Category Archives: qualities of a great employee

What attracts talent and keeps employees engaged?

For the first time in history, the number of job openings exceeds the number of those who are unemployed.  The rate at which employees are leaving their positions is rising at an escalating rate and to keep up in this rapidly changing market, companies need talented workers to be more flexible than ever before to fill critical gaps and maintain lean operations.  In short, there are an overabundance of job opportunities, a meager supply of candidates and it’s critical for companies to fill openings as quickly as possible.

Savvy job seekers, however, can identify companies that are simply trying to fill open positions and ones that have a growth mindset. Talented workers want more than just a job to do.  They want meaningful careers, purposeful challenges, and to know that they have growth potential. They will balance short-term and long-term aspects of a job so the job itself represents the best career move among competing opportunities. Talent is just as interested in what the company has to offer them as they are in what they can bring to their potential employer.

When companies recognize this shift, they can present opportunities that articulate what an employee can become via formal career pathing, talent development and training programs.  With these components companies are much more likely to attract, secure and retain talented workers. Compensation is of course important too (companies need to provide competitive compensation in the market place), but it should never hold all the weight in a job offer.  Job decisions (not career decisions) are made when compensation becomes the dominant decision factor combined with the skewed perception about the job and what it’s going to take to be successful.
It is essential for companies to examine what their employee value propositions (EVPs) are and communicate them to employees and trusted business partners.  EVPs are an opportunity to attract talent and keep employees engaged. When job descriptions are presented with both EVPs and realistic career objectives and expectations, candidates are more likely to ask themselves “is this the job I want” so that they are not disappointed even though the pay may (or may not) meet their expectations.


At Nissen Staffing Continuum we consider all of these factors when we present our clients to candidates.  With this same thought process, we are also experts in coaching and mentoring candidates throughout their career search.  The synergy of this approach gets lasting results, but we’re not stopping there!  Watch for our next article after the 1st of the year where we’ll give you the inside scoop about our new proprietary assessment tool – you won’t want to miss it!


Invest in Your Workforce to Grow Your Business

Your business has two options: invest in the time to train your workforce or refuse to because you’re too busy and pay for it later. Last week, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development released the State’s latest employment data. Unemployment numbers are at their lowest point since 1999. These numbers reflect a job market where talent is tight and recruiting is a challenge. Your best choice? Hire to train and train to retain.

There are many upsides to training your existing workforce or hiring trainable people. First, employees that feel they are being given opportunities to improve upon their skills are often more loyal to their employers. The training makes them feel valued and they appreciate the job growth and the recognition that acquiring new skills brings. Second, an employer that is able to train a worker in their own environment has a distinct advantage in teaching that worker company-specific procedures and cultures. Time is not wasted explaining why things are done differently, because the process and reasons behind it are being taught from day one. Third, being open to investing in a training program may not impact your overall costs as much as you may think. For some employers, hiring workers at a slightly lower wage with a paid training program may prove to be a more economical way to hire both skilled and unskilled workers. Wages can increase once an employee completes training and has proven him/herself to be both competent in the skill set and a proven hire. Last, implementing on-the-job training programs provides additional leadership opportunities to other more experienced staff and is also a nice way to promote from within. This type of culture allows workers to see that good work ethic and proven results will be recognized and rewarded.

Of course, there are always downsides to every solution. We cannot create more time in the day and training someone takes time—both for the trainee and the trainer. Productivity can be lost because of the learning curve and time it takes to direct and re-direct a new employee. Developing a training program can be expensive, because the front-end preparation is a crucial step in the process. However, we encourage you to look at this time spent as an investment and not just an expense. As more and more experienced workers leave the workforce due to retirement, a company that is set up with a forward-thinking approach will be in a better position than a company that merely waits and then panics. You may need to step outside of your comfort zone and hire someone with those “untrainable” soft skills and a proven work ethic, and invest in BOTH of your futures.

Your goal, of course, is to become an employer of choice. An employer of choice is able to weather the storm a bit when things get rough. Employers of choice understand their existing workforce and their target workforce and make the necessary changes to appeal to both. They listen to feedback and evolve as they need to. They make strategic decisions about company culture and create appeal. In short, they identify what is most important to today’s job seeker and do what they need to do to attract and retain them.

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 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!


Battling in the War for Talent

April’s Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development report shows unemployment at 3.2%, the lowest point in 30 years. Area employers are quickly reaching a point of pure frustration as they try to fill open jobs throughout Southeastern Wisconsin, and especially in highly populated markets in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. But before you throw in the towel, we urge you to start thinking proactively. At Nissen Staffing Continuum, we are constantly looking for new and creative ways to strategically recruit for our clients. As the saying goes, “the best defense is a good offense.”

Today’s job seekers are looking for VALUE and view jobs as opportunities. They are trying to understand their purpose in a job and how they can contribute with their own unique gifts and talents. They are looking for belonging and a greater purpose, and want to feel like others care about them and their success. And once they understand their value and greater purpose, they are looking to become masters in their roles and apply that mastery through to a promotion.

As employers, we urge you to look at things like benefits and job descriptions and incorporate the needs of today’s job seekers into every step of your hiring process. Ask yourself the tough question of “Why would someone want to work here?” and then incorporate those things into your descriptions, postings and interview questions. Sell it. Make them understand not just the job, but the FEELING behind the job and the vibe of your business.

Staffing experts say that a performance-based job profile is essential to an effective hiring system. This type of job profile helps to define what success is on a job by spelling it in specific and measurable terms. According to Lou Adler, CEO and Founder of the Adler Group, an ideal job profile is a one-page document and includes some important items:

  • The 5-7 most important deliverables required to be successful in the job.
  • The qualities of a successful person in terms of knowledge, skills & abilities.
  • Specific short- and long-term performance expectations that define success.

We will talk more about performance-based job profiles in a future blog, and provide some examples and success stories we’ve had by utilizing this philosophy.

While helping an employee define success is imperative, it’s important to remember that today’s job seekers have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips. Websites like GlassDoor, Google, Yelp and social media applications give employees (current, future and former) the opportunity they want to both give and read feedback. Own your feedback and respond to it. Build your own brand in terms of job satisfaction and employee engagement. What you don’t share, someone else will and it is in your best interest to make sure that your message is on point.

To find the best people, you will need to be a best in class employer. Sometimes, this means making changes to your work environment. While these changes may be simple or complex, they are always worth the effort. Making these changes and increasing your ability to recruit talent has an added perk:  retaining the great talent you already have. Understanding your own current and future workforce is the first step in ensuring your company’s success for years to come.

You only get one chance to make a first impression; make sure the first impression you make is a positive one. An award-winning staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin in manufacturing, clerical, professional and light industrial placements, Nissen Staffing Continuum can help you make your next great hire. 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 with our team of recruiters that are supported by a full-time sourcing department. 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!

Happy 20th Anniversary Nissen Staffing Continuum!

2017 marks the 20th anniversary for Nissen Staffing Continuum, Inc., one of the largest staffing companies in Southeastern Wisconsin. Nissen Staffing Continuum has grown from the dreams of President/Founder, Scott Nissen, to a company with revenue reaching over $32 million in 2016. A celebration is planned for spring, where the company will invite clients to an open house.

Company President, Scott Nissen, remarked:

“The overriding theme for the last two decades was change, both dramatic and evolutionary. From high-demand job orders for our clients to low supply of talent in the labor market, we’ve seen and experienced a combination of sudden waves and gradual shifts that have shaped our human capital solutions and culture of service.  The staffing solution provider space continues to be a source of reinvention, innovation, and value creation.  We have flexed our business model to accommodate the market changes and have embraced the disruption as new opportunities for our firm. Today our book of business spans all industries, more occupational titles, and greater geography than ever before.

The one constant at Nissen Staffing Continuum that we take great pride in is our core values. Our values guide our behaviors and actions on a daily basis – truth, outstanding performance, engagement, serve others first, diversity, leadership, teamwork, and flexibility.

Thank you, Nissen team members, clients, and associates, for the roles that you have played in our success – we could not have done it without you and we look forward to creating new value, together, for all those we serve in the years to come.  Building a great company and teamwork has been like driving a car.  It calls for us to gain hindsight or experience, by glancing in the rearview mirror, looking back on all that has happened before, which is now history.  It calls for us to take the time to reflect on our successes, our failures, our mistakes, and our missed opportunities.   It calls for us to look through the windshield, imagine a better future ahead, and to gain precious foresight by passing on our trials, errors and achievements as lessons in leadership.  It calls for us to live in the present, worrying about neither yesterday, nor tomorrow, but rather facing the challenges of what today offers, one interaction at a time. To all those we touch, thank you for your confidence in us. We strive to be a firm of excellence and will continue to learn from experience, and build our business around exceptional customer satisfaction while implementing continuous process improvements in the years to come.”

Nissen Staffing Continuum was originally comprised of only three employees and has been rapidly growing since. They are now the sixth-largest staffing company in Southeastern Wisconsin, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal. NSC has also received several prestigious awards this past year, including their third MMAC/COSBE Future 50 Award and the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Firms award twice

About Nissen Staffing Continuum

Nissen Staffing Continuum is a team of human resource experts who provide creative staffing solutions for clients, and career opportunities for associates. “Our history of making successful connections between our clients and associates since 1997 has resulted in thousands of new jobs and new hires! We have proven to be successful across the full spectrum of employment solutions – from entry-level to professional, temporary to direct hire,” Nissen Staffing Continuum’s President and CEO, Scott Nissen said.

If you are interested in working with Nissen Staffing Continuum, visit or give them a call at 262.544.4787.

Nissen Staffing Continuum 2017 – Leadership and Management Team

Do You Know How You Rate?

If the 2016 Presidential Election has taught us anything, it is that press is press.  Good or bad, the presidential candidates have learned that getting people talking can sometimes be more important than what they are saying.

Not true in your service oriented business.

In your business, WHAT is being said is everything.  About five years ago, Nissen Staffing Continuum partnered with a firm out of Portland, Oregon to conduct satisfaction surveys based on the Net Promotor Score (NPS) philosophy.  Like you, we didn’t know a lot about the NPS method and had to do a little research. As we go into our 6th survey in the next few months, we thought it might be helpful to share some information about the NPS methodology and why it might work well for your business.

NPS has some specific benefits:

  • IT’S SIMPLE: Most NPS driven surveys ask only 3 questions that drive the NPS score.  Some surveys will ask a few yes or no type questions to give the company additional feedback, but the first three questions drive the NPS score, and only require a 2-3 minute (or less) effort on the part of the responder.
  • IT’S TECHNOLOGY-DRIVEN: Since the questions are limited and answers specific, it allows for fast collection & analysis of data.
  • PREVENTS BAD SERVICE: Since NPS feedback can be almost immediate, it produces a ripple effect for response.  Rather than waiting to respond to service concerns, your staff can respond immediately.
  • GIVES YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO BENCHMARK: If done within a specific industry, it is easy to compare your own results to that of your competitors.
  • IDENTIFIES TRENDS: When done multiple times, it is easy Identify trends and gain valuable feedback, identifying areas of needed improvement and learning where you excel.
  • IT’S CREDIBLE: NPS scores are very objective, even more so when conducted by a 3rd Party Administrator.

What does an NPS survey look like?  A NPS survey asks 3 NPS questions:  the first is on a 1-10 Scale, and the other two are open ended questions.  Ours looks like something like this:

  • On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being least likely and 10 being most likely, how likely are you to recommend Nissen Staffing Continuum to a friend? (Rate 1-10)
  • What is the primary reason for that rating? (Open Ended)
  • What is one thing we can do to improve our service? (Open Ended)

Our survey also asks a few direct questions about your service experience with us, in an effort to give our staff more specific feedback.  However, the first three questions are the most crucial.

But what do the ratings mean?  In short, an NPS score looks at Promoters, Detractors, and “Neutral” respondents.  It all but ignores any rating that is 7-8, and focuses on those rating a business 6 and under (detractors) and those rating a business a 9 or 10 (promoters). The idea is that promoters are out in the market place talking your business up.  They are the ones who would send you referrals, who talk positively about your business over lunch and who would immediately respond with your company name when someone asked them for a recommendation.  On the other hand, those that rate you a 6 or under, are detractors.  They are not recommending your business, they may be somewhat dissatisfied, and they are not a “cheerleader” for your business….in fact they are quite the opposite.  Those in between MATTER, but only in the sense that their goal is to move you to become a promoter.  They know that, in general, your business is doing a decent job, but at the same time they are not “wow’ed”.  The NPS score is determined by taking your total percent of promoters and subtracting out the total percent of detractors.

Once you know your NPS, you can easily compare yourself to other organizations known for World Class service (like Amazon or Google) and see how you rank.  If you use a 3rd party service that surveys within your industry, you can even compare yourself to your competitors.

Even more helpful are the answers to the open ended questions, and the immediate feedback that a short survey like this gives.  You can immediately respond to concerns and deal with detractors.  As we will discuss in a future article, often your reaction to a problem is more memorable to a customer than the problem itself.

When you are on the receiving end of a survey like this, it is helpful to know how the survey is being measured.  Normally, when we give a company an 8 on a 10 point scale, we are feeling like we rated them pretty high.  But remember, if you are someone that would promote the business, you should rate them a 9 or 10.  On the other hand, if you are dissatisfied, rating them a 7 puts you into the “neutral zone, “ so if you are truly dissatisfied and would never recommend them, you should rate them a 6 or lower.

Net Promotor methodology works best when its format is followed.  The survey should be short, the questions should be clear and the open ended feedback should be used to make immediate improvements.

An award-winning staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin in manufacturing, clerical, professional and light industrial placements, Nissen Staffing Continuum is proud of our commitment to providing human capital solutions to our clients, while assisting our associates in meeting their career objectives and delivering staffing services where we can create and grow value. 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!


The Case for Millennials

Unfocused.  Unrealistic.  Idealistic.  Lazy.  Disrespectful.

You may think these adjectives describe the newest generation of workers.  But actually, they are words that described many of this generation’s grandparents back in the 1960’s, as that generation donned their flowered clothing and organized peaceful protests, while experimenting with drugs and listening to Bob Dylan.

The Millennial generation gets a bad rap, just ask the generations before them.  They don’t understand how they think, and are appalled by how they operate.  They assume they don’t care and shake their heads in disbelief…just like the Baby Boomers did when watching how Gen X entered the workforce.  Every generation is judged by those that came before them.  And every generation has people within it that can easily be described by any of the words at the top of this page.

The reality is that by 2020, Millennials will comprise 46% of the workforce (Maximizing Millennials in the Workplace, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, 2012.) The importance of understanding and engaging this workforce cannot be understated.  Our businesses NEED this workforce to ensure a strong economy, market growth and innovation.  So where’s the gap?  How do we bridge the workplace philosophies and foster understanding, while implementing programs and creating work environments that will bring out the best in everyone?  As with anything in life, we look for strengths and build on them, and we identify weaknesses and address them.

Let’s think about Millennials and just a few of the traits they bring to the table:

  • Millennials were practically born multi-tasking. Think about when YOU first started using a computer.  Were you writing correspondence in Word Perfect for DOS?  Do you even remember not being able to have multiple windows and tabs open at the same time?    Millennials don’t remember that at all, because they were born AFTER these types of applications were invented.  Millennials were born multi-tasking and while it may appear at times that they lose focus, they are often simply accustomed to doing more than one thing at a time. This is not a bad trait to have in the workplace.
  • Millennials are resourceful. Gone are the days of library micro-fiche or calling “Ready Reference.” (Yes, really, I’m that old.) Millennials know how to find information and how to find it quickly.  They do not wait for a subject-matter-expert to spoon feed them information, they are accustomed to the “information superhighway” and finding the information themselves.  Will they sometimes need a little coaching to identify valid sources or utilize industry specific software or databases?  Yes, they might.  So coach them.
  • Millennials are always learning. Millennials grew up in a world of constant IOS updates, new phones, new technology, new apps, new teaching tools, and new expectations for self-directed learning.  Most of them also grew up teaching, whether it was with peers, at school, or even their parents.  In the season finale of “Modern Family,” high school student Manny becomes exasperated trying to explain the “double click” to his step-father Jay.  While seemingly insignificant, Millennials are constantly teaching.  While other generations may look at change as something that is scary and overwhelming, Millennials see change as a way of life.  Again, not a bad trait to have.
  • Millennials want to make a difference. We have raised this generation to be inquisitive.  We have encouraged them to ask why (or why not.)  Because of this, Millennials want to understand WHY they are doing something and HOW it impacts an organization.  Experts say that the best way to motivate a millennial is to share your problems, goals and objectives and then get out of their way.  An engaged millennial, who shares your company’s philosophies and understands your short and long term goals, can be your biggest asset.  But, if your company operates in a “because I said so” type of mentality, you will continue to witness turnover because Millennials simply do not operate that way.  Look for ways they can make a difference.  Ask them what they think.  Be open to a new way of looking at things.  They are a reflection of your customer base and they may have ideas on how you can reach a segment of the marketplace that they understand better than you.
  • Millennials are team players. You can focus on participation awards, scheduled playdates and select sports and say that this generation does not know how to be self-sufficient and has an inflated sense of self-worth, OR you can focus on the fact that this generation has learned to function in an organized group setting and collaborate with others to meet a common goal and has been doing so all their lives.

No generation is perfect.  Taking the time to re-think how you manage your business to capitalize on your employees’ talents and strengths is one of the most important things you can do.  It’s not about giving in, it’s about evolving. Coach your employees, provide them with feedback, allow them to collaborate and set up space and systems that give them the opportunity to talk to each other.  Explain your company goals and objectives and ask for input.  Allow them to help design solutions rather than dictating them.  Encourage their ability and need to learn.  Invest in training, be it company led or self-directed.  Stop judging and start listening.  You may be pleasantly surprised what you learn.

An award-winning staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin in manufacturing, clerical, professional and light industrial placements, Nissen Staffing Continuum is proud of our commitment to capitalize on every employee’s strengths.  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 with our team of recruiters that are supported by a full-time sourcing department.  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!



5 Qualities That Make an Employee Great

qualities of a great workerWhat separates a good hiring manager from an excellent hiring manager? An excellent hiring manager has the ability to look at a job candidate and know that the potential employee has the qualities of a great employee. Unfortunately, hiring managers don’t have a lot of time to make that decision, so awareness of key qualities is imperative. What qualities make a great employee? How can you distinguish between a poor job candidate and a great potential employee? These are questions that aren’t industry specific, because the core principles of a great employee are the same:

  1. Honest. Has the potential employee been 100% honest on their job application? If not, take that as a red flag. If a job candidate is not honest doing paperwork to get the job, there is a good chance they won’t be honest once hired.
  2. Work ethic. Has the job candidate done all the legwork to apply for the job? A job candidate that can’t do their homework to get the job probably won’t demonstrate great work ethic on the job. A strong work ethic is one quality that is hard to spot in a short interview with a hiring manager, but can be determined through a demonstrated history of success at previous positions.
  3. Dependable. Did the job candidate meet the deadlines during the application window? Were they on time for their job interview? Keep an eye on the clock, and use the information in your hiring decision.
  4. Positive Attitude. Listen carefully to the job candidate and watch his or her body language. Is he or she upbeat and positive? Or is the job candidate openly critical of their last employer? Some personality types are harder to read than others, but be attentive about reading your candidate’s body language and whether they have the positive attitude you need in your workplace.
  5. Communication skills. Pay attention to the way the candidate communicates with you during the job interview. Even if the employee is isolated from others while performing job duties, at some point they have to communicate with their fellow employees and supervisor.

Once you know what qualities you’re looking for in a great employee, establish the standard as part of your company’s hiring practices. If your company needs information on establishing solid hiring practices, and selecting the best job candidate for your company, consult a staffing firm with expertise in hiring and on-boarding employees. Nissen Staffing Continuum consultants can guide you through the hiring process from beginning to end. Your business goals become their business goals, reached with a company of great employees.