“Try Before You Buy” for Employers and Employees

May 16th, 2014

Contract positions are becoming more and more commonplace in the employment world. In fact, many industry experts believe that 50% of the workforce will be contract workers within the next 20 years.  See J.T. O’Donnell’s Linkedinarticle “Underemployment is the ‘New Normal’ – Here’s how to Beat it”.  The reasoning is quite sound for both employer and employee alike.

The IDC reports businesses spend $85B+/year to make the hiring process more efficient and effective with investments in comparative profiling, psychometric testing, research, and training. And, “in a recent Career Builder Survey of over 6,000 hiring managers from the world’s ten largest economies, more than half report making a bad hire that caused significant harm to revenues, productivity, client relations, or morale costing more than $50,000 per bad hire”.See LexSisney’sLinkedin article “How to Hire Like the NFL’s Best Teams”.

It stands to reason then, that efforts to cut the costs of making bad hires can yield significant cost savings.  Enter contract to hire.  Contract positions are used by professional sports teams, businesses contracting projects to other businesses, actors and actresses with production studios, etc., etc.  It protects both parties from being stuck in a position that one or both of the parties is unhappy with by designating a specific time frame or other set of criteria by which the relationship can be dissolved and each party can move on.  Or, at this pre-determined point both parties can agree that the relationship is a win-win and either a new contract over a specified time frame or a permanent arrangement can be negotiated.  It’s effectively a “try before you buy” arrangement for both parties.

When was the last time you bought a new car without going for a test drive first?  Perhaps if you are in the market for a rare exotic you might make the purchase without a test drive, but you certainly have done your homework on such a rare find.  This would be similar to the hiring of a top notch C-level executive within an organization.  Have you purchased a home without first at least stepping inside and learning about the neighborhood?

The point is, a contract to hire arrangement offers a business a chance protect itself from making a bad investment in it’s people. It also offers employees the opportunity to prove themselves as well as get a feel for how they fit with the company culture before creating a more permanent bond.  There are additional benefits as well:

Benefits for employers:

  • The ability to fill short term staff needs due to maternity leave or work related injuries
  • Easy employment and administration of seasonal help
  • No hassle HR and benefits administration because the staffing firm who handles the heavy lifting typically supplies the contractors
  • Protection from significant costs of overtime by using additional contract employees to step in when overtime hours are approaching
  • Contractor employees are a great source of expertise for limited time project work and implementations
  • A solid time frame within which a full evaluation of  potential full time employees can be made.  The application of skillset to the work environment, work ethic, and the match with company culture are areas that are difficult to gauge within the short and confined restraints of the average hiring process

Benefits for employees:

  • The ability to gauge the fit with the company culture, the superiors whom one will report to, and the fit for the work and work environment prior to making a long term commitment
  • In some cases a position is not deemed a good fit by either the employer or contract employee and the arrangement ends at completion of the contract.  The benefit to the employee is that “contract position” can be used on the employee resume as opposed to “fired” or “wasn’t a good fit so I left” to explain a short term run with an employer
  • In a situation where an employee made a significant contribution to the company within the contract period the employee has extra bargaining power to negotiate the terms of a permanent position
  • In certain circumstances the employee has the ability to work more than one contract simultaneously.  And the employee has the ability to work on arranging another employment arrangement as he/she reaches the end of the current contract as opposed to being let go or terminated out of the blue.

Eric Snethkamp

Business Development Manager


A Look at American Manufacturing Pay Today

May 16th, 2013

Manufacturing jobs are slowly making a comeback and this is giving the American commercial recession a much needed boost. As evidence, it has been reported that about 500,000 manufacturing workers have gone back to work since 2010. However, statements are coming into the awareness that the jobs referred to in the reports have gone through modifications and are not the same as they were before in terms of compensation.

What are the distinctions, then?

A few may come into a question as to how these jobs may be. Evident in several years that have gone by is the fact that millions of profits have gone to employers in the manufacturing business. Employees generally belong to the middle class. One can easily finish secondary basic education, be hired for a manufacturing work position, and acquire competence along the way.

Due to particular decrees passed on by the Congress and supported by many authorizing bodies, a significant number on manufacturing labor force went down at an increasingly rate. This has caused a major loss for many companies. Several economy specialists have claimed that those who chose to reenter the business world will compensate their workers less.

The truth behind claims on manufacturing compensation

Nevertheless, the stated assertions can be slightly true or based on fact. It has been the economy specialist of the Commerce Department who has articulated that work opportunities are still well paid. This is apparent in the health and retirement advantages of employers in the form of benefits. Once these are put into collaboration, there arises a greater advantage for manufacturing workforce as compared to the common ones.

Moreover, what is accurate is that despite the unstable and varying circumstances present in the business and finance environment, labor in manufacturing sectors are invariably in prime conditions. This is the reason behind its ability to thrive as a much talked about issue and a subject for arguments or debates for campaigns for presidential candidates. It is also one of the accounts that US President Obama tends to domineer the business sectors since there in an aim to flourish the manufacturing fields.

Moving towards a positive light

Claims have been further made that there will be an addition of 14,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector and this might transpire this month or sooner. Considering the objective of the government goals of providing millions in support to the manufacturing sector, this number could happen soon. However, to fret or even be disappointed is not even an option. The economy is walking towards a path of brighter and bigger possibilities and this is a good thing to watch out for.

Stark Talent has multiple contract assignments available in the manufacturing sector. Stop by our career center to learn more and get a great new job.

The Changing Manufacturing Workforce – Industrial Staffing Trends to Watch

April 26th, 2013

Today’s workforce of manufacturers are far different than the workforce that operated the machines and belts 20 years ago. Technology, innovation, human resources, and other factors have all contributed to the environment in the manufacturing plant that is ever changing. There are hiring challenges in the manufacturing industry.

The United States is the biggest manufacturing economy in the world, employing 1/6 of the private sector jobs, around 17 million people. (Source: NAM.org)

However, when trying to attract employees to the workforce of manufacturers, there seems to be a large number of qualified candidates not applying because of their ‘idea’ of what the environment and atmosphere will be. It is these beliefs and myths about the manufacturing work that is putting up ‘barriers.’

So, what can the manufacturing industry do to break through these barriers to attract highly skilled workers?

  • Consolidate all the worker’s intellectual capital and give all employees login access.
  • Encourage shared insight from all employees about their jobs, including their suggestions on how to do things in a more streamlined manner.
  • The younger workforce expect to be able to use communication, open door methods, and idea sharing to excel in their careers, so having this in place is a great enticement to the qualified candidates in the younger generation.
  • BYOD, also known as Bring your own Device is a program that lets employees work from anywhere they want on their own equipment, while being connected to a secure network.
  • The BYOD program is very successful in increased employee productivity, while enhancing employee collaboration and plants. The BYOD program is a great incentive that can be used to attract and retain qualified, new employees.

Cisco published a report last year showing that 40% of survey respondents said they would take a job that paid less money, but offered more in their choice of device, mobility, and social media access than a job that paid more money with less flexibility. This is a huge piece of information that companies need to know in order to get the next generation employees on board. The innovative technology in the evolving manufacturer’s workforce in combination with the collaborative mindset is what the younger generation is looking for when they envision the future of the manufacturing plant.

How do we do this?

In order to give employees the ability to be mobile and work with devices, you need to implement technology and resources on the plant floor.

  • Tablets
  • Phones
  • Netbooks
  • Social Media
  • Instant access to non-networked employees (site managers, plant floor workers, project managers)

It is important that the front line workers in R&D, maintenance teams, sales, and all other teams are able to connect in a moment to get answers and resolve situations that can come up. Having access to all of these people and intertwining the way they can communicate will immediately elevate the production level of the manufacturing workforce, while inviting in a brand new generation of workers that are already tech savvy, and part of the newest technological trends.

Product development, sales, service, manufacturing, and even human resources should all be connected in order to extend knowledge where it needs to go, encourage collaboration globally in your plant, and deepen business ties and relationships within your own workforce. Stark Talent can help you to reach these goals, with on demand staffing support.

Cloud Computing Could Potentially Generate Millions of Jobs

February 25th, 2013

The year ahead promises to bring great career opportunities for those in the Information Technology and Data Management markets. Experts predict that candidates who have experience working with and developing new cloud technology will be at the forefront of this career growth in 2013.

What do reports say about career growth in cloud computing?

A recent study conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) and Microsoft indicates that by the year 2015, there will be some 14.1 million new jobs created by cloud computing alone, spurred by the billions in dollars that large firms are investing in this technology. Further the IDC/Microsoft study advised that, “Most of that job growth will hail from emerging markets — China and India in particular. It is estimated that these countries will generate 6.75 million cloud-related jobs versus an estimated 2.8 million jobs in the Asia Pacific region, 2.07 in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and 1.17 million in North America.”

The US makes up a large part of the demand for cloud technology, with over half of all cloud apps being developed for US businesses of all sizes and industries. It’s clear that cloud technology and everything it stands for are here to stay for many years to come – leading to some excellent career opportunities for IT and support pros alike.

The US Department of Labor backs up this claim in its Occupational Employment Projections to 2020 that was published in the January 2012 Monthly Labor Review. In the next decade, there is expected to be above average growth in the IT and cloud computing career paths, with more than half of all job creation attributed to business and information services. There is projected to be approximately 55,800 more jobs established with an 18 percent growth rate until 2020 in information systems.

How can employers prepare for the demand for cloud computing professionals?

One of the keys to success in the word of cloud computing is having employees who are knowledgeable about cloud technology and use it effectively in their normal duties. Hiring capable staff who have a high level of comfort and understand the nature of global business can give your organization an edge in your industry. Cloud computing is transforming many of the administrative and sales functions at companies around the world. Obviously tapping into great IT and technology talent, by working with Stark Talent, should be a critical part of your recruitment strategy.

Manufacturing Makeover | Developing Your Employer Brand

January 25th, 2013

When it comes to manufacturing, it’s impossible not to think that the US brand has changed. It used to be that everyone bought and was proud of items that were “made in America” but things have changed significantly. What once was a symbol of quality and expertise lost its footing when other countries, promising lower operating costs, stepped into the picture. For those companies that want to drive business back, it’s essential to consider remaking a brand.

What Others Are Doing

Some companies realized long ago that business was turning to China and other outsourced countries because they could get the product for less. They worked hard, but some companies have managed to change their brand from “made in America” to “cheaper than China.” That’s getting attention. In fact, by changing their marketing message, many of these companies are seeing significant growth and are hiring to manage that growth.

The Perception of Manufacturing Jobs

Even though the US currently hovers around an 8 percent unemployment rate (as of December 2012), the manufacturing industry has jobs that are going unfilled. Why is this? It’s become people no longer want to get the training necessary to fill those positions or, if they have it, they do not want to take those positions. It’s due to bad perception about manufacturing jobs as a whole.

To change this, some programs are putting put in place to focus on STEM (the implementation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) into the curriculum. What people must understand, starting with school-aged future employees, is that manufacturing isn’t a dead industry. It’s just not more high tech than it used to be.

Education is definitely the place to start when it comes to changing the branding of manufacturing as a whole. However, there’s more to the process. What does your employer brand offer?

  • What does your company offer that can compete in some way with the competition?
  • How has your marketing message changed to reflect this to lure in new customers?
  • What steps has your organization taken to beef up the roll call?

Many companies are taking real action to improve the image of marketing both on the large scale and within their local industries. It’s making a difference, too. By making US manufacturing a good thing in the eyes of the talent in the US, it’s far easier to fill positions. It’s also the same way to get more business. Stark Talent offers staffing solutions for manufacturing businesses, while they grow and need to add more employees. Take the time to learn more about our manufacturing staffing services in Texas and Alberta, Canada.

Demand for Engineers in 2013

November 30th, 2012

The demand for professional engineers is on the rise. Over the last few years, even with a dip in the number of positions being available in total, there has been more demand for qualified engineers in various fields. For those who are thinking about entering these fields, it is a good idea to get your degree and start focusing. That’s because the more focused your skills are, the more in demand you are likely to be.

What Engineering Fields Are Candidates Most Sought After?

The overall demand for engineers is on the rise. This includes a range of individual sectors. When you consider what job ads are being placed, the following fields have seen the most interest in recent months.

  • Mechanical engineers
  • Electrical engineers
  • Information technology engineers
  • Manufacturing focused engineers
  • Quality improvement engineers
  • Basic engineering positions
  • Project based engineers
  • Software engineers
  • Process focused engineers
  • Design engineers
  • Senior mechanical engineers
  • Senior electrical engineers

In each of these areas, there has been a spike in the number of job ads placed for these fields. However, the specific definition of what each of these jobs entail could have some overlap.

What About the Recession?

The recession put a damper on most of the US economy. There’s no doubt about that, but what many industries are doing is refocusing, retooling and even realigning their goals to remain competitive. Having highly skilled engineers in their back pocket has made this possible. No matter if these employers are looking for ways to cut back on their budget or to find a new way to design a product the consumer wants, there is a demand for engineers as a direct result.

Energy efficiency, cost-cutting measures, improvement of overall effectiveness and many other focuses have been the goal of many companies recently. For this reason, there is the need to hire professionals on who can help with the achievement of these goals.

That’s not to say that hiring in these fields has been easy. In fact, in some areas, doing so is very hard to do. That’s because there seems to be a shortage of qualified candidates in these key positions. As a result, the demand continues to rise and the supply of trained professionals is falling. All of this produces a situation in which there is outstanding demand for those who are in this field and looking to move up, make a change or just find a new opportunity to get involved with, even right out of school. For a job in engineering, your best approach is to get in touch with a quality staffing agency, like Stark Talent, for contract engineering assignments in many industries.

Lean vs. Six Sigma. Why Information Technology Needs It?

November 23rd, 2012

When it comes to streamlining business in the Information Technology industry, there is still some debate between using Lean vs. Six Sigma systems. With each system, there are obvious pros and cons, yet each has their own values that can apply to specific situations. Lean IT methods may work better than Six Sigma quality assurance systems during resource challenged situations, for example.

However, there are some in the IT field who are not sure if either method is beneficial at all. In this post, we will look at the defining aspects of Lean vs. Six Sigma IT systems and see why they are needed to be successful.

Lean Systems

Used as a tool to streamline production processes, lean methodology is focused on reducing waste. This includes avoiding the waste of money and materials, time, and personnel when a project is underway. If a project is to be profitable, it must reduce as much waste as possible.

Lean methodology can help to avoid unnecessary steps in the product lifecycle; therefore it is very helpful in terms of an agile project management strategy. Yet, sometimes Lean systems can make it difficult to obtain the funds needed to make changes, if the methodology is followed too strictly. In IT there needs to be planning, but there also needs to be some flexibility.

Six Sigma Methods

While Six Sigma goals are similar to Lean, in that it reduces waste of materials and time, it takes things to a higher level. Six Sigma focuses on producing quality work in addition to completing projects on time and under budget. By eliminating defects in workmanship, Six Sigma can easily be applied to IT in that there is less need for maintenance and support for problem-free use once a product has been delivered.

Additionally, Six Sigma can support the ongoing improvement of existing products and services in the IT world. From production and design to support and management of customer service initiatives, Six Sigma applies to all areas of the IT industry. By updating and improving IT products and services, the Six Sigma methodology can boost a business’s value in the eyes of consumers and vendors alike.

Business Advantage of Six Sigma and Lean Technologies

In today’s business world, information technology and the management of information must be handled with care and efficiency. Therefore using time-tested Lean and Six Sigma principles can help to make your business more effective over time.

Consider the ways in which Lean and Six Sigma can also handle your staffing and training needs. By using the Six Sigma and Lean concepts, a company can monitor the quality of new hires, productivity levels, and profitability more clearly. In addition, a staffing agency, like Stark Talent, can work within these methodologies to provide high level candidates for leadership assignments within your business.

Manufacturers Project a Strong Second Half of 2012

October 15th, 2012

What does the second half of 2012 look like for the manufacturing sector? According to the April 2012 Group Outlook Survey, conducted by Prime Advantage, there are some good things ahead. In fact, this organization, which is a leading buying consortium for mid-sized manufactures, believes the rest of the year will yield positive improvements for many companies.

What Did The 2012 Survey Find?

The survey found that most manufacturers who participated anticipate a positive second half of 2012 with ample hiring, healthy revenue numbers and good capital spending plans. For some companies, though, there could be some holdups due to the federal election in the U.S. Take a look at what is happening.

Revenue and Capital Spending

In the areas of revenue and capital spending, most mid-sized manufacturers responded that they expected significant improvements. About 48 percent say they expect increases compared to 40 percent in 2011. The reason for this, they state, is due to improved customer demand for products. In 58 percent of the cases, customers were the primary factor and in 32 percent, new product lines also contributed.

Employment Increases

In terms of hiring, 90 percent of those companies that participated in the study said that they plan to increase the number of U.S. workers they are bringing on board. Of those companies, 39 percent plan to fill open positions this year. Last year, only 35 percent planned to do so. That is good news for the manufacturing industry as a whole, but very good for those looking for positions in these factories this year.

Other Factors

There are other contributing factors to the operations of mid-sized manufacturers right now.

  • The costs related to raw material purchases are less this year than they have been. This is also contributing to the growth of many companies.
  • The cost of healthcare, on the other hand, is one of the biggest concerns for many employers in the field. This is not the second highest cost pressure for manufacturers.
  • Federal elections could play a role in the businesses, too. Of those surveyed, 29 percent are seeing some delays in employment as a result of the uncertainty in this field.

For many manufacturing companies, these are big concerns that are weighing heavily on their hiring decisions. Mid-sized manufacturers, an important segment in the industry, are particularly vulnerable to the changes in attitudes by consumers as well as cost changes in healthcare and raw materials. However, 2012 seems to be ending on a high note for many in the manufacturing and related industries.

To manage the upcoming growth trends in manufacturing, you must have a plan in place to maintain your staffing numbers. This requires access to quality, manufacturing employees. Be sure to contact Stark Talent in Austin for manufacturing staffing support on a temporary contract or perm placement status.

CPG Trend News for 2012

October 8th, 2012

For those in the CPG market, things are still quite uncertain. Many of the financial experts say that the nation is in gradual climb in productivity and growth, but it is difficult to see when there are still tales of business failure and layoffs. Yet, with the decrease in the number of unemployed claims announced this week, there is hope that the CPG market will begin to feel some positive effects.

A recent article from the Global Marketing Association for Marketing at Retail stated that “…CPG marketers have been wrestling with rising commodity prices, and increased input costs all along the supply  and delivery chain.  The net result of these forces has been intense margin strain and ongoing growth issues.” Not having access to a ready supply of materials and resources in CPG can seriously hamper any growth initiatives, including being able to staff proactively in the coming season.

Additionally, a SymphonyIRI’s study indicates the following CPG trends:

  • Consumers in 2012 are basing their buying decisions on purchase price, so retailers better offer the best quality at the lowest pricing structure.
  • Private label and dollar unit sales will remain at a steady 18-22 percent of all retail sales in 2012.
  • More drug stores will offer food and beverage centers to compete with popular cafes and super stores, to encourage shoppers to stay longer.

Yet, still many businesses and consumers alike are in a holding pattern, causing wallets to still be tight while the upcoming Presidential elections take place. There are some consumers who have increased their spending, while others still maintain a frugal mindset. A recent Gallop Poll shows that as of October 4, 2012, consumer spending has remained stable. Financial experts are predicting this will be one of the most lucrative holiday seasons, with many retailers putting their holiday merchandise out on shelves early to stimulate spending.

For businesses engaged in the CPG market, now is not the time to be shy about staffing for the upcoming busy season for consumer sales. While it may not be feasible to add many full time staffers to the payroll, this can be an opportune time to contract with a staffing agency to provide flexible staff for promotional events and heavy sales periods. This can be a cost effective way of handling the demands in CPG while maintaining quality that drives revenues.

Look to Stark Talent for employee support in CPG growth efforts in 2012. Our pre-screened candidates are ready to begin work on a contract basis to maintain your customer service and marketing efforts.

How Returns Management = Cost Savings in Staffing

September 17th, 2012

Returns management is big business. As an executive managing a retail outlet, your job is to minimize returns. Wait, how is that the case? Although it used to be that people returned gifts most commonly for reasons such as product malfunction or even buyer’s remorse, today’s trends are vastly different. Instead of focusing on returns management at the manufacturing level, it is critical to see this as a customer experience problem instead.

The Stats Show It

Look at the following statistics on return management. The biggest impact comes in the weeks after Christmas, but returns management is a focus throughout the year in most businesses.

  • Year after year, about $100 billion worth of loss occurs to retailers and manufacturers each year. This comes from losses in sales, processing, disposing of goods, handling, and transportation related to returns.
  • Since 2007, consumer electronics returns have increased by 21 percent. That accounts for $17 billion.
  • 43 percent of electronic manufacturers say the product return rates are up, according to a study by Accenture.
  • Only 5 percent of all returns are due to defective products. 27 percent are due to buyer’s remorse.
  • 68 percent are considered no fault found returns.

As these stats show, there’s a real need to focus on returns management right from the manufacturing stage.

Manufacturing Changes Equate to Improvements

Some companies are focusing on the design stage to reduce returns. They are making products that are easier to use. Many of them are focusing on making products that are customer friendly.

It goes further, though. Some also believe that manufacturers should help consumers to learn about the product, how to set it up and use it and how to optimize the products. Instead of just putting money into returns management, it is better to put those funds into methods that can help to actual prevent the problem in the first place. This comes from educating the customer and providing aftermarket support.

Making it an ongoing effort can make a difference. Some companies are putting into place ongoing efforts to improve the first call completion rate. This means that solving the customer’s problem on the first call they make is the goal.

Returns management is a key component to any manufacturer’s bottom line. By refocusing funds into prevention, though, many companies can see a significant savings. According to some resources, a simple reduction of the returns rate attributed to no fault returns could equate to a savings of $21 billion.http://starktalent.admin.haleywebsite.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

Want to maximize your ROI with a smarter staffing strategy? Stark Talent in Texas and Alberta, Canada has the resources you need to contain staffing costs and improve your business returns management all year.