Category Archives: Managing seasonal employees

Working with a Multi-Generational Workforce

During the holidays, as you are sitting around the dining room table with your extended family and friends, take a good look around. You have your great aunt who is a traditionalist and cannot understand why your cousin’s wife didn’t prepare the potato dish using your great-grandmother’s family recipe. You have your mother, who is shooting you a dirty look because your college-aged son is wearing shorts and a baseball hat at the dinner table. You have your teenaged niece that has taken 223 selfies and is picking the best one to post on her Instagram account while your Uncle Larry is busy telling stories about his recent hunting trip while your vegan cousin looks visibly ill. And then there’s you—trying to figure out how it is possible that all of these people are somehow related, not just to you, but to each other. Sound familiar? Perhaps it’s just a holiday dinner, but when you really think about, it may also represent most workforces at most companies.

Workforces are made up of multiple generations and many, many backgrounds. While we value each generation, they can become challenging to manage and can be even more challenging to develop recruitment and retention programs around generational differences. Like most things, the key is understanding some generational tendencies and how best to work with them.

BABY BOOMERS: Baby Boomers are people that are currently in their early 50’s up through their mid-70’s. They are motivated by things that provide some sense of security, like decent health insurance, an available savings program, and a decent salary. They did not grow up with technology and spent the good part of their young lives trying to adjust the “rabbit ears” on the TV to try and get a decent picture. They are CAPABLE of learning and using technology, they just didn’t grow up with it. They value authority figures and want to work for a company and a manager that they respect.

GEN X: Yes, believe it or not that Generation X that we tried so hard to understand now are in their mid-late 30’s and 40’s. They have experienced some challenging times in our workplaces (like 9-11 and the recessions) and so they also value job security and a decent salary. They are more technology driven than the Boomers and did not need to be trained as much on how to use things like a personal computer, because it was part of their upbringing. This generation likes to be challenged and doesn’t typically find value in staying in one place or in a stagnant job. To keep this generation happy, you need to provide continued growth or they will look elsewhere for it.

GEN Y: Meet our 20 and early 30 somethings; but move quickly, because they do too. This group of workers are multi-taskers that are part of the mobile technology generation. They do not know a world without cell phones and want to be paid for a job well done. These are our millennials, who value making a difference, collaboration and need to feel valued in everything that they do. While some may say this generation lacks work ethic, we would argue that they just look at work ethic differently. While they value job security, they value CAREER growth and CAREER security more. We’ve talked about this group of employees before, and how they treat their careers as packed suitcases that they like to keep adding contents to, but always being ready to pick it up and move if the right job or opportunity comes along. Ironically, these employees are fiercely LOYAL, if they believe your organization and their job is part of a greater vision. Keep them engaged by defining your mission and their part in it. In addition, let them have a life outside of work or incorporate their personal values into their careers.

Gen Z:  Our newest part of our workforce – recent grads and those that are in their early 20’s or younger. This workforce was raised on mobile technology, immediate responses and social media. They expect to be paid well, and most are, because the employment market currently dictates higher salaries based on the lack of available workers. They don’t like to wait around for things, and expect a company to be fast moving and up to date in terms of technology. They believe (like most of today’s workforce) that it is most important to get your work done, whether that takes 40 hours, 50 hours, or 34 hours in a week and appreciate the flexibility that many companies now offer. They like challenge, they like change, and they deal well with it because they have grown up surrounded by change. They, too, value collaboration but they value personal job satisfaction just as much.

While these profiles are just generalities, it is important to take some time to look around your own “dining room table” and understand who is sitting there, and adjust your strategic decisions accordingly.

An award-winning staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin in manufacturing, clerical, professional and light industrial placements, Nissen Staffing Continuum can assist you in finding great employees in Wisconsin for both your short-term and long-term needs. As your strategic partner in a tight employment market, we’ll help you take your staffing initiatives to the next level, whether it’s onsite programs, direct hire placement, temp-to-hire programs or temporary staffing. Our recruiters are supported by a sourcing department dedicated to finding great employees for our clients. For more information about how we can help you find great employees, contact us today and allow us to help you with your HR needs so you can focus on your company’s success!

Avoiding Holiday Workplace Stress

‘Tis the season……to stress out?

It’s no secret that the holiday season is one that is met with both joyful anticipation and overwhelming stress. It is not unusual that this time of year also brings additional stress into the workplace. Here are some tips to help alleviate the holiday blues and keep your company productive and your employees engaged.

  • Keep things in perspective. Not everyone celebrates the holidays. Not everyone that does celebrate the holidays cares to do so at work. Make it fun for those who want to participate but don’t make people feel obligated to participate in workplace gift giving or attend the holiday functions with a guest.
  • Be respectful of your employees’ time. It’s easy to think your employees will really appreciate an evening or weekend holiday function, but the reality is, they might not. Survey your staff and offer options. Maybe a simple luncheon followed by an afternoon off would be more welcomed, cost-effective and appreciated than a weekend event at a fancy venue.
  • Understand that the year is not defined by one month of results. So many employers wait until the end of their 4th quarter to talk to their employees about a company’s financial goals and where they stand relative to “year end.” Communicate throughout the year so that everyone is on the same page and doesn’t feel stressed by a sudden obsession with numbers.
  • Get some help! This is especially true if you work in the retail industry, or anything that supports the retail industry (transportation, shipping, manufacturing, etc.) Your workers are stretched, you are busier than ever and sooner or later, people reach their breaking point. Plan early and get extra help to meet your customer demands.
  • Focus on the Short Term…for the sake of the long term. Sometimes your workforce just needs to know that you see them. You see the extra efforts, you see the added stress and you appreciate them making their jobs a priority during a very busy time. Employees that feel valued and appreciated in the stressful times tend to remain loyal when the going gets rough.
  • Get Creative! Think of fun and inexpensive incentives that would both relieve stress and provide some sort of helpful service. Chair massages, free gourmet coffee bar, impromptu breakfast or lunch buffets, an extra-long paid lunch to accomplish necessary errands, a little extra unpaid or paid time off or even the services of a personal shopper are little things that companies can do to make the holiday season a little less stressful.

An award-winning staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin in manufacturing, clerical, professional and light industrial placements, Nissen Staffing Continuum can assist you in finding great employees in Wisconsin for both your short-term and long-term needs. As your strategic partner, we’ll help you take your staffing initiatives to the next level, whether it’s onsite programs, direct hire placement, temp-to-hire programs or temporary staffing. Our recruiters are dedicated to finding great employees for our clients. For more information about how we can help you find great employees, contact us today and allow us to help you with your HR needs so you can focus on your company’s success!

Seven Tips for Holiday Hiring

Ready or not, here they come!

Whether you’re a retailer, a manufacturer, a distribution channel or a professional services firm, the holidays are coming and you feel the pressure on your business as seasons change and customer demand increases.

Here are seven things to consider as you prepare to hire for your busy season:

  • It’s never too early to create a strategy. Be ready to hire well before you need to.  Think about how and where you are going to recruit and exactly what you are going to have the seasonal workers do.
  • Understand your market. As the unemployment rate continues to fall and the demand for qualified workers rises, know what you might need to pay for the skill set you need and how long it might take you to fill your open positions.
  • Create a “quick start” training program and be willing to train to the job. The reality is that as you enter your busy season, you typically need to ramp up quickly.  Identify transferable skills and hire people who have excellent work ethic and a willingness and ability to learn quickly, and then be willing to train them.  Keep it as simple as possible.
  • Develop a retention program. One of the biggest challenges when you hire workers for what they know will be a short time is retention.  Consider developing a retention plan where you build incentives into the duration of your project and award workers that stay and perform well along the way, and then finish with a completion bonus.  The cost of the bonus will likely be far less than the cost of continuous recruitment and training.
  • Ask for referrals. Before you spend thousands of dollars in recruitment advertising, ask your best current employees for referrals and make it worth their time to give them to you.  Remember that saying “Birds of a feather, flock together?” Great people usually know other great people.
  • Never say never. In this employment market, be open to offering long-term positions to your best seasonal workers. You may not know if you “need” them for the long term when you hire them, but finding something for workers that are already proven and trained may be an investment worth making.
  • Find a Hiring Partner. You don’t need to do it alone.  Find a hiring partner that takes the time to understand your business and needs, and develops a plan to help you fill those needs.  Not only will a great partner come to the table with inventory, they will likely come with years of experience doing similar projects and a staff ready to support you.  Why would you want to assume additional liabilities like payroll taxes, unemployment costs and liability and worker’s compensation risk?  Take advantage and find a partner you can work with.

An award-winning staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin in manufacturing, clerical, professional and light industrial placements, Nissen Staffing Continuum can assist you in finding great employees in Wisconsin for both your short-term and long-term needs.  As your strategic partner, we’ll help you take your staffing initiatives to the next level, whether it’s onsite programs, direct hire placement, temp-to-hire programs or temporary staffing. Our recruiters are supported by a full-time sourcing department dedicated to finding great employees for our clients. For more information about how we can help you find great employees, contact us today and allow us to help you with your HR needs so you can focus on your company’s success!

 

 

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.