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UNITEMP Blog

10 Performance Management Tips to Drive Your Bottom Line

July 26th, 2011

Want to create top caliber performance in your organization?

Who doesn’t?!

Use these 10 tips to get people to stop making excuses and start delivering exceptional results:

  1. Stop accepting excuses. Are you too tolerant of excuses?  Don’t be.  An excuse means the job didn’t get done and accepting excuses allows failure to persist.  When you stop tolerating excuses, you force people to develop solutions.
  2. Think in terms of priorities. The next time you hear, “I didn’t have enough time,” require the person to instead say, “I’m sorry, it was not a high enough priority.”  By simply changing perspective, you will force employees to better manage their time and responsibilities and eliminate the number one excuse in business.
  3. Make mistakes acceptable. As a rule, employees don’t like to report bad news because they fear the repercussions.  To get excuse-free behavior, make mistakes acceptable and treat them as opportunities for learning.  Instead of placing blame, focus problem discussions on “what” and “why” issues, as opposed to “who.”  Praise and recognize risk-takers, even when the outcome fails to achieve desired results.
  4. Establish mutually defined expectations for job performance. Explore what success and failure look like for each position in your company.  Ensure that every job and project has specific, measurable goals.
  5. Share the big picture with employees. People are more motivated to succeed when they understand why they need to do something.  As a leader, show them how their actions have a direct impact on the company’s success.
  6. Acknowledge responsibility. Require employees to commit to their responsibilities in writing.  More importantly, follow-up to ensure commitments are met and to establish accountability.
  7. Plan contingencies. Things can and will go wrong.  Take time to anticipate potential problems and set contingency plans.  A proactive approach to problem solving greatly reduces opportunities for future excuses while maximizing the probability of success.
  8. Pay for performance. While it’s fine to recognize people for hard work, it’s important to reward them for results.  Structure reward systems to only provide tangible compensation based on achieving measurable results.  Ideally, offer rewards on an “all or nothing” basis.  Simply put, if the goal is not fully met, no reward is earned.
  9. Create support systems. Let employees know where to get help when problems arise.  Failure most often occurs when employees don’t know how or where to get assistance, so make sure your staff has access to training, mentoring, internal “help desks” and/or any other resources they may need to do their jobs correctly.
  10. Conduct post-mortems. At the end of every project, debrief employees.  If they succeeded, praise them and discuss why the project was a success.  If the employees didn’t succeed, turn the failure into a positive learning experience.

Quick Tips for Maximizing Temporary Employee Performance

Temporary employees can help you reduce stress on core employees, enhance productivity, control costs and manage risks.  And like your own employees, temporaries need to be held accountable for results:

  • Provide clear expectations to your staffing vendor.
  • Include measurable goals in each temporary’s job description.
  • Provide an initial orientation, reviewing: company products/services, the department’s function, job responsibilities, performance expectations, available resources.
  • Have supervisors closely monitor first day performance.  If a temporary fails to meet your expectations, replace him immediately.

Performance management is a vital component in your organization’s continued success.  Ensure that success with UNITEMP.  Whether you need to improve productivity, increase operating efficiencies or streamline your staffing function, we can custom design a solution to fuel exceptional performance throughout your company.  Contact UNITEMP today to learn more.

Are Credit Checks a Legitimate Screening Tool?

May 31st, 2011

The use of credit checks has grown over the last several years.  According to a 2010 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 60 percent of employers used credit reports for some or all of their background checks.

Employers use credit reports as a screening tool for a number of reasons:

  • They believe it allows them to predict future behavior based on a candidate’s financial history.
  • They are trying to prevent employee theft and assess the applicant’s trustworthiness.
  • They want to reduce legal liability and negligent hiring.

But checking a job applicant’s credit is not without its potential drawbacks:

  • An applicant who has been unemployed for a long period of time may have no choice but to incur inordinate amounts of debt and fall behind in paying bills.  If the candidate has been out of work for months, that doesn’t necessarily mean he should be disqualified for employment.
  • Credit reports fail to provide context.  For example, if debt problems are the result of expensive medical procedures, a low credit score may not indicate anything about future job performance.
  • Credit reports are not perfect.  Ambiguous, dated, inaccurate and/or redundant data create the potential for credit score errors.  While these errors are generally minor, employers should be aware that they exist.
  • Credit reports may not be relevant for the job in question.  Unless the person you’re hiring will have access to sensitive financial information, make financial decisions or handle money, a candidate’s credit report may be of little significance.

Given the potential benefits, as well as the potential drawbacks, are credit checks a legitimate screening tool?  It depends on whom you ask.

According to Christine Walters, a representative for the SHRM during last October’s EEOC public hearing on the practice, effectiveness and impact of credit checks as a screening tool, “SHRM believes there is a compelling public interest in enabling our nation’s employers – whether that employer is in the government or the private sector – to assess the skills, abilities and work habits of potential hires.”

She and other hearing panelists pointed out that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) of 1970 restricts employer use of credit reports to employment purposes.  Under the law, the employer must give a job candidate the right to defend himself against (including refuting, explaining or correcting) any collected credit information that might weigh against him.

Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center in Boston, expressed a different opinion.  Given the state of the economy, she said that using credit history as a screening tool is “a practice that we believe is harmful and unfair to American workers.  The use of credit history for job applicants is especially absurd when you are looking at an unemployment rate of 10 percent and have many workers looking for a job.”

As an employer, you are within your rights to check a job candidate’s credit.  Before you do so, you should consider:

  • how relevant the information you’re collecting is to the available position;
  • the cost involved versus the benefit to be gained;
  • whether or not your internal staff is trained in how to interpret the complex information contained in today’s credit reports;
  • whether or not there may be potential adverse effects to checking an applicant’s credit.

Ensure Staffing Success with UNITEMP

Finding the perfect temporary and contract staff for your organization requires experience, in-depth market knowledge and a comprehensive screening process.  UNITEMP combines all of these to ensure staffing success.  Partner with UNITEMP today and connect with New Jersey’s top temporary and contract talent.

Experts Look to the Staffing Industry for Signs of Recovery

April 5th, 2011

A recent Reuters article by Kristina Cooke shares some good news:

“The pace of temporary job creation after the most recent recession – an average of about 25,000 per month – has been faster than the past two, potentially a good sign for a labor market struggling with a jobless rate of 9 percent.”

This Reuters graphic of BLS data illustrates why experts look to the staffing industry for signs of recovery:

If you compare temporary employment to overall employment, you can see how the number of temporary workers declines faster heading into a recession and rises more quickly in a recovery.

In fact, research from the American Staffing Association indicates that temporary help employment is a strong coincident economic indicator when the economy is emerging from a recession.  Overall, temporary hiring rose steadily through 2010, with U.S. employers adding more than 300,000 temporary jobs (about a quarter of the 1.17 million in overall job growth last year).  Translation?  The sustained upturn in temporary staffing is good news for the economy.

But Cooke goes on to temper this enthusiasm, noting that a faster pace of temporary hiring hasn’t yet translated into significant full-time job creation – a critical piece of the recovery puzzle.  Experts such as Peter Capelli, professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, say that because employers are now using temporary assignments to try out potential employees on the job, the increase in temporary hiring could be masking direct hiring.

UNITEMP – Driving New Jersey’s Recovery

As businesses throughout New Jersey begin to staff-up again, UNITEMP is driving the recovery.  We deliver customized temporary and contract staffing solutions to help companies like yours achieve sustained business success in a volatile economy.  What can we do for you?  Contact UNITEMP today.

Temporary Assignment Limits and Concerns About Benefits Liability

February 15th, 2011

In the wake of historic employment litigation (e.g., Vizcaino v. Microsoft), some companies have adopted policies limiting assignment length for temporary and contract employees from staffing firms.  Why?  These employers view assignment limits as a way to protect themselves from the kind of “retro-benefits” claims Microsoft faced back in the 1990s.

Unfortunately, these assignment limit policies have downsides.  They can cause economic harm to on-time temporary or contract employees whose assignments are terminated prematurely, and they can disrupt your company’s business operations.  To better protect your organization, you should closely examine its staffing policies to ensure that such limits are truly necessary – and not based on misinformation.

If you have questions about co-employment law, as it relates to assignment limits and associated benefits, here is a great resource with the answers you need.  The American Staffing Association’s Staffing Smarts Intelligence Report:  Assignment Limits and Concerns About Benefits Liability, by Edward A. Lenz, Esq., General Counsel, reviews the basic principles of law that apply to employee benefits plans, and then describes steps employers can take to avoid retro-benefits exposure:

Create a plan that expressly excludes staffing firm employees. The report suggests template language (that your legal counsel should review)  you can use for the purpose of excluding staffing firm employees from participation in your Erisa plan.

Use employee waivers. In addition to amending benefits plans, you may be able to achieve additional protection through agreements in which the staffing firm’s employees expressly waive their right to the company’s benefits.

Allow the staffing firm to handle employment related functions for temporary and contract staff, such as:  recruiting, screening, determining wages, hiring, firing, assigning, resolving disputes, disciplining, etc.

Keep the lines between direct staff and contingent staff clear. The report includes several other steps (such as channeling social invitations through the staffing firm) you can take to avoid blurring the distinction between your core staff and temporary employees.

Make Co-Employment Work with UNITEMP. Read our tips for successful co-employment, or contact UNITEMP with your staffing questions.  Our goal is to help New Jersey employers like you use staffing to achieve more.

Request a UNITEMP Temporary Employee in Three Simple Steps

January 11th, 2011

Whether you’re tackling 2011 strategic business initiatives or simply need a temporary employee to cover a vacation,  UNITEMP makes it easy for New Jersey employers to request temporary help or payroll services online in three simple steps.  If you haven’t used our online ordering feature yet, here’s how it works:

Step 1:  Choose a Service

Tell us whether you need temporary help (for special projects, absences, peak periods, etc.) or payroll services (for introductory periods, or to boost staff during peak periods with prospective/former employees at a great savings).

Step 2:  Provide Company Information

This step helps us gather vital company and contact information (such as your business address, phone number and job title), to facilitate communication as we fill your request.

Step 3:  Tell Us What Kind of Employee You Need

To match the ideal candidate with your needs, we gather essential information about:

  • Your work environment/atmosphere
  • Assignment and project specifications
  • Required and desired employee skills, traits and experience

Once you’ve provided these details, all you need to do is click the “Submit” button.  A UNITEMP staffing specialist will then contact you and get started on filling your request. 

What can UNITEMP do for you?

With:

  • vast pool of trained and professional personnel,
  • an online request feature for faster, simpler and more efficient ordering,
  • and a full complement of smart staffing solutions,

UNITEMP is your best source for on-demand staffing in New Jersey.  How can we help you?

Staffing Employees: Extraordinary Human Resources

June 8th, 2010

What’s the single most important variable in the success (or failure) of your business?

Your staff.

Steven Berchem, Certified Staffing Professional and Vice President of the American Staffing Association, posted a great article on the ASA website which addresses the ways today’s businesses are using staffing to gain real competitive advantage. 

Here are a few of the article’s salient points:

  • As agility becomes more essential to success, smart companies are rejecting traditional hiring models and taking bold approaches to staffing.  They are moving away from lengthy hiring processes and no longer see the wisdom of filling every position with a permanent employee.
  • These changes in key business practices have led companies to use more temporary and contract employees in diverse and highly skilled professions, including: accountants, attorneys, chief executives, doctors, graphic designers, IT professionals and even pilots.
  • Today’s staffing employees are motivated, satisfied and educated.  In a survey conducted by the ASA, nine out of 10 staffing employees said they would recommend temporary or contract work to a friend or relative.  And while it may come as a surprise, staffing employees are actually better educated than the overall workforce, with 74% having at least some college education (compared to 62% of the traditional workforce).
  • Staffing firms provide the only means of accessing some of America’s best talent.  In fact, the majority of staffing employees either use temporary or contract work as their sole means of finding a “permanent” job, or they simply prefer their current work arrangement over traditional employment.

To read or download the full article, click here.

Maximize the Value of Your Human Resources with UNITEMP

If you’d like to maximize the value of your staff as a source of competitive advantage for your company, contact UNITEMP today.  We can show you how to use staffing to become more agile, efficient and profitable.  Together, we can develop a smart staffing plan that will enable your organization to compete – and win.

Tips for Creating an Empowered Workplace

April 6th, 2010

As a manager, you know that empowered employees:

  • have the authority, and take the initiative, to make sound business decisions;
  • are energetic, passionate and committed to doing a great job;
  • are creative and innovative problem solvers;
  • continually strive to improve quality, productivity and morale;

all because they feel personally rewarded for doing so.

But while the benefits of empowerment are clear, the steps to creating an empowered workplace may not be.  Use these quick tips to get your business started on the right path:

  1. Understand what empowerment really is.  Empowerment isn’t something you do to people.  It’s an environment you create by giving employees goals, information, feedback, training and positive reinforcement.
  2. Identify an opportunity for empowerment.  Start small.  Create a work team by selecting a few key employees who have the right skills, knowledge and resources to complete a small test project.  This project should be challenging enough to allow your staff to grow and take on additional responsibilities.
  3. Set clear expectations.  Let your employees know what to do and how to do it.  Factors to consider include:  deadlines, channels for sharing information, methods for delegating authority, and ways to check progress / measure success.
  4. Provide decision-making guidelines.  Provide clear instructions for when and how to make good decisions.  Explain when it’s okay to the take initiative and when employees should check with team members first.
  5. Encourage open communication.  Information sharing is a critical component of an empowered workplace.  Create an atmosphere in which employees feel comfortable expressing concerns and sharing new ideas.
  6. Establish accountability.  Provide the advice, perspective and guidance your team needs, but require them to create and manage their own solutions.  If mistakes are made, do not step in and fix them – use them as opportunities for employees to learn.
  7. Let go.  Tough as it may be, don’t micromanage.  Once you’ve established clear expectations and guidelines for the project, it’s time to take your hands off the wheel.
  8. Provide positive reinforcement.  For empowerment to permanently take hold in your organization, your employees have to want to do it.  So celebrate the successes (however small) your employees have while working on the test project.  Provide the feedback they need to feel respected and valued in their efforts.
  9. Review results, then take it to the next level.  Once the project is complete, assemble your team for a debriefing.  How did the group do?  What worked?  What didn’t?  Use the lessons learned to develop a more comprehensive plan for getting your whole company on the road to empowerment.

An Empowered Workplace Starts with Great People

UNITEMP can deliver the talented administrative, professional, and technical staff you need to create an empowered workplace.

Quick Ideas to Boost Employee Morale

November 17th, 2009

If your company is like most, you may struggle to find effective ways to reward employees without spending a lot.  Thankfully, when it comes to boosting morale in these unpredictable economic times, money isn’t everything.  Here are some creative ideas to keep your staff’s spirits high, while keeping an eye on your bottom line:

  1. Keep employees informed.  Make sure employees understand your organization’s current “state of the union.”  Communicate what challenges and goals your company faces, as well as the factors that will contribute to your success. 
  2. Let employees know what they can do to help achieve that success.  Explain how increasing customer service and loyalty, increasing efficiency, minimizing waste, etc. can help achieve company goals.  The more employees believe they can have an impact on organizational outcomes, the higher morale will stay.
  3. Ask employees for input.  Before making decisions that impact their roles or work – and may possibly lower morale – ask employees for their feedback.  If you attempt to understand their perspectives and feelings, changes will be more readily accepted.
  4. Respond to staff members’ questions and requests promptly.  Morale suffers greatly when employees feel their concerns are just ”swept under the rug.”  So if you don’t have one already, create a formal process for addressing employee issues in a timely manner.
  5. Give employees a sense of ownership by increasing responsibility.  For example, one Philadelphia-based consulting firm creates voluntary employee committees to set up an annual health fair and ongoing food co-op.  The extra work makes employees feel good and allows potential leaders to hone their skills.
  6. Consider alternative rewards to company picnics.  Believe it or not, many employees find forced company socialization a burden.  So instead of spending money on an annual cookout, consider awarding spa or salon gift certificates, movie passes, etc. to thank employees for their individual efforts.
  7. Institute a peer-nominated employee recognition award.  An Atlanta business school awards employees for personal achievements as well as organizational contributions that go beyond job responsibilities.  This company finds that recognizing just one employee creates a huge boost in morale company-wide.
  8. Offer more flexible work schedules.  For many workers, especially single parents and other caregivers, having the flexibility for personal time to handle family obligations is a huge morale-booster.  And often, your company can offer this perk without incurring additional expense.  Ideas include earlier/later start times; working four 10-hour days; working from home one day a week; and job-sharing.

Staffing as a Morale-Booster

Here are two more ways UNITEMP can help keep your staff’s spirits high:

  • Treat an employee to a day off.  Allow us to provide a temporary replacement for the day.
  • Reduce employee burnout.  Bring in our temporaries to help ease the burden of overtime.  Remember, you can avoid paying overtime by using our employees to handle the extra hours.

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