Why You Should Use a Staffing Firm to Fill Positions

May 29th, 2020

You have a set of positions that need to be filled (or just one), and each day that passes as these roles stand empty, you lose money. In fact, you don’t just lose money; you lose the rhythm of your production process, which doesn’t function as well without this critical link. You also lose the goodwill of your customers, who have to wait longer for order fulfillment. You lose the cohesion of your teams as frustrations and bottlenecks build. And you also lose a bit of the confidence of your bosses, lenders, backers and shareholders. You need these roles filled and quick. And you need them filled with the right candidates. Here’s why it’s time to turn to a staffing agency.

A staffing agency worries so you don’t have to.

An excellent, long-established staffing agency like PSU can give you great results while removing heavy burdens from your shoulders. Worried you might accidentally hire a candidate with a questionable past? We’ve got you covered with reliable background checks. Worried you may be asking the wrong questions while assessing qualifications? Again, we’ve got you. Our process is proven and tested. Worried your best candidates may slip away? We maintain relationships, highlight the benefits of your position, and do everything we can to secure the interest of top contenders.

We take on the risks you can’t afford.

If you ever wished you could hire a candidate on a probationary or trial basis just to make sure the relationship is a match, wish no more. The new hire is ours, not yours, so we handle paperwork, tax withholdings, and all the responsibilities of an employer. But if the match works out, you can hire the candidate as soon as the trial period ends.

Our screening methods are unmatched.

We’ve streamlined our screening process so only the most appropriate matches pass through the initial phone contact and in-person interviews that follow. We make sure the candidate can handle commuting, testing, and other potential deal-breakers before we send them to you. And our experience covers both high-skill and minimal-training positions, plus everything in between

We’re great listeners.

When you explain what you’re looking for, we listen carefully, ask the right questions, and make a note of every detail. We pay attention to your must-haves, and we respect your red flags. We take everything you say to heart, and we apply it to every detail of your candidate search. Need to know more? Contact our office at PSU today and find out how we can help you staff you positions and keep your business in motion.

How Much Does a Bad Hire Cost Your Company?

April 24th, 2020

When you post an open position and start interviewing candidates, you hope for the best. But are you prepared for the worst? Have you calculated the actual cost of a hiring mistake? If you haven’t done this yet, this simple move can show you the stakes before you gather data that can help you make your decision.

If the stakes are low, that means the position is low-responsibility, or low-salary, or very short term, or all three. But most positions don’t fit into even one of these categories. Here are costs to factor into your hiring plan.

A bad hire leaves before ramping up.

If you hire someone who can’t handle the role or isn’t happy in the job, they’ll probably be gone (voluntarily or otherwise) before they’ve had time to fully complete their training and start making meaningful contributions to the company. This typically happens within about one year, so a hire who leaves before one year hasn’t fully made up the cost of the hiring process. Not only do they not provide a return on their expensive training or make up for their potentially expensive rookie mistakes, but they take the value of that training and those mistakes to their next employer, who may be a competitor.

A bad hire can disrupt the social fabric.

When a new employee arrives on the scene, the person gets to know his or her teammates, earns trust, and makes friends. But then…she leaves. When she goes, she pulls threads from the fabric of social continuity, leaves uncertainty about who might arrive to fill her place, and forces everyone on the team to start again from scratch with someone else. If the new hire alienates others and undermines trust before leaving, that’s even worse. In the best-case scenario, you hire someone who gets along and builds rapport with the team, then stays long enough to become a valued member of the workplace “family.” In the worst case, he arrives, departs, and leaves a trail of expensive social chaos in his wake.

The Best Shoes for Machine Operators

March 27th, 2020

If your machines and table tools require operators to stand on their feet for long periods of time, you may or may not be obligated to provide them with proper footwear. Sometimes a cushioned mat can be enough to protect feet, ankles, and hip and knee joints under pressure. But sometimes a cushioned mat won’t do the trick, because employees spend the day moving from place to place. And sometimes you can’t just require employees to choose and purchase their own footwear as they see fit.

If you need to take responsibility for footwear and incorporate shoes or boots into a mandated uniform, keep these considerations in mind as you make your choice.

Injury protection should be top of mind.

There are two types of health threats faced by feet in the workplace: short term or acute danger from accidents and falling objects, and long-term stress injuries cause by inappropriate support or an improper fit. Focus on the first category first. In a high impact workplace such as a construction site, shoes must absolutely include ankle support and reinforced toes. They should also be breathable, warm, and waterproof if the environment is damp or cold. Soles should provide adequate traction and should be puncture-proof.

Chronic stress should be the second area of focus.

If employees wear slightly ill-fitting shoes for a few hours, that’s not really a problem. But when an hour of standing or walking becomes eight hours a day, five days a week, under high-wear and high-stress conditions, a small problem can mean serious pain, injury, and compensation that can damage your bottom line. Cushioning isn’t just important; it’s essential. And cushioning doesn’t just mean comfort. It means the difference between a safe and unsafe workplace. Cushioned shoes bring better focus and more energy that employees can dedicate to their work, and appropriate shoes can also decrease fatigue and back pain.

Moisture management.

The right shoes for a labor environment handle moisture that moves in both directions: in and out. Waterproof shoes are essential for wet, muggy, indoor/outdoor environments, but choose the right ones; make sure the shoes wick away or release moisture that becomes trapped inside. Feet should not get wet, but if they do, they need to dry out quickly.

Don’t ever let your employees’ feet become uncomfortable, constricted, or subjected to repetitive stress. But most important, protect them from crushing, puncture and impact. The right shoes can do all of these and more. For additional information and tips on workplace safety, contact the team at PSU.

 

Soft Skills to Look for In Any Labor Candidate

March 13th, 2020

When you hire a machine operator, CNC expert, warehouse worker, or any hands-on employee for your factory, shop floor, or kitchen, you know that specific skill sets are crucial. Testable and measurable areas of expertise, sometimes called “hard skills,” are often easy to identify, at least on the surface. Can the applicant operate a sensor-balanced narrow-aisle forklift? Ask them. Can they find their way around an industrial bake oven? Put them in front of one and see. Hard skills can be checked and proven during initial screening and interview.  

But what about “soft” skills, the kind that can’t always be measured, but are vital to success? Here are a few traits to look for in your applicants that are worth more than gold in a labor-intensive environment.  

Flexibility.  

Does your candidate listen and absorb new information quickly? Or does he believe he knows it all? Can she adapt her approach when the circumstances around her change? Can he adjust his words and actions based on the needs of the moment and the people in the room? Can she change her schedule and plans at a moment’s notice without being given a clear explanation?  If you can answer yes to these questions, this person may be a great hire.  

Attention.  

Is your candidate alert and dialed in? Candidates that pay attention to the world around them can also be relied on to care about small details that can make or break the success of their work. They’re safer to have in the workplace since they’re alert to what’s happening in the environment. And by showing up and tuning in, they contribute immeasurably to the success of your business.  

Teamwork.  

Teamwork means knowing when to step up and lead, and when to shift gears and follow, and it means switching back and forth easily when the need arises without letting a weak ego or a fragile sense of self get in the way. Team players take care of themselves, but they also recognize that the needs of the team sometimes come first. They can put aside their own needs and fears and personal ambitions to help the team reach its goals.  

Social awareness.  

Can your candidate read a room? Can he or she tell if someone is annoyed, relieved, embarrassed, or concerned? Does he know how to respond appropriately to these feelings in others? Can he recognize the feelings of others as separate from himself? If not, your candidate may not thrive in a workplace that requires team interactions and team trust. But if so, he’ll bring out the best in others as well as himself. 

Find Labor Candidates Today

For more on how to spot the best candidates for your workplace, contact the staffing experts at PSU.  

What to Expect from Gen Z Employees

February 14th, 2020

Ready or not, it’s time to welcome the next culturally distinct “generation” of workers into the office, factory, clinic, and classroom. Millennials are now officially aging out of the entry-level and stepping into mid-level and management roles. They’re being replaced by new graduates who show tendencies that are distinct enough from their predecessors to warrant a generational title of their own. So what are these tendencies, and how can employers better understand them in order to build more productive relationships with their young teams?

Generation Z works hard.

All young workers typically set out to prove themselves, but Gen Z employees take a slightly different approach to the process than their predecessors. They work hard and hold themselves to high standards, and they tend to be all business. Younger workers always like to have fun, and new grads in 2020 are no exception, but they take their work and their careers very seriously. This is no surprise given the high pressure placed on them by an uncertain economy, global turmoil, and high levels of student debt.

Gen Z gives respect and expects the same in return.

Gen Z workers face high pressures, but they also face a wide landscape of opportunity. This means that if you treat them well, pay them fairly, and provide them with training and mentoring, they’ll stay. If you don’t, they won’t. End of story. New grads face diverse new forms of employment and ways to make a living that didn’t even exist ten years ago, from gig jobs to startups and opportunities to join new business models. The old stigma associated with “job hopping” no longer prevails, and in fact, career stagnation has become a larger concern. Don’t expect young workers to stay on board for more than two years, and if you want them to stay even that long, you’ll need to make it worth their while.

They know more than previous generations of young workers.

Don’t expect a 22-year-old employee to be starry-eyed or naïve, especially when it comes to important issues like pay standards, discrimination, safety laws, retirement/healthcare benefits, and other

workplace issues. Don’t blow any smoke their way. That means don’t tell them sunny stories while you offer them substandard conditions, a toxic workplace culture, or below-market pay. They’ll see through you, and if they have a poor experience with your company or brand, expect them to share it with others.

Enjoy their energy.

One thing today’s young workers have in common with all generations is still prevalent: they’re innovative, creative, fearless and optimistic. Encourage these traits, and you’ll profit from them every single day. For more on how to attract and retain Gen Z workers, talk to the hiring experts at PSU.

Is Your Hiring Process Scaring Talent Away?

January 17th, 2020

Like it or not, the hiring process is a two-way street. Much like dating, sizing up the other person, and assessing your feelings for them will only get you halfway to the finish line. You’ll also have to win the person over, which may mean treating them with respect, enjoying their company, showing interest and curiosity as you ask them questions, and giving them the benefit of the doubt as they answer.

If you don’t take these steps and you don’t work hard to show what you have to offer, you may decide the candidate is simply perfect… the minute before they wander away. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be more likely to attract talent instead of scaring great candidates off.

Be the first to tackle every task.

Reach out first. Proactively contact great candidates (through a recruiter or search service), and make the interview process easy. Start with a phone call and move from there to an in-person meeting. Keep both short. Pay for the candidate’s travel. Be on time. Greet the candidate warmly. Take responsibility for breaking the ice and keep the conversation flowing. Make them comfortable; don’t expect them to do that for you.

Be polite when it comes to timelines.

There’s no need to rush your decision, but be polite when your candidate asks about it. Never rudely shut down applicants who call for an update, and don’t curtly forbid this behavior from the start. Candidates have a right to plan out their lives. To the best of your ability, give them the information they need. If you can’t tell them anything, say so professionally.

Keep the tone of the interview in context.

Always remember the goals of the interview process and keep the tone in line with those goals. An interview should never be confused with a trial. And it isn’t a cross-examination, either. Don’t try to poke holes in your candidate’s statements as if you’re trying to catch him or her in a lie. Don’t corner or bait candidates (even if you’re doing it politely), and don’t draw details from their background and hold them up as accusations. (“It says here you majored in biology. What does that have to do with a company like ours?”). Even the most subtle antagonistic behavior can push a candidate to accept an offer elsewhere.

Treat the candidate as you would wish to be treated.

Ask if they had trouble finding the venue. Make sure they know how to leave the building after they exit your office. Offer them a comfortable seat. Find an interview area free of distractions, noises, smells, and interruptions. Show off a little by dressing well, preparing in advance, and choosing a venue that showcases the best aspects of your company. Leave a positive impression, even if you don’t ultimately hire the person.

For more on how to form a positive relationship during every interview, reach out to the staffing pros at PSU.

Utilize Your Talent Pool to Save Money

December 13th, 2019

Do you maintain an active “talent pool”? Do your hiring managers know exactly where to turn when they have an open position to fill? Are you proactively pursuing excellent candidates, or are you waiting until your positions open and then accepting a resume from whoever happens to stumble upon your job posts?

Smart employers recognize that recruiting and hiring are not one-time events. Staffing is an ongoing process, so when you think about selecting new candidates, stay focused on “when” not “if.” Maintaining a talent pool can help you come out ahead when it’s time to bring a talented employee on board. Here’s how to take action.

Plan way ahead.

Take a strategic look at your position pipeline. At least a year in advance, recognize who’s retiring, who’s facing a promotion, and who’s about to go and leave a valued position unoccupied. If you know, you’ll need to staff those positions soon, and you don’t see a steady stream of internal candidates who can step comfortably into those roles, be ready to turn to outside contenders.

Value passive talent.

Many of the best outside candidates for the role share one common trait: they aren’t actively seeking new jobs. Their feelers are out, and they’ll consider new opportunities that could advance their careers, but in the meantime, they’re happy where they are. They’re employed and fine. They have all they need. But their Linkedin profile settings may indicate that they’re open to new offers, or they may have resumes posted on job search sites. These are the candidates you want in your talent pool.

Appreciate active talent (and be grateful).

When active applicants submit resumes, show respect and appreciation for their interest, even if you can’t offer them a position right now. Active candidates are those who are between jobs or searching for a new position right now, and for this group, time is a factor. If you can’t hire them, someone else will soon, but that’s no reason to let them disappear. Keep their names on file and deliver a message of goodwill and interest in a long-term positive relationship. Let them know that you’d like to hear from them as soon as they return to the market.

Prepare a plan for talented applicants you can’t hire immediately.

You want Candidate A to work for you. But she has a job, she’s not desperate, and she’s being (or has been) courted by other employers. Also, the position you want her to step into is currently occupied by someone who won’t leave for another six weeks. What to do? Keep her name in your talent pool! When the moment arrives, you’ll be ready to make the call and deliver the offer that will grab her attention.

For more on how to build and maintain a staff of the most talented workers in your area, rely on the staffing pros at PSU.

How to Help Your Employees Set Goals

November 8th, 2019

You want your employees to fulfill their assigned tasks with energy and commitment. But if you’re a great employer, you also want something more: you want your direct reports to look into the future and make moves now that can both help the company and build their careers. The status quo is fine, and it’s okay to simply punch in, complete the day’s work, and go home. But excellent employees want to set long term goals and focus on growth. And excellent employers want to help them do this. Here are a few simple moves that can help you keep their attention on the horizon, not just down at their desks.

Conduct personal check-ins.

At least once a month (ideally much more often), sit down with each of your direct reports individually for an informal chat. Ask them how they feel about their current work. Do they find it appropriately challenging? Can you help with these challenges? And if they’re ready for more responsibility, how can you help them choose a direction and obtain the training and exposure they need to move forward? These chats should give you some insight that can help you connect them to the right mentors and opportunities.

Keep the goals SMART.

Smart coaching leads to smart goal-setting. Which means choosing goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. It’s easy for employees—especially those with minimal work experience—to wander off the rails when it comes to goal setting, and loose, poorly formulated goals can lead to disappointment and discouragement later on. Rein in goals that are not realistic, and shape goals that are not well defined. Help place timelines on vague goals, and keep workplace goals focused on the workplace.

Attain the minimum standard before climbing higher.

Everybody’s human, and it’s common to encounter an employee who sets his or her sites on brilliant achievements (he wants to be the CEO!) before mastering ordinary ones. (His last several reports were subpar, he often shows up late, and he hasn’t earned the trust of his teammates.) This employee needs a clear performance improvement plan that can get him on track to basic competence. Set a two-week, three-month or one-year plan that leads to success with clear consequences for falling short. If he gets where he needs to be, he can start setting his sites on the next level.

Become an advisor and confidante.

If your employees don’t like or trust you, they won’t share their personal information with you, including their personal career goals. To get them to open up honestly, listen before you talk. When they tell you something, commit it to memory. And most important: give them advice and coaching that works in their benefit. Avoid advice that benefits the company at their expense.

For more on how to coach and manage your teams in ways that bring out their best, turn to the staffing experts at PSU.

Can Unfilled Job Posts Affect Your Business?

October 4th, 2019

A snapshot of the job market in this quarter of 2019 suggests that the competition for talent is still tight, and candidates still perceive a landscape in which their options are wide and there’s no need to settle for a role they don’t like, a company they can’t support, or a salary that doesn’t meet their needs. So what does that mean for company leaders and hiring managers who may be scrambling to fill essential positions? Here are a few key ways you may suffer if you fall behind, and a few simple moves that can prevent this from happening.

Talent Shortages Increase Hiring Costs

Hiring can be an expensive prospect in any job market, but when competition tightens and candidates hold more of the cards, the price tag naturally gets higher. Open jobs stay open longer, which can drain company resources, and the interview and selection process can involve a high number of overall candidates since more are likely to drop out of the running along the way. Employers have to work a little harder and shine a little brighter to entice candidates to apply, and of course, those who receive offers may be less likely to accept them than they would in easier markets. A competitive edge can help your company stand out.

Increased Turnover

Candidates who do respond to posts, apply, and maintain interest throughout the interview and selection process may not accept an offer, and those that do accept may not stay for more than one calendar year. This churn can interrupt the social fabric of the workplace and prevent employers from gaining a return on their investments in hiring and training.

Finding the Right Skills can be Difficult in Tight Markets

If you manage to track down candidates who hold the exact skill sets you need, these candidates are probably receiving plenty of other offers. This increases the temptation to settle and accept a shorter list of required skills, or trade one strong skill set for lesser skills in other areas. You may find yourself with a candidate who can bring some of what you need to the table, but not all.

Salary Negotiations can get Tougher

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll need to pay candidates more (though that may happen). But it does mean that you’ll need to polish your offer and be willing to give a little in order to get a little. If raising salary offers isn’t easy to do, you’ll need to improve your benefits package and take a second look at the perks you can provide that other employers can’t. (Keep in mind that savvy candidates know that free coffee isn’t a perk.)

If you stay focused on the goal, make sure your workplace culture speaks for itself, and get ready to treat your employees fairly and well, you’ll thrive in a tough market. For help, turn to the experts at PSU.

How to Confront an Underachieving Worker without Demotivating them Further

September 6th, 2019

As you review your list of direct reports, you see one or two who stand out, but not for great reasons. For example Sally, who used to be a superstar but who just hasn’t been crushing it this week (or this year). And Steve, who showed great potential during his interview but who never seemed to fulfill that promise. His “new-hire” grace period started in 2015 and still seems to be underway.

In both cases, you know these employees well enough to know that yelling at them, criticizing them, or threatening them won’t bring the results you desire. Besides, those methods don’t reflect your style as a manager or as a person. So what should you do? How can you confront Sally and/or Steve with some rough news about their performance?  And how can you do it without making things worse?

First, look at the big picture.

If the employee is truly a drain on the company and its culture, don’t waste time asking these questions. Just gently but firmly explain that you’d like to see three specific areas of improvement within a clear time frame, or the employee will face probation and/or termination. A long-term action plan will only be necessary if the employee genuinely wants to be here, but seems to struggle with motivation.

Second, allow the employee to talk first.

Invite Steve (or Sally) into your office to talk. Ask him how he feels about his situation, his workload and his performance. Then just listen. Chances are, something is wrong. Steve may be suffering from depression or burnout. He may be facing an unresolved conflict with a coworker. He may not fully understand the parameters or expectations of the job. He may be sick or in pain. He may be disappointed that the job isn’t taking him where he’d like to go. Any of these are possible, and so are an infinite number of other options. Listen carefully before you develop the next stage of your strategy.

Be kind.

Once Sally has described her issue, pause. Recognize that your job is not to help Sally at the expense of the company. And it’s not to help the company at Sally’s expense. Your job is to use your ingenuity and management skills to identify alignment between the needs of both parties. You need to help the company gain from Sally’s labor while helping Sally feel more engaged. How can you satisfy both sides of the table? Ask for her help and input.

Do the next part on your own.

Sally may need more training, a raise, a coaching plan, a promotion, a demotion, a different office, more resources, or more support. Make a plan to provide these things. Set a timeline. Then take one step at a time toward a better and more productive relationship.

For more on how to encourage an employee while also delivering a difficult assessment of their performance, talk to the staffing team at PSU.

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