Posts Tagged ‘temporary staff’

Is your business ready for the Olympics?

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
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With less than 100 days to go, the Olympic and Paralympic Games are just around the corner – how prepared are you for the disruptions the Games may cause to your business?

During the Olympics, UK businesses will find themselves affected by a number of different factors, least not of all, potential staffing issues. It is vital contingency plans are in place well in advance of the games, if not already in full

Plan for the Olympics 2012

The Olympics 2012 are just around the corner - does your business have contingency plans in place yet?

motion. To ensure smooth running for your business, and avoid potentially major troubles, appropriate review and plans should be made for flexible working, annual leave, and increased travel times.

If not in place already, the opportunity for flexible working hours would be ideal to allow your staff to experience the excitement of the Olympics, as well as ensuring those with personal responsibilities such as child care, can still fulfil them. Staff should also be made aware of any instances where their presence is required on site so they can forward plan for every eventuality. Volunteers from your workforce who do not have such responsibilities and can guarantee their attendance can be recruited as cover for other staff members.

If working from home is a viable option for your business, ensure that all staff have the correct level of remote access required for internal systems and are trained so that they can complete their duties efficiently off site. It is important to ensure all equipment is in place well in advance of agreed home working days to avoid uncompleted tasks and delayed timescales.

Annual leave will also be popular, with many hoping to catch the Games from home or for those lucky enough, in person. It may prove useful to have all annual leave requests confirmed as soon as possible to ensure sufficient absence cover is arranged. You may find in this instance that temporary staff will be required to help cover leave, should you not have a Managed Service provider to assist you with this cover. It is essential you build relationships with temporary agencies so to understand your employee cover needs. Recruiting temporary staff ensures your customers receive consistent service and the productivity of your business remains unaffected.

And it is not only London businesses that will be affected, areas across the UK such as Cardiff, Coventry, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle will also be hosting the Games. If you are based locally to an Olympic venue, you can expect travel times to increase dramatically. Preparation is key when travelling and it will prove invaluable to have staff plan up to 3 different routes to work so to avoid potential “hot spots”. It may be useful to investigate when the venues are likely to be visited and alert staff accordingly to potential disruptions to their journey.

Should staff not be able to attend work due to travel it would be advantageous to call in short notice temporary agency cover – again, it is important to ensure that your Managed Service Provider or agency are aware of the potential requirements (such as business critical roles) so they have a pool of candidates who may be available to cover on short notice.

With contingencies in place which suit your business requirements, you will be able to proactively and reactively adjust to any issues that may arise as a result of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is important to remember that this is a once in a life experience, and should be enjoyed by you and your staff. With the correct planning in place, you will be able to do just that.

Written by Holly Fenton, a Managed Services Recruitment Consultant at PPS.

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Recruitment Agencies 2011 and beyond

Friday, February 25th, 2011
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Recruitment Agencies 2011 and beyond

As a recruitment process outsourcing , and temporary managed service business, we are players in the same industry as traditional recruitment agencies. Stef, one of our newest members of staff looks at the state of traditional recruitment.

The recruitment industry as a whole took a severe hit in 2009 and 2010 and a number of recruitment companies did not survive the economic downturn with The Recruiter reporting again that a large number of recruitment agencies were put into administration during the last quarter of 2010.

This said, specialist sectors within the industry still continue to grow with The REC stating that employers are looking to continue to grow their permanent workforce in 2011 despite starting the year with a cautious approach. In addition to this they report that 32 per cent of employers plan to grow their temporary workforce over the next 12 months.   This is backed up by figures issued by the REC and KPMG showing that permanent and temporary staff billings continued to rise in the last quarter of 2010 showing a growth in permanent placements and a rise in the demand for temporary staff.

The main issues currently affecting the recruitment industry as a whole are the government’s policy regarding migrant workers, the Agency Workers Directive (AWD) which takes effect from the 1 October 2011 , the recent VAT rise and its impact on Public Sector recruitment costs, the Public Sector cuts casting a shadow over the jobs market in general, utilisation of the internet and mobile technology, and as ever agency profitability.

The recruitment industry will no doubt be faced with a number of specific challenges throughout 2011, alongside the longer term challenge of competing and growing RPO and inhouse recruitment models, but the figures published by the REC suggest that the medium term outlook at least seems to be more encouraging.

Written by Stafanie Cooke, a recruiter at PPS

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Agency Workers Directive 2011

Monday, February 21st, 2011
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The Agency Workers Directive (AWD) will be enforced in the UK from 1st October 2011. The main purpose of the Directive is to ensure the equal treatment and protection of temporary agency workers in terms of basic working and employment conditions which are pay, working hours, overtime, rest periods, holidays, training, access to shared facilities and internal job vacancies.

Equal treatment does not include the provision of a pension, occupational sick pay, redundancy pay, bonuses intended to reward longevity of service or loyalty and will not include any changes to the employment status of the temporary agency worker. An essential part of the Directive is that equal treatment rights will not come into effect until the temporary agency worker has been in an assignment for 12 weeks.

The implementation of the AWD will have major implications on the cost and use of agency workers. Yet research has suggested that approximately 60% of HR professionals are unaware that the Directive will be in place in less than 12 months.

This is a significant piece of legislation that carries severe consequences for non-compliance; getting it wrong could result in serious financial and legal ramifications. It is therefore essential for companies to start getting to grips with the potential areas of impact. Below are a few key questions and areas companies can be focusing on in anticipation of the Directive:

Find out more about the Agency Workers Directive here

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The Benefits of Telephone Interviewing

Monday, January 10th, 2011
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PPS telephone interviews - Image by Pixomar /

Although telephone interviewing as a selection tool has been in existence for a number of years now, recently more and more companies are recruiting both permanent and temporary staff using the telephone interviewing method, as well as a way to create a ‘talent pool’ for up and coming roles. It is typically used as an additional way of sifting suitable applications, in order to create a very ‘short’ list for face to face interviews at a later date.

The continued role of the telephone interview in the selection process is due mainly to the following:

  • It is a time and cost effective process with each telephone interview usually lasting 20 – 40 minutes depending on the role. The process can reach large geographical areas without incurring any travelling expenses; therefore, roles can be recruited for throughout the world as time differences can be factored into the process with ease.   This aids not only the recruiter but also the applicants since as the interview can be conducted in the comfort of their own home, travelling time and expenses are alleviated. In addition, employed applicants do not need to take off as much time as a telephone interview can often be factored into lunch breaks, evenings or even weekends.
  • While face to face meetings should always be included at subsequent stages in the selection process, the lack of visual contact at the Telephone interview stage allows for total focus on the applicant’s verbal responses. This is a great opportunity to discuss competencies and strengths of an applicant, without being distracted by visual and body language. The process is consistent for every applicant, and so helps eliminate discrimination in the process.
  • Each telephone interview can be tailored to each individual requirement, and specific competency based questions can be included, thus probing relevant experience and suitability for the role.  This is also a good way of assessing the candidate’s ability to ‘think on their feet’ as usually, there is nothing that the candidate can prepare for.  In addition, it can be used to test verbal communication skills and telephone techniques.
  • With well-planned and relevant telephone interviews, using either competency based or strengths based assessment, the conversion to offer from those successful at telephone interview will be high. Interviewing candidates who have not been previously telephone screened will generate an average conversion of between 20% and 25% (i.e. interview 4 to 5 candidates for one offer). With candidates that have been professionally telephone interviewed the conversion should be closer to 33% – 50% or more (i.e. interview 2 or 3 candidates for one offer)

With enhancements being made continually to the telephone interview model of selection, it is certainly here to stay.

Written by Debbie Flower a consultant (and telephone interviewer!) at recruitment process outsourcing company PPS.

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The benefits of a Neutral Vendor Managed Service over a Master Vendor Model

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
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PPS Temporary Manged Service

Managed Services in temporary recruitment first appeared over 15 years ago in the form of a Master Vendor model, whereby a recruitment agency was the main provider of temporary members of staff. Since then Managed Services have evolved and introduced different models for the service such as the Neutral Vendor and hybrid models.

So what does Neutral Vendor mean? A Neutral Vendor model means that jobs are released to all supplying agencies for the appropriate category at the same time through the managed services online system. But how a neutral vendor is delivered can vary between providers. The PPS Neutral Vendor Managed Service model (NVMS) ensures that no submitted CVs contain any agency branding or contact details, which in turn ensures there can be no bias to one agency over another. This means that each supplier has an equal opportunity to source candidates for the role and therefore ensures that all supplying agencies are motivated to send their best candidates.

Not all neutral vendor services work in this manner, as many operate a ‘faster finger first’ approach to the submittal of candidates, whereby it is the first 10 CVs submitted that are sent through to the recruiting manager, providing no quality control. PPS believes that it is quality not quantity that is important and therefore allows all of our suppliers an equal amount of time to source candidates that match the criteria; all of whom are then screened by the NVMS team, which then provide the hiring manager with a shortlist of the very best candidates.

Furthermore it ensures that local agencies can continue to supply and have as much of an opportunity of filling the roles as the more established suppliers, thus helping to support smaller, local businesses in the area who otherwise might be pushed out of the market under a Master Vendor model or tiered agency preferred supplier list (PSL). The supplying agencies are more committed to supplying the clients on a Neutral Vendor account, as they know that they will receive all the roles as opposed to the few which a master vendor might decide to release. As a result, the suppliers want to send their best candidates through, as they know they are likely to receive a higher volume of roles through this model. The transparency of the model helps to create greater competition amongst the suppliers and again facilitates the high quality of candidates received. Suppliers want to be the best because they want to work on these accounts.

With a master vendor model, all roles firstly go to the master vendor who will endeavour to fill the roles and only if they cannot recruit, will the roles be released to the rest of the supply chain. Due to the reduced level of roles the lower tier suppliers receive they tend to be less dedicated to sourcing candidates for the end-client and are less likely to send their best candidates. The benefit of a Master Vendor model is that with the quantity of roles that they receive, they can offer lower margins, however this then raises questions over the quality of candidates provided. Many managed services believe the way to make cost savings is simply by driving down the margins. It is my view that this is often a mistake. I would argue that while with some positions this is possible, it is not so across the board – there is a fine balance between getting the margins right and maintaining quality. This is a balance PPS fully appreciate and adhere to.

The main reason a managed services is used is to provide a company with accurate management information on the usage of temporary staff within the organisation, how long they have been in place and to understand how much they are spending. The objective is to reduce the number of temporary workers in place, to reduce the cost per hire and to ensure that there are cost savings. It is my view that a Neutral Vendor managed service is much more likely to deliver such results over a Master Vendor. The Master Vendor approach is provided by an agency of consultants who are working for commission – it is ultimately not in their interest to reduce the number of temporary workers in place as this would directly impact on their earnings.

PPS is not an agency therefore we are not working for commission, we are fully dedicated to our clients’ aims and objectives and work in partnership with the HR and procurement teams to help reduce the reliance on temporary workers and provide real cost savings. We are highly engaged with both the managers and the suppliers and work closely with both parties to ensure that the best candidates are provided.

These are just a few examples as to how the PPS Neutral Vendor managed services approach provides benefits to both our suppliers and to our clients.

The PPS neutral vendor managed service model is unique; to find out more about how we differ from other neutral vendor providers please contact Mandy Glover

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Ensuring equality between your temporary and permanent workforce

Monday, November 15th, 2010
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Companies and organisations that engage with temporary staff have long been urged to maintain a suitable distance from those temporary workers, in order to avoid the risk of creating an employment relationship.

With the impending Agency Workers Directive governing the equal treatment of temporary workers, Dave Beesley, Resource Consultant at PPS, discusses some ways in which equality could be adopted between temporary and permanent staff.

With the planned Agency Worker Directive set to enforce fair treatment of temporary workers, there is a greater need to examine and enhance the temporary employment experience. This is true of both pay and benefits, and organisational management practices.

Our Managed Services operation has enabled us to work with hundreds of temporary recruiting agencies. The good ones will push for and fully assist and support candidates throughout the entire recruitment and placement process. They are also best placed to sit between the company and the temporary staff member, promoting fairness and equality, yet acting as a counter to the creation of any employment relationship. You pay your recruitment agency to supply and manage your temporary staff – make sure that they remain active after the placement!

Pay – Probably one of the greatest inequalities between temp and perm workers reported, and likely to be enforced by the AWD. Ensure fair and comparable pay structures, and run reports to regularly confirm that hourly rates match permanent salaries. PPS conduct regular industry benchmarking exercises which can determine average pay rates both internal and external to an organisation. Our technology is already built to enable compliance with AWD, in terms of both process and reporting.

Training – Many organisations fail to cover even the most basic training with temporary starters, including health and safety. Like permanent recruits, ensure that your temporary workers are fully inducted, and understand your policies and practices to prevent issues, uncertainty, or even injury. Use your agency to deliver this training to new starters, but make sure that they receive it. Continue to seek candidates with the relevant skills and attitudes required by the position, but remember that your organisation is likely to have its own way of working. Be on hand to support, and offer add-on training at each opportunity as you would for permanent starters, again using your recruitment agency where appropriate.

Recognition – Temporary Workers offer a range of skills and a wealth of industry experience, and feedback and praise related to this is simple yet rewarding. As long as neither are delivered as part of a formal appraisal process, they should come without risk. And make sure that the Temporary workers get formal feedback too – just be sure to pass it on via the agency. Offer positive feedback, and encourage temporary workers to reapply for similar temporary requirements in the future.

Development – Temporary workers are a great resource pool of candidates for those positions pending permanent recruitment. Aim to advertise opportunities internally, and allow permanent and temporary staff access to adverts to encourage loyalty. Many organisations fear temp to perm transfer because of expensive fees applicable. Remember – a managed services operation prevents fees after twelve weeks of the temporary worker’s start date. At PPS, we prove that conversion can be managed cost effectively.

Exit – The end of a temporary assignment should be managed fairly, despite its short-term nature. If an assignment ends earlier than planned, aim to offer the temporary worker some notice where possible, just never make it contractual. Consider offering feedback on areas of strong performance, and provide a reference to support the temporary worker in securing future assignments. Exit interviews conducted by a third-party recruitment partner can provide open and honest feedback about their overall experience.

There are a wealth of comparable benefits and management practices that should be considered when hiring temporary workers. Fear of creating employment relationships often means that companies get the balance wrong – you can have a temp, but still treat them fairly, and motivate them to work hard for you.

At PPS, our industry expertise can assist you prior to the AWD implementation, and I would urge you to start thinking about this sooner rather than later. Despite proposed changes by the AWD, remember that agency workers are contracted on a temporary basis, delivering you with much of the benefits of a flexible resource without creating a relationship of employment. That said, like permanent employees, temporary workers are as much the face of your organisation requiring a balance of equal treatment. We’ve seen the evidence year on year; treating your temps fairly really does improve their productivity and loyalty to the organisation.

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Talent and skills in social housing

Thursday, August 19th, 2010
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Cuts to Local Authority budgets will have inevitable consequences for service providers in the social housing and social care arena. While speakers at the Chartered Institute of Housing Conference in June were keen to urge RSL’s to avoid redundancies wherever possible, it is becoming more and more obvious that significant savings and efficiencies need to be found in order to preserve the status quo of service levels. For many, the inefficiencies in the use of temporary and locum use is a clear and sensible place to start. Talent and skills will continue to be needed regardless, how they are sourced however can significantly affect the financial health of the organisation.

This is the latest in a series of issues that the social housing sector face this year. With the proposed caps on housing benefit, social landlords are also expecting an increase in demand as private renters inevitably turn to social housing. Unfortunately, investment in new homes is not expected to meet the growing demand.

Coupled with this the spectre of fixed term council homes is yet to be resolved. While the arguments rage on, the reality for RSLs will be further increasing demand for stock not necessarily available.

Ironically to face these challenges the right leadership and talent needs to be in place. The coming months are unlikely to be comfortable as the sector face difficult and tough decisions but they are decisions that are necessary in the current economic and political environment.

By Amanda MarquesPPS Recruitment Process Outsourcing

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