Archives for Business

Looking forward to 2017!


Merry Christmas and Happy 2017 from the whole gang at WFA Staffing.

We celebrate the birth of the Christ child at this time of the year. It is also a time of year when the calendar is winding down on 2016.  We have had a very good year . We are thankful to our clients, our staff and all the employees of WFA Staffing all across southeastern Wisconsin.

It seems that each New Year brings its own set of challenges.  2016 was no different in that respect and 2017 likely will be the same.  Life would be boring if there were not a few difficulties simply to keep us all on our toes and challenged to be even better at what it is that we do.

Our pledge to you, whether already clients and customers and employees, or whether you will become a client, customer or employee this coming year is quite simple. We pledge to be honest, to work diligently and to provide solutions for your needs as rapidly as is possible.

None of us knows just what 2017 will bring to us.  We can be reasonably certain this next year will bring more challenges, and that is good since a challenge requires a solution if we are to continue to excel.  Without the constant challenge, none of us would be as good at what we do as we have become.  Our competition is good.  Lack of competition is not good for any of us.

If this is the year in which you have promised you will improve your position, we’re ready to help you in that process.  Perhaps this is the year in which you’ll expand your business, we’re ready to help you in that effort.  Or if this is the year you told yourself you’d find a better partner, we’d love to try out for that spot.

We are not perfect and we know of no organization which is perfect.  Knowing that, we can always improve and that is the key for us all to be better in 2017 than we were in 2016.  Even though this was very good year, we’ll not rest on our laurels.  You keep us sharp.  You make sure we live up to our commitments.  We are thankful for you and what you do for us.  We hope that you are pleased with our mutual relationship.  If you are not yet a WFA Staffing client, and are seeking a pleasant and productive relationship, we stand ready to take the test.

Have a great Holiday season and call us early in 2017.

Fred D'Amato

 

Fred D’Amato, President

 

 

Congratulations to this year’s Future 50 class!

The MMAC’smmac_cosbe_future50_wisconsin_steel_tube Council of Small Business Executives (COSBE) has just made its decision about those companies that are on this year’s Future 50 list.  This is particularly important from our perspective since WFA Staffing was fortunate enough to make the Master Mettle level as a 3-year winner. The MMAC/COSBE began the Future 50 program to recognize the outstanding achievements of local, fast-growing entrepreneurs.  The Future 50 Program recognizes privately-owned companies in the seven-county region that have been in business for at least three years and have shown significant revenue and employment growth.

We note clients of WFA Staffing that have made the prestigious list of Future 50 honorees and recognize them for this accomplishment.  Those include the Kowal Investment Group, both a client and a provider of services to WFA Staffing,  Bliffert Lumber & Hardware,  Briohn Building Corporation,  BSI (3 year MM), General Plastics, and Innovative Signs.

Each of these 50 fine companies would, we’re sure, be very quick to recognize their team of employees and advisors as a significant part of their winning combination.  We at WFA Staffing take great pride in serving as members of the team of many area employers who seek out the best talent available for their hourly, salaried and executive teams.

We’d be proud to join as an advisor to your company, as well.

Tom Krist- CEO        Fred D’Amato- President

Tom Krist                 Fred D'Amato

 

Your Role on the Team….

team 2“Sometimes a player’s greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.”      

 Scottie Pippen, Basketball player

This quotation really hits home for many of us, and it is important to think about it whether we are reacting to a change made by others or we are the person making the decision to announce a change.  Our role on the team is critical to both the team and the players.  There is usually only one point guard to set up the play on the court at a time and the point guard doesn’t always call the play.  The plays available are usually called by the coach from the bench.  Sometimes the defense requires that a subtle change be made in the play, and the point guard has the responsibility to both decide when and how that happens, and is held responsible for the decision’s timeliness as well as for the outcome.

Similarly, we are part of the team in our workplaces.  We may operate day-to-day quite independently but we are still part of a team, and we are accountable for doing our part in making the team successful.  We may well need to alter our game plan given occurrences in our world, but we do so knowing we are responsible for the outcome.  Unless we are exceptional, we will not always make the right call, or even if we do make the right call, it may not always work out.

It is important that we recognize that we are part of the team, and that the rest of team may be affected by some action we take on the spur of the moment.  We need to be aware of the impact our action will have on the team if it fails, just as we need to be sensitive to the feelings of the others on the team whether it fails or succeeds.

Sales people may not have the authority to alter pricing or promise more rapid delivery without conferring with their manager.  Their manager may not have the sole authority team 4team 3and might need to confer with his or her boss.  Production line workers have little leeway in how they perform their jobs for obvious reasons.

If we have been around for any time at all, we probably can think of situations where someone took the initiative and made a decision impacting the entire organization.  We might have had the experience where that was a bold but successful move.  Or, we might’ve watched as that decision caused significant problems for the team.

If we have any doubt about when and where we have authority to make calls to change the usual approach or pricing or promises made to clients/buyers, we know those decisions require the approval of our manager, who may also need the approval of his or her manager.  If we operate in a more autonomous working world, these kinds of uses of individual authority may well have been part of the initial hiring discussions.  Even then, we need to be sure we have a winning track record when we make such decisions.

Too many bad calls may get us benched or traded.  Team players are a valuable commodity to the company and to their fellow team members.

 

Fred D'Amato

Fred D’Amato, President

 

New World of Social Media

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Chipotle has suffered for an extended period of time as health scares plagued it after several of its locations literally had to close their doors for a period of time.  The illnesses that appeared to have been contracted by Chipotle customers in those stores/restaurants were severe in many cases.  Of course, that caused the Chipotle chain to suffer whether there had been similar health scare issues or not. While that was happening, Chipotle also was Chipotlebecoming involved in another potential legal case involving social media.  An employee tweeted negative comments about Chipotle on Twitter and was subsequently terminated by the company.  A National Labor Relations judge has ruled that the termination was improper and ordered the former employee to be reinstated.  We don’t know what the comments were in a specific sense but it is becoming more and more obvious that employers need to be very careful, especially as they make their way through the new issues posed by social media.

The waters have been muddied.

What we thought was ironclad before is not necessarily being viewed in a similar manner in this ‘new world’ of social media.

drafting-employer-social-media-policies-350x431There appears to be a more lenient view of what is actually free speech and of what might be actionable language; if not more lenient, then certainly more problematic as the social media world’s issues are further legally defined.

The Chipotle example, at the least, lets employers know there needs be some further thought given to reprimands that might be considered, especially where social media is involved.  This might well prove to be a topic worthy of some legal review expenditures if there are unresolved issues in your workplace that involve social media.

The phrase ‘cut and dried’ does not appear to apply to the legal environment surrounding social media and its use/abuse in the workplace.  It is, in these kinds of cases, better to be wary than sorry as we watch the new social media world unfold and take shape.  It is certainly a double-edged sword.  While it probably goes without saying, we’ll say it to be safe:  contact your legal counsel and be sure you are in the proper and defensible place with regard to social media policy in your organization.

 

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Alan Campbell, Account Executive

The Early Bird Gets the Talent…

your hired'

Hire early for best results.  This seems a recurring theme for a WFA Staffing Blog, but that is the case for a reason:  there is a shortage of qualified people seeking positions as has been the case off and on for the past year.  We find candidates who have interviewed and made favorable impressions not being available any longer after a wait of only a week to ten days.  This seems more and more to be the ‘new normal’.  Frankly, we had expected this to be a passing phenomenon since we have seen that pattern before, but this seems to be more widespread and of longer duration than we’ve experienced in a long time.So consider a new hiring strategy…

If there is one message that seems to be apparent, it is this:  when you find a qualified person who seems to be a great fit for your organization, you may want to consider expediting your normal hiring timeline.  The chances are increasing that this person may no longer be available when you decide to pull the trigger.  That has happened to us several times very recently.

As we stated at the beginning of this blog, what has been the case in select categories now appears to be the case almost across the board.  Obviously, those positions with stiffer qualification and experience requirements might remain open for a bit longer, but the qualified candidates for those higher level positions seem to also have more choices.

The early bird indeed is coming away with the deal.

Talent is in the driver’s seat today and the talent we see does not seem hesitant to make life-altering decisions very quickly when the ‘right person and the right employer’ find each other.  Consider free agency; the top athletes usually receive immediate offers and are not left ‘on the market’ very long.  It is the wise employer who recognizes this market and alters the process accordingly in order to bring the right people on board.

As always, we are here to help and part of that help in today’s market is the advice you have just read.  If we seem to be pushing a bit, please understand that we are trying to help you avoid being disappointed.  Open positions, or under-performing employees, are costly to any business.

Fred D'Amato

Fred D’Amato, President

 

Future 50

mmac-v2The latest edition of the Milwaukee BizTimes (Sep. 7 – 20, 2015) features this years’ Future 50, the fifty select growing companies in SE Wisconsin according to the rankings of BizTimes.  They’ve been at this for quite a while, and we admittedly are partial since we were selected for this prestigious group three years in a row culminating in our designation as a Master Mettle organization, so we naturally think they are on-the-mark with their selections.

The Master Mettle group members are lauded for sustaining their growth patterns in both good and not-so-good economic times.  The members of that group this year are Cornerstone Plumbing LLC of Waukesha, EmbedTek LLC of Hartland, KS Energy Services, LLC of New Berlin, SmartChoice MRI of Mequon, Transcendent LLC of Hartland and W.I.S. Logistics of New Berlin.

Afuture-50-v2ll these Future 50 companies represent a true cross-section of businesses in this area.  Of the fifty, 2 are in the finance/real estate/insurance arena, 3 are in the wholesale trades, 15 are in manufacturing, 8 are technology companies, 7 are constructions organizations, and 15 provide ‘other services’.

WFA Staffing is very proud to work with some of these Future 50 organizations in support of their growth through searches to provide additional team members as they expand.

COSBE, which operates under the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), stands for the Council of Small Business Executives, and Mary Steinbrecher, COSBE’s Executive Director, stated that capturing a Future 50 designation 3 times is a “significant accomplishment”.

WFA Staffing extends its congratulations to all the Future 50 companies and especially to those six Master Mettle award winners for this year.

All would likely say that they have gotten to this level based upon having an excellent group of employees with the knowledge to help drive their business forward.  WFA Staffing is in the business of helping to identify just those kinds of employees regardless of what skill set they may need.  Give us a call and give us a challenge.  We don’t get paid unless we perform.

Tom Krist, President

Tom Krist

Politics as Usual

thGEO34GX5   As if you weren’t already aware, we are in the midst of a prolonged political season that already shows signs of deep emotional investment by people on both sides of the aisle.  Given 17 current presidential candidates in one party alone, there is plenty about which to disagree even in a single political party.  We have enough issues in our day-to-day business operations to keep us all on our toes without introducing something as potentially volatile as politics.

A Packer-Bear rivalry can sometimes be fun in a workplace environment because we seldom are as deeply committed to a football team as we can become to a particular politician.  Differing political views, while healthy and normal are simply not desirable for display in a work setting.

Many of us are very committed to our political party or candidate of choice and are active in those events and in supporting the candidates of our choosing.  Even then, we are wise to avoid politics in our respective businesses because that can lead to dysfunction.  And dysfunction is the opposite of what we all strive to create.

The staffing business is especially prone to these kinds of disagreements since our ‘product’ is people, and our customers are people and it is people who have political opinions.  If we were to display political banners or wear political buttons in the workplace, we’d likely lose a few candidates or customers if not more.  And we’d probably lose them for a long time since those memories stay with us for a long time.

So we, understandably, are more tuned in to this kind of thing but it can be just as concerning in a warehouse or on a factory floor or within a sales force.  There is more than enough in the normal course of things that can produce workplace angst without adding fuel to the mixture.

Now to work at practicing what has just been preached…

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Alan Campbell, Account Executive

Attitude

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The importance of pride in our accomplishments is often overlooked or just plain never thought about.  That is all too true when it comes to too many of us.  If you take a moment to reflect on some of the people in your life whose attitude is always great, you will very likely find a person for whom his or her position isn’t just a job.

People who exude that special something in their daily interaction with customers or clients or fellow employees may not even realize it, but they take pride in their accomplishment right down to each piece they produce, or to each sales call they make, or to each customer they help.

You can probably already pick out a couple of people you interact with for which this is quite obvious.  On the other hand, you can probably also pick several people with whom you interact for which this doesn’t apply, or at least doesn’t apply often enough.

We are the only person that can control our own approach to the outside world.  We can affect the appearance of a positive attitude even on days when we might not be feeling 100% positive.  That isn’t to say that we ought to only act like we’re positive, but that doesn’t hurt to get us over a day or two where something has caused us to lose a little of our ‘positivity’.attitude

I know of a  collector for Waste Management who is legend among his clients.  I have never heard a bad word about him or his service; actually all I ever hear is how he always goes the extra mile to please his customers most of whom he never even sees on a regular basis.  I see others who always have a smile on their face and who are eager to be of service whether they are scooping potato salad into a container for me, or they are administering an eye exam or telling how much my car repair is likely to cost. I also know those whose attitude leaves something to desire; I do my best to avoid them since I don’t want to be affected by their ‘bad day’.  Put a smile on your face and go face the world; it makes all the difference.

Alan Campbell, Account Executive

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That One Decision

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That One Decision

“Some of the worst decisions I’ve made in a business sense have been related to hiring and firing.”  That is something that almost any business owner or manager could say…and likely may have said a number of times.

That decision, almost without regard to the level of the position in a company, carries with it opportunity for success or failure…or a bit of each.  You may be saying that you’ve “been there and done that.”

A big part of what WFA Staffing does is centered on helping to find the right candidate, not simply one that can be placed.  That process includes getting a feel for the person and not just the person’s accomplishments.  We each develop a ‘sixth sense’ about people especially after we’ve interacted with thousands of them.  We might begin to get the ‘feeling’ that tells us this one is special or that one has something about them which we’re uncomfortable.

WFA Staffing’s people have had more than a normal business lifetime’s share of interviewing and seeing what makes some people perfect for a position while another is questionable.  Obviously this is more critical for some spots than for others, but a bad hiring decision carries with it the potential for bad outcomes that might easily affect other employees.

A workplace becomes a second home for employees.  Those we value learn quickly what the workplace ‘personality’ is and find the best way in which they can fit well to create additional value in the eyes of their associates and your customers.  Similarly, those we decide to release have the same ability to infect our associates and that can translate quickly to a feeling that our customers also perceive.

I have anguished over those situations where I have come to understand that I made a mistake.  It isn’t easy to terminate anyone.  That decision is affecting that person and their ability to find another position.  At the same time, we owe it to our other team members and to our customers to make those decisions and to take action as necessary.

That is among the many reasons that WFA Staffing makes sense whenever a position needs to be filled.  WFA Staffing brings that second and third look, that sense for candidates, to simply increase the likelihood of a good hiring decision that ideally will help avoid the need for a firing decision.

Tom Krist – President

WFA Staffing Group

Tom Krist