Essential News

What hiring managers and professionals need to know – without the fluff.

Workers using laptop and clipboard

The Changing World of Work

Last month, the staffing industry held one of its premier annual events, the Staffing Industry Executive Forum. This event brings together the world’s best thought leaders in contingent staffing and recruiting. The information they share is valuable for all business owners – not just staffing companies. So, we’d like to share a few of the most important insights from four of the best presentations:

The Affordable Care Act
Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed back in March 2010, we’ve endured endless rhetoric, numerous court challenges and a nail-biting presidential election to see what form the law would finally take. And although the dust has not yet completely settled, it’s time for your company to gear up for the changes that are about to come.

• Beginning in 2014, the “pay or play” provision takes effect. If you have more than 50 full-time employees, you must offer an affordable health care plan or face penalties of up to $2,000 per employee, excluding the first 30 workers.

• To avoid penalties, health insurance must cover at least 60% of the actuarial value of medical costs, and the insurance must be offered to at least 95% of full-time employees.

• A full-time employee is one that works an average of 30 or more hours per week. Employers may “look back” up to 12 months of past employment to determine if an employee is full-time (i.e., if an employee worked more than 30 hours * 52 weeks, or 1,560 hours, he would be considered full-time).

• For new hires, employers will have to offer health insurance day one, unless the employee is considered variable hour, which are those for whom the firm cannot reasonably determine if they will average at least 30 hours per week. For variable-hour new hires, the employer may wait up to 12 months to then “look back” and determine if the employee was full-time.

• Affordable coverage means that the health insurance you offer must cost less than 9.5% of an employee’s household income (this is for single coverage, not family coverage).

• Staffing firms are well suited to help employers cost-effectively manage the ramifications of the PPACA for part-time and project-based staff. As their direct employer, the staffing company is responsible for paying healthcare benefits and ensuring compliance for the temporary and contract workers you use, and because many temporary employees choose to work less than the 1,560 hours
per year, the effective healthcare burden per hour may be less from a staffing firm than when employers hire workers directly.

• If your organization’s headcount hovers around the 50-person cutoff, you can reduce your directly employed full-time staff and use contingent staff or contract employees to handle the additional workload as needed.

The Avoidant Economy
As a result of the Great Recession, today’s businesses now operate in an “avoidant economy” – one where they delay hiring decisions, hoard cash, fear adding overhead and desperately want to mitigate risk. And things are not likely to change anytime soon. In fact, the avoidant mentality is becoming even more pervasive, as volatility, uncertainty and fear continue to prompt leaders to pause before making decisions and choices.

Still, you need to get work done and capitalize on our recent economic upswing – and that requires people! Specifically, people with skills that are becoming increasingly scarce. For employers, this
will require:

• Creating a greater sense of urgency around forecasting staffing needs and proactively sourcing talent.

• Improving employer branding to make your firm more desirable to top talent.

• Finding creative ways to “manufacture” talent by finding people with transferable skills.

• Testing a wider range of sourcing methods to find new ways to attract talent.  Staffing firms can play a significant role in reducing friction in the avoidant economy, by:

• Providing faster access to the workers with hard-to-find skill sets.

• Functioning as a true partner to employers, by developing a proactive staffing plan to meet talent needs, overcome workforce challenges and capitalize on opportunities.

• Identifying safer, more cost-effective ways to get work done.

New Hire Technology
According to a recent CareerBuilder study, 38% of employers have positions for which they cannot find qualified staff. Sound familiar? If so, new technology may help you connect with the talent you need. Here are a few key statistics and ideas from the SI Executive Forum presentation:

• Transform data into insights. Analytics (i.e., Big Data) now allows you to predict employee and job seeker behavior, thereby providing an amazing opportunity to gain a competitive advantage in recruiting and hiring. For example, data analysis can indicate when your company is going to experience increased turnover, or help you identify individuals who are about to start their job search.

• Leverage technology in the recruiting process. 71% of workers surveyed by CareerBuilder said that searching for new opportunities is part of their “regular routine.” To find the best candidates, go
where they’re looking – which is online!

• 75% of workers use mobile to search (hint: what does your mobile recruiting app look like?)

• 25% of all visitors to CareerBuilder were mobile

• 63% use search engines

• 25% use career sites

Building an Uplifting Service Culture
An uplifting service culture is one in which every employee – not just the customer service department – strives to truly take care of customers by creating value for them (however they define that value). With every service interaction, your company has the opportunity to really “wow” customers. Unfortunately, many businesses define service interactions too narrowly. In reality, every single customer touch point – from the moment a potential customer becomes aware of your company through and beyond the final invoice – is a moment of truth; an opportunity to deliver amazing service.

Make sure you consider all of the ways your business “serves” your customers:

• Products and services. Obviously, the quality of your goods and services matters; but even the ways you package/present them impacts the service customers receive. Revisit your offerings and  packaging regularly, continually updating them to best serve customers’ needs.

• Writing. Every form of written communication, including emails, direct mail and more traditional business correspondence, provides opportunities to serve your customers better – and show them that you care.

• Phone and in-person contact. Train and empower every employee who interacts with customers to provide exceptional service in every interaction. Whether it’s a tour, a sales call, a customer complaint or a simple request for information, make every conversation an opportunity to create value for customers.

• Website. Your website should be less about you and more about serving your customers needs. Provide easy access to the answers they need and to resources which will help them in their jobs – and
make it simple for them to get in touch with a real person.

• Social networks. If you have a social media presence, give someone primary responsibility for actively managing your accounts and promptly addressing customer requests and comments. Social media provide unique, intimate and real-time opportunities to engage and serve your customer base.

• Mobile. Yep, even your mobile app needs to be user-friendly and keep the customer’s needs at heart. The surprising upside is that improving the service you give someone else also benefits your organization. Providing uplifting service to others naturally enriches your relationships, improves your network of support, and contributes to your own success. This year’s Staffing Industry Executive Forum showed that there are lots of challenges and opportunities for employers in today’s operating environment. Everything from massive healthcare reform to talent scarcity and heightened service expectations are drastically changing our world of work.

Staffing firms can play an increasingly important role in navigating the complexities of hiring and workforce management. They can help you access hard-to-find skill sets, reduce overhead and liability, improve productivity and service levels, and manage the uncertainty inherent in business today. To learn more, contact Essential Personnel today.