When looking ahead on how to position yourself for business in the booming economy we are presently enjoying, focus on: Growth, Solutions, New Trends, and Efficiency: use your time wisely.

Position for Growth
If you have not already done so, start the conversation now with your existing clients with a personal phone call. What a great call! You can follow up with a text or email but make the physical call. Let your clients hear your voice. Know what your clients’ goals are for next year. You are there to help them meet their new goals! Ask your client - “How can I help”! Recently when I was talking to a client, I said I was there to help her and to make her job easier – She said “Wow – I think you are the only one!”
This is part of relationship building. Know your top 3-5 clients. Let them know how important they are to you; position yourself as the industry expert; know ahead of time what might affect them in the near future: whether that is a new law coming into effect or you have a new market analysis, make sure you convey your knowledge of the market place and your willingness to help. Your clients will appreciate your customer service and will look to you as a business resource.

Have your contracts in place now so you can start the new year ready to go instead of waiting and being put on hold because you don’t have a signed agreement. Always make sure that your contracts give you the option of offering temp, temp to hire, or contract placements as an alternative. Even if you are working currently on direct hires only, give yourself the flexibility of working on these alternative placements. I have been working with a client that needed to update her agreement with a large publicly traded energy company to include contract placements. It has taken 6-8 weeks to put the new agreement in place. Now she already has the hiring manager sending her job orders that she is currently working on. If you don’t offer this flexibility, your clients will assume you can’t handle this piece of their business and they will turn to your competitors for help.

Position for Solutions
Many companies may start putting some direct hire positions on hold while the political debate heats up. But there is so much work to be done on so many levels! Consumer confidence is high.

Everywhere you look there is growth. I am in Texas and everywhere I look there are new houses being built, roads being worked on, traffic piling up, and I think to myself: “where do all of these people work?”

Become a working partner with your clients, not just another vendor! If you start the conversation now, and you offer options, when the next opportunity comes up, YOU will be top of mind! By offering alternatives you can be already working with the hiring manager. Finding a short-term solution for your clients will enable them to continue their operations until you can find the perfect fit.

Finding that perfect fit may take time. You can put a contractor in place and continue your search. Your client is happy, the work is being done, and you can give yourself time to do what you do best – recruit the perfect candidate! You will also have an additional revenue stream in place while you are researching and recruiting your direct-hire candidate.

Ask all your candidates if they would consider a contract assignment. More experienced applicants that have retired from a full-time career often are interested in returning to the marketplace for a contract assignment. Baby Boomers are an excellent source of labor for contract assignments. You can provide them the ability to stay active in the workforce while providing them with additional income. A lot of people are attracted to the lifestyle flexibility and work-life balance offered by contract assignments.

Helping your client with contract placements can be worth the extra effort. Help your client with their fears and doubts. Feel their sense of urgency. Be set up in their system. Have a working relationship including temp and contract placements. Ease your clients’ pain. Be part of the solution!

Position for New Trends
With more of the focus on the “gig” economy, positions that have historically been considered full-time employees-only positions are now becoming contract assignments. And for some specific assignments or short-term projects, it can be beneficial for your clients to consider outsourcing these as contract assignments especially if you could save them money.

Recruiting and training talent could cost a company between 6-9 months of an employee’s salary. The average position takes 40 to 50 days to fill. That leaves the current staff picking up the slack and possibly racking up a lot of overtime costs. Worse yet, the work may not be getting done.

Another advantage of offering contract placement is that the hiring costs could be spread out over a longer period. If your client does not have a direct hire placement fee in their budget. You can offer a contract-to-hire option. And there is the “try before you buy” option. Both your candidate and your client company can get to know each other to make sure it is a good fit.

Be sure to negotiate a conversion fee that takes effect after 30, 60, or 90 days that would pay you your full direct-hire fee minus what profit you have already made. This is not how much you have invoiced because you have had to incur the cost of the employee’s pay, the taxes, insurance, and any other expenses; rather it would be your fee minus what profit you have earned up until that point.

This arrangement would also save your client the cost of offering their benefits package including costly healthcare insurance, to someone that may not be the perfect fit. According to the Department of labor, it is common to pay 30% of an employee’s annual salary if the relationship does not work out. A typical 55-year-old spends on average 10 years at a job – if not longer. Whereas a 25-year-old spends an average of 3 years on a job! Job-hopping has become the accepted norm!

An NPR/Marist poll finds that 1 in 5 jobs in America is held by a worker under contract. 20% of all-American workers are hired to work on a specific project or for a fixed period. About 65% of contract workers are male and 62% are under the age of 45. Within the 10 years contractors could represent up to one half of the American workforce. A study by Intuit, predicts “contingent workers will exceed 40% of the US workforce by 2020.” And 80% of large corporations plan to substantially increase their use of a “flexible” workforce.

Position for Efficiency
Use your time wisely and be prepared to take advantage of these market trends.
Speed will remain a major factor: who can present the best talent in the shortest time. Concentrate on what you do best. If needed, partner with someone that you trust that has a different specialty. If your client needs someone outside of your core competency, have partners that you can call on to fill the position. In return, they will pass their requests for your specialty on to you! You can negotiate a sharing or “split profit” fee with your partners and thus enjoy an income stream instead of receiving nothing. Consider joining a “split fee” network.

Partner with a back-office provider to help with your contract, temp, or temp to hire placements. An Employer of Record service and back office provider can help save you time by:

Onboarding your new employees with the correct and current paperwork.
Performing any required pre-employment drug screens and background checks. And collecting the federally mandated I-9 paperwork.

You will not have to provide electronic timesheets, fund weekly payroll, send out invoices or call on collections.
The back-office provider will be responsible for withholding taxes, child support payments, state and federal unemployment, matching employer taxes, wage garnishments, making payroll tax deposits and issuing annual W-2’s.

The employer of record will cover the workers’ comp and will provide you with a certificate of insurance covering anyone working under their umbrella. This will protect your in-house rating.

Employer of record services can provide benefit packages, including health care, which will be ACA compliant. They can also offer 401K, dental and vision plans especially for longer-term assignments. Some assignments can last a year or longer.
Your back-office provider partner should be set up to be the employer of record in at least the US market, making it possible for you to facilitate a placement in any state that your client has a need.

Do what you do best: place the right person at the right job! Back-office services are necessary but do not make you money. If they are not handled properly, it can cost you money – a lot of money – fighting the IRS, the Department of Labor, unemployment, and workers’ comp claims. Establish a relationship with a back-office provider that will have your best interest at heart. It should not cost anything to get set up. There should be no obligation. There should be no minimums on pay rate or length of service. You should be able to use them only when you need them.

Get this part of your business set up now to take advantage when the time is right. Your focus should be on:

  • Growing your business
  • Becoming the solution for your clients
  • Following new trends in the marketplace, and
  • Eliminating any time and energy spent on tasks that do not require your direct attention and are not your primary focus.

Keep focused on what you do best! Recruit the best! Be the best business partner for your clients. Your clients will be happy and so will you if you POSITION FOR BUSINESS.

Posted in

NAPS Harold B. Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award Winner