The Seven Essentials of Winning at the Job Fair
By Catherine Tansey
Job fairs can be understandably intimidating: you’re in the same room with your direct competition vying for attention and the coveted “connection” with your top-choice employer. But they’re also an unparalleled opportunity to get face-time with an actual person from your dream company. Think of a job fair like a micro-interview, where you have to make the same great impression but in a fraction of the time. Follow our top job fair tips to make the most of this experience:
Before you go:
Attend an industry-specific event
Job fairs can be organized around several variables, including geography, career-stage, or industry. While general job fairs based on geography or career-stage can be good for first-time job seekers, one of the best job fair tips for anyone on an established professional trajectory is to attend an industry-specific event. Your time is spent more judiciously with a targeted group of employers—and other job-seekers with whom you can network.
Dressing well doesn’t always mean dressing formally. Aim to look sharp, be comfortable, and look the part. If you’re seeking a job in finance or professional services, dress more formally, with conservative colors and a polished look. For those in the creative realm, your sense of design and aesthetic is part of what makes you qualified for the job. Show recruiters who you are through color, shoe wear, or jewelry selections — but still keep it professional.
Have a plan
It’s common knowledge that you should prepare for an interview, but many fail to do the same for career fairs. You have a limited amount of time to capture the attention of your top employer, and you need a strategy to do so. Research your top picks ahead of time to understand their open positions and company culture. Practice introducing yourself as well as a mini-elevator pitch to convey what you’re looking for and what you can offer. One of the best career fair tips we can offer is to remind you to bring resumes, cover letters, and a reliable pen.
While You’re There:
Career fairs can be hectic and overwhelming. The people you meet and the information they share will seem easy to remember in the moment but may escape your memory later. Take a moment after each conversation or meeting and use business cards to make notes. Aim for highlights of the conversation and personal details that will later trigger your memory.
Be Confident and Smile
Especially for those who aren’t naturally outgoing, career fairs can be intimidating. A top job fair tip is to make a positive impression with a firm handshake, warm introduction, and a smile. Faking it ‘til you make it goes a long way here—as does a deep breath before approaching your top-choice employer’s booth. You want to come across as engaged and interested, with strong eye contact and a steady demeanor.
Visit Companies in Order of Priority
As a prepared job-seeker, you’ve already researched what organizations will be at the career fair ahead of time. The next step is to visit them in order. This way, if a representative isn’t available to speak with you immediately you have time to circle back. You’ve visited all your top choices and still have time left over? Check out other employers. You may find one that’s a surprisingly good fit.
Following up is a non-negotiable. If you’d like to cement the positive impression you made with recruiters, a post-job fair email an absolute necessity. This does a few things: it keeps your name top of mind and inbox, reaffirms your interest with the company, and illustrates your understanding of common business etiquette. Made an especially strong connection with a recruiter? A handwritten note is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.
Crushing the career fair doesn’t have to be a mystery. At Nelson, we’re in the business of helping people find jobs they love. Use our career fair tips and connect with recruiters of your top-choice employer in a meaningful way.
At Nelson, we’re more than the largest independent staffing company in California — we’re a family. As a part of our ongoing “Nelson Family Portrait” series, we’re interviewing the members of our team who help us achieve our “big picture” goal of putting California to work.
Today, we’re talking to Alex Chamorro, Vice President of Executive Search.
Tell us about what you will be doing at Nelson:
I will be spearheading the implementation and direction of all direct hire initiatives, with a focus on hiring, training, and development. I will also be assisting field management in retention and revenue growth.
What did you do before Nelson?
I worked as a Regional Director at two international Fortune 500 companies, and I co-founded an executive search practice in Los Angeles (which is still thriving 12 years later).
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
Visiting the different offices and meeting so many diverse groups of individuals that are full of energy and enthusiasm; the camaraderie is contagious!
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy paragliding on the weekends in Santa Barbara with my dog watching “under me,” waiting for me to land.
What’s the last thing you read?
The Tao of Seneca – an introduction to Stoic philosophy.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
To fly without a wing (i.e. without a paraglider).
Why did you choose Nelson?
I chose Nelson, because of Nelson’s culture and reputation of being “different and innovating.”
Welcome to the team, Alex!
Want to join the “family?” Check out our open jobs here!
By Rebecca Ferlotti
With so much existing and blossoming talent in the workforce, workforce diversity shouldn’t be a problem; yet, many companies, reluctant to update their diversity policies and cast a wider hiring net, are systemically preventing diversity expansion. Consequently, companies are losing top talent, or not even recognizing top talent in the first place.
Cultural, age, lifestyle, ability, and gender diversity are areas of inclusion many businesses do not consider when hiring for “fit.” To begin to fix the issue of a uniform workforce, we have to attack the issue from its roots, first identifying the types of diversity issues our companies face.
Cultural diversity includes race, religion, and native language. Companies lacking in cultural diversity tend to have a predominantly white, Christian workforce who are native English speakers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates for many minority groups are higher than the overall unemployment rate as of January 2019. While Asian workers had the lowest unemployment rate (3.1%) after white workers (3.5%), Asian individuals also make up a smaller portion of the U.S. population than white Americans as a whole.
As of 2019, a total of five generations are now in the workforce together, from Generation Z up through the Silent Generation. This can cause clashes, but it also allows for businesses to capitalize on complementary skill sets. However, employers may lose out on those skill sets because they favor hiring one group over another, such as choosing a younger candidate over a seasoned professional due to perceived expense. Alternatively, seasoned professionals may also discriminate against younger employees because they believe the younger employees are entitled or inexperienced.
Lifestyle diversity mainly refers to sexuality, but it can also encompass other lifestyle situations, such as single parenthood or cohabitation. When companies discriminate against employees or job candidates with different lifestyles, they can lead employees to be less productive. In an Out Now study, 28% of LGBTQIA+ respondents had been less productive in a previous role they held because they weren’t able to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Companies that promote ableism do it in subtle ways. They may have buildings without elevator access or a lack of wheelchair ramps, for example. Individuals ages 16 to 64 with physical and/or mental disabilities have a higher rate of unemployment (19.2%) than those with no disability (8.5%). The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has helped to eradicate this type of discrimination; however, there is much more progress to be made.
Women in general, are still paid $0.82 to the dollar of every man. (The number is much lower for women of color.) Companies should aim to hire or promote female-identifying C-level employees, which not only increases diversity, but also a company’s bottom line. Currently, women make up only 23% of C-level employees, with white men in 68% of C-level spots.
Companies can take steps towards fostering an inclusive environment by developing a diversity inclusion plan. Sit down with your team and identify what issues you’re having with regard to diversity. Then, move forward with a plan. And when employees, even CEOs, violate a diversity policy, others should hold them accountable. Stay tuned for more advantages to a diverse workforce, as we continue to explore diversity in the workplace over the coming weeks.
by Catherine Tansey
In today’s tech-driven world and economy, it’s easy for developing your soft skills to take a back seat. But it’s soft skills, like the ability to communicate clearly, work well with others, and think critically that enable teams to successfully accomplish business outcomes.
And as an employee or a job seeker, soft skills set you apart. While many people possess technical know-how, it’s top talent who balance their hard-learned technical skill sets with superb communication and interpersonal skills. But improving your soft skills isn’t clear-cut as you might expect. So, we’ve put together a list of the top ways to improve soft skills today.
Take Personal Inventory
The first step to improving your soft skills is to understand exactly which ones you could improve. Using a soft skills inventory tool, like the one from mindtools.com, is a great place to start. By understanding your strengths and weaknesses, you’re able to put together a cohesive plan of action to measurably improve in areas like written and oral communication, team work, and critical thinking.
Research from the New School in New York found reading literary fiction helps improve soft skills like empathy and one’s ability to relate to others. Empathy—the ability and willingness to understand where another is coming from—is an underlying trait that supports success and contributes to leadership ability. Empathy allows you to say, “I disagree, but I respect your point of view and understand where you are coming from.” Fiction, with its complex web of relationships and glimpse into the minds of others, offers an effective and enjoyable way to improve soft skills.
Work smarter, not harder. The most intelligent people use tools to help them work more effectively. Life-hack your way to improved soft skills by doing the same. Struggle with concision in your emails? Try the Hemingway app, which highlights opportunities for clearer writing. Don’t excel at time management? Use a tool like Trello or Asana to stay organized and prioritize the day’s tasks.
With meditation touted these days as a magic cure-all, it’s easy to write it off as modern-day snake oil. But here’s the thing: it actually works. Studies consistently show that meditation makes people happier, more relaxed, and better adjusted. Meditation helps improve soft skills like communication and the ability to work well with others by increasing mindfulness and encouraging a response—not a reaction. This leads to better decision-making as a whole.
Consider a Class or Club
Especially when it comes to written or verbal communication, professional classes or clubs are an excellent way to improve these soft skills in a structured environment. Take Toastmasters, for example. Toastmasters is club dedicated to helping people improve their public speaking and leadership skills with regular meetings, off-the-cuff exercises, and assigned work. Other options included in-person classes or online ones from HarvardX, Udemy, or Lynda.
Technology enables the world of work today. But as always, it’s the human capital that is most important. Without collaborative teams, strategic managers, or an enlightened C-suite, organizations are bound to fail. Employees who know how to communicate well, work with others toward a common goal, and empathize with their team members are powerful assets to their employers—and to their own careers.
Nelson’s Executive Vice President Chandra Pappas and Vice President of Marketing Crissy Russo to speak on facilitating collaboration between sales and marketing at Staffing Industry Analysts’ Executive Forum.
Austin, Texas. February 25, 2019- This week, Nelson Executive Vice President Chandra Pappas and Vice President of Marketing Crissy Russo will join a panel of executive leaders from Upwork to discuss facilitating collaboration and teamwork between marketing and sales functions.
This panel will take place at the Staffing Industry Analysts’ Executive Forum, a renowned annual meeting for CEOs, owners and senior-level staffing and workforce solutions executives. The theme for 2019 is “Breakthrough Leadership,” bringing attendees hard-hitting insights and strategies to take their leadership, and their firm’s growth, to the next level.
Nelson, one of the largest independent staffing agencies in the U.S., is expertly poised to represent sales and marketing synergy at this one-of-a-kind event. After yet another successful year of growing revenue through sales and marketing alignment, Pappas and Russo are primed to share best practices based on their respective teams’ wins.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to share what we’ve learned in the process of deepening the alignment between the sales and marketing functions at Nelson,” said Pappas. “As we continue to build our teams, we find ever more opportunities to strengthen our processes through collaboration.”
“Attendees at this panel will benefit from our years of work in marketing and sales in the staffing industry,” added Russo. “We’re looking forward to helping shape the way current and future business leaders optimize their sales and marketing efforts.”
The SIA conference will take place at the JW Marriot in Austin, Texas, from February 25 – 28, 2019. Pappas and Russo will be speaking at the Collaboration Between the Sales and Marketing Functions panel in Grand Ballroom 1-2 from 2:15 – 3:15 pm on February 26, 2019. For more information about the event, please visit www.siexecutiveforum.com
For nearly 50 years, Nelson has been more than a workforce solutions firm, connecting companies with the resources they need to efficiently build and manage their teams: we’ve been a neighbor and an invested member of your communities. Nelson’s deep knowledge of and involvement in California’s job markets allows us to serve companies and organizations of all sizes in nearly all industries by collaboratively identifying and constructing flexible, scalable programs in staffing, recruiting, and payrolling to help our partners adjust to shifting workforce needs and priorities. Our mission is to help employers seize on golden opportunities in the Golden State while putting California to work.
As a family-owned business and one of the largest independent staffing companies in the U.S., Nelson is committed to involvement and investment in the communities where we live, work, and play. Through the Nelson beCAUSE corporate philanthropy program and our partnerships with companies and candidates throughout the state, we’re not just matching talented, hardworking people with the companies who need them, we’re also building a better California.
The Top Advantage of an Internship? They’re for Everyone
by Catherine Tansey
Common knowledge would have you believe that internships are only for college students and post-grad job seekers, but that’s simply not true. Internships can be advantageous for people of all ages and at all career stages. They provide an excellent opportunity to learn about potential careers, gain hands-on experience, grow professional networks, learn new skills, and more. At Nelson, it’s our job to help people find work they love, and we see firsthand the value and impact of internships in doing just that. Still unsure? We’ve compiled the top advantages of internships below.
Top Benefits of Internships for College Students:
Learn about Yourself and Future Career
There is a lot of pressure on young people to pick the “right” career these days. Sure, there’s always been pressure from parents on previous generations, but today’s college students have the unique burden of facing staggering levels of student debt. Picking a career has become about finding fulfilling and challenging work that also allows you to afford your expenses post-grad—something that’s far more feasible if you understand the day-to-day of your chosen industry. Internships help you see what a job is really like so you can say with confidence, “This is what I want to do.”
Gain Hands-On Experience
There’s no doubt that the resume enhancement from internships opens doors for college students, but beyond helping your resume stand out, internships offer the opportunity to gain practical experience in a professional setting. Take a graphic design major, for example. They’ve likely completed plenty of advanced design courses and compiled an impressive portfolio. But they’ve not yet experienced the realities of working in an agency setting, the challenges of collaborating with a multi-generational workforce, or the complications of working with limited resources. An internship can help you gain experience with the career intangibles that are hard to learn in school.
Top Benefits of Internships for Early-Career Workers:
Grow Your Budding Network
In addition to the “hard” skills and interpersonal insights you can gain while completing an internship, they’re also a prime opportunity to grow your budding professional network. It’s not uncommon to find a mentor or to secure future referrals or sources for employment. Successful individuals love meeting smart, driven young people with whom they can share their expertise and advice. Make a great impression by being punctual, present, and eager to learn, and the odds will be in your favor.
Earn Valuable Professional Feedback
Effective feedback helps you understand what you’ve done well and what you could do better. Insight like this can be transformative for all, but especially impactful for early-career individuals. How am I doing? What could I do better? What do you see as my strengths? Weaknesses? These are powerful questions and learning opportunities which can help you shape your work ethic, communication style, and approach to and understanding of the skills needed to do your job. As internships are meant be to learning experiences, they’re the perfect environment to elicit and implement professional feedback.
Top Benefits of an Internship for Mid-Career Workers:
Get an “In”
Internships offer a unique opportunity to get your foot in the door that is hugely beneficial for anyone—regardless of where you’re at in your career. Many people chose a professional path in college only to find out it’s not a good fit. It can be intimidating (and humbling) to realize you don’t have as much career mobility as you might like. An internship is an excellent way to bridge this gap, and they’re growing in popularity: tech magnates Apple and Intuit have recently deployed specific mid-career internships aimed at bringing talented individuals back into the workforce.
Learn a New Skill
Without returning to college or enrolling in a costly training program, learning a new skill as an adult can be challenging. We become very accustomed to our professional roles, and freeing up time and resources to master a new one can feel downright impossible. Mid-career internships are an opportunity to learn a new skill set and network at the same time. It’s also helpful to remember that an internship as an adult is different than as a college student; unlike a total newbie, you bring years of expertise, well-honed skills, and probably even some valuable contacts with you. Your superiors and colleagues will recognize this and reward you with learning opportunities that help you build on previous professional successes.
Though there are various contexts in which to think about internships and their advantages, they can be boiled down to this: the benefit of an internship is the chance to learn—about yourself, about an industry or career, and about fellow professionals with whom you can connect. The question is: will you take it?
Nelson and iWorkGlobal Report Double Digit Growth Respectively
SONOMA, Calif., February 19, 2019 – The privately held Gary D. Nelson Associates (GDNA), comprised of Nelson, one of the largest independent staffing companies in the U.S., and iWorkGlobal, an authority in global workforce management, today announced its combined financial results for 2018. Collectively, the companies’ top line revenue resulted in a 19 percent growth year over year.
“We are incredibly proud of this past year’s results and our teams,” said Craig Nelson, Chairman of GDNA. “The strong global economy has provided opportunities for both Nelson and iWorkGlobal, as we continue to expand into new markets and industries, supporting leading organizations around the world.”
Nelson, which provides comprehensive workforce solutions, including staffing and recruiting, reported a 14 percent growth in revenue year over year. The increase is attributed to Nelson’s continued development and success in the U.S. market.
“We are thrilled to be starting 2019 with this great momentum, as we continue to deliver a measurable impact for clients, our people, and the community,” said Joe Madigan, CEO of Nelson.
Based in Sonoma, Calif., Nelson works with organizations of all types and sizes across all industries, from established Fortune 100 companies to government and non-profit organizations to the most agile start-ups, to recruit, hire, and manage top talent in a variety of roles. For nearly 50 years, Nelson has been embedded in the communities in which it operates, connecting job seekers to companies’ open requisitions and putting California to work.
iWorkGlobal, based in San Francisco, reported a 29 percent increase in revenue in 2018. Over the past five years, iWorkGlobal’s revenue and net income have grown at a compound annual growth rate of 31 percent and 86 percent, respectively.
“Our continued success is attributed to our award-winning level of customer service and team of experts,” said Jeff Phelps, CEO of iWorkGlobal. “Over the past year, we have increased strategic investments in evolving our state-of-the-art technology and solutions, further empowering companies to expand their workforce around the globe.”
iWorkGlobal provides employer of record, independent contractor compliance and agent of record services in all 50 U.S. states and over 165 countries, opening the globe to employers with solutions that make hiring, paying and managing remote employees and contractors faster and error free.
Phelps and Madigan were each recently recognized on Staffing Industry Analysts’ 2019 Staffing 100 list, an honor celebrating leaders in the staffing and workforce management industries.
For Nelson: Crissy Russo, VP of Marketing, (707) 939-4352
For iWorkGlobal: Taylor Crossland, Director of Marketing, (415) 217-3377
Did you miss our recent webinar with Dr. Robert Eyler, President of Economic Forensics and Analytics, Dean of the School of Extended and International Education and Professor of Economics at Sonoma State University?
In it, we covered:
- What current data suggests about housing’s impact on employers
- The effect of “outmigration” of lower-wage workers on the future of employment in California
- Ways employers can prepare for different economic scenarios in 2020 and beyond
You can still watch the webinar here.
This webinar raised a number of really interesting questions, which Dr. Eyler graciously answered at the end of the presentation. Below is a transcript of the question and answer section.*
I am a hiring manager for an auto dealership located in Burlingame, California. For several years now, to address the high cost of housing and to track automotive technicians, we’ve offered free housing. Did your research reveal any other creative ways for employers to stay competitive and attract and retain employees?
Yes, so, generally speaking, what I’ve seen out there is two things: one is you are seeing some creative ways in subsidizing the cost of housing for employees that employers want to keep and not have to go through turnover, especially if you think that it might take you six or nine months for a position that’s critical.
Two major industries in which you’re seeing this is in health care and in education. Especially on the education side where wages are, in many cases, unionized and, furthermore, relatively low in high-cost-of-living areas, you’re seeing school districts partner with non-profits and other private entities to build housing specific for teachers and to keep them local and not lose them because they have to commute 75 miles every day to come to the job. In health care you’re seeing something that’s similar to that. Kaiser now is starting to roll out (slowly) housing plans, because they’re concerned about not having 24-hour care at their major health facilities because it’s becoming too costly for their employees, vis-a-vis the wages to live locally.
So, you are seeing somewhere there’s partnerships on actually building what is truly defined as “workforce housing.” You’re seeing some pre-tax benefits expand on commuting, but the free housing thing is something you haven’t seen a lot of — or let’s say pure paid subsidized housing where you say, “Well, look we’re just going to pay for your housing, so it’s free to you,” and this is just basically maybe a pre-tax benefit but something that is really a retention toward the end of the day and the employer is willing to bite the cost. Haven’t seen a lot of that. The other ones we’re seeing a little bit more or having housing plans especially on the executive side.
What can be done in the housing market, and what can we expect from the governor’s office in terms of addressing the housing crisis here in California?
You’re hearing a lot of rhetoric out of the governor’s office especially in his first few days about building millions of units now. On the surface that’s great. It does provide a signal that there’s a recognition that housing demand is greater than housing supply and to maybe make housing more “affordable,” we need to build. That’s a good start.
The problem is that’s going to come down to some serious micro-questions, which are what type of housing and where to build it. How many should we really build in each location. How have the fires changed the need for housing in rural California, which politically can be kind of a hot potato because there’s not that many people, but it tends to a wild PR scenario in terms of saying, “We’re going to focus our efforts on major urban areas that have not been affected by fire. You knock yourself out.” The governor has got a real conundrum on his hands about where — if policy is going to jump in and say you must build — where should you build?
But it sounds like what the governor’s office is going to focus on doing is providing incentives to municipalities, especially the urban ones to focus on transportation-oriented development, trying to build multi-family units, apartment buildings, close to transportation hubs to try to do a double whammy. Provide the housing and provide it close to transportation to knock down traffic at the same time. Something to remember: it is very, very difficult to solve the commute, the housing, and the labor problem at the same time, because of this sort of Pilates ball balancing act you have to achieve, which is very difficult to do in practice. But that’s what we’re hearing from the governor’s office, because there’s going to be a big push on providing incentives to build housing as fast as possible, specifically in urban areas that have the most cost of living problems.
With the State of the Union last night, what can we glean from the labor and housing market in California going forward from what was stated?
In the State of the Union, we heard a lot of sort of high level rhetoric, but the reason why it’s important is because, if we’re going to become more protectionist or we’re going to have immigration policy that is going to restrict the flow of labor into California, we’re going to have a rising cost of living effect from the tariffs just from a reduction of trade and potentially a slowdown in other economies that are going to force more costs into the American economy to try to recover those losses. And, as cost of living goes up, there’s going to be more demands for wages to rise and that’s going to put a lot of employers in a pinch in terms of costs.
At the same time that we may see immigration law change or the flow of immigration or the flow of migrants change in such a way that is going to make the supply of labor contract. So, right now what we heard at the State of the Union last night sounds like it’s going to make the cost of doing business in California slightly higher, if all of what we heard last night starts to slowly come to fruition. This is something that we knew when Trump got elected, that California was going to be a more costly place to do business, not necessarily because of California and what it is, but because national policies were going to force change on the California from the outside that would lead to some real puzzles to solve for employers throughout the state.
So, those are the two big things from last night that one needs to watch very closely: if we actually see some kind of a barrier built on our southern border, will that restrict the supply of labor in a way that actually forces costs onto me as an employer that are rising directly? Because I employ people that move fluidly over the border, which happens throughout the state? Don’t be fooled: there’s a very large market for workers that if they go away, costs are going to rise across the board, because that loss of labor is a major shock to the economy in California. And the second is how will that ultimately transmit up in housing prices and how they feed off of each other wage demands? Those things are coming. It’s just a matter of speed.
With the baby boomers exiting the labor market, what is the outlook of labor force growth, and with generally underperforming millennials, what do you think the impact will be on the U.S. labor market? And how much will need to be supplemented by imported talent?
That’s a great question. It’s also multifaceted, so let me try to break it down a little bit: What we don’t know about baby boomers is how fast they’re actually going to start to exit our economy. It’s been sort of a rhetorical looming question for decades, and now we’re starting to actually see the fruit of it. It could be that we see a lot of baby boomers transition into another work chapter in their life. What economists really are not very good at doing yet is measuring non-payroll employment. We just don’t know how many gig workers there are. There’ve been a lot of wild, varying data on this, and how many of those so-called gig workers are actually baby boomers transitioning from one career to the next?
The supposition is that as baby boomers have longer lives and they maybe need income over a longer span of time, they will naturally come back toward the labor market, rather than classically retire. And what that does, going to the other part of the question, is two things: one, if we find out the millennials are maybe less productive than we expected, will an employer choose a more senior worker with a lot of experience and a long productive history over a younger worker that may have more potential to be productive but has not maybe shown its face yet. And as older workers who don’t want to leave the workforce remain in the workforce, it slowly chokes off entry points for new workers to come into the labor market, which is something that, as an educator, I’m concerned about. Because when I tell people that you get an education, and you go out in the workforce, if those opportunities are now not as fluid because older workers are staying in their jobs longer, we as educators are really doing a disservice by not telling our students that when they’re choosing career paths in majors.
It’s a very tricky environment and it’s fascinating, as an economist to think about, but it’s a very tricky one as a practitioner to think about: Who should I hire? These new entrants in the labor force — can I really trust their productivity versus an older worker? Where, with the older worker, I have they have the same questions because they’re at the sort of later stages of their work life. It’s very intriguing. There is no great answer to that, but the two things I can say for sure is, one, I think the court still out a little bit on whether or not millennials as a group are going to be less or more productive than the previous cohort. And even the baby boomers on top of that. And second is that we should expect baby boomers to not “retire” in the same way that maybe our grandparents retired or that the the cohort before them retired simply because the nature of work changed. You went from a more goods-producing workforce to a knowledge-based services-producing workforce where the toll on the body was not the same. So, work lives can be a lot longer, as well as the natural lives can be a lot longer, and the need for income might be 10 or 15 years longer than in the previous generation.
How are you determining, if there is going to be recession in 2020 or 21, that it’s going to be mild? Are you concerned for us to go into another Great Recession and why? And, also, if you could comment on the Dodd-Frank and Glass-Steagall Act.
So, let me start with the first or the last one which is the Dodd-Frank and the Glass-Steagall Act. Those two acts are or acts about the banking industry and the Glass-Steagall Act is much wider than just banking, by the way. The Glass-Steagall Act had an enormous number of things in it when it was passed. But in general, when you think about how banks hold liquidity, the way in which we regulate banks, those two acts are two historic stops in terms of the way we think about lending in our lives.
There’s going to be some continued pressure while Trump is in the White House to unwind the American economy from some of the parts of the Dodd-Frank Act even though that’s kind of gone on the third burner, especially around immigration and trade. That was kind of the third thing on his list, and since he hasn’t got through the first two completely yet, whether he gets to the third or not is still an open question. So, the way that the Dodd-Frank Act really changed things, if you go back to the graph I showed you earlier about the so-called excess reserves, the amount of cash that was sitting on the sidelines in the American economy waiting to be lent, that spike was a function of the Dodd-Frank Act. The reason I don’t think we’re going to go into a Great Recession Two is that we don’t have the real economy labor and the financial part of the economy lending in the stock market all looking like they’re going to descend simultaneously. If recession comes, it’s probably going to look a little bit more like the 2001 recession or the so-called “dot bomb” recession when we saw some overinflated values in Silicon Valley and in the Bay Area pop, and you saw a contraction in the Bay Area and in employment as a result and that sort of rippled out for six or nine months into the American economy and then we slowly turned the corner and then really accelerated because of lending toward housing in the last decade.
Generally speaking, recessions are mild if the previous growth phase that created them is a mild growth phase. And we certainly had a mild post-recession economy. So, there’s no reason to think that we’re going to have a hard fall. And so some of the data I showed you suggest exactly that: that we’re starting to slow down, and we don’t expect a hard contraction over the next couple of years like we saw in the Great Recession. But I’ll say it with one caveat and that is that you know a lot of the assumptions behind my take that it’s going to be a mild recession and we may have another 18 to 24 months before we see any real downturn is not taking into account any weird events.
So, if something strange geopolitically happens that we can’t see and it happens at a time where there’s already some other uncertainties in the economy, the sum of the two parts can lead to a lot of business nervousness and investor nervousness simultaneously that can easily contract employment quickly. So, that’s what we really saw in 2007 and 8: we saw some things we did not predict, and once those things started to show their face completely a lot of parts of the economy seized up simultaneously. So, we’re not seeing that yet, but keep in mind that events and their timing could easily change that outlook. The data that come out next week might show that some economists are really seeing less productive 2020 and 21 even three months before simply because things have changed a little bit. But fundamentally speaking the American economy looks pretty good for the next couple of years, which means if we do go into recession in 2020 or 2021, it’s probably going to be relatively mild.
What about company movement from the Bay Area? There’s a major employer who is headquartered in San Francisco but have recently moved their headquarters to Texas.
So, the pressure is going to stay on. California as a place to do business is going is going to continue to be a relatively high cost of doing business due to the cost of living. So, we should expect one or more major employers to really scratch their heads and go, “Why am I continuing to have ten or twelve thousand people in California, when I can have those ten or twelve thousand people in a place that’s half the cost for them and for me?” It’s something that will continue.
The number one thing that I hear is that as long as the talent and the ideas are separate in California major employers especially on the technology side of the economy are going to continue to stay in California. They don’t want to be that far away from the talent. What’s blown my mind is that the technology allows you to really find the lowest cost of living place but still do business technologically on a regular basis but the face to face piece in the networking piece in the culture piece is still so important that being close to where it the epicenter of ideas and very very creative people seems to have sort of in a sense usurp any ideas about, let’s say, the financial cost of doing business, because there’s this sort of real cost of leaving. And as long as the real cost of leaving exceeds the financial cost of leaving, you’re going to see California businesses pretty much stay here.
Even if there’s no guarantee that we will end up in a recession, are there ways to recession proof a company or at least slow the effects of a potential recession on employment and the business?
There’s really no way to one hundred percent recession-proof a company, but you can do two things that I think help. One is plan. You should plan and be conservative on the revenue side and less conservative on the cost side. If you expect slower growth in the economy and you predict that in your planning, it’ll force you to make decisions that then make the bottom hit more softly. So planning along side of where you predict the economy is going will help you make better decisions.
Two: try to reduce the amount of leverage the company is taking and also slow down the amount of hiring you’re doing until you can see exactly how the economy is going to play out, because what a lot of companies do is they end up exposing themselves to more costs and then going into recession is a more costly unwind to try to reduce your costs, especially if you have workers and you’re having expansion plans that are dependent on labor. One of the ways you may see companies really considering that is whether or not they start converting to capital and remove the sort of indirect costs of hiring less out of their planning and make it more machine driven. But not every organization obviously has that choice. So, those first two pieces are the way I would think about it.
How can you stay competitive and raise wages if you have a cap on market billing rates under a government contract? Often, we are allowed a 2.5 margin and a 10 percent cap on indirect costs.
It’s not easy in what you’re doing. You have some loss-leader projects probably against other things to have to make up the gap if you still want to take on public projects. So, it’s something that the state of California and other municipalities are going to have to address sooner than later, given the costs of wages rising, and I think they’re still in this mode where they’re lagging because of the nature of the contracts. For a lot of employers, it’s a real, real tough situation going on, in terms of facing basically an automatic pinch on profits if not basically breaking even. Which does not attract a lot of bidders.
*Lightly edited for clarity
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, there’s a renewed emphasis on love at this time of the year. And while we often think of love in terms of romantic relationships, we omit the thing we spend most of our day doing: our jobs. At Nelson, we think it’s high time to fall in love with our jobs all over again. The first step? Be happy at work.
Here are our top ways to stay happy at work today:
Seek Out Professional Development
The things we do every day can become monotonous—including our jobs. Stagnation leads to discontent, and before you know it, the job you once loved becomes something you loathe. How regularly do you feel challenged in your job? If you’re like much of the workforce, the answer is not often. The key to overcoming this is professional development.
Take charge of your professional development by learning a new skill, earning a certification, or advocating for new responsibilities with your manager. Putting your brain in overdrive can be a powerful way to stimulate engagement and contentment. And be sure to check with your employer—there’s a good chance they sponsor career development or have professional development initiatives in place already.
Lean into Your Professional Relationships
There are lots of reasons we work. Sure, “to earn a living” tops the list. But a sense of fulfillment is up there as well, and much of the fulfillment we gather from our work comes from the people with whom we interact on a daily basis. For anyone who has ever been part of a particularly collaborative and creative group of colleagues, it’s easy to understand why.
The best professional relationships are mutually beneficial, and they help us challenge old ways of thinking, develop fresh approaches and ideas, provide a network of support, and encourage us to learn about our industry and ourselves. One of the best ways to stay happy at work? Put as much into your professional relationships as you’re getting out.
Take Advantage of Your Workplace Perks
Employers are offering perks the likes of which we’ve never seen before: vacation allowances, health and wellness packages, catered lunches, and more. Due to record-low unemployment and the subsequent war for talent, workplaces across all industries have upped their offerings. And yet, many employees aren’t aware of all the perks available to them—a majority don’t even use all of their PTO.
Improve happiness at work by finding out what perks are offered and then taking advantage of them. While your employer may not match Airbnb’s generous annual $2,000 vacation allowance, they may have commute reimbursement or a doggy daycare subsidy. These benefits are there for a reason: your company wants you to use them—and they’re a surefire way to increase your happiness at work.
It’s too easy to get caught up in the negative things about our lives and our jobs, focusing on irritating habits of our superiors, work ethic of fellow colleagues, and complications caused by the bureaucracy that is corporate America.
And yet, what comes from this negative spiral? Often it is little more than a bad mood. Practicing gratitude is the best way to combat the tides of negativity in life, and studies show it actually improves happiness. Keep a gratitude journal where you write down five things you are grateful for three times a week. By taking a moment to critically examine what you feel thankful for in life, you’ll become happier—both at home and in the office.
Advocate for Yourself
Do you need extra support? More feedback from your manager? Do you have a particularly trying commute? It’s easy to fall out of love with our jobs when our basic needs aren’t being met. And yet, much of the time, getting what we need to be happier at work is easier than we think. We just have to ask—strategically.
Harvard Business Review author Deborah M. Kalb says it comes down to recognizing, preparing, initiating, and navigating. Follow her advice to become your own best advocate and improve happiness at work. You may just be surprised what happens when you ask for help, request feedback, or propose a flexible schedule.
Make Wellness a Priority
Want to know the best way to get happy and stay happy at work? It’s to be happy outside of work, something that’s nearly impossible without taking care of yourself. Eat well, exercise regularly, and take up meditation, if that’s your thing. The point here is to understand that happiness—in the office and out—is holistic.
And a commitment to wellness pays professional dividends as well: studies show regular exercise improves job performance. Increased job performance means higher levels of engagement and contentment. Read: you’ll be happier at work.
Happiness is not one of those things that you have or you don’t have, and especially not in the workplace. It’s a trait that is highly influenced by attitude, circumstance, opportunity, environment, and relationships. By taking time to examine these different factors, you’re able to understand what needs improving, and take the next right steps to do so. If you follow our six ways to be happy at work today, you’ll be on track to fall back in love with your job by Valentine’s Day!
By Rebecca Ferlotti
In an ideal world, your company would have unlimited funds for raises, parties, and paid time off…but as an HR professional, you know that’s rarely the case. When your budget is low, but you want to keep morale high, how can you find ways to reward employees?
While there are plenty of low-cost ideas to implement, from bringing in bagels for breakfast to birthday parties to giving all your employees a well-deserved car wash, in no time at all, you’re suddenly out of an employee appreciation budget with several months left in the year. Here are some employee rewards that don’t cost any money and ways to enhance your paid employee incentives.
In addition to writing a note to show your appreciation, use supplies you already have around the office to:
- 1. Create an appreciation wall where people can write notes about their co-workers, either straight on the wall or with sticky notes.
- 2. Make a game out of employee appreciation by posting positive anonymous notes. One employee writes an anonymous note to another employee and sticks it on their desk; when that person receives the note, they write a note of appreciation to someone else and stick it on their desk, and so on. You can have a hard cut-off to end the game or simply let the game run its course.
- 3. Write detailed letters after major accomplishments to keep in employees’ files. When it comes time for a discussion about a salary raise, you’ll both have all the information you need to assess the situation fairly.
In addition to paid professional development opportunities:
- 4. Host a cross-teaching lunch hour. Employees prepare a presentation about a topic about which they’re passionate or a topic on which they’re an expert. You can have them talk for the whole lunch hour or pack a few presentations in with 15- to 20-minute mini-lessons.
- 5. Start a mentorship program in your office, and have mentors and mentees meet weekly or biweekly. All employees, even the CEO, can benefit from honing their coaching skills. Give entry-level employees the responsibility to mentor interns. This helps your company in the long-run, by keeping everyone’s skills sharp.
- 6. Find free personality tests for your employees. Understand their love language, their personality type, and more, and talk through their results with them. This helps you understand them on a whole new level and reveals how you can use those qualities or preferences best in an office environment so they can thrive.
In addition to offering work-from-home opportunities or flex time:
- 7. Rearrange an unused office space or area to create a calming environment where employees can go to escape. You don’t have to buy new furniture; it could even be an empty room with extra chairs and a window. This room could be used for meditation; an urgent, personal phone call; or a place for co-workers to brainstorm blog ideas.
- 8. Create a sign-up sheet in the summer for employees to bring their pets to work. This cuts down on employees worrying about their pets at home and can boost morale. Make sure you learn of any allergies in your office before implementing this incentive.
- 9. Gamify earning flex time. When employees do something exceptional, give them digital tokens to spend on flex time. This could be as simple as keeping a tally on your computer of how many “tokens” employees have earned. Employees can use their tokens for taking a longer lunch, running errands, or coming into work a little later than usual.
- 10. Let them use the CEO’s office for a day. Or, if that’s not an option, offer up the office of a supervisor or another person in a position of leadership. You can even offer employees that front parking space to match (with the CEO’s permission, of course). When employees are just starting out with a company, they want to know they have a place there long-term. Show them they’re valuable by giving them an office upgrade for the day as a reward for exceptional performance.
As an HR professional, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what your employees want just from reading best practices. In addition to using ideas from this list, make sure you have conversations with your employees and ask them how you can make their time at the office just a little more pleasant on a day-to-day basis.
Alex Chamorro, a Leader in the Staffing Industry, Joins One of the Largest Independent Staffing Companies in the U.S.
Nelson, one of the largest independent staffing companies in the U.S., announces the appointment of Alex Chamorro to the role of Vice President of Executive Search. In this role Chamorro will be responsible for the implementation and direction of all Direct Hire initiatives within the organization. He will focus on hiring, training, and development of the Executive Search team, while assisting field management in retention and driving revenue growth for the company.
Chamorro brings to Nelson 20 years of recruiting and executive search experience in the staffing industry. His focus has been on Direct Hire Operations across his career, and he has experience in both working with the largest and most prestigious international recruiting companies in the world and founding and developing the most reputable regional boutique firms on the west coast. He has hired, developed, and trained hundreds of individuals who have themselves moved onto leadership roles, and he will be translating that expertise into his work with the Nelson team.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to blend my experience with boutique agencies and international firms in Nelson,” said Chamorro. “I look forward to expanding and developing Nelson’s community-based executive search teams while continuing Nelson’s commitment to excellence as a premier executive search group in California and beyond.”
Throughout his tenure in the staffing industry, Chamorro has taken a holistic view of building teams and developing employees by tailoring training to the individual. In his most recent role, he directed 7 different hiring initiatives that significantly increased market share in the respective markets throughout his region, in addition to being responsible for the opening of two offices, during which time he hired, trained and personally coached and developed new hires that earned the national award for “Rookie of the year” for three consecutive years at Presidents Club. At Nelson, he will be translating his successes in both business development and retained search into building up Nelson’s executive search practice and processes in both Northern and Southern California, while guiding local leadership in developing their teams to continuously attract California’s top talent to the Nelson brand.
“We are excited to have Alex Chamorro join our team,” said Chandra Pappas, Nelson Executive Vice President. “With his proven record of success in developing executive search teams, he will be a tremendous asset as we continue to grow and develop our Executive Search practice throughout 2019 and into the future.”
We’ve all been there: You’ve made your coffee, checked your calendar, and scanned the news, and now you’re ready to start working. You’re in the zone and can feel the cogs of productivity churning away. You are a powerhouse of efficiency.
But before you know it, you’re sidelined with office chatter, morning meetings, Slack chats, an inbox that won’t quit, and a growing list of to-dos. We can’t change the number of hours in a day, but we can manage how we use them. Increasing productivity in the workplace means ruthlessly organizing your time and energy. Read our top tips below and become more productive at work today.
Work in Sprints
Want to be more productive at work? Work in sprint sessions.
Renowned performance researcher Dr. K. Anders Erickson found that top experts work similarly—in uninterrupted 90-minute sessions. He and his team at Florida State University studied athletes, musicians, and chess players, among others, and found that these elite performers shared the tendency for intense bursts of working, also known as “sprint sessions.” Adapted for the modern workplace, sprint sessions could translate to blocking off your calendar through 10:30 am or setting a timer for 45 minutes of distraction-less work. But the key is just that: eliminating distractions and interruptions while you work.
Are you a morning person or someone who thrives in the early afternoon?
By understanding your best work habits, you can organize tasks, meetings, and work sessions to make the most of your natural efficiency. For some, this means accomplishing their most important tasks bright and early; for others it means collaborative team meetings are best reserved for 2:00 pm when you’re at your most creative.
Reading emails while eating lunch during a conference call—sound familiar?
The bad news is that unless you’re part of the 2.5% of the population referred to as Supertaskers, you’re not wired to handle more than one task at a time. And yet, we all do it. The digital economy creates the opportunity for a barrage of intrusions and plenty of distraction. But here’s the problem: by attempting to complete more than one task at the same time, we’re actually doing a worse job at both. Allocate the time to accomplish one task fully before moving on to another and watch your productivity soar.
Limit Email Read & Response Time
It’s estimated that the modern office worker spends up to 50% of their day reading and responding to emails—that’s 20 hours per week.
Imagine the productivity gains possible for employees and employers if this were reduced by half or even a third. But how? The ever-connected world we live in makes it’s hard to imagine stalled responses from colleagues, but that just may be the answer. Productivity maven—and maverick—Tim Ferris advocates for seriously reducing the time spent in your inbox, challenging readers and supporters to limit checking email to once or twice a day, at 11:00 am and 4:00 pm. He recommends setting an auto response and reminding team members that they can always pick up the phone. While this radical approach isn’t feasible for all, a healthy compromise is closing Outlook or Gmail while working in one of your sprint sessions.
Distill larger, more complex tasks into actionable pieces, or micro-goals, to become more productive at work.
For example, “finish editorial calendar for Q2” is not a helpful goal. It’s too broad and shapeless, which makes pushing it to the bottom of your to-do list while checking off more manageable tasks the most likely reality. Instead, break the project into parts like “check subject matter experts’ availability for Q2 whitepapers” and “cement paid media placements for first half of Q2.” These more feasible tasks will enable you methodically chip away at a formerly overwhelming goal.
Productivity is a skill and a behavior that can be improved over time with the right tools and lots of practice. We all know those people who manage to “do it all.” Their secret is no secret at all, but a well-informed and well-practiced approach to productivity.
Incorporate the tips above into your daily routine and kickstart your productivity today.
At Nelson, we’re more than the largest independent staffing company in California — we’re a family. As a part of our ongoing “Nelson Family Portrait” series, we’re interviewing the members of our team who help us achieve our “big picture” goal of putting California to work.
Today, we’re talking to Kim Barragan, Vice President of Client Delivery Programs, based in Santa Rosa.
Tell us about what you do at Nelson:
I currently manage our large enterprise clients.
What did you do before Nelson?
I was with Spherion for 13 years. When I left, I was onsite managing a 13-million-dollar payrolling client. I started as a direct-hire recruiter and also worked an account manager. Prior to Spherion, I worked in the hotel industry as a general manager.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The team I work with currently. Everyone is always willing to help out and do anything they need to ensure we meet our goals for the client and Nelson!
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love to spend time with my husband and three boys. I am a sports fan, and I love the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Cowboys. Any time I can get to the beach is a win!
What’s the last thing you read?
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I would love to fly. 😊
We all work very hard at Nelson, and it is not about the individual, but about the team. The way that Nelson cares about people and the community is something I have never seen before in my career.
Want to join the “family?” Check out our open jobs here!
In addition to providing comprehensive data on salary and workplace trends, this year’s guide also includes a section with job seeker and employee responses to questions about job-seeking trends, employer brand, and workplace arrangements.
To ring in the New Year, Nelson announces the release of our annual Advisor and Salary Guide. This comprehensive annual resource helps California employers compete for talent in an increasingly competitive employment landscape year after year. Employers who have received the guide in the past will be pleased to see updates to the locally-tailored salary data for more than 200 positions in a variety of markets throughout the state, as well as both new and comparative data about California workplace trends.
New in 2019 is the update to the annual Workplace Trends Report: This report is generated from a proprietary survey of more than 500 business leaders throughout California to examine economic and workforce-related trends influencing business success. The 2019 Report not only compares year-over-year survey responses, but also includes a brand-new section generated from the responses of over 500 California job seekers and employees. This new section examines job-seeking methods, the importance of employer brand, and preferred work arrangements — information that can be used by employers to better position themselves as employers of choice in the tightening talent market.
“California consistently reveals itself to be a land of golden opportunities for both employers and employees,” said Joe Madigan, chief executive officer of Nelson. “While unemployment remains so low, however, employers need an increasingly nuanced understanding of what offerings both attract and keep talent if they want to seize those opportunities in 2019.”
The Workplace Trends Report in Nelson’s 2019 Advisor and Salary Guide reveals key insights into workplace trends important for budgeting for and planning for talent acquisition and retention efforts in the upcoming year. Overall, the takeaways from this report suggest that in 2019:
- More employees will consider themselves “job seekers”
Talent acquisition and retention remain the top two concerns for employers, as more employees keep one toe in the recruiting pool.
- Economic stability will keep driving recruiting and retention instability
Business is good – but just because the bottom line is meeting expectations doesn’t mean that employers should rest on their laurels. Economic stability means a harsher road ahead for recruiting and retention.
- Overcoming obstacles to hiring will start with a better understanding of employee needs.
Employees face a number of obstacles, as home prices remain some of the highest in the country and wage growth remains below inflation. Employers that understand what their employees need to enjoy their lives both in and out of work will be those who attract and keep the best talent.
You can request your copy and read the top takeaways from the report in more depth here.
…we’re looking back at a year of dedicated philanthropy at Nelson!
When Joe Madigan became CEO of the company at the beginning of this year, he had a mission: to codify the philanthropic nature of the Nelson family into company policy. With a committee made up of dedicated employees representing multiple departments across the company, they formed the “Nelson beCAUSE” program.
beCAUSE Nelson’s employees live and play in the communities in which we work, it was important for Joe and the team to make it easy for us to give back.
(You can read all about Joe’s philosophy on and tips for implementing corporate philanthropy on LinkedIn.)
The Nelson beCAUSE program allows employees to double their impact by issuing employee matches for monetary donations, volunteer at their favorite charities during work hours, and participate in company-sponsored charity events.
We’ve had the chance to donate our time and money to multiple events and charities throughout the state this year. Here are some of our favorite moments of philanthropic work during our first year of the program:
Jessie Rees Foundation
Our Southern California team got together to share joy and hope by encouraging children with cancer to “Never Ever Give Up.” The team donated their time to the Jessie Rees Foundation by filling “joy jars” and writing notes of encouragement and positivity for hospitalized children.
Juvenile Diabetes Walk in Anaheim
The SoCal team got together again to support “Jack’s Jiants” during a walk to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes awareness. The whole office got together on a Sunday morning to walk around Anaheim stadium and support the cause.
Convoy of Hope
Nelson’s NorCal team set up in Levi’s Stadium to do what they do best: help connect people to great jobs. Through their partnership with the 49ers, Nelson team members volunteered their time, assisting Bay Area families with job assistance and resume building – and even helping kids with plenty of arts and crafts!
Make-a-Wish Brave the Bay
2018 culminated in our biggest charitable event of the year: Greater Bay Area chapter of the Make-a-Wish foundation’s “Brave the Bay” event. Because Make-a-Wish granted a wish for Joe’s daughter Chloe nine years ago, this cause is near and dear to Nelson’s heart. Nelson joined team Chloe to participate in the 5K fun run and the freezing cold plunge in the Bay.
Team Nelson exceeded its goal, raising over $6000 to grant wishes to children in the Bay Area who are fighting serious illnesses – and as an added bonus, because the team reached its goal, Joe had to jump in the bay in a tutu and sparkly crown…and stay in for a full minute!
In addition to these events, we’ve given thousands of dollars in grants to worthy causes across California, matched donations from our employees, gone “red” for the Heart Association, and allowed our employees to spend time personally volunteering for causes like Dress for Success.
This year has truly been one for the books. And we’re just getting started! Keep an eye on the Nelson LinkedIn page for photos and recaps from next year’s events. Until then, we wish you joy during this holiday season and a very Happy New Year!
Last week, Jennifer Shaw of Shaw Law Group joined Nelson for a webinar to discuss upcoming changes in California employment law. Below, we’ve provided her answers to questions that came up during the call.
Please note that the information provided below is NOT legal advice. The speaker does not have an attorney-client relationship with you, and you should not take ANY action based on the information provided below without consulting the attorney with whom you regularly work. Also, please note that the responses below are not intended in ANY way to be complete. The speaker graciously agreed to provide a few thoughts with respect to each question, and those very brief thoughts are set forth below. Thanks for understanding!
Wages and Pay
- Suppose an employee answers a phone call after hours, and it lasts 10 minutes. What time are you required to pay for?
You would pay for the actual time worked based on your regular payroll practices (e.g., you pay a minimum of 15 minutes, actual time, etc.), provided the employee is not required to come into the office.
- If a nonexempt employee comes in to take care of an emergency order after hours, lives 45 minutes away, and is at the work place for 45 minutes, is there a wage law that states he needs to be paid a minimum of two hours? Or does he only get paid for the time he clocked in and out?
Yes, two hours is the minimum. But in this case, the time he’s driving is not really commute time. So he would be paid for two hours and 15 minutes (90 minutes driving and 45 minutes at work).
- Can you please speak to how we pay employees if they text regarding work after hours. We have a policy to not do that, unless it is an emergency or if they are going to be late or sick, but what happens if they do it anyway?
Don’t mess with the money. If they answer a text, you pay them in the smallest increment that you pay anybody for that work, and then you discipline them. What you want to be clear on is that you’re not withholding the money as a disciplinary action.
- Can you define “waiting time?” Is it the same thing as “on-call time?”
Sometimes “on-call” time includes “waiting time”: you might have heard the term “engaged to wait.” So, assume my boss tells me, I might need you on Monday, but I won’t know until 11:00 a.m. and you’ve got to be ready to come to work. You’re engaging me to wait from my start time until 11:00 a.m. when you call me. That’s on-call time that has to be paid. What we mean by waiting time penalties are the 30 days of wages required to be paid by Labor Code section 203 to former employees because they had to wait to get paid. For example, you consider me an exempt employee, and then when I quit, I claim that you misclassified me and I should have been paid by the hour. If I win, I will receive back pay and waiting time penalties.
- Does company phone number need to be listed on paystub?
No. It’s not required by law. I think it’s a good idea if you can do it, because you want to show the court that you’re making this as easy as possible for employees to find you.
- When a current or former employee requests payroll records, how long does the employer have to provide that information?
Labor Code section 226 says you have 21 days to do that. All you have to give are the itemized wage statements. Not the schedule, not the punch correction forms, not the requests for a day off. In a litigation, you have to give them everything. But this is pre-litigation.
- Can we give a candidate a salary range?
Yes, you can give them a range. The new amendments make that clear.
Independent Contractors and 1099
- Can you speak more about “usual course of business” for independent contractor status?
Sure. The concept is that the contractor is regularly providing similar services to other clients. So it’s not about the employee who retired and wants to come back a few days a week as a “1099.” Join us for our upcoming webinar, which will address everything contractor related. Here is a link to our website: https://shawlawgroup.com/employment-law-training-calendar/ Our 2019 sessions will be posted by December 1.
- Can a bookkeeper be considered a 1099 if they only on occasion do the books like an accountant?
No, not unless they own their own separate business and have a separate taxpayer ID number. They don’t necessarily have to have another employee, but they have to be a business. It can’t just be that they go on maternity leave and do bookkeeping at home for the company and you “1099” them. It doesn’t work that way.
- Are there any reasons why a MD cannot be 1099 in CA?
There’s a very big reason: they’re usually being directed how to perform their services and when to report for a shift, for example. What usually happens is that medical practices make the MDs partners instead of independent contractors. They often receive a regular paycheck and distributions throughout the year (so they would receive a W-2 and a K-1). But I am not a tax expert, so don’t trust me on this one!
- Can an IT professional be a 1099?
An individual IT professional very likely cannot be. But you can have an IT company that’s a vendor.
- What impact does Dynamex (a California Supreme Court Case that reinterpreted and rejected a test to determine who is an employee and who is a contractor) have on ERs such as Uber, Lyft, etc.?
There’s a term called the “gig economy,” and we have people at Uber and Lyft, for example, who are going around doing our errands, driving us places, that sort of thing. They have been treated as contractors in the past, but recent policies implemented by these companies are making them look more like regular employees. For example, Uber drivers can’t drive more than 12 hours a day. I don’t work for these companies, so I can’t tell you what their thought process is. But they’ve lost some cases, and they’re going to continue to lose some cases.
- When you mentioned telling the employee the truth of why they were let go, but only told them because business is slow and then later that week we hired a new employee can that hurt us if they find out?
Yes, particularly if the employee claims that the decision was made for unlawful reasons, like based on a protected characteristic.
- Do employers have to give out the 60 day warn notice if covered by a CBA that covers layoffs with different time frame language?
Maybe. There are very specific requirements under WARN and Cal-WARN. The answer will depend in part on how your CBA is written. If it looks like they are covered by one or both of these laws, I usually tell our union clients is to just do the notice. If the layoff information is already in the handbook, it’s not going to be a surprise to the employees anyway. At least you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s with WARN and CALWARN. You won’t end up with that liability, which can be significant.
- Is the OSHA rule for 250+ employees per location, or company in total?
- Do all employers have to submit the Cal OSHA 300 report or just those 250 employees and over?
It depends on what industry you’re in. www.calosha.ca.gov has good information on this issue.
- Was the Cal OSSHA 300A forms due on 12/31/18 for employers with 250 or more employees?
Generally, yes, but there a few industries that are covered even if they have fewer than 250 employees.
Gender Parity, #Metoo, and Lactation
- Will SB826 (a new law requiring publicly traded companies to have at least one woman on the board of directors by the end of 2019) apply to non-profits?
No, right now it only applies to publicly-traded companies. When the legislature passed AB1825, requiring EEO training for supervisors, I said, “This is their first step.” And the next thing we’re going to see is that we’re going to need all employees to be trained. So, what did we get this year? All of the employees have to be trained if you have 5 or more employees. Ultimately, that’s what’s going to happen here, if they don’t see employers, non-profit or otherwise, responding appropriately.
- For the new portion of AB1825, where all employees need to have harassment training, must it be done in other languages besides English?
What the law says is that if you know that there are employees who can’t understand it, you better do it in another language. It’s not about checking the box. That doesn’t mean you have to have a separate session for every employee who speaks another language. A lot of our clients do a training in English and then have an interpreter there for folks who want to ask specific questions if there’s something they didn’t understand. But if you know that you have a group of employees who don’t speak or aren’t proficient in English, then you’re going to have to offer it in another language, or at least offer a handout in a different language.
- How long do we need to allow an employee to breast feed? An employee is still breast feeding after 3 years from birth.
I love this question. The thing that’s so interesting is your perspective. It’s part of the connection for some moms and their kids. The bottom line is: it’s none of our business. If the mom says she’s nursing at 3 years old, mind your own business and let her do her thing.
- What if we cannot provide a location for nursing because the location is an old building, and we are a retail store with 5 employees in SF. The back location is storage for shoes and very small.
You have to come up with something, particularly because the rule in SF is so strict. Here’s link that will help you: https://sfgov.org/olse/lactation-workplace
- We have an employee that was given a title upon hire that is beyond the scope of their actual work. (We’ve designated them as a more senior position than they actually are.) Thoughts as to how to change their title in a clear and sensitive way?
Ooh. This one depends on the culture, etc. I really can’t give a good answer without knowing more about the organization. That said, if the employee is at will, you can do whatever you want, so long as you are acting in good faith.
- We are a manufacturing company, and I instruct the employees and temps that we ask for them to speak English only while on the production floor, for safety, so everyone knows what’s going on. I also add that we have folks from many places and are welcome to speak other languages on breaks, etc., as long as they are not offending anyone. Is this an issue?
There’s a really important case called Garcia vs. Spun-Steak Co., which is a California case. The court said that if you’re requiring English for safety, security, supervision, or morale, you’re probably okay. It’s probably worth getting some legal advice, because the EEOC and the DFEA are hot on this issue. If they come to audit you or someone calls to complain about something else, and they find out that you have a supposed “English-only” rule, they’re going to be intrigued. I wouldn’t call it an “English-only” rule, and I would put it in the safety section of the handbook, but you would want to be strategic about how you do it.
- Do employee handbooks need to be available in both English and Spanish?
Only if you have Spanish-speaking employees who don’t have a sufficient command of English. Remember, the point of the handbook is to make sure the person knows what you expect of them. If you have a contingent of Spanish-speaking employees who may be able to argue that they don’t understand what’s in that English handbook, you’d better invest. And with the web, it’s easy to do that translation. It’s just not that expensive anymore.
- Regarding sponsorship & H1B, as a company, we have made a decision to not sponsor potential employees. We currently ask on our application if they need sponsorship now or in the future. Are we okay asking that? Is it legal for a company to not provide sponsorship?
We do not specialize in immigration law. Sorry.
A well-respected expert in employment law for more than 20 years, Jennifer Shaw is the founder of Shaw Law Group. She has been named by Northern California Super Lawyers Magazine as one of the top attorneys in CA every year since 2009, and she provides practical advice and counsel on a broad range of employment law issues, including wage-hour compliance, reasonable accommodation/leave of absence issues, and hiring/separation issues.
Today’s guest post was written by Geoff Coon, Founder of RP Career, a high-touch resume writing and career services firm.
One of the scariest parts of being a job seeker is submitting your resume to the dreaded “ATS”, otherwise known as an Applicant Tracking System. You spend hours perfecting your resume to get the right blend of skills, accomplishments, and experience, so the thought of being disqualified before anyone even looks at your resume can be gut-wrenching.
There are thousands of different kinds of ATS’s out there, and some are better than others. That’s why it is impossible to guarantee your resume will be a 100% match for a particular position (we’ll get into this later). However, if you follow the three guidelines, you will be in a much, much better position than the majority of other applicants.
Have “ATS Friendly” Formatting
When thinking about ATS software, there are two ways you need to look at your resume: the ability TO BE scanned, and WHAT companies are scanning for.
The first is the most critical aspect. There are various things that can give ATS software significant difficulty with your resume, such as tables, text boxes, graphics, pre-formatted columns, etc. Again, some systems are better than others in their scanning ability, but the universal rule of resume writing is to avoid these formatting methods whenever possible.
For example, you may be a perfect fit for the position in every way, but if your name and contact information is embedded in a table or the header of the document, the hiring company literally may not even be able to see who you are or how to contact you. Make sure your resume is “100% ATS friendly” in its ability to be scanned.
The second aspect of ATS software is WHAT the systems are scanning for. This is a much more difficult proposition, because every company may believe one skill is more valuable than another. For example, two separate companies post a job for an Account Manager. Same responsibilities, same qualifications, and you know you would be a rock star for both. So your resume is guaranteed to get past the ATS, right? Wrong. Let me explain.
Although the job postings are virtually identical, Company A might view “relationship management” as a key element of the position, whereas Company B might be more interested in a client with “contract” experience or “leadership” skills. Therefore, each company might weigh those specific keywords differently when scanning resumes.
With my clients, I approach the problem by looking for “trends.” If I have three job postings in front of me, I will go through each and highlight things that jump out to me as important. Once I’ve done that for each job, items that pop up in each job posting consistently would be trends, or things that are critical and are considered base foundational requirements for your resume. Once we’ve identified the trends that must be present in your resume, we weigh the importance of specific keywords in one direction or another.
Appropriate Section Titles & Structure
Remember howI mentioned above that “some ATS systems are better than others? Until every ATS system out there is perfect, the rest of us have to play the game — so it is important that your resume is structured correctly.
Although it might feel like you’re being unique by calling your “Experience” section “Career Chronology” or “Executive History,” that might work against you. ATS software often search for different triggers in a resume to know where to pull information. For example, if an ATS is searching for the word “Experience” and finds it, it might assume that everything in the section below that should populate the experience fields in their database. Pretty straightforward. On the other hand, let’s say you don’t have a college degree. So instead of an “Education” section you have a section called “Training & Certifications.” When the ATS system searches your resume for the phrase “Education” and doesn’t find it, that can disqualify your resume. A workaround for that scenario is to always include that word in the section title, such as “Education & Professional Development,” for example.
I apply the above strategies to every single one of my clients’ resumes. Although there is no way to guarantee your resume will meet 100% of ATS requirements for every position, if you employ the above tactics you will significantly improve your chances. Have additional questions? Feel free to follow me on LinkedIn and send me a message. I’m happy to connect.
If you would like to see how your resume stacks up, submit it for a free resume review by clicking on the following link: www.rpcareer.com/review
Geoff Coon is the founder of RP Career, a high-touch resume writing and career services firm focused on quality. An expert in the career services industry, Geoff is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), has been quoted on Forbes multiple times, and has worked with thousands of clients to better position them in their careers.
To learn more about Geoff, visit rpcareer.com or connect with him on LinkedIn.
Looking for more tips on resume writing? Check out more blog posts from Nelson!
Your tickets are booked, your bags are packed, and you’re ready for the holiday season. Only one obstacle stands in between you and your Thanksgiving meal: you’ve still got deadlines to meet while you’re on the road. How will you maintain your productivity during the holidays? Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to clocking out in time for Turkey Day.
1. Make a Plan
When you’re at home or in the office, it’s easy to maintain a “groove.” But when you’re on the road and dealing with unfamiliar surroundings, travel stressors, and other people’s priorities, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or distracted.
Make a plan for success: Before you leave for your trip, write out a “to do” list and rank it by priority. Then break down the steps it will take to achieve each task. If you know you’ll need Wi-Fi to work on one item, then save it for a day when you know will have access. Need a long stretch of time to buckle down and concentrate? Schedule that item for when you’re on a plane. And if you need a good way to pass the time on a car trip while still being productive, you can make calls — provided that they don’t distract you from the road.
2. Eliminate Distractions
It’s not easy to shut out the world when you’re traveling – but you can try! If you are easily distracted when working from home or while in transit, there are a few different methods you can try to reign in the interruptions:
– If you like to work in silence, get a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. While you may not be able to remove 100% of the noise around you, you’ll at least be able to ignore the sound of the person listening to a movie on their iPad without headphones on the plane. (There’s always someone!)
– If you prefer to work around people, and the quiet of your hotel room is deafening, then try a web app like “Coffitivity” to simulate the sound of a busy coffee shop.
– If you find yourself unable to concentrate because you’re thrown off of your usual schedule, try a Pomodoro timer to create structured work and break times.
3. Get Out of the House
Unless you’re already used to remote work, you may find that your biggest productivity obstacle is your “office.” If you’re too comfortable, it can be easy to shirk your priorities in favor of a nap or the latest show on Netflix.
Make a list of nearby coffee shops, co-working spaces, and libraries, and plan to visit one if you have a hard time working from home. Don’t open your social media or check your phone: treat your “at work” time the same way you might if you were in an office.
If you’re staying with family, make sure you check in with them beforehand to negotiate a few good times to slip away and get some work done without being rude or missing planned festivities.
4. Get Your Work Done Early
This one may seem like a difficult task…but: plan ahead! While you can’t take unpaid time off, you can at least mitigate the potential feeling of overwhelm as you compete to hit your deadlines before everyone goes offline for the holidays.
Don’t wait until the last minute to follow tip number 1 (Make a Plan) – start now. Even if you don’t have major travel planned or you intend to take a “staycation,” the further ahead you plan, the easier it will be to address any last-minute “fire drills” that occur.
Do the big and important work first. If you can get yourself ahead of deadline, you will give yourself the gift of flexibility for handling other tasks – and by Thanksgiving, you’ll be feeling the attitude of (self) gratitude.
What productivity hacks have you tried? Let us know on LinkedIn!
It’s almost Halloween, but just because everyone is decorating their homes with skeletons and preparing for the inevitable sugar crash on November 1, doesn’t mean you need to carry the ethos of the holiday into your recruitment practices.
To help you make your recruiting process more of a treat, here are a few ways to keep from scaring your qualified candidates away this Halloween:
Ease Up on the “Frankensteined” Job Descriptions
Has it been so long since you’ve taken a good look at your job descriptions that your company careers page is covered in cobwebs? It might be time to dust them off and bring them back to the lab for a new infusion of life.
But don’t just think that adding some new paragraphs to an old job post will do the trick: turning your old job posts into monster-mash of new and old parts from different people writing at different times can make them confusing and unreadable. (This may look like: bullet points thrown in willy-nilly, quick additions made as departmental needs change, reqs written by multiple people without a nod toward voice and tone, etc.)
Make sure your postings are cohesive, concise, and clear, so when you take them live, they don’t send your candidates screaming from your page.
Don’t Be a Zombie
You have a lot of candidates to screen — and the process of hunting through virtual stacks of resumes for the right brains for the job can make you feel a little undead.
But your candidates don’t see the number of applications on your plate, and your communication may be the first one they get from the company. How you respond to their interest in the position matters: whether it’s an impersonal form letter or a rushed phone screen, they may get the impression that the end is nigh for their chance for employment with your company.
This is an employee-friendly job market, and your team can’t afford to lose top talent just because you’re crunched for time. If screening and hiring candidates keeps you from attending to more pressing matters in the land of the living (and the already-hired), it might be time to seek out help from a staffing firm.
Stop Ghosting Your Candidates
One of the biggest complaints that job seekers have is that information is kept in a proverbial “black box.” And while playing crypt keeper may be unintentional on your part, the lack of communication during the hiring process may scare your candidates right into the arms of another employer.
While the economy remains strong and unemployment low, top talent has their choice of employer. When you go dark — whether it’s because you’re waiting for a hiring manager to get approvals or because you’re interviewing someone else — the candidate may assume they’ve been ghosted.
Don’t get haunted by the memories of good candidates lost too soon — develop a plan for staying in contact with your candidates throughout the process. Already feeling haunted by the ghosts of other HR responsibilities? Working with a staffing company to streamline the recruiting process can take away some of the fear of losing out on qualified candidates.
This Halloween season, choose to make your recruitment process a treat by working with Nelson on your open job requisitions! Let’s put some time on the calendar and make that day a staffing holiday.
Regardless of the weather, as soon as Starbucks announces that its PSL is back, the season for seasonal work begins.
In other words: we’re well into the fall already, and if you’re looking for seasonal employment, it’s time to get your resume seen before it’s too late.
Why Take a Seasonal Job?
Seasonal work is, by its nature, temporary employment. So why should you take a seasonal job?
There are a number of good reasons:
– If you’re currently unemployed and looking for work, seasonal jobs can help you pay the bills while you apply and interview for long-term roles. You can even ask your seasonal employer for a reference for the long-term roles to which you’re applying!
– If you’re a student, seasonal work can help you earn while you study, without asking for a long-term commitment (especially if you don’t yet know how heavy your load will be next semester).
– If you’re trying to make a little extra money to pay for holiday presents or travel or get ahead on your savings or bills, seasonal employment can help you fill in the gaps.
– If you’re trying to change careers or want to learn new skills, seasonal employment offers you the opportunity to add something different to your resume.
– If you’re hoping to get a long-term role with a company offering seasonal work, a temporary role can help you get your foot in the door.
Seasonal work allows you to remain flexible while employed. If you’ve got a full-time job elsewhere, you can take on a part time seasonal job on the side; if you’re looking for work but not ready to commit to a company for the long haul, seasonal work helps you make rent while you prepare yourself for your next role.
Seasonal Work versus Gig Work
Why should you seek seasonal employment over joining the “gig economy?” The decision is ultimately up to you, but there are a number of factors that you should consider:
First of all: what’s the difference between a gig and a job?
Simply put, gig work is freelance work. And freelance work is project-based. You’re paid on contract (what is known as a 1099, for tax purposes), and you’re paid based on the number of tasks or projects you do. Freelance gigs can be anything from driving an Uber to selling your crafts on Etsy or walking dogs with Rover.
A job is more regular employment by a company, and you’re paid based on a W2. Instead of basing your pay on projects, companies base employment pay on time. An employee may have many tasks during the course of a work day, and you get paid for showing up instead of for how many projects you complete.
There are pros and cons to each, but they’re helpful to consider as you decide what kind of work is right for you this holiday season:
Pros of Gig Work
Gigs are even more flexible than seasonal employment. If you’re already employed and just looking to make some money on the side, it can be helpful to have a gig so you can decide when, where, and how much you want to work in your free time. With gig work, you’re in control – you decide which jobs to accept. (For example, as an Uber driver, you can decide when to log into the Uber app and when to turn it off and go home. As an Etsy shop owner, if you want to knit a sweater and list it for sale, that’s up to you.)
You can take as many gigs as you want and diversify your investment of time and resources. If you want to be a TaskRabbiter during the day, take on freelance writing gigs through Upwork in the evening, and charge Bird scooters at night, have at it! If you want the night off, that’s your choice, too. Some people are drawn to gig work for the promise it offers to those who “hustle”; others like it for the perceived flexibility and autonomy.
Cons of Gig Work
While the gig economy seems to offer untold flexibility and instant riches, there’s a lot more to the story. First of all, gig workers are independent contractors, which means that there’s no company paying your employment taxes. Taxes on 1099s are much higher than taxes on W2s, so it’s up to you to budget your earnings accordingly.
Gig work can be costly in other ways, too: in most cases, you will be required to furnish any equipment you need to carry out the job, from knitting needles to a car or bike to computers and phones to doggie waste bags. Most gig platforms don’t pay you back for any charges you incur while fulfilling your gig, so you may end up having to budget a large portion of your earnings to cover your expenses.
Gig work is also not assured work – tasks and projects can be inconsistent, as there is no employer promising you hours. You will have to go out and “hustle” for gigs, often competing with others who are trying to do the same. There’s also not much room for advancement, the way there is with employers; you may get new “badges” for engaging with an app, but there’s very rarely an opportunity for promotion, career growth, or flexing into full time.
Why You Might Consider Seasonal Work Instead
Seasonal work differs from gig work in that it involves a contract between you and an employer regarding your hours, your pay, and the start- and endpoint of your employment. If you’re hired to take on a seasonal role, your employer provides all of the equipment you need to do the job; all you need to do is show up. While your training may be abbreviated, there may still be chances for advancement into longer-term employment after your seasonal contract runs out.
Seasonal work offers a happy medium between the complete flexibility but insecurity of gig work and the more structured but stable long-term employment. No, you won’t get benefits, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be offered a long-term role once the season ends, but, if you’re looking for a role to help you generate some earnings this fall and winter, seasonal work is worth consideration.
Where to Look for Seasonal Work
What do you think of when you think of seasonal work? The first thing that may come to mind is retail – and that’s definitely a good place to start. However, there’s more to seasonal work than employment at the mall!
(That said, if you do apply for retail jobs, make sure you start soon: retail employers often start hiring at the end of summer/beginning of fall, because they want to be prepared for the busy shopping season well in advance of Black Friday.)
Here are few other ideas to spark inspiration for your job search:
- – Manufacturing
- – Warehousing and packaging
- – Package delivery
- – Customer service
- – Food service
- – Vacation/resort-related jobs (check out vacation spots near your area for ideas, like ski instructors, hotel staff, and more)
- – Event-based jobs (‘tis the season for party planners, caterers, musicians, and mall Santas!)
You may also find companies hiring for professional roles from marketing to software development to help them finish projects before the new year.
How to Prepare for a Seasonal Job Interview
Prepare for a seasonal job interview as you would for a long-term role. Do your research on the company, dress professionally, and be on time.
Your interviewers may ask you about your long-term plans and your seasonal flexibility. Make sure you’re up-front with your answers! If you’re interested in growing with the company, don’t be shy about it – let them know that you understand that this is seasonal work, but ask if there are opportunities for working toward a non-seasonal role with the company afterward. (It’s helpful to understand what they’ll be looking for in employees as they make decisions about extending employment after the holidays; if you start the job armed with that knowledge in advance, you can make sure you’re making the right impression from day one.)
And be honest about your ability to take on the demands of seasonal work. If you have travel plans, an inflexible schedule, or other commitments, your potential employer needs to know so they can decide if you’re truly a good fit. Being open doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get the job – it means that your potential employer will have enough information so that you don’t end up over-scheduled and they don’t find themselves unexpectedly understaffed.
Even if you don’t plan on seeking employment with the company after January or February, the interviewer may still want to gauge your commitment to this short-term role. Before you go into your interview, think about the reasons why you want this job beyond just a paycheck: the skills you want to learn, the excitement or fulfillment you get from doing this type of work, the chance to build a career in this industry, etc. What is true for you? Make sure you know how you’ll answer this question before you go in for the interview.
Ready to Look for Seasonal Work?
So, you’ve made your pro and con list, and it seems like seasonal work is a good fit for you. You know what industry you want to search in or what roles might be a good fit for your skill set and schedule. You know what you’re looking for from this role, and you know how to answer the interview questions you’ll most likely be asked.
If you’re not sure where to start your job search, why not take a look at Nelson’s job listings? There, you’ll find seasonal, temp, and long-term roles to help you take the next steps on your career journey.