Category Archives: Temporary Employees

IMPROVING THE HEALTH OF YOUR STAFF AND YOUR BOTTOM LINE

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Would you like to retain great talent, improve employee productivity, boost company morale, and decrease costs associated with absenteeism, workplace injuries and the rising cost of health care?

If you are like the majority of US companies, you answered yes to all of the above. In fact, some of your most important short and long term initiatives center around one or more of these very topics.  What if we were to tell you that ONE simple action could positively impact ALL of these important company goals and objectives?  We can: Implement an Employee Wellness Program.

Everyone knows that our country is in the middle of an epidemic of sorts:  we are sitting more, moving less, eating processed and unhealthy foods, gaining weight, and being diagnosed with chronic illnesses like diabetes, high cholesterol, heart problems and high blood pressure.  Our obesity levels are rising and the ages that we are seeing the long term effects of unhealthy lifestyles are getting younger and younger.  Some employers might say that it’s none of their business.  But, that is where they are wrong.  It absolutely impacts their businesses and therefore it literally IS their business.

Like most things in life, there is a domino effect to bad choices.  An employee sits at a desk all day in a high stress job and rarely moves.  He eats fast food for lunch and sips on high calorie soft drinks.  He feels sluggish by late afternoon and reaches for a stimulant, be it a high calorie coffee drink, sugar or a cigarette.  He leaves work late, rushes home to figure out dinner, and ends up at a drive thru or ordering a pizza.  He doesn’t take time to exercise, falls asleep watching television and drags himself to bed only to start the whole cycle again in the morning.

Sound familiar?

An employee that lives this lifestyle has increased his chance of developing a number of chronic conditions, which increases his likelihood of missing work due to illness.  Some research even shows that unhealthy employees have a higher occurrence rate of workplace injuries due to poor body awareness, worn joints, and an inability to correctly lift, move, bend or balance.  Unhealthy employees often suffer from sleep issues, which impacts their daily productivity. Poor lifestyle choices also contribute to mental health issues, including depression and a person’s sense of well-being.  All of these choices can lead to an increased number of doctor visits, prescription costs, and the like.  In addition, a company full of employees as described can have a significant negative impact on morale.  The cycle is difficult to stop once it starts.

What can an employer do to encourage healthier employees?  There are many options, but some include:

  • Create an environment where people are encouraged to move by integrating things like stand up desks, stability ball chairs, exercise areas or walking paths. Even motivational signage and scheduled “brain breaks” can be helpful.
  • Provide healthy choices in your vending machines and cafeterias. Be sure lunches, etc. that are brought in have available healthy alternatives.  Offer free water.  Do not build incentives around unhealthy foods or habits.
  • Hire someone to manage a Wellness Program that encourages a healthy lifestyle. Or, if you cannot do that immediately, find out if there is someone already on your staff that is knowledgeable in this area and start small.
  • Consider making your workplace smoke free, and offer programs that encourage smoking cessation.
  • Motivate employees by incenting adherence to healthy lifestyle choices by creating fun contests, programs and initiatives that employees can participate in.
  • Offer free or discounted wellness screening, fitness testing, health club memberships or the like.
  • Model healthy behaviors.

While there will be costs associated with implementing a wellness program, the returns on such an investment can be significant and, in many cases, immeasurable.

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 improving the lives of both our clients and associates. 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

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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!

 

 

 

 

KEEPING YOUR EMPLOYEES AND YOUR BOTTOM LINE SAFE

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Can you answer YES to the following questions about workplace safety?

  • Does your company pride itself on keeping your workers safe?
  • Are you committed to implementing safe workplace practices, implementing training and decreasing your workers’ compensation costs?
  • Do you make sure that ALL of your staff, including your contingent staff, are part of your safety programs?

If you are like most companies, you easily answered yes to the first two questions, but hesitated before answering the last question.  You may assume that your staffing partner has provided safety training to the individuals that are working in your facility.  If this is your assumption, you are both right and wrong.

OSHA has stepped up its enforcement associated with the 2013 Temporary Worker Initiative to protect temporary employees from workplace hazards. Penalties for workplace violations have ranged from $700 up to $60,000 depending on the number and severity of violations identified during the on-site inspection. OSHA has emphasized that temporary workers must receive the same protection as other employees covered under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and should receive the same safety and hazard recognition training that all permanent employees receive.

As your staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin, we can assure you we are committed to providing basic safety training to our employees that we send to your business.  We have discussed things like PPE, lifting guidelines and basic workplace safety guidelines.  But every business is different, and your safety-related practices and protocols that are specific to your business cannot possibly be shared in detail by us as your staffing partner.  While our employees are our responsibility, we share the responsibility for a safe workplace with our clients.

The driving force behind this OSHA initiative was the high number of temporary workers that were severely injured or killed on the job. Moving forward, when OSHA inspects a client facility, the inspectors are directed to determine if temporary workers are being utilized and if they are exposed to workplace hazards. Below are a few excerpts related to the initiative for OSHA from Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of Labor.

Here are some things to consider to help keep all of your workers safe:

Consideration 1:  Include Your Contingent Workforce in Your Safety Training

Any time your company reviews safety practices, your contingent workers should be included.  If there is a change in your safety protocol, your contingent workers should be included in the training.  Not only is it important for their OWN safety, it is also important to the people working around them.  Dr Michaels commented that

  1. Staffing agencies and their client companies who host temporary workers share the legal obligation to provide workplaces free of recognized hazards. This includes providing required, documented safety training in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.
  2. OSHA inspectors will determine, in every inspection, if every temporary worker on the site has received the safety training and protection required by law for the job. If they haven’t, OSHA will hold their employer accountable.
  3. OSHA expects that documentation is maintained by the EMPLOYER for all safety related issues, including documenting any temporary employees’ workplace injuries on their OSHA 300 log.  It is not the responsibility of the staffing company to record injuries on this log.

Consideration 2: Keep Your Safety Standards the Same for Everyone

According to OSHA, “staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers.”  This means that what applies to your own employees applies to your contingent employees as well.  Dr. Michaels noted that “common temporary staffing violations that are being identified are: failure to conduct a hazard assessment of the workplace, undocumented training that occurs by the staffing agency and host employer, exposure to chemical hazards, unguarded machinery, and/or lockout/tag out violations.”

Consideration 3:  Spell It Out in a Job Description

Be sure to provide your staffing partner with an adequate job description that correctly outlines job duties, including physical requirements.  Too often, employers do not want to share these job descriptions and end up frustrated when an employee is not able to complete the work.  Job descriptions are vital in making sure that an employee is capable of safely doing the job.  In addition, most staffing firms function under strict workers’ compensation guidelines.  Sometimes, they are not able to fill specific orders and complete specific tasks because their insurance simply will not allow it.

Consideration 4:  Be Open to Feedback

If a temporary worker reports a safety concern to you, listen and act on the report just as you would if it were your own employee.  In addition, report the concern and your response to your contact at the staffing company so they can properly document and follow up with their employee.

Workplace safety is everyone’s obligation.  Our goal, as always, is to provide workforce solutions to our clients and opportunities for our employees that are mutually beneficial and, above all, safe and meaningful.  Dr. Michaels states, “Whether temporary or permanent, all workers always have a right to a safe and healthy workplace.” We concur.

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 safety. 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!

Is your company recruiting without strategic planning and staffing assessments?

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planning for recruiting staffIt’s a classic case of putting the recruiting cart before the horse. While appropriate recruiting strategies and hiring practices are integral to the success of a company, these human resource practices can be a nightmare for employers who don’t regularly assess staffing needs and use human resource planning for their company staffing. The result is a repeated cycle of ineffective recruiting strategies, lay-offs, unnecessary human resource expenses and high turnover.

The answer? A regular human resources assessment and plan that meets the staffing needs of the company and is compiled methodically and strategically:

  1. Assess your company business cycle. Don’t repeatedly blindly recruit and hire. Do a regular assessment of your company business cycle. Use your past company business cycles to create a needs assessment, recruiting strategy and hiring plan that fits the ebbs and flows of your business.
  2. Forge a human resources partnership to keep abreast of trends, staffing solutions and evolving legalities. The business world is a climate of evolutions and impact. Think of the incredible impact of the Affordable Care Act and the evolution of staffing solutions such as on-demand, seasonal and temporary employees. Keep abreast of the changes and staffing solutions that impact your bottom line by partnering with a human resource expert. An outside human resource expert, such as a staffing firm, is a valuable resource to access your company’s business cycle and staffing needs.
  3. Think out of the box, and know who you need to recruit. A traditional employee is not always the right type of employee for your business. Seasonal, on-demand and temporary employees are “out of the box” staffing solutions that require different recruiting strategies. If you’ve never delved into these staffing solutions, contact an experienced staffing firm for information.
  4. Create clear job descriptions. Once you’ve done a full assessment of your staffing needs, this simple recruiting step is one of the most basic, and significant, steps to attracting employees with the right skill set for your open position or positions. Use our blog post about job descriptions as a guide for writing an accurate, legal and compelling job description.

Get your assessment process started by locating a local staffing firm with the knowledge, recognition and services you need. Contact Nissen Staffing Continuum. With experience, immediate connections to job seekers and recruiting and hiring expertise, Nissen Staffing Continuum can give you access to potential employees and can provide consultation services on best-use staffing solutions and practices. These attributes make Nissen Staffing Continuum a huge asset so you can maximize staffing assessments, recruiting strategies and hiring practices for your company.

5 HR Staffing Resolutions for a Successful 2015

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welderIt’s never too soon to review business staffing policies and practices, and take measures to improve them. Don’t address your business HR issues and staffing challenges when it’s too late; outdated HR policies can leave your business in crisis, and not knowing where you stand as an employer can and does impact your business bottom line. The answer for a successful 2015: designate the time and resources to fulfill these five HR and staffing resolutions:

  1. Know your staffing options and staffing solutions.NOT knowing your staffing options costs your business time and money. Most businesses have ebbs and flows; having adequate staffing to address your business cycle is essential to minimizing costs and ending the fiscal year with a robust bottom line. Don’t be a business that blindly follows traditional hiring practices without researching other staffing options; a business’ staffing approach can mean the difference between a mediocre and record-setting business year.
  2. Review and update your HR policies. Once you understand your staffing options and solutions, implement your plan with a reviewed, updated and revamped set of human resources policies appropriate for your business and hiring policies.
  3. Plan ahead.You can’t control that sudden call from a customer for an astronomical amount of product ASAP, but you can anticipate and implement a staffing plan based on your business record. Doing so ensures you have an accurate number of permanent, temporary, temp-to-hire, seasonal and on-demand employees when needed, so you can fulfill customer orders timely and accurately.
  4. Review and update your job descriptions. Job descriptions are the front line of your business’ hiring practices; they are the words that attract potential job seekers. Don’t keep reusing old job descriptions. Review them to ensure that you are communicating clearly your expectations, and catch the attention of the ideal candidates that your business needs for a successful 2015. Need tips to create effective job descriptions? Read our recent blog post about writing an effective job description.
  5. Know if your staffing partner is Affordable Care Act compliant.As a business, knowing whether your preferred staffing firm will “play or pay” in 2015 is essential for every employer utilizing a contingent workforce to meet their staffing needs. Partnering with a staffing company not in the “play” mode and not taking the necessary precautions to protect you from the Common Law Employer clause can leave your business open to unprecedented consequences and penalties that come with this new legislation—and your business will be the one to pay.

Don’t feel your company is taking on the task of finding staffing solutions for the New Year alone; select a staffing company with a proven record of successful partnerships with employers throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Contact Nissen Staffing Continuum to research staffing options, policies and solutions, and turn those New Year’s resolutions into accomplished goals that improve your business bottom line and make 2015 the most successful year to date.

Could your company benefit from utilizing on-demand employees?

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

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

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

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

What Employers with Contingent Workforces Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act

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detail_21_staffing_solutions_wisconsinOn January 1, 2015, the EmployER Mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) goes into effect. Companies with more than 50 employees will be in “Pay-or-Play” mode, including staffing firms providing large contingent workforces to businesses.

Employers who utilize temporary employees from staffing firms need to be aware of which mode “Pay” or “Play” their staffing firm(s) is/are choosing in 2015. Compliance within the staffing industry varies because of the many types and sizes of staffing firms and the options each of these firms need to consider when dealing with the ACA rules and regulations. The ACA requires extensive tracking and documentation, and creates unprecedented administrative issues.

Staffing firms choosing to “play,” such as Nissen Staffing Continuum, will be offering “low option cost for employee” health insurance coverage required by the government as a safeguard and for the benefit of all parties involved, including:

  • Retention benefit for temporary employees. Health insurance coverage is another employment benefit for temporary employees, giving businesses relying on a flexible workforce a stable, consistent group of employees.
  • Administrative support and documentation. Staffing firms choosing to “play” are employing new tools for tracking, administration and documentation advantageous for the employee, business and staffing firm. For businesses utilizing a contingent workforce, all necessary paperwork for future audits and proof of compliance is accessible because of the firm’s due diligence.
  • Protection from common law employer clause. One challenging issue for businesses and staffing firms is the common law employer clause of the ACA, a generalized set of rules detailing how to determine who is required to offer health care insurance to the employee. According to Erinn Stromberg, Operations Manager at Nissen Staffing Continuum, “Nissen Staffing Continuum will be taking every step to protect our clients from the common law clause by adding new provisions into our terms of business (client agreement) that will satisfy this regulation.” ACA-compliant firms will have provisions and documentation protecting their clients from liabilities that could arise over the common law employer clause.

As a business, knowing whether your preferred staffing firm will “play or pay” in 2015 is essential for every employer utilizing a contingent workforce to meet their staffing needs. Partnering with a staffing company not in the “play” mode and not taking the necessary precautions to protect you from the Common Law Employer clause can leave your business open to unprecedented consequences and penalties that come with this new legislation—and your business will be the one to pay.