Running a business requires a dedication to the industry and the ability to compete within it. Once a business begins to grow, it starts to require more attention to details outside the core competency or function of the business. One of the things that has become an issue is human resources. While your staff literally is a group of human resources, most business owners know far more about what their business does, than about what a hiring process is or how to make sure that they are in compliance with regulations as they pertain to employing people.
For many business owners and managers, the requirements that human resource management places on them tend to add unneeded stress and take time away from their core functions. If they choose to hire employees to handle HR matters, then they must foot the bill for additional payroll, benefits, and sometimes even space to accommodate those employees.
One way to avoid this stress or the necessity of hiring a large HR department is to outsource some of the HR functions to a staffing agency. It makes sense if you think about it. A staffing agency exists to perform HR functions. They hire, stay on top of insurance and regulation and perform other HR functions, not as a required part of their business but as the business itself. They have the dedication to the staffing industry that many people in other businesses do not. This dedication allows them to perform most HR functions better than individual Human Resources departments.
Take the hiring process for instance. Individual HR managers take time to list jobs, audit resumes and applications, and bring people in for interviews. Hiring is an occasional part of their job, whereas it is a huge part of a staffing company’s job. They have more time to focus on coming up with the best interview questions and have more experience actually interviewing people, which often makes them better judges of candidates. Hiring is their business so it doesn’t have to be yours.
The biggest issue that HR departments have to deal with is compliance. To have employees in Arizona an HR manager must consider:
- Keeping payroll and related expenses within budget
- Workers’ compensation, the laws associated with it and making sure that their company has the right coverage at the best price
- Occupational safety and health standards that dictate what a workplace must have and how it must operate (although you’ll need at least passing knowledge of this regardless of how you source your staff)
- Youth employment laws
- The vast and specific employment laws
Not only do these issues take a sound knowledge base, but they also take time and money. If you choose to let someone else handle these issues for you, it can really help out. Staffing agencies that can provide you with temporary or even permanent staff have their operations set up around these issues. They can focus on them and streamline processes like hiring or constantly keeping up with changes in employment law. The ability to streamline means they can usually address these issues at less cost than businesses that focus on other things.
Less cost for them often means their customers save money when they use their employees. The can also buy larger insurance policies which can sometimes bring their costs down as well–yet another way they can afford to provide you with employees at reasonable prices. There is nothing wrong with not being able to outperform a well-run staffing agency; after all it is what they do.
Especially right now, as the economy seems it might be taking a slight upturn, why not save time and possibly even money by using a staffing agency? You can go about your business while they send over workers who have already passed a screening process. Using temporary labor is a great option because it allows you to see if your recent successes will last and allow you to bring on full-time staff. If you bypass temps and hire people on full time you might have to fire them in a few months. If they have worked for you long enough they may even qualify for unemployment benefits which can cost you in raised premiums.
Yet another example of the finer points of human resource management getting in the way of running your business. HR functions must be addressed, just not necessarily by you.
One of the finer points of being an employer is workers’ compensation. According to Arizona State law, any business that has employees is legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. It does not matter what kind of business you are registered as, be it a corporation, LLC or proprietorship; if you employ people, you must carry coverage.
Managing workers’ compensation can be time consuming and expensive. While it is a part of doing business and a safety net that makes employees more comfortable, the fact is it would be easier to have someone else handle it for you. Let’s go over your options for carrying workers’ compensation insurance in Arizona.
- A State Licensed Provider- Arguably the easiest way to approach workers’ compensation insurance (aside from having us handle the detail for you of course) is to purchase a plan through an approved provider. Many companies are licensed to provide this coverage to business owners in Arizona. If you would like to find out more about individual companies who are licensed, contact the Arizona Department of Insurance. These companies will price out a plan for your business based upon several factors including:
- Your total number of employees
- How risky they asses your industry to be
- How your business stacks up against competitors in your industry from a risk standpoint ( this is called Experience Modification or E-Mod)
- Do it Yourself- If you are the detail-oriented type, and can show the state that you are capable, you can apply to provide your own workers’ compensation coverage in Arizona. Aside from the obvious extra work that this route requires, you must also give your employees the legal right to reject your coverage.
Now that you have spent the time to set up workers’ compensation–and consequently spent less time on your core business functions–you will need to think about the future. Your insurance will be responsible for paying out almost every time an employee is injured or falls ill due to a work-related cause. Arizona is a “no fault state,” meaning that even if the injury or sickness is directly caused by the employee, your insurance will pay out so long as the employee didn’t intentionally injure himself. In the event of an injury, you can expect to devote more time to workers’ compensation. If a staff member is injured on the job:
- You must provide them information about your insurance carrier and then contact your carrier to notify them.
- You can refer them to your preferred medical provider for an initial check-up, but after that employees have the right to seek medical care from their preferred providers.
- You can expect to have your premium increase as your insurance coverage will likely be paying for both medical care and up to 2/3 of your employees’ wages for any time that they are not available to work due to the injury.
- Be sure to keep in touch with the employees’ medical care providers so you know the extent of their injuries, how long they should be out if work, and what to expect your insurance provider to report back to you.
- Keep up with injured employees to make sure that they are being diligent in focusing on treatment and healing; if they are not, you will end up paying for a lot more medical bills.
Keep in mind that you will need to stay on top of workers’ compensation coverage. Aside from taking the time to cut a check every month, you should be actively in contact with your insurance provider. Remember, if you choose to incur the cost, it is your responsibility to manage it and keep it reasonable.
- Make sure that your provider is updated if you have any changes to your business, whether that be to the number of staff or the types of operations you are involved in due to expansion or discontinuing particular operations.
- Make sure your provider closes claims on time so that you do not have extra costs on your books.
If you choose to have employees, you will want to stay on top of workers’ compensation. If you are found to be out of compliance by the state you can expect:
- Fines for not having coverage: The fines start at $1,000 and go up to $10,000 in a 5 year period if you do not comply.
- To have your business shut down by the Industrial Commission of Arizona (the government entity that oversees workers’ compensation) until you are in compliance.
- To be sued by an injured or under-informed employee. If you do not have coverage, or fail to inform an employee about their rights involved in self coverage, you can expect to be hit with a civil lawsuit. If you lose the suit you might have to pay medical costs, lost wages, legal fees (yours and the employees), pain and suffering or any other costs that the courts deem necessary. Remember it is a class 6 felony to not carry workers’ compensation insurance in Arizona.
Running a business can be hectic job. It doesn’t matter if you own the company or are charged with managing a firm for someone else–you have a lot to get done. In some cases it pays to outsource some of the day-to-day tasks so that you can focus on your core functions. One of the tasks that can take up a good portion of your time is the hiring process.
There aren’t always enough hours in the day to post job openings, screen applications and set up interviews. Then you actually have to set aside time to facilitate the interviews and decide whom you want to bring on. While you are doing this you aren’t managing your budget, making sure that your customers are happy or working with your current employees so that everything stays on track.
So why not save a little time by letting an experienced staffing agency take some of the workload over for you? At Labor Systems we know that you have individual needs when it comes to staffing. We also understand that you are a dedicated manager who is focused on bringing in the right people. That is why we offer three different ways to use our staffing services.
Sometimes an employee needs time off for vacation or family matters. Other times you need extra sets of hands, but only for a limited amount of time. A temporary worker, or maybe a few, can make times like this easier for you. We can provide workers for a limited amount of time, who will come in and help you get the job done. Once you are back to normal and don’t need them they are sent on to another company. There is no stress associated with firing an employee or cutting back hours to keep staff on. Temporary workers can help hotel mangers staff housekeepers in Phoenix for a week-long convention or make sure that a contractor in Tempe has the unskilled workers they need to help out with a construction project.
This is one of the most flexible options out there when it comes to staffing. In some instances you might want to bring someone on, but are not sure if you will need the person full time. In other instances you want a full-time employee, but need to make sure that the person is the right employee for your business. In either case request a temp to hire employee. The worker shows up with the understanding that he is working on a temporary basis. If personalities and demand work together, you have the option to keep the temporary hire as a full-time employee; if not they move on to another assignment. While this option is great for any industry, it is especially good for professional businesses. A construction company might want to feel out their need for a secretary, or an office manager might want to try out a new mail clerk. Either way temp-to-hire leaves your options open. We have left managers happy from Bullhead City to Flagstaff.
Hiring can be a lengthy process. If you don’t have a large Human Resources department, you might not have the time for the process. Regardless, you still need full-time staff. That is where direct placement comes into play. We have interviewed and evaluated candidates. You tell us what you are looking for and we match you with a fitting employee. You will have the opportunity to evaluate the employees once they arrive to make sure that they work out for you. If you prefer to go in a different direction, we understand and will send over a more suitable candidate; if not, then all the better. Nothing pleases us more than our ability to match our workers to your needs. Going through a staffing agency for your hiring process can be win-win, except in this case you win twice. You get a great new employee and you don’t have to devote a significant amount of time to doing it!
How long does your hiring process take? Realistically it’s a while from the time you decide that you need to make a hire, to the time that you go through the process and locate a candidate. The shortest turn-around period you can produce is probably about a week. If you value quality, like we do, and want to interview multiple candidates a week can turn into two, maybe three. By now you know that a portion of our value proposition rests on the fact that we can provide you a quality, qualified worker often within the same day. Think about all the time that you can save by skipping the interview process and having an employee start working right away. With Labor Systems, you have peace of mind because you can bring in a temp and try them out before you bring them on. If you want to go with a different worker, no problem, let us know and we will send over someone who better matches your needs. We want you to know that you can trust our interview techniques and that we offer an unconditional guarantee on our temporary workers. On top of not having to interview, you also do not have to deal with the termination process. But what else do we do to ensure that you are happy with our services?
The Hiring Process
Our quality controls begin with the hiring process. We accept resumes and applications online and in person to ensure that we begin with a substantial pool of candidates. Once we have collected this basic information the quality control really begins.
Once we have identified suitable candidates whom we feel confident about representing us in the field, we begin our hiring process. Each hiring manager knows the full array of jobs that a candidate may be placed in. Our hiring experts are also up to date on industry best practices and what it takes to perform effectively in each individual work environment. Due to the fact that we staff workers for a variety of industries, we look for a variety of skills and personality traits in candidates. Our hiring process gives us an idea of where each applicant’s skill set lies and which particular jobs they would excel in. We then take this information and use it to match the right candidates with the right customer. We spend a significant amount of time talking to candidates to ensure that they will be able to perform well for our customers.
Candidates are questioned not only about their skill set that relates directly to the industry, but also about other factors that cue things about them as people and ultimately as employees. We look for things like:
- Body Language- How people carry themselves plays directly into how they may perform in a work environment. Is their posture relaxed yet not lazy? Are they engaged in the conversation by facing the interviewer and making eye contact? We use body language as one way to gauge how excited they are about their potential employment opportunity.
- Communication Skills- Without the ability to communicate, a great sounding candidate may not perform effectively. Are they listening and involved in the conversation? Can they answer questions directly and honestly? Do they come across as being friendly or hostile? The ability to communicate is very important in the workplace. Without sound communication skills we will not place a worker in a role that requires skill in this area.
- Do They Have any Questions? – While we do most of the questioning, we like to see engaged candidates. Are they asking questions about how to best be prepared to provide quality labor to multiple employers? Do they ask questions to clarify anything, ensuring that they want to stay on top of the potential positions? When a candidate has pertinent questions we are able to discern that they can think on their feet. The ability to think and problem solve will make them a better fit for all of our clients even in cases where the job requirements do not call for a great amount of decision making or an advanced skill set.
- Competency- While we staff many unskilled positions, we hate the stigma that unskilled laborers might not be competent. After all, every construction foreman and office manager started somewhere. We specifically look for signs that an employee is capable of reacting in multiple situations. How do they answer questions from a “what would you do” standpoint? Can they come up with multiple reasonable points of view on a given issue or topic? Can they tell a story from their past that illustrates their ability to tackle out-of-the-ordinary situations? We look for employees that can perform effectively in multiple positions in the field.
It is generally easy to assess how well a candidate knows a given industry. Our interviewers can ask direct questions and find out about each candidate’s background as it is relevant to the industry in which they will be a temp. Some candidates have the skill set to work in multiple industries and in those cases we know we have found a worker that will prove their value to our customers.
After our hiring process we select the best candidates from the applicant pool. All of our temps can be made subject to background tests as well as drug tests at the request of our clients. Our policies are very clear about our intolerance of intoxicants as they relate to work and of our expectations for their on-the-job behavior. If you are ever unhappy with a temp for any reason, take advantage of our commitment to flexibility and ask us to send you one of our workers who better fits your needs.
The Value Proposition: Labor Systems Personnel