Tag: staffing

Weed and Work – In Colorado? Soon to be Washington?

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 28, 2014

0 Blog, Legal Issues - Staffing bellevue staffing, drug policies, marijuana policies, safety policies, Seattle Staffing Agency, staffing, stephen dehoff, tacoma staffing, washington, workplace

In statewide elections in November 2012, Washington and Colorado made headlines by becoming the first US states to legalize the non-medical use of marijuana. Colorado is leading the way while Washington’s law goes into effect later this year.

In both states, employees and employers are asking questions about the impact of marijuana legalizations on a variety of common workplace scenarios. Employees often get confused by what the legalization of marijuana actually means; believing that many of the corporate drug and drug testing policies will need to be changed. Employers are wondering if employees will be able to refuse drug tests. Contest personnel actions based on drug tests? Or avoid drug testing altogether – either as a prerequisite for hiring or ongoing employment?

Based on what is going on in Colorado NOW, the answers to these questions are a resounding NO. While it is expected that employers in both Washington and Colorado currently have the power to implement any anti-marijuana policy they want, what happens down the road, on the other hand, has some elements of uncertainty.

The following are excerpts taken from a recent article written by Stephen DeHoff, a business and employment partner at Fortis Law Partners, LLC, and published by our network affiliate, J. Kent Staffing headquartered in Denver Colorado. Mr. DeHoff outlines several factors that he believes will be considered by the courts as “zero tolerance” policies are tested.

1. Employers Need to Ensure Strong Workplace Safety Policies… which almost always includes some format for promoting and enforcing a drug-free workplace. Under current law, employers are still liable for acts of their employees that occur while on the job, which means that if an employee is impaired and makes a critical mistake that results in injury to themselves or others, both the employee and their employer are likely to be found liable for the injuries. Drug free policies are likely to be viewed as necessary to protect employers and their employees from management negligence.

2. Employers Are Not Required to Permit Employees to Use Marijuana – Even Outside of Work… at least not for now, not in Colorado. One of the biggest questions facing Colorado employers is whether or not they will be required to allow marijuana use “off-the-job;” an issue that comes up in the context of pre-hire drug testing policies. Employers who have pre-hire drug testing policies are by definition identifying “outside the workplace” marijuana users, theoretically not directly related to the use of marijuana on the job.

At the current time, this issue is resolved in the drug testers favor because at the federal level it is still illegal for people to use marijuana. This means that Colorado employers can continue to terminate or refuse to hire an employee if they test positive for marijuana or any other federally illegal drug – regardless of when, where and how the employee used the drug.

These rulings are currently under appeal and ultimately will be tested in Colorado Supreme Court. In the meantime, studies show that drug testing policies in Colorado are growing in popularity, not shrinking. Washington employers stay tuned…

3. Written policies regarding the company’s commitment to a drug free work environment are still vitally important on a number of fronts.

Mr. DeHoff outlines the following steps all employers should take with respect to their formal drug use policies:

  • Make sure your drug and alcohol policies cover all drugs considered illegal under state, federal, and local laws, and
  • …clearly prohibit any detectable level of any illegal drug.
  • Avoid policy statements that reference “impairment” or “under the influence,” which are difficult to enforce. Stick with the drug testing “detectable level” standard.
  • Make sure your policies apply to all your locations, regardless of state laws. Train your staff to deal specifically with issues involving marijuana so that issues will be managed consistently.

Thank you J.Kent Staffing for sharing your Colorado experience and asking for guidance from a trusted member of your legal community. Washington employers can take note!

At the current time, over half of our employer clients require some form of drug testing as a component of their compliance/onboarding process. The PACE Staffing Network administers all pre-assignment compliance requirements, including customized drug testing and background checks. For more information on how these new marijuana-use policies might impact your workforce and data on the incidence of marijuana use in non-drug testing environments, contact us at infodesk@pacestaffing.com.

Recruiting Metrics – Staffing Style

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 13, 2014

0 Blog, What's New in Staffing? healthcare placement, healthcare recruiting, Healthcare staffing, IT Staffing, Seattle Recruiting, Seattle Staffing Agency, staffing, Staffing Agency

Healthcare, IT, Creative, Other

Each year InsightSquared, a business analytics company, and Staffing Industry Analysts, publishes a report of recruiting metrics for the staffing industry.

Their last report was published in June 2013, showing data from 200 staffing firms generated between 5/1/2012 and 4/30/2013 – approximately one year of placement data, over 30,000 individual placement records.

Their report covers two key metrics:

  1. Fill Ratio – of orders taken that were successfully filled, and
  2. Time-to-Fill (some call it Cycle Time) – the number of days it takes to fill an order (from point of req to hiring decision).

Both metric types were analyzed by two types of placements:

  1. Contract/Temporary Placements
  2. Permanent or Direct Hire Placements

The industry segments studied were a cross section of IT, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Media/Advertising/Creative and Other.

For those of you who want an idea of how your internal recruiting services compare to typical staffing industry metrics, here are the highlights of the 2013 staffing metrics you can use for comparison.

1. Across all industry segments, the Average Fill Ratio was:

  • 34% = Temp/Contract Placements
  • 22% = Permanent Placements

The segment with the highest ratios of fill were Healthcare and Life Sciences; 63% for temp/contract placements and 27% for Permanent placements. The lowest ratios of fill came out of the IT segment where only 28% of contract reqs were filled and 22% of direct hire reqs.

2. Across all industry segments, the Average Time-to-Fill (number of days required to fill a job order) was:

  • 46 Days = Temp/Contract Placements
  • 75 Days = Permanent Placements

The segment showing the longest “time-to-fill” was Healthcare and Life Sciences; 66 days for temporary/contract placements and 158 days for Permanent placements.  Media and Advertising talent had an average of 21 days for contract staff and 53 days for permanent staff.

Because we (the PACE Staffing Network) do so much work in the healthcare market, we paid attention to the unique recruiting stats for Healthcare and Life Sciences. We think there may be two factors in play that are impacting just how much outside the norm this market segment performs:

  • The healthcare industry has unique recruiting requirements (many high level and “hard to find” professional level requirements), which requires tightly engineered staffing processes and requirements – not required by other segments of staffing, and in some ways limiting the number of staffing companies operating in that field.
  • The purchasing models used in many healthcare organizations is based on valued, trusted and committed relationships between hiring managers, “favorite” vendors” and “hard to find” talent. This is oftentimes very different from the more transaction focused purchasing models used in other areas of staffing. Purchasing models based on one off relationships between hiring managers and vendors can change the staffing landscape considerably – driving up both fill times and fill ratios. Fewer staffing vendors, all with strong relationships with decision makers, is a scenario that can get translated into more fills per vendor, with decision makers more willing to wait for their favorite vendor to deliver the trusted talent they need.

The PACE Staffing Network has been servicing the healthcare industry for over 20 years. Our expertise in recruiting the specialized non-clinical candidates needed for hospitals, clinics, physician groups, surgical centers, etc. and creating networks of clinical recruiters and vendors working in niched areas of healthcare offers a unique one stop service delivery model for busy administrators and HR teams. Our focus is on improving your fill ratios and lowering your fill times, all while ensuring that every step in your compliance process is carefully managed. For more information on our recruiting networks, contain Nancy Swanson, our VP of Partnership Development at 425-454-1075 ext. 3010 or email Nancy at nancys@pacestaffing.com. You can also visit us online at www.pacestaffing.com.

Communications – A Short List of “Must Dos” for Change Agents

by Jeanne Knutzen | April 23, 2014

0 Blog, Recruiting. Best Practices Communication, Leader, Recruiting, Seattle Recruiting, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, staffing, Staffing Agency

“The single biggest problem in communication is the mistaken notion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw How we communicate, the conversations we have with others, is a key factor in our successes (or failures) as leaders—particularly when it's time to promote, lead, or influence change. Conversations that create misunderstandings or hurt feelings will inevitably create mistakes, lower productivity, and damage team morale. In fact, miscommunications are one of the leading causes of “stress” amongst both employees and their leaders. It's often not the change itself that is the challenge—it's all the failed conversations that go on around and about the change that are most impactful to a leader's effectiveness. Here are FIVE THINGS leaders can do to make the conversations we have with others, particularly during times of change, will produce the results we intend. 1. Be Concise.  Think about what you want to say and say it clearly and directly—with ordinary language, not big words or long sentences. If something is hard to communicate, it's probably equally hard to hear. Take the time to make your message simple. And don’t beat around the bush! Focus on a handful of key points and state them clearly. If you use examples, make sure they are relevant to your message. Communicate to learn something about people and situations; to clarify and inform—not to impress.   2. Be Redundant.  Start and end your message with the most important thing you want others to hear: “I am concerned about __________________ and want to make sure we think of all angles."   “While I'm still concerned about __________________, I think we have done a good job of exploring all angles for addressing this issue."   In this particular case, your message is about your concerns and your need to invite and reinforce the team getting involved in finding a solution. At the end of the conversation, you still have concerns, but you also want to reinforce the team's engagement. Make sure they know what they accomplished! Frame your communications with conversational book ends. Open your message with an announcement of what you will be talking about. Close your conversation with what you did talk about. "What I want to talk about today is your role on the team and how it's changing."  "What we talked about today is your role on the team and all the ways it has changed."  3. Listen More. Tell Less.  To engage people in the work it takes to change, it is never enough just to tell people what you want them to do or know and then give feedback when they don't do as you say, or know what you taught. (Sound familiar?) To be an influential agent for change, the first step is to see the situation through the eyes of others, not just your own. Telling others what they should do (or worse yet "should have done") is a tactic that while quick and easy to execute, doesn't reliably get you the results you need. A frequent outcome is misunderstandings, hurt feelings and confusion. Telling assumes your listeners see the same things you do, which is never the case! Entering into genuine conversations about what others are thinking or feeling about the change, allows for learning—all parties.      “I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this situation. I have been going over what happened and think I have some ideas, but don’t want to get stuck behind some information that you might have that I don’t.”   And when it's time for feedback, make it quick and to the point. Long lectures about the what's and whys of "doing it right" are more likely to annoy than inform.    4. Clarify. Clarify. Clarify. Expecting others to “get the message, or make quick and lasting changes" after one message, is a huge mistake and leads to many dysfunctions not only in our communications with others, but ultimately your relationships as well. Replace “I thought we had already discussed that," with "my bad, I wasn't as clear as I could have been." When it comes to communications, lower your expectations of what's possible. Keep communicating. Observe behavior to see just how much of your message has been turned into action, and what of your message needs more work. Confront those who are openly ignoring what you have to say. Gently guide those who you know are trying, but aren't quite where you are—yet. When time is short, and you need to change behavior quickly, follow up your conversations with the request that they summarize what they just heard and the 3-4 things they want to do differently on the go forward. Discuss their plan until you reach agreement, and then follow up to ensure it is executed. While it is possible for ONE GREAT conversation to produce significant change, in most cases, one conversation lays the groundwork for better, easier conversations to follow! The best communicators are often people with simple messages, repeated often. 5. Check Your Filters... those nasty assumptions about the motives and beliefs of others that keep you from hearing what they have to say or discounting what you are hearing because it doesn't align with your beliefs and assumptions. If you have a filter about others that just won’t go, away address it openly and always with a willingness to learn and/or “be wrong.”    jeanne“It feels like we are seeing this situation from two very different perspectives. Let's spend a little time talking about what we are each experiencing."   The best relationships often grow out of situations where there is conflict between very different points of view; where two people genuinely see and/or believe something very different about a particular situation or event. Digging deep to find those places of agreement—either on facts or goals—can become a powerful base for shared respect and understandings. As leaders, taking the time to improve the quality of conversations we have with our key stakeholders—our boss, our team, our peers and coworkers, will have direct impact on our results—particularly during periods where our real job is to help others change, either their behavior or their perspective.

Top 10 Challenges for Recruiters – 2014

by Jeanne Knutzen | April 10, 2014

0 Blog, What's New in Staffing? Recruiting, Recruiting Challenges, Seattle Recruiting, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, staffing, Staffing Agency

The following article is an edited version of an article written by Dr. John Sullivan for the ERE Daily on Monday, April 7th, 2014. Those who follow my articles know that I frequently write on the positive trends and big ideas that I think recruiting leaders need to be aware of. I don’t often write about challenges or problems believing that most of us don’t want to dwell on the negative. Since I am predicting that during the next few years we will encounter a completely transformed world of recruiting, it only makes sense to shift our conversation and focus on our upcoming challenges. If recruiters aren’t prepared to mitigate these challenges, they may grow out of control, causing exponential damage to your company and its performance. The Top 10 – in order of priority: 1. Not being prepared for the return of intense recruiting competition. With so many jobless individuals applying for every open position, it has been easy for recruiters and hiring managers to pick and choose from numerous applicants. Recruiting was a relatively easy process. As the economy improves, the power in the recruiting relationship will inevitably shift away from the corporation to the job seeker – changing the “ease” with which the recruiting function can be executed. Most corporate recruiting functions simply aren’t ready for a return to intense competition for candidates. The primarily “active” recruiting approaches that have worked and dominated over the last handful of years will simply fail when the focus shifts to fighting over prospects and candidates. And the “war for talent” will be even more challenging if recruiting resources are short. 2. The increased volume of open positions will overload the recruiting system. In addition to having to fight for individual talent, an increase in the volume of hiring will further stress most existing recruiting systems to the limit. Obviously as corporate growth increases, so will the hiring volume. Challenges retaining talent will further increase that hiring volume. Last year alone, corporate turnover increased by 45% and I am predicting a similar increase for this year and next. Turnover will increase because as the job market opens up in specific industries, regions, and technical jobs, many employees who have been focusing on job security will begin to realize that it’s time to move on. Because most corporate retention teams have been completely decimated and retention approaches not updated, corporate efforts to prevent this increased turnover will have little impact. For recruiting leaders this means that the combination of new corporate growth and high employee turnover will dramatically increase the volume of open positions beyond their capacity to produce the results needed. 3. Rusty hiring managers and underdeveloped recruiters have diminished capabilities. A low volume of hiring and the lack of competition may have caused the capabilities of your hiring managers and recruiters to degrade significantly. Adding to that condition the fact that there has been little money for development or training for either recruiters or managers will mean that in growth mode both are likely to initially stumble under this new environment. 4. A lack of speed will restrict your results. The business world moves much faster today than it did during the last recruiting boom. Unfortunately, recruiting hasn’t maintained its speed capability due to fewer resources, a lack of competition, and less focus on “time to hire” statistics. When top candidates have multiple offers, they simply won’t be around when indecisive managers finally make their hiring decision. In a newly competitive and faster moving world, delays in hiring will be costly, and unfortunately, reducing time to hire is one of the most difficult objectives to achieve within recruiting. 5. Long Ignored employer brands will begin to negatively impact recruiting effectiveness. In a down economy, with applicant surpluses, recruiting leaders did not pay much attention to their external employer brand image. Few have taken the time to measure their employer brands, and as a result, recruiting leaders often don’t realize how their “talent failures” (including layoffs, pay cuts, promotional freezes, etc.) have hurt their employer brand image. Once competition for top talent becomes intense, leaders will realize that a weak Internet or social media employer brand will prevent top talent and innovators from even considering applying at your firm. Unfortunately, most recruiting leaders define employer branding incorrectly and rebuilding an employer brand is both time consuming and expensive. 6. Your current recruiting process may not have the capability of recruiting innovators. One of the things that executives have learned from the success of firms like Google and Apple is the value of innovation and innovative employees. Unfortunately, most recruiting processes are not designed to effectively identify or recruit innovators who expect to see innovation and technology as an integral part of the hiring process. Without a strong employer brand and a separate sub-process designed specifically for recruiting innovators, the chance of recruiting a top industry innovator to your firm may approach zero. 7. Your recruiting strategy may be years out of date. Obviously without the direction provided by a strategic plan, your firm may suffer several years of weak results. Surprisingly, most recruiting functions actually operate without any written and distributed recruiting strategy. But even if you have a strategy, it is rarely updated to meet the needs of a new and much more intense global recruiting market. The strategy must also include a competitive analysis of your recruiting competitors to ensure that your firm’s strategy and approach produces superior results and a measurable competitive advantage. 8. Antiquated recruiting metrics lower your credibility with executives. Whether you have a seat at the table or not, recruiting leaders simply will not be listened to and funded unless they have the right metrics to quantify the dollar impact that high-performing new hires have on corporate revenue. And of course the biggest corporate metric omission is the failure of the majority of firms to accurately measure the quality of hire. As a result, few corporate recruiting functions can convincingly prove that they hire top performers and innovators with advanced skills and high retention rates. Only a handful of functions have predictive metrics that are necessary in order to alert recruiters and hiring managers about upcoming recruiting issues and opportunities. 9. A shortage of effective recruiters is on the horizon. Everyone knows that this long period with a down economy has decimated the ranks of corporate recruiters. Many of those who were laid off have left the profession. And the bad taste that it left in their mouths may cause most never to return. Since there are no college programs that turnout recruiters, recruiting leaders need to prepare for the time when competition for top recruiters will become intense. Existing employed recruiters will be in such a demand that they will be “bid on” by other firms, and finding effective replacement recruiters on the open market will be extremely difficult and expensive. Training new recruiters themselves may be the only effective option available to many firms. 10. The lack of recruiting resources. Unless you work at Google, the odds are that your function has already suffered numerous dramatic budget cuts over the last several years. You’re going to need a significantly higher budget if you expect to have a reasonable chance to increase your employer brand, recruiting volume, recruiting speed, and quality of hire. Unfortunately, most recruiting leaders simply don’t have the capability of building a strong business case that quantifies the tremendous dollar impact that recruiting has on corporate revenue and results. Additional Challenges  There are several additional strategic problems that didn’t make the list, because I determined that even though they are important, they had a lower impact. But since every industry and company faces unique problems, add your unique problems to your “keep an eye on list.”

  • The new Internet and social media approaches need to be assessed in terms of their potential to enhance recruiting results.
  • The globalization of the talent marketplace.
  • The high volume recruiting technologies need to be assessed in order to find the very few that really impact quality-of-hire results.
  • Employment-related legislation. The rights of applicants in all countries will likely increase.
  • Increasing pressure to separate recruiting, retention, and onboarding from the rest of HR.
Final Thoughts Although it’s certainly more fun to explore new opportunities in recruiting, failing to identify and resolve existing recruiting problems may actually have a larger negative impact on both long term and short term results. Almost everyone is aware of the tactical day-to-day problems in recruiting, but very few recruiting leaders take the time to forecast strategic “big picture” problems that are on the horizon. If you are a corporate recruiting leader, I hope my “biggest-challenges list” at least started you to think about the major shifts that are ahead in recruiting and the problems that will occur as a result of them. Dr. John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations. He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of Talent Management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations / organizations in 30 countries on all 6 continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR and the Financial Times. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring”, Staffing.org called him “the father of HR metrics” and SHRM called him “One of the industries most respected strategists”. He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked #8 among the top 25 online influencers in Talent Management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website www.drjohnsullivan.com and on www.ERE.Net. He lives in Pacifica, California.

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.

Temp to Hire Strategies – Do they Work? Do they Reduce or Increase our Staffing Costs?

by Jeanne Knutzen | December 12, 2013

0 Blog, Flexible Staffing Strategies, INFO AND RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS, Recruiting. Best Practices, Temp-to-Hire. Best Practices agency staffing, contingent staffing, contract staffing, direct hire, PACE Staffing Network, Seattle Staffing, staffing, temp staffing, temp to hire staffing

We get asked these questions all the time and each time our answer is a resounding, YES! Temp to Hire staffing strategies reduce costs of hire, lower the costs of early hire turnover, and provide employers with quick and easy access to hard to find talent pools—in a “just in time” format. HR departments, while sometimes quick to criticize a temporary or contract workforce as being less committed or talented than their core workforce, generally like a certain percentage of their workforce as contingent as they represent employees who can be converted to direct hire status quickly when business heats up. But the real value of contingent workers is not just in providing companies with increased flexibility, but also the ability a contingent workforce provides for companies to tackle change quickly, with quick access to employees whose skill sets are unique and not easily developed “within.” Temp to hire strategies directly impact an organizations recruiting, staff and organizational development costs, impacting a company’s ROI for years to come. Temp to Hire contingent workers also impact bottom line profitability by driving down unemployment claims, workers compensation claims, upgrading employee quality (only the very best employees are eventually hired), and keeping core workers  “on their toes” with a fresh pool of new talent becoming the workplace norm. NancyThe mathematical difference between the costs of an auditioning employee compared to the costs of a fully benefited core hire almost always pencil in favor of the temporary worker as the lower cost solution. The design and execution of temp to hire staffing strategies is a core area of expertise for the PACE Staffing Network. Over 35% of the employees we place on temporary or contract assignments end up being hired by PACE clients each year. For programs specifically designed for hiring, the conversion rate can be closer to 85%. For a personal consultation on the effective utilization of temp to hire staffing strategies and to do an analysis of how a temp to hire model could impact your overall staffing costs, contact me, Nancy Swanson at nancys@pacestaffing.com, I am PACE’s VP of Partnership Development.  

The Affordable Care Act and Your Flexible Workforce

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 15, 2013

0 ACA Affordable Healthcare, Blog, Human Resource Roles, What's New in Staffing? ACA regulations, Affordable Healthcare – ACA Smart, Health Insurance, Obamacare, PPACA, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agencies, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Seattle WA Staffing, staffing, Temporary Staffing And The Affordable Care Act, Temporary Staffing In Seattle

While we have always known that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka: PPACA, ACA, AHA, Obamacare) would impact the temporary staffing industry and its customers, the regulatory information that has been surfacing over the last several months is starting to reveal the impact of some of the details embedded in the law. We are finding both good and bad news in the newly published regulations—new requirements that will increase the costs of temporary and contract workers; nuances in those requirements that will make flexible workforce strategies an even more attractive model for driving down operating costs. While the law is still very confusing, the reality is that most of the regulations that will be written, have been written to the point where more and more cost conscious employers are starting to re-think how they get work done—what types of employees to put to work when, where,  and how. The following information is being provided to PACE customers as a way to lay out the facts of the ACA and its regs, prepare you for what lies ahead, and offer some ideas for not only staying compliant, but mitigating some of the cost increases we are all anticipating. Our comments will focus primarily on the impact of the ACA on our client's non-W2 workforce, which includes not only your temporary and contract workers but any workers performing work on your behalf through the services of a third party employer. ACA Overview Under the ACA, all “large” employers are required to do three things to stay in compliance with the law as of January 1st, 2014.

  1. Offer “minimum acceptable” healthcare insurance to 95% of their eligible fulltime employees (leaving a 5% margin of error).
  2. Ensure that the cost of the plan they offer is “affordable” (i.e. will not require any employee to pay more than 9.5% of their annual pay towards the costs of an individual plan), and
  3. Ensure that the plans(s) offered and the employer’s contribution to these plans is not set up to favorably treat highly compensated employees.
Large employers will be required to pay the costs for meeting these three requirements (what is often called the “play” option) or face substantial penalties for non-compliance (what is often called the “pay” option). The definition of a “large” employer applies to any employer with fifty or more fulltime employees. A fulltime employee is someone working 30 hours a week or 1560 hours per year. The Bad News for Staffing Companies and Their Customers Some clients have asked “does PACE have to be compliant with the law?” The answer is a resounding yes. And for PACE, like most staffing providers, our bad news is that the types of healthcare benefit packages typically available to the staffing industry will no longer meet the new federal standards for “minimum essential coverage.” Most staffing companies are making decisions now to either “play” (pay the additional costs associated with compliant coverage), or “pay” (pay the penalties for non-compliance, i.e. $2000/year per uncovered employee). Both options mean that as of January 1st, 2014, the direct costs associated with using third party staffing services will increase. We are anticipating that the costs to become fully compliant with the law will require most staffing companies to ask for a 2-4% increase in client bill rates, just to break even; anywhere from $.16 to $.35 cents per hour. Cost increases for all types of staffing - core and non-core—represent the bad news that is part of the ACA and will impact all "large" employers on or about January 1, 2014. Some Good News for Users of Staffing Services—the Variable Worker and Look Backs! All of the news embedded in the ACA is not bad! While an employer’s requirement to provide coverage applies to all full-time employees (individuals who work 30 hours a week, 1560 hours a year), there are special rules that apply specifically to the types of “variable” workers who work for temporary and contract staffing companies. We believe these rules will create new opportunities for cost savings for PACE customers. As the ACA regulations have rolled out, we now know an employer can stay in compliance with the law and still delay offering the mandated benefit packages to some employees who can be legitimately classified as a "variable" worker. A variable worker is someone working in a job that is subject to change, or with an uncertain duration or end date—a condition that is pretty much a given in most temporary or contract staffing environments. The period of time between when the variable worker starts work and the date when they are evaluated for benefit eligibility is called the “look back period” , and can be 3, 6, or 12 months—each employer gets to decide. Staffing companies who go through the administrative process to confirm their workers are  “variable"  and therefore subject to the “look back” provisions in the law, will be able to generate significant cost savings for their customers. While most of our client’s W2 employees will not qualify for variable worker status, and must, therefore, be offered the mandated benefits within an administrative period that cannot exceed three months, most temporary or contract workers will be considered  "variable" and not eligible for insurance coverage until they have reached the required 1560 hours (9 months or more). This variable worker “look back” provision in the ACA creates considerable opportunity for companies like PACE to offer our clients “variable” workers at significantly less cost than would be required for the client to hire an employee directly. The differentials in the direct costs of these two types of employees will be dramatic—creating compelling reasons to rethink their use of third party employers in the early stages of a new hire. The Impact of New Anti-Discriminatory Regulations on Our Clients Benefit Costs One of the more significant impacts of the ACA, not often discussed, are provisions in the law that tighten up opportunities to treat different types of employees differently.  Consultants to our industry are advising us that the anti-discrimination components of the ACA will obsolete any plan that differentiates coverage or costs in favor of highly compensated employees. For the staffing industry, this means that whatever benefit programs offered to our temporary employees needs to be offered to our regular employees. For our customers this means that whatever healthcare benefit package offered to their highest paid employees must be offered to their lowest paid employees. To be compliant with the “affordability provision” of the ACA, no benefit eligible employee in your workforce can be asked to pay more than 9.5% of their gross pay for the cost of your plan’s individual coverage. For a worker earning 20K in a year, this means they cannot contribute more than $1900 a year or $158.33/month in order for the plan offered by their employer to be compliant. How this compliance benchmark is achieved is what will get tricky for many employers. When the compliance calculations are based on what the employer can legally pay for the lowest paid employees, it limits the amount of employer contribution that can be applied to the highest paid employees. If the amount contributed to all employees is based on the amounts of the employer contribution made available to higher paid employees, overall costs of benefit coverage will skyrocket. This is the dilemma the law intends. Employers will be challenged to create benefit programs that will be equally appealing and affordable for all employees. We are already talking to some employers who will elect to outsource their W2 relationships simply to avoid the risks of discrimination. Employer of Record Services—Minimizing the Impact of the ACA! The following are some ideas for PACE customers who are open to looking at new staffing strategies built around the special provisions in the law designed specifically for staffing providers. You will notice that we have laid out these ideas from the perspective of a third party employer service provider, not just a temporary or contract labor provider. The PACE Staffing Network has recently added a new “employer only” service, what we call an Employer of Record Service, partly in anticipation of the service needs of our clients following the implementation of the ACA in January. Employer of Record Services are particularly attractive to employers with strong internal recruiting capabilities because they offer highly discounted bill rates that carve out all extra costs (for recruiting, screening, etc.) to include only those costs associated with providing W2 employer services. Employer of Record Service packages are customized to the unique needs of each client, but the following represents a few ideas of how these services might be applied to your workplace as a way to shave workforce costs.

1. Employers can use a third party employer solution to avoid compliance requirements. For employers who need to add staff, but also want to remain below the 50 FTE (fulltime equivalent) threshold that exempts them from the ACA regulations, using a third party employer solution to channel employees to another employer can delay the point when they must become compliant with the law.

The Employer of Record Service option is ideal for employers who have located an employee they want to hire, but don’t want to absorb the costs or administrative hassles of employing that worker directly. Employer of Record Services is especially ideal for companies who want to either avoid or delay the compliance requirements of the ACA.

We are encouraging our smaller clients to plan now for what lies ahead. We’ve heard stories of regulatory agencies getting ready to target companies who have been sending large numbers of already existing employees to a third party employer as a way to avoid ACA regulation. We do not recommend this strategy. 

But for employers who haven’t yet reached that 50 FTE benchmark, a third party employer solution applied to your near term hires can successfully delay when your company falls under the ACA.

Word of caution: using a third party employer solution is considered a short term (one-two year) solution. The administrative rules of the ACA dictate that after one year, all workers in your facility, regardless of who employs them, will be counted as part of your FTE.

2. Employers Can Use a Third Party Employer Solution to Mitigate the Costs of Adding Staff.  If you’re an employer who needs to hire but is reeling from the high costs currently associated with each new hire (and targeted to increase after January 2014),  it may be time to seriously consider using a third party employer solution as an extended (6-12 month) onboarding strategy.

While you may have already reviewed and walked away from the more traditional temp-to-hire staffing models, the lower cost, Employer of Record Service model offers all the cost savings advantages of categorizing employees as variable, while providing a very behind-the-scenes model of W2 employment.

Whether you use the full service temp-to-hire service model, or the considerably streamlined Employer of Record Service model, the opportunity to onboard a large number of workers at substantially lowered worker costs compared to the costs of hiring directly is the outcome of either choice.

3. Employers Can Use a Third Party Employer Solution to Avoid Administrative Hassles. The ACA is not just a regulation that adds additional direct costs, but is a regulation rich in administrative detail and reporting requirements.  Administering healthcare benefits where you have to apply definitions of variable workers, calculate look back, measurement and stability periods, and do e “affordability” testing, is going to be a daunting task for whoever takes it on.

And the penalties for not doing the right administration correctly will be significant.

As a staffing company with a large “third party employer” workforce, one of our core competencies is our ability to manage all federal and state staffing regulations, including the ACA. We are getting ready now to be fully compliant with all regulations by January 1st, 2014 and will be ready to help our customers manage through the transition.

jeanneFor a better understanding of how the ACA will impact your company and what you need to know about the options available for you to mitigate the costs associated with the new mandates, contact infodesk@pacestaffing.com to arrange for a personal consultation. Our approach to the ACA is not only to be fully compliant by January 1st, 2014, but to help our customers take full advantage of all aspects of ACA provisions that can drive down staffing costs. This article was prepared by Jeanne Knutzen, Founder and CEO of the PACE Staffing Network using information from a variety of legal, staffing, and other professional sources.