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Unemployment: Good News or Bad News?

Is our state of unemployment good news or bad news?    That depends upon your point of view.  Wisconsin’s unemployment rate now stands at 2.8%. 

That is good for some and not-so-good for others. If you find yourself looking for or thinking of looking for employment, this is likely a better time to be doing that.

If you are looking for employees, this may be a trying time especially if your business is booming and orders/jobs are coming your way with delivery/completion deadlines.

WFA Staffing finds itself on both ends of this equation.  We are obviously in the business of hunting for the right people to fill job orders we receive from our client organization.  The low unemployment numbers suggest that we will need a longer lead-time to find the right people for our employer clients.  That will likely hold true for everything from the laborer to the seasoned executive and all levels in-between.

This also can mean that we will find the expectations of candidates higher in terms of compensation and benefits offered.  We see solid business expansion in our state from very large organizations down to the smaller organizations that provide product and human support to those organizations.

The old saying that “a rising tide raises all ships” might be useful to help us visualize the situation.  At 2.8%, the unemployment rate is about as low as anyone can remember.

Even lower-level unskilled blue collar workers are going to be scarce and, when available, looking for higher hourly rates than we’ve seen for a while.

Production workers are going to be susceptible to higher wage offers and employers could be blind-sided by sudden departures…sometimes with scant notice given the demand.

The ranks of the professional and semi-professional staff people have seen more difficult, and therefore longer, searches recently.  This is likely to exacerbate these searches both from the  ‘time required’  as well as from the price tag. Our message is the same for those who need people as well as for those wanting to ‘test the waters’.

  • Start now if you’ve not already begun.
  • Be patient since there will be a lot of activity in all areas of employment.

If you’ve thought about a change, this is a good time to look into that.  In either case, give us a call.

Tom Krist

 

Tom Krist,  CEO

 

Absolutely OK

It’s absolutely OK …The idea that we all know precisely where we’re going is not only incorrect, but it is also dangerous since we’re each often unsure of the answer to that question…if there even is an answer to that question.

For some, the “where from here” question is one which we enjoy playing with in our mind. We may play out scenerios in casual conversations with those who are close to us.

For others, this “where from here” question is something we absolutely dislike to think about. Maybe we are even frightened to think about it.  If we feel that we are being satisfied in our present position, we may not have this recurring thought often and maybe not even at all.  If we don’t have that thought, we might wonder if something is wrong with us since it seems that everyone else has that thought.

Some of us who are satisfied in our role even come to wonder if there is something missing in our psychological make-up.  Everyone else has these thoughts, so why don’t I have those thoughts?

First, it is absolutely OK to be happy where you are.  You may have no goals other than to get better at what you’re doing right now.

It is also absolutely OK to be happy but to still want to be better at what you do, and to be working diligently to attain those goals.  You might also be somewhat less-than-satisfied, but to be good at what you do. You may enjoy receiving compliments from your supervisor or ‘the boss’ because they appreciate your accomplishments on-the-job.

Finally,  it is also absolutely OK to be less-than-satisfied and thinking actively about improving your ‘lot in life’. You may be even be considering making a move to a new employer.

Each of us is unique.  There is not another person exactly like us…even an identical twin…since each of us has, over time, had different experiences that have shaped us into something we weren’t originally.  Our job as humans is to work diligently to make sure that our experiences have made us better, even those experiences that were not especially pleasant.  Sometimes those are the best lessons we have if we’ll but learn from them.

Rather than to be envious of someone who ‘got all the good stuff’ when born, we are always better off if we take the lessons and go through an honest review of self. It is good for all of us to occasionally take a hard look in the mirror.   That is the toughest thing for many of us to remember.  We are always being an example for another person no matter if we’re acting out or acting professionally.

It might prove to be a good exercise for us to review each day before bedtime for the high points and the low points.  And to be brutally honest with ourselves while doing that.  These self-critiques are hard to stomach…but they are great medicine if we’ll swallow hard and face up to what we can do to get better tomorrow.

Fred D'Amato

Fred D’Amato, President

 

Opportunity

Opportunity is something we often seek and sometimes miss even though it might’ve bitten us on the nose if it wished, because we were so close to finding it.  Napoleon Hill, a famous writer and philosopher defined it like this:

Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.

How many times might we have been close to an opportunity but lost out when we failed to take that next step that would’ve led us to the goal line’?  It is easy to become discouraged, and those temporary defeats can become permanent defeats if we but permit them to do so.

Each of us, if we’re being honest with ourselves, has missed out on opportunities simply because we didn’t take that next step.

Instead, we succumbed to the feeling that we were on the wrong road, or pursuing the wrong position, or simply were not right for that job that we were offered.

Or, we might’ve seen the opportunity and been overwhelmed by it, by the magnitude of what it might represent to us.  We might’ve questioned whether or not we had what it would take to seize upon that opportunity.  Maybe we were simply scared that we might fail and that we’d be embarrassed to have to admit that to our loved ones, or to our manager or simply to ourselves.

We are each wired a bit differently and that is a very good thing.  Too many of me would not be good for anyone or for any company.  One of me doing his or her very best, however, might just be that final piece that was necessary to our employer’s success, and the success that extra effort brought might be wonderful for us since it was through our effort the opportunity was seized.

We began this with the definition supplied to us by Napoleon Hill.  He reminded us that opportunities can seem like temporary defeats or some form of misfortune we have caused, when we simply need to take a deep breath and persevere.

The next step or the next call or the next interview may well prove to have been the solution that opened the door to that opportunity that was eluding us.

So what does Napoleon Hill know about my business or my job?  Nothing.  What Napoleon Hill knew about was each of us and how we sometimes fail to take that last step, make that last call, set up that last appointment which was the key to opening the door to that opportunity that we’d have otherwise missed.

Al Campbell

 

 

 

2018- A New Year, A New Reality

What is to come in 2018?

We see a 2018 that will bring with it new opportunities and certainly new challenges.  We know that the pool of great candidates for virtually any and all positions is what it was in the past: too small for us to delay on decisions when we find good people.  In fact, we expect that pool will be smaller than in the past.   Take into account the success our region of the state has experienced in terms of growth.

We see challenges from the already tight labor market for some areas.

Those areas span the full gamut from industrial labor to well-trained and highly experienced talent.  Each of those has both benefit and challenge tied to it.

There will be an inbound migration of talent across all realms and that is likely to be seen starting in 2018.  This will likely continue over the next five to ten years as all the Foxconn supporting industry develops in this new and exciting marketplace.  We will all need to make changes in the way we do business.  Without that we’ll likely not be as effective as we’ll need to be in the new world that is descending upon us.  If we had a functioning crystal ball, we expect it would tell us this:

 

  • Respond to opportunity with a vigorous approach recognizing the probable shortage of qualified people, and the probable impact on wages and salaries driven by this shortage.
  • Be aggressive once you reach the conclusion you believe to be the best available; and, try to reduce the time decisions are taking to be made.
  • Recognize that you might see more turn-over than in the past.  There will be opportunities that didn’t exist or  weren’t as abundant as before this year.
  • Being a better environment for employees may make a big difference.  This could involve things such as a different dress code, or making some positions hours more flexible.

Your company’s reputation as an employer is very important.

That begins on the loading dock or the assembly line and extends through all other positions in the company.  We’ve all had the experience of such an environment in our own dealings whether in a grocery store, a dentist’s office, a bank drive-thru or the local dry cleaners.  We recognize those places instantly because of the vibes we get from their employees.  That is something to emulate if we don’t already have that culture.  Experts anticipate times of lower unemployment and more openings for new employment than maybe was the case in the past few years.

We are moving into that “brave new world” of Aldous Huxley given the conditions we’ll be seeing in coming years.

WFA Staffing stands ready to help you find the right people.  We will try to assist if you have questions on “going rates” for various functions, or on changes we’re seeing in other benefits that may be enticing even though not terribly costly.  Give us a call.  Share your ideas with us.  We abide by the old credo to listen twice as much as we talk.

 

 

Tom Krist  Tom Krist, CEO

Differentiators

Have you given much thought to the impact that differentiators have in your business or your daily life? Those are the sometimes subtle, or sometimes ‘in-your face’ things, that help each of us to make decisions through-out the days and weeks ahead.

A differentiator might be the color of a dress or the pattern on a necktie so far as clothing goes.  It might be the sweep of a body panel on that new automobile, or the interior trim option that you just had to have.  Differentiators can either be subtle or ‘in-your-face’.

WFA Staffing relies on differentiators every day.

We seek out those differences between various candidates that make the choice of one versus another apparent.  At the same time, we rely on differences to break ties between candidates.  Whether you think about that or not, they likely are part of your decision-making process as well as ours.

  It is for this reason that we pay a lot of attention to meeting you, our customer, on your turf.

We want to get to know you and your business.  Every business has a different something about it that resonates, which sets it apart from all the others in that same business.  Our visits in the field tell us a lot about the types of candidates that will fare better for each organization.

We strive to better understand who you are and what your company is and that is an immense help as we screen candidates, a number of whom are likely to have the qualifications but one or two of whom are simply better-suited for your needs in our opinion.  That is the real ‘magic’ of this business if there is any magic to it.  This also helps us save you time; we have gone through the process of sifting and winnowing and arrived at those who best fit the needs.

Our staff has years of experience in this differentiating process.  Visits with you on your ground help us to hone in on just the right set of attributes in the numerous people we interview.  Most of this experience is subtle; it is simply the way we do our ‘thing’ since it has proved to be best for us and our clients (both employers and prospective employees).  You might not be able to place your finger on it, but it is there nonetheless.

We look forward to the next opportunity you provide us in which we can show you how differentiation works to your benefit, too.

 
Al Campbell

 

 

 

 

Loyalty is a Two-Way Street

“Loyalty is a two-way street. If I ‘m asking for it from you, then you’re getting it from me”-  Harvey Specter

In today’s fast moving market employee and employer loyalty is more important than ever. Are you taking the necessary steps to attract and retain the best talent available? As employers we all face similar challenges with the workforce today. Candidates are lacking the basic life skills to compete in this ever-changing job market.

Candidates seem unaware of how to  dress for an interview, complete a math test on our application, or create a resume. Some  lack job stability, basic communication skills, or the necessary transportation to remain reliable. We are now finding candidates no longer providing proper notice to their current employer.  In this market they can quickly move from one position to another.

When we do find the right person to invest in and train, we expect them to be loyal.  Ask yourself, are we in turn loyal to them?

What do we owe a new employee other than what was promised during the interview?  Maybe, if we established a scorecard during that interview, we could both work jointly to have the new hire grow as an employee while we grow as a desired employer.  This can be a two-way street and that is good for both parties. This environment, not often found in today’s hectic workplaces, would cement the bond between us and our new employee.

As we know, opportunity is plentiful, so it is very important we are doing the very best we can to attract and retain talent.  What is a fair salary or hourly wage for the position?   WFA Staffing Group specializes in staffing and executive placement services by providing entry level through executive recruiting services.  Part of our job is to be a good sounding board for our employer clients.  We have a good feel for what the hot buttons of job seekers are today.

For general production opportunities we have found the days of paying $10 per hour seem to be winding down. With the current demand to fill open positions it is a job-seekers market. Offering a fair wage based on shift, skill level, distance the candidate is required to travel, and the position itself will not only attract the best talent available but it will keep them from searching elsewhere once they have accepted the opportunity to join your team.

Remember the hype that has accompanied the news about FoxConn.  That has penetrated both employers thinking as well as prospective employee thinking.  There will continue to be churn in the marketplace, deserved or not, simply because there is about to be a FoxConn next door.

Most employees are truly seeking an opportunity to learn and expand their knowledge and want to work for an organization that will offer long term training for personal and professional growth.

We know this doesn’t apply to all employees. We try to ferret out those before even exposing you to them.  That is an advantage we may have due to  experience we’ve gained over the years.

Successful employers offer job stability, long term professional training, and strong benefit and retirement packages.

Where that might have been a bit unusual in prior years, it is true in the vast majority of companies today.  The largest percentage of employees today, other than for day job/temp employees, are thinking about the longer term.   Including them in long term goals to make them feel a part of the bigger picture can be a good investment made at very low cost.  Periodically taking a careful look at where you are so far as employee relationships can pay big dividends.  That is especially true in today’s world with industry having major growth pains that will only be added to by the FoxConns in the arena.  Are you doing all you can to hold on to your good employees? We’ll be happy to help you in that process.


Roberta Murphy
Roberta Murphy, Vice-President

FOXCONN IMPACT

Foxconn has become virtually a household name in our part of the country given its decision to build a new complex in S.E. Wisconsin.

We have all heard much about the Foxconn deal so far.  We’ll be talking about the impacts, both good and not-so-good, for some time to come.  There is, of course, that distant nagging doubt that this all seems too good to be true.  After all, there is at least one other example where Foxconn left an area after a brief time given that it couldn’t get to agreement with which it was comfortable.

All indicators are that Wisconsin, with some $3 Billion in subsidies provided over the period of the agreement and the S.E. Wisconsin area land owners have been very obliging; and, that this is as real as it can be before the campus sprouts.  Average wage earned may be be some $52,000 per job, and some 13,000 people are being and will be hired as this all comes to fruition.  At full staffing and that average per employee, this will generate $676 Million dollars of wages paid per year.

The economic boost for the area, as well as the state, is almost beyond comprehension.

Its impact on other businesses will be mixed.  Some will benefit significantly whiles others may be threatened.  Inflation may be at a higher rate in S.E Wisconsin than elsewhere given the stimulus by Foxconn.  This has the earmarks of the classic double-edge sword.  It will obviously be a great thing for many.  But, it may have a different impact on many others.

For example, the additional spendable income will boost the retail sector, will likely cause a bit of a housing boom given new workers coming to the area, and will help area merchants gain a leg up.  Simultaneously, or very nearly, the impact of wage increases, etc. will trickle down and impact other employers.  Some skill sets will become much more difficult to find and the costs for those available will likely increase more quickly than had been anticipated.

Public facilities, schools included, will begin to seem too small.  Police and fire organizations will need to be increased quickly to stay abreast of the population increases.  Educational institutions will be adding space and courses to support the near-term needs.  Transportation capacities may be reached considerably sooner than had originally been thought when those were designed and constructed.  For example, Project Superintendents have been “scarce as hen’s teeth” and the newly expanding demand likely will cause further disruption in that area.

There will be a ‘ripple effect’ and it will be felt throughout S.E. Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.  The increased demand will probably spur migration of various skillsets to this area.  Other skillsets will simply become very difficult to locate and hire, and thus those costs will increase.

If you are about to expand staff or think you’ll need to do so, beginning that process sooner rather than later would seem to be wise.
Al Campbell

 

 

Changes in Attitude…

Many things can happen to drive changes in attitude.

Life just doesn’t seem fair all the time.  We go along just fine for a while and then something happens.  We lose our job, or we get sick, or we get hit by another car as we’re driving home.  All sorts of things can and sometimes do go wrong.

The thing that matters the most is not what happened to us.  The thing that matters the most is what we do about what happened to us.  We have choices.  We can roll over and moan and groan and whine about how unfair everything is.  You can lament that you always seem to get hit with something, if not literally then figuratively.

Maybe you missed out on that perfect job. Or perhaps your new vehicle has a crinkled fender or worse.  Maybe you’re sick and just don’t seem to be getting better as quickly as you’d like.  There always seems to be something that interferes with our life.

If this sounds like how your life has been going, there is good news.

The change you are seeking is there right now.  It is that thing we call attitude. 

If our attitude is negative, everything will continue to go wrong for us.  If our attitude is positive we’ll get back on the track very soon and be better than ever.  And, as our attitude improves, those who are around us will be happier than they’ve been for a while, too.  When we are around a person who is down in the dumps, we get a little down in the dumps, too.

I think most of us know someone like the person for whom everything seems to go wrong.  We might even see that person each morning in our mirror.  If that someone is you and if that something happens to involve your job or lack of a job, we can help you.  That is what we do.  Of course, you are going to be the heavy lifter in this job hunt.

We can find possibilities and secure interviews for you.  But you are the heavy lifter that has to display a positive attitude and who smiles and who looks good in her or his clothes.  You are the one who is going to have to convince the person doing the interview that you are someone great to be around, that you have a sense of humor, a good work ethic and the energy to get the job done day-in and day-out.

Life gets a lot better when we get out of our funk.

Both for us as well as those around us.  You might be surprised at what a smile on your face can do to improve how you’re feeling.  Try it.  It works.  We’ll look forward to seeing your smiling face just as soon as you can get here; or just call us.  Smiles are also magic in that we’ll be able to tell you are smiling even on the phone.

We love helping people to be happy again.

Tom Krist

Tom Krist, CEO

 

Now Hiring: Where Are All the People?

Where are all the people coming from to fill the needs of employers in this market today?

Truth be told, there are difficulties even for us professionals to find the right people for the open positions our client employers have available.  That is no secret.  There are more openings than qualified applicants.  We’ve been through this before so it simply requires us to use different approaches and to condense time frames.

This is a two-pronged situation.

First, for those who are well qualified, this might be a golden opportunity to consider a change in your employment.

That is true almost without regard to what your skill set and experience might include.  If you are good at what you do, and if you have a solid track record, this is likely the opportune time to see what is available.  We can help you.  Call or stop in today!

If you are an employer who needs qualified talent to help you continue to grow your business, this is a good time to look even though this market is relatively tight.  There is good talent available especially for some skill sets BUT you will need to be ready to pull the trigger quickly when Ms. or Mr. Right appears.  A tight doesn’t mean an impossible market; but it does mean that we have to be able to close the deal more quickly than was the case six to eight months ago.  Candidates and employers are now moving more rapidly while still touching all the right bases.

True, employers are finding it tough to locate the right people today and to do that in a relatively short time frame.  Our team of talent scouts is good but they do not walk on water…at least not very often.  The sooner you can alert us to a coming need, the better for you, the candidates and us.

Unemployment is obviously standing at 3%.

There is a diminished talent pool.  Both statements are true.  We have found that these tight times can be some of the most lucrative for all parties.  It is good for employees seeking to make their move.  It is good for employers who have needs in such a hot market.  Both feel the need for a stepped up pace in the search, interview and offer/closing stages.  Foot dragging is not often a problem today.

We encourage you to look starting today, even if your plans call for bringing a new hire on are 30 to 60 or more days down the road.

Do your best to anticipate future needs today and let us begin the search process sooner.  We will still apply our usual critical reviews of references and so on.  Just because the market is a little tighter, mistakes simply can’t be tolerated in the search and hiring process.

We encourage prospective candidates to recognize that even with more openings today than is normal, finding the right spot rather than simply the next spot is even more critical than it has ever been.  We’re in the business of helping both sides especially in times such as these.  The value of our service increases in tight times.

 

Fred D'Amato

 

Fred D’Amato, President

The Saga of the Job Interview…


The saga of the Job Interview…

This phrase conjures up different thoughts for different people. The person being interviewed thinks about not making any serious gaffes.  The person conducting the interview thinks about not making any serious mistakes in the process of interviewing the prospective employee.

The result of these two sets of dynamics can be problematic even though both the interviewer and the interviewee felt they’d been at the top of their game during the interview.  The interviewer made sure to avoid causing the interviewee any discomfort during the interview and felt the process had gone well.

The interviewee felt he or she had done an excellent job of not making any serious errors during the interview.  True, he or she might’ve played a couple of games during the interview but that wouldn’t matter after he or she had been awarded the new position.  A little misdirection here and a bit of a falsehood there weren’t the end of the world, after all.

So, two relatively well-meaning people met and got along just fine.  They smiled at one and other, were courteous, received good answers or provided safe answers that seemed to fill the bill.  There weren’t a lot of people applying and there was pressure to fill the spot.

So, this interview led to an offer.  This led to an acceptance, which led to a termination a couple months later.

The approach used given the tight applicant market had only served to bring the interviewer back to filling that same position.  The person, who was released or had resigned, blemished his or her employment record given the short period of time in that job.

Enter WFA Staffing and its professional people people.  We interview as a profession, not as an interruption to the day’s usual routine.  We are good at what we do because that is what we do.  Our interviewing is an integral part of our day, not an interruption to be dealt with as quickly as possible.  We are tuned in to the people we work with as well as to the clients for whom we recruit.  This is what we do, all day every day of the work week.

You may think us a little strange. Our recruiters like what we do; we think it is a great profession and are happy to do that work. WFA strives to satisfy our client employers as well as being helpful to the people seeking employment.  And yes, we have likely heard most all the stories and our antennae are ever alert for the parts of the story that need further verification.

That’s what we do for our clients.  And if you’re not yet a WFA Staffing client, that’s what we’d love to do for you and your business.

Fred D'Amato

 

Fred D’Amato, President