SI Review: April 2012

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Good Job, Thumbs Up

Temps rate the firms that place them

By Subadhra R. Sriram

Do you love your job? Even in a tough job market, we found many temporary workers who do. And yes, interesting assignments, caring coworkers and stints abroad play a role. But here is what is remarkable: These folks were hired by staffing agencies that placed them in the right jobs. (Most times, these workers work off-site.) Still, these contingent workers give their staffing firms the seal of approval.

This year, Staffing Industry Analysts has organized the “Best Staffing Firm to Temp For” contest. Quantum Research, an Omaha, Neb.-based firm, conducted the research and rankings. The results are based on a net promoter score, built on the fundamental perspective that every company’s customers — or temps, in this case — are promoters, passives, or detractors. Questions like “How likely is it that you would recommend [Company X] to a friend or colleague?” help get a measure of the company’s performance through its temp workers’ eyes. Temps responded on a 0-to-10 point rating scale.

The four winners all received a score of more than 55 percent. To put that in perspective, Google — also known for high employee satisfaction — earned an NPS score of 53 percent, according to Satmetrix. These staffing agencies (see list) are doing something right. What qualities typify these winners?

Genuine Concern

There are many contract workers who are in touch with their staffing firm. But it goes beyond that. What shines through with staffing firms like Collabera and Green Key Resources is the genuine concern they show for their temps. “Collabera cares about the welfare of their people. You are not just a number with them,” says Tom Chisholm, who is on assignment as a program manager at Capital One.

Ray Innocenti, a contract worker, felt the same personal interest with Green Key. He was communicating with the company for six months before he started work. In fact he was interested in a position that was advertised and subsequently closed due to a budget shortfall. Green Key kept Innocenti informed of changes, and when the position reopened, he got it. “I was impressed with the way Green Key handled my personal situation and how they pursued it,” he says.

Maintaining Contact

You can’t fake the personal interest. Once a temporary worker senses that you are trying to land him or her the right job, it motivates them. And when it’s accompanied by regular updates, the temp worker is empowered. Chisholm, who works through Collabera, said the firm conducts meetings 30 days into his assignment, giving contractors feedback received from the client. Regular performance reviews help get expectations straight.

Forrest McDonald is another good example of the power of maintaining relationships. A professional musician for the last 47 years, he got into IT contract work to provide stability for his family. He is coming off a two-year contract and is in touch with Collabera on a regular basis. During the assignment, Collabera held employee appreciation nights and a Christmas party that included dinner and bowling. In addition, the office staff at Collabera was friendly to work with. And it’s not over when the project is completed. Collabera will keep its eye out for new suitable positions for McDonald, and he may return to the client after a required 90-day away period.

Roth Staffing, too, takes the time to listen to consultants like Paul Hood. Thanks to them, Hood feels that he now has a career. His financial worries are a thing of the past. “My current position is so well-suited to my talents. The staff really took the time to listen to my unique circumstances.”

Professional & Fun

Another characteristic that these staffing firms share is their professionalism. They treat the temporary workers with courtesy. “We really take the time to know who is working for us,” says Will Schwerin, a national account manager who oversees Signature Consultants’ San Francisco office. Their consultants know where they stand and get the same benefits as the internal employees.

Others treat their temps to bowling parties, lunches, worker appreciation nights, Christmas festivities and a variety of fun stuff . But besides the fun and games, these firms negotiate hard on behalf of the temporary worker. They ensure that the workers are as close to a perfect match for the job as possible and get paid appropriately. “The happier your temps are, the better they are going to do on their assignments,” says Tony Giarratana, executive director, temporary and contract division, at Green Key.

And that is their competitive advantage. Go to bat for your temporary worker and the rest follows.

Subadhra R. Sriram is editorial director at Staffing Industry Analysts. She can be reached at ssriram@staffingindustry.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Subadhra_cws.

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