Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Should you let your employees telework?

Should your company offer employees the option to telework? That depends.

1. Does the nature of your work lend itself to working remotely?

2. Do you want to compete for the best talent? According to a recent study at WorldatWork, almost 80% of employees would like the option to telework at least part of the time, and the war for talent is escalating.

3. Do you want to reduce your company’s carbon footprint?

4. Do you believe less stress and time consumed commuting will lead to higher productivity?

5. Do you include telecommuting skills (self-reliant, self-motivated, collaborative, communicative, able to handle ambiguity) in your job requirements?  Looking for employees with the ability to work virtually will prevent lost productivity and turnover.

6. Do you know the indicators of employees with good telecommuting skills (previous successful experience, personality tests)?  Based on U.S. Census data, 61% more employees considered home their primary place of work in 2009 than in 2005.  As more companies offer telework, more employees will acquire these skills.

7. Does your company favor a culture of trust, over the old carrot and sticks method of motivating people?

If you answered yes to these questions, your company, your bottom line, and those of us who do have to drive to work (in traffic) may benefit from you offering your employees the option to telecommute.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Growing Demand for IT Talent

As we touched on earlier this week, competition for IT skills and talent is high and growing.  Companies of all types and sizes increasingly rely on technology for so many aspects of their business – from marketing to fulfillment.  As technology advances almost daily, it can be difficult to find employees who understand it – how to use it, how to fix it when it breaks, how to exploit it.

Companies need developers with a holistic understanding of technology.  Those who know multiple languages and platforms – in particular, desktops, mobile, and cloud (here’s why).  The job-seeker with both IT skills and business knowledge is even more desirable to employers.  IT is now an integral part of business strategy, and employees who understand the larger picture add the most value.

As a business owner, how can you attract and retain this talent?  If you’re a smaller business, you have the advantage of offering rapid advancement opportunities for entrepreneurial-minded job-seekers.  Whatever size your company, you’ll need to be prepared to offer competitive salaries, varying depending on whether your technology is front and center to customers, or more back-end.

TRC Professional Solutions locates and qualifies the best IT candidates across a wide spectrum of IT fields for employers in Atlanta, GainesvilleBirmingham, Dallas, Austin, Tampa, Sarasota, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Columbia, Souderton and other cities across the U.S.  To learn more about our information technology staffing services, visit our site.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How Do We Fix Unemployment?

How do we fix unemployment?

According to politicians, the answer is create jobs.  Some politicians get elected to office on the promise of creating X number of jobs.  The reality is, though we know politicians would love to create jobs, they cannot deliver on their promise in an immediate and sustainable fashion.  No one can create jobs.  Jobs evolve out of need.  And need comes from ingenuity.  These politicians could sit at their desks and play on Facebook for their entire terms and jobs would still be “created” where there’s a need.

The other truth is, companies and businesses don’t want more jobs.  They want more money.  If they expand their products and services to make more money, which then leads to more jobs, everyone wins.  But opportunity for profit comes first; not jobs for the sake of jobs.

This is common sense, right? So what’s the reason for unemployment?

The answer: there’s a worker supply and demand disconnect.  The United States is still the #1 manufacturer in the world (though China will probably surpass us this year).  But thanks to rapidly changing technology, factories rely on expensive precision equipment to produce, rather than simple manual labor.  Employees must possess at minimum basic math skills, and most need advanced technical training.

Yet, roughly 80 million Americans – that’s 40% of the adult population (over age 25) – are undereducated.  Not only are these Americans not getting the education they need to fill the jobs available, but many companies no longer spend the resources to train employees.  Companies want employees to come in experienced and ready to work.

To mend the gap in skills available and skills required, Americans need to become aware of the skills needed and train themselves accordingly.  This Recession has been notorious for the white collar workers it’s affected, but the largest spike in unemployment came from the undereducated.

Friday, June 17, 2011

“I own a staffing company… how will [healthcare laws] affect my industry?”

The discussion continues on healthcare and how the new law will affect companies and business owners.

For example, we came across this forum thread, in which the owner of a staffing firm wrote “I own a staffing company… how will this affect my industry?”

Forum responses to that question ranged from helpful to heated.  No one can predict the exact effects healthcare legislation will have on staffing companies or other types of companies.  However, a new statistic says one in three companies may choose to pay the 8% payroll tax rather than offer the type of healthcare required by the new law.  The new law will force us to change the way we do things, administratively speaking.  The financial and cultural implications could be enormous.

Here’s what we do know.  Companies must adhere to the new law.  And United States citizens must have access to quality healthcare.  It will be especially important to well-verse ourselves in the administrative aspects required by the new law.  Understanding the ins and outs of the requirements will help us formulate the most strategic plan for accomplishing these challenges while making a profit.

We’ve hashed out some of the bottom-line facts here and also throughout this blog.

Are you thinking about how the new healthcare law will affect your company?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 Global CIO Insights Studies by IBM

Whether you’re a company leader in a position to make spending decisions, or a job-seeker looking to make yourself marketable, you might be interested in the 2011 Global CIO Insights Studies by IBM.  You can view the summary PDFs, or register (it’s free) to access the full insights, or if you’re in a hurry, below are a few highlights from the Midmarket Study.  The study measures where small and mid-sized companies, which make up more than 90% of companies worldwide, plan to invest in the area of technology.

If you're an information technology professional, focusing your attention to the following areas may prove beneficial to your career or company.

Key areas for technology investment are:

1. Business Intelligence and Analytics.  Eighty-three percent of companies surveyed plan to invest in innovate ways to analyze company data and use those insights for the betterment of their companies.

2. Cloud computing.  Companies (in both the mid study and overall study) are fifty percent more likely to spend money on cloud computing than they were two years ago.  Cloud-based hardware and software resources are thought to provide flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

3. Mobile computing.  Seventy-two percent of companies plan to spend on mobile technology.  This number isn’t surprising, since mobile phone use is overtaking PC and laptop use.  It makes sense to invest in harnessing this technology.

Where does your company plan to invest?

TRC Staffing Services specializes in job placement services in the field of information technology. Interested parties may visit our Information Technology Solutions webpage.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Make Better Decisions, Get Ahead (Recession or not)

Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked. – Warren Buffett

We saw plenty of companies and businesses go under when the Recession and its wave of crises hit.  Yet amid the chaos, we saw others survive and still others thrive.

What makes some companies sink and others become paralyzed, while still others choose the most “perilous” conditions to take their biggest risks?

The companies, and in fact, the individuals, that thrive during difficult times have in common: 1.) preparedness and 2.) smart decision-making skills and 3. the realization that the best time to make growth-driving decisions is when other companies are distracted, confused, or just plain scared.

Preparedness requires paying attention to facts, anticipating, and being ready for possibilities.  For example, healthcare legislation requires big changes and confuses many.  Leaders who value preparedness aren’t sticking their heads in the sand while they wait for the changes to come upon them.  They’re examining the facts, uncertain and shifting as those facts may be, and developing strategies to accommodate those changes.  They will certainly have to revise their strategies as they go, but they can do so more nimbly having prepared for the worst.

As for smart decision making, there’re lots of theories about minimizing flaws in decision making.  Anyone who’s read Blink knows how confirmation bias, anchoring, and loss aversion can influence decision makers.  Simply being aware of our human tendencies, however, isn’t enough to correct them.  What can we do then, to minimize the damage our human biases inflict, and maximize effective decision-making?

According to this article in the Harvard Business Review, the answer lies not in minimizing biases in your decisions – but in minimizing biases in the decisions of those around you.  Being a leader and helping others make smart decisions, in other words.

Once you’re prepared and skilled at decision making, the risks suddenly aren’t as risky.

Curious about your own decision-making skills?  Take this quick quiz for executive decision makers, provided by McKinsey & Company.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Huge Trends that Affect the Way You Hire.

Business and the workforce have changed drastically in only 5 years.  There’s been a lot going on, to say the least.  We want to point out a few factors, in particular, that are affecting companies’ hiring – besides the obvious economic factors that are causing many to simply not hire.  We want to point out a few trends that affect how you hire.

First, the housing market.  What hasn’t it touched?  But one way in particular the housing market has affected hiring is that employees simply aren’t as mobile.  Many sought-after candidates are tied to their homes, unwilling or unable to sell in such a weak market.  Those candidates will either need to be compensated greatly for relocating, recruited to companies close to them, or work remotely.  So companies looking to hire will save money by choosing from a local pool of candidates, or relying on recruiters and staffing agencies to do the work of sifting through the candidate pool to match companies with workers who are either local or able to relocate without financial strain.

Second, gas prices.  If we were to just scrape the surface, companies may have to negotiate with employees, as workers demand higher pay to compensate for cost of commuting.  A more efficient way to compensate for soaring gas prices is to hire candidates in closer proximity to work.  In some cases, companies may also offer the option to telework.

Third, social media.  Brands are no longer shaped solely by company advertising.  Consumers shape brands, through social media.  Word of mouth has long been considered the most effective advertising.  Social media is word of mouth on steroids.  Big, global steroids.  Your employment brand is equally susceptible to employees’ and job-seekers’ perception of it.  Their perception will help shape your brand.  How does this affect your hiring practices?  Well, you’ll have to be transparent and authentic about the way you represent your company and your job descriptions.  Any misrepresentations or “sugar-coating” can easily be invalidated by employees who’ve experienced otherwise.  And of course, the best thing you can do for your employment brand is provide a positive and consistent employee and job-candidate experience, so people have mostly good things to say about you.  Because what they say, will be heard.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mixed Messages on the Job Front

The Bad News.

The ADP Report for May was disappointing, with only 38,000 private sector jobs added – a drastic drop from the 177,000 jobs added in April, and less than one-fourth the increase estimated by analysts.  The drop immediately prompted a selloff ending in the Dow Jones down 279 points.

In addition, the Bureau of Economic Analysis states despite the fact that income growth had looked to be accelerating, in reality, real disposable income barely grew over the past three quarters.  The three-quarter growth string is: 1.0%, 1.1%, and 0.8%.  Not good.

And while the GDP report shows profits for U.S. businesses jumping 8.5%, compensation for employees doesn’t reflect this increase.  Nationally, nominal compensation to employees only increased 3.7%.

Finally, in the past week, unemployment filings jumped from 324,000 to 424,000.  Anything above 400,000 is viewed as indicative of a weak labor market.

The Good News.

IT employment increased by 5,000 jobs in April.  The IT Executive Outlook survey reported 36% of IT companies plant to hire, and 41% plan to hire long-term employees.

And, one state in particular has shown steady, long-term growth.  Texas has added 732,800 private sector jobs in the last 10 years, including over 250,000 in the last year.  Not coincidentally, Texas was rated favorably by CEOs in the Chief Executive survey as having high labor market flexibility, a small government, and weak unions.

Other states with promising growth include Arizona, Utah, North Dakota, Washington, and Virginia.

*Interested clients and job seekers may contact TRC Staffing Services at our Austin and Dallas Texas locations.