Running or managing a business can be a very rewarding experience, especially if you are the type of person who thrives on change. Management can provide opportunities to showcase your flexibility and ability to think on your feet. While overcoming obstacles can be very rewarding, sometimes business presents us with opportunities that are double-edged swords. Yes, they might be an opportunity to grow and develop, but they might also be coupled with hurdles that must be bested in order to take advantage of the opportunity.
In many cases staffing is a hurdle that must be jumped. Think about what can happen to your staffing situation, literally overnight, if:
- You suddenly gain a large customer or an existing customer suddenly places a huge order
- You are presented with a time sensitive opportunity
- A large number of staff defect to a competitor simultaneously
In any and all of these cases a reliable staffing agency is your best means of fixing the situation. They will allow you to remedy your staffing problem in a very short amount of time, usually the amount of time it takes to make a phone call. Staffing agencies pre-screen candidates and have a list of capable employees who can work on short notice. This is their whole business model. If they could not sufficiently supply this service then they would not be in business; it is as simple as that.
What to Look For in a Staffing Agency
It is understandable that you might be a little apprehensive about bringing in temporary workers for certain assignments. If you ask around, colleagues who have used temporary labor to their advantage will likely be able to tell you about the benefits and assuage your fears about trusting a temporary agency. Be sure to ask them to recommend a company that has:
- A solid history in the staffing industry
- A variety of temporary workers that will allow you a little more flexibility in choosing your new staff members
- The ability to send staff over the very next day if needed. Even if this isn’t what you need, it shows that you are choosing a company that has superior customer service and is prepared to fill any overnight gaps that might arise in the future
- Will allow you trade out workers hassle free if you feel that a different temp might be a better fit for you
- Enough reach to help you at all of your geographic locations. If you have offices in Phoenix and Scottsdale, it is beneficial to select a temporary service that can help you in both cities.
Tips for Using a Staffing Agency
Now that you are comfortable using a temporary service to fill your emergency staffing needs, take a couple of tips that will help you to effectively work with a staffing agency and use their services.
- Know what you are looking for. The staffing agency will be far more likely to set you up with the right workers if you can be specific about what you need from the standpoint of workload to be accomplished and skill set necessary to do the work.
- Build a relationship early. Emergencies develop very quickly and it will be helpful to have a relationship with an agency that you like. Maybe start out by using an agency to cover a vacation or to send over a couple of temps to help you decide whether hiring on full-timers is worthwhile.
- Expand your relationship. Talk to your representative at your staffing agency about your current and prospective needs. They will be able to help you to determine what it will take to cover your temporary staffing needs and get a better idea of which temps will work out best for you.
One of the most flexible options that any staffing agency can ever offer their clients is the option to try out an employee on a temporary basis and then decide whether or not they would like to hire the employee on full time. This is a great option for both the employer and the employee, as it fuses the best aspects of both temporary employees and direct hire services.
There are many reasons that an employer benefits from finding new staff in this manner. Let’s begin with the benefits that are borrowed from temporary staffing and direct placement as separate entities.
- Save money up front by not having to fund the hiring process or costs associated with payroll and benefits.
- Save time by locating a capable employee with a phone call as opposed to the interview process.
- You can immediately replace an employee who leaves unexpectedly.
- You can retain peace of mind knowing that your new staff member is coming from a trusted source.
While those advantages exist for temporary staff and direct placement, temp-to-hire offers its own advantages due to its flexibility.
- You can make sure that your company really needs a new staff member. We have all been there: we identify a gap in our operations and automatically assume that we need a new hire to fill it. Sometimes we regret the new hire because we realize that if we changed some internal processes or simply outsourced something, we could have bridged the gap more effectively and at a lower cost.
- You can make sure that the new hire meshes from a company culture and personality standpoint. It might take a while to truly gauge new person’s personality and work ethic. The temporary aspect of temp-to-hire gives you this trial period.
- We handle your probationary period for you. Temp-to-hire employees come in knowing that the job might not last. In spite of probationary periods, regular hires do not usually take this into consideration. This can make termination considerably more difficult and uncomfortable for the employer.
- You have the ability to easily replace the employee in the event that you decide that you do in fact want another staff member, but feel that the original employee that you located might not work out. It just takes a hassle-free phone call to replace the temp with someone who is a better fit for your needs, which may change slightly after the original employee comes on.
While temp-to-hire is a great option, it may not be for everyone. Some employers know for certain that they need a permanent staff member, while others know in advance that their staffing issue is a temporary situation. If your situation does dictate that you need flexibility you will likely be very happy with the temp-to-hire option. We arrange everything so that you only have to focus on your bottom line.
Recent figures put unemployment in the state of Arizona at 9.7%, which represents one of the highest figures since the 1980’s. We all know that the economy, both locally and nationally, is in a recovery period, but that does not help with the current state of things. What does unemployment mean to a business owner? Can we take advantage of the situation, or is it just another aspect of the current downtrodden economic cycle?
How Does Unemployment Affect Me Again?
As an employer you likely know that you pay an unemployment tax. As long as you have anyone working for you at least part time 20 weeks per year or pay a worker $1500 in a quarter, you are subject to the tax. The actual costs to individual businesses differ based upon how much your payroll is and how long any former employee that you are currently paying out worked for you during their base period. The base period is a predetermined amount of time that the state deems representative of an individual’s income. If employees receive unemployment, the amount they receive is based upon how much they earned during the base period.
In essence, if a worker was under your employ for the whole base period, you pay the employer’s entire share of their unemployment payments (the State and Federal Governments also contribute to unemployment payments). Likewise if they worked for you for half of the base period you pay half and so on. You are charged by the state and they compile your unemployment payments into an account. When former employees are granted unemployment, the state takes money from your account and uses it to pay part of the payments. If your account ever gets too low, you can expect your unemployment taxes to increase.
Unemployment taxes are an unavoidable part of running a business that hires on workers. As you can imagine, the current economic times mean that a significant amount of money is being paid to citizens who are out of work. Some businesses are likely experiencing increases in taxes due to their accounts being drawn below acceptable limits. Hence it is costing them more money to do business, possibly with less staff. This is definitely a negative aspect of unemployment and the current economy.
So What Can We Do?
Since giving up is not an option for most business owners everyone must find ways to deal with the situation. As a staffing company, we are obligated to point out that using our services could help you bypass the unemployment costs associated with some of your new hires. When it comes to temporary workers, we are the employer so we handle the unemployment costs for you. We can let you bring on new people and try out new positions. Instead of your payroll, and of course your unemployment taxes, going up, your expenses do. While this might sound bad at first, increased expenses equal less taxes in the long run, so by using temps you could actually decrease your taxes and get the workers you need. Not a bad deal.
Otherwise as employers it is important to remain positive and optimistic. We can look at the large pool of unemployed workers as potential opportunity. It means that we have more options to choose from to staff our businesses, so long as you have the time to evaluate multiple candidates. It also means that we should all be focused on growth. The lessons learned from running a lean staff have shown us how to effectively operate with fewer people. They have also shown us the value of having a few more sets of hands around. As we grow, our businesses we will be able to effectively put the citizens of Arizona back to work, while increasing our own profits. That has the potential to be a win-win situation.
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.
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!
When it comes to construction staffing, temporary labor is not only a good option; it is a necessary one. Granted, construction companies and foremen might have particular skilled laborers in mind who can save them time when they are going through the staffing phase of a new project. But what about the support staff who may not need specialized skills? Every job site needs clean up and staff to work in assisting roles. We all know that the craftsmen would not get the job done without backup.
That’s where we come in. We provide unskilled workers for any job site with as little effort as a phone call. You do not have to spend time interviewing candidates or worry about paying the various costs associated with full-time employees, like insurance or payroll services. We can send workers in right away who are ready to help your more advanced guys get the job done. Interviewing is a main focus of our business, so we know how to spot a good candidate and then make sure they work out in the field. You also get to choose how many workers you need and on which days, so every job stays within budget.
We know that experience is essential. Even unskilled workers need to know their way around a jobsite. Our temporary staff goes through safety training courses to ensure that they are aware of how to react in any situation. After that we place them in the field where they gain they experience they need to perform. Between training and time in the field, our workers evolve into assets in their position. They need less supervision and micro-management than employees hired fresh off the street. They are often cross-trained as well. Our guys can clean up job sites and equipment, unload materials and back up skilled workers like carpenters and electricians. This is really all that you can ask for from an unskilled worker.
One last point to make is preparation. How many times have you seen laborers show up without the proper equipment and wondered how they intended to work? You can’t get a job done if you don’t have the material–it’s that simple. We get it, and that’s why we make sure that our laborers are ready to work before they get to your site. If the job calls for it, we supply:
- Back Belts
- Dust Masks
- Ear Plugs
- Hard Hats
- Safety Boots
- Safety Glasses
- Safety Goggles
When you call us, you’ll have no headaches first thing in the morning because a low-level guy showed up unprepared. We make sure of it and so should any agency that works with you to staff your project. We advise that you make sure anyone who sends you staff has thought these things through in advance, you will see the difference in the quality of the work.