Archives for Employment

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

Challenges of a shrinking workforce…

There is a shrinking workforce in Wisconsin and a recent BizTimes publication highlighted that fact.

WFA Staffing is in the business of locating qualified talent for our client employers, and have been doing that for a long time.  We know the difficulties in searches since we live it day-in and day-out.   Our recruiting staff has come to understand which searches will require a longer time frame, and we have had the opportunity to see what the going rates are in some of the toughest recruiting categories.

WFA views ourselves as partners with our client employers.  Our company has always thought in those terms and we find that many of our client employers are also thinking along these lines.  Our seasoned staff can help employers gain a feel for what timespans ought to be planned for in recruiting.  They can also advise on going rates for the talent being sought.  We know that some positions will simply be tougher to fill. We also want to be open with our clients in that regard.

Frankly, if you are not having those same discussions with our competitors, you might want to give us a call.

We are all looking for the right talent at the right price.

That may sound a bit crass but that is often the name of the game in today’s market.  Especially in certain sectors of employment, available people are in very short supply.  Even though it might be tempting, we do not reach out to former employees whom we have placed.  That is simply not the way we choose to operate.

Given the shrinking workforce, we have had discussions with good long-term clients who are re-thinking their staffing plans. Some are even at the point of relaxing their standards a bit just to be able to continue to serve their clients.  Gone are the days when an employee performing at 80% of requirements could be released.    Finding a good replacement in a few weeks, no longer is an option, at least in certain categories of positions.

Another critical aspect adding to this shortage of talent quite frankly is the numbers of candidates who fail the requisite drug tests.  That seems to be an increasing issue rather than simply being better some months and worse other months.

The laws of supply and demand are active in today’s marketplace.

 

The skill sets in greatest demand carry the highest costs but will also deliver profits in return.  Profits don’t flow if product quality or service is degraded, or if delivery times stretch out to untenable lengths of time for customers.

If you know you’ll have needs over the next few months, please let us know what those are likely to be so that we can be aware and get those wants into our system soon.  A new hire a week or two early is far better than a new hire a week or two or more too late.

Fred D'Amato

 

Fred D’Amato, President

 

Constructive Criticism

Contructive CriticismCriticism is something each of us has or will receive.  It is up to each of us as to just how we’ll respond to criticism, and it is up to each of us as to what we will take away from the experience.  There may be a way to avoid criticism, but that would probably entail each of us working for ourselves with no other employees, and then ignoring all the things we’d really know deep down that we should’ve done differently.  Our business probably would never really get off the ground if that were our approach.  We would probably become our own worst critic!

There are people who are able to criticize without that criticism feeling as though someone had stomped on your foot…or worse.  There are other people who seem to be able to criticize only if the message is hurtful, and we never quite know if the message was intended to be hurtful or if that person simply didn’t know how to make criticism feel better, or didn’t care one way or the other.

The people in our lives who know how to criticize without hurting us are showing us they really like our work and want us to do better for them and for ourselves.  That is a most valuable gift.  If you know someone who has that gift, try to determine how you might be able to copy their approach so your conversations with subordinates, even if somewhat critical of their work product, would seem to be meant to help them become better at what they do for the company.

I can remember working for a man who seemed to know when I was capable of a better work product and who would gently let me know he saw that in me and wanted to help me become even more important to his company.  I got the message and I wanted to please him with improved performance.

If you have the need to criticize, try to be professional in the manner in which you criticize and avoid any remarks that might be taken personally by the recipient.  If you are the recipient, try to be receptive to the criticism knowing that if the manager didn’t want you on his or her team, you’d have never been given the chance to improve.

By the way, this world of criticism is also at work for sales people who interact with prospects and customers.  Usually the sales person is the recipient, fairly or unfairly, but these are learning opportunities and can be turned into situations that result in a long-term customer with whom you have a good understanding.

 

Tom Krist

 

 

Tom Krist, CEO

Authenticity- Be yourself!

Be-yourself-in-a-worldAuthenticity is important.  Authenticity in interviews is very important.  What is authenticity?   How can we be authentic in interviews?  It is actually quite easy to define.

We define interview authenticity as you being you in the interview.

You are who you are. You have hair of a certain color; you are so many inches tall; you weigh so many pounds, you talk the way you talk, and your attitudes and experience are what they are.  That is the authentic you.  Authenticity is not something you can conjure up for specific occurrences such as an interview.  Too often, we have seen the situation where a person studies all he or she can about the company with which they are about to interview.  Is that a bad thing?  Absolutely not; you ought to learn as much as possible about your prospective employer before you interview.  But you should not try to be someone you are not and never have been.

Being authentic during the interview simply means that you act like yourself.

You don’t create some new version of yourself because you think that might work better for you during the interview.  You might be able to fool the interviewer once in a great while, but even then what have you gained?  The company thinks they have hired a person who doesn’t really exist.  You cannot be someone other than who you really are.  Actors and actresses play roles but that is only for the time they are onstage or in front of the camera.  You cannot play a role as an employee for 40 or more hours a week and for 50 weeks out of the year with two weeks of vacation to be your real self.

It is important tauthentic-self-picture-quotehat you be your real self during interviews.  That is how you achieve authenticity in the interview.  If the employer isn’t willing to hire the real you, then you are spared having to act the part of someone different for the rest of your career with that employer.  You know that would be impossible, but it is amazing how many times people who are seeking a new position are tempted to do just that.  There can be a lot of pressure to land that new job.  Bills are piling up; your spouse is counting on it; you need that ideal position to feel good about yourself.

But, no matter how rough the situation might be, do not fall into the trap of trying to act like a different person because you think that’ll get the offer to come your way.  It will almost always do just the opposite.  Even if that acting works once in a while, you would be miserable from the first day on.

Be yourself.  Walk the way you walk.  Talk the way you talk.  Tell the truth about your experience and education.  Act the way you’d want to be able to act if you were hired.  Be the real you; that is authenticity in the interview.

Tom Krist

 

 

Tom Krist, CEO

 

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

 

Moving Forward Together

1913-Ford-Highland-Park-Plant-engine-installationThis quote from Henry Ford, a visionary and innovator in manufacturing and the automotive industry, caught my eye this morning.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Quotes that say so much in so few words are great.  Think of a marching band and think about the coordination of movement required to make it look so professional.  Think of a football team that can’t move the ball, isn’t it immediately apparent when there is someone not aligned with the rest of the group?

When we transfer that thinking to the production line, or the selling process, or the welding department or the grease and lube facility, we can see the merits of a well-orchestrated human element working in tandem with the equipment that goes along with each job.

Imagine the Project Manager losing focus on the need for all aspects of the project to be moving ahead in lockstep.  That would not yield a project being completed on time and on budget.  And it certainly wouldn’t create a happy customer.

Imagine the assembly line employee who misses a beat thus sending the whole line into shutdown.  That is not conducive to that “well-oiled machine” we all shoot for every time we undertake a job.

This simple concept is the most critical office machineof all the steps in any well-operating company no matter what the product or service of that company may be.  There is sometimes a tendency to focus on the stuff that seems more important when the really important aspects are that we are all on the same page at the same time and moving in the same direction each doing what we are responsible to do.

Another name for this coordination of efforts is teamwork.  We each have to be at the top of our game, with our minds focused on the important issues and we must be putting forth the effort required if we are to be part of the well-oiled machine we spoke of earlier.

 

 

021_phixrAlan Campbell, Account Executive

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