Help Your Team Members Stay Excited About Work

As a supervisor, a big part of your job is to ensure that your team members stay excited about work….but without working so hard and so fast that they become burnt out:

Santa Fe Springs Staffing

  • Your newly hired college grad is so excited about her first job in a career she loves that she’s willing to work 10 or 12 hours a day and on weekends because “it’s not work; it’s fun!” .
  • Your department has just been tasked with an exciting new initiative, one that will be a game changer for your company; perhaps even for humankind. Everyone – absolutely everyone – on your team is extremely excited and also happy to work through lunch, work until 8 p.m., volunteer to work on weekends, and so on.

And then it happens: in a few weeks or (more likely) a few months of nonstop high engagement and toil, you notice your team members:

  • No longer are excited.
  • Don’t automatically volunteer to stay late or work weekends and if “volunteered” by you, they look dejected and let you know quickly that they’ve already made plans.
  • Start becoming sick more often. Possibly a lot more often.
  • Stop meeting deadlines.
  • Are becoming cranky and snappish.

This, of course, is natural: the human body can only take so much adrenalin and employees always pumped, always “on,” always moving at time and a half and you can rest assured that that adrenalin is pumping. A lot! Workers they will become sick and possibly seriously so. At the very least they will have more colds/fevers, head and back aches, become “testy,” experience insomnia, and a host of other ailments, all that indicate burnout.

Ensuring employees stay excited…enough.

Remember when an employee, when asked to work over the weekend, mentioned she had plans and couldn’t come in? How it surprised you, because she’d happily worked after hours/weekends for several months. Taking that time off is what she should have been doing all along and it was your job as her supervisor to make sure she did so, whether she wanted to at the time or not.

Making sure workers work no more than 40 or 45 hours a week helps ensure that they do their best work possible: they are rested, recharged. They have a much better chance of staying healthy. They will remain excited and interested in coming to work. They will, in short, be more productive by taking time off regularly.

So when your eager beavers tell you they want to stay late and work weekends, tell them no. It’s not possible. You won’t allow it. You’ll end up doing both of you a favor!

If one of the reasons you would like your team members to work longer hours is because of a major project or you’re short staffed, call upon Helpmates to fill the gap in the workload to help your team get it all done. You’ll be a hero and will demonstrate to your team that you’re serious about their well-being. We look forward to hearing from you.

Looming Shortage of “Middle Skill” Healthcare Workers

Are you already noticing a shortage of medical coders, billers, patient intake admins, and other “middle-skill” healthcare pros here in Southern California? If not, you will soon.

The Pasadena Star News reported last year that 42 percent of the demand for these types of “middle skill” workers (and others) won’t be met by 2022.

In fact, the LA Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) predicted 125,000 healthcare job openings by 2022 for all levels of medical positions. These positions pay well and are a great way for people to find in-demand careers after just one or two years of training.

What is your Los Angeles/Orange County healthcare organization doing to prepare?

Los Angeles healthcare recruiters

For example, what do you currently pay your medical billers, coders, and admins? We believe healthcare organizations are going to have to raise salaries to attract these hard-to-find workers.

Here’s what Indeed.com reported as the average hourly rate for these workers for #LA and #OrangeCounty (as of early September):

  • Medical biller: Anaheim, $16.15. Los Angeles, $16.46
  • Coding specialist: Anaheim, $25.38. Los Angeles, $27.66
  • Medical transcriptionist: Los Angeles, $42,720 per year
  • Practice manager: Newport Beach, $67,243 per year

If you’re not able to raise pay rates, here are some ideas you could try to attract middle-skill healthcare professionals:

  • Offer current medical clerks and receptionists fully paid-for training to become coders, transcriptionists, etc.
  • Offer remote work/telecommuting options.
  • Recruit outside your traditional talent pool/adjust your skills and experience requirements. For example, instead of requiring six months of experience for an entry-level position, take someone out of high school and train him in medical billing.
  • Consider hiring contract/freelance workers.
  • Partner w/ a # healthcare staffing agency.

Helpmates provides healthcare staffing services for Orange County and Los Angeles employers. From medical clinics, private practices, hospitals, nursing homes, and more, we provide coders, transcriptionists, insurance billers, office managers, receptionists, and more.

Contact the branch nearest you when you need healthcare staffing help.

Should You Start a Telecommuting Program?

Employees tend to love being able to work remotely/telecommute. In fact, it’s a sought-after employee benefit for candidates and offering it as a perk of employment definitely can help attract top talent.

But it’s not always a win-win for a company – or even for the worker.

Take a look below for the pros and cons for of a telecommuting program for both a company and its workers.

Anaheim staffing agency

Pros for the Employer

As mentioned above, offering flexible work schedules (including telecommuting) definitely can help a company become an employer of choice. In fact, many people say they would leave a current employer for another that offered a telecommuting perk.

Companies with a national/regional presence can save considerably on overhead, as they no longer will need to rent or lease office space, furniture and equipment for employees who work from a company’s headquarters.

Employees who telecommute do tend to be more engaged and productive.

Telecommuting Pros for Employees

Being able to work where employees want allows much more flexibility in their personal lives. For example, workers could work late at night and then take a parent or child to a planned doctor’s appointment the next morning without losing time “at work.”

Telecommuting can improve employee productivity because workplace interruptions are greatly reduced. There are fewer meetings to attend, no one stopping by a desk “just to chat,” and so on.

Employees can eat healthier (no access to the donuts in the break room) and exercise more (workers could go for a run/walk or to the gym instead of commuting to work). They could volunteer at a child’s lunch party at school.

All of the above adds up to telecommuting’s biggest perk of all: having more control over one’s day-to-day schedule.

The Problems with Telecommuting for Employers.

As terrific as telecommuting workers can be for companies, there are some problems inherent within it:

Employees can take advantage of their telecommuting situation.

Workplaces can lose the collaboration and camaraderie that often occurs when everyone is in close proximity to each other. There will be no brainstorming meetings together and ideas simply don’t seem to flow as easily when people “meet” via video chat.

Cybercriminals can take advantage of employee connections from home computers. Unless employers provide completely secure Internet access, companies may be putting private and/or proprietary information at risk of theft.

Why Telecommuting May Not Be as Great as Employees Think

Telecommuters do report feelings of isolation. This may not be a problem for those with families, but it can be a real problem for many people. Many of those who telecommute say they miss the camaraderie of being around colleagues they enjoy.

When it comes to promotions, etc.: out of sight out of mind. It’s true. In fact, one study found that half of those who worked from home  asked to return to the office due to loneliness and a sense that they were missing out on promotion and career opportunities.

If your company does decide to start a telecommuting program, make sure you set regular check-in opportunities for employees and their managers. Make expectations as to deliverables and how often employees need to check in explicit from the very beginning. You may also want to require that employees travel to the office at least once a week.

You also want to make sure telecommuting employees have an extremely secure Internet connection.

If you’re a company located other than Southern California and are looking for workers in the Anaheim or Los Angeles area, contact Helpmates to help you vet and place top talent. Contact us for more information.

Snooping On Your Competitors: What Are They Paying Their Workers?

As the exceptionally low unemployment rates in Orange and Los Angeles counties show little signs of abating, workers – as we discussed last month – are expecting more pay, especially considering the recent minimum wage increase in Los Angeles County and the coming (January 2019) increase in Orange County.

So what is a proper wage today for your workers? How do you know if your wages are competitive? What wage point do you need to offer to be considered an employer who pays more than average?

Santa Fe Spring temporary agency

For example, we did a bit of digging recently and found that pay rates for positions we typically fill for our clients (customer service representatives, forklift operators and administrative assistants, to name just three) are – surprisingly, considering the cost of living in the region – not necessarily above the national average.

Take CSRs and administrative assistants.  According to Indeed.com, a CSR in Brea is paid about 16 percent more than the national average for CSR pay, while the pay rate for an administrative assistant in Brea meets the national average, while Anaheim employers pay admins 11 percent more than the national average.

How to Find What Your Competitors Are Paying

There are many quick ways to determine what your competitors are paying their employees:

  • You can simply call and ask! (People truly are less secretive than we may think they are.) Make sure when you ask that you ask for rates that you specify position level (entry-level, mid-level, years of experience etc.) to get a more accurate idea of pay rates.
  • Check online job boards, look at your competitors’ open positions and take some notes.
  • Check with local trade organizations, local/regional SHRM chapters, chambers of commerce, even temporary agencies. (We can give you ranges but not actual numbers and we won’t tell you what we bill your competitors.)
  • Ask job candidates. They just might be happy to tell you what they’re being paid.
  • Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Compensation Survey (OCS). It has occupation pay rate information for different geographical areas across the country. Here’s the one for Los Angeles-Long Beach (numbers are for May 2017, the latest available) and here’s Orange County’s (also from May 2017).
  • Explore Indeed.com’s Salary Comparison tool.

Caveat: Your Competitors May Not Be Who You Think They Are

You might think that once you find what your local competitors are paying, you’re good! But remember: Southern Californians have no problem driving 90 minutes or more for work. (We’ve already noticed that some Helpmates’ workers who live in Orange County already are happy to drive to LA County for work…and its higher minimum wage. They barely blink an eye.)  So comparing competitors physically near you might not be the ones to research so much as competitors to which your workers move when they want more money or better benefits.

Helpmates has been providing Southern California’s top employers with terrific workers for more than 40 years. We know pay rates! If you’d like to learn more about what competitive pay rates are in your area, contact the branch office nearest you. We’d be happy to help you ascertain what you should pay in order to attract top talent.

Are Apprenticeships the Answer to Ill-Prepared Workers?

Thousands of young (and older) Southern Californians will be heading to public and private colleges and universities soon (some have already started!) and the question here is: how well do these institutions of higher learning prepare their graduates for real life jobs?

Most college students say “We’re ready!” Employers? They’re saying: “No you aren’t!”

Cypress CA temporary agency

The Association of American Colleges and Universities ran a survey in 2015, finding that 70 percent of college students thought they had the “critical thinking skills needed to succeed in the workplace.” But only about one-third of employers believed new grads were ready for the real world.

A solution? Apprenticeships!

Have you ever offered apprenticeships at your company? Have you ever participated in one as an apprentice?

Most Americans (62 percent) believe that apprenticeships make people “more employable than going to college,” according to a recent American Staffing Association poll.

What’s more, the survey found that 87 percent of adults surveyed thought that “it’s smart” to consider both college and apprenticeships.

Speaking of apprenticeships: California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency in May announced that there are almost 82,000 active apprenticeships in the state. This is up from 53,000 in 2015 (the goal is 100,00o in 2020).

The agency reports that the Golden State has the “nation’s largest and fastest-growing apprenticeship system.”

The state’s program wants to grow apprentice opportunities in transportation/logistics, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and IT.

Has your company hired graduates or students in these apprentice programs? If so, what’s your firm’s experience been with these workers?

We make sure here at Helpmates that our temporary associates are ready to – as the saying goes – “hit the ground running” as soon as they arrive at your worksite. Our temporary associates participate in our Quality Control process to ensure they have the skills you need. What’s more, if our associate doesn’t meet your standards, you don’t pay.

Contact us to learn more about our Employee Quality Assurance Program.

How Often Do Your Team Members See You? Seriously: How Often?

Everyone it seems – and this really isn’t much of an exaggeration, is it? – is on their phones all. The. Time. Or texting. Or creating/responding to email. And as a result, you may have noticed that we don’t talk to each other much anymore. Face-to-face. Eye-to-eye.

And this is a problem (especially for millennials and members of Generation Z) because a lot is lost when we hide from each other: not only can misunderstandings rise, but a true human connection is lost.

This hiding behind technology can hurt the manager/subordinate relationship, of course, but it’s not just tech that can wreak havoc: too many managers and leaders spend too much time in their offices and behind their desks. Or taking meetings. Or creating reports.

Brea temporary agency

They are otherwise engaged and AWAY from the very people who need to see them the most: the people who report to them.

Instead, realize that talking to your team members face-to-face, engaging with them every day (even in meetings) is by far the best type of leadership possible.

Here’s why. Take a look below.

  • Being present shows you care.

Have you ever been out with a friend who has his phone out all the time and constantly looks at it. How does that make you feel? Not too important, right? But what if your friend keeps the phone in a pocket? What if he glances at it only if it rings/gets a text and then doesn’t answer the text/phone? Doesn’t that make you feel as if you’re your friend’s main focus? Don’t you then feel seen? Connected – truly connected – with your friend? Don’t you feel that you matter?

The same goes for how often you talk to your subordinates, especially when you do so one-on-one: you’re in effect telling the people you manage that they matter to you.

  • As you talk, listen.

As in really listen. Head out to the floor or cube farm and ask questions about how projects are going, but don’t settle for just “things are fine.” Keep asking. Is the person happy with progress? Is there anything she could use? Does he have any ideas to help the project move more quickly?

Ask about families. Any fun trips planned? How did his daughter’s graduation go? She found work and moved out already? How’s the empty nest going?

One-on-one conversations, whether about work or non-work should be a top priority: these chats can truly help you and your team member feel more connected on a human level.

  • In meetings, make sure everyone can speak.

Many managers don’t lead meetings so much as command them. Instead, genuinely ask for input, especially when asking for solutions to problems. (Announce it a policy that every idea is welcomed and no guffawing or other derisive reaction will be allowed.)

Ask your subordinates for input as a matter of course. After all, they are the ones doing the bulk of the work on whatever projects/programs/goals your department has and they know more than you about how things are progressing.

In addition, don’t be afraid to delegate work. Doing so shows your trust in your team and it also provides individuals the chance to grow and learn.

  • Provide this same consideration to your temporary workforce as you do your regular employees.

Treating your temporary staff as much as possible like your regular staff can go a long way to ensuring they enjoy working with you, work diligently for you and provide all the value they can.

So go ahead: talk to them. Ask them for their insights because being “new blood” may help them to see things in a differently than folks who have worked with you for a while can.

And when you need contractors/temporary workers at your company, work with Helpmates to find them for you. Contact the branch office nearest you to learn more.

Pay Rates in Southern California

As it becomes harder and harder to find top talent in Southern California, especially for our clients’ temporary workforce needs, we’ve done a little digging regarding what great workers expect in Orange and Los Angeles counties regarding pay rates.

SoCal pay rates

Below are some pay rates for positions we typically fill (from Indeed.com):

  • CSR, Anaheim: $13.82 (14 percent higher than national average)
  • CSR, Aliso Viejo: $14.12 (16 percent higher)
  • CSR, Brea: $14.11 (16 percent higher)
  • CSR, Los Angeles (13.88 (14 percent higher)
  • Forklift Operator, Anaheim: $13.52 (7 percent higher)
  • Forklift Operator, Buena Park: $13.15 (meets national average)
  • Forklift Operator, Commerce: $12.62 (meets national average)
  • Forklift Operator, Los Angeles: $13.26 (meets national average
  • Administrative Assistant, Anaheim, $16.05 (11 percent higher)
  • Administrative Assistant, Aliso Viejo, $17.97 (24 percent higher)
  • Administrative Assistant, Brea: $14.97 (meets national average)
  • Administrative Assistant, Los Angeles: $16.44 (13 percent higher)

Meanwhile, down in San Diego, people in these positions are receiving:

  • CSR: $14.05 (16 percent higher)
  • Forklift Operator: $13.86 (10 percent higher)
  • Administrative Assistant: $16.11 (11 percent above average)

All meet – even exceed – national averages. Which is proper considering that the cost of living in Orange County has an index of 187 (according to Sperling’s Best Places), with 100 considered to be the U.S. average). What’s more, Orange County’s housing index is a whopping 356. Los Angeles County’s overall cost of living index is 156 with its housing index at 283), still far above the average.

If you run or manage a business in Southern California, what are you noticing about how much the better employees in different job sectors are expecting in regards to pay? What’s the minimum they will accept?

If you’d like some help in deciding what the best pay rates will be for your temporary or regular workforce, contact us here at Helpmates. Our expertise (not-so-humble-brag) in the Southern California market is extraordinary and we’ll be happy to help you set rates that will help attract the best workers possible.

The Rise in the Minimum Wage and Your Temporary Workforce

The minimum wage rose to $13.50/hour in Los Angeles in July and will rise to $12/hour in Orange County in January. Couple this with the fact that it’s a hot candidates’ market today with unemployment in Los Angeles at 4.1 percent (in May) and in Orange County at an incredible 2.6 percent (also in May), and the best temporary workers have their pick among assignments.

So if you’re not paying even more than the new minimum wage going forward, you more than likely will find that your staffing partner won’t be able to fill your order because it won’t be able to find quality candidates at that rate.

Top Talent Wants More Than Minimum Wage

The fact that better talent wants more than the new minimum is understandable: not only should better employees be paid more, they often are. And they expect it.

What’s more, if you want a temporary person to stay with you for the duration of his/her assignment (or even work with you on a temp-to-hire assignment), you should pay top talent more in order to keep them working for you: underpaid workers may decide to look for better-paying work. Irvine staffing agency

Investing in top temporary talent by paying a few dollars more is still less than paying for wasted training, productivity and overtime when the best workers leave assignments for better pay.

The average tenure of a temporary employee industry wide is 10.7 weeks (in 2017), but Helpmates’ temporary associates stay with us an average of 17.1 weeks, 60 percent longer!

Billing Rates Need to Rise with the New Minimum Wage

In addition, chances are you might be asking your staffing firm to keep its billing rates low. At first blush, this makes sense from your standpoint: after all, the temporary workers aren’t your employees but the staffing firm’s and one of the reasons a company works with a staffing agency company is to  keep its staffing/workforce costs low.

But your staffing partner’s costs have just increased because the staffing firm has a ton of expenditures that need covering with the money it receives after it subtracts the rate it pays its employee (your temporary worker) and your billable rate:

  • Worker’s compensation
  • Payroll taxes
  • Benefits (to both internal and temporary employees)
  • Recruiting costs
  • Office lease and overhead costs
  • And so on.

Here’s a little-known fact: while you may pay a billable rate of $22.50/hour to your staffing firm and the agency pays its employee $15/hour, you may think that that 50 percent markup is considerable. But don’t forget all the costs the staffing firm needs to cover (as listed above). The reality? A staffing firm’s actual profits “are pennies on the dollar, low single digits.”

Sounds like we’re whining doesn’t it? Yet, just like our clients, staffing companies are in business to make a profit. If we continue to charge you the same but pay our employees more, our already-slim profit margin decreases even more.

Bottom line: the higher minimum wage requirements in Los Angeles and (in January) Orange County will affect the quality of the temporary workers your staffing partner is able to attract and place. You should expect your partner’s billable rate to increase and support its doing so.

In fact, Orange County employers may want to consider raising their own “minimum wage” now because Orange County residents can “cross borders” to work in Los Angeles County cities with the higher minimum – and they probably will.

If you’d like to partner with Certified Staffing Professional experts who have the tools to customize a temporary staffing program that will deliverable favorable results in this challenging market, or if you just want to better understand compensation and billing rates, contact us here at Helpmates: we’ll be happy to chat with you.

Are You STILL Focused on Finding the Perfect Candidate?!

As a hiring manager, are you looking for ways to screen people out instead of looking for ways to find the good in candidates?

For example, if you notice a typo on a resume, do you automatically throw it into the proverbial “round file”? What about gaps in work history? Do you say “Next!” when you come across such a gap?

perfect job candidate Los Angeles

In this candidate’s market, this focus on finding fault may be preventing you from finding great – if slightly flawed – candidates.

We explain below.

Now we understand that your employees are a HUGE expense, and so it’s natural that you would want to hire terrific people (so that they’ll be great at solving your problems and will stick around for a long, long time, adding incredibly value all the while).

But why look for the perfect when the perfect is entertaining multiple job offers? Why waste so much time and emotional energy on searching for, finding and then working like the dickens to land the best when the pretty-darn-good are just a typo or job gap away?

Even great coders make small mistakes. Even great salespeople take time off to help their elderly parents end their lives comfortably. Even hard-working and loyal employees work at one job for just three months, discover it’s a really bad fit and then start looking for work elsewhere ASAP.

In times like today when, for example, a top-notch software pro can land five job offers after just five job interviews and the best college graduates are landing mid- and high-five-figure jobs even as they’re still nursing hangovers from their last frat house bash, it makes no sense to hold out for the best when the “good enough” are, well, definitely good enough!

So take that second look. Sift through the (online) trash can for the resume with the one typo of that administrative assistant with 15 years’ experience at a Fortune 500 company who left the company last year to finally take that six-month trip around the world she had always been putting off until she decided it was now or never!

Call back for a second interview the workers’ comp specialist who worked in the consumer products sector industry (even though you’re hiring for your distribution warehouse).

These folks may not be gold, but they definitely silver and could make a massive, positive impact in your company!

Looking for great people (who may – or may not – have  some imperfections) for your Irvine company? Then call the recruiters at Helpmates! We can source, vet and place terrific folks in your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job opportunities. Contact us today!

A To-Do List for Extending Job Offers

Have you ever extended an offer of employment to a job candidate only to find that the candidate then goes back to his employer and accepts a counter offer? We’ve all been there. But if we’d followed a pre-job-offer-extension checklist, the scenario above might not have happened (or it would happen far less frequently).

Los Angeles temp firm

Having a to-do list of things that you will make sure the candidate understands can go a long way to ensuring you end up onboarding a candidate quite happy to start working for you, one who clearly knows he’s going to work for you soon.

Here’s how such a checklist works: it ensures that all aspects of the offer are settled before you extend a written job offer.

Of course, you’re going to want to make sure the candidate clearly understands the compensation you will offer, the benefits he’ll receive and what it will take to earn any bonuses (if applicable). You’ll also want to discuss and settle upon a tentative start date.

But there are two additional important things you should discuss with a candidate before extending a formal offer. These often are overlooked and, if you do, don’t be surprised if a candidate accepts your offer but never actually becomes your employee. They are:

  1. You want to make sure the candidate won’t accept a counter offer at his current employer.

Some candidates do look for work just so they can take an offer back to their current boss and ask for more money. This rarely is wise because (among other things) now the current boss knows his current employee isn’t all that committed to his current position and guess who will be laid off first when layoffs are necessary? But that’s not your problem.

Most candidates aren’t looking to play you: they simply return to their boss to give notice and the boss counters with an offer the candidate (thinks he) simply can’t refuse.

Instead, have a verbal OK from the candidate that any counter offer won’t be accepted.

  1. You also want the candidate to agree not to entertain any other offers from any other companies.

By the time a candidate receives one job offer, chances are good that he will receive at least one more from another company, especially when he mentions to that company that he’s received an offer from you.

Ask him where he is with other companies and don’t extend an offer until he agrees that he will let the other company know he is withdrawing his candidacy once you do so.

Can/will a candidate change his mind even after he agrees to these two stipulations? Of course! But this type of discussion and verbal agreement on the part of the candidate will decrease the chances of that happening.

If a candidate accepts a job offer and then leaves you in the lurch and the work he would have done is critical, contact Helpmates for a temporary worker to help you while you look for another candidate. And – it’s definitely possible – our worker could end up being the individual you eventually hire!

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