Category Archives: Staffing

A New Generation of Recruiting Challenges

by: David Barfield, Bartech CEO

Access to talent is critical to achieving organizational objectives. In a sellers’ market, with demand for skills far outpacing supply, many employers find themselves struggling to fill key positions. Talent shortages are not new, however. What compounds the challenge of finding talent in today’s market is a fundamental shift in the nature of the workforce, due in large part to demographics. With the massive exit of Baby Boomers already underway, their majority position has been overtaken by Millennials, whose beliefs and behaviors are quite different from previous generations. To attract these younger workers—born after 1980—employers must first understand them and then ensure that their organizational policies and practices align with what these workers want.

What Distinguishes the Millennial Workforce?

  • The newest generations in the workforce are more highly educated and more tech savvy
  • They are socially conscious and expect their employer to be as well
  • They want to understand the big picture and their role in it
  • They gravitate toward companies that have a clear mission and consistent follow-through on that mission
  • They are quick to embrace change and completely comfortable working on diverse teams
  • They welcome challenges and bring a “can do” attitude to their jobs
  • They do not thrive in a more traditional, command-and-control or paternalistic structure
  • They are forward-focused in terms of career mobility and expect an employer to actively support their pursuit of learning and development opportunities
  • They place a premium on work/life balance

Attracting a New Generation

For the past 40 years or more, young people have followed a familiar path, moving from school to the workforce just as their parents did. They accepted low-level entry jobs, kept their heads down as they put in their time, paid their dues and gained experience before moving up the career ladder. That model no longer seems to work. In fact, some Millennials forgo it altogether, jumping into entrepreneurship straight out of school. In a survey of Millennials by Bentley University, only 13% of respondents said their career goal involves climbing the corporate ladder, while almost two-thirds (67%) expressed a desire to start their own business.
It’s a new day, and for many employers, that means a willingness to make some adjustments in the way they operate their businesses to ensure they appeal to the newest generation of innovators. Otherwise, the search for talent will take longer, cost more and result in less-than-stellar hires.

Refreshing the Look, the Feel and the Soul of an Organization

When you have been in business for more than 40 years, young and energetic may seem unrealistic labels, but being viewed positively as a potential employer to Millennials has less to do with age and more to do with attitude. At Bartech, that has meant discovering that what appeals to younger workers was already established in our company. We just needed to refresh our brand and repackage it. Let me explain.
This is not about chasing the buzz of the day. It is about being both relevant and consistent. Companies that don’t truly practice what they preach are quickly found out. At Bartech, we wanted the newest generations to know that we truly believe in the same things they do. These workers are very conscious of giving back and seek out companies they feel are responsible in terms of their commitment to quality, to their employees and to the communities they serve. These three tenets happen to be the founding principles of our company: Quality, Fairness and Corporate Citizenship.
So refreshing our brand didn’t require us to revamp our operating philosophy, but we did make a number of subtle changes that support our commitment to transparency, mission and work/life balance.

For example:

  • We moved into a new facility that is designed with transparency in mind. Our offices are bright, colorful and energetic, with lots of open spaces and glass walls
  • We recognize and are reminded every day of our how we began and how we intend to continue—from the portrait of our founders to the principles emblazoned in our boardroom
  • We turned our strategic pillars into art to reinforce the values we share with our team and wove these into the design of our work space, naming each of our conference rooms using words that are meaningful to us: agility, integrity, focus, leadership, collaboration, innovation
  • We encourage employees to work anywhere in the facility that promotes high performance and collaboration, so no one is handcuffed to their desk.
  • We revamped our systems and processes so a majority of our employees have the ability to work from home on either a full- or part-time basis, creating greater balance in their lives while letting them know that we have a high degree of trust in them
  • We communicate with greater regularity and openness than ever before, because we want our employees to understand our goals, our strategy and their part in both
  • We partner with our employees to support the community in ways that are meaningful to them: children, education and people less fortunate

While each of these actions makes us more compatible with Millennial employees, they have met with wide approval across every generation in our workplace.

Revamping How We Engage with Candidates

The advent of social media changed the way employers interact with candidates. We did more than introduce new ways of connecting with candidates; we re-engineered our approach, recognizing that recruiting is a two-way street. There has to be value delivered on both sides. Our goal is to get to know every candidate in a way that goes far beyond hard and soft skills. We want to understand their job goals and their career aspirations. It’s not just about what they can do for Bartech. It’s about retaining great talent. In order to nurture a long-term relationship, we both need to meet each other’s expectations.

Are You Ready for the New Workforce?

Access to talent and being relevant to that talent are significant workforce challenges. Attracting, engaging and retaining Millennials is like fishing in a brand-new pond. It requires new approaches and a new employment value proposition. If you can meet the expectations of this new generation, you will be better able to connect with an increasingly limited supply of high-quality talent. If you would like to learn more about how Bartech is connecting with the best candidates in every generation, please get in touch.

The Art of Recruiting

By: Erica Leone, VP of Recruiting, Enterprise Staffing


Marrying Science with Art in Recruiting

If you think of the science of recruiting as driven by technology; the art of recruiting is governed by intellect and insight. Tremendous progress has been made in the past two decades to advance the science of recruiting, transforming recruiting from slow, unwieldy and fairly subjective into a highly efficient and process-driven approach to building a better workforce. With technology liberating employers from so many time-consuming transactional activities in job search and placement, there is now greater freedom to concentrate on refining the art of recruiting. That’s a good place for staffing industry professionals to focus their efforts, as all of that scientific progress and productivity has generated a lot of expectations that are not as easily transformed or met by technology alone.

How Technology Transforms
In a fairly short span of years, technology has allowed us to shift candidate sourcing from the Rolodex to the job board and the Automated Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Paper records—from requisitions to resumes—have gone digital. VMS technology has automated and streamlined the entire req-to-check process of talent sourcing. Innovations such as digital video interviewing, online skills and behavioral assessments, automated candidate schedulers and e-file on-boarding processes have all contributed to a more disciplined and accelerated process. These are just a few examples of how recruiting has changed since the mid-‘90s. All these “scientific” advances have boosted efficiency, generated tremendous productivity and accelerated cycle times. These are all good things – but only part of the equation.

The Artistic Side of the Recruitment Equation
Whereas science is explained in absolutes of yes/no, positive/negative, true/false – art is less precise. It deals with shadings and nuances. The art of recruiting is the application of knowledge based on experience and insight regarding the nature of the work, the skills, and expectations of both the candidate and the client. While artists apply subtle variations of light, shadow and color to create a portrait, recruiters approach the talent search with an understanding of the market and industry, job expectations, the economics of supply and demand, workforce trends, candidate aspirations and more. They deliver an experience to candidates and clients, albeit one made easier by technology but not displaced by technology. Recruiters are the artists who transform a series of transactional steps into a rewarding experience.

Meeting Changing Expectations
Technology is a powerful tool, but it cannot substitute for the experience and knowledge that recruiters apply to successfully match the best-fitting job candidate to the right employer. Along with all the good that technology has brought to the recruiting and staffing industry, it has also heightened the expectations of both candidates and employers for a better experience and better results. Recruiters hold the key to delivering those experiences. A successful job placement is like a good marriage. It brings together two parties with needs and expectations that are often at different ends of the spectrum. The recruiter’s job is to create mutual understanding of those needs and adjust expectations to match the realities of the marketplace.

A Case in Point
A client wants a Java developer with 10 years of experience at a price point that reflects the starting salary of the last Java developer that the employer hired in 2005. This might signal a protracted and frustrating search. However, even the most inventive and diligent search of the market will not likely find a suitable match. Keep in mind that job market trends are not something the client has to think about on a daily basis. His focus is on getting the work done. So, rather than set up the hiring manager for disappointment, it is the recruiter’s job to help that client be a better informed purchaser of high-demand skills. She/he might share research on market trends so that the hiring manager understands what is available and at what price. She/he might brainstorm with the client about opportunities to reconfigure tasks and deliverables so that a different type of candidate might make a better fit. Or they might propose a candidate who has less experience than originally requested but a resume that shows quick adaptability to new situations. The eventual placement may be quite different than initial expectations but if it is the right fit, then the experience is a positive one.

Making a Good Marriage
The science of recruiting drives efficiency. The art of recruiting drives satisfaction. Together, these two can increase quality and help recruiters respond more effectively to the demands of their clients and candidates. They allow them to deliver a positive experience based on knowledge and insights that ensure realistic expectations for all parties.

Bartech Named World’s Leading MSP

By: David Barfield, CEO

In its definitive ranking of the world’s leading managed service providers (MSP), HRO Today placed Bartech in the #1 position, naming us the best of the best in its MSP Baker’s Dozen.

We never set out to be the biggest, but we have always dedicated ourselves to being the best… the best in quality, the best in service, the best in value. As the MSP Baker’s Dozen rankings are based solely on client feedback, it is incredibly gratifying to know that our clients recognize and appreciate the dedication of the Bartech team. I am proud to lead such an outstanding group of professionals, committed to serving each and every Bartech client as a trusted strategic partner.

As the leading benchmark for service provider differentiation, the Baker’s Dozen serves as an important barometer of quality and value for those new to the industry. It also serves to continually set the bar higher, pushing providers to essentially up their game, partnering with clients to uncover new ways to drive strategic value in the temporary labor market. We welcome that challenge.

When Bartech entered the contingent workforce management space in 1998, we traversed a frontier at the brink of transformation. Operating with little structure or governance, the introduction of innovative VMS technology provided the means to establish a solid framework for order and stability in talent acquisition. As revolutionary as that technology disruptor was to the industry, there remained a clear gap that was swiftly filled by the managed service provider. Our role at the time was that of facilitator. We introduced disciplined processes, encouraged value-based relationships and blazed a new trail to talent leadership. Doing so delivered substantial benefits to our clients in the form of lower cost, reduced risk, improved efficiency, higher quality of talent and greater transparency across the board.

The workforce and the nature of work continue to evolve, as does the role of the MSP. We work in close partnership with clients every day, guiding their journey to transform the process of talent acquisition in pursuit of a high-performance workforce that is actively engaged in supporting and advancing client goals for growth and profitability. This is an exciting time to stand at the edge of discovery in a changing landscape, where value is measured not merely in dollars and cents but in creating opportunities to leverage the inherent value of the workforce as a competitive advantage.

Vendor Management System Implementation: The Back-Office Perspective

By: Michael J. Franklin, PhD, Director of IS

In every vendor management system implementation, lots of time and effort is devoted to gathering required data relating to contingent workers, job descriptions and staffing suppliers. Everything must be input to the contingent workforce management tool for day one usage. As critical as this is, there is another vendor management system exercise just as important to successful VMS launch: ensuring everyone gets paid… not just the workforce but the suppliers as well. The VMS or MSP service provider must establish the right protocols to pay all suppliers, consolidate worker hours and convert that data into an acceptable customer invoice format.

Quickest Ways to Derail Successful Vendor Management System Invoicing
In any complex project, the key to success is careful planning. A vendor management system implementation is no different. Understand all the variables and how they can potentially interact. Ask the right questions and get answers before moving forward with VMS invoicing implementation. For instance, does the customer process invoices in-house or utilize a third party? If they outsource invoicing, then be sure to involve any third-party processors from the beginning to avoid errors in data formatting, eliminate the possibility of missed data and save time in development and testing. The same caution applies with an in-house invoicing process. Include the customer’s subject matter experts (SME) from both finance and information systems in any invoicing discussions. Finance SMEs understand what data is necessary on the invoice and how the invoice has to be sliced, e.g., by business unit, by cost code, etc. The tech reps understand how to get the data into their systems. They may also be able to simplify the invoice format so that custom invoice development time and testing can be greatly decreased.

Best Practices in Vendor Management System Invoicing Implementation
The most important points to consider when developing a VMS customer invoice are:

  • Get the right SMEs in the room when discussing the invoice process
  • Construct the invoice in the simplest possible format
  • If GL data is a critical element of the invoice, get a weekly GL data set from the customer to validate all GL codes
  • Understand data formatting requirements, whether for one or multiple finance systems
  • Identify all tax requirements and how they need to be handled, both in the VMS tool and on the invoice
  • Gain consensus on the invoice delivery schedule and method

The sooner invoice requirements are understood, the smoother and quicker the vendor management system implementation will be. Have we missed anything? What’s your experience?

Looking for Top Talent? Put the Pedal to the Metal to Attract Gold Medal Talent

By John Eagy, Director of Recruiting, Enterprise Staffing Solutions

Hiring managers should take heed: the recession-driven employer market of recent years is little more than a distant memory. Hiring managers can no longer “window shop” the talent mall, expecting to browse leisurely through a wide selection of viable candidates, clamoring for any opportunity. Those days are gone. Today candidates rule. That translates to increasingly tougher challenges in attracting top talent. As a result, hiring managers need to put the pedal to metal. They need to jump on opportunities, streamline the recruiting process and accelerate hiring decisions to secure top talent.

There’s Lots of Competition for Top Talent
According to Simply Hired’s April 2013 Employment Outlook, nationwide job openings are on the rise. Each of the top 50 metro markets and nearly all industries experienced growth in the past month. Manufacturing saw the largest gain at 15.2%. In Detroit, where year-over-year job growth exceeds 25%, there are close to 67,000 job openings, with nearly 900 vacancies at General Motors alone. And while we still hear there are multiple candidates for every opening, the reality is that they may not be the right candidates. You are not looking to simply fill a seat. You need the right skills and experience to advance your strategy and those candidates are getting tougher to find.

Candidates Have Taken Charge of the Market
In today’s talent mall, it’s the candidates doing the shopping and they’re in a hurry. Those who lost jobs over the past few years are back to work, in positions they are happy with. Their tastes have changed though. They no longer believe in long-term loyalty. While they may be called “passive” candidates, they are aggressive in pursuing what they want. If another employer can promise greater career mobility, bigger challenges, better compensation in terms of salary, benefits, perks, etc., they will be open to the opportunity and quick to accept an offer.

What Can Hiring Managers Do?
Today’s job market is first-come, first-served. Time is at a premium. The top candidates have multiple opportunities, so any offer that takes three weeks to cook will find no one still hungry for a taste. To ensure that your organization remains competitive in attracting top talent, follow these four simple guidelines:

  1. Be thorough in describing the job opportunity. Ensure clear understanding between hiring manager and recruiting partner on all that is involved in the job.
  2. Be responsive in providing timely feedback to your recruiting partner. If mistakes or misunderstandings exist, your recruiting efforts can fall up to two weeks behind in the talent race.
  3. Don’t delay in setting up interviews. Top talent has lots of options. You need to get in front of the most sought-after candidates and sell your opportunity.
  4. Be quick and decisive. Once interviews are completed, make a decision so that you can win the top talent before someone else steps in and steals them away. And if you miss out, a speedy decision means you can quickly change direction in order to maintain forward momentum in your search.

In a shrinking labor pool, the best candidates have a multitude of choices. To ensure that your organization is one of their top choices, establish a strong partnership with your recruiting supplier so that they will always be on the lookout for top talent, giving you an edge in an increasingly competitive labor market.

What’s your experience? Are you seeing a tightening of the talent supply? Please share your thoughts.