How California’s Statewide Minimum Wage Hike is Affecting Your Temporary Workforce

It’s not news to the region’s employers that the minimum wage for California businesses with more than 26 employees increased statewide from $11/hour to $12/hour on January 1.

What’s more, Los Angeles County will be raising its minimum wage on July 1, from $13.25/hour to $14.25/hour.

What this means is that temporary workers taking assignments in Los Angeles County will be making more than $2 more an hour by mid-summer than if they were to take assignments in Orange County, where the minimum wage will remain $12/hour.

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We believe that employers in Orange County within a “reasonable” distance from Los Angeles County will lose out on top temporary workers unless they are willing to at least meet the higher minimum wages.

We’ve found that driving 60 minutes or more to make $2 or even “just” $1.25 more an hour is quite attractive to temporary workers. Long commutes are a way of life here in our region, and even taking a trip from the coast to the San Bernardino Mountains for a day is considered pretty much “nothing” to many of your friends and neighbors. (We know you agree with us, but in case you need proof…..)

Workers Making More than – But Near – Minimum Wage Also Expect a Hike

We’ve also seen that temporary workers who earned $2 or possibly as much as $3 more an hour than minimum wage before this year’s hike also expect to see an increase. If not, they will leave. So if an employer was paying a forklift driver $14/hour in December, that driver is expecting a raise to at least $15.

This expectation is particularly acute among lower-wage hourly workers (particularly those working in light industrial environments) on extended assignments (six-months or longer). Our administrative/professional associates, who already may have been making $18 or $20 or more an hour, haven’t been expecting a pay raise since the minimum wage hike.

We do, however, expect our administrative/professional associates to look for wage increases for their higher-than-minimum pay rates once the minimum wage reaches the $14 to $15 an hour area in the next year or so.

What This Means for Your Staffing Firm’s Billing Rates

We’ve found that our clients understand that a temporary agency’s employee cost doesn’t rise by $1/hour when the minimum wage increases by $1. We know they do because most of our client contacts work in human resources and understand well the costs involved in bringing on employees (as well as how using temporary staff can help keep an employers’ costs down considerably).

We also know they do because we’ve made a point of educating our clients months ago regarding how the past (and coming) wage hikes not only the temporary workforce’s pay expectations but also their staffing partners’ employee costs.

Bottom line on billing rates? Paying temporary workers $1/hour more does not mean you will be billed $1/hour more. Your bill rate will increase by an amount reasonable to cover our increased employee costs.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding how much to pay hourly for different skill sets and occupations, or if you’d like to start planning ahead for this summer’s wage increase so that your ability to continue to attract hard-to-come-by top talent, contact the branch manager at the Helpmates location nearest you.

Navigating the Office Holiday Gift Giving Obstacle Course

It’s December! Bring on the office gift exchange!

As we move into the 2018 gift-giving season, many of us may wonder: Do I give my boss a gift? Do I have to purchase holiday wrapping paper from my colleague’s son’s Scout fundraiser? Can I opt out of the office gift exchange?

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The answers to these questions are – frankly – important because office interactions do impact career success. What’s more holiday gifting traditions at the office often can be fraught with landmines. Here’s how to navigate them successfully while also enjoying this lovely time of year at work.

  1. Should I give my boss a gift?

In a nutshell: you don’t have to. In fact, it’s probably best that you don’t, because it could come across as toady-ish: as if you’re trying to curry favor with your supervisor. If you really, really want to, it’s best if you go in a group gift with your department.

If you feel you must give your manager a gift because he/she expects it and will not look upon you favorably if you don’t, you may want to think about getting another job and another boss…

By the way, many bosses often give gifts to their team members. (Such holiday gifts often are flowers, movie tickets, food, gifts that are the same for everyone, etc..) This is appropriate and in no way obligates you to reciprocate. Even if the boss gives different gifts to everyone (the boss has taken note of his/her team members’ likes and dislikes), accept the gift graciously.

  1. Do I have to give my coworkers gifts?

If you feel that one or more coworkers is a true friend (that is, you’re personal friends outside the office and you want to give a personal gift), then do so. Just make sure you give the gift outside the office.

As for giving coworkers with whom your professionally friendly? It’s appropriate to do so with those with whom you interact daily or with those in your department. If you feel uncomfortable giving individual gifts, consider asking if there’s a formal office gift exchange event such as a white elephant gift exchange (often hilarious) or Secret Santas.

If you’re hard up for funds and you don’t want to provide gifts for colleagues, you should never feel ashamed (or shamed into doing so). If people give gifts as a matter of course and you don’t want to come across as Scrooge, consider baking cookies or bread and giving those as gifts.

If you plan to give gifts to some, but not all of your colleagues, present the gifts privately so that the co-workers who are left out don’t have hurt feelings.

  1. Do I have to purchase items during holiday school fundraisers?

No, you do not. Yes, it can be very hard when a colleague asks you to purchase flavored popcorn or wrapping paper for his/her child’s school fundraiser. If you don’t want to, say so politely. A simple “No, thank you” should suffice.

  1. Can I opt out of the office gift exchange?

Probably not. The good news is that full-office gift exchanges often come with price points (you don’t have to spend more than $10, $20 or $25, for example) and you often only have to purchase one gift for one person.

In addition, office holiday gift exchanges often come with office parties and are festive and usually loads of fun. (Look up white elephant exchanges, for example….)

But refusing to play along if your department holds an “official” gift exchange? You could hurt your reputation as a team player. Probably best to play along, follow the stated budget guidelines (or make your own) and enjoy the fun of the exchange itself

Why not give yourself a great holiday gift by taking a look at Helpmates’ current opportunities and then following the instructions within each job description to apply and/or contact the Helpmates office nearest you to register with us.

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.

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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.

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