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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, May 28, 2020 11:23 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by TempWorks Software

    Maintaining good client relationships is critical no matter what state our economy is in, but times of crisis offer opportunities to place special focus on building client loyalty. Many companies are scaling back business operations, resulting in more time to spend on improving client relationships, which can provide companies a higher chance of recovery when the economy picks up again. Here are some approaches for utilizing the current slowdown to focus on how your business interacts and connects with clients.

    Be Easily Accessible

    Clients should be able to contact your business without difficulty and receive quick replies. If you’ve made any operational changes in compliance with government regulations, send out a communication regarding these changes that includes contact information. Communication with your business should be swift, easy, and lead to a fast resolution.

    Focus on Client Satisfaction

    If there have been long-standing hiccups in the products or services your business provides, take advantage of the economic slow-down and consider allocating resources towards resolving those issues. Strengthening your company’s core services will not only improve client satisfaction during the pandemic, but also increase your business’s chances for successful client acquisition once the crisis passes.

    Be Generous

    The coronavirus has affected nearly every industry, and it’s likely that many of your clients have taken a hit. If it is within your company’s ability, consider offering alternative services that can help your clients weather through a recession. For example, TempWorks Software is offering some clients free payroll services for a limited time, with the aim of helping sectors of the staffing industry that have been hit especially hard by COVID-19. TempWorks Software has also developed a space on our website dedicated to updating clients on any business changes or opportunities related to COVID-19. These services can help clients navigate the difficulties brought on by the pandemic.

    Because your clients will likely remember their experience with your business in our current crisis, it’s important to devote your energies to maintaining or increasing client satisfaction. Communicating efficiently, focusing on the foundational services of your business, and exploring any changes you can make to help your clients during this time are all great ways to build client loyalty. Even small changes devoted to improving the client experience will help make your business stronger and set it up for recovery.


  • Thursday, May 28, 2020 11:20 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Assurance

    For the last year, most of the talk around the insurance marketplace has centered around the rapidly hardening liability and property markets. That conversation has now rapidly evolved into “what happens to the market when factoring in the possible effects of COVID-19 claims?” And “will COVID-19 claims made against workers compensation be covered?” Or “will that push the now stable workers’ compensation market into a hard market?”

    It is too soon to predict anything with certainty, but here are a few considerations regarding the possible impending impact the COVID-19 pandemic may have on the insurance market:

    • Certain industries will see a higher frequency of claims, specifically essential businesses. This is not limited to allegations for COVID-19 work comp claims, but all work comp injury claims as well as third party liability claims. If certain industries are not operating (while essential businesses are), their loss frequency is naturally going to be higher. Essential businesses may also become targets for liability lawsuits (food contamination, improper cleaning, medical malpractice, etc.). It’s imperative to stay up to date on CDC, OSHA, and EEOC guidelines to protect your company from third party claims.
    • Existing and new claims that occur during the pandemic (work comp & liability) will likely incur a greater cost than they previously would have been expected to. With lockdown measures in place, the adjustment of current claims has come to a standstill in some cases. Litigation/mediation is not moving forward, nonemergency medical procedures are being delayed, IME’s are being placed on hold, etc. so claim costs are expected to increase. The longer claims remain open, the higher the ultimate costs are going to be.
    • As the economy takes a hit, so do insurance carriers’ investment portfolios. As they become less profitable from investments and underwriting alike, this will contribute to decreased capacity and increased premiums.

    Specific to Workers’ Compensation:

    • COVID-19 related illnesses may or may not be deemed an occupational disease. Causation is contingent upon a medical diagnosis for COVID-19 (not simply symptoms), having exposure to the virus at work, having a greater exposure than the general public and proving that the employee could have only contracted the virus while working.
    • In some respects, if deemed compensable, COVID-19 losses may be less costly than other work-related accidents. Generally, these losses are not expected to result in permanency ratings, except in severe cases and there’s expected to be less need for ongoing treatment (PT, surgeries, surveillance, etc.) in comparison to lingering back injuries or other soft tissue claims; even so, the frequency of claims could be significant.
    • There is expected to be an increase in fraudulent claims as unemployment continues to rise.
    • As businesses remain closed, there is a lack of availability of light duty positions which will increase indemnity

    costs on claims.

    • As claim costs increase, due to the factors previously noted, the industry will experience greater loss development. Increased loss expenses do not only impact your loss results in the individual year but may impact your carrier’s underwriting analysis at renewal. It is likely loss development factors will increase for the 2020 policy year and beyond, especially in those states with the greatest COVID-19 infection rates. Several of the states that already carry the greatest Loss Development Factors (LDFs), currently have the highest infection rates – New York and California.

    The impact and severity of the pandemic on future insurance rates will depend on a number of factors including the duration of the pandemic, thus restricted access to medical services and shuttered court houses, the unemployment rate as it affects fraudulent claim filings, compensability determinations, the courts’ interpretation of virus exclusions on liability and property policies, among others.

    The impact on your company will depend on a variety of factors including industry, state mix, loss history, compliance, etc. There are actions that you can take to protect yourself, so be sure to get in touch with your broker to learn more.

    Click here to download the article in PDF format.

  • Thursday, May 28, 2020 11:15 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Becker LLC

    May 14, 2020: Martin L. Borosko, Esq., Staffing Practice Leader of Becker LLC, interviewed fellow Industry Partner Kurt Murray, Principal at Assurance about the hot topics Kurt is consulting with his Staffing clients about during the COVID-19 crisis.

    Borosko: What are the most impactful actions an Agency can immediately take as a result of the pandemic?

    Murray: Every agency is being impacted differently, and it varies greatly based on their vertical and geography. Hospitality staffing agencies have seen their business decimated, while many Medical, IT and Pharma firms are experiencing unprecedented growth and demand.

    Generally though, there are steps that every agency should take in order to protect themselves:

    • Conduct a full review of all your insurance coverages to determine where you may have coverage for COVID-related losses and more importantly where you do not. Try to fill those gaps as cost effectively as possible, where coverage is available. We are starting to see suits against employers for violations of privacy, failure to provide a safe work environment, failure to supply proper PPE, etc. Insurance coverages for these claims are largely untested at this point.
    • Don’t be afraid to file claims for 1st party losses such as Business Interruption claims. The vast majority of Property polices have Virus exclusions but make the insurance carriers put their coverage positions in writing. Those coverage positions might be successfully challenged in the future and you don’t want to jeopardize potential coverage for failure to comply with notification provisions.
    • Review all contracts to determine if the language in the contract requires the agency to do certain things that are no longer feasible, such as in-person interviews and background checks. If a contract requires things of this nature, the agency should immediately seek a waiver in order to avoid breaching the contractual terms, as in most cases, these breaches are not covered by insurance.
    • Pay close attention to your HR policies and make immediate modifications as necessary to comply with the new laws. The new work rules allow or sometimes require employers to do certain things that we never imagined, such as asking detailed medical questions, daily health screening, etc.
    • Communicate effectively and compassionately with your employees. They are your capital and it’s important to protect and show you appreciate them. This goodwill can go a long way when an employee is considering whether to take action against the employer at some point.
    • Surround yourself with trusted advisors who are knowledgeable about your agency and the staffing industry. We’ve recently talked to numerous owners who have received little or incorrect advice from those who they should be relying on, and in some cases, it could cost them their businesses.

    Borosko: Several states have enacted legislation to address the Workers’ Compensation compensability of COVID-19 claims, and more legislation is pending in numerous other states. What does the state landscape look like and what is the potential financial impact?

    Murray: Workers’ Compensation coverage is dictated at the state level, so each state’s position on compensability must be closely monitored, as the status seems to change daily. Prior to the pandemic, communicable diseases were generally not considered compensable.

    Some states have mandated that any essential employee who contracts COVID-19 is presumed to have done so in the workplace. It is very important to understand the state-specific legislation and how COVID claims would impact the agency’s Workers’ Compensation program.

    It is also important to note that for those agencies that utilize a loss sensitive workers’ compensation program, such as a deductible program, retrospective plan, captive, etc., the losses will most likely be deemed compensable under the Employers’ Liability coverage portion of the policy, and those losses are applied towards your retained loss exposure on a ‘per-employee’ basis, so each infection will be treated as an individual occurrence.

    Due to the nature of the virus, it should be expected that multiple infections will arise within a customer’s facility so the costs could be significant.

    Borosko: What can agencies do to protect themselves from COVID-related Workers’ Compensation claims?

    Murray: It is vitally important to maintain detailed documentation about your customers’ facilities and your known and suspected infections. The more documentation you have, the better prepared you will be to successfully defend these claims.

    Documentation should include:

    • Customers’ adherence to OSHA and CDC safe workplace guidelines
    • Your OSHA required employee safety orientation and your customers’ on-going training
    • Detailed information about PPE provided to your employees and your customers’ own employees
    • Dates of known infections, contact tracing, required self-quarantines
    • Customer site closures for regular and periodic disinfecting or disinfecting after known infections

    It’s also imperative to conduct thorough COVID-19 screening on prospective new customers.

    Borosko: How is COVID-19 expected to impact the insurance marketplace?

    Murray: Certain industries will see a higher frequency of claims, specifically essential businesses. This is not limited to allegations for COVID-19 work comp claims, but all work comp injury claims, as well as third party liability claims. If certain industries are not operating (while essential businesses are), their loss frequency is naturally going to be higher. Essential businesses may also become targets for liability lawsuits (food contamination, improper cleaning, medical malpractice, etc.). It’s imperative to stay up to date on CDC, OSHA, and EEOC guidelines to protect your company from third party claims.

    Existing and new claims that occur during the pandemic (work comp & liability) will likely incur at a greater cost than they previously would have been expected to. With lockdown measures in place, the adjustment of current claims has come to a standstill in some cases. Litigation/mediation is not moving forward, non-emergency medical procedures are being delayed, and IME’s are being placed on hold, etc. so claim costs are expected to increase. The longer claims remain open, the higher the ultimate costs are going to be.

    As the economy takes a hit, so do insurance carriers’ investment portfolios. As they become less profitable from investments and underwriting alike, this will contribute to decreased capacity and increased premiums.

    Borosko: Cash is king for staffing agencies, so what cost saving ideas can you suggest for agency owners?

    Murray: We’d recommend several strategies. Some are relatively easy to initiate while others are more difficult:

    • In most states, agencies will be allowed to segregate wages paid to furloughed employees to be excluded from the Workers Compensation wage base, so document those wages for WC audit purposes 
    • If you have a loss sensitive workers’ compensation program that is collateralized with cash, ask the insurance carrier to allow you to replace some or all of the cash with a letter of credit, or better yet, a bond
    • Ask for mid-year reductions to your exposures, thus reducing premiums, in order to ease cash flow
    • Request premium deferrals. Most insurance carriers are granting these immediately upon request
    • If you pay fixed monthly workers’ compensation premiums to your insurance carriers, ask them to immediately migrate you to a variable pay-as-you-go program so your premiums fluctuate with your wages

    Click here to download the article in PDF format.


  • Thursday, May 28, 2020 10:19 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Haley Marketing

    We didn’t see this coming. Just a few months ago, most of us had never even heard of COVID-19. Now, we’re faced with unprecedented health and economic challenges. And an uncertain future.

    There’s no playbook for a black swan event.

    If yours is one of the fortunate few niches whose business is positively impacted by this crisis, count your blessings. But if not...

    Now is not the time for fear or panic.

    It’s not time to slash prices in a desperate attempt to keep sales.

    It’s not time to hunker down and wait for the storm to pass.

    It’s time to create your playbook for success – and make this recession “the other guy’s problem.

    Looking for strategies to recession-proof your staffing company?

    Over the years, Harvard Business Review has published amazing content on how to weather a recession. While not created specifically for the staffing industry, HBR’s articles contain excellent advice to help your company manage the challenges we currently face.

    Below are key takeaways from two of HBR’s best recession strategy articles published since the Great Recession – and how to apply them to your stafng or recruiting agency:

    Takeaways from “How to Survive a Recession and Thrive Afterward”

    De-leverage before a downturn. Rule #1: Don’t run out of money!

    Because a recession usually brings lower sales and, therefore, less cash to fund operations, surviving a downturn requires deft financial management.

    • Restructure your debt to get lower interest rates.
    • Turn to a funding company or bank to get capital to keep your business running.

    Focus on decision making.

    • Making tough decisions should be centralized (i.e., handled by senior leaders).
    • Decentralized is best for fast response (i.e., put real-time decision-making where the expertise lies: in local managers’ hands).

    Look beyond layoffs.

    While some layoffs are inevitable, they aren’t the only – or best – way to cut costs.

    • Cutting costs via operational improvements leads to faster recovery.
    • Furloughs, hour reductions, and performance-based pay also help control labor costs

    Invest in technology.

    Look for tech that helps you become more transparent, flexible and efcient, or that lowers your cost of service.

    Takeaways from “Roaring Out of a Recession”

    Don’t be too defensive.

    • Slash-and-burn, crisis-mode thinking may cut costs short term, but it also hinders recovery.
    • Fact: Defensive companies achieve just half the post-recession growth and one-tenth the profitability of top performers.

    Don’t be too aggressive.

    • Organizations that are too optimistic and opportunistic may miss important warning signs – and be blindsided by poor financial results.
    • Fact: Post-recession (if they even survive), promotion-focused companies’ sales and earnings may rise faster, but they realize only 60% of the sales growth and one-ffth the proftability increase of the top performers.

    Strike an optimal balance: Become a progressive company.

    • Examine every aspect of your business model. How can you do things differently: better, faster, more cost effectively?
    • Reduce costs permanently through process improvement.
    • Invest to develop new markets and enlarge your assets.
    • Increase spending on R&D and marketing.


    Looking for more advice to thrive in this uncertain economy

    Download our eBook, “Strategies for a Changed World: Creating Your Playbook for Success.” Combining advice from third-party experts like HBR as well as our team, you’ll find dozens of ideas your staffing firm can use to survive this downturn – and come out the other side even stronger. – way to cut costs.

    Click here to download the article in PDF format.


  • Monday, April 27, 2020 4:09 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by TempWorks

    Managing a crisis is rarely a smooth process, even when businesses have concrete plans in place for extraordinary circumstances. It’s difficult to make business decisions when the future is uncertain, especially during our current pandemic. Information changes on a daily—sometimes hourly—basis, the resulting economic fallout is unprecedented, and the lack of available data makes it nearly impossible to predict any sort of outcome. But despite the unpredictability the pandemic brings to the economy, there are still some best practices businesses can follow to survive and even flourish afterwards.

    Flexibility

    In times of constant change, flexibility is one of the most important traits your business can possess. Historically, companies that are easily adaptable are more likely to enjoy success after recessions. These businesses take advantage of economic slowdowns by reviewing their operations and making pragmatic shifts in focus while simultaneously investing for the future. Now is the time to review all facets of your company and consider any processes that could be more efficient or eliminated. Maybe your hiring and onboarding process needs revamping, or perhaps there are company strategies in place that could use better execution. Recessions are tough, but savvy businesses will use the slowdown to their advantage. And keep in mind that even when markets return to some semblance of normalcy, the status quo will likely have changed. This might cause a necessary shift in your company’s goals or five-year plan in addition to any operational changes you make during this time.

    Preparation

    There is always something that can be learned in a crisis. For example, many companies now know what it takes for most of their employees to work remotely with success. Businesses can use these gains to construct new crisis management plans. If your company didn’t have a crisis management plan in place before the pandemic, take advantage of this unique circumstance and begin creating one. Although we can reasonably hope a crisis on the global scale of COVID-19 won’t happen in the near future, most companies will experience a potential crisis every two years. It’s valuable to plan for two kinds of crises: external (such as the current pandemic) and internal. Flexibility is still of great importance during a crisis, but having a management plan to follow will help your company stay grounded while undergoing big changes.

    Transparent Communication

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s critical for leadership to communicate with compassion often and honestly. Be open about the state of the company and communicate regularly with employees. This will improve company morale and build trust in leadership that will last beyond the crisis.

    There is little we know for sure about the state of the world economy, but by being flexible, communicating openly, and preparing for future crises, you can poise your business for recovery in a post-pandemic world.


  • Monday, April 27, 2020 3:56 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    April 6, 2020: Martin Borosko, ESQ., Staffing Practice Leader of Becker LLC, interviewed fellow Industry Partner Nick Florio, CPA, CEO of Strategic Staffing Consultants about the hot topics Nick is consulting with his Staffing clients about during the COVID-19 crisis.

    Borosko: I am sure you are receiving dozens of phone calls from industry clients each day looking for you to give them assistance on weathering this crisis. What is the first piece of advice you are giving them?

    Florio: Initially, they just need to make sure their businesses are being operated safely under these conditions. Use of and investment in remote workforce tools has increased dramatically over the last month. Many smaller companies were not prepared with proper technology and have been using available “off the shelf” support like Teams, Zoom and Skype.

    Once safety has been established, the primary focus comes to CASH FLOW. It is anticipated that customers will start paying more slowly in the upcoming weeks. That will create a domino effect and cause your staffing company to also experience slower than normal collections. This is particularly concerning for those that borrow under an ABL or other formula-based lending arrangement.

    Most ABL’s allow financing of accounts receivable that are less than 90 days old. With slower collections, these thresholds could be stressed whereby prior funded invoices drop off and are charged back to the business creating additional economic strain. This needs to be watched closely, and a call to your lender for temporary modifications of these clauses may be in order.

    Borosko: What are common mistakes that staffing firms are making in forecasting cash flow in this crisis and what advice are you giving them to correct these mistakes?

    Florio: It’s almost impossible to predict what collections, or billings may look like right now. Everyone is reacting differently to this health crisis. Some staffing companies are experiencing large surges in sales, in particular from the healthcare and IT support sectors. Others have experienced a steep fall off in business as retail clients are closing their doors temporarily.

    Whatever it is that a company is currently projecting, they would be wise to have 2 or 3 different scenarios of a cash flow model. They also need to be able to respond quickly by making changes in overhead if both revenue and collections decrease dramatically.

    Borosko: Do you agree that applying for a loan under the CARES Act SBA PPL program should be the top priority for most staffing firms today? What advice do you have for staffing firms in putting together their application?

    Florio: The Payroll Protection Program “PPP” is a great concept that should work well for staffing agencies. Provided you have less than the required 500 employees (and this may be changing soon!) you can apply for and borrow 2.5x your average monthly payroll. The conditions for this specific loan have changed several times, and further changes are expected, but as of the date of this response, the payment terms are 1% interest starting after 6 months, and a re-payment period of 2 years. There is NO collateral requirement, and NO personal guaranty.

    Further, a portion of the PPP loan can be forgiven provided that the use of these funds goes towards continuing payroll for the 8-week period AFTER you borrow the funds. Funds spent on related healthcare benefits, rent or mortgage interest and utilities also count towards forgiveness.

    On Friday several large banks had still not opened portals for on-line applications. Other banks saw their portals “crash” from an abundance of applications. It’s not the kind of volume banks were accustomed to experiencing, so this may continue for the next few days while they reconfigure technology to accommodate the volume. Get in line and get your application in if you qualify!

    Remember, even if a portion of this loan is NOT forgiven, its 1% money for 2 years….. not bad at all !!

    Borosko: Many business leaders have a difficult time cutting internal staff. The obvious first step is to furlough or dismiss historical non-performers and employees who do not fit/buy into the firm culture/mission. But what advice to give to clients about the next round of cuts and how to measure when to make those cuts and who to cut? Is there a KPI for measuring recruiter productivity you ascribe to or another analytic you look at?

    Florio: First – to that extent that you are considering either lay-off’s or furloughs of staff – you need to be mindful of coordinating any planned cuts with borrowings under the PPP. Another aspect of the PPP loan is that “headcount” parameters have been established, and you need to make sure that an appropriate number of staff remain employed in order to benefit from the debt forgiveness aspects of that loan program.

    Given that – many staffing agencies had low or non-performers before this crisis. This could be the time to make those layoffs and begin to curtail your overhead. Cutting sales, recruiting or administrative support staff is never an easy decision, but in light of this crisis, tough calls need to be made, and time is of the essence. It’s not just the wages you would be saving, with employer payroll taxes, health benefits and other wage related costs, every $1.00 of payroll may result in as much as $1.25 in overall savings.

    Click here to download the article in PDF format.

  • Monday, April 27, 2020 3:48 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Becker LLC

    On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was signed by President Trump. The CARES Act created a new Small Business Administration (“SBA”) loan program known as the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) which has provided billions of dollars in potential forgivable loans to businesses for purposes of maintaining and restoring jobs to their employees. To date, millions of PPP loans have been approved and funded to qualifying businesses, with $349 billion funded in a matter of weeks and another $310 billion in additional funding on its way.

    In order to obtain a PPP loan, applicants must provide several certifications as part of the application process. One such certification is that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support ongoing operations of the Applicant.”

    On April 23, 2020, the SBA, in consultation with the Department of Treasury, provided additional guidance to address questions concerning the economic need of the applicants. Specifically, newly published FAQ #31 asks “Do businesses owned by large companies with adequate sources of liquidity to support the business’s ongoing operations qualify for a PPP loan?” The answer provided states:

    “In addition to reviewing applicable affiliation rules to determine eligibility, all borrowers must assess their economic need for a PPP loan under the standard established by the CARES Act and the PPP regulations at the time of the loan application. Although the CARES Act suspends the ordinary requirement that borrowers must be unable to obtain credit elsewhere (as defined in section 3(h) of the Small Business Act), borrowers still must certify in good faith that their PPP loan request is necessary. Specifically, before submitting a PPP application, all borrowers should review carefully the required certification that “[c]urrent economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.” Borrowers must make this certification in good faith, taking into account their current business activity and their ability to access other sources of liquidity sufficient to support their ongoing operations in a manner that is not significantly detrimental to the business. For example, it is unlikely that a public company with substantial market value and access to capital markets will be able to make the required certification in good faith, and such a company should be prepared to demonstrate to SBA, upon request, the basis for its certification. Lenders may rely on a borrower’s certification regarding the necessity of the loan request. Any borrower that applied for a PPP loan prior to the issuance of this guidance and repays the loan in full by May 7, 2020 will be deemed by SBA to have made the required certification in good faith.” [Emphasis Added]

    FAQ #31 has certainly created reason to pause for those borrowers who relied on the certifications in the SBA Form 2483 application in borrowing under the PPP. While the language in the application and the early SBA and Treasury guidelines seemed to provide the applicants with much discretion in determining whether the loan was required to support the applicant’s ongoing operations, FAQ #31 now indicates that if a borrower had other means of liquidity to support its ongoing operations, in a manner that would not be significantly detrimental to the borrower’s business, the original application certification may not be deemed made in good faith thereby putting the borrower at risk for some sort of liability.

    The impact of FAQ #31 can certainly be significant in light of the hundreds of billions of dollars already funded under the PPP. While borrowers relied on the language on the SBA Form 2483 application and the original SBA and Treasury guidance, borrowers are now contemplating whether the applicable rules have changed and whether they should repay their loans by the May 7, 2020 safe harbor date. Further, FAQ #31 provides no guidance as to what the consequences may be to those borrowers the SBA deems may not have acted in good faith, beyond the penalties and potential criminal exposure identified in the SBA Form 2483 application, which only sets forth the “necessary to support ongoing operations” standard.

    In addition, clarity is being sought by borrowers as to the standards regarding what is considered significantly detrimental to a borrower’s business with respect to the other means of liquidity. Many borrowers are now asking questions about their original good faith certifications before the introduction of the liquidity element as a result of FAQ #31. Such questions include:

    • What if the borrower received a PPP loan while they had reserves or working capital balances on hand that could have been used to fund payroll or other expenses?
    • What if account receivables were factored and the borrower received funding from the factor in addition to PPP loan proceeds?
    • What if the borrower paid out dividends or made distributions to its owners from its operating capital immediately before or after a PPP loan was received?
    • What if the borrower had access to a line-of-credit at the time of applying for a PPP loan?
    • What if the principals of the borrower are high net worth individuals who could have met a capital call or provided a loan to the borrower to support ongoing operations?
    • As the SBA affiliation rules apply to PPP applicants in determining whether the applicant is a small business concern, could the affiliation relationships be considered the means for a source of liquidity for the applicant based on the financial resources of the affiliate?

    These are only a few of the legitimate questions that will certainly open the floodgates of confusion for PPP borrowers. We believe that application of the business judgment rule will be critical in borrowers demonstrating that they applied for PPP loans in good faith on the reasonable belief that such funds were necessary to support ongoing operations.

    Although it remains fairly clear that the typical SBA requirement that an applicant must demonstrate that it is not able to obtain credit elsewhere has been waived under the PPP, the introduction of the liquidity element in FAQ #31 certainly merits further discussion with the borrower’s advisors and professionals to understand the potential ramifications on the borrower’s obtaining of a PPP loan.

    Click here to download the article in PDF format.

  • Monday, April 27, 2020 3:37 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Haley Marketing

    If there was ever a time for staffing firms to be flocking to social media to manage their brand voice, reassure candidates and prospects they have everything under control and, most importantly, be a part of the community...this is it.

    For seven years, I’ve seen the staffing industry slowly shift to understand the real value of social media in the recruitment marketing mix. But, as I stand on my soapbox in our little corner of the internet, I’m here to say we need to move faster, more deliberately, and more strategically. No longer can we accept a social media “strategy” of posting job after job after job. No longer can we accept a social media “strategy” of fluff content, built around third-party articles, and funny memes and junk.

    Given the current state of the country...no...given the current state of the world, we need to be incredibly mindful of everything we post on social media. Incredibly deliberate with every post to make sure we are adding value to the social media ecosystem.

    As we look at navigating the next 60 to 90 days on social media, I cannot overstate the importance of humanizing your brand voice. The world doesn’t need more sales pitches. More direct “BUY NOW” links with forced emojis.

    The world is scared, nervous, and unsure of what’s to come. As social media users are scrolling on Facebook or Twitter, the LAST thing we want to share right now is a forced sales pitch.

    Now that’s not to say you can’t thrive given these circumstances. You can. But, doing so requires incredible attention to detail and mindfulness of what others are feeling and experiencing 

    How to Manage Social Media Company Pages During a Pandemic

    Below, I share a few tactics your firm can try. If you’d like more, you can read my full post on Managing Your Brand Accounts on Social Media During a Pandemic.

    Listen First. Talk Second.

    Spending five minutes on any social platform right now will show you something obvious: The world is collectively talking about COVID-19. Uncertainty, optimism, skepticism, whatever it might be – as you look at social media as a user and not a marketer, it’s evident that this pandemic has everyone chatting.

    Listen first. Talk second.

    No one likes to go to a party and hang out with that friend or family member who is so “Me” focused it drives you crazy.

    Don’t be that guy. Instead, be the person who listens. As candidates are reaching out with messages, understand they are concerned and respond to them with empathy and optimism.

    When scrolling through the newsfeed on Twitter, join the conversation in the local community. If your county executive is posting updates, share your thoughts on the matter and show your community that you’re in this with them.

    Reach Inbox 0

    Facebook messenger...the graveyard of leads.

    “I’m too busy to answer those” must be a thing of the past. Given the uncertainty of the situations we’re all in, we NEED to be active and listening when individuals are reaching out through Facebook messenger.

    Answer questions as they come in and elevate them to the right individual on your internal team if necessary. Ignoring them is not an option.

    Be Mindful of the Reader

    With millions getting their news and information about COVID-19 from social platforms like Twitter, we need to be overly

    critical of WHY social media exists. Every post has a purpose, and before we share our WHAT (the “stuff” we post on social media), we need to fundamentally understand our WHY.

    By being mindful of the reader and understanding their WHY (why they are on social media at all hours of the day), we can be sure to align our message to meet them.

    Share Local News and Information

    Hypothetically, let’s say your staffing firm is a startup. With less than one year of business, you’re the new kid in town.  Some people think you’re cool and want to hang out, some people think you’re different and want to stay away, and many more already have their pocket of friends and don’t even know you exist.

    Now is the perfect time to double down on platforms like Twitter and Facebook to show the community that you are one of them.

    Post or share local news updates to show you are just as committed to the regional footprint as they are.

    ...Now let’s say you’re not the new kid in town.

    With 20 years in business, most people know who you are, and, because of that, they have an opinion of you. Maybe it’s positive. You’re the friendly company that helped someone’s aunt get a job when they were down on their luck. Or, worse, you’re the staffing firm who couldn’t find someone’s uncle a job even though he’s super qualified for everything.

    What if we used this time to double down on being human, sharing local news and information to show the community you continue to be an advocate for them? That you continue to support and worry about the well-being of job seekers throughout the area. What if we use this as an opportunity to reposition your brand as THE staffing firm that listens? That shows after 20 years of redeveloped process and automation and tools...that most importantly, you’re still in business to put people to work in great opportunities.

    Share Resources From Your Website

    If you’ve been consistently blogging on your website, use this time to share content on your social channels that educates and informs the reader.

    Be mindful of the tone and context of each article!

    While an article on the importance of a well-developed workspace is timely, now is the wrong time to share an article about the keys to a professional handshake during an interview.

    Go Live for an AMA (Ask Me Anything)

    Live video is exploding on social media right now. Everywhere you look, another band or singer/songwriter is sharing a live acoustic session from a studio or couch. Local news is cross-posting their live feeds from TV over to social platforms for maximum visibility and reach.

    How can the staffing industry get involved in this tactic?

    Set a weekly Ask Me Anything (AMA for you Redditors out there) where you go live from your home office on Facebook or Twitter and let candidates ask you questions.

    Be the expert your community is looking for and answer their questions as they arise.

    Putting It All Together

    I’m not saying this is the perfect social media management plan during this pandemic, but, if anything, I hope it gives you just one idea to implement this week.

    We’re all in this together.

    Be kind to each other.


    Click here to download the article in PDF format.

  • Monday, April 27, 2020 3:32 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Assurance

    Insurance is a significant expense for most staffing firms and managing costs and cash flows associated with premium payments can make a significant difference in your ability to effectively manage your business, now more than ever.  There are ways to mitigate your insurance costs and/or defer premiums until your business is in better financial health. It’s also important to be mindful of other insurance implications and how to protect your business from COVID-19 related liability claims or uncovered losses.

    The Assurance Staffing Team is implementing a broad array of strategies to help our clients survive and thrive. Below are 10 recommendations to help your business do the same.

    1. Request a monthly reporting payment plan. If you are on a pay-as-you-go Workers’ Compensation program, your monthly premium payments will be calculated based on your actual payrolls for that month. If you are on a fixed premium payment plan, ask your insurance carrier to convert you to monthly pay-as-you-go in order to preserve cash flow. Not all carriers are equipped to offer a pay-go program, but it never hurts to ask.
    2. Free up cash where available in your work comp program. If you are on a loss sensitive program and funding collateral via cash payments, see if your carrier will consider a letter of credit to cover a portion of the requirement and alleviate the next few upcoming cash payments.
    3. Ask for a premium payment grace period. Many insurance carriers are allowing customers to defer premium payments until a future date with no risk of cancellation for non-payment of premium. If they are not able to do so, ask for them to restructure your payments to stretch them further into the policy term. For example, if your policy renews in six months and you have three installments remaining, ask the insurance carrier to allow you to make six installments, rather than three. As COVID-19 unfolds, many state jurisdictions are requiring that carrier make these adjustments.
    4. Seek alternative opportunities. Be creative and look for staffing opportunities outside of the nature of your historical placements. Many industries, especially in the essential goods manufacturing and supply chain, medical and construction industries desperately need more people. Check with your insurance carriers to see if these industries fall within their program appetite. If not, ask for exceptions to their established guidelines so you are able to make those placements.
    5. Review your coverage & policy language. Review your property insurance policies for Business Interruption or Dependent Property/Contingent Business Interruption coverage. Most property policies have ‘Virus’ exclusions which will likely preclude coverage, but some do not have those exclusions (albeit very rare). However, keep an eye on state legislation. At least one state is considering voiding the Virus exclusion and forcing insurance carriers to pay Virus-related Business Income claims.
    6. File a business Interruption Claim. We recommend filing Business Interruption claims regardless of the existence of the Virus exclusions. As mentioned above, at least one state may force insurance carriers to cover the losses, and some courts may interpret coverage more broadly. Claim denials for ‘Virus’ losses will be challenged in court, and you should be on record as having filed a claim with your insurance carrier.
    7. Credit Insurance. Immediately consider purchasing credit insurance to insure your receivables. The entire supply chain is being disrupted and normally good paying customers will start to default on their receivables as you are an uncollateralized creditor. Credit Insurance may help protect you from those losses.
    8. Compliance and Education. Stay current on compliance issues to avoid Employment Practices Liability losses and other fines/penalties that may not be covered. For example, be familiar with the screening do’s and don’ts during a pandemic to avoid claims surrounding invasion of privacy, discrimination, failure to hire, etc. Are you communicating with your employees what to do if they are exposed to the virus? Is proper training/PPE being utilized for potential exposures? The American Staffing Associations’ COVID-19 webinars and resource page should be visited frequently as it contains valuable information on these topics.
    9. Cyber Liability. Review your Cyber Liability policy to make sure coverages and limits are adequate to cover the increased exposure of a remote workforce. Seek a quote for coverage if you do not currently carry a cyber policy.
    10. Check out our resources. You can review Assurance’s COVID-19 Resource page for continuous updates on insurance, compliance and virus safety-related matters, including links to key CDC resources.

    Written by:

    Kurt Murray

    Kurt Murray is a Principal at Assurance who focuses on mid-sized companies in the staffing industry. With over 20 years of experience, his primary responsibility is to provide cost-effective solutions and develop insurance programs that are individualized to a company’s specific needs. Kurt graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance. He’s been a presenter at numerous staffing industry events and conferences, including TempNet, American Staffing Association, New Jersey Staffing Association and Staffing Services Association of Illinois.

    Rachael Rodakowski

    Rachael Rodakowski is a Vice President at Assurance who focuses on the staffing industry. Her main responsibility is to be a client’s resource and trusted partner. She accomplishes this by staying up-to-date on industry trends and providing cost-effective coverage recommendations. With over 10 years of experience, Rachael educates clients on everything from workers’ compensation class codes to loss trends. Rachael graduated with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree from Arizona State University. She currently holds her Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Associate in Claims (AIC), Associate in Commercial Underwriting (AU) and Associate in General Insurance (AINS) designations.

    Click here to download the article in PDF format.

  • Monday, April 27, 2020 3:06 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Avionte

    A few months ago, we wrote a post on 7 Productive, Unique and Fun Places to Work Remotely that was filled with ideas to help business professionals spice up their remote work-life but unfortunately, most of the ideas were before COVID-19. No longer is working from a brewery or coffee shop a viable option.

    Instead, pretty much everyone is stuck working from their home, which can feel like the movie Groundhog Day, where every day seems the same.

    To break this dull routine, we’ve assembled seven of our most productive, unique and fun ideas to spice up your work from home routine with COVID-19 in mind.

    Have Themes for Every Weekday

    Don’t make the weekdays seem like weak days. This is a perfect time to make each (and every) day special. Assigning “themes” to every weekday can help distinguish them so they don’t blend together. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking. We hope you try a few out for yourself!

    Monday

    Group Lunch and Travel Talk Day – Schedule a recurring meeting every Monday where your team eats lunch together and one designated person gives a 20-minute slideshow of pictures and stories from a vacation. Not only is this a great way to connect on a personal level, but it also helps your team learn more about each other outside of work. Additionally, it gives everyone something to look forward to on what would have just been an ordinary Monday.

    Tuesday

    Weekly Challenge Day – Come up with a communal challenge for your team. Whether it’s who can place the most candidates, who can take the most steps that day or who has the best lunch – anything really to spark a fun competition.

    Wednesday

    Trivia – Each Wednesday host a digital trivia and keep track of the winners. At the end of the pandemic or at least the day your office opens back up, whoever has the most trivia points wins and gets a special prize.

    Thursday

    Takeout Thursday – You’ve almost made it through the week! Treat yourself with takeout from one of your favorite locally-owned spots. Most of us are food-motivated, or at least to some extent. Having a special meal one day of the week not only gives us something to work towards, but it also supports local businesses – a win-win!

    Friday

    Team Happy Hour – Ending a little early with a team happy hour is always a great way to boost spirits (literally) and end the week on a good note. Cheers.

    Power Hour

    What time of the day are you most productive? An hour after your first cup of coffee? After lunch? Mid-afternoon? Once you identify the conditions and time period that makes you the most productive, use that hour of distraction-free work-time. Create a list of tasks you’d like to accomplish and see how you do within the hour timeframe. It’s like one of those cooking shows where the contestants have only an hour to make something spectacular. You just might find that the time crunch boosts your productivity and creativity.

    Take Frequent, Short “Productive” Breaks

    Taking breaks may seem counter-intuitive to a productive work environment but it’s honestly one of the best things you can do for your job. It’s clinically proven that taking breaks helps refresh the mind, replenishes your mental resources and helps you become more creative. Now pair short breaks with something productive and you’re cooking with fire. Being in quarantine is a perfect time to learn a new skill, practice an existing skill or embrace a new habit/hobby.

    Here are some ideas of productive things to do during breaks:

    • Stretch or work out
    • Meditating
    • Learning a few phrases in a different language
    • Trying a delicious recipe to try out
    • Calling a friend
    • Listen to a podcast
    • Tidy up your workspace or organize a drawer

    20-20 Method

    The average attention span of an American adult has considerably dropped throughout the years, especially with the invention of smartphones. It’s estimated that adults can only stay focused between 10 to 20 minutes, and that’s just an estimate. To maximize your attention span, try focusing on a specific task for just 20 minutes and then move on to another task. This method works phenomenally well when you’re juggling multiple tasks and helps dedicate your full attention to every task.

    Please note: For these next three tips, keep in mind this totally depends on your location, the situation of COVID-19 and your general comfort level. These last three tips are by no means meant to risk your health and safety, they’re simply ideas for if or when you’re comfortable/able to leave the house. With that, here they are:

    Find a Secret Spot Outside the House

    Discover a new or old “secret” spot to change up your work environment. This could be in the woods, a park or even in your own backyard – anywhere outside your home where you can effortlessly maintain social distancing guidelines.

    Bike Ride/Hammock Hang

    In the good old days (a few months back), you could take a stroll through any popular park and almost certainly find a number of people hanging out in hammocks relaxing. While this is still true today, biking to a secluded spot and then hanging up your hammock is surprisingly comfy and fun!

    Switch up the Location

    Being quarantined at home can get boring quickly, especially for your work environment. To spice it up, change up your environment completely with a unique getaway on Airbnb. There’s still a surprising number of listings available. With just a quick search, we found an affordable tree house listing with a hot tub just an hour away with immediate availability. If you have a cabin or another property elsewhere, this is also a perfect time to pay it a visit.

    We’re living in some truly unusual times and it’s no doubt easy to lose motivation working from home. Hopefully this post genuinely helps you spice up your work routine.


    About Avionté

    Avionté is a leader in enterprise staffing and recruiting software solutions, offering innovative end-to-end staffing solutions to over 900 customers and 25,000 users throughout the U.S. and Canada. Avionté delivers a robust platform for clerical, light industrial, IT and professional staffing firms to maximize profits and boost productivity.


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