, pointing out why we call it RESULTS BASED:

#1 Pre Hire Homework

Getting clear about the actual work and what a hiring manager expects a successful hire to deliver, is part of the homework we do with each client before the recruit can launch.  Our intake conversation is the first and most important piece of work in any hiring project. One of the reasons why our hiring model is considered Results Based, is that instead of dusting off an old job description that is typically a long list of work to be done and an equally long list of "hiring requirements", we help our clients turn that list of tasks into descriptions of the results those tasks are intended to achieve.  We like to communicate with candidates not just about what they are expected to do, or the qualifications they are expected to have, but what they are expected to achieve.  We think that focus on results is key to candidate engagement. As example, telling a recruiting coordinator that part of their job is to prepare new job postings daily is about the task.  Truthfully it's not a very compelling way to pitch to a prospective candidate what they're going to contribute once hired.   Telling them that their job is critical to help the team fill more job openings is.   Candidates and employees tend to get motivated when they know the reason for their work - what it matters.  Talking to candidates about RESULTS (not tasks) sets your company apart from competitive opportunities. We promise.    As part of their pre recruit homework we encourage hiring managers to develop a 30-60-90 day performance plan.  This is a plan that details what results the candidate is expected to achieve if hired and we use it to engage a candidate right out of the gate.  Creating a road map of milestones someone is expected to achieve, and then asking them how they would approach achieving those milestones  is a powerful technique.  It also kicks off that dangerous period of 30-60-90 days when most hiring errors surface. There are other things pre- recruit homework is intended to get accomplished...but nothing is more important than the hiring manager's plan for success.  It will also help you nail down....
  • The work content - a typical “day in the life” of the future employee.  What are the tasks the employee will be doing to achieve the results.
  • The CONTEXT in which the work will be done – Why has the company decided to hire now? What business or staffing issue are they trying to address?  What about the work environment that might create challenges for a new hire?  What resources are or are not in place to provide support? (Will they be working for a boss who is almost never on site?  Will they have lots of daily/weekly deadlines?  Will they have daily contact with others or are they expected to work on their own?    The CONTEXT homework is about uncovering anything that will be relevant to how the employee experiences the job after they are hired.
  • Why the right employee would want to take this job? What should we be looking for in a candidate that would suggest they will be both able and willing to not just to achieve but to excede their hiring manager's expectations for results?  Each candidate we interview needs to give us an answer to our question - why would you want to take a job that is expected to achieve these results?   What about this job is likely to keep you interested on year one?  not just day one?
The end product of all our pre recruit homework is what we call a Preferred Candidate Profile (PCP) which is an outline of the skills, experience and personal profile of a candidate who is likely going to be highly motivated to deliver the results you need.     A PCP is what all recruiters need in order to know....
  • Where to look for the right candidate
  • How best to engage them in your hiring process
  • What candidate vetting/screening/evaluation activities will be help to id the right candidate
  • What information will our client need to select the best candidate for the job – “the one most able to deliver the results you need - not just on day one but on the hiring anniversary dates to follow.
In any hiring process the Preferred Candidate Profile is the roadmap that guides the next steps in the hiring process.  In a RESULTS FOCUSED hiring model, that profile reflects results not tasks, talents not just skills and experience.   It is a profile that describes the candidate who is able to deliver the expected results on day one and on each anniversary date after.        

#2. Customized Sourcing, Screening, and Candidate Vetting – where science and art come together! 

Homework completed, a Preferred Candidate profile in hand, your recruiter can now go to work to find the candidates who fit the profile.  They will vet those candidates against all the details you've id'd to be relevant to the “fit”.  They will engage them in the hiring experience by talking about the results they will be expected to achieve and any unusual pieces of the context in which the job is done. The steps our team uses to find and recruit candidates is about the science because it is very data driven approach to the market.  We need to know how many candidates are in the marketplace available for hire?  How many employers are chasing those same  candidates?  What are those candidates looking for when they pursue one job or another?  We will know how many candidates we will need to touch before we come up with the one who is the right fit.  We have the concrete data that we use to answer these questions.   Engaging candidates in the journey is the artistic part - using the story about our hiring manager's expectations of results to trigger each candidate’s interest in becoming part of the team.
You would be amazed on much information you learn about a candidate's underlying talents when you engage them in conversations  about the results that will be expected of them once hired.  They'll come up with approaches they could use that you may not have thought of.  Traditional vetting interviews,  focused on skills and experience, can't touch a vetting interview focused on results.      
At PACE , we vet all candidates using a variety of behaviorally based interviews, skill and aptitude assessments, and reference checks.  A new feature of our vetting program in 2024  is to use an automated reference check process very early in the vetting process. In the past our reference check process was the old fashioned kind - live conversations with a past employer - so we didn't do them before we knew if our client was interested.  Today, we have AI based software to allow us to activate a digital reference check process right after the first screening interview, saving the hard core voice to voice conversations to the end. There are a lot of reasons for this additional step.  It sets the tone re: the seriousness of our hiring process right up front and actually encourages candidates to be more forthcoming during subsequent interviews and assessment exercises.  They know what they tell us in an interview has to match up with what a former employer tells us doing the reference check.  An important nuance of our reference check process is that it is constructed to minimize a previous employer's opinion, focused instead on verifying the candidate’s self reports.     

#3. Information Rich Hiring Decisions – Our Client’s Opportunity to Go Deep!

Armed with the information gathered during our screening and evaluation processes, our clients are able to focus their time with one or two candidate finalists.  They are able to go deep into uncovering how each of those candidates might approach delivering on their expected results, how they might overcome the challenges we've identified, what talents they know they can bring to the table to help them be successful? This type of behavior based interviewing generally makes it easy for a hiring manager to see which candidates are most likely going to be successful once hired. It also encourages the candidate’s on going engagement. While PACE plays an active role not just in the screening of candidates but in more in depth evaluations of candidates who have "made the cut" a lot of what happens in the final stages of evaluation happens when the candidate is referred to our client.  We encourage our clients to....
  • Use a multi step evaluation process…..at least one or two interviews
  • Involve all the folks who will play a role in the new hire’s success in one or more steps in the evaluation process
  • Involve the hiring team with only 1-3 finalists so the vetting process doesn't get too exhausting and lead to hiring mistakes
  • Wherever possible arrange for “on the job” interviews or discovery.  Asking a candidate to spend 2-4 hours job shadowing - watching teammates in action, or attending a team meeting to see how the team interacts with one another.   Our favorite "on the job" evaluation is a “temp to hire work audition” where the employee actually starts work on the team but is in an interim, non employee role for a 2-3 month auditioning period.  We are big believers in try before you buy.  
When its time for our client to make the hiring decision the focus on RESULTS which has been part of the process since day one once again comes into play.  The hiring decision is simply a prediction about which candidate is most likely to achieve the short and long term results needed to be considered a quality hire.  Which of the candidates is most likely to stay motivated along the way.  The answer is usually quite clear if you've kept the discovery focused on results each step of the way.

#4. Pre- Offer Discovery – Making Sure We Get it Right!

Once our client decides who they want to hire, the recruiter's role shifts to make sure their job offer aligns with the candidate’s needs and the competitive marketplace.  Our goal is to make sure the candidate will accept the offer enthusiastically. This last phase of the hiring journey is critical to a successful hiring process and employee retention down the road. While difficult to do without someone in the middle to make sure there are no misfires, when using a third party agent like PACE to communicate clearly thru all the nuances of the right offer, miscues are nipped in the bud quickly.

#5.  Pre-Hire Compliance – The Finale!

The last step in all hiring processes is to make sure the candidate is eligible to go to work in the US and passes muster in order to get access to the employer’s facility.  In our state, some of the steps in the compliance process, the criminal background check for example, cannot be initiated until an offer has been made or accepted. For any temporary employee placed on assignment, PACE is the hiring agent and will always do every step in the compliance process.  If our client is hiring the employee directly they can either ask PACE to do the compliance or do it themselves.  Either way PACE clients can rely on our compliance team to have the expertise to walk you thru any issue that might arise.

Final Thoughts – a Holistic Approach to Hiring, Performance Management, and Staff Retention

We hope you now have some insights into the steps of our RESULTS FOCUSED hiring model and the many ways it lays the groundwork for hiring success.  It is a seamless journey from the initial intake call thru the onboarding and first 90 days your new hire is on the job. Whether you’re a customer who has already experienced this hiring model or a new client looking to upgrade your own hiring process, we hope this information sparks some ideas about how to get started.  Our RESULTS FOCUSED model will definitely make a difference in who or how you hire. If you have questions or run into some challenges along the way - never hesitate to call.  We’re here to help!!!!
PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 45 years. A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction. PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditionsdirect hire professional recruiting servicesEmployer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

If you’re a hiring manager looking for a service that will actually “make a difference” to who and how you hire, contact us at 425-637-3312 or fill out this form and we’ll be in touch!

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What Changes Are In Play for 2024?

by Sara Bennett | January 24, 2024

0 Author-Jeanne, Hiring Strategies and Tactics get connected, main whats happening

I love January….that time each year where we clear our heads on all those things that we did or did not do in the past year, and get excited about what we can start, stop, or do differently in the coming year.  As our team here at PACE went thru that thought process it certainly “feels” that 2024 is getting off to a start that offers more clarity than what we were experiencing at this same time in 2023. … Read More »

Pre-Hire Performance Plans – Whats, Whys, and How Tos

by Sara Bennett | December 11, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, Hiring Strategies and Tactics Employer Buzz, get connected

Making the Case for Pre-Hire Performance Plans

We’re all familiar with the term Performance Plan that is used to describe a series of steps or activities sequenced in a way to achieve a specific goal or objective.  There are all kinds of performance plans, most used to lay out the activities and results required of a company, a team or an individual covering a specific time period. Many companies, teams or individuals regularly prepare weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual performance plans. Unfortunately the performance plan language is most frequently used in situations where an employee is in trouble, either with their conduct or their results, and a PIP, a Performance Improvement Plan, is used to lay out what specifically the employee needs to do or change what they have been doing to avoid termination. Given the number of times PIPs come up when googling Performance Plans, it is no wonder performance plans are so often viewed in a negative light. Less well known are what is called “30-60-90 Day Plans”, typically introduced during the onboarding process to describe what an employee needs to learn or do during their first 90 days on the job to be fully ready to perform on their 91st day after hire. These types of performance plans are designed to get a new hire off to the right start, armed first with what they need to know, and secondly what results they need to deliver, to contribute to the organization’s success. Most 30-60-90-day plans are written either by a hiring manager or a member of the HR team right after the employee is hired and is about to be "onboarded." A much less well-known version of a performance plan is what we call a Pre-Hire Performance Plan (PHPP) a type of plan introduced during the hiring process as a way to lay out for a job candidate what a newly hired employee is expected to do, know, or deliver by when if hired. PHPPs are very much like on boarding plans but are given to a candidate before they are hired and are used to describe the hiring manager’s expectations for “success.” Long story short, a PHPP is a “results focused” definition of the hiring manager’s expectations. This blog is written to make the case for Pre-Hire Performance Plans; describe how they are used in the hiring process plus outline why a company might choose to incorporate a PHPP into their hiring process. We will also provide our readers with some ideas and insights into the how to’s of creating a PHPP. 

What is a Pre-Hire Performance Plan (PHPP)?

Feeding off the brief definition provided above, the content of a PHPP looks very much like a 30-60-90 day on-boarding plan in that it lays out what needs to happen by when after an employee is hired and begins work. While most PHPP's are focused on the first 90 days post hire, for more senior roles that time frame can and often should be expanded to include the results to be obtained during the employee’s first year on the job. A PHPP often includes a statement of the context in which the expectations are to be achieved to clearly spell out the challenges likely to be faced during the plan period.

How are Pre-Hire Performance Plans Used During the Hiring Process?

A PHPP is used to identify the “best candidate” for the job – the behavioral way. It is typically a document given to 2-3 “finalists” who have already been screened to have the base experience and/or skills needed. These finalists are asked to review the plan and come to their interview prepared to provide examples of situations where they have faced the same or a similar set of expectations.  During the interview they are asked for specifics of their experience – what they did, the results they achieved, what they learned that might help them address the requirements of the job they are interviewing for. The PHPP can play a key role in the candidate selection process as the candidate’s answers to questions relevant to the PHPP almost always reveals which candidates are most prepared to achieve the results described in the PHPP.

What are the Key Benefits for Using a Pre hire Performance Plan?

There are many benefits for using a PHPP in addition to the role it plays in employee selection.
  • A PHPP ensures your hiring decision is focused on predicting performance or results, avoiding personal bias. And that is a trickle-down benefit that keeps the entire team or organization focused on performance/results. Having a PHPP in place shows just how serious you are about hiring the right employee and how focused you are on results.
  • A PHPP engages the high talent candidates during the hiring process in ways that traditional hiring processes do not. High talent candidates are attracted to challenges and will automatically self-reflect on the skills and abilities they can use to address these challenges.  Increased engagement = more offers accepted, often circumventing the type of competition based on costly pay and benefit packages.
  • A PHPP takes the mystery out of expectations…making it clear what is to be accomplished by when. High talent candidates don’t like surprises….and want to know exactly what will be expected of them.
  • A PHPP helps the recruiting team develop a job relevant preferred candidate profile. Knowing what a future employee must produce by when, makes it easy to get realistic about what qualifications are needed to succeed once hired.
  • A PHPP kick starts the onboarding process…. shortening the time it takes to get a new employee off and running.
  • A PHPP provides a way to get some early warning signals that you’ve hired either the right or the wrong employee.  A new employee who isn’t reaching the milestones spelled out in their Pre-Hire Performance Plan can be spotted early, the reasons for the performance shortcoming addressed in real time, as they come up.  This process avoids the more traditional, often long-drawn-out methods of assessing a new hire that results in too much time and resources invested in the wrong employee.  With over 50% of new hires turning into hiring errors, the earlier a “bad hire” is detected the easier it is to minimize the wake of an underperforming employee left in their role too long. The phrase “take the time to hire right, and fire quickly” comes to mind.  The PHPP is an invaluable tool to do just that.
  • A PHPP plays a key role in creating a culture of personal accountability and productivity. It keeps the hiring and orientation process focused on hiring and developing employees who have the necessary experience and talents needed to reach and exceed goals.  It can play a pivotal role in creating a performance focused culture.

How to Create a Pre-Hire Performance Plan

Creating the PHPP is, of course, the difficult part.  There are many multi-day workshops created to train managers on how to create the right performance plans. What I’d like to do in the context of this blog is to give you a limited list of “things to consider” when creating your PHPP.  I will also share some examples of the PHPPs we’ve helped PACE clients create and use in their hiring process.
  • Envision a SIMPLE ROADMAP. Identify the priority achievements for each segment of a progressive timeline.  Make sure you’re not expecting too much too soon and have clearly spelled out how the employee’s plan accomplishments will be measured.
  • Make sure you include a clear description of the context in which the PHPP will be achieved. The reality is that many new hires run into issues with a new job, not because of shortcomings in the skills or abilities needed to do the job, but because of the context in which the work is performed – a failure to adapt to that context.   Spell the context out clearly so that your PHPP comes alive for a potential candidate.  “You will be replacing a valued employee who is retiring after 15 years.  She will have very big shoes to fill and unfortunately there is not a lot of documentation available on how she does her job that makes her so good at it.  You’re going to have to absorb most of the how to's in the 3 weeks we have arranged for you to overlap with her.”   
  • Organize plan objectives into “conceptual” segments…
    • The first thirty days is typically a period of LEARNING so the plan needs to identify the key elements of the job the employee needs to learn and a brief description of how they will be learned.   You will meet with your boss at least twice to get clear on the department’s current projects and how you are expected to contribute. 
    • The second thirty days should be focused on DOING…putting into play the knowledge and skills learned in the first 30 days, and re affirming the employee’s ability to execute the base expectations. Spell out what work the employee should be regularly performing and how they should obtain feedback on their performance.     You will actively perform assignments given to you by the VP and obtain feedback from that VP on how you performed.       
    • The third thirty days should be focused on demonstrating the employee's ACCOUNTABILITY and INITIATIVE. The components of the plan should show the ways in which employees can demonstrate that they have a firm grasp on how their role contributes to the team’s success. You will have mastered the reoccurring/daily/weekly work assigned to your role plus will have presented some of your own ideas on ways your role might enhance its contribution to the team’s performance.     
  • Make sure your PHPP provides answers to key questions.....
    • What skills or knowledge does the new employee need to either bring to the table or learn quickly?
    • What resources are available to facilitate the required learnings?
    • Who are the people (i.e. stakeholders) who will play a role in the employee’s success? Who do they need to meet?
    • What projects or initiatives are currently in play that the new hire is expected to contribute to?
    • What recurring problems or challenges will they likely encounter and need to address?
    • What will the new employee need to do to establish their credibility with others?
    • What are the specific tasks that make up the employee’s daily, weekly, monthly requirements?
    • How will those tasks be taught – by who? Using what resources?
    • How will the employee get involved with other areas of the company besides their own team?
    • What kind of feedback will they be given to let them know how they are doing with their plan? How will it be solicited?
  • Adjust how you break down your PHPP into performance periods based on the complexity and scope of the role. Most if not all jobs benefit from a a PHPP covering a 90-day timeline.  Some higher or executive level jobs will require you to expand your plan to lay out expectations for first year results.

Examples of Pre-Hire Performance Plans

We'd like to share examples of PHPPs we have developed with customers in the last 12 months.  The first is the PHPP for a VP of Marketing so that you can get a sense of what that type of high level PHPP might look like. The second is the PHPP for an Administrative Assistant in the Marketing Department. Please note how each plan spells out the "context" in which the results will be delivered and the extended time period covered by the executive level plan.  
PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 45 years. A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction. PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditionsdirect hire professional recruiting servicesEmployer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

If you’re a hiring manager looking for a service that will actually “make a difference” to who and how you hire, contact us at 425-637-3312 or fill out this form and we’ll be in touch!

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Taking the Fat Words Out of Your Hiring Process

by Sara Bennett | December 4, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, Hiring Strategies and Tactics, Thought Leader / Featured Blogs* get connected

If you’re a recruiter, you won’t have to wait more than 15 minutes in a conversation with a hiring manager to hear at least one “fat word”.    “I really need you to find me someone who is a  “critical thinker”!. … Read More »

So You Want to Hire a Critical Thinker!

by Sara Bennett | October 26, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, Hiring Strategies and Tactics Employer Buzz, get connected

According to recent research, the number of job postings requesting “critical thinking skills” as a candidate requirement, have doubled since 2009.  Here's some ideas about how to screen candidates for "critical thinking". … Read More »

Why Job Seekers Want to Work for YOU – a Small to Midsized Employer!

by Sara Bennett | October 12, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, Hiring Strategies and Tactics, Thought Leader / Featured Blogs* get connected, main whats happening

Small and medium sized companies often find themselves competing for talent on a very unequal playing field! Here's how they win the race for talent against their larger competitors! … Read More »

AI and Hiring. Evolution or Revolution?

by Sara Bennett | September 28, 2023

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

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

Your Hiring Process Creates Your New Employee’s First Impression!

by Sara Bennett | September 21, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, Hiring Strategies and Tactics, INFO/RESOURCES - FOR PEOPLE MANAGERS / HR PROFESSIONALS, INFO/RESOURCES - HIRING / CANDIDATE SELECTION PROCESSES, Results Based Hiring Processes*, Thought Leader / Featured Blogs* get connected, main whats happening

Anyone surprised that this thing called the “employee experience” actually starts well before a job candidate becomes an employee?  Here's how kick start the employee experience while hiring.... … Read More »

Try Before You Buy = A Smart Way to Hire!

by Sara Bennett | September 7, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, Temp to Hire Working Auditions get connected

New to the temp to hire audition as a hiring model? Here's a step by step way to introduce this model to your team. … Read More »

Fit Finding Made Easy – Candidate Screening

by Sara Bennett | May 26, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne get connected

What You Need to Know About a Candidate Before You Hire Them! 

For our regular blog readers it comes as no surprise that PACE's approach to hiring is all about finding a candidate who is a good fit for a particular job and work environment.   Yes, that candidate will have the skills and work experience necessary to do the job, but we believe even more important is the match up with all those components of "fit" that result in a candidate who can not only do the job but will love doing it at very high levels.  As we talk about often, we believe that taking the time to find an employee who is the right fit has big pay offs - improving the productivity of a team, making it easier to retain team members, and in general positively impacting the team's morale. We've seen it multiple times - hiring decisions based on "fit" are decisions that "make a big difference" to the team's success. While the process of FIT FINDING requires a hiring manager to get clear about the job, the work environment and the candidate, this blog is about the candidate side of fit finding – what you need to know about a candidate to determine if they are the “right fit” for the job you are hiring for.  It assumes you’ve already taken the time to understand the job, its content, and all those things about the work environment that matter! 

Here's FIVE factors you need to get clear any job candidate when hiring for "fit"...

#1  The Candidate’s CAN DOS - their concrete SKILLS and KNOWLEDGE they need to do the job!     

  • Do they have the specific skills and knowledge to do the work?
  • Does their work history show that they have done the same or similar work? In what ways will what they have done in previous jobs transfer to what they will be doing in this job?
  • What kind of on the job training will they need to get them up to speed?
  • Do they have enough experience doing the same or similar work to know when they need to ask questions? Or reach out for help?  IOW, are they smart enough to know what they don’t know?
How do you get answers to these questions? 
While a good portion of your interview needs to dig into the specifics of a candidate's actual work experience, avoiding assumptions that get made simply by looking at the job titles and descriptions of work that appear on their resume, if you have any concerns at all, there's nothing like a comprehensive skills assessment program to see for yourself if the employee has the skills and knowledge they claim to have.  If you haven’t invested in skills testing software, reach out to PACE.  We have a comprehensive library of skills assessment exercises that we can use to "skill test" a candidate for an affordable cost.

#2  The Candidate’s WANNA DOS – uncovering those  intrinsic talents and work preferences that they enjoyed doing in the past that are likely to make them successful "at this job, in this work environment".  

  • Will the kind of work the employee will be doing each day something they will enjoy and be good at?  Does it play into the kind of work responsibilities the candidate enjoys the most?   OR are there components of the job that they likely won't like - that to do they'll need to "change their stripes”?
  • Is the job going to be challenging enough to keep the employee engaged? For how long?   
How can you find out? This is where your behavioral interview comes into play, asking questions that zero in on......
  • Things the candidate liked or didn’t like about their previous jobs.  What specific types of work they have been good at or not so good at in previous jobs?  
  • Their personal hobbies or activities they do outside of work, and WHY they enjoy them?
We find that candidates will report that they enjoyed certain components of their past jobs that they were good at.  If you uncover a candidate didn't like a particular type of work, chances are its the type of work they aren't that good at.  Knowing the kind of work a candidate likes and is good at is key to finding that fit between the candidate's strengths and the actual job content.   

#3 The Candidate’s Extrinsic MOTIVATORS (or DeMotivators) - things that will turn them on or off about where they work.        

  • What are the factors likely to motivate the candidate to do the job at high levels and enjoy doing it?
  • Is your recruiting story about why a candidate would like this job relevant to what the candidate needs to achieve thru their work - or do they tend to be motivated by things you or your job doesn’t have to offer?
  • Is the candidate likely to be motivated by the actual work content? The pay and benefit plan?  An opportunity to be promoted?  Learn more?
  • What is their level of interest in what the company does? Is anything about what you do that would be a turnoff to the candidate once hired?
How will you uncover this information? 
Every interview needs to include a discussion with a candidate about the work history you see on a resume or application from a motivational perspective.   There is actually a simple formula that you can use to get the information you need to identify patterns and trends.  For each job ask.....
  • Why did they take each job? Why did they leave?
  • What they liked AND disliked about each job ?
  • How long did they stay at each job?  Was there a difference in how long they stayed at a job they liked, compared to one they didn't like?  
  • Is there a pattern of personal or job satisfaction issues that seem to crop up, prompting a job change?
NOTE:   Many interviewers will short cut the work history analysis, preferring to ask what the candidate is hoping to "gain" from their next job.  We think that question short changes the real question which is how they actually made decisions in the past.   Hiring for "fit" is about finding out what type of job or work environment has been the "right fit" in the past. 

#4  The LOGISTICS -  More Can and Wanna Dos

  • Are the physical logistics of the job (things you can’t easily change about the work or the work environment) doable/acceptable by the candidate?
  • Do they have the transportation to get to and from work as needed?
  • Are they able to get to work during regular work hours?
  • Are you able to allow them to periodically work from home if that is what is important to them?
  • Is the actual work setting (ex. that lone desk in the back office) going to become an issue?
How will you find out?  
Questions that are focused on the candidate's ability to comply with the logistics of the job are one of the most important components of a screening interview - making sure that the more comprehensive interviewing to focused only on the candidates who meet the logistical requirements.  Where the job is performed?  Workplace rules and boundaries? etc. 
Most logistics relevant questions have simple yes no answers  (ex.  are you able to work in our Renton office 3 days a week?) but don’t be afraid to ask for reasons behind the yes’s nos or probe more deeply.  (ex.  You indicated that you didn’t like working from home in your last job?  How will you deal with the 2 days you will work from home in this job?)
We always recommend our client give a job candidate a tour of their physical facility so that they have an opportunity to observe the work environment, their future teammates in action.  

#5 The Candidate’s Typical or Preferred WORK STYLE ..…. 

…requires you to uncover a candidate’s preferred way of working - the kind of alignment between the "way we do things around here" and how the candidate prefers to work that can be a deal breaker when a new employee uncovers post hire that they are not a good fit for the work environment.
  • Does the candidate tend to prefer work environments that have a lot of meetings, huddles or 1/1 collaborations, or do they prefer working alone, without a lot of interpersonal distractions?
  • Do they prefer to work for a hands on supervisor, someone who is always there to answer questions, or do they prefer to work "hands free" with freedom to do their job their way?
  • Are they good with change, work environments where change is always ongoing, or do they prefer work that is more stable, less likely to change?
  • Do they enjoy interacting with teammates socially or do they tend to leave work and relationships behind when off the clock?
How can you get answers to these types of questions? 
Again, the key is to ask the candidate specific questions about what they have done in their past jobs that approximates the kind of issues they are likely to face in your work environment.  These are the kinds of questions that often go beyond what can be covered in a screening interview and are typically handled by a hiring manager in a more in depth evaluation interview.  A screening interview, for example,  might include very generic inquiry about the candidate's preferences for a particular type of work environment...
    "Based on your previous jobs, are there any kind of work environments that you found to be problematic for you?  A boss that didn't give you the support you needed?  A work environment was challenging for you?"
An evaluation interview on the other hand, can be much more specific about the candidate's experience handling specific types of situations that are commonplace.....
         "Have you had experience working in an environment where it was very difficult to get in touch with your boss when  issues would come up?  Where you had to solve problems on your own, oftentimes with very limited ways to reach out for help.  Describe how you handled that type of challenge.       
PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 45 years. A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation, PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction. PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditionsdirect hire professional recruiting servicesEmployer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of hiring help and candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

If you’re a hiring manager who is looking to improve their hiring results, contact us at 425-637-3312.  You can also fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch!

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Its May30th – Love Your Recruiter Day!

by Sara Bennett | May 26, 2023

0 Author-Jeanne, Hiring Strategies and Tactics get connected, main whats happening, Whats Happening

Don’t ask who decided but we’re being told that Tuesday May 30th has been designated National Recruiter Day.  What a great way to shine a light on these important contributors to business success, folks who so often don’t get the applause they deserve.  And yes, talent shortages have put them on the hot seat for quite a while now, so its about time we said “we see you!” and value “what you do! “ … Read More »

What Makes PACE Such a Great Partner!

by Sara Bennett | February 20, 2023

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

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

How do we do it?

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

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

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

Wondering if you have a QUIET QUITTER on your team?*

by Sara Bennett | October 27, 2022

0 Author-Jeanne, Hiring Strategies and Tactics, Thought Leader / Featured Blogs* Disengaged Employees, get connected, Hiring/Firing, Is it Time to Fire a Quiet Quitter?, main whats happening, quiet firing, quiet quitting

Do you find yourself wondering if you have some "quiet quitters" on your team?   Has the team's morale suddenly taken a turn for the worse?  Are you no longer confident that the team has the same enthusiasm for its mission that it once had? … Read More »