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Staffing News Online

NJSA's Staffing News Online is a monthly e-newsletter that is available to the staffing industry.  The content for Staffing News Online comes directly from our industry partners.  If you are an NJSA industry partner and would like to submit content for Staffing News Online, please email office@njsa.com with your article.

  • Thursday, March 14, 2019 9:36 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Haley Marketing

    Ever spend time with a sick toddler?

    When they don’t feel good, they may ask for candy, soda or ice cream – but all the sugar in the world won’t cure a cold. As an adult, you know what they ask for isn’t necessarily what they really need.

    The same logic applies to staffing and recruiting customers:

    Shareworthy Service isn’t always giving a client or candidate what they want.

    Yep, I said it.

    As you know, the staffing and recruiting solutions you provide have evolved to become incredibly powerful business and career-growth tools. But you shouldn’t assume your clients and candidates understand that! In reality, your customers may not truly know what you do for them – or what they need from you.

    Your job?

    Give your customers what they really need.

    Here’s how to do just that, in a way that builds loyalty (and doesn’t make them feel like you’re forcing a

    dose of medicine on them):

    • Get to know them better. Deepen your understanding by approaching the staffing experience from their point of view. Consider their full range of choices when it comes to managing a workforce or finding a job. And if you can’t get the information you need firsthand, do your homework. Rely on market and industry insights and develop buyer personas to “get inside customers’ heads.”
    • Use your ears. Take clients out to lunch. Survey employers and job seekers. Bring customers together for roundtable discussions. Use your active listening skills to learn what they want – and determine how much it coincides with what they need.
    • Balance listening and empathizing with your own expertise. Once you’re sure you understand your customers’ primary pain points, start building a case for your recommendations. Use data, case studies and even your own experience to explain your “prescription” for overcoming their challenges. And don’t be afraid to show a little passion! Expressing strong opinions (when they’re backed by facts) about what your customers really need increases their confidence in you as the expert – building trust and loyalty.
    • Respectfully challenge their thinking. For example, a prospect may think they “need” a temp, when in fact a temp will not resolve a larger underlying business problem. Patiently educate them about the myriad ways you could be more than a staffing vendor and serve as a true workforce and talent acquisition partner. Once you broaden their perspective, use scenario planning to illustrate the ways you could help them solve real business problems.

    Sound like common sense?

    Most of these tips are. Still, when new members join your team or things get really busy, it’s helpful to revisit – and practice – the shareworthy service basics that fuel success for you and customers alike. If you’d like some assistance determining what you really need to generate world-class marketing results, our marketing educators are ready to help!

    Click here to download the article in PDF format.


  • Thursday, February 28, 2019 11:40 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    On 2/19/19 Governor Murphy signed S-2528 into law the changes for TDB and FLI .

    The legislation makes the following important changes, among others, that help to ensure that more workers in New Jersey can access paid family leave and temporary disability so they can afford to take time off when needed:

    • Increases the weekly wage replacement provided to beneficiaries of both programs to 85% of a worker’s average weekly wage, and capped at 70% of the state’s average weekly wage (making the cap $859/week for 2019).
    • Increases the 2019 Taxable Wage Base maximum under UI, TDI and FLI from the current $34,400 to $131,450 - This will happen January 1, 2020. The rates and who is charged( employer or employee) will be decided by the commissioner in September 2019. This may cause all customers in New Jersey to pay a higher cost based on their employer portion charged by NJ State. It does not affect the unemployment Taxable wage base.
    • The minimum wage increase in July 2018 and January 1, 2019 will increase the taxable wage base for all employees affected by minimum wage and other employees looking for higher wages based on the minimum going up. Again costing employers more on their portion of the employer cost.
    • The increase in benefits from 66 2/3% to $650 up to 85% to $859/week will cause an increase in the employer cost- not sure how much at this point.
    • Expands paid time available from 6 to 12 weeks under the FLI program.
    • Expands the definition of a family for which a person can use the FLI program to care for a seriously ill loved one. The expansion would cover grandparents and grandkids, siblings, adult children, parents-in-law, and chosen family.
    • Provides benefits for survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault and for caring for family members who are dealing with issues of domestic or sexual assault.
    • Increases public awareness by requiring additional funding for outreach and education ($1.2 million annually), improves program efficiency by requiring shorter claims processing times, and requires the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD) provide relevant additional reporting of program data.
    • Protects workers so that employers may not retaliate against those who request TDI or FLI benefits. Employers who fail to provide the DOLWD with necessary information to process a claim (as required under law), causing a delay in benefits, may be required by the DOLWD to pay an added amount equal to the amount of delayed benefits.
    • Expands job protection for an estimated 200,000 workers employed at companies with 30 to 50 workers while taking FLI leave under the state law, the Family Leave Act (FLA). Under the FLA currently, only workers at companies with 50 or more employees (with other additional qualifications) enjoy job protection when using the FLI program.

    If you have any questions or concerns, Please call our office at 732-842-6200 and speak to myself or Gordon Frederick, Our EVP.

    David Koch, CEO

    Two River Benefits Cell- 848-218-1947

    Click here to download the article as a PDF.

  • Wednesday, February 27, 2019 2:37 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Good news for partnerships and S corporations (pass-throughs) which can deduct up to 20% of their Qualified Business Income (QBI) under new IRS Section 199(A).

    What is Qualified Business Income?  Qualified Business Income is net income that is received from a Qualified Trade or Business. Capital gains, and dividend and interest income are not considered business income. Guaranteed payments or wages paid to owners are excluded.

    What is a Qualified Trade or Business? A Qualified Trade or Business is any business that is not a Specified Service Business which is defined as a business in the fields of health, law, accounting, financial services and other consulting services.

    Income Limitation for Specified Service Trade or Businesses Owners of a Specified Service Trade or Business may take the QBI Deduction if their taxable income is below $157,500 for single filers ($315,000 for Married Filing Joint) to be eligible for the full deduction.

    How is the QBI Deduction Calculated? The QBI Deduction usually is the smaller of 20% of Qualified Business Income or 20% of taxable income. For example, a staffing owner of an S-corporation has $400,000 of QBI. His taxable income is $300,000, (below the income limitation). Therefore, his QBI deduction is $60,000, which is 20% of his taxable income.

    Good news for staffing firms and real estate investors! The IRS clarified that staffing firms and the rental of property to a related business are Qualified Businesses for the QBI deduction with no income limitation. Other rental real estate properties may also qualify if the activity rises to the level of a business.

    Limitations for Qualified Businesses – Staffing firms and rental businesses have no income limitations but may be limited based on the business’s W-2 wages and unadjusted basis in qualified property. The amount of the tax deduction will vary depending on the specific taxpayer circumstances.

    Want to maximize your deduction? Regardless of your income level, there are numerous tax moves staffing owners can do to maximize this new Sec 199(A) deduction- even for 2018!

    BY: Pamela Avraham, CPA, Partner, Urbach & Avraham, CPAs which provides accounting and tax services to staffing agencies. Pamela may be reached at 732-777-1158 or pma@ua-cpas.com Firm website is www.ua-cpas.com

    Click here to download the article as a PDF.

  • Wednesday, February 27, 2019 2:35 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    By Terri Herrmann

    Recruiters who think like marketers have the edge in today’s candidate-driven talent market.

    That’s the belief at the core of recruitment marketing, the practice of developing and communicating a value proposition to job candidates in the same way marketers do to customers. Customer-journey mapping is a proven practice in the marketing field, and recruiters can adopt the same approach to map their candidate experiences.

    The candidate journey is well worth charting, especially now that there are more open jobs than available workers. This imbalance creates a decisively candidate-driven market, so much so that hiring managers and recruiters are getting ghosted with alarming frequency.

    From a recruitment standpoint, the challenge is to provide a truly differentiating experience for candidates. Nobody is debating that point: In a 2018 Montage survey of talent acquisition leaders, 99 percent of respondents rated the candidate experience as their top priority. However, far fewer talent acquisition leaders have successful strategies for delivering the modern hiring experience today’s candidates prefer. That’s where recruitment marketing comes into play.

    Why Recruitment Marketing?

    It is important to draw a distinction between recruiting basics and recruitment marketing.

    Recruitment marketing doesn’t involve putting a job ad up on the usual job boards; that is simply a baseline expectation of recruiting. Instead, recruitment marketing — like external marketing — is about taking a programmatic approach. In the same way that enterprise marketers use the attention, interest, desire, and action (AIDA) model to trace audience engagement across specific stages of the marketing process, recruiters can adopt a phase-driven approach to attracting talent.

    There are several key advantages to making recruitment marketing a priority. First, recruitment marketing helps you attract more qualified candidates. By marketing to prospective employees in a more personalized and specific way, recruiters are more likely to attract candidates whose values align with the organizations.

    Another key benefit of effective recruitment marketing is reducing time to hire. The hiring cycle — from job posting to accepted job offer and onboarding — is costly from a budget and resource perspective. By supporting the creation of a pipeline of more qualified candidates, recruitment marketing reduces the time spent on unqualified candidates and enables recruiters to get the right candidates in front of hiring managers more quickly.

    Finally, recruitment marketing helps drive retention. When candidates have a consistent, personalized experience starting from their very first point of interaction with a prospective employer, it helps create goodwill that candidates carry with them into their new roles.

    Recruitment Marketing Through the Hiring Cycle

    Recruitment marketing starts with candidate engagement, but it certainly doesn’t end there. Here’s how recruiters can strategically harness recruitment marketing at every stage of hiring:

    1. Engagement

    Marketing-focused recruiters should focus on delivering engagement beyond what is expected to drive increased candidate awareness and interest. This begins with refreshing your company’s careers site. If it only features job postings, you are missing a huge opportunity. From a recruitment marketing perspective, your careers site should play a critical role in delivering and defining the candidate experience.

    A well-marketed careers site is less a listing of open roles than a portal into the employee experience. This portal should include an accurate description of your recruitment process, as well as an engaging look at a day in the life of your organization and the culture the company cultivates. Don’t make candidates mine for this gold; give it to them right out of the gate. Your careers site should be a total recruitment marketing package that features employee testimonials, messages from company leaders, and illustrations of team-building and employee camaraderie. Take every opportunity to tell these stories via video.

    2. Interview

    This is arguably the most important phase in the recruitment journey. For employers, it is about finding the right fit and making smarter hiring decisions. However, in today’s candidate-driven market, interviews are also about selling your organization and role to your candidates. A big part of making that appeal involves engaging with candidates on their terms.

    Consider, for instance, the communication preferences of the modern candidate. Generally speaking, today’s candidates are big on communication flexibility and prefer texting to phone calls. You can modernize the interview phase to suit these preferences by integrating on-demand text and video interviewing into your process.

    3. Hire

    Recruitment marketing doesn’t end when a candidate accepts your offer. Instead, it evolves. If the first two phases of the process are about marketing the job, this final phase is about marketing the long-term employment experience.

    Transparency is the most important marketing strategy during the hire phase. It is important to approach onboarding as a time to communicate clearly and transparently what it’s like to work with management and the team.

    Still on the fence about recruitment marketing? Imagine if a chief marketing officer suddenly decided to stop prioritizing external marketing strategies and instead focused exclusively on internal efforts. Objectively, they would only be doing half of their job. Recruiters should think about recruitment marketing in the same way: If they approach their roles with the traditional mindset, they’re not doing their jobs the way today’s market demands.

    In 2019, you can’t just post a job — you have to sell it, too. Just as marketers guide customers through the buyer’s journey, recruiters should take candidates on journeys of their own to sell the job and lay the foundation for long-term satisfaction and retention


  • Wednesday, February 27, 2019 2:30 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    The era of the specialized Rolodex as the main way to differentiate recruiters is over. LinkedIn killed it. This is not to say that talent-acquisition professionals can no longer add value, however. On the contrary, technological change has made it possible for recruiters to make themselves more critical to organizations than ever before. Recruiters, however, need to adapt and focus their value proposition on five main areas to remain relevant in the new digital era of talent acquisition. They can do this by following these steps:

    Step 1: Help hiring managers define the correct search strategy

    Asking insightful questions is essential to defining the correct search strategy. Strong recruiters will play a crucial role as thought partners in conversations with hiring managers, even if that means breaking the traditional transactional recruiter relationship. At a recent conference, Nellie Peshkov, Netflix’s Vice President of Talent Acquisition, and one of the leading thinkers in the field, explained, “Our value in talent acquisition is really about coaching, guiding, providing creative thinking and strategies for that hiring manager.” Michael Orozco, one of Netflix’s recruiters, added that while some recruiters ask their hiring manager, ‘What do you want?,’ Netflix recruiters ask questions such as, ‘Why are you looking for them?’ and ‘How will they make an impact?’

    Recruiters often receive frantic calls from hiring managers looking to fill roles–convincing them to take a step back can be difficult, but valuable. For example, one of our clients recently asked us to urgently hire him a VP of New Retail to support the large number of new stores their company planned to open. “Find me someone who did this at Starbucks,” he told us. Since the coffee chain had also rapidly opened new stores, our client believed a candidate with experience there would have the right skillset to manage a large number of building contractors while recruiting and training staff for the new stores.

    Instead of leaping off into a search for executives at Starbucks or similar chains, we asked him to describe the main challenges his company’s new stores typically face. The discussion helped our client realize that contrary to his original belief, attracting sufficient foot traffic due to his company’s weak brand recognition was their primary challenge. He therefore concluded that a background at Starbucks was likely to be the absolute wrong profile he needed. A few minutes invested upfront in such discussions will allow recruiters to focus their efforts from the beginning of a search, target more ideal profiles and land candidates faster.

    Step 2: Get the best candidates to apply

    A 2016 SilkRoad study of 13 million applicants and 300,000 hires at 1,200 companies revealed that the ‘post-and-pray’ strategy still is the most popular way of hiring candidates. That is, 42% of hires came from postings roles on job boards and company websites. Recruiter sourced candidates represented only 10% of hires.

    While job postings have some benefits, hoping that star performers will fall into your lap, during the lowest period of unemployment in nearly fifty years, is not advisable. Successful recruiters help organizations by building a repeatable and a scalable formula for finding and engaging star performers. Recruiters can do this by experimenting with and increasing the efficiency of other sourcing channels.

    At our firm, we have found the following through trial and error of thousands of messages when actively sourcing candidates:

    • For some roles, emails to candidates that do not include a job description are 27% more efficient than those that do. This could be because candidates have more trust in emails without a link or attachment, or it could be that emails with job descriptions are longer.
    • Personalized emails are about 75% more effective than generic ones.
    • LinkedIn messages are about six times (!) more effective than emails for parts of the candidate pool.

    Step 3: Select the best of the best

    The next step is to help hiring managers better understand how to predict job performance. Google’s recruiting team is perhaps the best in the world at this: they help hiring managers understand what categories of questions they should ask candidates and even provides hiring managers with sample questions they can ask. In his book Work Rules! Laszlo Bock, former SVP of People Operations at Google, described how he helped reduce bias in Google’s interview process by having hiring decisions made by an independent committee and incorporating structured interview questions and job knowledge tests into their process.

    Step 4: Get candidates over the finish line

    Strong recruiters will help hiring managers get candidates over the finish line by helping their companies create a positive candidate experience as well as organizing and managing the interview and offer process. One candidate we spoke with who had recently declined an offer cited how she had originally been excited about the company’s pitch about being entrepreneurial and fast-moving, but started doubting if this was true when their interview process dragged on for three months.

    Step 5: Evaluate

    Finally, recruiters should evaluate their hiring practices on an ongoing basis and apply an iterative process to continuously improve their methods. Without establishing this critical step, it is difficult to determine what is working, and what isn’t. For instance, job knowledge tests may be predictive of job performance at Google, but have they been as successful at your organization?

    Our own testing underscores this point, as we have found that methods that were highly effective two years ago no longer work. One simple example is that by using a candidate’s first name in the email subject line, we used to get up to twice as many candidates to engage in our searches. Now, perhaps because this tactic has been over-used, we have abandoned this approach as it no longer increases candidate engagement.

    CEOs who position their talent acquisition teams to follow these five steps will gain a significant advantage in attracting the right talent in the new era of talent acquisition.

    Click here to access the article online.


  • Wednesday, February 27, 2019 2:22 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    By: Brian Vesce, President of COMPAS, an Avionté Business

    Recruiting processes can be littered with redundant tasks and is often supported by archaic tools. This will require a recruiter to consistently multitask, which ultimately leads to poor utilization of time.

    Over the last 10 years, COMPAS, an Avionté Business, has been studying how recruiters manage their time and today we still see the same inefficiencies.

    When evaluating a recruiter’s day, we bucket his/her activities into the following categories: prospecting, data entry and candidate engagement.

    A typical recruiter will spend 50% of their day prospecting for talent, 40% of their day performing the data entry and only 10% of their day engaging with talent.

    This shows recruiters spend the least amount of time on the most valuable activities. These traditional recruiting practices are destroying productivity, where it is taking an average 52 days to fill a vacant position.

    There are several ways to rebalance activities by leveraging automation. Here are three ways you can leverage automation:

    1. Sourcing Automation

    There are high volume candidate search tools that sort through thousands of resumes across a multitude of job boards (CareerBuilder, Dice, Indeed, Monster, etc.). These determine which candidates are the best fit for your recruiting positions. These tools will search and find candidate matches from within your ATS and are fully automated. This eliminates the amount of time you spend searching manually.

    2. Automate the Screening

    Recruiting platforms with job distribution features can attract large volumes of quality talent. Manually going through the talent can be time consuming and often lead to overlooking the right candidate.

    This process can be further refined by leveraging automated screening and assessment tools. Recruiters gain insight about the candidates that scored the highest during their application process.

    3. Automate the Matching of Talent Recruiters that Already Have Access

    Platforms today may leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning that gives recruiters a competitive edge by providing recommendations on talent that companies have access to and previously engaged. Most recruiting organizations have a vast inventory of talent but accessing that talent when you need it can be difficult.

    • Today we are seeing platforms that will automatically present viable candidates upon opening a position; thus, saving hours of searching.
    • When a recruiter is reviewing a talent profile, recommendations will be made on similar talent. This is often used to reverse searching talent. For example, when they open a new role, recruiters will leverage a known employee in that role that has been successful.
    • When viewing a candidate’s profile, platforms are making recommendations on open positions with the agency. This will allow recruiters to navigate conversations clearly and speak confidently about their open roles that may be a fit for the candidate.
    • Lastly, the automation of intelligent notifications has proven to be very effective. These notifications are sent to the recruiter responsible for specific roles suggesting candidates that are good fits.

    Automation is a cost-effective alternative to hiring more people, which will improve recruiting productivity and the bottom line.

    By freeing up 65% of recruiters’ time and significantly reducing their regular administrative tasks, your business will start to see meaningful ROI in three to six months. If you start leveraging automation to improve performance, you can start to see improved processes and increased bottom line.

    ________________________________________

    About Brian Vesce

    Brian Vesce is the President of COMPAS Technology, an Avionté Business, and is responsible for overseeing many facets of the company. Brian’s passion for creating the best recruiting tools in the market stems from his recruiting background. His career started in the recruiting industry at TEK systems and later went on start Cypress Human Capital Management.

    About Avionté

    For over a decade, Avionté has been providing innovative front-and- back office staffing software solutions throughout the U.S. and Canada. With a strong focus on building great partnerships along with leading solutions,

    Avionté proudly serves over 25,000 users and 900 clients. Avionté is driven to bring its clients the best products and services the industry has to offer.

    Click here to download the article as a Word doc.


  • Friday, February 15, 2019 9:46 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    I was listening to NPR the other day, and they were talking about how technology has moved from the reactive to the proactive.

    Essentially, it’s gone from taking your preferences and showing you similar results, to predicting what your next steps could be and guiding you in that direction. If you have a Spotify account, you know for every song you listen to or search for, Spotify gives you several suggestions of what to listen to, and over time, it improves its suggestions.

    The same “learning” tech is in your texting apps, search engines and Amazon history. This learning tech is “sticky.” It sticks with you and continues to learn about you and surround you with relevant content.

    So, how can your marketing become predictive in nature, and not random shots in the dark? Consider these fve “Sticky Marketing Tactics.”

    Sticky Tactic #1: Capture Your Audience.

    If you’re a staffng company, your ATS list is your lifeblood, your 1990’s Rolodex, your little black book. The contact information you have in that list can be used to send out emails, call when you are looking for specifc talent, and warm up cold client contacts.

    Your website visitors are also a great resource. With Google and Facebook tracking codes, your site has the ability to send ads to those visitors, staying ahead of their browsing.

    There are also tools to help you identify potential sales contacts for your team to follow up with.

    When you know who your audience is, the next step is to get in front of them strategically.

    Sticky Tactic #2: Build a Strong Foundation

    Pulling people into your marketing funnel is not a one-and-done operation. Start with your foundation.  Your website should be updated with new content on a regular basis. Continuously posting blogs, eBooks, whitepapers and videos adds value for your site’s visitors. They also positively contribute to your site’s authority on search engines like Google, which leads to better (and usually more) organic traffic.

    Remember, the people you are trying to reach want to be engaged in an authentic way. If you want to match great companies with great job seekers, provide content that will address the needs, wants and interests of both audiences.

    Sticky Tactic #3: Spread the Web

    An effective marketing strategy looks like a web, rather than a singular line. By cohesively using valuable content and digital ad tools like social media and email, you can effectively reach your audience and make enough of an impact to get them to convert (i.e., contact you in some way: apply for a job, fll out a contact form, opt into your monthly newsletter, buy something from you).

    Sticky Tactic #4: Bait the Trap

    No, it’s nothing nefarious, but in order to pull someone into your marketing funnel, you need to give them something before asking for something in return. For example, select a topic and write an eBook and white paper on the topic; then write five blogs on that same topic. When you send out the blogs via social media or your monthly newsletter, you’re baiting the “trap.” When you promote the eBook, require people to provide their names and email addresses. NOW you can add them to your audience (Sticky Tactic #1) and stay top-of-mind.

    Sticky Tactic #5: Grow the Web

    The larger the web, the more you’ll catch (in theory). If you begin your web of marketing tactics in the right location, with the right audience and tactics, growth is inevitable. Grow your social strategy and stay up-to-date on new social sites. Expand and refine your email strategy to stay in front of your contacts. Make sure your sales and recruiting teams are following up with people who provide their contact information.

    Stay Sticky!

    As you grow your business and reputation, remember that recognition is key, and reputation is king. Build a web of tactics to stay in front of the right audience and your brand will stick to them! If you want to develop a sticky marketing strategy, we’d love to help. At Haley Marketing Group, we specialize in working with companies to develop and implement strategic marketing programs that reach the right audience and bring in business.

    Click here to download the article in PDF format.


  • Thursday, January 31, 2019 9:06 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    By: Andrew R. McIlvaine, Human Resource Executive

    What do temporary and contract workers at Google, National Public Radio and Tesla have in common? Answer: They’re angry. Read more…

    At Google, workers classified by the tech giant as “temporary, vendor and contractors (TVC)” sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai alleging that the company “routinely denies TVCs access to information that is relevant to our jobs and our lives,” reports TechCrunch. They cited as an example updates from Google that were sent only to full-time employees at YouTube in the wake of a shooting at the Google subsidiary last April.

    At NPR, a report produced internally by employees revealed that temp workers were often give little information about the length of their assignments, how much they’d be paid, or who they were reporting to. Several NPR temps described the system to the Washington Post as “exploitative.”

    And late last year, a report in the New York Times found that many temp employees at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., auto manufacturing plant said they were subjected to racial harassment by other employees. These included drawings of nooses and racial slurs, the workers said.

    All three companies have said they are working to address the complaints by their temp workers.

    Temporary and contract workers have long felt that they’re treated as second-class citizens in most workplaces. However, the issue may become more urgent as “mixed” workforces—a combination of full-time and temporary/contract workers—become more common across the business landscape.

    A recent Deloitte survey on contingent workers found that just 42 percent of companies are comprised primarily of salaried employees. Meanwhile, 40 percent of workers across all generations and skill levels participate in some form of alternative-work arrangement (including temporary and contract)—a number that’s risen by 36 percent since 2013, the survey found.

    Despite the growing prevalence of these workers, a mere 16 percent of companies have established management policies or practices for them. The authors of the Deloitte report, titled The Workforce Ecosystem: Managing Beyond the Enterprise, wrote that contingent workers need “support, guidance and performance measures if an employer wants to optimize the mix.”

    For employment attorney Ellen Rogoff, the reports about contingent workers at Google, NPR and Tesla highlight two issues that pertain to contract workers. The first relates to the legal issues surrounding their employment, says Rogoff, a partner at Philadelphia-based Stradley Ronon. “For certain types of claims, a contract employee can actually have two employers, even if they’re technically an employee of the agency that hired them.”

    The so-called “joint employer doctrine,” enforced by the National Labor Relations Board, specifies that under certain circumstances, a staffing agency and its employer client can be held jointly responsible for a contingent worker’s welfare. Rogoff, who teaches an employment-law course at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, recommends that companies adopt the outlook that they have a basic responsibility to all of the people who come to work at their facilities each day—regardless of whether or not they’re full-time employees.

    “Because there is potential legal liability, ensuring that all workers undergo a basic orientation on issues such as discrimination and harassment, that they undergo safety training and are included in vital communications, simply makes the most sense,” she says.

    The other issue relates to a sense of inclusion—or lack thereof—that can help contract and temporary workers feel better about their jobs and possibly even improve their performance, says Rogoff. “Making sure these workers are included in things like coffee breaks and celebratory lunches won’t change their legal status and costs relatively little—and can go a long way in helping them feel like they’re a part of the team,” she says.

    This is far from simply a “feel good” approach, says Dr. Tamar Kreps, assistant professor of management and human resources at the University of Hawaii. “Companies that give employees a sense of ‘psychological safety’ make them feel more comfortable sharing their ideas and bringing issues to the attention of management,” she says.

    Creating an environment like this isn’t necessarily hard, says Krebs. By simply acknowledging and calling attention to a worker’s concerns—as in, “Jane brings up an important point”— managers can help them feel that their input is valued, she says. HR should encourage managers to practice this so-called “amplification technique” and then keep workers in the loop as to the status of efforts to address the problem.

    By the same token, managers who fail to acknowledge workers will lessen the likelihood that important issues will be brought to their attention, says Krebs. “Workers may decide they don’t wish to contribute if there’s no psychological safety present,” she says.

    Literal safety is also important—and can be especially perilous for temps, says Fisher & Phillips partner Howard Mavity, who closely follows workplace-safety trends.

    Temp workers—particularly at companies that have temp-to-perm hiring programs—are often eager to prove themselves, he says. This eagerness can sometimes lead them to take on or assist with tasks they haven’t been properly trained on, and the results can be fatal.

    All too often, says Mavity, he’ll encounter a company that has 100 or so workers on its factory

    floor while only having safety-training records for 75. “I’ll ask ‘What about the other 25’?” he says. “And they’ll say ‘Oh, those are temps—they’re just here for a day or two.’ Well, a safety hazard is a safety hazard—it doesn’t acknowledge differences in worker classification.”

    Click here to download the article in PDF format.

  • Thursday, January 31, 2019 8:57 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    One of the most common lawsuits a staffing firm may encounter are those triggering coverage under Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI). There is exposure with internal office staff, as well as temporary associate or contract staff. Discrimination can occur either on the premises of the staffing company’s office location and/or at the client worksite. Discrimination can be based on sex, race, color, age, religion, disability, wages, national origin and sexual orientation.

    To take it one step further, employees and applicants are also protected from retaliation by an employer under several employment laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Retaliation occurs when an employer takes a materially adverse action because an applicant or employee asserts rights protected by the EEOC’s laws. Specific to employees, an employer cannot retaliate if someone:

    • Reports discrimination/harassment to a supervisor
    • Answers questions during an investigation of discrimination/harassment
    • Refuses orders that would result in discrimination
    • Resists sexual advances
    • Requests accommodation for a disability or religious practice

    Adverse employment actions can take many forms beyond disciplining or terminating employees, including transferring an employee to a less desirable position or shift, threatening to report immigration status, verbally or physically abusing an employee, and giving an employee a lower performance evaluation than deserved.

    Minimizing the Risk of Retaliation Claims

    According to EEOC statistical data, retaliation claims have risen from approximately 18,000 in 1997 to over 41,000 in 2017¹. Given the rise in claims, how can a staffing company protect itself?

    1. Documentation – A staffing firm should be documenting any incidents that lead to an employee’s termination. Whether discrimination occurred before or after termination, it’s imperative the staffing firm is conscious of the timing of the termination as it relates to the claim, as well as providing a clear reason why termination was warranted. When in doubt, document, document, document!
    2. Client Education – Client companies must be taught how to deal with a temp employee who’s underperforming and at-risk of reassignment, replacement or termination. There’s a shared responsibility of obtaining feedback from the client company on performance of the temp employees at the worksite. The client company should be open to disclosing this feedback, but the staffing firm should continually be asking for it as well. If problems with specific employees are noticed, it should be discussed, documented and a plan of action should be created.
    3. Third Party Communication – When in doubt, it’s always best to alert your EPLI carrier and/or consult an employment attorney. The rate at which retaliation claims are occurring is consistently growing and something every staffing firm should always have top-of-mind.

    The EEOC has detailed an entire Q&A regarding retaliation here. As stated in question 14 of the Q&A, the burden of proof is on the employee, rather than the employer having to disprove the claim.

    Click here to download to article in PDF format.

    ¹ Source: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/charges.cfm

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