Unemployment Up; Are You Scared?

The Labor Department released a report on Friday saying that the unemployment rate has gone up to 9.7% from last month’s 9/4%. That’s a very scary figure. And with some pundits reporting that more job losses might be coming, as the commercial real estate market is looking very shaky, and the general economy is somewhat off kilter, I ask this question; are you scared?

Joining an interim staffing company can offer you the opportunity to still get work all around the country, and get paid pretty well, probably better than you were getting paid at your last job. If you’re proficient, you could make upwards of twice the amount of money you were making as a permanent employee. This is where an interim staffing company differs from an employment agency. They’ll get you one or two day jobs that will pay you more than minimum wage, but still the kind of money that a general worker would have problems living on. Many of our front line people get at least $20 an hour, along with expenses, and some can get even more if they’re proficient in something a client needs.

We’re not a panacea for everyone. Staffing companies look at the skills someone has and, if it fits what a client needs, then there’s a perfect match. We don’t ever promise anyone that they’ll get work all the time. However, what we notice is when companies slash staff, it’s usually to get out from under some of those extreme expenses that come with having full departments. They often find that they still need some skilled people to come in and do some projects for them, even if those projects are short term. If you could make the money it took you a year to make before and make it in 4 or 5 months, how would that feel to you?

True, you lose out on benefits, and there’s no such thing as a vacation, but if you’re traveling around the country on someone else’s dime, and you get time at home between assignments to do with what you will, at the very least you owe yourself to look into interim work as a nice career change. It might prove to be a nice business relationship for everyone.

Communication Is The Key

Sometimes interim staffing doesn’t work out. As we said in our last post on building relationships, communications can go a long way in making sure that each party gets what they’re hoping for when interim staff, both regular staff and management staff, is placed.

For instance, one story we heard was that a staffing company placed someone at a facility who was there to help out with billing. That person was immediately put into doing another job that wasn’t her specialty. Within a week, the contract was being terminated, and no one was happy with the relationship. The client had asked for a billing person, believing that billing people should be skilled in all areas of the revenue cycle system, but that’s just not the case at all time.

Another situation we heard about was when a person was sent to a facility to work as a supervisor. Once they were there, the person in charge decided to change that person’s job duties, which were now more comprehensive than what they had asked for up front. When the staffing company learned about the change, they attempted to renegotiate the rate, since the job was of a higher status. The client felt that they had hired a body with particular skills, and that the position shouldn’t matter. The staffing company felt they had no choice, pulled the person, and ended the contract. Once again, no one was happy with the outcome.

Good communications between all parties is always the key to trying to get things right. If the client is able to express their expectations, then staffing companies are better prepared to give them what they want. If staffing companies are able to better intrepret what clients may actually need, rather than always sending exactly what was asked for, even when they know better, things will go smoother and no one will be upset about anything.

Building Business Relationships

Like every other company, we consider ourselves as a business about relationships.

Some of our clients have been with us for years, and keep coming back to request more bodies, in different capacities, as needed. Some of our clients are one-time hits, meaning they have an issue, we help them address that issue, then they move on from there and we never hear from them again.

Still, it’s all about relationships. We treat each client as though they’re the most important client we have. Customer service is a big deal, especially for a staffing company. The truth is that we’re not on site with the people we place or the client. Things don’t always go exactly as planned; no one has any control over everything.

Sometimes it’s our fault for placing the wrong person. Sometimes it’s the client’s fault for not telling us their exact needs. Sometimes it’s the person’s fault we place, who one day suddenly does something out of character that no one could have anticipated. And sometimes it’s no one’s fault; circumstances are just that, and a contract might have to be altered or canceled.

No matter what, customer service will determine how that business relationship fosters itself. Clients usually know that no one is perfect. Good customer service can go a long way towards solving any issues that either are, or aren’t, under a staffing company’s control. All of us, either in the health care field or outside of it, work hard to give the best customer experience possible.

We don’t win them all, but we win the overwhelming majority of them. It’s a good feeling when clients rave about people we’ve sent to them. It’s gut wrenching when there are problems. Luckily, we don’t have to keep a supply of antacids around because of worries about the people we place. We’re not perfect, but we’ll always strive to get there.