Category Archives: Recruiting Strategies

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!

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!

 

 

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!

Today’s Employment Market Forces Employers to be Creative

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development just released February unemployment numbers and the results aren’t surprising area employers:  The State’s unemployment rate has declined to 3.7%, the lowest since 2000.  Pick up an issue of any business-focused magazine, HR-related journal or Google “how to find and keep employees” and you’ll see article after article about the talent shortage. While finding new talent is part of the challenge, keeping that talent is equally as difficult.  While employee recruitment and retention is a huge challenge for employers, it’s a huge opportunity for job seekers.

Employees are no longer lured to a company just by a decent salary and benefit packages.  This generation of our workforce has different ideas and the current employment market is only adding to their cause.  Companies are offering things like unlimited vacation time, flexible work schedules, paid volunteer time and employee wellness programs. Employers are getting creative, doing things like providing free lunches and breakfasts and offering family friendly policies that employees are encouraged to take advantage of.  Some are even allowing employees to bring their pets to work. Today’s employers have had to get creative.

This work environment has made us pause and take note and we wonder, what is your company doing about the talent shortage?  What types of recruitment programs and employment offerings would you consider if it helped you find workers and talent in Southeastern Wisconsin?  What type of creative benefits is your company offering?

Sound off!  We want to hear from you!  Let’s get the dialogue going!

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!

Source:  https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/newsreleases/2017/unemployment/170323_february_state.pdf

 

Nissen Staffing Continuum Wins Best of Staffing Client Award For the Second Time

We are pleased to announce that Nissen Staffing Continuum, a leading staffing agency in Southeastern Wisconsin has won Inavero’s Best of Staffing® Client Award for providing superior service to their clients. Presented in partnership with CareerBuilder, Inavero’s Best of Staffing Client winners have proven to be industry leaders in service quality based completely on the ratings given to them by their clients. On average, clients of winning agencies are 2.5 times more likely to be completely satisfied with services provided compared to those working with non-winning agencies.

Focused on helping US companies find the right people for their job openings, Nissen Staffing Continuum’s satisfaction scores were nearly two times higher than the industry’s average. Award winners make up less than 2% of all staffing agencies in the U.S. and Canada who earned the Best of Staffing Award for service excellence.

“We are thrilled to be honored again as a second time Best of Staffing winner. Nissen Staffing Continuum makes exceptional service a priority and we are proud and honored to be recognized for our efforts. We are committed to our mission of providing staffing solutions to our clients, while meeting the career objectives of our associates, where we can create and grow value. Our consistent recognition of exemplary service is evidence of this commitment,” Nissen Staffing Continuum’s President and CEO, Scott Nissen said.

“Staffing firms are giving top companies a competitive advantage as they search for talent in North America,” said Inavero’s CEO Eric Gregg. “The 2017 Best of Staffing winners have achieved exceptionally high levels of satisfaction and I’m proud to feature them on BestofStaffing.com.”

About Company

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 many 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-hire personnel, to recruiting a professional with 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. Nissen Staffing Continuum values partnerships and, as they always say, “It’s not who you know alone, it’s who we know together.” This is their second Inavero Best of Staffing Award.  Visit their website to learn about their service offerings, contact their office or read direct customer testimonials.

About Inavero
Inavero administers more staffing agency client and talent satisfaction surveys than any other firm in the world. Inavero’s team reports on over 1.2 million satisfaction surveys from staffing agency clients and talent each year, and the company serves as the American Staffing Association’s exclusive service quality partner.

About Inavero’s Best of Staffing

Inavero’s Best of Staffing® Award is the only award in the U.S. and Canada that recognizes staffing agencies that have proven superior service quality based completely on the ratings given to them by their clients and job candidates. Award winners are showcased by city and area of expertise on BestofStaffing.com – an online resource for hiring professionals and job seekers to find the best staffing agencies to call when they are in need.

Your Business Could Use a Little R&R* *Recruitment and Retention

In late October, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development released a report showing that the state unemployment rate was at 4.1%, the lowest since February of 2001.  Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was even lower than the already low national unemployment rate, which was 5%.  The positive thing is that people are working and businesses are growing.  The negative thing is that businesses are having a hard time hiring and retaining enough qualified employees to meet demand.  So, what can you do?

In a tight labor market, there are several things to consider.

  • Where are you recruiting? To recruit employees in Southeastern Wisconsin, you might need to get a little creative and be willing to invest in job-specific training programs.  Focus on identifying interest areas that you can apply to your business.  Think about where these people “hang out” and then go meet them there.  Gone are the days of more applicants than openings.  For example, let’s say your business is in the automotive industry.  Think about where people that are interested in the automotive industry spend time.  Is it at a car show?  It is on certain social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) groups or special interest sites?  Is it at specific vocational/trade schools?  Are there clubs?  Get creative and start targeting people who are interested in what you specialize in in your business.
  • Who are you recruiting? Have you thought through the transferable skills necessary to be successful in the role you are trying to fill?  Does it matter that they don’t know how to use a specific piece of machinery if they are mechanically inclined and have used similar machines in the past?  Probably not.  Think about the skills that are at the very core of what you are trying to accomplish and then go from there.
  • Who are you retaining? Imagine filling a large tub of water.  The water coming out of the faucet is like the new staff members that are joining your organization.  Have you checked to make sure you remembered to close the drain?  Don’t lose great people you already have because you are so focused on adding new members to your team.  Think about the work environment you have created.  Get people engaged.  Make them feel valued and appreciated.  And most importantly, establish a clear path for growth and provide opportunities for career development.  Every dollar spent in this area is money well spent.
  • Are you willing to pay? They say that money talks, and whether or not you want to hear it, you may need to pay a bit more in a tight employment market to attract the type of talent you want to hire.  Be aware that higher starting wages could have a ripple effect on your organization.  Be prepared to justify, and if necessary, adjust other wages.  While this may seem trivial, it can often be a short-term fix that allows you more time to create career development opportunities and gives you an opportunity to focus on retaining the talent you have.

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.  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!

 

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!

 

 

Changing Tides – The Rise and Fall of a Changing Workforce

Take a look at your workforce.  If it looks like most workplaces, many of your most experienced and knowledgeable employees have already retired or are getting ready to retire.  The first of the baby boomers turned 65 in 2011 and the exodus began. Employers need to start thinking about the strategy they will use as more of these employees leave the workforce.

Before you decide you don’t need to worry about this, here are some facts to consider:

  • Wisconsin’s workforce is aging.  During the 2014 census, it was estimated that almost 15% of Wisconsin’s population is over the age of 65.  This number is expected to increase to over 17% by 2020 and over 22% by 2035, as older people live longer and Boomers move fully into retirement. (Source: https://www.dane-econdev.org/documents/pdf/Wisconsin_Population_2035.pdf )
  • Today’s employment market is already experiencing labor shortages.  These labor shortages are occurring as mass amounts of people continue to retire and are more obvious in manufacturing sectors, as new workers entering the workforce are less and less interested in manufacturing type jobs.
  • Contrary to popular belief, our workforce is not going to shrink in numbers.  However, our workforce will shrink relative to the needs of our growing and aging population. 
  • Our economies, both local and global, will continue to experience a shortage of quality and experienced workers.
  • The demand for services will increase and the demand for other goods and services will shift to meet the changing needs of our aging population.

Still think you can wait?  Think again.  This issue is less about the numbers and more about retaining the knowledge and experience of exiting workers.  Employers today are not just losing “a body” – they are losing subject matter experts, mentors and trainers.  They are losing history as these people leave the workforce and this undocumented knowledge base and perspective is difficult to replace.

The impact to Waukesha and Milwaukee County employers, especially those in the manufacturing sectors, is great.  Millennial candidates interested in manufacturing jobs seem few and far between and those that are retiring cannot wait until a replacement is found before leaving their positions.  This leaves employers without any transition and new workers without anyone to train them.  Lack of training can cause frustration and frustration can lead to turnover.  The cycle continues.

It is important to understand your workforce and what it looks like today.  Many employers complain that the next generation of workers lacks loyalty.  We would argue that it is not loyalty that is lacking, but rather an understanding of this generation’s value system.  They, in general, are not looking for lifetime employment.  They are looking for opportunities to learn and grow, and then move on and apply what was learned to the next opportunity.  This is an excellent scenario for companies that value and encourage career pathing and growth.  For those that don’t, today’s workforce will simply move on to go work someplace else.

Our job as employers is to redefine the workplace and re-position ourselves as employers of choice.  Companies need to look to non-traditional means of compensating, recruiting and retaining employees.  They need to make manufacturing jobs more appealing and plan long term.  Companies that offer such things as flexible schedules, benefits for part-time employees and on-the-job training will be better prepared during this time of transition.  Companies need to understand the concept of transferable skills and be able to utilize employees in different capacities—such as mentoring, consulting or teaching—to best utilize their skills and experiences for the good of the organization.  Employers need to be creative and take some risks.  Only these employers will succeed in the marketplace of tomorrow.

While all of these issues can be a bit overwhelming, they are also signs of great change, growth and innovation.  The challenge for employers will be to choose to hop on and ride the wave of change, rather than getting swallowed by it.

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!