The Impact of the Baby Boomers Exodus on Your Job Search

b loehr - exodusThe 79 million Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964—turning 52 to 70 this year—comprise the largest generation in U.S. history. Beginning in 2011, their exodus from the workforce, in the form of retirement, ushered in a dynamic change that will rock the employment landscape for years to come.

For the next thirteen years, approximately four million Boomers a year will leave the workforce, leaving vacancies for Generations X (born between 1965 and 1983) and Generation Y (born between 1984 and 1995) to fill. Finally, Generation Z, the oldest of whom will turn 20 this year, already dubbed the “Net Generation” for their attachment to the Internet

If you’re in the market for a job or considering a career change, the Boomer exodus may spell opportunity with a capital “O.” The areas particularly impacted by the departure of the Baby Boomers will be:

Management / Senior Level Positions

Over the years, many Boomers climbed their way to upper-level positions in leadership and management roles. Their exit from the workplace will leave gaps in these important roles, creating career advancement opportunities for both Gen X and Gen Y. Well-developed management skills and a drive to lead will benefit job seekers as companies scramble to fill senior level positions.

Skilled Laborers

Traditionally, Baby Boomers have held the majority of jobs in the many fields that fall under the broad title of “skilled labor.” From electricians, plumbers and heating/cooling specialists to engineers, mechanics and various construction-related occupations—these important-to-our-daily-lives careers are facing major shortages as Boomers wave goodbye to the daily grind. In general, fewer young people are pursuing these types of careers. Some labor experts are predicting a boom in opportunities for the next generation of skill trade workers, complete with wage hikes and aggressive recruiting policies.

Boomers are impacting the job market in another major way as well. As this huge generation ages, their changing needs will generate high demands in various job markets. These fields include—

Healthcare

As this largest-ever generation ages, they will require an unprecedented level of health care services. Already some of the fastest-growing jobs in the medical field include medical billing specialists, physician’s assistants, registered nurses and pharmacy technicians. The demand for these and other specific medical positions are expected to continue to grow as will the demand for the supporting roles in patient services and public relations.

Financial Advisors

A spike in the area of financial services has already been realized as Boomers make financial plans for their golden years. The need for alternative retirement planning is expected to see continued growth as both public and private pension plans become less common. 

Let B Loehr Staffing be your staffing resource as you seek the opportunities afforded by the wave of Baby Boomers exiting the workforce. We provide staffing for multiple clients in a variety of industries. One of those positions is sure to be the right fit for you.  Contact us today and let B Loehr help you take advantage of the Boomer exodus.

Baby Boomers Leaving the Workforce

b loehr - BB retirementAccording to AARP, every day, 10,000 Baby Boomers reach the traditional retirement age of 65. This phenomenon began in 2011 and will continue until 2029 when the last Boomers turn 65. You do the math. 10,000 employees x 13 years = an astounding amount of knowledge and experience waltzing out the door of companies across this nation.

Many of these soon-to-be retirees hold leadership posts where they’ve cultivated vast networks and nurtured long-term relationships. Their hands-on understanding relating to the development of products, services, and marketing strategies is unmatched anywhere in the general workforce.

Couple this trend, considered so significant it’s been dubbed “The Baby Boomer Brain Drain”, with the tendency Millennials have for job-hopping, and it’s little wonder companies are scrambling to keep their head above the waves.

While recent economic factors had led to speculation that Boomers would work past the traditional retirement age, early indications point to Boomers retiring at approximately the same rate as their older co-workers. Still an AARP study found that almost 50% of Boomers see themselves working until the age of 70 or more, with 36% reporting they will never be able to afford retirement.

All of this conspires to create a host of dilemmas as well as a new dynamic when it comes to maintaining a productive, engaged workforce.

How can you avoid that panic-stricken moment when it’s painfully obvious that the only person who knew best how to communicate with the company’s most important client or how to navigate the complexities of the switchboard is no longer with the company? Rather he/she is enjoying the wonders of retirement.

What’s a company to do? A good place to start is to take steps to slow the departure of these valuable long-term employees. Those near-retirees who are concerned about either finances or having too much time on their hands might jump at the offer of an alternative work schedule. Although the idea of staying on the job longer may appeal, a restructured workload may be in order. Job-sharing opportunities and part-time or flex-time options, as well as telecommuting, may create a win-win situation for all involved. Flexibility will likely be the key that unlocks the door to keeping those knowledgeable workers on the job a bit longer.

Follow the lead of GM, who last August launched an internal online mentor portal that matches young staffers seeking a mentor with experienced employees eager to share their knowledge. “We want to foster leaders to be coaches, and mentoring is one of the best ways to do that,” says Chris Oster, GM’s global director of talent development. “It’s really about encouraging both sides of that equation to make the connection.”

Foresight, planning and an attitude of flexibility can lessen the negative impact of the departure of history’s largest generation from the workplace.

As a respected resource in the staffing industry since 1898, B. Loehr Staffing remains committed to supplemental staffing and human resources management in the greater St. Louis area. We can assist you in maintaining optimal staffing efficiency as the Baby Boomer’s departure from the workforce creates openings within your company. Contact us today.

 

 

4 Tips for Disconnecting from Work on the Weekends

b loehr - weekendThe weekend is a time to recharge your battery, to unwind, and to enjoy friends and family. At least, it should be. And it needs to be for the sake of your mental and physical health, the relationships you value, and the rejuvenation, which is essential to jump back into the work-a-day world on Monday morning. Too bad it’s much easier said than done.

Technology has revolutionized the way we do business, in many beneficial, productive ways. But because it so marvelously allows for us to work from home, when riding the train, while attending a ball game, etc., shutting down on the weekend is especially difficult. This 24/7 connectedness can be habit forming—for both employee and employer.

If you routinely do a portion of your work from home – a flexible set-up that works great to accommodate your other responsibilities – it can be especially tough to “turn off” for the weekend. A few minutes of free time finds you “just checking in” rather than relaxing. And an hour to “finish up” a project can easily turn into an entire afternoon.

Try these tips for weekend disconnecting.
• Begin a ritual as soon as work ends on Friday

Establish an after-work routine that begins the moment you leave the workplace. Consciously turn your thoughts away from work toward the weekend, putting mental distance between you and the job. When you arrive home, change into weekend attire and stash your briefcase and any other job paraphernalia behind closed doors. Indulge the old cliché: out of sight, out of mind.

Think about it. If you walk by your bulging briefcase or the leaning tower of files all weekend, you won’t be able to stop the intruding thoughts and concerns from invading your mind.

• Set a precedent OR take a stand concerning weekend availability

The best time to establish an unavailable-on-the-weekend policy is at the beginning of a job. Use a polite but firm “out of office” phone and email message to inform people not to expect an immediate response. This allows you to disconnect in relative comfort.

If you’re past the beginning stages of a job, it might be more difficult to establish a disconnected policy for the weekend. Still, the benefits of away-time are worth the effort to put a policy in place even after being “always on” has been the precedent.

• Create an in-case-of-emergency game plan

Some situations will constitute a genuine crisis that needs your attention on the weekend. Design a plan for being reachable in the case of an actual emergency then make yourself stop feeling guilty about being disconnected.

• Keep a notepad handy

Just because it’s the weekend, that doesn’t mean your brain will entirely shut down. Ideas or concerns, solutions or strategies will invade your mind and the effort to remember these important thoughts could throw a wrench in an otherwise enjoyable weekend. So keep a notepad handy for jotting down those tidbits then banish them from your brain until Monday morning when their potential can be fully explored.
At B. Loehr Staffing we understand the need for a career that fits your lifestyle. Whether you are looking for short-term, long-term, part-time or full-time employment opportunities, we can offer you the freedom and flexibility your lifestyle demands. Contact us today.

The Challenges of LEADERSHIP in 2016

b loehr - leadership challengesOne of the hallmarks of a great leader is flexibility—the ability to adapt to a changing environment. A list of factors as long as your arm, many of which are out of a leader’s control, can throw a wrench into the best-laid plans, the smoothest production line, the happiest of workplace environments, the most successful year… You get the picture.

Two of the biggest hits this year will be in:

  • Leadership development

As Baby Boomers vacate management and supervisory positions, “someone” has to take their place. Preferably “someone” sufficiently trained and skilled to take over. While many Millennials have a bent toward entrepreneurism and are anxious to take on leadership roles, most of these positions were held for decades by Boomers, with little thought toward training a future generation. Since preparing these eager Millennials to step into management positions will likely take a significant investment of time, energy and money, don’t delay. Review training opportunities, internship prospects and outside development scenarios – both existing and new opportunities, that will assist in adequately preparing these up-and-comers to step into their new roles.

  • Workplace environment

The move in recent years toward open office design, favored by the teamwork-proponent Millennials, has resulted in mixed results. Sometimes it worked well by stimulating greater collaboration, but in some instances, it led to issues such as absenteeism, retention problems and more requests to work from home. Experts predict that office and workplace designs will merge toward a mixture of collaborative space, personalized workstations with an emphasis on comfort and of course, expanded telecommuting options. Any adjustment to physical workspace will also require fine-tuning in the area of communication.

Expect other leadership “opportunities” to include:

  • Retention

The tide has shifted from an employer’s market to one driven by employees, making retention a hot issue. Understanding the causes – lack of talent in well-paying fields, the yet-to-be-bridged skills gap, along with the stabilizing economy – is the first step to finding answers. Management must not only focus on engagement, which is discussed below, but also pay attention to their loyal, long-term staff.   With the market in their favor, even employees you had pegged to be on the team until retirement, may find it quite tempting to test the job opportunity waters elsewhere.

  • Engagement

Many companies consider “culture and engagement” to be top priorities, having realized engaged, committed employees are at the core of business success. And rightly so. Workers who aren’t “on board” with the company’s purpose, who can’t/won’t/don’t get behind the big picture, will be the first to jump ship. Taking time now to discover the best ways for engaging workers – from flexibility to customized perks and more – is a prominent 2016 leadership challenge.

  •  Professional Development

Another key factor in turnover rates is the depth of opportunities for career development. Lack of opportunity to learn and grow and advance is one sure fire way to zap motivation. And when motivation dips, engagement is sure to slip as well. Quite the vicious cycle that will undermine overall company culture and business success.

In addition to the changes influenced by the swell of Millennials in the workforce and the shifting sands in the overall employment landscape, there’s Gen Z to consider. The impact Gen Z—the current 3-20 year-olds—has now, in the beginning stages of their appearance in the workforce, been minor but will continual to multiply.

The reality is that with every new generation, comes new methodology. In fact, one certainty you can bank on is that new leadership “opportunities” will never cease and adaptability will continue to be a hallmark of successful leaders. Hmm, I guess that’s two certainties.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we have been placing leaders and potential leaders in businesses for more than 115 years. That’s a lot of leaders from multiple generations. We care about today’s challenges, and we work hard to find the best talent to step into your business and meet those challenges. Contact us today and discover the truth behind the slogan “We’re not the best because we’re the oldest. We’re the oldest because we’re the best

 

 

 

Communication Skills:  What Employers Want

b loehr - communicationIt’s pretty clear George Bernard Shaw knew what he was talking about when he said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

With the availability of more tools to facilitate communication than at any other time in history, one would think that effective communication stands at an all-time high. One would be wrong – about the effectiveness of communication, that is, not about the extent of devices and platforms which are indeed unprecedented.

Unfortunately, more means to communicate does not automatically imply a greater level of communication is happening. In fact, some point their blaming fingers at the more trendy means of sharing information—texting, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—citing that these devices and platforms, by their accepted use of “shortcuts,” have hampered the use of language to express oneself effectively in the professional sphere.

In a 2014 GMAT survey of 600 employers, communications skills typically ranked twice as important as managerial skills. In fact, the top four sought-after skills noted by employers are all communication-related. They are:

  • Oral communication
  • Listening skills
  • Writing communication
  • Presentation skills

It would seem employers want it all. People who can speak well, write well, listen well, present well, sell ideas well, and let’s toss in negotiate well, too, for good measure.

Why are bosses so hip on communication? Because they realize how a lack of overall communication and a lack of effective communication can cause problems of monumental proportion. Many a workplace frustration and misunderstanding can be blamed on poor communication. If left unchecked, breakdowns in communication result in poor performance, as well as retention issues and have a negative effect on both employee success and overall business accomplishments.

What specifically are employers seeking?

In short, the skills to express one’s thoughts and opinions in an intelligent and concise manner. More specifically, written skills that can compose minutes from a meeting, compile data into a report, or create a formal email message. Strong verbal skills that can execute well on a conference call, interact competently with staff and clients, and present calmly when disagreements arise.

Chantel Waterbury, founder of Chloe + Isabel, a jewelry direct-sales company shares,

“I can’t tell you how many times I have been blown away by a candidate’s online profile and then disappointed when they are sitting in front of me. I find many recent college students and grads don’t make eye contact, don’t carry themselves well, and don’t speak with authority, which can be a little disheartening to the interviewer.”

A good reminder that the effectiveness of verbal and presentation skills, in particular, can suffer when body language contributes poorly to the scenario. A genuine smile, a firm handshake, and more-than-flitting eye contact send a message of confidence as well as interest in the company.

Candidates blessed with tech-savviness will be pleased to know that companies looking to increase their brand awareness will be on the lookout for strong social media skills. But, don’t neglect the rest. Be sure to include in employment documents and more importantly, demonstrate in person, the more traditional communication skills. In other words, spend less time expounding on texting, Facebook, and Twitter prowess than in demonstrating top-notch, conventional written and verbal communication skills.

Another biggie – don’t forget the crucial factor that’s often forgotten when communication skills are discussed. That vital component is listening. Or rather active listening, which encompasses so much more than simply hearing verbal language. It’s easy to get caught up in making a point to the extent that what the other person is saying “goes in one ear and out the other.”

The ability to correctly process what is being communicated is truly a learned art. The first step is gaining control of the immediate respond reflex—those words that claw their way up one’s throat and threaten to spill out before the “sender’s” message is complete. When faced with an accusation or in the midst of conflict, it’s especially difficult to engage active listening when every nerve is pushing for a quick rebuttal. Effective listening can only take place when the “hearer” is paying attention to what’s being said rather than mentally composing a reply.

Make it a priority to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses across all facets of communication. Play up your strengths and seek “pointers” to shore up areas that need improvement.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we value candidates with well-developed communication skills. We are continually seeking high caliber employees to match up with quality employment opportunities. Our Candidate Resource Center contains a wealth of information to help you land a great position, maximize on-the-job performance, create a healthy work-life balance and more. Contact us today for assistance in meeting your career goals.

 

 

 

Setting Long-Term Career Goals 

b loehr - long term goalsIf you put more thought into planning your family vacations than into your career, well, that’s not a good thing. But unfortunately, you’re not alone. Because, even though most people have at least a vague idea of where they want to end up, career-wise, far too few put in the time and effort to make it become a reality.

Successful people in all walks of life understand the value of setting goals. For starters, goals give you long-term vision and invigorate short-term motivation. They create a point of focus that guides your quest for knowledge and organizes your time and resources. Working toward a specific career goal creates a sense of purpose and boosts self-confidence as you push ahead with the end in mind.

If the “long” part of long-term career goals makes you shy away from the entire idea, remember this. You achieve long-term career goals the same way you eat an elephant. One bite- in this case, step – at a time.

The first step is to answer the version of this question that best fits your situation–

What level/position do you want to reach in your career?

OR  . . . What specific achievement do you want to accomplish?

Be specific and don’t be afraid to dream—realistically, that is. Mull over the ideas that surface, taking the time to reach a well-thought-out conclusion.

Step 2: List the components essential to reach this goal

  • Will additional training or a specific degree be required?
  • Will you need to advance through several “rungs on the corporate ladder” in pursuit of this goal?
  • Will relocation be necessary?

Step 3: Break the overall goal into bite-sized pieces . . . err, smaller goals.

Determine short-term objectives concerning education – course or training to be completed, degree(s) achieved, etc. – specific “ladder rungs” to be conquered and relocation options. Include every step between where you are currently and the long-term career goal identified in step one.

Step 4: – Create a credible yet challenging timeline

Devise a timeline that strikes a balance between too-stressful-I-just-want-to-give-up and one that’s so laid back it sends an I-have-all-the-time-in-the-world-to finish vibe. This detailed plan should include short, short-term goals – to be completed in, say, a month – such as checking into the training and education requirements. Other steps will fall into six-month, one-year, two-years, etc., points on your timeline. Find a realistic spot for each of the objectives in step three.

Step 5: Put it all in writing

In fact, create a professional document worthy of being included in a presentation to the boss. Save this official record of your plan, print out several copies and place in key locations at home and the office. Save it in a picture format and use it as the background on your laptop. Make a dash-sized version. Why not a wallet-sized one as well? In other words, keep it from and center, placing it where ever it will serve as a reminder.

Step 6: Review and update as needed

Even the best-laid plans hit bumps. Don’t let unexpected obstacles sideline your long-term career goals. Re-evaluate, make adjustments and continue pursuing those goals.

  1. Loehr Staffing’s employees enjoy one of the most competitive pay and benefits packages in the industry as well as excellent opportunities for personal and professional growth. Allow our premier staffing services to assist you in reaching your long-term career goals. Contact us today.

 

 

The “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of Background Checks

b loehr - checksAs part of a thorough hiring process, many companies include a pre-employment background check. The information either validated or revealed by this practice can provide helpful insight toward a hiring decision. As a tool for achieving and maintaining a productive workforce, background checks can be invaluable, but . . .

It’s vital to follow proper procedures when conducting such screenings to avoid facing sanctions, legal complications or situations that could scar the company’s reputation.

Consider these “do’s” and “don’ts” for getting the most from pre-employment background checks.

The “Do’s.”

  • Do implement a consistent, across-the-board screening process that includes all applicants. Not only will this eliminate favoritism and just-this-once exceptions, but it will also present a level playing field for comparing candidates.
  •  Do check out the specific laws that govern background checks at the federal, state and local levels as well as those that apply to specific jobs. The laws vary concerning getting consent, how many years back one can look and how one must report information found. Research and stick to the statutes in your area to avoid legal complications.
  •  Do gain consent to perform a background. A legal release form, completed by the applicant and informing the person of his/her rights, is required. Running a check without obtaining consent will essentially invalidate the results, not to mention the possibly of subjecting the company to a costly lawsuit.
  •  Do outsource to an agency who specializes in completing background checks. Screening companies have the experience and processes to locate accurately and efficiently the information so valuable to your hiring decision. Their assistance will also prevent you from viewing data that might violate state or federal laws.

The “Don’ts.”

  • Don’t seek out only negative feedback.While background checks are notoriously viewed as a means to uncover negative information, use the screening process to locate positives as well. Such affirming details can be as strong a tool as the negatives in making a hiring decision, especially when choosing between two well-qualified candidates.
  • Don’t implement a “No Criminal Record” Policy. A total of 19 states has adopted the policieswidely known as “ban the box” so that employers consider a job candidate’s qualifications first, without the stigma of a conviction record. Even in states without the official policy, it’s frowned upon for employers to operate with a blanket policy concerning applicants with a criminal record.
  •  Don’t walk away from negative results. The law requires a potential employer to inform candidates of adverse results, give them a chance to review the report and explain the situation or possibly clear up a misunderstanding. Failure to follow proper procedures could result in a lawsuit.
  •  Don’t run a limited search yourself. Whether to save time or money, don’t go it alone, assuming an online search will unearth everything. Much of the solid, legally obtained data can only be conducted by a licensed firm.

Since 1898, B. Loehr Staffing has specialized in finding staffing solutions that meet each organization’s specific needs. Our Client Toolbox provides an extensive list of excellent resources to guide your firm in establishing hiring policies and procedures. Contact our team of staffing specialists today.