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.

Striking a Friendly Balance at Work

Work is a great place to make good friends. In fact, having at least one good friend at work is pretty much required in order for us to enjoy our jobs. Friends also make us more productive. What’s more, having a good work friend also may be critical to succeeding in our careers.

Garden Grove recruiters

But it can be tricky, this whole “friends at work” thing: be too social and you risk earning a reputation of being a party animal. You want instead to be seen as professional and hard working.

Yet you risk taking that professionalism too far: you could be seen as a cold fish and unapproachable.

Take a look below for how to make good friends at work while keeping your reputation for professionalism intact.

  • Choose your friends wisely.

This goes without saying, but this can be tricky to do. For example, let’s say you’re the new gal and one of your new colleagues immediately asks you to lunch. You say yes and then at lunch he regales you with all the gossip and fills you in on all the drama. Or he whines and complains about your boss.

That could be a warning sign that this person is all about drama, gossip and not taking responsibility. Our advice? Be friendly, but be careful: you may want to keep your distance because while we bring our personalities and personal lives to work, work is for work not for drama, gossip and whining.

  • Be careful what you say about others.

If you gossip about others, sooner or later you will be known as someone who gossips. If you whine, you’ll be “the whiner.” If you talk too much about how a girlfriend wronged you, you’ll eventually be known as a drama king or queen.

  • If you go out with friends after work, you’re still “at work.”

What we mean is that you shouldn’t try go completely loose. What you do and say “with the gang” very well could get back to your supervisor. Relax and be friendly, but if people start to complain, whine, moan and gossip, pull back. You don’t have to leave, just don’t participate.

In a nutshell: be friendly and approachable. Ask colleagues to have lunch together or take a break. Ask questions (personal but not intrusive). Answer questions truthfully but remember: be careful what you say to others until you know for certain they’re trustworthy.

Reading the above it appears as if we believe you should make “friends” at work who aren’t really friends. After all, we’re advocating keeping your personal conversations close to the chest and not overtly personal, yet the only way to become real friends with others is by being vulnerable and open.

But if you do find one or two people with whom you just “click” and feel they are trustworthy (they don’t gossip, whine, complain and create drama), you can test the waters and open up more to them. See if they reciprocate and, if you tell them something personal, watch to see how they handle it. If they prove themselves to you, these are the colleagues who can become good friends. Close friends. Friends outside of work. Lifetime friends.

Ready to make some new friends in a new job? Contact Helpmates. We have many temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job and career opportunities waiting for reliable and talented people just like you. Check out our current openings and, if one or more look interesting, contact us.

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.

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!

How to Use EI When Interviewing

As a recruiter or hiring manager, interviewing job candidates is a critical part of your job. If you’re a hiring manager interviewing potential employees for work in your department, your department’s success – as well as your own – relies on you choosing the right individuals for your team. (Not that there’s any pressure, of course!)

If you’ve been interviewing/hiring for any amount of time, you’ve no doubt come across candidates who interview really well. They say all the right things. They come across as terrific team players who can work well on their own. They’re happy to pitch in and do tasks and projects that aren’t quite in their job description. They enjoy having lunch with colleagues but aren’t into gossip and drama.

And then you hire them and, well, they’re not quite who they made themselves out to be.

There’s a way to interview that helps you get a much better understanding of what a candidate is really like and how the candidate truly will interact/fit in with your team. It entails using your emotional intelligence (EI) when interviewing.

Orange County temp agency

Take a look below for tips and strategies on how to use your EI for best results when interviewing candidates.

  • Don’t move into the question/answer type of interview until you’ve done a bit of small talk. More than you might think necessary.

Many interviewers jump right into skills and “how would you do” type questions much too quickly. Instead, take your time to ask the candidate a bit about himself. Then segue into topics such as why he decided to apply for the position, what does he know about your organization, what are some of his career goals, even where he is now in his job-search.

Doing so helps you build trust and respect with the candidate. He sees that you’re interested in him beyond his job skills and these more personal interest types of questions can help him feel more at ease with you, allowing him to share more of his real reasons for applying, his future goals and aspirations and even some things he may not normally reveal in an interview (such as how he thinks his former boss was a piece of work).

  • Pay attention to a candidate’s body language.

Watch how the candidate reacts to your questions and his body language as he answers them. For example, if you asked a candidate how he dealt with a difficult boss and he says the two of them were able to work out their differences, does his body language indicate he still harbors negative feelings toward his boss; does he still seem unhappy with the individual?

  • Watch out for short answers that “sound” good.

“I am calm under pressure.” “I work well with everyone.” These are too vague and could be canned and/or rehearsed. Watch body language (as mentioned above) as you dig deeper. Ask for specific instances of when the candidate was calm in a pressure cooker and ask specifically what he means by “everyone.”

  • A big red flag is when a candidate criticizes co-workers and/or supervisors.

It’s especially troublesome if the candidate says the colleague/boss was a witch or know-it-all (and even more troubling if he uses much stronger language to describe the person).  A negative experience with a boss/colleague isn’t inherently a bad thing, but watch for how the candidate describes the individual, if he takes responsibility for his part in the negative experience and if he mentions what he’s learned as a result of the experience.

Do you have too many openings to fill and not enough time to interview or screen candidates? Helpmates can help! We can perform screening interviews for you following the criteria you set and then send the top candidates on to you for final interviews. We can also help you design EI questions that will help interviewers ascertain whether a candidate is a good fit for your organization.

Contact the Helpmates branch location nearest you to learn more.

Thinking of Becoming a Recruiter? Tips to Help You Thrive (and Survive)

If you’ve ever thought of becoming a recruiter – particularly in the staffing industry – you’ve picked a great time in the history of the industry to do so:

Staffing Industry Analysts projects that the staffing market will grow by three percent in 2018, with revenue projected at $145.1 billion.

What’s more, because not everyone is cut out for a career in staffing (you’ll either love or hate its extremely fast pace and the high demands placed upon you), many people leave the industry in two or three years.

Which means staffing firms – including Helpmates – are always looking for internal employees, even if they are not actively posting job opportunities.

We went into great detail about the many benefits of working as a recruiter in staffing in a previous blog post, so we won’t repeat ourselves here.LA recruiter career

Instead, here are some tips to help you thrive (and survive) as a staffing recruiter:

  • Understand that your primary duty is to your clients, not to candidates.

Many people enter the staffing industry because they want to help people find work. And that’s true: we do help people find work/careers and there’s little in this world that feels as good as knowing you helped someone vastly improve his life.

But your job is to fill your clients’ positions and unless a candidate has the skills and background that fit your client’s opportunities, you won’t be able to help him, no matter how much you’d like to. You can certainly tell your clients about this great individual, but – once again – if the client has no need for the candidate’s skills, he won’t get hired.

In other words: it’s not your job to find people work. (That’s their own job, actually.)

  • You’ll come into work planning on doing A first thing, but find that B, C and D, MUST be done first!

If there’s are two things both good and bad about working as a staffing recruiter, they are a) change is constant and b) no two days are alike.

The pros of this: you won’t ever, ever, EVER be bored! You’re constantly meeting new people, you’re helping clients and candidates create great partnerships, you’ll receive accolades from both clients (when you send terrific candidates) and candidates (when you send them on terrific assignments).

The cons of this: You can’t plan your day. We’re sure you’ve heard of putting together a list of priorities for work, correct? Well, as one staffing pro put it to us once, “The very few days I get one thing done on my must-do list I consider a great day!”

For example:

  • Temporary associates don’t show up for work and you need to find a replacement ASAP.
  • A client calls needing two administrative assistants for tomorrow.
  • You have five people to interview, today, too.
  • A candidate arrives at your office wanting to know why she didn’t get the position for which she interviewed (she called ahead to make an appointment), and so you owe it to her to give her your insights, but meanwhile an associate calls letting you know her child just got sick at work and she needs to leave your client’s office immediately.

You’re always putting out fires working in staffing. Many people love it; many do not.  It is stressful. And while you’ll get better at handling the stress, it really never goes away.

So how can you thrive as a staffing recruiter? We hinted a bit above at two:

  • Embrace the fact that your day constantly changes and that you’re never bored.
  • Revel in the fact that you’re helping both clients and candidates find great workers/jobs.

And here are some ideas to help you cope with the stress:

  • Even if it flies out the window the moment you enter the office, at the end of your day the day before, write down one or two things you want to get accomplished. You may find that you can and having that sense of control over your to-dos is empowering.
  • Make sure you take a lunch break. And take it away from the office. Get outside and eat your lunch in nature. Take a break and meet a friend at a favorite restaurant to catch up. The point is to be away from the office for a bit each day.
  • You might consider doing simple meditation on your lunch break, or before or after work.
  • Read about the staffing industry and attend conferences. Your boss probably will pay for conference attendance.
  • Consider becoming certified as a CSP (Certified Staffing Professional). Doing so definitely will help you in your career as it indicates your commitment to staffing and your expertise when it comes to working with both clients and candidates to ensure that you and they comply with all federal and state regulations. (We pay for certification for our internal employees.)
  • Exercise, eat healthfully, enjoy a hobby or two, and otherwise step away from even thinking about your job at least one day a week.

As mentioned above, we’re always looking for great candidates for our internal positions. You can check for internal opportunities on our job board, but even if you don’t see any, if you’re interested in working as a Helpmates recruiter or sales professional, we want to hear from you!

Why EVERY Employee Needs Recognition

Do your employees feel recognized? As in seen by you? Thanked for their work on your behalf? Praised every now and then when warranted?

Probably not: a recent survey found that 74 percent of workers in North America plan to switch jobs this yearOrange County recruiters and 44 percent of them said their desire to leave was because of a lack of recognition and engagement at their current employer (that would be you).

So unless you want a good portion of your employees to leave for your competitors, here are three reasons why EVERY employee needs recognition.

  1. Humans need appreciation.

Notice we didn’t say “crave” or “like” or “want.” Nope. People need to be recognized for their good work because it confirms that our work – which in a way is our very being – is valued by others. Appreciating me means you value me and I absolutely need to feel valued.

If your employees feel you value their work, it benefits you: their productivity as well as satisfaction rises. This also leads them to want to maintain as well as improve on their good work. It’s a positive feedback loop that benefits everyone.

  1. If you’ve ever worked in a place that criticizes mostly and rarely praises, you know what crappy it was to toil.

Chances are all of us have worked for employers or supervisors at least once in our work lives that failed to praise and recognize. How did that make your feel? We bet you did only that which needed to be done, and the bare minimum of that, to boot. (You also probably kept your eye on the job boards regularly.)

Praising/recognizing your workers is essential when it comes to creating an exceptional workplace. Your employees want to be valued for their contributions and if they are not, morale sinks. And faster than you may think.

  1. Praise your team as a whole, of course, but don’t forget to praise workers individually.

It’s important to praise your team for work well done, as a team. But even if you know for a fact that some people worked and accomplished more than others, it’s still important to praise everyone individually for the good work.

Find something, no matter how small, to praise a worker for. You don’t need to do so publically. A handwritten thank you note mentioning the instance you noticed the worker do something special should be enough.

Noticing people individually shows you see them. Humans are social creatures and we all like to be part of an appreciated group, but it’s important for our individual psyches that others notice us. As in notice me. Just me.

Ignore individual employees and they could become disillusioned and may end up fueling a negative work environment, one that contributes to low morale, lower productivity and high turnover.

Turnover and attrition occurs even in the best companies. If you need great people for direct-hire, temporary and temp-to-hire opportunities at your LA- or Orange County-area business, contact us here at Helpmates. Contact our location nearest you.

Be a More “Visible” Recruiter, Attract More Candidates

Many job seekers don’t know how to find – let alone contact – recruiters, especially if they’re interested in looking for a new position while still working for their current employer. (Hello, lovely passive candidate!).

In today’s hard-to-find-great-candidates environment, it’s far, far, FAR better to be visible. Easy to find and talk to. And this goes for online as well as in real life.

Orange County staffing firm

Let’s discuss how recruiters and human resources pros can make themselves more visible to potential candidates and reap the ensuing rewards.

  • If you recruit locally, get out of the office!

What are you doing sitting at your desk!? Yes, we know you have many requisitions coming in, but if you’re going to get them out, get out! Go to chamber events. Talk at college campuses. Join your PTA. Join United Way and volunteer. Sure, we know you probably belong to SHRM, but how often do HR pros send you great candidates?

Instead, get out of the office and talk up what you do. Mention some current openings. Ask any and all people you meet if they might know of someone for a position.

  • Put your contact info on job postings.

That’s right: your name, email and phone number. Expect emails and phone numbers – and resumes. Welcome emails and phone calls. Answer the phone when it rings; reply to email questions from potential candidates.

  • Publish a post on a topic of interest to your target candidates and publish it on LinkedIn Pulse.

Pulse posts can be a great way to showcase you expertise as a recruiter to potential candidates. Once it’s published to your profile, share it. Join relevant LinkedIn groups and share a link there. If someone comments on it, make sure to reply. Place a link to it on your personal Twitter and Facebook channels.

End the post with a specific call to action (known as a CTA to marketers). If you’ve written a post that discusses how to find a job in your industry, consider saying something like “To learn more about opportunities in this field, email me at….” And so on.

If you’re a hiring manager or recruiter at an Orange County or Los Angeles-area business and need help finding great talent, contact the recruiters at Helpmates. We specialize in finding workers for temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities in administrative work, healthcare, financial services, warehouse/distribution, and – yes! – human resources! Contact the office nearest you and craft a recruiting strategy to help you.

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