Attract Quality Candidates by Thinking Like a Product Marketer

Talented people are bombarded with opportunities. So many that yours could easily be lost in the crowd. There’s a simple way to make your opportunities stand out: Package your jobs and assignments as if you’re marketing a product.

I was reminded of this method when I was in the tea aisle of Whole Foods Market. If you’ve never been in their tea aisle, it’s a plethora of color, size, and shape. It’s quite a sight … and a potential sales nightmare for individual suppliers.

Manufacturers have learned to compete in this cornucopia by packaging their tea in boxes, tins, and containers of all colors, sizes, and shapes to attract your attention.

There was a woman standing in the aisle gazing at the wall of tea. As I watched her consider her options, I noticed that she was scanning the shelves, occasionally picking up a box or tin, checking out the back and then either placing the item in her cart or putting it back on the shelf.

I watched a bit longer, curious about the system she had going. Eventually my curiosity won out and I approached her.

“Excuse me, I hope I’m not intruding. I was noticing how you were looking at tea. I’m a consultant. My clients are always interested in how people make choices. I noticed you’re very particular with what you’re looking for. May I ask why?”

“Well,” she started, “I’m bored with my current brand of tea. I’ve decided to try some new flavors and brands. Maybe there’s something better than what I was buying before.”

“Okay, and how are you going to pick?”

“Well, I like a robust tea so I’m looking for cues — pictures or words — on the front of the box that tell me it might be full-flavored.”

“Okay. I noticed that when one grabbed your attention, that’s when you picked it up and checked the back.”

“Right. The front of the box is what captures my attention. Then I look at the back to finalize my decision. Simple as that.”

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Tea Lady reminded me that packaging matters. How something is packaged either grabs or repels our attention.

This is why good assignments jobs are often overlooked. They’re poorly packaged.

To get the attention of top talent, you must think like a product marketer. Your packaging (ads, posts, and verbal communication) must quickly grab people’s attention.This is the “front of the box.” Only after you’ve gotten a candidate’s attention will the details matter (the “back of the box”).

Take these steps to improve how you package opportunities.

  1. Next time you’re in a retail establishment, notice how product marketers package their offerings. Note the colors they use, the pictures they choose, and how carefully and sparingly they use words on the front of the box.
  2. Imagine your jobs and assignments were in a store competing with other opportunities. Each job is in a box, waiting for top talent to come down the aisle.
  3. Design the “box” with the jobseeker in mind. What pictures, words, and colors can you use to grab people’s attention?
  4. Test out a few designs with internal staff or an external focus group.

What’s this look like in action? A firm with great opportunities was drawing in a trickle of talent. Using these steps, they created colorful images and short videos (under 10 seconds) of people sharing brief soundbites about how working with the firm has improved their lives. They used these same soundbites as the opening content for written postings and conversations with candidates. Today, the firm draws in a strong steady flow of highly qualified people.

Your opportunities are important. Package them so that they stand out and get the attention they deserve.

How to Win the New Talent War – for High-End Independent Expertise

Good news – and challenging news – for managers: The war for talent has intensified – and the battleground shifted.

The good news: the spoils in this new talent war are enormous. Per McKinsey, high performers are an incredible 800 percent more productive in a business’s most complex tasks.



And it’s easier to access these productivity-boosters — and power new paths to organizational agility and performance – by tapping the growing market for high-end independent talent.

But now the challenging news: because they are so valuable, the new talent war for independents is as fierce as for full-time hires In competitive fields like innovation and supply-chain strategy.

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There are a range of independent talent marketplaces and staffing resources such as Business Talent Group that can connect you to pools of world-class, high-performance talent. But because high-performance independents can basically choose where to work, it’s up to you to think long and hard about changes you may have to make to make your company attractive to them.

Here are six ways to do exactly that:

  1. Define the mission. As entrepreneurs in their own right, independents seek breakthrough, purposeful projects that help define their brand. So connect your work with a broader mission important to the business – and beyond.
  2. Support flexible scheduling. Some independent workers enjoy face time with your team, but most want to combine on-site with remote work. Don’t let company norms rule: demonstrate flexibility and trust by asking consultants what’s most effective, while being prepared to discuss your possible need for an in-office presence.
  3. Cultivate an open culture. While exploring outside-the-envelope ideas is always challenging, an expert, outside perspective is often needed to free people from unproductive or insular views and ferret out unseen opportunities. Internal resistance to newcomers’ suggestions not only diminishes their potential impact, but can sour a relationship – and put you on “no-fly” lists for future projects.
  4. Treat independents with respect. Independents are business owners in their own right, but are too often treated thoughtlessly. In particular, extended payment terms signal a lack of respect: don’t expect consultants to sacrifice cash flow to support your cash-management strategies.
  5. Build an enterprise-wide talent program. Innovative companies are introducing enterprise-wide solutions to make it easy both for managers to source top performers, and for consultants to get onboard. On-demand talent programs signal to independents that you’re serious about making the best use of them.
  6. Don’t discount millennials. “High-end talent” may evoke older executives, but many top-flight millennials post the qualities really needed for a project: the skills to look ahead, learn quickly, adapt on the run and deliver at Internet speed. And according to Stephane Kasriel, chief executive of Upwork, more than 40% of 18-to-34-year-olds now freelance. Attracting talented millennials requires an even greater focus on engaging and purpose-filled assignments, flexibility and feedback.

Given the astounding benefits and flood of expertise into high-end independents, strategies and systems for winning the new war for high-end on-demand talent are no longer a “nice-to-have,” but a “must-have” for companies seeking to boost productivity, innovation and growth in their businesses.


Reviving the Lost Art of Apprenticeship and Lifelong Learning

With an ever-increasing demand for skilled labor in America, to the tune of 7 million open jobs, it is evident we lack the talent supply to meet current hiring needs across most sectors. In fact, I have spent the past 25 years working in the employment industry and I cannot recall a time when there has been higher demand for skilled labor at all levels and in all industries. With only 62.9% of people participating in the workforce today, employers will likely fall short of meeting their labor needs.

I think it’s time we reverse that trend. Collectively, businesses, academia and local, state and federal governments all need to find ways to encourage and engage the able workforce to participate in learning new skills, find ways to remain relevant in today’s workplace and improve their work and personal lives. Employers, in particular, must begin to play a greater role in solving the talent crisis. Not only do we stand to gain (or lose) in solving this challenge, but we are well positioned to provide more education and on-the-job training to our current workforces.

How did we get here?

Over the past few decades our country rapidly grew into a service-based economy and most young adults are now encouraged to pursue a college education, especially in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Even though STEM jobs continue to grow, they are not for everyone. There needs to be a change in the perception of skilled trade careers and a renewed focus on preparing workers for these vital yet underappreciated roles.

NPR recently reported that good jobs in the skilled trades are plentiful however, students are almost universally being steered toward bachelor’s degrees. As a result, 76% of construction companies nationwide are having trouble finding qualified workers. The same crisis can be found in other sectors, such as manufacturing and infrastructure-related fields.

Learning from the past, so we can prepare for the future

I am particularly passionate about apprenticeships because I believe there is something special about learning a specific skill or trade from experienced craftsmen, artists and teachers. I have heard about this gift my whole life from my own grandfather and father, whose lives were greatly influenced by apprenticeships.

My grandfather, Joseph Bily, who migrated to New York from Czechoslovakia, joined the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3 in his early 20s learning his craft under skilled electricians. He pursued a career as an electrician because of an interest in electronics and hobby for building radios. He had a zest for the business and built a successful career that allowed him to thrive despite the Great Depression. Because he had a skilled trade, he was able to find work with the IBEW Local 1 in St. Louis, MO when the market dried up in New York. Eventually, he found his way back to his hometown, leaving his fingerprints all over New York from the midtown tunnel to the New York airports and his favorite – Radio City Music Hall.

Charles J. Bily during construction of the World Trade Center.

Following in his footsteps, my father, Charles J. Bily, spent his summer breaks from college working as a junior apprentice in IBEW Local 3. After deciding college wasn’t right for him, he spent the next five years apprenticing before launching his career as an electrician.

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My father often describes his time as an apprentice, which combined both classroom and on-the-job training, as an incredible opportunity to learn.  He worked under senior electricians who would guide, teach and mentor him as he learned the trade. He worked five days a week and attended classes two nights a week.  Each year had a specific learning theme, and the coursework would also keep students up to date on the changes to the electrical code.  Ultimately, the program provided him with focused learning opportunities on everything from math, geometry, and formulas to broader thinking, logic and reasoning.

Over the years, he worked on memorable projects, including the TV antenna of the World Trade Center and the Empire State Building where he would climb up at night to update the signals. To me, my dad was a superhero, lighting up New York City and climbing the tallest buildings in the world.

Now retired, my father is thrilled to see the current focus on increasing apprenticeships and bringing back manufacturing and construction jobs to America. I asked my father if he was glad he went through the apprenticeship program and became an electrician. Without hesitation, he responded, “Absolutely. I am very glad I chose this path and I have no regrets and I still find it interesting. I never lost interest and never stopped learning.” When I asked him about the apprentice programs of today he stated, “I believe they are the stepping stones to higher careers and can be applied to almost every profession.” He added, “It is great to see women welcome in the trades today since they play an important role in the workforce.”

Concerns like limiting college debt and finding fulfilling work are increasingly central to today’s career decisions. In that context, it is hard to ignore skilled trades that offer the opportunity to get paid for learning and to become part of a proud tradition of craftmanship.

Rebuilding the skilled trades pipeline

I can’t help but be encouraged as we see more attention being placed on the value of apprenticeships. In fact, the government has declared November 12-18 as National Apprenticeship Week, a time when employers are asked to promote their education and training opportunities. There are thousands of events, job fairs and open houses planned across the country to celebrate apprenticeship programs. It applauds employers who recognize that if they need a skilled workforce, they need to invest in it.

I am proud that my company, EmployBridge and its specialty workforce divisions are the first staffing organization in history to recently be approved by the Department of Labor to pilot an Apprenticeship Program that will provide our associates new opportunity to learn higher-paying skills and help close the skills gap for companies. Our program will be a national model and focuses on Advanced Manufacturing, including logistics and traffic handling and forklift operations.

Additionally, EmployBridge has invested in offering free online learning for our nearly 400,000 temporary associates through our award-winning Better WorkLife Academy. EmployBridge recognized the need to focus on upskilling American workers and to do our part in elevating and educating the hourly workforce for the jobs of tomorrow. I want to encourage all employers to start thinking about what they can do to bring back the art of learning in their workplace.

Lastly, I have some simple advice for workers. Invest in yourself. Learn. Give yourself the gift of training so you can make a living for yourself and provide for your loved ones. As my grandfather and father both said, “You never stop learning and no one can take that away from you.”

5 Tips for Employers to Create a Culture of Learning

1. Offer online learning courses to your employees at no cost. Give your employees the time and a quiet space to learn during the workday.

2. Create an apprenticeship program to teach new employees the business. It can be a combination of classwork, on-the-job training, online research, and learning. It could also be designed as a mentorship program. Team-up your baby boomers with millennials for on-the-job training. You can make the training reciprocal since each generation has unique skills to teach the other.

3. Offer a tuition reimbursement program. Demonstrate your commitment to ongoing learning for your employees. Not only will it improve workers’ skills but it will also help drive employee retention, which is important in this tight market.

4. Partner with a trade school or learning institution to bring new students into your organization for on-the-job training as interns. This could be a great source of future workers.

5. Most importantly, create a culture of learning and celebrate individual successes along the way.

Millennial RNs Bring High Ambition and a Few Surprises to Healthcare Work Environment

As younger workers, it’s not surprising that Millennial nurses (ages 20-37) are more likely to seek upward career mobility through education and job changes than their older peers. After all, older nurses have more experience and are often already well-established in their careers.

But what is unique about these younger nurses is their higher expectations of the work environment than other generations of nurses. Also noteworthy are their sheer numbers, which are influencing workplace practices in varied industries around the country.

Millennials are now the largest generation in the US labor force, making up 35% of American workers. As of 2017, 56 million Millennials were working or looking for work. These numbers are of particular significance for the healthcare industry staffing, where unprecedented workforce shortages have created recruitment challenges, particularly for qualified nurses.

In a new report by AMN Healthcare, Survey of Millennial Nurses: A Dynamic Influence on the Profession, Millennial nurses shed light on what they think constitutes a good working environment and how that affects patient care. Among their expectations are professional development opportunities, transparent quality measures, a positive culture, and supportive leadership.

While other nurses may also see these measures as positive, Millennials felt more strongly about their importance than their peers.

The report is based on data gathered in the 2017 Survey of Registered Nurses, completed by 3,347 RNs and conducted by AMN Healthcare, the largest healthcare staffing firm in the US, according to SIA researchThe responses of Millennial nurses were extracted and compared to those from Generation X or Gen X (ages 38-53) and Baby Boomer nurses (ages 54-72).

PREMIUM CONTENT: US Healthcare Staffing Recruitment Strategies

The following are some survey highlights:

Millennial Nurses Expect More from Their Leadership

Millennial RNs placed a higher value on leadership quality than other generations of nurses. In responding to the statement, “The quality of patient care I provide is positively influenced by effective leadership,” 77% of Millennial nurses responded affirmatively, compared to 72% of Gen Xers and 66% of Baby Boomers. This represents an 11-point difference between Baby Boomer and Millennial RNs.

Millennials also tended to be more optimistic toward leadership than other nurses. This was evident across several categories, including how much they trust their leaders, and whether leaders care about them and their career development.

Along with wanting excellent leaders, Millennial nurses are also more attracted to leadership opportunities themselves. More than one third of Millennial nurses — 36% — said they were considering a move into leadership positions compared to about one-fourth of Gen Xers and only 10% of Baby Boomers. However, Baby Boomer nurses had a much higher percentage of RNs already in leadership positions compared to their younger counterparts.

Millennials Value Workplace Quality Measures More Highly 

Professional development has proven to be important to recruiting and retaining Millennials in all professions but may be especially important among nurses.  In the survey, the majority of Millennial RNs (63%) responded affirmatively when asked to respond to the statement, “The quality of patient care I provide is positively influenced by professional development opportunities.”

Older nurses also valued professional development opportunities but not as strongly as Millennials, with 61% of Gen Xers and 53% of Baby Boomer RNs viewing such measures as important.

The divide between younger and older nurses grew sharper with regard to questions about culture, transparency of quality measures, and the importance of nursing skill mix in the unit.

Among Millennials, 68% responded affirmatively to a question on whether quality measure transparency positively influenced patient care. This compared to 62% of Gen Xers and 54% of Baby Boomers, who responded this way.

A similar pattern emerged in responses to culture and nursing skill mix.  For instance, 68% of Millennial RNs responded affirmatively when asked if culture was an important factor that could positively affect patient care quality. This compared to 62% of Gen Xers and 57% of Baby Boomers, who responded positively. Millennials also felt more strongly than older nurses that the skill mix of nurses on the unit positively influenced the quality of care that they provide. Among Millennials, 78% felt this way versus 67% of Baby Boomers. Gen Xers had like sentiments to Millennials.

One in Four Millennials Want to Become Nurse Practitioners

The report shows Millennial nurses are not only interested in further educational attainment but are also actively pursuing higher degrees and professional certification. Nearly 40% of Millennial RNs said they plan to pursue a master’s degree in the next three years, while another 11% said they would seek a Ph.D. These responses were significantly higher than those of other generations.

Regarding advanced licensing, more than one fourth of Millennial RNs (28%) said they want to pursue a nurse practitioner license in the next three years. This compared to 19% of GenXers and 4% of Baby Boomers.

Another 14% of Millennials said they would pursue education to become Clinical Nurse Specialists and 7% said they would become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. That adds up to nearly half of Millennial RNs planning to become advanced practice nurses. While this strong interest in advanced practice nursing is laudable and understandable among younger nurses, it could have the unintended consequence of reducing the number of nurses available as bedside RNs, who are in ever-increasing demand.

MORE: Getting millennial nurses to commit to your organization

Best Recruiting Practices – 2018

This month, I am going to address some of the burning questions we have received from recruiting professionals who reached out to me for some insight after reading my last couple of articles (here and here). One question has to do with the concepts of continuous versus need-based recruiting. Another topic I’ll address is campus recruiting.

Continuous Recruitment vs Need-Based Hiring

It’s the age-old question, isn’t it? Should I have an appetizer, or should I save room for dessert? No, I’m not going to try to tackle that question, but rather one nearer and dearer to our hearts: “Which is better: continuous recruitment or need-based hiring?”

These differing philosophies are shaping the recruiting field, and will continue to do so for years to come.  There are arguments for and against each type.

Continuous recruiting — recruiting on a regular basis — can provide you the opportunity to find top talent in an instant. Meanwhile, need-based hiring — or waiting to recruit only when you have a specific need, an open position — may save on resources, but puts you at the mercy of having a limited number of candidates.

Which is the best way? Let’s look at each one, and let you decide which model is better for your needs.

Continuous Recruitment. Continuous recruitment means looking for new and better employees all the time, and not just when staffing needs are high. In this model, managers must always know their staffing needs, and give priority to the most important. Continuous recruitment is only effective when used in conjunction with the other parts of your hiring process, i.e., ads, applications, the interview process, and so on. It’s sort of a human “treasure hunt” that never stops. Even if you find a good applicant and do not have a current position open, you should recruit the applicant as if you did. In today’s volatile markets, conditions can change rapidly — and that includes staffing needs. This is talent acquisition in a very pro-active way, but requires continuous resources to be successful. To use your time most efficiently, a service like VeriKlick can be of great value — imagine someone sitting next to you and verifying each candidate’s information for you with only a couple of mouse clicks! You’ll have the security of knowing that you are building a solid base of qualified and verified applicants.

Extended vacancies can hurt companies’ ability to grow, maintain productivity, and even keep existing employees engaged. One solution is to anticipate turnover in high-skilled positions, and be prepared to meet challenges quickly. While it takes an investment, companies that continuously recruit and build a pipeline of talent are able to significantly reduce their cost and time to hire. Eighty-three percent of employers who currently have unfilled slots say vacancies remain open for two months or longer, on average. More than one in five (22 percent) say those vacancies go unfilled for six months or longer, on average.

The continuous recruiting model means having a shorter vacancy time by having a pool of talented applicants ready to choose from! Instead of feeling rushed to find and hire someone, you can choose from a pool of applicants you already know are a strong fit.

A March 2013 study in the International Journal of Business and Management Invention found that there is a significant relationship between employee motivation and job stress. Simply put, the higher level of job stress, the less motivation an employee feels. When there is an extended open vacancy, it’s the current employees who have to pick up the slack and shoulder the burden of extra work in order to ensure that everything gets done. Continuous recruitment cuts down on this. Instead of two people doing the job of three, the work is spread out evenly; and having a manageable workload leads to less stress on employees, making them more motivated.

Need-Based Hiring. Need-based hiring is all about filling a specific need at a specific time, which every organization experiences from time to time. If you operate a lunch counter and your counterperson has the flu, you need to find a replacement right away — or else your business suffers the loss of revenue. Unlike the continuous recruitment model, the need-based model doesn’t require you to have an at-hand database of potential candidates salivating at the thought of becoming employed by your organization. But this model does require you to have some excellent, trusted contacts within various professional recruiting firms; people who will quickly put you in touch with candidates who closely align with your immediate need, and hopefully ones that employ a tool like VeriKlick to verify their candidates’ information and veracity ahead of time.

The concept of need-based hiring is most closely correlated to “temporary” workers, though this is a common misunderstanding of the term. Certainly, some need-based hires are intended to be brought aboard for only a specific engagement, or for a specific amount of time, but the philosophy applies much further than that. Need-based hires could be project workers, contractors, sick leave fill-ins — there are myriad reasons a company has an immediate need for an employee, whether temporary or permanent.

Just because there’s a need to be filled, that’s not an excuse for shoddy recruiting practices! From a recruiting perspective this type of hire is the most important, as success (or failure) garners you immediate recognition: Your candidate won’t be waiting six months to find out if they got the job, they’ll find out much sooner! In this model, the sooner the better for all parties involved.

Since this kind of hiring model generally (though not exclusively) focuses on contract or temp roles, the majority of candidates are likely to be people comfortable moving quickly into new roles, acclimating themselves to their new surroundings easily, and already familiar with the ins and outs of their new role.

Campus Recruiting – Yea or Nay?

Campus recruiting can be tricky, as it does come with built-in advantages and disadvantages. The main, obvious advantage is that you are basically handed a pool of excited, motivated possible workers who are educated and ready to enter the workforce. The primary disadvantages are almost the same — these fresh, eager faces are ready, willing, and able to work (even if just to pay back their student loans), but they probably have zero experience and will require all manner of training before becoming successful members of a company or organization. Even while campus recruiting, using a service like VeriKlick can help keep costs down even further, by helping you to weed out fake or fraudulent resumes, and verify the information given to you by the candidates.


Cost Efficient. Campus recruitment is an extremely cost-efficient activity! Recruiters need to visit just a few colleges, and spend only a day or two at each to end up short-listing hundreds of candidates.

Targeted. If you are seeking great entry-level engineers, then you can visit colleges with great Engineering degrees. The same holds true for candidates for every industry: You can easily research and locate those institutions of higher learning nearby which offer specialized courses in your field, be it Nursing, Database Design, or Civil Engineering. Engage the audience that fits you best.

Failure Can Equal Success. Even if you don’t leave your recruitment trip with the number of qualified applicants for which you’d hoped, you DID achieve some measure of name-recognition for the future. Your company is likely to be the first one sought out by these students when they are available and ready for employment. It’s like free advertising.


Training. It is extremely likely that the talent pool at the college has NO experience (beyond their education) in your particular field or industry, and will thus require the upfront costs of training and on-boarding. It’s reasonable to assume these some of costs are associated with ALL new hires; but the ones who haven’t worked in a professional setting like yours likely require additional training beyond the immediate needs of an open position.

Retention. You run the risk of hiring people for whom this position is not their “dream job” and whose eye might wander as they delve into the day-to-day responsibilities associated with their role. Careful attention must be paid to ensure they are engaged, challenged, and satisfied — much like the rest of the workforce!

Remember: The best applicants and the best companies usually have lots of choices, and they respond best to those recruitment professionals and organizations who communicate most effectively, and who operate most efficiently.

How to Limit Your Company’s Co-Employment Liability

In the legal sense, contract employees assigned to staffing clients will always be characterized as employees of the staffing firm. However, staffing clients will still be considered co-employers when there is any degree of joint responsibility for the worker on issues such as training, workplace safety, supervision and direction of work or work performance.


Some staffing clients believe co-employer status opens the door to increased liability — it does not. An effective partnership with a trusted staffing firm, from candidate sourcing through assignment completion, can greatly minimize the impact of co-employment exposure in litigation for staffing clients.

Many staffing clients also believe that imposing contingent worker term limits will insulate them from legal liability for employment law claims or mitigate access to claims for retroactive employee benefits and stock of the staffing client, but that also is not the case.

Liability for employment-law-related claims are based on facts, not tenure. And retroactive employee benefits and stock concerns are best mitigated by staffing clients adequately defining employee benefit and stock eligibility. Specifically excluding all classifications of workers, except direct staffing client employees best mitigates exposure from claims of eligibility for staffing client’s employee benefits and stock plans. Consequently, term limits primarily raise recruiting and training costs, impact the business continuity of staffing clients, and unnecessarily remove high performers from delivering on the business objectives of the staffing client.

Mitigating risks

Employer risks are greatly reduced when a staffing client has a clearly defined service agreement that outlines the staffing firm’s primary employer obligations and indemnifies its staffing clients if the staffing firm fails to properly perform them. These obligations include:

  • Worker authorization and verification of W-2 employees;
  • Payment of wages and payroll taxes;
  • Drug and background screening;
  • Offering compliant benefits; and
  • Workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance

Such contract provisions alleviate initial and ongoing risks for staffing clients, providing a “ready-to-work employee” on day one and mitigating a primary issue of concern for many staffing clients.

PREMIUM CONTENT: The Future of Work 2018

Protection against claims

When temporary workers are assigned to clients, there are two types of potential claims or litigation:

  • Employment claims related to nonpayment of wages or workplace discrimination and retaliation
  • Personal injury claims related to workplace injuries resulting from alleged negligent acts or omissions

Employment claims

Some clients mistakenly believe they can avoid co-employer status in litigation by denying employer status over temporary workers in their service agreements. However, this practice will not avoid employer liability for equal employment opportunity (EEO) claims, which are the most prevalent employment claims.

Co-employer status is determined by the control that has been exercised — or should have been exercised — by the staffing client over a specific set of facts or circumstances. Staffing clients control working conditions, length of assignment, and provide the direction and supervision of temporary workers in furtherance of their business. Co-employer status in the EEO context can be established by meeting only one of the following factors:

  • Hire and fire authority;
  • Establishing work rules/conditions of employment;
  • Day-to-day direction and supervision in furtherance of employer’s business; or
  • Control of employment records

Under EEO laws, the staffing firm and its client are both responsible for maintaining a workplace environment free of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, as well as providing workplace accommodations for disability, religion and protected leave.

The staffing firm is liable for:

  • Its own discrimination against the worker; or
  • Discrimination by the staffing client or other entity if the staffing firm participates in the discrimination; or
  • Knew or should have known of the discrimination and failed to take corrective action within its control

The staffing client is liable for:

  • Its own discrimination against the worker;
  • Discrimination by the staffing firm if the staffing client participates in the discrimination;
  • If the staffing client knew or should have known of the discrimination and failed to take corrective action within its control;
  • If the staffing client interferes with the federally protected civil rights of workers; or
  • The staffing client knew or should have known of the discrimination and failed to take corrective action within the control of the staffing client


It can be daunting for staffing clients to navigate the complex world of co-employment and legal risk. But with a comprehensive and proactive service contract as well as support from a highly qualified and reputable staffing agency, they can be confident that appropriate care is being taken to ensure minimized risks for both partners.

Healthcare Recruitment: Overcoming Challenges and Seizing Opportunities for Success

The healthcare recruitment industry is confronted with challenges and opportunities, mandating healthcare staffing firms to be even more strategic when expanding their operations and engaging with candidates and clients.

A historic talent shortage, a hyper-competitive market, and recruiting in the digital age pose new challenges for healthcare recruiters. Conversely, new delivery models represent opportunities for them as they adapt to an ever-changing marketplace.

According to Bullhorn’s “2018 North American Staffing & Recruiting Trends Report: The Industry’s Outlook for 2018,” 71% of healthcare staffing firms anticipate increases in total billable hours, 64% eye hikes in bill rates, 59% see gains in margins, and 56% expect rises in temporary placements. However, healthcare staffing firms face numerous hurdles as they look to grow their businesses.

One of the biggest obstacles is the acute talent shortage. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, there will be a deficit of nearly 105,000 doctors in the U.S. by 2030.

As a result, the principle challenge is finding quality providers in the marketplace — especially since unemployment rates are at an all-time low, and demand is at an all-time high in healthcare staffing. Because unemployment is so low, there’s a smaller candidate pool to fill more jobs, which is pressing with an already hyper-competitive market; one that’s only going to get even more competitive.

“To our customers’ credit, their internal sourcing strategies are considerably more innovative and assertive than before,” said Kyle Mattice, President at ES Healthcare, a division of The Execu|Search Group. “This is outstanding for our industry. Provider wages are flourishing, and staffing firm bill rates are surging in this type of market. As an industry, we’re evolving rapidly, and it’s incredibly motivating.”

The monumental test facing healthcare staffing firms is how to strategically attract talent and prospects. Recruiting in the digital age -— engaging with candidates and clients via smartphones, text messaging, and social media — is paramount for success because candidates and clients prefer to communicate through these channels. If recruiters don’t incorporate these channels, they won’t be able to connect with the vast marketplace of candidates and clients for their opportunities, inviting competitors to get to them first.

PREMIUM CONTENT: US Healthcare Recruitment Strategies

Despite the complexities, the healthcare recruiting industry is poised with opportunities, especially in areas such as the Inpatient Acute setting, and the biggest opportunities originate from a company’s ability to be innovative in an evolving industry.

“As an industry, we must bring value to market in areas like home care and digital health,” Mattice said. “Clients and candidates are looking for value-add partnerships, which means that we can no longer just pick up the phones and fill jobs. We can add more value as subject matter experts who advise our partners on how to differentiate as employers or job seekers in light of new trends.”

The convergence of public policy, cost, and technology will influence the future of healthcare recruitment. The sector cost challenges aren’t dissipating and are instead prompting technology to counter margin pressures in the digital revolution. Companies that embrace technology will be out in front and win, and the companies that don’t embrace technology will fall back and lose.

“At ES Healthcare, for example, we’re incorporating automation into our workflow,” Mattice said. “That being said, the unique part of healthcare is the patient-provider relationship. The focus on building long-term relationships with patients and providers will never go away. It’s the crux of the healthcare industry. For any staffing firm, this means sales ability will be the single biggest talent to internally hire.”

After all, current challenges can spawn new opportunities, and new opportunities can ignite stronger relationships.

The Importance of Self-Management for Leaders!

Self-management for leaders is a newer leadership buzzword but it is based on long-standing best practices of time management, personal management, values-based leadership and leading by example.

When I speak to this executive competency in my coaching practice, I include the following traits and behaviors:

  • Ethics – Integrity – Trustworthiness
  • Values-based leadership
  • Ability to manage time & prioritize personal schedule and calendar
  • Flexibility
  • Adaptiveness
  • Leading by example
  • Reliability
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Accessibility and leading/managing by walking around (LBWA or MBWA)
  • Inclusiveness
  • Openness
  • Diversity champion
  • Self-care

I will highlight a few of these below. I’ve written about a couple of these traits and behaviors before and I feel they are worth repeating.

Time management. The speed in which today’s world moves, along with the speed in which we communicate poses new challenges for leaders. Leaders need to be adept at managing their time – to be able to prioritize, focus, and balance during very hectic, fast-changing environments. While leaders used to have more time to plan and control their environments and rely on good administrative assistance, now environments change quickly, and leaders need to be able to make changes on the fly mostly by themselves. Leaders who can organize themselves quickly, manage their calendar, stay on top of things and maintain focus amidst the noise and distraction are in top demand.

PREMIUM CONTENT: MSP Market Developments

Reliability. I’ve written about how leaders are role models and how what you do and say matters. Leaders who practice good self – management also understand that following through on what you commit to is the real test. Being reliable. Showing up when you say you are going to. Calling into meetings on time. Communicating your availability and top priorities so colleagues understand when they have access to you, what your schedule is and that they can count on you delivering in those areas. When you do what you say you’re going to do, colleague’s trust deepens in you a leader.

Leading by walking around. I love this practice and used to practice this weekly in my C-level role. This is the idea of walking around facilities, stopping to speak to colleagues and asking them for insight into operations, sales and/or cultural questions around the work environment– there really is no limit to what you can talk about. The idea is to engage spontaneously and be open and available to these opportunities for feedback and input. I always came away with renewed personal energy, with greater insight into the workplace environment and fresh awareness of issues and opportunities that may have presented themselves. This is also a really good way to be accessible to all colleagues. If you lead remote colleagues – a different spin on this is to hold weekly virtual calls with random colleagues from remote locations – to also be available to them and seek their input or feedback. This is a very valuable practice on many levels.

Self-care. I define it as the discipline of being able to set personal and professional boundaries and follow a disciplined approach to work-life balance. Leaders cannot give what they don’t have. Full stop. If leaders do not attend to themselves, care for themselves and allow others to do the same, something else will give way. Creating a sustainable leadership self-practice is about balance and discipline.

Have a look at the list of traits that fall under self-management – are you showing up in these key areas?

Click here for some more of my thoughts on leadership.


Retaining Your Staff

With an unemployment rate below 4% for six months of the year, the US is pretty much at full employment levels, as well as a 50-year low. This is a definite job-seekers’ market, making hiring and retaining staff a challenge employers must overcome to stay competitive. But how?

These situations do vary from region to region and between job types, but it takes more creativity than when there is a surplus of personnel.

The obvious first line of defense is to increase wage ranges. Many states have established a minimum wage of $15/hour, but of course, this applies only to lowest-wage people. You’ll need to do some research to find benchmarks for the roles within your company and locale. Break those numbers out by upper/lower 10%, upper/lower quartiles, average/mean wage and years of experience, to get the data to be competitive, within your specific occupational codes. You may set a base wage rate for straight-time, salaried roles. Add onto this value a commission or bonus for managers, sales reps, recruiters and other eligible personnel. All things being equal, when everyone’s wages go up, prices will likely do the same over time, but with little impact to the bottom line.

Next comes the intangibles, items that in many ways are more important than salary. Things such as treating others with respect, creating a place where your employees feel challenged and look forward to coming to work each day. Having a clear career path, providing good working conditions and motivational perks. And then there’s how you handle difficult situations. Having a grievance/open door policy where your employees feel free to offer suggestions and deal with delicate issues, without the fear of repercussion. But it has to be more than lip service. You have to make sure each of these is consistently applied, that they are a part of your culture.

Also, consider providing sensitivity training for your managers, particularly in our current litigious atmospheres. Include issues from sexual harassment, improper use of social media, exclusion of people from different cultures, ethnicity, etc.

And when there is a problem with a worker, when a person is not a fit in the organization for any reason, such as absenteeism, insufficient knowledge or being unqualified to do the job, make every effort to salvage them before dismissal. The possible cost to staff morale and lawsuit that may follow otherwise can be prohibitive. The hit to your reputation, deserved or not, may make your company a place where people do not want to work, and that is hard thing to reverse. So think things through before acting rashly.

The Power of Play-Doh, Pictures and Craft Paper – in Staffing Sales?

If you’re in sales, you’re in the problem-solving business.

Some days, the ideas just flow – and solutions are seemingly everywhere. Other days? Not so much.

If you’ve ever faced a mental roadblock in your job, you know how frustrating it can be:

  • How can I get through to this prospect?
  • What’s the best way to help this client manage their busy season?
  • How can we adapt our service process to better suit this employer’s needs?

And yet, day in and day out, you need to generate fresh ideas to solve problems just like these.

We face the same challenges! So, last month, we stepped outside our office and spent the day learning new methods to brainstorm ideas and solve problems.

And yes, it involved Play-Doh and craft paper.

When we first walked into our offsite training facility, we were greeted with a table full of items and very few instructions.

Let me try that again.

We were greeted by a table full of toys we’d recognize from our childhood and no instructions. Unsure if they’d be necessary for the upcoming training, we hesitantly played with the items so as not to destroy them (too much). When the instructor started the session, we didn’t exactly expect what she told us:

The toys were not used for any piece of the training.

They were purely there to fidget, experiment, goof off, or zone out with.

In a world where 100% focus is required to provide 100% output, every second of the day, being given toys to play with instead of working was revolutionary. In a whirlwind that engulfed the entire room, everyone grabbed an item and began to play while we started a series of guided idea-generation activities.

The toys relaxed us, kept the mood light, sparked conversations and sustained us through nearly eight hours of brainstorming. And that was exactly the point.

During the session, our instructor also shared two other play techniques for improving problem-solving:

Picture prompts. While we performed one set of brainstorming activities, the facilitator disrupted our idea-generation process by showing us random images. Those interruptions allowed our brains to make new associations and generate novel ideas.

Taking off mental blinders. This exercise showed us how limiting our assumptions can be – and how much more creative our thinking becomes when we remove artificial boundaries we create.

In this activity, our group of 25 stood in a massive circle. We passed around a piece of rolled craft paper, instructed to demonstrate a use for it using only our bodies (no words). We (incorrectly) assumed that those ideas had to be based on the tube-shaped piece of paper – and our brainstorming quickly petered out.

Then, the instructor took the tape off the tube of paper (Wait, we could unroll it?). In the next round, she folded it (Who said we were allowed to do that?!). Finally, she really blew our minds by crumpling and ripping up the paper.

She didn’t change the rules; they never existed. By simply removing the limiting mental blinders we placed on ourselves, we came up with hundreds of uses for that silly piece of craft paper in a matter of minutes.

PREMIUM CONTENT: North America Staffing Company Survey 2018: Revenue sources by skill, industry, VMS/MPS, customer characteristics

Play and problem-solving in the staffing industry. The props we used to guide our brainstorming delivered amazing results. Over the course of the workshop, we generated literally thousands of ideas to solve problems we face every day in our work.

Next time your team needs to overcome a challenge and brainstorm a new solution, try having some fun. Break out some craft paper, random pictures, a Rubik’s Cube or some Play-Doh. Encourage ideas that come from a creative foundation and allow your coworkers to get lost in the process of generating unique ideas. In the end, you’ll get great results. I know we did!