Monthly Archives: July 2015

How a Staffing Company Can Take on the Skills Gap

Is there really a skills gap? Are companies having difficulty filling open positions from the glut of resumes they receive? The answer is “yes,” for nearly 40 percent of employers. For example, there is a shortage of construction contractors and industrial workers in Waukesha County, though in 2013, Governor Scott Walker earmarked funds for worker development.

Statistics show one shortage is in skilled labor. Applicants for trades are hard to find: mechanics, bakers, graphic artists or electricians. Shortages also exist in professions: nurses and teachers, for example.

Causes result from a few factors.

  • Retirement removes Boomers from the work force at the rate of about 10,000 per day, and a shortage of skilled employees means that workers are unable to take their place.
  • Firms fear conducting expensive training only to have their employees learn the job then move on or become poached by another firm.
  • The economy and new employment laws have directly affected hiring.
  • The time and expense of hiring becomes cumbersome.
  • Talent is being educated in fields of study irrelevant to needs of the marketplace
  • Skills learned become outdated due to exponential changes in technology and level of experience.

Though automation has eased the hiring process for many companies, its rigid adherence to keywords and exact titles in job descriptions may eliminate potential candidates for the job. Plus, employers often list “character issues” like punctuality and motivation as a greater deficiency than technical skills and education—important traits that automated systems aren’t likely to recognize.

Peter Cappelli, of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources, thinks employers now look at filling a job like buying a spare part1. They expect the person to fit exactly without much investment in training.

Cappelli believes the problem is not one of education2 and reviews3 the evidence saying there are not major shortages of workers with basic reading and math skills or of workers with engineering and technical training; if anything, too many workers may be overeducated. Despite this factor, employers encounter real difficulties hiring workers with the skills to deal with new technologies.

Six ways to close the talent gap

Because staffing firms may have a sense of what skills will be needed down the road as they focus on the future of the job market and trends, they see the workforce needs changing. This foresight can help them guide existing talent toward needed skills. Plus, a staffing firm can track developing talent and keep touch with these important candidates.

  1. Build your brand. Let applicants know you are willing to invest in training programs and on-the-job learning. Subsidize education. Let them know you pay a fair wage, promote from within and reward effort.
  1. Another way to close the gap is to build relationships with colleges, trade schools and universities to begin mentoring and internship programs. Talk about the skills gaps you witness in the job market and coach candidates to acquire the skill sets to be more desirable.
  1. Certain companies work with colleges to design training courses and launch combined business ventures. Toyota and the Bluegrass College of Kentucky4 collaborated to create a car factory replica where workers and students learn together.
  1. Respect your diverse and multigenerational workforce. Learn what makes them tick. Understand their needs and lead them accordingly. Consider employee referrals.
  1. Work with a company which cultivates existing talent. Then, if you have placed a candidate once, he or she is likely to come back for a future assignment and even refer others.
  1. Follow social media to recruit a potential candidate. As an employer, there are a handful of resources to amplify learning about a candidate. Make sure your brand is strongly listed on all kinds of devices, particularly smart phones.

Put these tactics into effect and trust that the skills gap will close.

Nissen Staffing Continuum can assist you with your employment plans and strategies.

At Nissen Staffing Continuum, our focus is on you and your success. We work as your strategic partner by adding value, helping you avoid obstacles, and reach your objectives. Contact us today and discover how we can assist you with your hiring process.


Nissen Staffing Continuum Wins Future 50 Award

Nissen Staffing Continuum has been named a 2015 Future 50 company by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s Council of Small Business Executives (COSBE)

The Future 50 program, now in its 28th year, recognizes privately-owned companies in the seven-county Milwaukee region that have been in business for at least three years and have shown significant revenue and employment growth.

“It is always encouraging to see such a strong group of applicants and winners in this program each year. These companies truly represent the future of our region,” said Mary Steinbrecher, executive director of COSBE.

The Future 50 companies will be honored at an awards luncheon on Thursday, September 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Pfister Hotel. The luncheon will be hosted by the MMAC, COSBE and BizTimes Media. To register to attend, visit

“We look forward to honoring these fast-growing companies and learning more about the best practices that are driving their growth,” said Dan Meyer, publisher of BizTimes Milwaukee.

“We make exceptional service a priority and we are proud and honored to be recognized for our efforts.  Our company mission statement is to provide human capital solutions to our clients that create and grow value. We do this by working with our clients in a consultative manner, doing our best to understand their business and exceed their expectations. We are committed to this mission and our growth is evidence of this commitment.  We are honored to once again be recognized as a Future 50 Winner,” Nissen Staffing Continuum’s President and CEO Scott Nissen said.

About Nissen Staffing Continuum

Established in 1997, Nissen Staffing Continuum has consistently focused on helping businesses grow their organization’s most precious asset:  their people. They understand that to succeed in a fragile economy, or thrive in a strong one, organizations require a staff that is flexible, innovative, and dependable. Nissen Staffing Continuum offers multiple solutions for all of your staffing challenges; from sourcing temporary help required to meet a tight deadline of a project, to finding capable temp-to-perm personnel, to recruiting a professional with just the right background and qualifications.  Nissen Staffing Continuum also offers personalized, on site partnerships to meet the ever changing needs of businesses that rely on a flexible workforce to meet their customer needs.  This is their second Future 50 Award and earlier this year, Nissen Staffing Continuum also won the Inavero Best of Staffing Client Satisfaction Award, powered by Career Builder.   Visit their website link to learn about their service offerings, contact their office or read direct customer testimonials.

Positioning your Company for Success During the Talent Shortage

lack of skilled workers in the workforceIndustry survey after industry survey has produced the same results: today’s employers perceive a shortage of skilled workers as a major obstacle in the next decade. Three factors have contributed to the talent shortage: 1) the amount of Baby Boomers leaving the workforce in the next 10 years; 2) an expanding US economy; 3) the shortage of young workers trained in certain key industries.

Before we continue, let’s make a key differentiation between a labor shortage and talent shortage. A labor shortage is, to be frank, not enough warm bodies to fill open positions. A talent shortage is a lack of skilled workers with specific training and skill sets needed in the workforce. Examples of specific skilled industries projected to have a shortage include sales, STEM, drivers, IT, and manufacturing. Faced with the dim outlook, industry experts have suggested companies use these three popular strategies to cope with the skilled talent shortage:

  • Buy talent.
  • Build your workforce.
  • Both.

Of course, these options are a simplification of how your company can leverage human capital to weather, and even thrive, during the predicted talent shortage. Employers have to use creative staffing strategies, and employ a hybrid of “buy” and “build” solutions to meet their short- and long-term staffing needs. While every company’s culture and needs are different, there are some general staffing strategies and solutions that can be utilized during the talent shortage:

  1. Know skilled workers’ value. The days of searching for the cheapest skilled workers are over. While companies always have to be conscious of their bottom line, paying workers less than industry value is a sure-fire way to create a revolving door of skilled employees and their talents. Research and know what skilled workers are worth in your local market, and create a benefits and compensation package that attracts, and retains, these valuable human assets.
  2. Create a company culture that skilled employees flock to. High employee retention rates are driven by more than just compensation; use our recent blog post to create a company culture that attracts and retains talent. Be conscious as you select your management team; great leaders are the key to an excellent team.
  3. Build a program to develop workers. The cost of training employees that can contribute to your business for an extended period of time is insignificant when evaluating costs associated with high employee turnover and extended position openings. Don’t look at your development program as a solution only for existing employees; employee development can start before the date of hire by knowing what general qualities you want in a new employee, with the understanding that you can train and develop skills over a period of time. If needed, extend your new-employee probationary period to accommodate training and development schedules. Sometimes the best skilled employees are grown, not hired.
  4. Engage in succession planning. Succession planning is more than sitting down and graphing who is next in line for a management-level skilled position. With a bit of foresight, succession planning can be done years in advance by strategically planning how to pass on expertise and practical knowledge from one generation of workers to the next. Integrate cross-training as a regular standard operating procedure where applicable; adaptation to an ever-changing business climate and your customers’ needs are crucial.
  5. Utilize creative staffing options. The one-size-fits-all permanent hire only model does not work for every company. Consult staffing experts to explore and utilize creative staffing options to your advantage. For example, if you need skilled workers but not always on a daily basis, a skilled temporary employee for a short period of time can be a more cost-efficient staffing solution. Creative staffing solutions can also mean fewer dollars spent on training and man hours spent on human resources paperwork.
  6. Consult with the experts to continually increase recruitment and employee retention rates. With a continually evolving business atmosphere, don’t feel your company has to keep up with the latest staffing trends and best-use practices. Consult with an established staffing firm, like Nissen Staffing Continuum, with the experience needed to recruit and retain qualified skilled workers that your company needs.