Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Safety Matters - Temporary & Contract Staffing


The Association of Canadian Search, Employment & Staffing Services (ACSESS) sponsored safety group will receive rebates totalling $900,681.07. The safety group, comprised of over 65 ACSESS member firm accounts, will be awarded the rebates for initiatives that significantly reduced both the severity and frequency of workplace injuries in 2009. A rebate ceremony for ACSESS members will be held on November 24th, 2010. Please click here to view our press release.


As a sponsor since 2001, ACSESS oversees member companies' participation, liaises with the WSIB and other health and safety organizations, recruits new safety group members, measures progress and regularly reports to the WSIB. The association also encourages members to share ideas and pool resources by organizing joint meetings and leadership workshops and helps participants to develop action plans.



ACSESS Safety Groups 2011 - Accepting new applications


Benefits of a staffing firm joining a safety group:



  • Access to health and safety resources and best practices from other participants

  • Help with developing and managing effective health and safety programs

  • Healthy and stable workforce

  • Increased productivity

  • Increased employee morale

  • Benefit from ongoing support from a health and safety consultant with industry specific expertise

Along with improving workplace safety, staffing companies can reduce WSIB premiums and earn financial rebates.
Interseted Staffing companies can
click here to complete an application form.


Open Houses for staffing company owners and managers are scheduled for December 2nd in Windsor and December 10th GTA - Please click here for Open House Details.


Congratulations to all Staffing companies who are active members of the safety group you for your dedication to this industry.



Together, the sataffing companies are reducing workplace injuries and setting higher standards for safety in the staffing industry.


Mary McIninch, B.A, LL.B (Membre du Barreau du Québec)
Director of Government Relations/Directrice des Affaires Publiques
Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services
Association Nationale des Entreprises en Recrutement et Placement de Personnel
905-826-6869/888-232-4962


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Temporary Help & the Federal Government

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Federal Government & the THS Supply Arrangement

The past 24 months have been tumultuous times for suppliers operating under the federal government’s THS supply arrangement in the NCR. The recessionary economy combined with changes in the government’s procurement rules have resulted in unprecedented business challenges and a real threat to some staffing companies whose core business is the supply of temporary help services to the public sector.

While suppliers, workers and buyers are all trying to adapt to the changes, the government’s procurement model for temporary staffing, users of the services and the industry remain under constant scrutiny and duress because of several converging and influential forces. The following summary briefly describes some of the issues, the forces at play, ACSESS involvement and the current ACSESS position.

Temporary Help is a Valuable Service

For starters, managers within government with budget and performance objectives know that Temporary Staffing Services, acquired through the PWGSC “ THS “ procurement vehicle, is the most efficient, cost effective and value based solution available to solve their peak workloads, staff shortages, skill shortages and projects. Thousands of various government managers independently come to the same conclusion over and over again. There is a need for temporary help; there are legitimate motives driving the procurement of temporary help; and temporary staffing providers deliver a high quality service. These are undisputed facts.

THS - Right of First Refusal – The Critical Flaw

In May of 2009, PWGSC implemented a new rule that requires buyers within the federal government, to issue their purchase requests (Call-ups) to the lowest priced suppliers, with no special consideration allowed for “value issues” like availability of resources, past service experience, call-backs of previously assigned temporary workers, fit, or comparative skills of the available workers through different suppliers. Commonly referred to as the “right of first refusal”, this rule requires buyers to take several unnecessary and time consuming steps to attempt to buy the lowest price resource from the THS price list or they must document their justification for not buying the lowest priced supplier. This model is failing! It is the source of a variety of unintended consequences and undesirable buyer and supplier behaviors. The “right of first refusal” relies upon three false assumptions. 1) all workers and all staffing companies are indiscernible, homogeneous commodities; (2) lowest priced and lowest wage worker = greatest value; 3) buyers cannot be trusted to make best value decisions from a list of vendors that are pre-selected by PWGSC and from predetermined prices that are set weekly through price competitions.

The “right of first refusal” rule has been implemented in the regions outside the NCR with better flexibility and cognizance for providing proper value to the crown. Nevertheless in spite of the existence of a more value emphasized approach the relative constraints of the system has led to widespread "category manipulation" by having to call for a much higher category to ensure a billing rate that can support a pay rate to attract the suitable candidate. Therefore the regions are not experiencing similar failings. The undesirable consequences and behaviors are exclusive characteristics to the NCR which is the only region where the “right of first refusal” is being pursued with such inanely excessive vigour.

THS – Advisory Committee

An Advisory Committee comprised of several representatives from PWGSC, client departments, ACSESS NCR chapter and non-ACSESS industry representatives has been meeting regularly for several years to monitor, evaluate and improve Public Works THS procurement model in the NCR. Minutes of each meeting and a list of committee members since November 2006 are available for review at http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/app-acq/sat-ths/rcc-acm/2010-07-20-eng.html . Our ACSESS committee representatives have done an excellent job of raising issues, presenting our positions, making recommendations and keeping the issues alive and prioritized. You’ll note from most recent meeting minutes that our current focus is on improved communications, training and best practices in an effort to offset the harmful declining wages rates resulting from the current flaws in the THS model. Our committee representatives have consistently delivered the message that “right of first refusal” does not work. We repeatedly urge PWGSC to abandon the ”right of first refusal” policy and allow buyers to apply their own unique needs criteria to their selection process, so long as they buy from the list of authorized suppliers at the approved pricing. Several alternatives have been offered and discussed. PWGSC has resisted our requests maintaining that the principle of "Right of First Refusal " constitutes good contracting policy.

After more than 20 years of ACSESS working with PWGSC on procurement policy, it is a known fact that bureaucrats are constantly influenced and pressured by a confluence of disparate factors which may involve unions, legal counsel, media, Public Service Commission, Auditor General, competition bureau, political forces and other parties that have motive or responsibility to scrutinize and influence government policy and practices.

Treasury Board Meeting

In an effort to address the contention that the THS system and specifically the “right of first refusal” is a Treasury Board issue, ACSESS representatives from the NCR and National Government Relations committee met in April 2010 with Roy Rempel, then Policy Advisor, Treasury Board - Office of the Minister Stockwell Day. Mr. Rempel has since moved to the Prime Minister’s Office. In the April meeting we submitted a detailed report http://www.acsess.org/CAPITAL/PDF/Treasury-RempelR1-b.pdf describing our experience and concerns with the flawed THS system. Mr. Rempel expressed his interest in and his understanding of the issues. He assured us that Treasury Board had no specific role in the development of the THS system or in the “right of first refusal” policy. He encouraged us to deal at the appropriate senior levels at PWGSC for a resolution.


Senator
Pierrette Ringuette

In June of 2010, The Hon. Senator Pierrette Ringuette from New Brunswick requested that the Senate Standing Committee on Finance be authorized to examine and report on the use by the Government of Canada of temporary staffing agencies to fill Public Service jobs. That, in conducting such study, “ the committee take particular note of 1) The approximate $300 million annually that is charged to the Canadian taxpayer by agencies to staff Public Service positions; 2) Whether the use of such agencies has allowed the circumvention of geographic, linguistic and merit rules in the hiring process; 3) The cost to Public Service employees for the use of services provided by temporary staffing agencies; 4) Its impact on the ability of a sound, stable Public Service to provide services to Canadians”

It seemed obvious to industry insiders that she had bias with a predisposed conclusion to any study that might be undertaken. It also seemed transparent that points 1, 3 & 4 are more like statements of her desired findings rather than the objects of study. The Senator’s motive is held within point #2. ( ie. “use of such agencies has allowed the circumvention of geographic, linguistic and merit rules in the hiring process”). The reference to “geographic” and “linguistic” criteria is intended to mean that the Senator wishes to create or emphasize easier access to high paying public service jobs for the predominately French speaking constituents of her province. Moreover, if the government was forced to reduce its use of temporary help in the NCR (and other forms of temporary hiring such as casual services) then the alternative would be an advantage to those constituents living within a predominately bilingual population such as the Senator’s home riding.

Subsequently, parliament requested that the Public Service Commission, under the direction of President Maria Barrados, conduct a study into temporary help services. The PSC completed their study during the summer months and tabled their findings in parliament in early October 2010. As a result, Senator Ringuette withdrew her request for the Senate to prepare an independent study. The Senator also gave notice of her intention to introduce a Bill that would address the issues as she sees them. It is unclear what recommendations the Senator might make in her bill but we anticipate a thinly veiled effort to use the Public Service Employment Act to achieve her objectives.

Public Service Commission

The Report prepared by the Public Service Commission can be found at http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/adt-vrf/comrpt-rapter-y-eng.htm#n2010 and http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/arp-rpa/2010/index-eng.htm
The Public Service Commission regularly audits and studies various aspects of the governments hiring practices as a core responsibility within its mandate which is “to safeguard the integrity of the public service staffing system as well as the political neutrality of the public service. The PSC recruits qualified Canadians to the public service and develop policies to ensure that appointments respect the core appointment values of merit and non-partisanship, as well as the guiding values of fairness, access, transparency and representativeness.”
Included with the list of studies (2009-2010) prepared by Public Service commission, several similar or related topics include:

Within, almost all of these studies, the Public Service Commission address a recurring theme whereby they maintain that regardless of whether an individual’s experience is gained through Term, Casual, Temporary Help, Student Employment Programs, or Acting Appointments, the candidates with prior government experience have an “Unfair” advantage over those without such experience.
In these reports and within subsequent reporting to parliament, President Barrados also placed emphasis on the following:

  • Temporary Help, Casual and Term assignments are important tools for managers to have the flexibility and ability to get someone for a short term and;
  • Patterns of people on temporary help assignments, then casual for a while, term assignment then back to temporary help suggest there may be an ongoing employment relationship which is best served by the Public Service Employment Act.
  • She does “not think we need more rules and process. I think we have enough. People must better understand the tools available to them.”

ACSESS representatives from the NCR local NCR-THS Committee and representatives from our National Government Relations Committee met on Tuesday October 5th, 2010 on conference call with the PSC Study team headed by Terry Hunt, Director General, Data Services and Analysis. The objective of the call was for the study team to describe the Public Service Commission’s study methods and to provide clarity and interpretation of study findings and remarks.

On Friday October 15th, 2010 ACSESS representatives met directly with President Barrados and Terry Hunt in the President’s Ottawa office to discuss the interpretation of the finding and next steps for government and ACSESS. From that meeting we learned the following;

  • The Public Service Commission is not likely to recommend any future policy changes, legislative changes or rule changes that will effect procurement policy on Temporary Help
  • The PSC may ask for permission to take a future role in the data collection and study of temporary help is it does with other government hiring practices
  • The President would report the study results as a subset of the complete Annual Report to the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance (Completed Tuesday October 19, 2010)
  • The PSC would have no further role or intervention responsibilities on this issue following the Annual Report.

It is important to note that ACSESS does not contest the validity of the data collected by the Public Service Commission. As a matter of fact, the data seems to support the industry’s long held contention that managers within government rely upon Temporary Services to gain access to highly qualified, experienced and skilled workers and that they often transition these same resources to government casual, term and indeterminate positions.

ACSESS does challenge some of PSC interpretations of the data and some of their assumptions regarding the meaning of the data. While the Commission openly maintains that their study was never intended to determine the value of Temporary Services relative to the other options, we are specifically frustrated by the fact that the object of the report intentionally omitted the issue. The report fails to address in any detail driving the need for temporary help including the legitimate motives or the high quality of service. We maintain that the data reinforces that fact that thousands of various government managers independently come to the same conclusion over and over that Temporary Services are the most efficient, cost effective and value based solution available to solve their peak workloads, staff shortages, skill shortages and projects.

Media & Public Relations

The topics of employment, unemployment, the economy, government procurement policies, labour issues and the staffing industry are all issues that frequently find their way into the press, mostly because they touch everyone and because of the diverse ideological spectrum on these issues. Controversy and thought provoking content sells.
In recent months, Kathryn May of the Ottawa Citizen, has delivered her unique perspective on a variety of industry related topics. Kathryn May covers the Ottawa Citizen’s government beat and she has a penchant for discovering (or creating) issues related to government operations, labour relations and procurement policy. Editor Andrew Potter once wrote of Kathryn May, “she strikes fear into the bureaucracy like few journalists can or do; I’m not kidding nor exaggerating when I say that Kathryn May is a weapon of democracy.”
In an article published in the Citizen on October 5, 2010 May misquoted the PSC report incorrectly stating that the “study found 73 per cent of temporary workers in its sample ended up with term or permanent positions” when in fact the report stated that one in 5 (20%) eventually landed these positions. In May’s typical controversy seeking style, she also stated in her article that spending on agencies has “exploded” while President Barrados specifically denied the use of the term in her report or her interview with May.

On behalf of the industry, ACSESS Executive Director Amanda Curtis responded to the Ottawa Citizen with a published editorial letter on October 12, 2010. You can find a copy of our response at http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/hires+temps+most+effective+staffing+
solution/3655565/story.html?id=3655565
.

We can expect that Kathryn May and other journalists will continue to report on industry related topics and we will continue to respond in an appropriate and measured fashion under the names of our Association Staff, Amanda Curtis and Mary McIninch so that individual local members will not feel targeted or scrutinized as a result of speaking out on behalf of the entire association or industry.

Closing remarks

In closing, we will continue to defend the interests of industry at both the local and national levels. Locally through the THS Advisory committee and nationally by corresponding regularly with appropriate senior bureaucrats (PWGSC, Treasury Board, PSC and HRSDC) and elected officials.

The THS Advisory Committee comprised of several representatives from PWGSC, client departments, ACSESS NCR chapter and non-ACSESS industry representatives will continue to monitor, evaluate and work towards improving Public Works THS procurement model in the NCR. Our national office will continue to correspond with senior bureaucrats, senators and elected officials in support of local efforts. We will ensure that our message is effectively communicated to key decision makers in both the political and bureaucratic sectors.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support of ACSESS.

Steve Jones, National President

National Capital Region Government Relations Committee:
Chair - Jeremy Ingle, SPI Consultants
Committee Members - Steve Jones, The People Bank
Martin Chenier, Lannick Group of Companies
Isabelle Copeland, Harrington Staffing Services
Meredith Egan, The AIM Group

National office contact:
Mary McIninch, LL.B (Barreau du Québec)
Director, Government Relations/Directrice, Affaires Gouvernementales
Phone/Tél. : 905-826-6869/1-888-232-4962
Fax/Télécopieur : 905-826-4873
2233 Argentia Road, suite 100, Mississauga, ON L5N 2X7
www.acsess.org

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Canadian Staffing Index - September Employment

Several recent economic measures suggest that the Candian economy is in a state of guarded and uncertain, moderate recovery. In times like these, employers rely upon a contingent workforce comprised of temporary and contract workers to augment their core staff. Here are the most recent results from the ACSESS Canadian Staffing Index. We are still moving in the right direction.

Four Point Gain in September ACSESS Staffing Index
MISSISSAUGA, ON, Oct. 19 /CNW/ - The Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS) released the Canadian Staffing Index for September 2010.

For the second consecutive month, the Canadian Staffing Index saw a four point increase, which brings it to within seven (7) points of the July 2008 benchmark of 100. Notably, this result is the strongest showing in more than 20 months and demonstrates six months of continued recovery in the Canadian staffing industry.

The Canadian Staffing Index, which is compiled by "Staffing Industry Analysts", measures the hours of service provided by Canadian staffing firms. This recent monthly boost indicates continued job creation. Typical to seasonal trends, the autumn months tend to reflect an increase in contract and temporary positions based on the combination of students leaving the marketplace and the need to move product for the Christmas and winter seasons. ACSESS forecasts that employers will continue to augment their core staffing levels with a growing contingent workforce to hedge against uncertainties of the improving economy and to meet season demand.

Steve Jones, ACSESS President, says, "Anecdotally, our members have been reporting increased demand from clients across the board, the Canadian staffing Index is empirical evidence that the labour market is strengthening. As the pendulum continues to shift, Canadian business will need to address the inevitable concerns of both skills and labour shortages. Canada's staffing industry is well placed to work with their client in addressing these concerns."

About the Canadian Staffing Index:

An Index value of 93 is the measure of hours of labour performed by temporary and contract staff in September 2010 compared to the benchmark index of 100 established in July 2008, prior to the recession. The data collected for the Canadian Staffing Index is the largest sample size ever collected in Canada offering valid, real time information for economists, politicians, business analysts and journalists. It provides accurate information on current trends and clear visibility into near-future employment as the staffing industry is the first to see both positive and negative adjustments due to economic influences.












About ACSESS

ACSESS is the single voice for promoting best practices and ethical standards for the recruitment, employment and staffing services industry in Canada. For more information visit: www.acsess.org

About Staffing Industry Analysts

Staffing Industry Analysts is the premier research and analysis firm covering temporary employment and the contingent workforce. Known for its independent and objective insights, the company's proprietary research, data, support tools, publications and executive conferences provide a competitive edge to decision-makers who supply and buy temporary staffing. In addition to temporary staffing, Staffing Industry Analysts also covers these related staffing sectors: third party placement, and staff leasing (PEOs). Founded in 1989, the company is headquartered in Los Altos, California. For more information visit: www.staffingindustry.com


For further information:
Media Contact:
Suzanne McInerney, CPC
Communications and Marketing Specialist
Phone 905-826-6869 / Toll Free: 1-888-232-4962
Email: smcinerney@acsess.org

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

University and College Students


Career Paths, Choices & Options

If you are currently attending college or university then it’s okay if you don’t know exactly which career path you will follow. Most 40 year olds don’t know either. Rest assured that a good education, the experience of taking many different courses and a degree will set you on the right path. The right path has many options and leads toward many places.

Here are a few tips for students and recent grads. (Probably good advice for any job seeker!)

Tip #1 - Network, Network, Network

"It's not what you know but who you know." As a student or recent grad, your network may not seem robust right now but the key is to get connected to people who have the right connections. Hiring through referrals is still an employer's #1 source for candidates. So, get out there and meet 3-4 people every day. Join different clubs and associations at your school. Be involved. Set up Linkedin, facebook and twitter accounts and get connected to everyone you meet. Schedule regular meetings with classmates, friends and professors. Yes, call them meetings. Have a clear meeting objective, which is to build your network so that you can share introductions after you graduate.

Tip #2 - Use Your Technology Tools

Your iphone, Mac, PC, Blackberry or smartphone comes with a calendar and contact management software preinstalled. Choose software that will sync with your other gadgets and then live by it! Use it! Make it a daily ritual! A network of contacts is most effective when it is at your finger tips, up to date and complete. Use your calendar software to help get busy. If you do not have a scheduled class, club meeting or study-time then fill that spot in your schedule with a networking meeting. Also book appointments and block out times with yourself. This is how things get done. Every appointment with yourself requires a specific task associated to it.

Tip #3 – Build a Profile with Social Networking

Facebook is an awesome networking tool but it can also be a silent career killer. Employers look at facebook and other networking platforms such as linkedin, twitter and classmates.com to look behind the resume. Change your facebook persona from playful to professional. Every time you join a group, post a photo or create a status update you should assume that potential employers and future contacts will see what you have been up to. Build a profile that says you are active, energetic, involved, and professional. Remember to never whine on social media sites. It’s good practice for never whining anywhere.

By attending school you are building options for your future. You are not only learning your course curriculum but you are also building a network of connections, you are learning what you like and dislike and you are developing the interpersonal skills and social skills that will ultimately have the greatest impact on your future career options.

Most important is that you enjoy your experience. The deadlines and the workload may seem stressful but it won’t get easier after you graduate. Enjoy what you have. When you look back on your university experience from the vantage point of your successful middle age, you will declare it was the best 4 years of your life.

Check back again soon to find more job hunting tips on resume creation, using job boards and interview tips.

Steve Jones
President
The People Bank

PS. If you know either of my two children who are currently attending university then pass this advice on to them. They are more like to take advice from somebody else than they are from a parent.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Safety Programs - A Great Return on Investment

Many businesses reluctantly join or create safety programs either because we are legally obligated or we recognize the financial incentives. Typically, senior managers examine the cost/benefit of the provincial workers’ compensation penalty and rebate system, and then decide to implement a safety program because of the affect on the bottom line. The good news is that, regardless of the motive for starting a safety program, it soon becomes exponentially beneficial to our companies.

There is substantial evidence that the benefits of a robust safety program go well beyond the obvious measurable financial rewards of rebates and reduced lost time injuries. When effectively rolled out and communicated to employees, a safety initiative also supports a healthy corporate culture, conveying a sense of community and caring. This messaging consistently improves morale, employee engagement and retention, resulting in improvements across all areas of the organization. As an added bonus, our employees remain, safe and healthy.

At a basic level, the motives for workplace safety include:

• Legal compliance;
• Cost reduction (the average lost time injury costs over $59,000);
• Business interruption protection;
• Employee relations improvement;
• Reliability and productivity improvement;
• Building organizational capability; and
• Building public trust.

The temporary staffing industry is leading the way in driving and supporting safety programs. The Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS) Safety Group founded one of the very first industry safety groups in 2002 to improving the staffing industry’s safety record. When the temporary staffing industry has an improved safety record it means that our clients have an improved record, too. The ACSESS Safety Group's objective is pretty simple: achievement. Each Safety Group member sets reduced incident and lost time injury performance objectives and commits to annual operational improvements called “safety elements”. Group members earn rebates of up to 6% of their premiums if they achieve their planned results.

The ACSESS Safety Group earned an achievement factor of 100% in 2008 resulting in a total group rebate of $1,305,354.56. We expect a similar result to be reported for 2009 and 2010. The People Bank is a founding member of the ACSESS Safety Group, and most industry safety meetings are hosted at The People Bank’s conference and training centre. The People Bank and other staffing industry companies are voluntarily working together to enhance industry best practises and to improve our collective results.

Of course, this type of program could not be successful without the shared commitment of client organizations who demonstrate the same “Safety First” mindset. We partner with client organizations to share best practices and to hire people who fit into a corporate culture of caring, safety and productivity. When we are achieving our safety objectives then, ultimately, our clients are achieving theirs.

We have experienced the benefits of joining a Safety Group firsthand, and we recommend this approach to all of our safety-minded clients. Each province has a different approach to promoting safety at work. We have provided some Safety Group and Safety Program links for your reference.

Ontario Safety Groups
Alberta Certificate of Recognition COR
WorkSafeBC
Work Safe. For Life. Nova Scotia
Safe Manitoba

Here are a few hints on how to improve your Safety ROI:
• Make workers’ safety your highest priority
• Create and nurture a safety culture in the workplace
• Enhance employee morale by showing you care
• Increase your business competitiveness with a dedicated workforce
• Boost productivity and improve quality with a passionate team
• Develop a structured approach to health and safety programs
• Promote and support employee safety committees
• Hold frequent safety committee meetings with clear objectives
• Publish and post safety policies and programs
• Develop best practices through networking and groups
• Provide safety training to all employees
• Include temporary and contract workers in safety orientations
• Establish objectives to reduce WSIB/WCB claims and claims costs
• Set goals for reduced lost-time-injuries
• Implement effective Return To Work and Modified Work programs
• Access free health and safety resources from safety and industry associations
• Set targets for financial incentives to avoid penalties and earn rebates
• Partner with a staffing service provider that shares your commitment to safety

This issue of the Staffing Insider was written by Christopher McOuat, Chair of The People Bank and Aimco Staffing Solutions's Operational Quality and Safety Committee

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics

Mark Twain popularized the saying in "Chapters from My Autobiography", published in 1906. "Figures often beguile me," he wrote, "particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; ...There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

The title of this blog is not to suggest that the recent employment data is false, but only that some interpretations of the data may be misleading.

Earlier this month, Statistics Canada reported that employment rose in Canada by 93,000 in June prompting some prominent Canadian media to prematurely declare that the economy is roaring ahead.

Globe and Mail columnist Jeremy Torobin wrote " Central Canada’s job machine is back and revving into high gear" in his article published on July 9, 2010.

Immediately following the shocking report from StasCan, the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS) reported that the industry Hours Index jumped by 7 points from the previous month of 79 to 86 in June, 2010.

The reality of the Staffing Index is that temporary and contract hours are a real-time indicator of employment activity that will typically translates into Stats Canada number 3 months later. The increased numbers reported by ACSESS for June are an indicator that Stats Canada will report another bump in jobs in the fall.

The reality is that times are still tough. We are forced to reinvent our businesses, realign our costs and respond to the sluggish global economy. Our markets are changing, our jobs are changing and our industries are changing. Temporary and contract employment are the tools that help our business leaders to transition from old to new.

Another reality at The People Bank and Aimco Staffing, is that we are experiencing an increase in sales, marketing and customer service full-time jobs. This is an indication that our customers believe in economic growth ahead.

Here is a copy of the ACSESS press release.

Positive Results from Canada’s Staffing Index for June

More Signs of Economic Recover from ACSESS


Mississauga, ON – July 2010. The June 2010 Canadian Staffing Index was released this week by the Association of Canadian Search, Employment & Staffing Services (ACSESS).

June’s Index showed a significant increase of 7 points over the May score representing the highest score in over 18 months. Since June 2009 the index has recovered 18 index points but is still 14 points off the benchmark 100 set in July 2008.

While single month differences can fluctuate based on available billing hours, seasonal differences, summer employment and other trends, overall the index is a very positive sign for Canada’s economy. The temporary workforce is returning to pre-recession levels, meaning that companies are cautiously ramping up their workforces.

While still some way to go, the Staffing Index would suggest that we remain on a steady, if somewhat slow economic improvement. The industry expects July numbers to reflect increased holidays and vacations, resulting in a lower index number. That trend should revert to being positive in the Fall.

“Canada’s staffing industry is encouraged by these results and we feel this is a true “pulse” on the economy here. Cautious optimism and a gradual steady recovery remains the watchword according to the Canadian Staffing Index.” said Steve Jones, President of ACSESS.

ACSESS’ belief that the Index is a “real time” indicator of the current state of the economy becomes stronger with each month that data is released. Numerous ACSESS members in regions across Canada have reported a significant increase in recruitment activity and are anxious to see how this will be reflected in upcoming numbers that are expected to be high during the fall months, traditionally the busiest quarter for staffing firms.

About the Canadian Staffing Index:

The data is collected by Staffing Industry Analysts, an independent company
specialized in the staffing industry.

The data is provided by a representative number of Canadian staffing companies providing services in the provinces across the country.

ACSESS believes that this “real data” supports U.S evidence that the Staffing Industry is a barometer of economic performance, and will provide information for economists, politicians, analysts, researchers and journalists in addition to members of the staffing industry.

About ACSESS

ACSESS is the single voice for promoting best practices and ethical standards for the recruitment, employment and staffing services industry in Canada. For more information visit: www.acsess.org

About Staffing Industry Analysts

Staffing Industry Analysts is the premier research and analysis firm covering temporary employment and the contingent workforce. Known for its independent and objective insights, the company’s proprietary research, data, support tools, publications and executive conferences provide a competitive edge to decision-makers who supply and buy temporary staffing. In addition to temporary staffing, Staffing Industry Analysts also covers these related staffing sectors: third party placement, and staff leasing (PEOs). Founded in 1989, the company is headquartered in Los Altos, California. For more information visit: www.staffingindustry.com

Media Contact:

Suzanne McInerney, CPC
ACSESS
Communications and Marketing Specialist
Phone 1-888-232-4962
Email: smcinerney@acsess.org

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Covering Letters

In a recent application for employment, the following covering letter caught my attention. It turned out to be a slightly modified copy of a previously written piece of internet folklore.

According to about.com the satirical hoax has been circulating since 1990 as an asnswer on a college application to NYU. It was originally written by a high school student named Hugh Gallagher, who entered it in the humor category of the Scholastic Writing Awards and won first prize. It was subsequently published in Literary Calvalcade, a magazine of contemporary student writing, and reprinted in Harper's and The Guardian before taking off as one of the most forwarded "viral" emails of the decade."


I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently.

Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row. I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.

Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I'm bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.

I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat 400.

My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me. I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations with the CIA.

I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid.

On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prize-winning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin.

I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.

But I have not yet had an interview with you.


This particular applicant did not get the job he was applying for but he reminded me that a good covering letter really matters! Here is a little tip.

When you are applying for a job through an internet application or job board, the system may limit the number documents you can attach. Always attach your resume. Since covering letters really matter, customize your covering letter for every job and then copy and paste the entire letter into the comments box of the application form.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

ACSESS Staffing Index

Although the Canadian Staffing industry Index is up 19 points over this time last year, industry leaders are looking for explanations for the fact that there was a single point drop in the index last month. They know that business is up so why is the index pointing (slightly) down?

The Canadian Staffing Index is the best data that this country has ever collected on temporary help hours but it is far from perfect. No data is perfect. I have been watching writing and providing editorial on the Statistics Canada monthly Employment data for years and it has some serious flaws too. I put a lot more credibility into the Canadian Staffing Index than I do Stats Can numbers but I also have enough industry insight that I can read between the Staffing Industry numbers

Here are a few insights.

1. The Canadian Staffing Index counts hours of work within a month and it is not adjusted for days of work within the month. April had 22 billable work days minus Good Friday while May only had 21 days minus Victoria Day. That is a 5 percent reduction in the number of days available to work! So when the May Index reports a meager decline in hours worked by only 1%... business activity is really up.

2. Some Staffing companies bill by the week and report their numbers according to their accounting or billing cycles which may have nothing to do with the number of work days within a month. For example, my company will produce 5 sets of weekly invoices during the month of June. This means that my company's number will jump by 25% in June then settle back down again in July. This will happen during 4 months of the year producing an hours growth anomaly.

3. Flat is the new up! A huge portion of temporary help temp to perm transitional work. When the Staffing industry remains flat that means that thousands of workers have transitioned to full time work and new tempo assignments were created and filled. When the temp industry is flat, that means that new jobs are being created.

Here is a copy of the Press release.

May Shows Steady Economic Improvement
ACSESS Staffing Index Indicates a Cautious Recovery



MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 17 /CNW/
- The May 2010 Canadian Staffing Index was released this week by the Association of Canadian Search, Employment & Staffing Services (ACSESS).

The May report shows a slight decrease in temporary and contract hours of 1 point compared to April 2010. The Index also illustrates a healthy 13 point gain as reported in May 2009.

An Index value of 78 indicates the hours of labour supplied by the Canadian Staffing industry during the month of May remained 20% below the 100 Benchmark of July 2008 and 29 points below the industry high reported in October 2008. The Index continues to show a steady recovery but it also reflects the nuances of the temporary and contract staffing industry and the sensitivity of the recovering Canadian economy.

"The validity of the data collected by the ACSESS Canadian Staffing Index is consistent with real time information," says Steve Jones, President of ACSESS. This slight decline in May reflects normal seasonal declines based on college and university students flooding the employment marketplace and being hired into positions staffed by staffing firms during the balance of the year. Jones predicts that based on the data collected, Statistics Canada will report a moderate job increase for June in its upcoming Employment Report to be released at the beginning of July.

Each monthly release of the ACSESS Canadian Staffing Index clearly answers the question, "How's business?" Temporary and contract hours are coincidental with real time economic activity and ACSESS believes serves an excellent indicator for journalists, economists and analysts who are focused on current staffing and employment trends.


About the Canadian Staffing Index:


Hours of labour data is collected by Staffing Industry Analysts, an independent company specializing in the staffing industry. The source data is provided by a representative number of Canadian staffing companies providing services in almost every industry across the country.

The data is collected on a monthly basis, with the initial data capture dating back to July 2008, providing real historical insight into the Canadian staffing landscape.


-------------------------
Date Not Seasonally
Adjusted

-------------------------
Jul-08 100
-------------------------
Aug-08 97
-------------------------
Sep-08 99
-------------------------
Oct-08 107
-------------------------
Nov-08 94
-------------------------
Dec-08 81
-------------------------
Jan-09 75
-------------------------
Feb-09 67
-------------------------
Mar-09 71
-------------------------
Apr-09 70
-------------------------
May-09 65
-------------------------
Jun-09 68
-------------------------
Jul-09 73
-------------------------
Aug-09 70
-------------------------
Sep-09 78
-------------------------
Oct-09 78
-------------------------
Nov-09 77
-------------------------
Dec-09 74
-------------------------
Jan-10 69
-------------------------
Feb-10 71
-------------------------
Mar-10 82
-------------------------
Apr-10 79
-------------------------
May-10 78
-------------------------

About ACSESS


ACSESS is the single voice for promoting best practices and ethical standards for the recruitment, employment and staffing services industry in Canada. For more information visit: (less than)http://www.acsess.org/(greater than) www.acsess.org


About Staffing Industry Analysts


Staffing Industry Analysts is the premier research and analysis firm covering temporary employment and the contingent workforce. Known for its independent and objective insights, the company's proprietary research, data, support tools, publications and executive conferences provide a competitive edge to decision-makers who supply and buy temporary staffing. In addition to temporary staffing, Staffing Industry Analysts also covers these related staffing sectors: third party placement, and staff leasing (PEOs). Founded in 1989, the company is headquartered in Los Altos, California. For more information visit: www.staffingindustry.com


_____________

Steve Jones is the Volunteer President of ACSESS and President of Aimco, Allen, Professional Search, La Banque de Personnel, The Medical Recruitment Network and The People Bank, all divisions of Design Group Staffing Inc. www.thepeoplebank.com

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Recruitment & Social Media

The world is a buzz with social media sites as an emerging alternatives to the big job boards.
For example, LinkedIn has over 40 million users. LinkedIn is rapidly becoming an employment networking site more than anything else. I personally have over 3,770,500 total Linkedin users that I can contact through an introduction. That's powerful stuff! There may come a day soon when a LinkedIn profile will replace traditional resumes.

The immensely popular social networking site Facebook has over 200 million users and can be used in a low key medium for job seekers and job postings. Employers and recruiters should know their Facebook etiquette before they risk their brand by unintentionally offending hardcore Facebook users. Advertising on Facebook is a cost effective recruitment tool with a CPC (Cost per Click) billing model. Its also a great place to set up a free corporate profile with some built in Web 2.0 features. Facebook users are a committed community so it only makes sense for recruiters to get into the network rather than constantly attempting to lure job seekers to other platforms.

Twitter and the Blogsphere are also fabulous platforms for corporate marketing and job broadcasting. Twitter still has a long way to go to catch up with Facebook in terms of user volume but just wait and see how Twitter explodes in the following weeks as it becomes a primary communication source for FIFA World Cup soccer.

While most job boards and good corporate websites have features that allow job seekers to set up a profile and receive job notices, twitter helps bridge the gap between web sites, email, smart phones and text messaging. HR departments will soon be Tweeting every new openings to meet the needs of the growing Twitter community.

An interesting online recruitment development is emerging within the buy/sell Internet sites like Craigslist and Kijiji. These sites offer low tech, high traffic, free employment advertising sections. GenNext job seekers lean toward Indy-bands, Indy-movies and so it follows that they also tend toward the grassroots job marketplace rather than the big corporate job board space.

New media and social networking sites are not yet structured to interface and systematically broadcast every job postings from a corporate website. They all require some form of individual intervention. But, most large job boards are figuring out how to integrate their services with these popular new media formats.

The People Bank is always trying to say ahead of the recruitment advertising curve. Our jobs already appear on hundreds of Internet job boards but it won’t be long before all of our jobs are also rebroadcast to targeted audiences through Twitter, Kijiji, Facebook and Craigslist. We call our strategy "A Thousand Pathways". We take the view that all job boards, new media, traditional media, social networks and Buy & Sell sites should lead the way back to www.thepeoplebank.com

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

April Indicates a Slight Correction in the Recovering Economy


ACSESS Staffing Index Continues to Show a Steady Recovery

MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 2 /CNW/ - The April 2010 Canadian Staffing Index was released this week by the Association of Canadian Search, Employment & Staffing Services (ACSESS).

The April report shows a slight decrease in temporary and contract hours of 3 points compared to March 2010. The Index also illustrates a healthy 14 point (21.5%) gain since the industry low in May of 2009.

An Index value of 79 means that hours of labour supplied by the Canadian staffing industry during the month of April remained 21% below the 100 Benchmark of July 2008 and 28 points below the industry high reported for October 2008. The Index continues to show a slow but persistent recovery but it also reflects the dynamic nature of the temporary and contract staffing industry and the sensitivity of the recovering Canadian employment market.

"The dramatic 10 point jump reported by the Canadian Staffing Index in the previous month of March 2010 accurately predicted the large employment gain that was subsequently released by Statistics Canada for the month of April." says Steve Jones, President of ACSESS, "This slight decline in April reflects the industry's normal seasonal decline of April and May and may also reflect a minor correction for the extraordinary gain reported in the prior month. Our members continue to report strong year over year growth including a healthy transition of temporary workers to full-time employment."

Each monthly release of the ACSESS Canadian Staffing Index clearly answers the question, "How's business?" Temporary and contract employment hours are coincidental with real-time economic activity and ACSESS believes the Staffing Index serves as a valuable leading indicator for economists, journalists, analysts and policy makers who are interested in current staffing and employment trends.

About the Canadian Staffing Index:

Hours of labour data is collected by Staffing Industry Analysts, an independent company specializing in the staffing industry. The source data is provided by a representative number of Canadian staffing companies providing services in almost every industry across the country.

The data is collected on a monthly basis, with the initial data capture dating back to July 2008, providing real historical insight into the Canadian staffing landscape.

Canadian Staffing
Index
Not Seasonally Adjusted
-----------
Jul-08 ---- 100
Aug-08 ---- 97
Sep-08 ---- 99
Oct-08 ---- 107
Nov-08 ---- 94
Dec-08 ---- 81
Jan-09 ---- 75
Feb-09 ---- 67
Mar-09 ---- 71
Apr-09 ---- 70
May-09 ---- 65
Jun-09 ---- 68
Jul-09 ---- 73
Aug-09 ---- 70
Sep-09 ---- 78
Oct-09 ---- 78
Nov-09 ---- 77
Dec-09 ---- 74
Jan-10 ---- 69
Feb-10 ---- 71
Mar-10 ---- 82
Apr-10 ---- 79

About ACSESS

ACSESS is the single voice for promoting best practices and ethical standards for the recruitment, employment and staffing services industry in Canada. For more information visit: www.acsess.org

About Staffing Industry Analysts

Staffing Industry Analysts is the premier research and analysis firm covering temporary employment and the contingent workforce. Known for its independent and objective insights, the company's proprietary research, data, support tools, publications and executive conferences provide a competitive edge to decision-makers who supply and buy temporary staffing. In addition to temporary staffing, Staffing Industry Analysts also covers these related staffing sectors: third party placement, and staff leasing (PEOs). Founded in 1989, the company is headquartered in Los Altos, California. For more information visit: www.staffingindustry.com

For further information: Media Contact: Suzanne McInerney, CPC, Communications and Marketing Specialist, Phone (905) 826-6869, Toll Free: 1-888-232-4962, Email: smcinerney@acsess.org

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

First, Break all the Rules


"People leave their immediate managers, not the companies they work for."

Different authors, speakers and mentors have their own unique styles of telling us what we should already know. In their book, "First, Break all the Rules", Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman have a very effective style in describing their research on great managment and leadership. This book cuts to the point.

Here is a re-print of the book summary from Bizsumm.com , Break All The Rules The book is highly recommended. Reading the summary is an absolute must.
_________________________________________________

‘What The World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently’
By Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman
Simon & Schuster, 271 pages

Based on a mammoth research study conducted by the Gallup Organization involving 80,000 managers across different industries, this book explores the challenge of many companies - attaining, keeping and measuring employee satisfaction. Discover how great managers attract, hire, focus, and keep their most talented employees!

Key Ideas:
1. The best managers reject conventional wisdom.
2. The best managers treat every employee as an individual.
3. The best managers never try to fix weaknesses; instead they focus on strengths and talent.
4. The best managers know they are on stage everyday. They know their people are watching every move they make.
5. Measuring employee satisfaction is vital information for your investors.
6. People leave their immediate managers, not the companies they work for.
7. The best managers are those that build a work environment where the employees answer positively to these 12 Questions:

a. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
b. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
c. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best everyday?
d. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
e. Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
f. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
g. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
h. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
i. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
j. Do I have a best friend at work?
k. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
l. This last year, have I had the opportunity at work to learn and grow?

The Gallup study showed that those companies that reflected positive responses to the 12 questions profited more, were more productive as business units, retained more employees per year, and satisfied more customers.

Without satisfying an employee’s basic needs first, a manager can never expect the employee to give stellar performance. The basic needs are: knowing what is expected of the employee at work, giving her the equipment and support to do her work right, and answering her basic questions of self-worth and self-esteem by giving praise for good work and caring about her development as a person.

The great manager mantra is don’t try to put in what was left out; instead draw out what was left in. You must hire for talent, and hone that talent into outstanding performance.

More wisdomin a nutshell:
1. Know what can be taught, and what requires a natural talent.
2. Set the right outcomes, not steps. Standardize the end but not the means. As long as the means are within the company’s legal boundaries and industry standards,let the employee use his own style to deliver the result or outcome you want.
3. Motivate by focusing on strengths, not weaknesses.
4. Casting is important, if an employee is not performing at excellence, maybe she is not cast in the right role.
5. Every role is noble, respect it enough to hire for talent to match.
6. A manager must excel in the art of the interview. See if the candidate’s recurring patterns of behavior match the role he is to fulfill. Ask open-ended questions and let him talk. Listen for specifics.
7. Find ways to measure, count, and reward outcomes.
8. Spend time with your best people. Give constant feedback. If you can’t spend an hour every quarter talking to an employee, then you shouldn’t be a manager.
9. There are many ways of alleviating a problem or non-talent. Devise a support system,find a complementary partner for him, or an alternative role.
10. Do not promote someone until he reaches his level of incompetence; simply offer bigger rewards within the same range of his work. It is better to have an excellent highly paid waitress or bartender on your team than promote him or her to a poor starting-level bar manager.
11. Some homework to do: Study the best managers in the company and revise training to incorporate what they know. Send your talented people to learn new skills or knowledge. Change recruiting practices to hire for talent, revise employee job descriptions and qualifications.

Friday, May 07, 2010

APRIL Job Boom Predicted by Staffing Index

May 7, 2010 - Statistics Canada’s Employment report for the month of April shows an astonishing increase of 109,000 jobs during the month April. This tremendous increase surpasses any analysts’ previous expectations by more than 100% and supports the theory that the Canadian Staffing Industry Index is an early indicator of job and employment activity in the Canadian economy.

During the month of April, the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services reported that the Staffing Industry Index for March increased 11% over February 2010; the largest single month gain since the creation of the report.

ACSESS believes there is a close correlation between staffing industry performance and the real-time state of the economy. The Canadian Staffing Index can be used as a barometer of Canadian economic performance and a predictor of other lagging economic indicators such as the Statistics Canada Employment Report

The Staffing Industry Index uses July 2008, prior to the recession, as the benchmark index of 100 and tracks the performance of the staffing industry on a monthly basis.
In an earlier press release I stated "Although some of the increased numbers reflect a seasonal correction, the recovery that seemed to have stalled in December is now gaining momentum. We predict that April results will display another notable increase. Our industry is a leading indicator of economic performance, and we are confident in the ability of Canada's economy to show moderate but consistent growth throughout the balance of the year", Said Steve Jones, ACSESS National President.

Statistics Canada reports that unemployment in April fell from 8.2% to 8.1%. Full Report

Canadian Staffing Index Not Seasonally Adjusted
Jul-08 - 100 (indexed to July 2008)
Aug-08 - 97
Sep-08 - 99
Oct-08 - 107
Nov-08 - 94
Dec-08 - 81
Jan-09 - 75
Feb-09 - 67
Mar-09 - 71
Apr-09 - 70
May-09 - 65
Jun-09 - 68
Jul-09 - 73
Aug-09 - 70
Sep-09 - 78
Oct-09 - 78
Nov-09 - 77
Dec-09 - 74
Jan-10 - 69
Feb-10 - 71
Mar-10 - 82

About the Canadian Staffing Index:
The data is collected by Staffing Industry Analysts, an independent company specialized in the staffing industry.

The data is provided by a representative number of Canadian staffing companies providing services in the provinces across the country.

The data is collected on a monthly basis, with the initial data capture dating back to July 2008, providing real historical insight into the Canadian staffing landscape.

About ACSESS
ACSESS is the single voice for promoting best practices and ethical standards for the recruitment, employment and staffing services industry in Canada. For more information visit: www.acsess.org

About Staffing Industry Analysts
Staffing Industry Analysts is the premier research and analysis firm covering temporary employment and the contingent workforce. Known for its independent and objective insights, the company’s proprietary research, data, support tools, publications and executive conferences provide a competitive edge to decision-makers who supply and buy temporary staffing. In addition to temporary staffing, Staffing Industry Analysts also covers these related staffing sectors: third party placement, and staff leasing (PEOs). Founded in 1989, the company is headquartered in Los Altos, California. For more information visit: www.staffingindustry.com

Media Contact:
Suzanne McInerney, CPC
Communications and Marketing Specialist
Phone 905-826-6869 / Toll Free: 1-888-232-4962
Email: smcinerney@acsess.org

Monday, May 03, 2010

Bill 168 Webinar Invitation

Are You ready?

The New Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention Law
Webinar Date: Tuesday, May 11
Webinar Time: 10am to 11am Eastern Time

You are invited to participate in a complimentary webinar on the amendments to the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and the new Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention Law.

In this 55-minute webinar, Steve Jones and subject matter expert Christopher McOuat will discuss the new legal requirements in Ontario. You will receive valuable information and template samples that you can modify for your business.

We will be discussing:

• What constitutes workplace violence and harassment;
• Employer requirements and obligations under the new law;
• Prevention policies and programs;
• Risk assessments including domestic violence in the workplace;
• Worker rights; and
• Penalties associated with non-compliance.

Steve Jones is the President of The People Bank, a division of Design Group Staffing Inc. Design Group Staffing is Canada's largest privately owned staffing company. Steve has over 26 years of leadership experience in the recruitment and staffing industry. He is also the current President of ACSESS (Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services), the single national voice and governing body for staffing providers.

Christopher McOuat is The People Bank's Operational Excellence and Quality Control Team Lead. With over seven years' experience in this role, Christopher is responsible for developing, implementing and analyzing policies and procedures for ISO certification, Quality Management, and Workplace Health and Safety, including the new Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention Legislation.


Register Here

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Employment Data Shows Hope

Canadian Staffing Index Continues to Demonstrate Employment Recovery

MISSISSAUGA, ON - April 21, 2010 - The February 2010 version of the Canadian Staffing Index was released by the Association of Canadian Search, Employment & Staffing Services (ACSESS) today. ACSESS believes there is a close correlation between staffing industry performance and the state of the economy, hoping that in time this index could provide a "near real time" indicator of the current state of the Canadian economy. As each month's number is released this correlation becomes more and more evident.

The index uses July 2008, prior to the recession as a benchmark index of 100 and tracks the number of hours worked by flexible and contract workers, therefore tracking the performance of the industry on a monthly basis. The following are some observations based on the latest results:

February 2010 saw an almost 3% increase month over month from January 2010. Although the numbers are 29% off the July 2008 benchmark they have seen a gradual increase of 8% from the low numbers in May 2009.

ACSESS believes this modest upturn in February supports the anecdotal evidence from ACSESS members that the economy is improving. Numerous ACSESS Members in regions across Canada have reported a significant increase in activity and are anxiously waiting to see if this will be reflected in the upcoming March numbers which will be released shortly.

"These recent statistics accurately reflect what is happening in Canadian businesses on a real time basis. Staffing services provide a valuable, dynamic, 'just-in-time' delivery of labour to businesses when they need it. As a result, these numbers predict that the more traditional lagging statistical measures such as the Canadian Employment data will reflect continued moderate employment growth through April and May." said Steve Jones, ACSESS National President.

About the Canadian Staffing Index:
The data is collected by Staffing Industry Analysts, an independent company specialized in the staffing industry.

The data is provided by a representative number of Canadian staffing companies providing services in the provinces across the country.

The data is collected on a monthly basis, with the initial data capture dating back to July 2008, providing real historical insight into the Canadian staffing landscape.

ACSESS believes that this "real data" supports U.S evidence that the Staffing Industry is a barometer of economic performance, and will provide information for economists, politicians, analysts, researchers and journalists in addition to members of the staffing industry.

About ACSESS
ACSESS is the single voice for promoting best practices and ethical standards for the recruitment, employment and staffing services industry in Canada. For more information visit: www.acsess.org

About Staffing Industry Analysts
Staffing Industry Analysts is the premier research and analysis firm covering temporary employment and the contingent workforce. Known for its independent and objective insights, the company's proprietary research, data, support tools, publications and executive conferences provide a competitive edge to decision-makers who supply and buy temporary staffing. In addition to temporary staffing, Staffing Industry Analysts also covers these related staffing sectors: third party placement, and staff leasing (PEOs). Founded in 1989, the company is headquartered in Los Altos, California. For more information visit: www.staffingindustry.com

Media Contact:
Suzanne McInerney, CPC
Communications and Marketing Specialist
Phone 905-826-6869 / Toll Free: 1-888-232-4962
Email: smcinerney@acsess.org

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Canadian Staffing Industry Awards - ACSESS


It’s ACSESS award season. The timing couldn’t be more perfect to feature our highly respected industry awards. As I write this message for Dialogue magazine, the Vancouver Winter Olympics are in full swing. Omnipresent on every television set, in every home and in every restaurant, is the background chatter and ticker tape reminding us of the medal winners.

Whether awards are international Olympic medals, commemorating incredible athletic feats, or national ACSESS industry awards, acknowledging outstanding contributions to staffing in Canada, it is always exciting and uplifting to celebrate award recipients and recognize their extraordinary accomplishments.

We will be announcing our industry award recipients at the national annual conference in Mississauga, Ontario, in May, 2010. Each of our ACSESS awards has meaning on many levels. Intensely vigorous competitors pause and join together to honour and celebrate their business rivals’ special accomplishments, leadership, chapter success, community service, and health and safety performance. The recipients deserve every bit of recognition we can offer.

We all deserve a little bit of special recognition. I propose that we introduce the “Survivor Award”. If you are reading this magazine, you survived the most difficult economic cycle ever experienced by the Canadian staffing industry. Although we are still in a fragile recovery period, it’s probably safe to say that the worst is now behind us. You survived. Congratulations…you are a winner!

During these tough economic and political times, ACSESS has demonstrated the depth of its strength. While most staffing associations in other countries experienced reduced membership levels accompanied by service and staff reductions, ACSESS held strong. Canadian staffing companies turned to ACSSES for representation, training, tools and resources. More companies became new members and our membership continued to grow. ACSESS has clearly secured its status and reputation as the single national voice of staffing, effectively representing our industry and membership. If there were an international award for best industry association, ACSESS would be a winner, too.

We remain in a fragile economic environment and there is no easy path to follow; there never will be. We remain surrounded by political and social forces that do not fully appreciate the value we offer to people, companies and the economy; we always will be.

Every permanent, contract and temporary job that we fill is exciting and uplifting. That’s the nature of our business. The best way for us to achieve greater recognition is to stand on the award podium and proudly show the world what we have accomplished. We have a lot to celebrate. This spring, ACSESS will recognize our award-winning member companies, chapters and individuals. Let’s take a lesson from the Olympics and flaunt our every success for the whole world to see.

This is a reprint of the Presidents Message in the spring edition of the ACSESS Dialogue magazine (Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services.

You can download the entire magazine from the ACSESS Website

Steve Jones
ACSESS
National President

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Canadian Staffing Index: A Leading Indicator of Economic Recovery










The Canadian employment rate is heading in the right direction and temporary staffing is leading the way!

Last week, the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS), in conjunction with independent research firm Staffing Industry Analysts, released a new groundbreaking monthly index that tracks temporary employment across Canada. The Canadian Staffing Index reported consistent job growth for several months as far back as May 2009. Statistics Canada then followed with the news that 25,000 Canadian jobs were created during the month of February 2010.

It’s a well known fact that Statistics Canada’s job creation numbers are a lagging indicator of the economy, however, it is believed that the new Canadian Staffing Index, which measures temporary help hours, will provide a real-time barometer of employment activity and a reliable leading indicator of near-future full-time job creation.

The March 12, 2010, the Labour Force Survey produced by Statistics Canada says that “employment has been on an upward trend since July 2009 (+159,000 jobs),” and that “this contrasts with the sharp drop of 417,000 between the peak in October 2008 and July 2009.”
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/subjects-sujets/labour-travail/lfs-epa/lfs-epa-eng.pdf)

In comparison, the Canadian Staffing Index shows that temporary employment hours were on an upward trend three months ahead of the more traditional Labour Force and Unemployment data.(http://www.acsess.org/NEWS/IndustryPress-Feb8-2010.asp)

It’s interesting to note that the lagging Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey and the current Canadian Staffing Index both confirm that employment peaked in October of 2008. Had the Staffing Index been in place at that time, the decline in temporary personnel hours may have provided an ominous foreboding of the devastating job losses that ultimately followed. It only makes sense considering that temporary workers are typically the first to be cut back in slow periods and the first to return in a recovery.

Temporary staffing is primarily used by business managers to hedge against the uncertainties and fluctuations in the economy. Other research data shows that temporary employment will often transition to regular full-time employment when the work requirements become more consistent and predictable.

The Canadian Staffing Industry Index is a reliable tool for business managers, economists and governments in their development of policy and decision making. The names of the actual survey participants and the individual companies’ data is kept confidential, administered by an independent research firm, Staffing Industry Analysts, but we know that no other survey of its type with such an extraordinarily high percentage of the total market share has ever been collected or reported on in Canada.

All of our companies within Design Group Staffing Inc., including The People Bank, Placement Group, Design Group Technical Staffing, Allen Professional Search, INTEQNA, Aimco Industrial Staffing, The Medical Recruitment Network and La Banque de Personnel participate in the submission of confidential and timely data. When our data is combined with the other respondents’ data, the survey provides trends and hours worked by over 30,000 employees. Now that’s a sample size to be reckoned with!

We will continue to deliver future Canadian Staffing Index results through future editions of the Staffing Insider. The way things are going, we predict that the next Canadian Staffing Index will verify that there is more job growth in the current month. That’s because we are busy…so you will be, too.

This article was written by Steve Jones and published during the week of March 15, 2010 in the Staffing Insider, a regular email broadcast produced by The People Bank, Aimco, Allen Professional Search, La Banque de Personnel and the Medical Recruitment Network.

Subscribe to the Staffing Insider Newsletter

Friday, March 12, 2010

Internet Job Boards - Friend or Foe


By Steve Jones, CPC March 11, 2010 for www.working.com Photograph by: Handout, ACSESS

The Internet and job boards have given you and the rest of the entire world an equal ability to discover and apply for all the same jobs.

The Internet and job boards have given you and the rest of the entire world an equal ability to discover and apply for all the same jobs. Technology makes it easier for the qualified and the unqualified to clutter the field making it more difficult for you to stand out from the crowd. Understanding Internet job board technology can give you the upper hand when developing your resume and employment application strategy.

Here are a few quick tips that will increase your job board application results.


Tip #1 - Resume Key Words

Most employers use indexed database technology where the words and phrases contained within your resume are stored and then searchable within the database. It is very important that your resume contains the words and phrases that an employer will likely use in their resume searching and filtering process. For example, you may have had the title of "Product Support Specialist" in a call centre for an electronics company. If your job search is focused around customer interaction then the words "Customer Service", "Call Centre", "Client Support", "Inbound" and "CSR" are common words and expressions that might work for you. On the other hand, if your career objective is more technically focused than people focused then you should shift the emphasis of words in your resume to describe the specific products and technologies that you are familiar with.

You already have the headings in your resume like “Career Objective”, “Education” and “Career History” so why not include a heading called “Key Words” then list a set of key words that might match common words used by employers when using a database search engine.

Tip #2 - .doc File Format
Employers use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to store and sort the resumes and applications they receive. Most ATS are capable of handling Microsoft word .doc file formats but many have difficulty handling resumes in other formats such as PDF, .docx, wpd, html and other standards. These formats may have their advantages but not when attaching your resume to an on-line application form. If the words and phrases within your resume cannot be extracted by the employer’s applicant tracking software then you run the risk of never being noticed by a real person. Always submit your resume in the world's most common format.

Tip #3 - Follow Up
The biggest problem with on-line systems is the lack of human interaction. In the end, people will hire people to work with other people. Do your research and figure out who the human resources or hiring manager is and then send them a personal note pointing out that you have applied on-line. Include a professional letter that contains information that will motivate them to bypass the computer sorting process and go directly to your application. Try to make contact in person, over the phone or by email.

We frequently hear people talk about how lucky or unlucky they are in their job search. Luck has nothing to do with it. Remember that the smarter you work, the luckier you'll get.

The People Bank is an active member of ACSESS, the Association of Canadian Search Employment and Staffing Services and Steve Jones is President of both The People Bank and ACSESS.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Employment Screening

Employers are becoming increasing wary of the risks associated with hiring people who may not be who they claim to be. Where reference checks once served as satisfactory employment verification, the process may now include a verification of education, professional accreditation, credit information, identification and immigration employability status but the real emphasis is shifting toward, security clearances and criminal background checks.

Comprehensive pre-employment background screening and identity verification have become common steps in the recruitment selection process. Here is a little more helpful information on the topic.

The terms “Security Clearance” and “Police Record Check” are often used interchangeably but they are two very different screening processes. A “Security Clearance” is a background screening process facilitated by the federal government that assigns an individual’s eligibility to access certain information or to perform specific tasks. Levels of security clearance range through categories known as Basic Reliability, Enhanced Reliability, Secret and Top Secret. Government employees and the employees of private sector companies providing services to the federal government are required to have levels of security clearance respective of the work being performed.

On the other hand, a “Police Record Check” is a review of the Canadian Police Information Centre or “CPIC” national database administered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It contains information used by law enforcement officials including a history of criminal offences.

The CPIC database is populated by Canadian police forces and government agencies and queried by authorized “CPIC Agencies” including authorized commercial service providers. CPIC is the only official national database of criminal records available to employers and volunteer based groups with a need to screen new hires.

The most basic CPIC check available to employers identifies whether an individual has a record of a conviction. A more comprehensive “Vulnerable Sector” check is available to organizations such as schools and not-for-profits hiring individuals or volunteers to care for children. The degree of information available is determined by the Criminal Records Act of Canada.

Recently, the RCMP announced that they would only release a Yes or No response for criminal checks performed by third parties. “Yes” means that there is a name match for an unpardoned criminal record. No other information concerning the offense is disclosed.

They also announced that the more comprehensive Vulnerable Sector checks must be done by the person, in person, at the local police station. This takes several weeks with finger printing.

Two pieces of government issued identification must accompany each request for a CPIC - Police Record Check. Interestingly, photo heath cards are not are not permitted.

Human resource professionals, temporary staffing services and professional recruiters are constantly grappling with the balance of protecting individual privacy and human rights while using criminal history investigations for employee selection criteria. Human Rights and Privacy laws require that selection criteria are relevant to the specified employment.

At The People Bank, we are industry leaders in the areas of security clearances, criminal back ground checks, employment verification and the relevant employment legislation. Don’t take risks in your hiring decisions. Call The People Bank.

The People Bank, a division of Design Group Staffing Inc, was recently re-awarded Platinum Club Member status by Deloitte, CIBC Commercial Banking, National Post, and Queen's School of Business for maintaining Canada’s Best Managed Company status for over 9 consecutive years.