Retaining IT Talent in 2013 – Tips for HR Managers

March 27th, 2013

Hanging on to top talent in the field of IT seems more difficult than in other fields, due to the demand for skilled information technology professionals. However, adopting a few specific tactics can help you to retain the talented members of your IT staff that seem to do all the heavy lifting for your business.

Give them Room to Grow

Not only do the people who work for you need to grow in order to reach their potential as IT professionals, but they also need to know you’re giving them room to grow. Your employees need to understand that you’re as invested in them as they are in the work they do for you.

There are a few ways to do this effectively. Offer classes to help them improve their skills. Give them side projects and opportunities to put new skills into action. Reimburse them for college courses they take that furthers skills they can use on the job. All of these things make them feel as though they’re important to your company today and in the future. That feeling of importance fosters loyalty among employees.

Turn to Employees for Input

More importantly, really consider the input they provide. Most employees aren’t going to volunteer their best ideas until they believe they’re being heard. Lend weight to what they have to say and build a relationship of trust and mutual respect in your workplace.

People who feel as though they have a voice in the way things are run are much more likely to stick with your company in good times and bad than those who feel like you aren’t really hearing their voices at all anyway.

Offer them the Opportunity to Prove their Worth

Contests and competitions that offer prizes for performance are excellent tactics to allow employees to really shine in areas where they excel without forcing them to pat themselves on the back. You’ll be really surprised by the number of employees who feel undervalued and under-recognized for their contributions simply because they aren’t willing to or interested in pointing fingers at themselves.

Friendly competitions give them a chance to earn prizes for doing what they do best and also keeps them on your radar so that you know who the real producers in your company happen to be.

Promote Employees for Jobs Well Done

One of the main reasons employees leave is that they believe they have no room for growth. This is especially a problem for IT employees who do a lot of work behind the scenes and feel as though they’re constantly being overlooked for promotions in favor of flashier employees who have less substance, but more charisma.

It’s best to create clear and fair standards for promotion and consistently promote employees who earn their promotions based on the standards alone. Don’t require them to ask for advancements they feel they have earned. Plan for promotions by recruiting from IT staffing agencies, like Stark Talent, for entry level assignments.

These are small things businesses can do that will make a huge difference when it comes to retaining talented IT staff members who may consider greener pastures otherwise.

How Social Media Helps Information Technology Firms

March 22nd, 2013

Social media is a craze that isn’t going away anytime now or in the future. It’s transformed the way average people connect and the way organizations conduct everyday business.

In many ways, business social networking has become a valuable operations tool that thousands of executives and human resource professionals turn to daily for fast access to information and people. In the technology sector, this is prevalent.

How is social media used to support tech companies?

There are many ways that social media and the networking opportunities that it brings support the technical industry at the corporate level. Let’s look at a few ways.

  1. Industry news and updates – One big way that social media helps technology businesses is that it helps to shed light on new advancements and ideas in an otherwise rapidly evolving industry. News and updates are shared by social networks and this allows companies to stay ahead of the competition.
  2. Online groups and events – With much of the technology industry conducting business on a global scale, social media allows businesses to set up virtual events and forums where participants can connect and share.
  3. Recruiting in technology – In terms of tech recruitment, social media has become the go-to source for candidates. Why? Recruiters can quickly search for candidates by job specialty and industry, which is convenient for recruitment sourcing.
  4. Corporate branding – Creating an image for the company is very important in today’s technology driven environment. Businesses can use social media as a platform for displaying and promoting their brand.
  5. Improved collaboration– Using social media has become commonplace in tech work environments. By providing internal social networking groups, employees can collaborate and post updates on important projects.

Strategic business use of social networking on the increase

While these are just a handful of the ways that technology firms can use social media to improve internal processes, connect with industry thought leaders, and attract great talent—there are some interesting statistics in this area for further research. In the 2012 Small Business Social Study conducted by SMB Group, it was revealed that:

  • One-quarter of all US small businesses and one-third of midsize companies use social media to engage with customers and prospects in a strategic and structured way.
  • At the time of the survey, 20 percent of US businesses had integrated social media into their standard business processes.
  • 86 percent of companies worldwide have a presence on at least one social network, including a growing interest in the use of Pinterest and Google+.

It’s growing more important than ever that companies focus on a strategy for not only connecting with their prospective clients, but also utilize social networks for attracting the best technology candidates possible. By engaging with job seekers, social media can be harnessed to bring in higher quality candidates. In this day and age where quality counts, hiring the best IT employees can make all the difference in the success of your tech firm. That’s why Stark Talent should be your first stop for quality technical and IT contract workers.

Manufacturing and Social Technology – Effective Use for Industrial Recruiting

February 8th, 2013

Social technology is most often thought of as a business to customer (B2C) aspect of marketing. There’s no doubt that social networking, social interactions and social – everything, is focused on bringing in new customers. That’s a good thing and it works very well. Any business not engaging in social aspects is missing out. Yet, there’s another component to keep in mind here. That is business to business.

How can social technology work in the manufacturing industry or other industries in which the model is business to business?

It’s Not as Easy as You Think

One of the reasons you may be scratching your head and wondering how this could work is because it is a challenge. There’s plenty stacked up against you.

  • The length of the sale cycle is often much longer in the business-to-business model. That makes it harder to get those results in an instant fashion, which is something that social technology encourages.
  • The complexity of the process can be a challenge as well.
  • It’s usually all about the dollar investment, too.

That’s because you are thinking about it in the same light you would the business to customer relationship. You are thinking of it as a way to engage and nurture your relationships with customers and even to close the sale. Yet, when you turn things around, it can work very well from the business-to-business standpoint.

How to Use Social in B2B

This business-to-business model of using social technology is working and some manufacturing companies are finding it to be a very successful way of building sales and business. How does it work?

  • Use it to incorporate collaboration.
  • Use it to make email automation possible.
  • Use it to manage content as well as documents with ease.
  • Use it for business monitoring and listening.
  • Use it to build a knowledge base.

For example, you may want to combine social CRM to project management as well as billing. If you have a smaller business, you can run your operation on this application. It’s important to find and employ the various technologies available that empower business owners like this.

Social technology works to increase the amount of collaboration that takes place between partners and suppliers. You can replace the word “social” with “collaboration” in any supply chain and management instance. It helps to streamline various processes, improving workflow, and makes data flow possible.

Another way in which it is working is by creating new customer portals. These are being used for all aspects, including design, specifications, and delivery. This works in various industries. It helps to streamline the process overall.

The bottom line is, when you turn social technology into a business-to-business viewpoint, you can see exactly how helpful it is. This is also true when it comes to social recruiting that the Stark Talent team are experts in using to find high quality candidates in Texas and Alberta, Canada. It’s not something to overlook the value of  in the manufacturing indu

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.

Improve Manufacturing Operations | Manage Change

January 18th, 2013

In manufacturing, change is a part of the job. No matter the industry or position, things change. As an employee, it can be hard to swallow change, especially when it means learning something new or setting a new goal. Before you can lead your employees through such changes, you need to be ready to face them yourself.

To Improve You Must Change

There is always going to be change. In order to see any improvement, you need to see changes occurring. Companies cannot improve especially in today’s economy without making changes that affect the bottom line, the product, or the results. The key factor to remember is that it’s not about processes, but about focusing on people instead. What can you do?

One step in the right direction is to talk to the people that are actually involved in the processes that you plan to change. Gather applicable information from these employees (not from surveys or other plans.) The employee, in most cases, often knows exactly what you can do to improve the operational process to get the results you want. This is the information you need to have if you want to make changes to improve efficiency overall.

Why Don’t They Do It?

Why don’t managers talk to employees more often to gather this information? Many believe that employees will criticize the system, often the one that the current manager has put into place. That means the manager ends up with the blame on his shoulders. Some employees are unwilling to share the truth for fear of stepping on toes.

The key to overcoming this is the job of the manager. He or she needs to push aside the defensive attitude and realize that some processes may no longer be adequate or even effective in the current situation. How can you fix this problem? Don’t look at it has something you did wrong.

Seek It Out

It’s a good idea for managers to not only be willing to hear criticisms, but also to take steps to seek it out. That’s not always something people will do easily. Yet, by becoming an effective communicator and learning from employees (the ones on the job floor doing the work) it is possible to see continuous change improvement this way.

By creating the type of culture that encourages this type of behavior, for the employees not only to do their job but also to be critical thinkers, far more can be accomplished. It’s a great way to see change that starts with the people in the business. Hiring a temporary workforce who understands the aspect the change in manufacturing can be one way to handle this challenge. Stark Talent gives you tools to manage change in your staffing needs, with customized staffing support and quality employees on-demand.

Risk Management Opportunity in Manufacturing | Manufacturing Staffing Texas

January 11th, 2013

Supply chain management is risky and every manufacturing executive knows this fact. Yet, within this risk, there are opportunities for making positive changes for workflow processes, agility, and product quality in an ever-changing market. In many cases, this can also open up new market opportunities that can increase revenues.

Supply Chain Managers Understand the Risk of Supply and Demand

For the average supply chain manager, understanding global supply and demand is part of the process of being great in this role. Working in a volatile market is part of the job title, because it takes a smart professional to spot trouble ahead. When the supply of materials is limited or runs out, production can grind to a halt. This means having the foresight to plan for volatility by seeking new opportunities and alternatives all the time.

There will always be ups and downs in supply chain and asset management, yet outside of material supply changes, one of the most frustrating aspects of this is a staffing shortage. When the market is good, there is a demand for more personnel, yet when the market is not so good, the need for staffing diminishes. How can one remedy this area of risk management, yet remain on top of market fluctuations?

Temporary Staffing is an Opportunity to Reduce Risk

A solution that many industrial companies turn to is that of the temporary staffing outsource model. By working closely with a preferred staffing vendor, like Stark Talent, it’s possible to reduce or eliminate at least part of the risk associated with market fluctuations. Having a never-ending supply of quality manufacturing workers can help alleviate the stress of risk management.

In fact, many manufacturing companies have turned to temps for managing project work during peak production periods, to reduce the need to go into recruiting mode when things pick up or lay-off employees when things suddenly slow down. Staffers are pre-screened with experience in manufacturing so they are more productive from day one, making this an even more positive experience for all.

Identifying risks in supply chain management can also open up the doors to new and innovative ways of handling workflows, such as the use of technology in manufacturing. Opportunities exist in many areas of manufacturing that can be streamlined through well-developed products.

Gauge Productivity and Meet Quotas

November 16th, 2012

In the manufacturing world, being able to gauge productivity and meet ongoing quotas accurately is key to success. Yet, far too many industrial firms lack the tools and resources to do this well, especially when it comes to their human resources. Some rely on antiquated systems that don’t measure how productive and quality the workmanship is, before it goes out the door to customers.

Hiring the Best for Manufacturing Success

A manufacturing setting is only as good as its people and their abilities to produce high quality work on time. A productivity management solution can help to bridge the gap between production and human capability. By understanding what promotes quality assurance and high volume productivity, any company can realize higher revenues over time.

Staffing Centers and Productivity Tools

Having access to a full service staffing center can produce even more positive results too. For example, knowing what to look for in a contract workforce and matching candidates up with these characteristics helps gain an advantage in the competitive manufacturing market. Screening candidates ahead of time for certain skills, experience, and attitudes can help to produce more on the factory floor. Likewise, having access to productivity reports can shape the actions you need to take at each stage of a project or before demand peaks.

Recruiting for High Volume Manufacturing Production

Additionally, a manufacturing staffing service that is managed by expert recruiters can support your needs as a growing business. Planning for high production seasons puts your company ahead of the competition, and a vendor on site model can give your HR department access to a wide range of personnel management services. These can include candidate sourcing, background screening, skills assessment, orientation, as well as payroll and benefit support.

By hiring the best staff to meet quotas, an organization can become more productive and profitable. A productivity management solution administered by a staffing agency is a great way to handle this in one step. Stark Talent can give your manufacturing business a lead in the market. Take time to learn more about modern productivity and quota monitoring and reporting management systems offered.

To Cloud or Not to Cloud – The Pros and Cons for Business

November 8th, 2012

If your business is like the millions who are already conducting transactions on the Internet, then you may also be considering a possible cloud computing model for administrative functions and resources. There is a huge push by the technology world to make all information remotely accessible and secure behind a network of remote servers, which has its own set of pros and cons depending on the application.

To determine if you should go to the cloud or hold off on this move, here are some of the major positives and negatives.

The Pros of Cloud Computing in Business

  • No need for on-site servers which must be continually monitored to prevent security breaches and damage due to unexpected events like natural disasters or theft. This secures business continuity.
  • Cost effective to handle large amounts of corporate information at once, helps to speed in-house systems up during peak business activity periods. This can help your business run more efficiently.
  • Updates to business products and services can be handled seamlessly due to a network of cloud finance providers who support integrated programming. You have less downtime during service upgrades.
  • Remote access to your company data on demand, from any web browser in the world, behind a secure password system. This is the perfect solution for a business expanding into international territories.

The Cons of Business Cloud Computing

  • Generally must pay a monthly or annual license fee to have access to a web based cloud server. Over time, these costs may go up depending on the amount of data space you need.
  • Need for a system to upload and share data with the cloud server system, which can include time to organize reports and files to the right format for export.
  • Just like any web-based system, cloud servers can go down unexpectedly for short periods of time which can cause breaks in work time. This necessitates a need to continually backup files.
  • Must have staff who are able to learn new software and web based applications to manage the information that is house on cloud severs. This can mean recruiting specialists in this area.

Despite the various pros and cons of cloud computing in business, it’s becoming the go to resource for businesses of all types and sizes who want to manage their information more securely and efficiently. As the market continues to shift to a global scene, you need to learn more about cloud computing and hire staff who understand how it works. Stark Talent can help you get there with a long list of qualified IT and administrative temps who work with cloud computing applications.

Update on Procurement Trends

October 22nd, 2012

Procurement outsourcing is changing the way many businesses do business. By definition, it is the transfer of procurement activities to a third party. The goal of this method is to reduce costs and perhaps improve the company’s focus on the core values it has. Is this a good thing? Is it something that you should be doing within your organization?

What About Your Supplier Relationship?

In a survey called GEP Value Trends: Procurement Outsourcing, the organization states that a majority of procurement teams would rather hold onto their supplier relationships. This number is as high as 70 percent. On the other hand, about half are looking to outsource the procure-to-pay operations they have. The report outlines what the goals and guidelines are of mid-sized to large companies in North America and Europe. Across the board, it seems, procurement outsourcing is becoming more accepted as a solution to common concerns.

How do we know there’s an increase in interest in such methods? In short, there are more companies using outsourced procurement services now than there were just a few years ago. This indicates a growth in the industry and that it is moving forward as becoming a valuable component.

What’s behind the demand? Why are more companies taking a closer look at procurement outsourcing?

  • For some, the need is to improve sourcing. They simply need better sources.
  • Many companies are looking to adopt best practice processes and this is one way for them to do just that.
  • Some are interested because of the expanding subject matter expertise that is becoming available in the field.
  • For others, improving capacity is also bringing more interest to companies.
  • Finally, the improved capabilities of these organizations is making it a better decision.

What About the Costs?

In every industry, costs matter and this one is no different. The key factor here is to show value in the investment in such outsourcing tools. They difference here is that companies can simply buy the services they need rather than invest in the development of them. That saves money over the long term anyway.

When it comes to procurement outsourcing, the bottom line is a big factor. However, improved sources, better competence levels and improved overall function are making it easier for businesses to consider the benefits of outsourcing. This could mean a big change for your organization, too. Don’t overlook the value in using such services to achieve your own, in-house goals. Many companies are embracing this opportunity.

In Texas, Stark Talent is leading the way for companies who are looking to augment their current staffing management with strategic outsource procurement. To learn more about hiring a contingent workforce, get in touch with Stark Talent today.

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.

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.