Archives for change

Habits – Are they good or bad?

habits-wordle1Habits come in all varieties, but we tend to think of ‘bad’ habits whenever the word ‘habit’ is mentioned.  Maybe that is natural from childhood on through adulthood.  Maybe we were admonished so often as youngsters that we see the word as having a bad connotation.

Habits are defined as: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.

Even this definition of a habit is tinged with the stigma that a habit is usually bad.  But, that is far from reality.  If you have the habit of smoking you probably realize that is, by definition, a bad habit.  But, if you have turned that habit into a habit of no longer smoking, then you have traded a bad habit for a good habit; maybe that is chewing gum.  But be sure you don’t have the habit of loudly chewing your gum.

We often become creatures of habit, and we do not always recognize that in ourselves.  We tend to go to the same restaurants and we might have a habit of ordering the same dish since we’ve developed a liking for it.  We patronize the same gas stations.  We watch the same TV shows.  We have a favored news program that has become a habit.  We have a favored theatre.  We have a favored meal.  We have a favorite kind of music.  We may even have a favorite Bible verse.

In the workplace, habits, even good habits, can be the source of irritation for our associates.  Have you ever tired of the person who slurps her soup at lunchtime?  Do you annoy others with the tune you habitually hum?  Do you always begin a conversation with the same opening line?  Are you constantly clearing your throat?

The most innocent thing we do might be the source of irritation for others without us even recognizing that.

It is, unfortunately, usually easier for us to identify the bad habits of others than it is to identify habits we have that bother others.  It takes a very good friend, a kind-hearted person, to help us see those kinds of things about ourselves.

When we demonstrate that we can take a bit of criticism without ‘losing it’, we have taken a huge step toward being a better associate.

Habinew-habitsts during employment interviews can make or break the interview.  A good habit played to excess will be as damaging as a bad habit displayed during the interview in your job search.  A good friend can be an excellent source of constructive criticism…if we are confident enough to make that request and to handle the resulting discussion positively.

 

 

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Alan Campbell, Account Executive

Silver Tsunami

happy-retirement-150x150We hear about the impact millennials (those typically with birth years from the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s) are having and will continue to have on the workforce.  But, there is another phenomenon that has been given the name “silver tsunami”, and that is the growing segment of employees nearing or at retirement age, and concerning just what impact the loss of that experience pool will have going forward.

Employers are faced with ‘silver tsunami’ issues such as who will retire and those who will want to continue working, and what those decisions will do to employee benefit practices for example.  If you haven’t given any thought to this, you might wish to engage your employee benefits broker or consultant to begin the planning for this possibility.

There is another very intriguing aspect to this ‘silver tsunami’ wave, and that centers in our world, the world of employment and recruitment.  ‘Silver tsunami’ workers have significant organizational wisdom that might be lost upon their retirement. Silver tsunami 34 There is also the intriguing potential for employers needing skilled talent no matter the age, to focus some recruiting efforts on the ‘silver tsunami’ group.

There are ‘supply issues’ in the current employee talent pool and you probably know that as well as we do.  There are simply too few qualified people available in certain fields to meet today’s demand.  The ‘silver tsunami’ group might provide part of the solution.  Recruiting in that pool may provide more talent and better availability if the attained age is not a problem for the hiring employer.

We need to review our recruiting practices to assure that we can find those who may have ‘aged out’ in one company while they still want and need to work.  A recent Society for Human Resource Management and Sloan Foundation survey found that 66% of HR professionals said their organizations now employ older workers who have retired from other organizations or careers.  Of those people being hired from that pool, 58% said they went to work after retirement because they enjoyed it and needed to find something to do with all the time they suddenly had available.  Another 45% said their reasons centered on health care benefits.

Obviously, millennials are very important, but we need to be reminded not to lose sight of the value to be found among those in the ‘silver tsunami’.

 

Tom Krist, President

Tom Krist

What Do the Wal-Mart Pay Hikes Mean For Us?

walmartWal-Mart has taken a position on the minimum wage by setting its own minimum wage.  Wal-Mart says it will increase its minimum wage to at least $9.00 per hour by April and to at least $10.00 per hour by February of 2016.   This will affect some 500,000 Wal-Mart associates.  It is a big step for the 48-year old CEO, Doug McMillon, who states that he believes this move will help to improve customer service; McMillon earlier said he thought this had slipped across the Wal-Mart universe based on results and on his surprise store visits.

What is this likely to mean for all the rest of us employers?  There may be some downward availability of temporary labor that could drive that cost up at least in the short term. We do not expect this action to materially impact the bulk of our client employers.  Wal-Mart’s competitors will have to decide if they will follow the leader.  Stockholders are already registering some concern over this move; it will be interesting to track the price of Wal-Mart shares over the next few months.  Wal-Mart shares dropped 3.2% on the announcement.

In the world that WFA Staffing and its client employers occupy, the Wal-Mart move is probably more ‘water-cooler’ talk than anything else.  Things are not likely to change much, if at all, except for the large box retailers…and it may not change much for them either.

For the customers that patronize Wal-Mart, there may be an improvement in customer service although that is difficult for anyone to accurately assess.  The result will be shown over time as Wal-Mart posts sales numbers and profit numbers.  The profitability of a large box retailer that raises its labor cost may lag as the company takes the hit that the increased expense will cause.  Any sales increase will probably be more gradual and any profit increase will be slower yet.

It is difficult to see how Wal-Mart will be able to avoid raising prices through an increase in sales volume since that would likely only happen gradually.  There is also the question of what the reaction of the major competitors of Wal-Mart will look like.  If they choose not to follow suit, they might eke out a more apparent pricing advantage.

It might well be that Wal-Mart will find at least some of this extra money by driving even harder bargains with its suppliers.  That is not an unusual approach for this company.  The reality for many of those suppliers is simple; they are very dependent upon the volume they do with Wal-Mart, and consequently do not have much leverage over the retail giant.  When Wal-Mart hollers “jump”, they do their best to clear the new hurdle…or they suffer the loss of business that might threaten their existence if they do not have substantial bank balances.

In the meantime, WFA Staffing will continue to work to earn your business by fulfilling your staffing needs with good people at competitive prices.

 

Alan Campbell, Account Manager

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Problems Create Opportunities

Problems - Running

Problems Create Opportunities

How many times have you wondered why your company seems to need more problem-solving than other companies with which you are familiar? Those other companies’ leaders may be having the same questions running through their minds too.

BUT… what if your conflicts disappeared? What would you do to improve if you were rid of problems? The chances are that we all might get a bit complacent without a problem now and then that needed resolution.

If we had the time, or made the time, to look back over the issues that have arisen over the past few months, we might well see that those very occurrences, those problems we dislike, were responsible for changes that made the company better.

The various issues that pop up force us to think about what caused them, what we might do to be sure they don’t recur, and what we can do to create an even better company as the result of the exercise we’ve been forced to go through.

In reality, the very problems we dislike are the catalyst for improvement that we might not have considered without the problem.  The ‘good news’ is this: we’ll probably continue to have those opportunities to improve our businesses since it is highly unlikely that we will cease having problems.

The next time a crisis hits your desk, step back and think about how fortunate you are to have this opportunity to make your company better.  Positive attitudes, even about our problems, are good things to cultivate.  If you can create that same mentality in your employees, you’ll have made a big improvement in your company.

 

Tom Krist – President

Tom Krist

 

 

 

Is it Time to Restructure Your Company?

Time for change?

We all read about this company or that company where old product line sales have eroded over time and growth is slowing.  That is not an uncommon issue for companies, as competitors fight to lower prices which causes the originator of the product to see profits decrease or even disappear altogether.

Maybe you’re running a company and thinking about re-vamping current products or services; or maybe you’re thinking you need to develop a new line of products or services that can help you establish your company in a new field. One that is more promising than the field you’ve worked in for years. This growth transition can be difficult and time consuming.

There are certainly problems that exist whenever you try to take on a bold new approach to product development, but also while working to maintain the share of market you hold with your current product or service.  It is difficult to serve two masters, but sometimes it has to be done if you want to succeed in your mission of growth.

It can be tough for engineers and product development types from within your company to adopt a new approach to being creative problem solvers.  You need to keep the people, who maintain your current line, but you also need to be able to attract the new talented people who can fit into your culture, and who can also help you find the next great innovative product.

WFA Staffing is in a position to be able to help you if this is a problem that keeps you awake at night or nags at you every minute you’re awake.  Our very experienced staff of professionals would be happy to talk with you about what you want to accomplish, about the people that it would take, and about how we would go about finding those people for you.

You may feel you are being squeezed by outstanding circumstances, (economic, cultural, etc.) but you’re also saying to yourself, “I know I need to do something, but I’m just not sure how to find the right people”.  That is often the feeling of employers who we contract with to find the right people with the right backgrounds; and sometimes without non-compete agreements that might preclude them from working for your firm.  We also are in the position to retain these employees on the WFA Staffing payroll while they are 100% assigned to your firm if that is what will make your business successful.

If this kind of discussion would be helpful, no matter whether you’re at the very beginning of such an effort or have already gone some way down that road, give us a call or drop us an e-mail.  As President of WFA Staffing, I’d welcome your call to me at 414-365-3651 or an e-mail to me at tkrist@wfastaffing.com . Is it time to restructure your company?

Tom Krist – President

WFA Staffing Group

Tom Krist