Archives for Employment

Cost of New Employees

There is a usual rate of increase in the cost of new employees as anyone in business understands.  We are in a situation today where that increase is greater than it has been in the recent past.  Business in general is on the uptick.  Certain types of people with certain backgrounds are in even more demand than has been usual for the past couple of years and that shows no sign of abating.

The demand for employees is increasing at the same time that people are less available for those positions.

This is contributing to churn in the marketplace that has not been present for some time.  And, it is churn in almost every aspect of employment.  Of course, that impacts the cost of new hires.

This is a time when those who want to explore new positions ought to be polishing their resume and giving serious thought to entering the market.  If you are one of those people, we encourage you to reach out to us.  If you are not yet among that group of employees, you may wish to rethink.  We are happy to engage you in trying to help you decide what you should or shouldn’t be doing today.

The pressure is hitting virtually every aspect of the employment marketplace.  Collar color is not nearly the driver that it usually is given the market.  Of course, those in the relative rarified echelons of employment may find this is not quite so pronounced except in certain types of positions.

Project managers are in greater demand given all the construction and rehabilitating of older buildings as business expands to handle the demand load.  Experienced Project Managers are usually in demand so this added demand represents significant increase in pressure in that world.

Employers are feeling the pinch in many sectors.  Some of this is obviously due to the major projects that have recently hit S.E. Wisconsin.  There is, however, spill-over to sectors that are usually quite stable in demand.  We see needs at nearly double the usual levels in some areas.

Our recommendation to employers is simple: anticipate what your needs may be in six to twelve months and begin the search process today rather than waiting for two or three months.

The Foxconn build-out may not directly impact some employers, but there seems a carry-over from that new activity that is hitting many types of employment.

If you are feeling this pressure or even if that has not quite become your problem yet, we urge you to begin contemplating what your needs may be six to twelve months from now.  Then put a plan into place today to accommodate that expected demand.  We have found that it is less costly to look ahead than to try to hire when the supply is drying up.  Better qualified people are typically available earlier and they are not available long.

Give us a call no matter which end of this situation you may be involved with-an employer seeking the right person, or the right person who might find the perfect spot opening without having been advertised.

 

 Tom Krist                 Fred D'Amato

Tom Krist, CEO  and  Fred D’Amato, President

 

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

 

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