Got Training? As Staffing Gets More Competitive, So Must Your Training

178974507As I look back on 2013 I feel the increases in staffing over the year, while not robust, are a positive sign for the industry as a whole. While this is good news, I also have to agree with Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association (ASA), who said in a recent press release, “The overall pace of the employment recovery remains tepid and it continues to be a very competitive environment for job seekers.”

Even if the temporary staffing trend isn’t as vigorous as we’d all like, the staffing industry employs some 2.91 million people in the U.S. every day, according to the ASA. And as the job requirements needed to land those temporary jobs become more competitive, staffing firms will need to come up with a game plan to provide the right training to match these workers to their employers.

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Notice I said the need is there to provide the “right” training – not just “training.” The truth is, you probably already provide training. In fact, when it comes to training, the ASA provides this valuable information:

The staffing industry provides free training for millions of temporary and contract employees to help meet today’s demand for skilled workers.

  • 90 percent of staffing companies provide free training to their temporary and contract employees.
  • 65 percent of staffing employees say they developed new or improved work skills through their assignments.
  • 40 percent of staffing employees say they choose temporary or contract work as a way to obtain employment experience or job training.

These are great statistics, but we know we can do better. Actually we’ll have to do better because within our industry there is a lot of competition between staffing firms. Competition for a share of the business, to hire the best temporary workers and to provide the best service to our clients so they continue to rely on us.

I know there are firms that do a really good job at training temporary workers before sending them off to a job site, but I think there are many firms that could take a look at their existing training programs and do a little tweaking to stay ahead of the trends, rather than trying to play catch up. If you are 100 percent happy with your firm’s training program and it is working perfectly, please feel free to add your suggestions to the comments at the end of this blog. We can all use great ideas and tips!

My suggestions:

1)      Assess your firm’s most successful temporary workers and your least successful, by industry. Then find out what happened and how you can improve the success rate of your workers. More specific training? Better communication? Better explanations of job duties and standards? Maybe there is an industry that doesn’t work for you and you just need to cut the cord. It could be a combination of many factors, but if you don’t do the research you won’t know how to fix the problem.

2)      Prepare your workers for software updates before a client has a chance to be unhappy. If you employ workers who use computers in their jobs, were they prepared for Windows 8? While not every employer is using Windows 8, they will soon and if you send workers to the job site with no knowledge of the latest updates in computer software, you probably won’t hear from those employers again.

3)      Be vigilant on OSHA updates and keep your workers informed as well. Again, this comes down to knowing your firm’s clients and their regulations. They key here is to know the industry or industries you serve as well as they know themselves. Be prepared to retrain as needed, and don’t assume the employer has done it for you!

4)      Revise, revise, and revise. There is nothing better than being able to say to a client, “Oh, our workers are already up-to-date on that!” Be agile in your firm’s training and be quick to update processes before your clients are even aware of a potential issue. These are just the top three points I wanted to address, there are many more on my list.

MORE: Train your workforce, train yourself

Jason Leverant

Jason Leverant
Jason Leverant is CEO of AtWork Group, a national staffing franchisor.

Jason Leverant

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