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.

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.

Helpmates Staffing Services Named as Best Place to Work by Orange County Business Journal

Helpmates Staffing has been named one of Orange County’s Best Places to Work 2018 by the Orange County Business Journal.

Run by the Business Journal as well as the Best Companies Group, an independent research firm located in Pennsylvania, the annual Best Places to Work survey and awards program identifies, recognizes and honors the best employers in Orange County.

To participate in the program, employers must:

best Orange County employers

  • Have at least 15 permanent employees working in Orange County;
  • Have a facility in the county;
  • Be a not-for-profit or for-profit business or government entity; and
  • Must have been in business for at least one year.

“This is our second time on the Best Places to Work list and it’s truly because of our great employees,” said Rosalie Villa, Helpmates’ chief revenue officer. “They truly embrace Helpmates’ values: our culture of teamwork and camaraderie, as well as our focus on service to both our candidates and clients.

“This award really speaks to the quality of our leadership and how their accessibility, transparency and commitment to Helpmates’ team members has made our staffing service known throughout the Southern California region as the staffing firm to work for among the area’s staffing professionals.”

Companies participating in the survey went through a two-part process:

  • The first part evaluated each employer’s workplace policies, practices and demographics. This part was worth about one-quarter of the total evaluation.
  • The second part consisted of an employee survey that measured employee experience. This part was worth three-fourths of the total evaluation.

The Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process as well as analyzed the data and used its expertise in determining the final rankings.

The Orange County Business Journal published the Best Places to Work special report in its July 23 issue.

If you’d like more information about how Helpmates can help you find work with some of the region’s top employers or help you find some of the top workers in the region, contact the Helpmates office nearest you.

Is This Why No One’s Sharing Your Job Postings on Social Media?

Your company has what you believe is a pretty nifty job-referral program for employees: if they refer someone who ends up working for you for at least six months, the referring worker gets a few hundred dollars.

So you ask your employees to let their friends and friends of friends know about career/job opportunities with you. You also ask that employees share your job postings on their personal social media channels.

Irvine temp agency

You sit back and wait for the referrals to rush on in. But what do you hear? The sound of nada (if nada made a sound).

What gives? You ask employees to share your job openings, you reward them handsomely if a referral works out, they can easily hit “share” on a job posting, but candidates don’t respond?

Why?

It could well be because the employees who refer great people are really, really picky regarding who they will refer to your (and their) company: they only make a referral if they truly feel it’s a good match for both the company and the potential employee.

And so that downsizes their pool of referable friends/acquaintances considerably!

And regarding why those jobs that are shared don’t get a response? Indeed.com’s study of 10,000 job seekers, Privacy of Job Search, found that 24 percent of those looking for work are the least likely to share this fact online. What’s more, 50 percent of job seekers wouldn’t even tell a partner that they’ve applied for a new position. In fact, two-thirds of job hunters said they were concerned (very to somewhat) about their job search going public.

So when it comes to jobs that do get shared via social media? No one may apply because they are worried about being found out: if they express interest to a friend on social media for more information? Ooops! There goes their cover!

After all, according to the Indeed.com study, 52 percent of respondents reported that their biggest fear was having colleagues find out that they’re on the job hunt. This fear was far greater than the risk of not getting a new job (29 percent).

It’s a bit ironic: we tend to post great photos of our families, our activities and so on to all and sundry on social media. But when it comes to our search for work, mum’s the word.

If your Irvine-area company isn’t finding the right people for your openings via employee referrals, consider partnering with Helpmates: we’ve been helping companies in Southern California find great people for their temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities for more than 40 years and we’d love to help your company. Contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you.

 

Ideas for Revamping Your Employee Rewards Program

As the new year begins and new starts….start, it may be a good time to take a look at your current employee rewards program to make sure it’s one that helps your employees feel valued and engaged.

Take a look below for five ideas you may want to consider for revamping your rewards program.

Irvine temp agency

  1. How often do you reward employees?

If you reward hard work just once a year with bonuses, naming an employee of the year, prizes, etc., why not up the number of times you acknowledge a job well done? In fact, why not reward employees in some small way every time they go above and beyond or otherwise provide exceptional work and/or results.

  1. Give employees what they want, not what you think they want.

Take a survey: do your workers really enjoy the monthly Employee of the Month award? The Employee of the Year? Do they enjoy a Starbucks gift card when they hit a previously agreed-upon target?

Ask them and you may be surprised: perhaps more time off is a better prize than a plaque in the lobby. Points on their favorite airline also could be a winner. Even just a simple hand-written thank you note from the company’s president can be huge when an employee does something “small” but nevertheless outstanding while on the job.

  1. Are the rules for rewards programs/incentives fair?

Every employee in all departments in all locations should be eligible for your rewards program. If your workers start to believe that some positions or departments have an easier time of it in earning rewards they may become less engaged – even cynical – with your company’s plans, ethos and goals.

  1. Announce attaboys and -girls on social media.

And not just internal social media: praise and recognize employees on your public social channels. If the acknowledged worker is on a certain channel, make sure to tag the employee properly so that his or her social friends/followers will see the accolades.

  1. Managers need recognition, too.

Yes, your line supervisors are making sure to reward and acknowledge their subordinates, but are managers’ supervisors keeping an eye on their direct downline, making sure they are rewarded and acknowledged when they – or their department – do exceptional work?

Employee engagement and satisfaction is critical to your company’s ability to retain and attract top talent. Beefing up and/or tweaking your employee rewards program can be a “quick win” in your ongoing work to keep employees satisfied.

If your Irvine company needs top talent for your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire career opportunities, contact the Helpmates office nearest you. We look forward to helping your company find and hire the best!

3 Things Your Staffing Firm Can’t Control

As much as your staffing firm works – and works exceptionally hard – to ensure that its temporary associates show up on time to your assignments and provide exceptional value for you while they perform the tasks and complete the projects you need done (placing many strong management/HR policies and screening processes/tests and procedures to do just that) there are three things your staffing partner simply can’t control:

Cerritos staffing agency

  1. Ensuring that a temporary associate absolutely shows up for an assignment.
  2. An associate’s personal life/financial situation and how it may affect his/her ability to put in a good day’s work.
  3. Emergencies in associates’ lives.

Before we discuss why a staffing firm ultimately can’t control these three things, here’s a bit of background about how Helpmates Staffing works a) to bring you the best candidates possible and b) makes certain as much as possible that they show up and perform well.

  • One hour before an associate is scheduled to arrive at your company on his or her first day, we call the associate to make sure he or she is able to get to work. We also contact our associates the Friday before a Monday start to let them know we’re excited for them and know they will do a great job on their assignment. We also often touch base with a light industrial or clerical specialist before the assignment’s second day.
  • We know that some temporaries interview well but then perform poorly. That’s why we offer our 100 Percent Unconditional Guarantee: if our associate doesn’t meet your standards, you pay us nothing. If you participate in our Employee Quality Assurance Program, you pay only for the portion of our specialist’s work with which you’re satisfied.
  • Our screening process is tough. We interview in-depth and in-person. We offer felony and misdemeanor background checks and drug screenings (based on your request and/or requirements), as well as reference checks (always). We also take an extra step and check each employee at the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system. We also offer Integrity Testing, which evaluates applicants objectively on their attitudes regarding alcohol and drug use, employee theft and violence in the workplace.

Bottom line? All three things your staffing firm can’t control boil down to this: temporary workers are human and humans make mistakes. Humans also – thankfully! – have free will and if they decide not to show up on a morning after accepting an assignment, little short lassoing them and then dragging them work, there’s no way to absolutely guarantee if temporary workers will show up if they really don’t want to.

As soon as we know that a temporary associate hasn’t shown up, we will start working to find a replacement ASAP. We almost always find a replacement within a few hours or – at the very latest – for the next day.

If you’d like more information on our policies and procedures that help us find and place the best candidates for your temporary opportunities, contact the Helpmates office nearest you.

Why – Oh, Why! – is Organizational Change So Hard?

If you work in HR or in some management or leadership capacity at your company and if you’ve ever been part of a committee charged with some form of “organizational change management” at your firm, we don’t have to tell you plain fraught such a task can be.

Few of us like change. Even fewer of us at work like change and if we by chance do like change, well, most of our colleagues certainly do not. Nope. Not having it. We’ve always done it this way. Put it back the way it was before.

Los Angeles temp agency

Why do humans pretty much abhor change? Because we don’t like the unknown (better to deal with the devil you know than the devil you don’t). In addition, change means uncertainty: the suggested change could work, but it also could not and humans are hardwired to dislike uncertainty: it’s stressful!

What’s more, when it comes to organizational change many people worry it could affect them in negative ways, ways such as:

  • A loss of status or job security.
  • Fear of the unknown (as mentioned above).
  • Fear of failure (employees worry the change may mean they’re not up to the task of any new projects or duties for which they’ll be responsible).

So how can your company make organizational change easier? Take a look below for some ideas.

  1. Start a conversation. And then listen. Really

Decide which areas of your company or department could use some change and then look at them closely. Talk to members of your company/that department and get their take on what changes you think need to take place.

If you see one sub-set of your company or department that’s doing something great and you think you’d like to expand upon it, bring it up and then listen. Ask for feedback and listen some more. See what insights you can glean.

Now that you have your feedback, let everyone you talked to – or who answered a survey – know what you’ve learned. See what common threads popped up in different responses to your queries. Don’t neglect the “outliers” – those comments that may take you in a slightly different direction – they may be worth pursuing.

  1. Plan but make sure the plan is broken into steps.

Small and steady change is better than massive modifications that take place all at once.

  1. Share your vision.

Talk about how the proposed changes will improve your company. Explain how and why they will do so. Most importantly, show your employees how the proposed changes will make their lives better (place the emphasis on them, not on how it will make your business better). Remember, they are nervous that any change will affect them adversely.

  1. Communicate, communicate and then, when you think everyone understands exactly what’s happening and when, communicate some more.

You really can’t tell people too much when it comes to changes in their workplace. Remember: they are stressed. They are worried. They may be excited but there’s no certainty that change will be a success. Give them information. Tons of information. Accurate information. Answer their questions (even if they’ve been asked hundreds of times before).

  1. Thank people. Keep thanking them.

Organizational change takes time. You should thank employees once the change is complete, but you should thank them regularly during the process. Announce when milestones have been met successful. Name individuals, if possible, and work hard to name as many people as possible.

Many organizational changes involve new projects, projects for which your company may not want to bring on full-time employees until the change is complete. If so, consider bringing on skilled temporary workers as needed. Contact the Helpmates office nearest you to learn more. We look forward to being of service.

Attracting the Attention of Top Talent: 5 Tactics

How hard is it to attract top talent in today’s hot candidate’s market? Really tough. With unemployment at a 16-year low, with just 1.17 unemployed job seekers for every open position (compared to almost 7 unemployed job hunters to vacancies in mid-2009) it’s mighty difficult to fill positions at all, let alone with the best of the best.

And, while many talented people are quitting their current employer in the search for better pay and promotions – the quit rate was 2.1 percent in April compared to 1.3 percent at the beginning of  2010 – employers are doing backflips on demand in order to attract these hot-and-getting-hotter candidates.

Orange County temp agency

So what’s a recruiter or hiring manager to do? Take a look below for five strategies/tactics for attracting top talent to your business.

  1. See someone you like? Get in touch ASAP!

The best of the best – especially in IT – are being interviewed and receiving offers within mere days of placing their toe in the job-hunt waters. (IT pros can “wait” just 10 days from start of job hunt to offer, and this was in 2014!) In other words, if a recruiter calls with a great prospect or if someone who meets almost all of your criteria responds to a job post, don’t wait until all resumes are in. Pounce now!

  1. Streamline that interview process and do it ASAP!

Even though great candidates are hard to come by, we still take too long in making a decision. And that hiring process is lengthening, up to almost 24 days, an increase from 22.9 days in 2015. With the best people getting snapped up almost as soon as they hit the send button, you can’t afford to take weeks to make a hiring decision.

  1. Take a look at your job descriptions/posts.

If the best people aren’t applying to your job opportunities, it may be because they aren’t attractive posts! Make sure those job descriptions are clear and precise in their qualifications: doing so helps narrow the field of applicants (and also help your ATS be more effective).

Remember that your job description is a candidate’s first contact with your business, so be creative (but not with the job title), conversational in tone, let a candidate know why he should work at your company (what makes you stand out), and how the position will have an impact on your company’s success (or even the community’s, region’s, nation’s, world’s success).

  1. Try social sourcing (especially for passive candidates).

Great people may not be looking for a job right now, but could be tempted with the right offer. The Society of Human Resources Management recently surveyed workers and found that even though 89 percent said they were satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their current position, up to 40 percent said they might look for another job within a year.

  1. Partner with a staffing/recruiting service.

You have only so many hours in a day and you have other things to do than just recruit candidates. Yet recruiting services such as Helpmates Staffing? Recruiting is all we do. All day. Every day. And we know where the good guys are.

Let us help you source, vet and place top talent. Contact  the Helpmates office nearest you today.

Keeping Your New Hire for as Long as You Need Him

With up to a quarter of your new hires leaving your employ within just half a year, the longer you can keep them the better for your bottom line.

SoCal Staffing

How can you do so? Read below.

  1. Make sure you’re ready for him.

We’re sure it’s happened to you at some point in your own career: you start your first day in your new job and only to discover there’s no desk/office for you, your computer or phone hasn’t been delivered yet and your manager may be late – or even not in the office that day.

Talk about a company making a very bad first-day impression!

Instead, make sure your new hire has the equipment he needs, his new boss is there, and onboarding paperwork is ready to be filled out and HR is expecting him. (In fact, it may be best if you send the onboarding paperwork to the new hire’s home so that he can fill as much of it out as possible before day one.)

  1. Clearly delineate expectations.

Either in the days before your new hire starts or at some point in the first week, sit down with your new employee and let him know what’s expected of him. How can he meet and exceed your expectations? Write guidelines/parameters down and give them to him. If you have milestones he needs to meet, make sure they are included in the guidelines with their deadlines/due dates.

  1. Help him fit in with colleagues and company culture.

If you’re too busy to do so yourself, assign someone in your department to show your new hire the lay of your department’s “land.” Make sure your new employee has an official organization chart but understand that his colleague probably will tell him who the true movers and shakers are and who slacks off. Who is the unnamed “boss” of sub-departments and who the department’s maverick is. And so on.

Ask all of his new co-workers to introduce themselves (even if you’ve already gone around with him in tow to do so).

If possible, see if the company owner or vice-president in charge of your department can stop by to have a private “welcome to the family” chat with your newbie.

Finally, within the first month of his start date, take your new hire out for a one-on-one lunch and ask him how he’s feeling in his new position, what questions he may have and if there’s anything you can do or get for him that will make his job easier.

  1. Provide clear guidelines and expectations and then go away.

You hired him to do a job, now let him do it. Most successful, hard-working professionals do best when given parameters and then left alone to get things done. In other words, don’t micromanage! Be available for questions, give feedback and guidance when requested but don’t hover. Correct or straighten the new hire’s course only if he veers too far off it. Check in now and then (monthly at first, then bi-monthly or even quarterly, depending on the position) to see how things are going.

When you need a new employee for a temporary, temp-to-hire or direct-hire opportunity for your Southern California company, come to Helpmates Staffing. Whether you want someone to come in for the holiday rush or you need someone to grow with your firm, we can source, vet and place some of the region’s top talent. Contact the Helpmates office nearest you.

Don’t Ignore These When Looking at Job Candidates

When trying to choose among different applicants for an opportunity at your company, there are some things you can overlook in a candidate:

Irvine staffing company

  • Nervousness at the interview.
  • One or two gaps in job history, depending on how long the individual has been in the workforce.
  • Missing one or two “critical” skills.
  • No college degree. (Seriously, if Google and Ernst & Young can say a degree isn’t necessary, couldn’t you consider it, as well?)
  • Dressing a little inappropriately (as in wearing khakis instead of slacks or a blouse that’s a touch too revealing).

But there are at least four things a hiring manager or recruiter should never ignore. We list them below.

  1. Past performance.

Nothing says how well a candidate will do in your position than how well he did in previous positions. If you find that the person you’re interviewing likes to do only the minimum to get a job done, doesn’t do well in teams, barely made sales quotas, prefers to do things by the book, and so on, she will do the same with you.

Yes, perhaps quotas were too high at her past position, but what about the one before that, and the one before that? And, yes, people can change when highly motivated. But if the person has been in the workforce for at least five years and has exhibited certain traits time and again, chances are she’s not going to change much, if at all, when she’s your employee.

How to find these characteristics? When checking references, ask specific questions as to the candidate’s self-motivation, results, attitude, etc.

  1. She wants the position!

Most candidates will say they want the position, but look for signs that this candidate truly does. Does she become somewhat excited talking about what she can do for you as your employee? Or does she seem to be underwhelmed by your opportunity? Does she talk about doing tasks in the past (see above) that indicate she’s willing to pitch in wherever needed, whether they were in her job description or not? Enthusiasm and appreciation for your opportunity is easy to spot, as is a sense that the candidate feels she is overqualified for the position and it’s therefore somewhat “beneath” her. Observe closely.

  1. Interpersonal skills.

Introverts can be great team players while extroverts can be obnoxious boors (“I’m not going to go along with you because you are wrong!”) Generally, unless a candidate is going to work absolutely alone (or even telecommute), you need to look at her interpersonal skills. She doesn’t have to make “best friends” with colleagues, but can she make professionally friendly and cooperative connections with her teammates?

What’s more, you want to hire people who can embrace your company’s values and mission as well as culture. Do her personal goals mesh with those of your company?

  1. Can the candidate do the job?

While it can be better to hire for attitude rather than skills, you do want to ensure that the candidate can handle most of the skills necessary to be competent in the position. This is why many Southern California firms ask us to find them candidates for temp-to-hire positions so that both our client and our candidate can decide if the individual is right for the opportunity – and the opportunity is right for the candidate. Temp-to-hire assignments mean you can observe the candidate first-hand to see if she has the necessary skills, aptitude and attitude to succeed in the position.  If not, you can ask us to find another individual you also can try out.

To learn more about our temp-to-hire services, contact the Helpmates office nearest you.

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