Tag Archives: Waukesha

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!







For at least the last year, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has reported monthly unemployment rates that have hovered in the mid 4% range, sometimes a full point lower than the national average.  Economic growth, a demographic shift as Baby Boomers exit the workforce, and a shortage of skilled labor employees have some Wisconsin employers shaking their heads and wondering what they need to do to hire quality workers.

As your staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin, we can assure you that you have hiring options.  Whether it’s switching over to a fully contingent workforce, making the choice to develop on-the-job training programs, or working hard to become an employer of choice, choosing an experienced staffing partner is an essential part of your hiring strategy.  Over the next few months, we will be discussing hiring trends and tips about how we can help you to hire and retain great employees.

Tip 1: Consider Direct Hire

Consider this: you have an opening for an entry-level machine operator in your food manufacturing facility.  Typically, you have partnered with a staffing company via only a temp-to-hire arrangement.  Your biggest competitor is also hiring, and is looking for the same skill set.  They, too, only hire people on a temp-to-hire basis.

FACT: Both you and your competitor are competing for the same manufacturing skill set.

FACT: Since you are competitors in the food industry, in the same market, you both have similar cost structures and therefore pay similar wages.

FACT: Since you are both hiring only on a temp-to hire basis, you are competing for the same workforce sector.

FACT: The unemployment rate is around 4.5%.  Available employees, especially qualified manufacturing employees, are scarce.


Open yourself up to the option of Direct Hire.  While you may very often find great candidates through Temp-to-Hire arrangements, you have now done two important things:

  • You have differentiated yourself from your competitor.
  • You have allowed your staffing partner to tap into a group of people that typically won’t look at a temp-to-hire job: the currently employed.

Recruiting someone that is already employed, whether they are actively seeking a new job or are passively looking, opens your hiring options.

  • It is sometimes less expensive than hiring a person on a temp-to-hire basis.
  • It allows your recruiter to look at the most QUALIFIED candidates versus the most AVAILABLE AND QUALIFIED candidates.
  • It allows you to hire someone that has a proven track record of success because they are currently performing the job that you are looking to hire them to do.
  • It allows our team of dedicated Sourcing professionals to provide candidates to our recruiters without having to consider whether or not they are currently working.

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. 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!

Four Hiring Trends in the Workplace for 2016


As 2016 begins, companies will need to think about making changes to their traditional hiring patterns. Instead of merely looking at skills and experience, employers must consider a candidate more holistically to ascertain the best-fit as the hiring process moves forward. As you evaluate potential changes, consider these four of the top hiring trends. Engaging them in the coming year could prove to be quite profitable.

  1. Maximizing technology

Currently, it’s an employee’s job market, and the workforce has opened to a more global scale. As technology enhances candidate mobility and shrinks geographical boundaries, smart candidates “shop” for specific jobs at specific companies. Embrace this as an employer’s advantage.  Yes, technology may increase your candidate flow but it can also bring those top candidates who are vying for positions to the top of the pile. Don’t hesitate to utilize online testing and evaluations, which assess behavior, personality, and cognitive ability, to target the best candidates. Video interviews also provide a low-cost way that employers can holistically pre-screen a candidate and narrow the pool.

  1. Making the most of the Boomer to Millennial transition

Baby Boomers are retiring in droves, leaving gaps in the knowledge and skills base when they exit. Don’t be left hanging. Plan for succession. Embrace the new leadership styles and strengths of Millennials, but utilize the mentoring/teaching skills of Boomers. Whether you keep Boomers on part-time or hire them back as consultants, not only will they share knowledge and value, but their guidance will be well received by your Millennials.

More importantly, meet your Millennial leaders on their playing field. They are typically transformational leaders who prefer a flatter hierarchy, personal connections, and the chance to impact society. By broadening your company’s vision to include support for social causes and leveling the leadership structure, your organization can experience growth in the hands of these new leaders.

  1. Recognizing the increasing need for flexibility

As countless Millennials anticipate having children, the demand for flexibility both in office hours and location increases. In addition to seeking time for personal and charitable endeavors, Millennials also want to spend time with their children, desiring to “flex” their schedules around their children’s needs. If not already in place, organizations would be wise to establish a flex-time policy, building around the principle of work accomplished and projects completed instead of focusing on how or where it happens.

  1. Redesigning the workspace

With flexibility, comes changes in workspace requirements. Many companies will be able to cut costs simply by reducing cubicles and creating “shared” spaces. These “co-working spaces” should be built with easy-to-move furniture and equipment to encourage collaboration and attract talent. Sometimes referred to as “meaningful” spaces, these inviting locations allow coworkers to feel like they are part of the work community, promote collaborative decision-making, and help shape the company culture. Meaningful spaces also promote happiness in the workplace, and therefore, a more productive working environment.

Understanding hiring trends and attracting new talent through workplace flexibility, technology, workplace setup and other strategies will help companies grow and remain competitive in the marketplace. The tips from above will all assist in branding your company as an employer of choice in 2016.

From our Nissen Staffing Continuum family to yours, we wish all of you a very safe and prosperous New Year!  Let Nissen Staffing Continuum help you focus on success. We work as your consultative staffing partner by adding value as a strategic resource. How may we assist you? Contact us today.


Make Every Tuesday Count


Did the year-end sneak up on you? Are you feeling pressure to meet your 2015 goals before 2016 hits you square in the face? It’s never too late to re-evaluate, revamp, and recharge. Even if you are ahead of the plan, don’t coast into the New Year – move into 2016 full speed ahead.

Every Tuesday – one week at a time:

December 8th

Review the initial plan

  • What were your goals in regards to marketing, new clients, increased production, increased staff, additional technology, etc.?
  • In review, were they attainable and reasonable goals? Or not?

Evaluate your progress to-date

  • Were there unexpected, but significant developments that stalled your plan?
  • What could/should you have done differently?
  • What attitudes and actions moved you forward and which ones created roadblocks?
  • This is not a time to beat yourself up – that only hinders the next step. It’s a time to be honest and learn – to take advantage of 2015 hindsight for 2016 planning.

Adjust your goals

  • If you want to reach the finish line, you might need to revise the road map.
  • Narrow your focus – what really matters?
  • What will make the biggest difference?
  • What will keep you most on track as you enter 2016?

December 15th

Replace your battery – rejuvenate company passion – harness the power of your team

  • Begin at the top, of course, but involve everyone.
  • Create a fresh perspective.
  • Provide motivation to finish the year at top performance.
  • Take time to look back and see how far you’ve traveled and what you’ve accomplished – it’s the best motivator for moving forward.

December 22nd

Connect with the company team

  • Seek their insight and ideas for 2016.
  • Evaluate their strengths: Use each employee in the position that fits them best – don’t put your “people person” in the back crunching numbers.
  • Plan for new hires: Go for quality – it may cost more initially, but in the end it saves time and expense.

Take care of your team – they are your best asset.

  • Bring on the praises – say thanks in tangible ways.
  • Feed them – if they have to “stay late” a few times, food always helps.
  • Provide support for the team – take advantage of temporary staffing.

December 29th

The black and white checkered flag

  • Cross the finish line – you did it!
  • Celebrate with the team.
  • Give credit where credit is due – plus a little.
  • Fill the gas tanks and greet 2016 with a smile!

Here at Nissen Staffing Continuum, we are behind your team for every lap of the race. We do more than “find new team members.” From temporary and temp-to-hire to direct placement, we provide quality staffing to support your business goals and help you cross the finish line. Contact us today for a full continuum of staffing solutions – that’s what we deliver.



How to Show Your Employees You Appreciate Them


Did you know that the number one reason cited by employees for leaving their job is lack of appreciation?

Whether termed recognition, appreciation or simply feeling valued, the need for reinforcement for a job done well is basic and deeply-rooted.

If it is so important, then why is it so rarely shown?

The difference could be due to a discrepancy in perceptions. Employers may be aware that people need recognition but when asked how they meet this need, they cannot articulate an answer. Could it be that employers are used to telling employees when they make mistakes and have forgotten how to provide support and encouragement?

In today’s business climate, salary increases are one way – but not the only way – to reward an employee’s endeavors. A little creativity can go a long way in ideas to show appreciation.

Financial rewards: Has anyone ever turned down a financial boost?

  • Time off with pay: everyone appreciates an unexpected day, or even half-day, off with pay.
  • Flexible scheduling: nothing says an employee matters like helping them balance work with life responsibilities.
  • Offer specialized training: this affirms that you believe in their future with the company.
  • Gift cards: your choice reveals how well you know your employee.
  • Food (restaurant meals, catered events, lunch and learn events): a great way to award a team as well as individuals.
  • Office or group party: builds on team spirit and enhances company culture while saying thanks.
  • Internal or facility improvements: investing in your employees’ workspaces, equipment, etc. says that you appreciate what they do and support them.
  • Gym memberships: shows that while you appreciate work production, you also care about your employees’ well-being.
  • Spa memberships: a great way to say thanks – with no strings attached.
  • Bonuses: enough said. 

Tangible rewards

Financial rewards are a plus, of course, but so is taking time to be more “personal” and/or involving the rest of your staff. Affirming great work in ways that increase an employee’s respect among his/her peers is almost always a winner. Here are some suggestions.

  • Special reserved parking spot
  • Feature in a newsletter or on a website
  • Send a personalized note
  • Celebrations for birthdays
  • Plaques, certificates or trophies
  • Redeemable points
  • Allow peers to have a say in rewarding each other
  • Informal face-time to exchange ideas and touch base
  • Job shadowing
  • Bring your dog (or other well-behaved pet) day
  • Wall of fame 

Verbal rewards: This can be the most important part of your thanks and appreciation. Even when giving financial or tangible awards, a thanks should be included, but sometimes, saying thanks is all you need to do.

  • Saying “thank you,” with the person’s name and reason (“Thank you, Pat, for handling that irate customer today.”)
  • Praising the employee specifically, in front of peers, such as at a staff meeting.
  • Personal acknowledgement of an event (like the birth of a child). 

Each of these rewards creates benefits for employers by not only helping to retain employees, but also by boosting morale for all. A personal touch lets employees know you not only appreciate their work but also take a personal interest in them as individuals. Simply speaking to them about things that are planned for the organization can motivate them to feel as though they are an active part.

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

At Nissen Staffing Continuum, our focus is on you and your success. We work as your strategic partner by adding value, helping you avoid obstacles and reach your objectives. How may we assist you with your hiring process?

Leading your Introverted and Extroverted Staff


According to The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – a personality-testing tool based on the work of Carl Jung – an individual’s extroversion/introversion value is measured by how he or she acquires energy.


  • are energized by being around and interacting with people
  • are recharged by external stimuli, such as personal interactions, social gatherings, and shared ideas
  • gravitate toward groups and constant action
  • tend to think out loud
  • work well in groups
  • learn by explaining


  • are energized by times of quiet solitude
  • are recharged by quiet reflection and time alone to research ideas and focus on their work
  • gravitate toward one-on-one relationships
  • need time to think before speaking or acting
  • work best in small group or solitary settings
  • learn by taking time to reflect on the material presented

Generally, extroverts are labeled as outgoing, sometimes impetuous, often talkative, and are known for being comfortable in groups. They have a lower basic rate of stimulation, which means they need to work harder to stimulate their minds and bodies to their “normal” state. They often seek novelty and adventure. Spending time with people recharges their personal battery.

Introverts get energy from their “inner world,” having a preference for being alone (or with only a few select people). They thrive on clarity, but can be too reflective or hesitant. Crowds often overwhelm and/or overstimulate them. Time alone recharges them, as does being in predictable situations.

Because introverts and extroverts can be polar opposites, leading a team consisting of both personalities is challenging. It demands a balancing act that requires a clear understanding of the difference between the two and mental, as well as emotional, dexterity. These leadership tips will help ensure that both extroverts and introverts have a voice and contribute their unique skills to the team.

Encourage team connections

  • Host team social events over lunch in surroundings that are familiar to everyone, such as at the office, where all will feel comfortable and more inclined to interact.
  • Enroll the team in an interpersonal communications skills development course. This type of training will help everyone to gain a clearer understanding of how the “other half” operates.

Keep brainstorming sessions and team meetings small and on-track

  • Schedule them well in advance.
  • Before the meeting, ask participants to submit a bullet-point list of their ideas.
  • Draw on these points to help introverts express themselves more willingly and keep extroverts on topic as they describe their ideas. 

Learn to respond to and interact with extroverts and introverts effectively

The extrovert:

  • Respect their independence
  • Compliment them publicly
  • Allow room for their impetuous enthusiasm, while keeping them on track
  • Offer verbal and appropriate physical gestures of affirmation

The introvert:

  • Respect their need for privacy and time alone
  • Address them quietly and privately with either compliments or reprimands. Never embarrass them in public
  • Give them time to think before answering, and then don’t interrupt them
  • When possible, provide advance notice when change is expected or new projects are coming
  • Teach new skills in small groups or one on one

No matter what type of leader you are, these tips will help you adapt your style to accommodate both extroverted and introverted employees, keeping both groups at peak performance.

At Nissen Staffing Continuum, our focus is on you and your success. We can assist you with your employment plans and strategies. We work as your strategic partner by adding value and helping you avoid obstacles and reach your objectives. How may we assist you with your hiring process?

Invest in your company: Connect your employees to the Back-to-School scene.


Companies who invest in employee education and professional development invest in their own bottom line. According to various experts and sources, including HR Magazine, The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), and The Huffington Post, investing in employee education brings multiple company benefits, including:

  • Boosts employees’ time management and critical thinking skills
  • Develops leaders
  • Improves company morale, which improves customer satisfaction
  • Results in higher income per/employee, more than 20% higher profit margin for company, and more than 5% higher shareholder return.
  • Enhances employee engagement and performance
  • Increases retention
  • Ignites greater employee innovation

Build your brand as a company who invests in their employees. Let applicants know you:

The cost of training employees, especially potentially long-term ones, is insignificant when evaluating costs associated with high employee turnover and extended position openings.

Established in 1997, Nissen Staffing Continuum has consistently focused on helping businesses grow their organization’s most precious asset: their people. We help promote self-education via our Career Resource Circle, offering:

  • Free job seeker webinars
  • Comprehensive resume review
  • Leading experts and resources to advance your job search
  • Library filled with audio recordings, articles, and webinars

Named a 2015 Future 50 Company by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s Council of Small Businesses Executives (COSBE), Nissen Staffing Continuum offers multiple solutions for all your staffing challenges, from sourcing temporary help to meet a project deadline, to temp-to-hire personnel, to recruiting top talent professionals. Nissen Staffing Continuum also offers personalized on-site partnerships to meet the ever-changing requirements of businesses that rely on a flexible workforce to meet their customers’ needs. Contact us today for customized assistance with your hiring needs.

Budgeting for a Contingent Workforce in 2016


Preparing the budget for the coming year? With the staffing and benefits allotment consuming a large chunk of those projections, why not consider how a contingent workforce might improve both your bottom line and your business?

Let’s look at five advantages of hiring a contingent workforce you may not have considered:

Exactly the right talent, at the right time, for the right term:

Hiring experienced talent to fill a need for a critical project with a deadline is an excellent reason. Rather than hiring someone to fill the job, you are most likely to find the right match with a contingent worker and keep your workers focused on their responsibilities. This quality of talent is used to coming in to fill a demand, rapidly assessing what is required and performing at the highest level.

the core FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) employee retains job security. 

Always “on” mindset: 

A contingent worker must both prove his/her ability to do the job as well as to manage time proficiently. Contingent employees are familiar with juggling multiple tasks. They are savvy about how they perform because they would like to be considered whenever the need for contingent workers arises.

Flexibility and efficiency: 

Contingent employees can fill in gaps, provide seasonal or temporary project help, or relieve overburdened staff. Flexible with schedules, they can often be on task when a FTE employee is unavailable. They also assist with efficiency by performing mundane or standard responsibilities thereby freeing a FTE employee to focus on specific projects or deadlines.

Recruiting pool: 

Businesses who use contingent workers generally build relationships and may call upon the same workers whenever needs arise. The time a contingent employee is on the job permits an extended trial period or period of evaluation for the employer. Not only does the employer have adequate time to become familiar with the person and the strengths and weaknesses of his/her performance on the job, but also learns whether the individual would be receptive to being hired and would be a good fit. And since the individual has been doing the job, the learning curve would be small or nonexistent.

Cost savings: 

Perhaps the most notable advantage is that a contingent worker saves you money. Though the hourly rate may be more than a FTE counterpart may be, an employer does not have to pay Social Security taxes, unemployment compensation taxes, worker’s compensation coverage, or employee benefits for a contingent worker.

Statistical reports show that the contingent workforce is growing worldwide. As more and more people begin to build home-based businesses, create part-time careers, or choose to enjoy a versatile work model, thisworkforce will continue to expand.

Nissen Staffing Continuum can assist you with planning for contingent needs. 

We would like to learn more about your staffing needs and answer your questions about our contingent pool of talent.

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




Get the Most Out of an Interview


In the past, the one who did the hiring held the reins of power in his/her hands. Due to the skills gap, and other factors, that isn’t the case anymore. Today, finding the best employees, good performers who stay in the job, can be a difficult challenge – especially if you are looking for a specialized skill set or a higher-level position.

In fact, the more specialized or responsible the position, the more the process requires attention and deliberation. Setting goals for an interview, and determining an interview strategy is essential.

Interview Types/Strategies

The first or screening interview

This interview is often accomplished by phone or at a career fair, typically by a recruiter or company representative. It presumes prequalification of the candidate based on review of credentials and education as well as evaluates whether the individual’s goals harmonize with the available opportunity. It may also indicate the likeability and cultural fit of the candidate.

Those who pass the first interview proceed to the second interview.

The second interview

There are multiple types of second interviews, including the phone, in-person panel, group, stress, or behavioral interview. Each type accomplishes different goals but serves the same ultimate purpose – eliminating the less qualified and shortlisting the qualified candidates to a more manageable number.

  • The phone interview

A phone interview may be the most cost-effective to eliminate weaker candidates because an employer can use a list of standardized questions. It also offers a chance to verify or expound on the individual’s submitted information.

  • The in-person panel interview

A panel interview is when two or more interviewers from different departments of the company conduct the interview of all (or small groups of) candidates. Usually, the lead interviewer introduces panel members. The panel interview increases accuracy because it allows questions from different perspectives and thus clarifies information. It also permits each panel member to ask questions relevant to departmental concerns or interests. Panel interviews are beneficial to discerning a candidate’s competencies and weaknesses. Watch out for vague or evasive answers.

  • The in-person group interview

Occasionally referred to as the case or situational interview, the in-person group interview is similar to the panel interview in that several candidates are interviewed at one time. The candidates are divided into groups and required to join in a simulated work exercise or problem-solving session. Interviewers observe and note each candidate’s contribution, as well as interaction and communication dynamics between individuals. This type of interview helps an employer discover abilities in leadership, persuasion, conflict resolution, and teamwork. It also reveals “stepping-stone candidates” as well as those who won’t take responsibility for their actions or decisions.

  • The in-person behavioral interview

The behavioral interviewer asks open-ended questions about a candidate’s past performance as a predictor of future performance such as,

“Tell me about a time when you had to confront a team member about a quality-of-work issue.”

“Explain how you set departmental and personal goals.”

This type of interview helps an employer uncover desirable attributes as well as specific skills. Because you ask probing questions, a candidate has difficulty preparing ahead of time.

Structured vs. unstructured interviews

No matter which interview strategy is used, interviews are more or less structured toward an employer’s goals for the company and the open position. The more structured, the more formal the interview. It provides a narrower look at a candidate and focuses on specific requirements for the job. Pre-determined lists of questions, rating scales or checklists are frequently used to catalog results of these interviews. The structured interview may be required for jobs in which details are critical, such as lawyers, physicians, and engineers.

In unstructured interviews, questions may change according to the flow and direction of the candidate’s answers. Because of this, it is possible pertinent questions on skills may not be asked. Also, note that no direct comparisons between candidates can be made reliably if the questions differ widely from candidate to candidate. This type of interview relies on the interviewer’s gut instinct and ability to “read” people.

Regardless of the available position, Nissen Staffing Continuum can help you put your best interviewing effort forward. We are mindful of the most cost-saving and time-efficient ways to assess and select the best candidates to fill your staffing needs. Contact us today and discover how we may help you.


How a Staffing Company Can Take on the Skills Gap


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

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

Causes result from a few factors.

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

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

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

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

Six ways to close the talent gap

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

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

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

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

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

  1. http://goo.gl/YwW52m
  2. https://hbr.org/2014/08/employers-arent-just-whining-the-skills-gap-is-real/
  3. http://www.nber.org/papers/w20382
  4. http://bluegrass.kctcs.edu/en/About/Our_Campuses/Georgetown.aspx