Monthly Archives: November 2014

Successfully Managing Seasonal Employees

smiling workerOur workload doubles, or even triples, as the holidays approach—both personally and professionally. So how do you as a business owner or manager handle the seasonal increase? Seasonal employees, a flexible workforce without the cost of benefits, are a possible staffing solution.

Seasonal employees are a qualified workforce available for a designated time period. From customer service to manufacturing, these seasonal employees boost business productivity without the long-term commitment. So how does your business make the most of these valuable, short-term employees?

  1. Use the right staffing company to source quality seasonal employees.Hiring the right employees is the key to success.During the busiest time of the year, you don’t have time for a bad apple. Contact a staffing company with qualified, dependable, local employees. The added bonus of utilizing a staffing company: the absence of the initial administrative tasks normally associated with hiring. Staffing companies can pre-screen employees, and handle the human resource functions and paperwork so your business doesn’t have to.
  2. Don’t just throw them into the fire. The holiday season can be crazy as business increases, but resist the urge to send your seasonal employees straight onto the shop floor. Many a customer service blunder has stemmed from this approach, whether from a botched product or customer interaction.
  3. Give them a complete training.Take the time, or designate a trusted employee or manager to orient your seasonal employees completely on standard operating procedures (SOP’s) and products. A full orientation, including a list of expectations, is essential to a strong staff that can handle the holiday business rush.
  4. Keep seasonal workers informed. Inform your seasonal employees about product updates, shipping deadlines and changes in operational procedures as the holiday season evolves. A fully educated employee can provide better customer service when they are kept in the loop.

Have more questions? Contact your local staffing experts, Nissen Staffing Continuum, for information about seasonal employees and the advantages of seasonal workers for your business. One call ensures that you, your customers and your seasonal employees can enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

Ten Tips to Writing an Effective Job Description

Have you ever heard the expression, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it?”  Writing an effective job description must follow the same principle.  Things like spelling, grammar, format, length of the description and even word choice can make all of the difference in whether or not someone reads the ad and applies for your open job.

Here are some tips to be sure your posting is effective.

1.  Keep it simple.  Imagine what happens when you receive a resume that is written in paragraph form and is multiple pages long.  Do you really read it?  No, you likely do not.  Keep this in mind when you write you job descriptions.

  • Use bullet points.  A bullet point is quick, and to the point.
  • Do not list EVERYTHING.  Just list the most important things.  The posting is just a way to get someone interested enough to apply.  Think of it as a Real Estate Listing.

2.  List required and desired qualifications separately.  Every job has a “Need to Have” and a “Nice to Have” list of requirements.  Know what they are and list them separately.

  • Use bullet points.
  • Unless absolutely necessary, keep bullet points to 3-5 items.
  • You do not need to tell them EVERYTHING about the job, just the most important things.
  • Be Specific.  Is there a specific machine they need to know how to operate?  List it by name.  Is there a specific qualification, like a certification to drive a Fork Lift or knowledge of specific software?  List it by name.

3.  Keep it legal.  Make sure your job posting does not violate any laws.

  • Do not say that your job requires a background check.  Did you know that typically you cannot request a background check or drug test until you have made an offer?  And that in some cases, doing a background check or drug test may not even be legal.    You MAY say that you are a drug free workplace.  People usually get the hint.
  • Make sure your posting follows the rules covered in the Fair Employment Act and meets all EEOC/ADA guidelines.  Take the time to educate yourself.  Seek legal counsel if necessary, and don’t try to “guess” what is legal and what is not.

4.  Use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling.  It is incredibly important that when you post a job on a website, or on a recruiting site, that you use proper English.

  • Keep the tense consistent.  Stay in the present tense or in the past tense, but don’t mix up the two.
  • Keep it in the 3rd person.  The word “I” should not appear in a job listing.  “I am seeking an experienced machinist” is not appropriate.  “Company name” is appropriate.
  • Spelling:  This may seem unimportant, but it is very important. According to a recent article, these are the most commonly misspelled words on both resumes and job postings:

• applying (not apllying)
• recently (not resently)
• assembled (not assembeld)
• commensurate (not commiserate)
• oriented (not orientated)
• maintenance ( not mainteance)
• efficiently (not efficently)
• preparation (not prepration)
• distinct (not distict)
• excessively (not excessivly)
• judgment (not judjement)
• accurately (not acurately)
• schedule (not schuele)
• variable (not varible)
• facilitate (not faciltate)
• accountability (not accontability)
• eligibility (not eligiblility)
• environment (not enviroment)
• packaging (not pacaging)
•  following (not folllowing)
•  employees (not emploiyees)
• industry (not inidustry)
• preferred (not prefeered)
• graduate (not gradutate)
• competitive (not compettive)
• preparation (not prepearation)

And some personal favorites:

  • A Lot is TWO WORDS –it’s not alot!
  • Receive (not recieve, remember….i before e, except after c…. )
  • Their, They’re, There (“their” is possessive, “They’re” means They Are, “There” is a place)
  • Your, You’re (Your is possessive (“your job offer is attached…”) , You’re means You Are (“You’re being offered the job”)
  • Possess (not poses)
  • To, Two, Too (“to” is referring to a destination…”I’m going TO the bank”; TWO is a number… “the TWO of you please discuss and let me know your decision”; TOO is also, or as well ….”I’m happy you got an offer too.”)
  • Watch possessives (adding an s (or es) is plural, adding an ‘s is possessive, adding a s’ is plural possessive.

5. Keep it action oriented.

Your job should sound like an ACTION.   List the responsibilities, whenever possible, leading with ACTION words.

FOR EXAMPLE:

  • Manage production process for two assembly lines.
  • Maintain inventory counts for production team.
  • Lead a team of warehouse associates to assure inventory accuracy.
  • Answer a 10 line phone system.
  • Support a customer service department.

 6.  Drive traffic to wherever you are going to process the applications.  It might be to your email, or to an online job application on your website.  But whatever you do, be sure to reply to the applicants.

 7.  Be honest.  Don’t be dishonest in the job description just to get people to apply.  Don’t say the salary is negotiable if it is actually NOT negotiable.  Don’t make a job location sound easier to get to than it is.   Not being upfront just wastes everyone’s time and gives you a bad reputation in the marketplace.

 8.  Keep it consistent.  Keeps your job posting formats consistent.  Here is a suggestion:

  • Begin with a general statement:  ABC Company in City Name is looking to add 3 machine operators to our growing business.
  • Include the hours and terms of employment:  This is a second shift, full time position, with hours from 2pm-10pm, Monday through Friday.   Frequent overtime may be required. 
  • Include a few bullet points about what they will be doing:  In this role, you will:  (Bullet point one, two, three, four and five)
  • Add the qualifications:  Required Qualifications for the position are: (Bullet points one to five)
  • Add the Desired qualifications:  Desired (but not required) Qualifications include:  (bullet points one to five)
  • Add any physical requirements:  This position requires you to stand for long periods of time and also do some light lifting of up to 25 pounds. 
  • Add the pay:  This is an hourly position, with a starting pay of $12/hour. 
  • Add any benefits info.
  • Add HOW TO APPLY information:  To apply for this opportunity, please visit the careers page on abccompany.com and fill out the online application. Or, you may send a resume with cover letter to XXX@abccompany.com

9.  Think about keywords. Remember that many employees search our jobs online.  Think about key words to use in your posting.  Use city names (state too if it if’s a common name), industry, specific machines, etc.  Here is a great article about using key words.  http://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/recruiting-hiring-advice/attracting-job-candidates/search-engine-optimization.aspx

  • If the title of the job is weird (ie, you company calls a Customer Service Representative a “Advocacy Concierge” or a Custodian a “Facilities Cleanliness Specialist” or something!) think about using the more common name for the title (or at least in parentheses or the job description.)  Seriously, no one searching for a customer service job types in a key word search “Advocacy Concierge.”

10.  Make It Interesting

Your job is one of millions posted online.  Make it interesting.  Be creative, but appropriate.

Above all, put yourself in the job seeker’s shoes.  If YOU were looking for a job, you would want to read a brief, accurate and correctly written overview of the opportunity.  You would want to know how to apply.  You would want to be confident that what you are reading is accurate.  You would want a prompt and consistent follow up.  Walk the Talk!

 NEED MORE HELP?

You can always contact Nissen Staffing Continuum  to help you manage your hiring process.  If you would like more information about this, you can contact Scott Nissen at scott@nissenstaffing.com

Other Resources:  Check out these articles!

http://workawesome.com/your-job/job-titles-and-descriptions/

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303643304579107793132873508

 

Could your company benefit from utilizing on-demand employees?

smiling workerIn today’s fluctuating business world, the key to success is thinking “outside the box”—finding flexible and creative solutions that meet your business’ ever-changing needs, including human resources solutions. When your business needs 40 people today, and 100 tomorrow, expanding your staff, without the added expense of adding additional headcount, is crucial to filling customer orders, meeting production goals and satisfying tight shipping schedules.

On-demand workers are flexible self-starters that have a different mindset than the typical temporary employee. Just as the term suggests, on-demand workers come to your business for a short period of time on short notice.When your business demands more workers, consider the benefits of on-demand staffing:

  • Additional production for a short period of time with limited notice. If you have an order that demands higher production for a week, a day or several days, on-demand employees are the answer. On-demand employees are carefully screened and selected, giving your business reliable employees willing to tackle any basic task with just a short orientation.
  • On-demand employees save your business money.When you need to expand your staff, on-demand employees are a cost-effective solution. Because on-demand employees are not a direct business hire, companies avoid paying benefits and taking on the added expenses of a traditional hire. In addition, the staffing company, not your company, is responsible for the day to day HR, legal, and payroll functions, making on-demand workers a great investment.
  • You can use trial-and-error to find the on-demand employee that works for your business. When your business gets busy, you need additional, productive workers quickly. On-demand staffing gives managers the opportunity to find those on-demand employee(s) that are productive and a fit for your business—and allows you to request them whenever needed.

On-demand workers are ideal for manufacturing companies in a variety of industries, but have applications in any business with sudden ebbs and flows. Contact Nissen Staffing Continuum to determine if on-demand staffing is the creative solution that meets your human resource needs and business goals.