Category Archives: Contingent Workforce

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.

by: Rebecca Blankenship, Vice President Human Resources


Reducing Gray Areas in Co-Employment

Some say there are 101 distinct shades of gray. A computer offers up 256 variations on gray. Scientists say the human eye can actually distinguish more than 500 different shades of gray. If you are responsible for your organization’s workforce, any gray area can be problematic. One of the biggest gray areas for HR managers is the ambiguity—and the potential risk—around co-employment when part of your workforce is contingent.

Where Is the Ambiguity?

If you are coloring inside the lines, it is easy to lay out who is responsible for what in a contingent workforce scenario:

  Staffing Agency Employer   Joint Responsibility   Client
  • I-9 Verification
  • Employment Taxes
  • Employee Benefits
  • Wage and Hour
  • Workers’ Comp
  • FMLA
  • EEO
  • ADA
  • Workplace Harassment
  • Communication
  • Workplace Safety
  • General Work Direction


Pretty clear, right? Yet when staffing agency employees are placed on assignment with a client organization, confusion can arise about who the actual employer is?.

The “formal” relationship between the contingent worker and their employing staffing agency and between the contingent worker and the client they support may be clear as glass, but the more informal, real-world workplace can cloud the picture.

While the workers are employed and paid by the staffing agency, the work they do is for the client. From the very first day on the job, through their on-boarding process and introductions to the client team and the work assignment, they are made to feel welcome in the client workplace. The people with whom they work are client employees. The supervision of their work is usually provided by client managers. They often work onsite at the client’s facility; they carry a badge with the client’s logo; they drink the client’s coffee; they eat in the client’s employee cafeteria; they receive email via a client email address; they attend meetings with client employees and business leaders. It’s easy to understand why there is confusion. That lack of clarity can be equally applicable to independent contractors who pay themselves, based on statement of work contracts they enter into with a client.

What Is the Risk?

That is the question painfully answered for Microsoft about a decade ago, when it was fined $100 million over co-employment issues. As the size and strategic value of the contingent workforce has grown in recent years, so too have state and federal resources been expanded to root out co-employment and misclassification issues. Beyond the additional tax dollars that might be captured by various government agencies (estimated several years ago by the Government Accountability Office at nearly $3 billion annually for the federal government alone), a negative ruling in court can carry a hefty price tag. In addition to legal fees and court costs, a company might have to lay out funds for repayment of lost wages, overtime or benefits.

What is most clear about the difference between employee and non-employee is that it is definitely a blurred line, making it important to know when and when not to include contingent workers in client initiatives.

Mitigating the Risk

The need to carefully distinguish who is responsible for what, beyond basics such as wages and workplace safety can help alleviate joint employer responsibility. For example:

  Staffing Agency Employer   Client
  • Communicates assignment, reassignment, etc.
  • Conducts employee orientation
  • Handles temp worker related issues
    • Attendance
    • Complaints
    • Investigations
  • Handles performance management, coaching and disciplinary action
  • Counsels on issues relating to career development
  • Releases from assignment
  • Provides Client specific training
  • Furnishes tools, materials and equipment necessary to perform job
  • Controls general working conditions


Additional guidelines to cover in any contingent labor contract might include:

  • Contingent workers cannot act as supervisors who approve contract worker time and expense.
  • No contingent worker can participate in client-sponsored employee programs.
  • No contingent worker can be issued a client credit card or business card with the client logo.
  • Any company announcements or directives that affect contingent workers should be communicated to this population separately from employed staff.
  • Contingent workers should report anticipated late arrivals and absences to the staffing agency, who should, in turn, inform the client supervisor.
  • Any reimbursable expenses should be paid to the staffing agency, never directly to contingent workers.

Ensuring Competitive Advantage Rather than Compliance Risk

Keeping all of this straight is a chore when you deal with a single staffing agency or independent contractor. The opportunity for miscues is huge when you partner with multiple staffing agencies and independent contractors, and with many contingent workers reporting to client supervisors in different areas of the business—all of whom must not only know the rules of engagement but how to apply them appropriately in the everyday workplace. The need to mitigate this potential risk is one of the most compelling reasons that so many businesses partner with a managed service provider (MSP). When an MSP manages your contingent workforce program, rules are clearly and comprehensively communicated and compliance tracked, so that your use of contingent labor creates competitive advantage rather than compliance risk.

Still Have Questions?

Contact Bartech to learn more about contractor risk mitigation, or to explore whether an MSP is right for your organization.

Making Your Workforce Analytics Data Work Harder

By: Brian Salkowski – Bartech Managed Services

Social Media - Word Cloud Text

Data by Itself Is Little More than Noise; Make Your Data Sing!

Rearview mirrors identify potential hazards approaching from behind. Windshields are not only far bigger; they provide a clear view of where you are going. If you are a contingent workforce program manager, it’s likely you have sat through numerous business reviews in which your managed service provider (MSP) shared tons of data, giving you unprecedented visibility into your contingent workforce program. As valuable as it is to understand your contingent workforce from a historical perspective, there is even more value in knowing what the future holds. If you can use the data you collect to drive decisions for your organization, you will have a greater competitive talent advantage.

Moving Your Contingent Workforce Program Forward

While new contingent workforce program managers are happy to get data for the first time, more mature programs offer an opportunity to capitalize on all the available historical data to drive decision making. If knowledge is power, the benefits of contingent workforce analytics are vast and can drive program innovation. It can help you make prescriptive statements about what is likely to happen in the future and why. The advent of data analytics, employing leading-edge predictive algorithms, is making it possible to uncover new intelligence about the current workforce and future requirements. Not only does this help a company hire and retain the right resources at the right prices, but it also facilitates the identification of program improvements that can be made in current workforce programs based on actual data and results.

Explore the Possibilities with Workforce Analytics

Mine your data to understand root causes and make predictions about where issues are most probable to surface in the future. You can determine, for example, where turnover risk is highest and then build retention strategies for those locations most at risk. Examining a data point such as time to proficiency can help you structure assignment length for peak proficiency. If engagement is most vulnerable at the six-month mark, is it most acute in a certain skill set or pay rate? Can you use that information to adjust the career ladder? Think of the money saved by proactive vs. reactive decision making, supported by historical data. VMS technology offers an almost infinite amount of data that can be tracked and used to uncover issues and potential solutions that were virtually impossible to see in the past.

Empower Contingent Workforce Planning with Workforce Analytics

Work with your MSP as a strategic workforce partner to assess risks and uncover opportunities. Your MSP partner can take your data (data that is already captured as part of your program) and drill it down to a more granular level. It can then match your program data to external sources to assess your position in the market. Looking at multi-client aggregate data, industry benchmarks, government databases and market trends – it can scan the competitive landscape for key indicators, such as labor supply, rates, geographic markers, etc. By analyzing your data with an eye to the future, your MSP partner can help you move your firm forward. It can identify the best position in the market to capture the talent you need to grow and deploy it most effectively for the greatest advantage.

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.