Why Should My Company Be Involved in My Community?

b loehr - community 1It’s not likely that any business owner or leadership teams are looking for more things to fill their day. Even with the economy’s rebound in recent year, staying afloat in today’s business world is a full-time job in itself. Still businesses across the country are stepping up to volunteer, to donate services, to give back to their communities.

The last few years have seen philanthropy grow in a profound way, to the tune of 64 percent of companies reporting an increase in giving back between 2010 and 2013, with participation up by more than 10 percent for 52 percent of these companies.

While many large corporations are generous with financial support across a wide array of charitable organizations, companies without the means to contribute money need not feel left out when it comes to impacting their community. Opportunities involving the gift of time, services, or non-financial resources abound.

Large and small businesses alike have recognized why giving back matters and why getting involved is worth the effort. Here’s but a sampling of those reasons.

  1. Giving Back Feels Good: The Satisfaction Factor

If that sounds like a backhanded, “what’s in it for me?” reason, stop for just a second. It’s a fact that giving of yourself – time, money, talents, whatever – has a “feel good” effect. That’s just how it works. And that’s secretly why Mom and Dad never tired of repeating the adage, ’tis better to give than to receive. They knew that once you got bit by the “giving bug,” giving would become a habit.

You’re right; you shouldn’t get involved in community efforts so that you can pat yourself on the back. But honestly, in the bad-news-at-every-turn world we live in, who couldn’t use the satisfaction boost of knowing you did something that will ultimately help another human being? Which leads right into “why” #2.

  1. Improved Employee Morale

Everyone knows the positive impact employee morale can have on productivity. Likewise, the negative impact a plummeting morale can have is probably even more familiar. Well, imagine an entire workforce, amped up on “feel good” vibes from the company’s participation in the food pantry’s holiday drive or the Children’s hospital benefit or Habitat for Humanity’s latest project. Those good vibes will translate into a geyser of team unity back at the job site. And what management staff wouldn’t be all about that?

Remember, too, that Millennials place a high importance on the “giving back” factor when job hunting. They look for companies who align themselves with and are committed to a cause.

Companies who choose to be involved in their community discover the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience or sacrifice. Those who feared time and attention pulled from monitoring the bottom line would endanger said bottom line soon realize just the opposite is true. Why? Because customers pay attention to which companies are community-minded.

Community involvement provides avenues to:

  • make connections and form relationships with potential customers
  • build respect throughout the community
  • enhance the company’s reputation
  • network within your industry
  • increase visibility and build loyalty
  • develop affiliations with city, community, area, regional leaders

Both you and the community will reap the benefits of your ongoing involvement in whichever philanthropic opportunities you choose to align your company.

  1. Loehr Staffing has faithfully served the greater St. Louis metropolitan area since 1898. We take seriously our pledge to provide excellence in employment services throughout this great community. Contact us today about a partnership that will exceed your expectations.

 

 The Best Summer Ever

b loehr - summerA couple of months ago over lunch, a friend and I made plans to get together this summer to brainstorm this idea that had mulled around in my brain for years. “I think you’re on to something here,” he’d said, encouraging the tiny spark to flicker brightly once again.

While I would have loved to get him on board and make some headway in turning this idea into something tangible, I filed the “get together this summer” comment in the same faraway place where all the other this-summer-let’s-do conversations ended up—never to be heard from again.

So I was totally blown away when in mid-May he called and announced, “Let’s get those brainstorming sessions on the calendar. You mentioned Wednesdays are good for a long lunch, right?” I mumbled something unintelligible, too stunned to form a coherent sentence. Undaunted, he continued. “Sorry I didn’t call sooner, but I saved every other Wednesday. I figure by the end of summer, we’ll be ready to make a presentation.”

Now words really failed me. But somehow the conversation had continued. The proof now stared back at me from my calendar in two-hour lunch blocks on half the Wednesdays through June, July, and August that bore the notation “lunch w/Brian”.

That first Wednesday, I not only picked up the lunch tab but thanked him profusely for making time for me in what had to be an incredibly busy summer schedule. After all, whose summer schedule wasn’t busy?

“Yeah, we have a lot going on. But this project is important to me.”

“Aren’t you coaching Little League, too? I don’t know how you fit everything into your schedule. Summers fly by so fast that it seems like I blink and it’s over.”

And then he shared his secret to making every summer the best summer ever: get it on the calendar.

“Used to be like that for us too. All these hopeful plans that never came to fruition. Then a couple of years ago we got serious about planning our summers. Now in early May—actually started in April this year—we grab the calendar and begin plotting out all the stuff we want to do. The fun things like outings to the zoo and the kids’ games as well as the not-so-fun stuff like painting the deck. We try to knock out all the major chores around the house by the end of May, so we have more time to enjoy summer.”

I’m sure my mouth hung open in a most unflattering pose as he detailed how the calendar had become their secret weapon for making the most of the summer. And thankfully, he shared some awesome time-saving tips that help them squeeze every spare minute out their summers.

  • His wife does a huge grocery stock-up the first week of June to cut back on all those annoying emergency runs to the store.
  • He hires a couple of teens from the neighborhood to help with the major lawn care.
  • They established a family chore time that has incentivized the kids to pitch in because when the job’s done, they take a family bike ride to get ice cream.
  • They offer double allowances to any child willing to take on additional, age-appropriate household responsibilities that free up some time for mom and dad.
  • Each family member gets to suggest an outing for the family to enjoy together.

On the way home, I swung by the office supply store and purchased a calendar with huge blocks for writing in summer activities. Then after dinner, I called our first “best summer ever” calendar planning session.

At B. Loehr Staffing we understand the importance of life-work balance. We can offer you a position with the freedom and flexibility your lifestyle demands. Contact us today.

 

 

Preparing for Generation Z – Part II

b loehr - gen zGeneration Z has been dubbed “the reality-check generation,” a title they earned as a result of expectations and aspirations tempered by uncertain economic conditions during their formative years. By the year 2020, they’ll make up 20% of the workforce.

Like their predecessors the Millennials, they value creativity and innovation, but they place greater importance on stability and are seen as more pragmatic than Generation Y. They will arrive in the job market looking to build their careers on a solid foundation, and they’ll need managers who understand them to help them get off to the right start.

What should companies expect from Generation Z?

• While many businesses boast of friendly workplace cultures, flexible schedules, and transparent salaries to pique the interest of potential candidates, it appears more career focused perks will get the nod from Gen Z.

Today’s college students ranked opportunity for career growth as the most important aspect of their first job (36%) followed by fulfilling work (19%) and stability (19%). Friendly work environments (10%), flexible schedules (7%), and the highest salary (6%) rank lower in priority.

To attract the top talent in Generation Z, companies will have to demonstrate an interest in and ability to assist their employees in reaching their most important career goals.

• While it’s expected the job-hopping tendencies of Millennials will carry over to the next generation, Gen Zers’ yearning for stability and the establishment of a firm career foundation will provide employers with some ammunition in the retention war.

Companies who make effective and frequent training a priority and who strive to offer a variety of professional development opportunities will realize the greatest opportunity for maintaining a steady, qualified workforce.

It might come as a surprise that this i-everything generation places a high value on key relationships. Being fluent in a world of social media, text messages and email hasn’t usurped their desire for genuine conversations and connections, especially with those in places of authority over them.

They long to be taken seriously, to have their energy and enthusiasm encouraged rather than stamped down. They fear that older generations won’t give them a chance as they actively seek to be part of a team that will embrace their knowledge and skills. They want the opportunity to present their ideas and to join forces with employers who share their passions.

Generation Zers will find their niche within companies who value employee development, who encourage and appreciate their drive to climb the ladder, and who take employee engagement seriously. Companies who aren’t too afraid to embrace this promising generation will benefit from this generation’s technological savvy as well as their focus on continual learning.

B. Loehr Staffing is already striving to attract top-notch talent from among the brightest and best of Generation Z. Allow our staffing experts to match these rising young stars with your company’s open positions. Contact us today.

2016 Yields Positive Hiring Predictions for Graduate

2016 graduates are looking at the rosiest hiring predictions in a decade with well over half of employers planning to hire from this year’s pool of college grads.

More good news: the unemployment rate for recent college graduates is 5.6%, the lowest rate since June 2008, according to a report published by the Economic Policy Institute.

Employers expect to hire 5.2 percent more graduates from the Class of 2016 than they hired from the Class of 2015, according to the report from The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2016 Spring Update. The NACE’s original report last November announced a heady 11 percent increase over the previous year’s hiring. While the new prediction slashes the number by half, still the forecast is quite favorable.

Reasons cited for the swell in hiring include the need to offset upcoming retirements as well as the importance of building talent pipelines

Even with this promising outlook, striking out to find your first “real” job can be a nerve-wracking proposition. These four proactive do’s and don’ts will set you up for success in the life-after-college world of employment.

DO:

  1. Target what you want to do

While this may sound like a no-brainer, it’s amazing how many graduates shake the college president’s hand, grasp their diploma, and wander off the stage as questions like “Now, what happens?” swirl through their brain.

Simply wanting a job, any job, will make your job search unfocused and likely a disappointment in the end. Applying for everything and anything not only wastes time and energy but too often concludes with the grad accepting something—maybe the first “real” offer—simply to end the search. “Phew, now I have a job,” can quickly turn into, “What was I thinking?”

To avoid wasting precious time only to end up disillusioned, take the time to examine what you like to do and what you hate to do. By now you know where your strengths lie as well as your weak areas. Mesh all of that with your qualifications and skills, your experience and education. This composite of who you are should help you pinpoint several jobs to target on your quest for a “real” job. That will lead to #2:

  1. Put together a list of potential employers

There are many resources that can lead you to potential employers. If you’re seeking a position in a mega-company,  Deloitte Technology Fast 500 and Fortune 500 are good choices. Lists compiled by Forbes, including the Forbes 2000, America’s largest privately-held companies, and Best Places for Business and Careers are also a rich source of ideas.

The Thomas Register of Manufacturers is a help for anyone seeking a position in manufacturing, and the local Chamber of Commerce can offer can help you connect with small to medium size companies.

Networking, however, is your best bet for any industry – from small companies to mega. The more you connect with the right people, the greater your chances of securing the right position. Attending networking events, participating in forums and discussion groups on social media, and participating in community and volunteer events are just a few of the mega networking opportunities available.

Connecting with a staffing company will also net a broad range of potential employers. Not only do staffing companies know the employers, but they also have an inside track to available positions.

Note: Create a spreadsheet to keep track where and when you sent résumés, as well as contact names and other pertinent information about each potential employer.

DON’T:

  1. Fall prey to the “I have too little to offer” syndrome.

Of course your experience is limited. On top of that, your “real world” accomplishments are few and far between, maybe even lame outside of the world of academia. You’ve spent the past four-plus years learning and preparing for a career, which left little time to work in your chosen field. That’s okay. Employers know all of this.

Before you decide you have no choice but to settle for the first job offer you’re lucky enough to receive, take a step back and look at the bigger picture of the last four to eight years of your life. Your project team consistently ranked at the top in the department. Your management skills netted a supervisory position at the coffee shop. You served as a class officer in high school and on the student life committee at college. You brainstormed a successful plan to revamp class scheduling for your major.

Do not sell yourself short but rather focus on what you “handled”, “organized”, or “contributed to” rather than what you feel is lacking.

  1. Be afraid to dream big

Does this sound like you? “I know what I’d love to do. But I have zero experience, and it would stretch my qualifications and skills, so no point in even trying.”

Remember, this first “real job” isn’t likely to be the one you will still be at come retirement. Rather this is the perfect time to get your foot in the door of an industry you’re itching to delve into. Even if your major only vaguely links to this sector, if it appeals to you, there’s no reason not to give it a shot.

Employers want and need enthusiastic, passionate employees and are quite often willing to train candidates who are eager to learn and will give their all to the position.  Personal and family contacts can be of great help in such situations. When someone shares first-hand knowledge about a candidate’s personality and work ethic, that info often tips the scales in the candidate’s favor.

Set your sights high and get that game plan in order. Strive to impress employers with a “go get ’em” attitude and don’t allow what you might lack in experience to deter you. Approach your targeted job opportunities with ambition, energy, and a demonstrated desire to be a valued member of the team.

B. Loehr Staffing’s employees receive the most competitive pay package available as well a benefit program that includes portable medical insurance, referral program, and skills enhancement training. Take the next step in your career by submitting your resume or searching our currently available positions today.

What Employers Can Expect from the Class of 2016

As 2016 college grads get serious in their quest for a job, you may hear a rather odd sound whistling with the breeze. An echo-y noise that strangely enough sounds like a huge sigh of relief – and that’s exactly what it is. As these student-loan-ridden grads hear reports of the best hiring forecast in a decade, they are indeed heaving a huge, collective sigh of relief.  Finding a “real” job is imperative for these latest graduates as they are entering the workforce with the highest levels of debt ever – an average of $37,173 each.

The descriptor that pops up over and again for this group is “pragmatic”. They’ve grasped the reality of their situation and appear to be rising to the occasion with a determined passion.

What are these optimistic young adults looking for as they hit the job trail?

For starters, one-in-four new graduates report student loan assistance is a “top priority.” Such programs offer employer contributions that can shave years off the debt as well as save a bundle on interest. While several companies including investment firms FidelityNatixis, and auditing and consulting firm PwC offer such programs as part of their benefits package, a study by the Society of Human Resource Management found that only 3% of employers offer this perk.

Along these same lines, it seems basic economics will play a key role in the recent grad’s job search. Over 60% of this year’s graduating class claim that they want to be living on their own within the first year of graduating. This drive for independence will likely place economic concerns over the desire for a hip, happenin’ workplace. Which means companies who went all out on the cool culture they thought would attract millennials may want to dial those incentives back, just a bit, and focus on the financial perks they can offer. Cool is still in but it may take a back seat to financial incentives.

But what about employers? What are their plans for these fresh, young candidates? And what are they expecting from them as future employees?

It would appear they are as eager to bring youthful talent into their workplace as the grads are to secure a promising position. A recent CareerBuilder survey revealed that 52% of responding employers said they would make offers to students before graduation, with 67% noting they would be willing to negotiate salary when extending a job offer. Further proof of the all-around let’s-get-this-show-on-the-road attitude comes from the Accenture Strategy 2016 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study that found 21% of the Class of 2016 accepted a job before graduation, up from 12% last year and 11% two years ago.

Bottom line? The best and brightest of the class of 2016 won’t be unemployed for long.

Forty-three percent of hiring execs responding to a survey from Futurestep noted that learning agility as the top attribute they’re seeking in recent grads. This ability “to learn from experiences and apply those learnings to new roles,” is an important characteristic that crosses industry lines as well as geographic locations.

Employers share many concerns as they prepare to onboard a new crop of graduates. The continuing saga of the disconnect between the jobs these promising young adults will secure and the skills they bring to the table tops the list.

According to Karsten Strauss, “The gap has always existed. Young people coming out of school cannot all be expected immediately to possess the hard skills organizations require. Some will, of course, but most won’t.”

A recent PayScale survey highlighted the most frequently noted missing skills as writing proficiency, public speaking skills, and data analysis ability among “hard skills.” “Soft skills” found lacking included critical thinking and problem-solving skills, lack of attention to detail, and less than stellar communication skills. Leadership qualities and teamwork skills were also found to be lacking.

This is not an impossible situation nor, as Strauss stated, is it a new scenario. Bridging the gap can happen with additional instruction and a willingness on the part of both employer and employee to learn-as-you-go. In fact, some execs prefer to hire for an overall passionate, enthusiastic temperament and train for the specifics of the position.

The class of 2016 has much to offer, and companies have much to gain by filling openings in their workforce with these recent graduates.

At B. Loehr Staffing we know great teams don’t happen by accident. That’s why the top priority of our Team-Based Client Support System is faster access to more people who can handle your requests, answer your questions, and solve your staffing problems better than ever. Contact us today.

 

 

Preparing for Generation Z – Part I

If you’ve yet to meet the newest crop of kids on the block, it’s time to get acquainted with them.  Meet Generation Z, born in the mid-1990s through approximately 2010. Though the bulk of this generation are still in high school – or younger, a full 15% are pursuing bachelor’s degrees, almost 10% are in some stage of vocational education, 3% are pursuing master’s degrees, and 3% have already joined the workforce.  These Gen Zers will burst upon the global workforce in the coming years, bringing with them a mighty wave of change.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Gen Z currently makes up 25% of the population. They outnumber their older siblings, the Millennials, by nearly one million.

Generational studies are considered more art than science, as proven by the differing opinions for what birth years make up this newest segment of the population. Still, valuable insights can be gleaned from a look at the national and worldwide landscape around which this generation matured.

Many experts label Millennials as the “innocence lost” generation, having grown up during the boom times and relative peace of the 1990s, only to see their sunny world dashed by the September 11 attacks and the economic crashes of 2000 and 2008. Generation Zers, however, don’t remember a time before September 11, the war on terror and the recession-ridden 2000’s. Therefore, they tend to be more cautious and less entitled than the dissected-to-death Millennials.

To say this segment of the workforce is internet savvy doesn’t quite cut it. Sure, their predecessors, Generation Y, also grew up in an online/cellular phones world. They were considered “digital natives,” but most Generation Zers have always had a computer in their pocket next to their smartphone—which has always been “smart.”

“We are the first true digital natives,” said Hannah Payne, an 18-year-old U.C.L.A. student and lifestyle blogger. “I can almost simultaneously create a document, edit it, post a photo on Instagram and talk on the phone, all from the user-friendly interface of my iPhone.”

Maybe your head is spinning while trying to imagine that scenario, and it could be you admit to no one but yourself that you’ve yet to figure out half the features on your smartphone.

So, what can you expect from this new generation as they join the workforce? Stay tuned for next week’s post as we explore what lies ahead for the workplace in Part 2 of Preparing for Generation Z.

At B. Loehr Staffing we understand how challenging it is to have the right people in the right places.  Through our specially designed Staffing Systems and Management Programs, you can be sure of finding the staffing solution that suits your organization’s specific needs. Contact us today for assistance with all of your hiring needs.

Interview Tips for Recent College Grads – Part 2

It’s projected that throughout the 2015–16 school year, colleges and universities will award 952,000 associate’s degrees; 1.8 million bachelor’s degrees; 802,000 master’s degrees; and 179,000 doctor’s degrees. These numbers reflect increases in three of the four categories with a slight decrease noted in bachelor degrees.

That’s a whole lot of grads searching for a job. If this scenario is playing out in your life, don’t let these statistics cause you to despair.  According to a new survey from CareerBuilder, two-thirds of employers plan to hire from this year’s crop of college graduates, up two percentage points from 2015, making this the rosiest outlook in a decade.

So check out these key interview do’s (last week we delved into key don’ts) and prepare for success in your future job interviews.

Do:

  • Make yourself stand out

How can you be memorable amongst a sea of qualified candidates? Consider a short video to introduce yourself, your experiences and passions. Put together a portfolio or other visual compilation of past achievements that relate specifically to this job.  Be sure to inject a bit of your personality.

  • Do your homework

Leave no stone unturned while uncovering what this company needs most right now. Talk with anyone you know on the inside. Check out the entire job opportunities listing within the company. Read through every word on their website and peruse recent news articles or press releases for morsels of information. Determine how you can be a solution to an issue they’re facing and highlight during the interview why you’re a great fit to help the company achieve its goals.

  • Prepare a Reverse Interview

Rather than wait for the interviewer to ask for your questions at the conclusion of the interview, ask probing questions throughout the meeting. Why? Because such questions will demonstrate your interest in the position, your knowledge of the industry, and the potential enthusiasm you would bring to the job. So, prepare a set of specific questions you can ask of the interviewer, making them unique to this job opportunity.

  • Expect the unexpected

 Because many interviewers have changed things up when it comes to the how, when and where of interviews, a go-with-the-flow attitude will serve you well. That way, a “Let’s grab lunch while we chat,” request won’t ruffle your feathers. And when you enter the office to find not one, not two, not three but FOUR people waiting for your arrival, you’ll not faint dead away. Your response to an out-of-the-ordinary approach will be on display so make a positive impression backed by a genuine smile.

B. Loehr Staffing is eager to offer recent college graduates a job that aligns with their career goals and fits their lifestyle. We offer a competitive pay package as well as opportunities to increase your skills and experience. We’ve given you a heads up on interviews – now the ball is in your court. Contact us today.