Report from SIA’s Collaboration in the Gig Economy Conference

Last week PSG President Aaron Green attended the Staffing Industry Analysts’ first conference on Collaboration in the Gig Economy  in Las Vegas. Green shares his thoughts on what the Gig Economy means for employers and candidates:

 

“This was the first time that the staffing industry has joined together with human cloud companies and large VMS companies to discuss the changes in our industry,” says Green. “We’ve seen how employers and workers are connecting in new ways, and as an industry, we’re talking about how we can be part of, and add value to, that new way of connecting.”

 

Green adds, “There are a lot of new and different tools on the market now to help employers and candidates connect and to make the transaction more efficient.”

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-11-39-56-am

Attendees at the conference heard from a range of platform providers, including online staffing and just-in-time staffing providers, as well as human cloud companies and private talent clouds, that integrate with VMS, MSP and RPO technologies. Companies such as 99 Designs, UpWork, IQNavigator, Allegis Global Solutions, Catalant, UpCounsel, Freelancer.com, WorkMarket, Lystable, MBO Partners, Wonolo, Shiftgig, Blue Crew, and Gigwalk participated in panel discussions and offered best practice perspectives.

 

Green likens the trend to a B2C movement for the staffing industry, with more opportunity for direct-to-consumer connections. Speakers at the conference claim that 99.7 percent of transactions on a web site don’t involve human beings anymore and many of the functions are being automated and changing dramatically, such as the need to submit a resume, the ability to search for jobs, the shift from candidate references to ratings, and the streamlining of the payment process.

 

Green thinks there are opportunities for staffing firms to take advantage of technology and new platforms and combine it with their value-added services. He also believes that the sector is a “bit like the wild west right now” and that we’ll see more regulations and worker protections in the near future.

Workforce Magazine Names PSG to Hot List of Temporary Staffing Providers in the U.S.

For the second consecutive year, PSG has been named to Workforce Magazine’s “Hot List” of temporary staffing providers as part of its annual special report on the staffing industry.

 

The report noted that the staffing industry is “still soaring” and enjoying high demand, which is predicted to continue for the foreseeable future. Aaron Green, PSG’s founder and president, spoke with Workforce about some of the trends driving demand for staffing services, including the temp-to-hire practice and the competitiveness of the current hiring market, also referred to as the “war for talent.”

 

Read the full article here.

 

PSG named to Workforce Magazine’s Hot List of Top Temporary Staffing (nationally)

This month’s issue of Workforce magazine includes a special report on the staffing industry. PSG’s President Aaron Green spoke with Workforce for the article, lending his perspective to the drivers behind the temporary staffing industry’s growth.

Some notable points from the article:

  • Temporary hires have consistently increased for more than 40 months since the end of the Great Recession, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • As evidenced by the consistently increasing penetration rate of temporary workers in the total workforce, there are more temps in the workplace these days. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that temporary jobs in the U.S. increased by 13,100 to 2.7 million in August.
  • Compared to the early ‘90s, more employers have learned how to use the staffing industry to meet labor demand when they’re unsure about hiring full-time workers during periods of economic uncertainty
  • “Temp-to-hire” is one of the quickest-growing areas of staffing business

Read the full article here.

Temp jobs can help your career over the long-term

PSG President Aaron Green talked to CareerBuilder.com about how temporary jobs can influence your career over the long-term.

See his comments and read more about the benefits of temping to find permanent employment, as well as tips for working with temporary agencies in this blog post.

 

PSG Named Best of Staffing for Client and Candidate Experience for Third Year in a Row

PSG is pleased to be recognized for the third year in a row on both the 2012 Best of Staffing Talent and 2012 Best of Staffing Client lists by Inavero and CareerBuilder.

Inavero’s Best of Staffing™ Awards, presented by CareerBuilder, showcase staffing firms that provide exceptional levels of service. The Best of Staffing™ lists are the nation’s only awards that recognize staffing firms that receive remarkable reviews from their clients and their temporary employees.

In separate independent surveys of both its candidates and clients, Professional Staffing Group received satisfaction ratings that placed it in the top one percent of all firms in the country. PSG is the only Massachusetts staffing firm to make the lists three years in a row, for having both the best Talent and the best Client satisfaction ratings.

Inavero’s complete Best of Staffing list can be viewed at www.bestofstaffing.com.

2010: A Look Back

by Aaron Green

The beginning of 2010 was still a dark period for most Boston workplaces. Salaries and compensation packages were static, employers and employees were tasked with doing more with fewer resources and in general there was still a lot of fear and unknown regarding the future. Since then, the economy has slowly improved. The unemployment rate has fallen; employers in the state have added nearly 50,000 jobs; and the state is doing better than the rest of the nation in terms of unemployment and economic expansion rates.  However, we’re certainly not back to pre-recession levels as unemployment is still historically high and there are still approximately 120,000 fewer jobs than when the recession began. In fact, many Massachusetts residents don’t feel a recovery has begun. A survey that my firm, Professional Staffing Group, conducts each quarter with our HR clients echoes this mixed outlook. Looking back at the quarterly surveys and reports we’ve produced with our clients, as well as the daily interactions we have with hundreds of Boston HR departments, here’s a snapshot of how far we’ve come this year and where we are now:

The Boston economy showed incremental improvement in 2010
Our economy is certainly not robust and not yet back to pre-2008 levels, but employers are adapting. According to our survey, most kept HR expenditures at a static rate throughout the year. And while the BLS projects that overall employment will increase by 10 percent in the next 5 years, Boston-area employers are only mildly optimistic. For the past 6 months, the HR managers and employers we’ve surveyed have said they plan to add staff (8 times as many said they’d add as those who said they’d cut staff). Yet, 52 percent say they expect staffing levels to remain the same.

Employer purse strings are starting to loosen
Employers are starting to offer compensation increases after having shelved these for several months.  In our most recent survey, 82 percent of employers said they expect compensation to increase in the next 12 months, up from 77 percent who said they expected an increase in last quarter’s survey.  Sixty-seven percent of employers surveyed said they actually increased compensation during the past 12 months, up from 54 percent in our last quarter’s survey.

The labor market is becoming tighter for certain positions
Although the US unemployment rate is 9.6 percent, the US unemployment rate for job seekers with a college degree drops to only 4.7 percent. If we look at rates in Massachusetts we see that unemployment rates are much lower. The overall Massachusetts unemployment rate at 8.1% is 1.5% less than the national average of 9.6%. I’m not aware of a measurement of the unemployment rate for college graduates in Massachusetts but given the 1.5% difference in the overall rate, it seems likely to be in the mid 3% range. Therefore employers seeking degreed candidates and employees with specific credentials and skills, e.g. professional or managerial skill sets, have an even narrower field of candidates to choose from. Our latest quarterly survey found that 42 percent of employers plan to add staff in the next three months and 73 percent of employers say that staffing levels are too low. In what I think is an effort to promote from within, our latest survey shows that five times the number of employers said they’ll increase internal training over the number who said they are reducing that expenditure.

HR departments and resources have been stripped down
One of the most popular areas in the workplace to see cuts during the great recession was the HR function, leaving many HR departments with too few staff and resources. Now that the economy has improved, many HR departments are in re-building mode. Short-staffed firms have difficulty recruiting, screening and hiring new employees as quickly as they need them and, as a result, are turning to outsourced or contract recruiters or are re-tasking HR employees with recruiting to the detriment of other duties.

Retention is still not a major concern for most employers
According to our survey results, about half of employers say retention is a minor problem; only 9 percent see it as a major problem and 34 percent say it’s not a problem at all. These results are consistent with the previous quarter’s survey findings.

My personal feeling is that more employers should be concerned with retention and take actions now that will prevent it. I base my opinion on three factors: 1) Surveys of employees show a high percentage of employees would consider another job 2) Employer are preparing to hire (see above, 42 percent of responding companies plan to add staff in the next six months) 3) There is limited downside to taking actions to prevent turnover.

Aaron Green is founder and president of Boston-based Professional Staffing Group and PSG Global Solutions. He is also the vice chairman of the American Staffing Association. He can be reached at Aaron.Green@psgstaffing.com or (617) 250-1000.

Tips for Managing in the Flexible Workplace

by Aaron Green

Flexible workplace options can be great perks to offer workers. Polls have shown that they are the most desired work benefits among employees and they are also a good way for employers to attract or retain talent. However, if flexible work options are not managed well they can be ineffective or even counterproductive.

Flexible work options range from flextime to flexplace and include: varying starting and finishing times to the workday; part-time work schedules, working from home or telecommuting; job sharing, workers selecting their own shifts, and flexible leave or time-off provisions.

Following are some tips for managing employees with flexible work arrangements:

Understand that flexibility is a mindset – offering flexible work options means acknowledging that there is more than one way to do things. It’s also recognition that workers have a life outside their jobs and that each employee has different life/work needs and desires and that those can change over time.

Communicate, communicate, communicate – to work well in a non-traditional setting, the flexible working employee must have strong communication with their manager, their team and anyone else they work with. Communication should be frequent, easy to do and take various forms (in-person, phone, email). Communication will help everyone understand the work being done but can also help managers gauge when the flexible work situation is working effectively.

Use technology to facilitate flexible work situations and good communication – a flexible-working employee won’t be able to succeed if their technology is inferior to traditional workers. Incorporating new technologies or devices – such as video conferencing, instant messaging or web-based file sharing – can improve the experience as well.

Remember that a flexible work arrangement is a benefit – employees and employers should treat it accordingly. Set clear expectations that there has to be effort from both sides in order for the situation to work. The benefit may be one that is “earned” or that is offered when an employee proves they can handle the option or agrees to meet certain expectations. Managers should maintain benchmarks for checking on employees’ progress and success.

Set clear expectations – in order to gauge success, you’ll need to establish clear ground rules and make sure appropriate evaluations are in place. In the case of remote workers, managers can’t rely on an employee’s presence and activity to gauge his or her efforts; they’ll need to measure deliverables and results (which should be the gauge for all workers anyway). While providing clear instructions, guidelines and deadlines is important with all employees, .these activities take or an even greater importance with employees working remotely or who are not in the office when their boss is.

Don’t give up water cooler exchanges -flexible work arrangement can make it more difficult to gauge important employee attributes, like effort and attitude. In traditional work situations managers rely on casual and unscheduled ways to check-in with employees and ensure workers are engaged and on track. Don’t overlook the importance of providing remote employees with motivation and confirmation of their work’s value.

Consider career growth– as employers, we arrange flexible work situations because we value our employees so it’s important to allow for and encourage career growth within the flexible work arrangement. In other words, don’t let the fact that a valued employee has a flexible schedule stifle their career and the value they can bring to your organization.

Change the culture – Certain employees with traditional work arrangements may feel resentful of colleagues with flexible arrangements. Take the time to explain why your company has the flexible arrangement. Try to win skeptics over by explaining the advantages of the flexible approach to the employee as well as how it benefits the organization. Yesterday’s detractor could find their personal situation has changed and they now value a flexible arrangement of their own.

Know the law – Flexible work arrangements can sometimes add a layer of complexity to the workplace. You will want to make sure you know what your rights and responsibilities are under employment law. When necessary, get advice from experts.

Measure results not time served – The driving idea behind many flexible work arrangements is that results matter more than the amount of time an employee spends working in the office.

Aaron Green is founder and president of Boston-based Professional Staffing Group and PSG Global Solutions. He is also the vice chairman of the American Staffing Association. He can be reached at Aaron.Green@psgstaffing.com or (617) 250-1000.

This article was originally posted on the On Staffing HR Column on Boston.com.