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Simply put, a contingent workforce plan is an organized management of temporary resources.  At its core, it offers both cost savings and flexibility. When managed properly, a solid contingent workforce plan can take your business to the next level and even afford benefits to your employees. 

 

Benefits of hiring contractors - They are there when you need them most:

Utilizing contractors can help prepare your organization for known or forecasted increases and even unexpected opportunities; or shortages of workers.  This gives you more flexibility and subsequently helps you avoid losing dedicated employees.  

 

Contractors help in times of increased projects, summer and winter holidays, and unforeseen circumstances that could, without their presence, burden your employees and result in loss of productivity and overall morale issues.

 

Contractors are professionals, they come in for a specific job and their expectations are only to do the job they’re hired for.  They hit the ground running and often require minimal supervision or guidance. 

 

Addressing the all too common skills gap:

Contractors can offer specialized skills for a specific project minus the long term commitment. Not to mention, the skills they bring come with an ability to be quick and agile, to adapt to your environment and contribute to a rise in productivity and a healthy bottom line.  In addition, contractors by nature have experienced a multitude of companies; some well run, others not so much.  As a result they can bring a whole new outlook and mindset to a project and an organization.  From this new insight, innovation and inspiration can often emerge. 

 

Let’s talk about cost savings:

Depending on the status of the contractor you can realize significant savings.  Sure independent contractors are typically paid higher but not in comparison to the obligatory costs associated with employees.  When you bring in an independent contractor you have an hourly fee (and maybe additional work related expenses ie.travel), but with an employee, in addition to salary you have costs related to training and development, paid breaks/lunches, sick days, benefits and severance.   Of course some of these costs would be allocated for temporary contractors as per employment standards however, you would still benefit by having skilled resources on a temporary basis to assist in short term needs, and often at a lesser cost. 

 

Considering the risks:

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share the inherent risks in some Contingent Workforce Plans.  If you do not utilize a reputable third party agency/managed services provider like itec group you run the risk of compliance issues with payroll and taxes leaving you vulnerable to paying back pay, civil litigation costs; settlement costs and legal/tax penalties and fines if your contractor is deemed an employee under the law in your province. 

 

In short, you can realize your growth strategies for your organization through a well-managed contingent workforce plan that mitigates the risks of pseudo-employment, reduces liabilities, maximizes productivity and provides an optimized and compliant workforce.

 

For more information on how your organization can engage temporary workers with minimal risk, please connect with us for a consultative assessment of your needs. 

 

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Yes! Creating and nurturing a recruitment strategy will help you to manage expectations for your hiring managers; protect your company brand and increase your ability to attract and retain the best talent.  A recruitment strategy outlines in a clear format what roles you will recruit for, when, why and how.  It is aligned with your overall company objectives and budgets.  In fact, the key components to a solid recruitment strategy are not unlike the criteria for a S.M.A.R.T. goal.   They’re Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. 

 

First and foremost you need to do an appraisal on your employer brand.  Identify your vision, your WHY and own it.  This way you can ensure your messaging is attracting the right audience. Utilize social media to your benefit.  Job seekers are resourceful and they will be looking for insight into the kind of company you are and whether or not the organization could be a fit alongside their own morals, beliefs and ambitions.  

 

Next, determine your plans for growth.  If your company is scaling, what roles do you need to hire for now?  Moreover, which roles will have the biggest ROI from an increased headcount? When you’re unsure of how many employees you’ll need; you can hire temporary staff to help you expand quickly and with minimal risk.  But be mindful of inherent risk associated with contract labor and consider partnering with a reputable third party vendor like itec group.  Most importantly, know your culture and be transparent with potential hires; you know what they say about one bad apple. 

 

Perform an audit on your department or division based on skill sets.  Where are you lacking?  What skill could you add to your arsenal that could be a turning point for your organization?   Be sure to integrate your diversity and inclusion program into your recruitment strategy.  Always be evolving, always be looking for ways to innovate, improve and be better than you were yesterday. 

 

Incorporate a level of flexibility into your plan and be willing to adapt to changing situations as they arise.  Your recruitment plan should be tactical but fluid when necessary.  Decide in advance what aspects of your plan are to be protected and what areas are more dynamic.   Know your competition and be sure your plan will highlight the key differentiators for your organization. 

 

Overall the key to your success is having great people.  However, it is with consistent action on the strategic objectives for the current and future demands of the business that will allow you to cultivate the teams you dream of.    

 

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Employee Engagement & Covid Fatigue

 

Covid fatigue; It’s not just a clever name, the struggle is real.  For over a year now many have been working from home and often balancing homeschooling at the same time.  Now with this third wave and a fourth looming, how do we continue to keep our employees engaged, motivated and feeling valued? 

 

For some, work has been the only constant in their lives; they depend on that for their mental health.  That dependency makes it imperative for employers to do everything they can to maintain a sense of connection with their employees; and like many things in life, it’s those small details that can make all the difference.

 

Make communication a priority: Now, more than ever before communication is paramount.  Since every organization and culture is different, you should use communication channels that make sense for your teams; focusing on what is familiar and trusted. Whether it be a slack channel, instant messaging or video calling; ensure everyone has several options to have two-way communication with team members and leadership.  This includes accurate and timely employee updates; confidential means to facilitate communication for questions and concerns or to seek help and of course don’t forget ways to have simple water cooler chats. 

 

Ensure consistent touchpoints: Depending on your business, initiatives and priorities may be a steady state or perpetually changing.  Since the pandemic and not unlike most times of crisis we’ve all sharpened our sense of resiliency and our understanding that plans may need to shift, and quickly. Staying connected and offering real time clarity to your employees will help in times of uncertainty and ambiguity.  Short check-ins provide opportunity to get a pulse for how people are doing, get on the same page, manage workloads and connect.  These few minutes with your employees will help to boost morale and will encourage feelings of hope and purpose.

 

Encourage self care and promote wellness: Remember travelling?  You get on the plane and the flight attendant does the usual spiel and they tell you in the event of an emergency to affix your own oxygen mask first and then help others with theirs because If you don’t look after you, you’re no help to anyone else.  So be like the flight attendant and promote self care for your employees, promote health and wellness in all you do.  Don’t just point employees to the EAP program, engage with them in all interactions, business focused or culture focused in a way that spurs wellness. 

 

Find ways to celebrate: This is where we have to get creative and find the good in each day.  Whether it be a birthday; an individual/group/company success; a work anniversary or a major life event for an employee, celebrate it.  Focus on the positive wherever possible.  In the words of Wayne D. Dyer, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”

 

Lastly, connect outside your organization and share ideas, share knowledge and help each other out.  I’ve seen more instances of this in the last year than ever before in my career and it reminds me of the human spirit and keeps me optimistic for the future. 

 

Stay well. 

Modesty Sabourin 

Director of HR, Operations

 

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Happy Anniversary to the itec group team!

 

A decade of relationships

A decade?  Really? It’s incredible to me that this August marks the 10th anniversary of itec group and I am filled with both pride and gratitude! When I launched this business in 2010, I had no idea we’d be here today.  But here we are. We made it to this milestone because of the incredible relationships (employee, customer and candidate) we’ve fostered over the years and that we continue to cherish - without them, we wouldn’t be the company we are today.  Don’t get me wrong, our success hasn’t come without struggle, winning as an entrepreneur means embracing the good times and the bad - facing both head on with tenacity and resilience.  No one can accomplish this on their own.  We have been fortunate enough to have a wealth of friendships and partnerships that have allowed us to get to this moment and they will continue to be a driving force in the next 10 years of our business. 

 

Continuing to evolve

As a company we have learned so much over the last 10 years and have continued to advance recruitment with an elevated experience that is unparalleled in the industry.  I don’t have all the answers nor do I claim to know everything about business but these few thoughts/quotes sure ring true in my experience. 

 

  • Coffee is always a good idea. ~ anonymous
  • Always go the extra mile, it’s never crowded. ~ anonymous
  • There is no substitute for hard work.  ~ Thomas Edison
  • The customer’s perspective is your reality. ~ Kate Zabriskie
  • Promise yourself today to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.  ~ Christian Larson
  • It really does take a community to build a small business.  

 

It’s time to celebrate

2020 has certainly been an unprecedented time and it’s hard to celebrate when there are so many people struggling.  We are all so busy and we often forget to stop and celebrate the good stuff that happens everyday. As we celebrate 10 years of business and 10 years of incredible partnerships we together celebrate all small businesses and wish each of you success. We know the daily determination and grit required and we celebrate you too. 

 

To those of you who we’ve worked with – thank you for being an essential part of our success!  And to those who we have yet to work with – we look forward to it and can’t wait to connect.  Let me leave you with this one last thought in these challenging times - please support local businesses whenever you can - this is the spirit of our community and this is what allows us all to rise above.

 

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Industries Fight Against Covid19

Everyday we receive updates, news and bulletins about what is happening around the world but what is happening here, at home, in the Ontario and Canadian manufacturing sector, to help combat and prevent COVID-19?

 

The truth is, there is a lot  happening.  Companies are retooling every day to provide the essential PPE and equipment for our healthcare system and workers. Companies have shifted focus away from their core products to make hand sanitizer for the masses. Everyone is doing their part and it’s heartwarming to see us Canadians and our Canadian companies band together during a major crisis such as this.

 

So, aside from retooling and manufacturing the necessary goods needed, what else is the Ontario and Canadian manufacturing industry doing to prevent the spread? Over the last few weeks I have been speaking with manufacturers all across Ontario, asking them about best practices, unique solutions or other programs implemented to minimize risk to their personnel and business as a whole. Below is the compiled list, however, I know this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to best practices during these difficult times.

 

Some of this is standard by now, but some of the other preventative tactics may be new and what is needed for you, your employees and your company. If there is anything your company is currently doing that is not listed below please “reply” to this posting with your idea, suggestion or current initiative.

 

I have also included a number of links to resources available to Canadian businesses at the bottom of this posting for reference. 

 

We are in this together!
 

Restricted Access & Physical Distancing

  • No outside visitors; employees only on site
  • Blocking doors open to reduce touching of handles
  • 6ft between personnel or workstations
  • Stopped all in person meetings
  • Only 1 employee in change room at a time
  • Staggered lunch breaks or specific amount of people allowed in break room at one time
  • No outside items allowed into facility (purses, bags, lunch boxes, etc) to reduce contamination potential
  • Individual pre-packaged meals being provided to staff

Sanitization

  • All staff required to wash hands upon entering facility
  • Lunchroom sanitized every two hours
  • Sanitize desk or workstation at start and end of shift
  • Increase in cleaning frequencies for whole facility

Scheduling

  • 30 or minute gap between shift start and end times
  • All capable of working from home have been mandated to do so

 

Education & Monitoring

  • All employees received training through an ongoing educational campaign; how does the virus spread, ways to protect yourself, preventative measures, company procedures and policies
  • Monitor any employees and send any employees home displaying signs of COVID-19 or Flu like symptoms
  • Staff can voluntarily go home if they request; staff who choose to go home and are not ill may be on unpaid leave (company dependant)

 

Supply Chain

  • Regular communication with supply chain to identify risks, alternate options (if needed), suppliers in trouble (how can you support your suppliers?), 
  • Determine which alternative suppliers can act as backups in the event of disruption

Resources:

http://www.chamber.ca/resources/pandemic-preparedness/BusinessPrepGuidePanPrep2020

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/preventing-covid-19-workplace-employers-employees-essential-service-workers.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/guidance-documents/risk-informed-decision-making-workplaces-businesses-covid-19-pandemic.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html#businesses

https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/ncov-daily-lit.pdf?la=en

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It’s understandable that most people searching for new employment, whether that be an entire career shift or considering independent ventures, are not entirely sure how to approach this endeavor. It is emotional and complex with little clarity as to how to be successful, and often it takes a lot of time and energy. This is combined with external pressures for success, the weight of expenses, and our inherent desires to explore something new. The idea of a golden ticket to success doesn’t exist and advice seems to differ from professional to professional. That said, there are some common pieces of advice that are important to consider as you begin your search.

 

Spend your energy efficiently:   First is focus. Distractions and perfectionism can steal the energy and momentum from you, taking away from your efficiency and effectiveness. Clear the mental lens so the picture is focused.

 

Prepare yourself mentally:  Exploring opportunities can feel like an emotional and cognitive Rubix cube.  My own internal dialog has been my cheerleader and opponent many times in the past.  What has helped me?  I’ve found writing, routine physical training, discussing obstacles and solutions with peers, and speaking with professionals has helped me put things in perspective.

 

Evaluate your budget: Reduce the pressure. Remove extra expenses, cut back, cancel running subscriptions, this looks different for each of us based on our individual situations. Keep it simple seems to be the advice I adhere to the most.

 

Define your strike zone: Similar to a baseball player selecting which pitches they will swing for; knowing what you want to apply for will allow more efficient use of your time and energy. Jeff Bount’s, Fanatical Prospecting provides the best advice around this.

 

Consider the questions below to clarify what you want to put your energy into. https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/career-planning

 

  • Skills- What did you like about your past jobs? What came naturally to you? Where did you excel? What stood out to you?
  • Lifestyle - What hobbies or interests do you have that would be a “dream job”?
  • Industries Sector - Are there any industries that interest you or you find important to you?
  • Location - Travel, commute to work, remote work
  • Titles/Responsibilities
  • Salary expectations
  • Timeline

 

Create a prospect list: Create a list of companies or jobs that fit the parameters above.   Use your discretion, but reconsider your parameters if you have far too many or too little matches. I’ve been guilty of having too many prospects in the past and as a result lose focus on my goals.

 

Build a simple spreadsheet with company names, locations, or job titles. Resources that you can use are City and Industry Directories, Industry websites, Linkedin, job boards, newspapers, and past coworkers.

 

Create your resume & Linkedin profile: This is the holy grail of confusion and time for many job searchers.  The online options and articles for  “perfect resume” can be overwhelming.  My suggestion is to pick a simple one you’re comfortable with and stick with it as your baseline.

 

Provide objective details and help the reader know exactly what you did; don’t leave it to interpretation. Use achievement statements.  Here are some tips:

 

  • Check spelling, grammar and punctuation and use full sentence structure
  • Use one font and bold only subheadings/dates, and titles
  • Right justified, standard margins, avoid tables/underlining/italics/pictures
  • Keep it concise and use inverse chronological order - include dates, titles
  • Write in 2nd person with 5 to 10 points maximum for responsibilities

 

On LinkedIn ensure your status is open to opportunities.  This is key as Recruiters review candidates daily. 

 

Automate your opportunities: Set up alerts for job openings at all of your prospects, job boards, LinkedIn, industry sites.  But be careful  with this - automated job applications could leave you receiving a call for a role that you had no idea you applied for; leaving you looking unprepared and disinterested.

 

Recruiters: Recruiters tend to specialize by location, industry, and job categories. Partnering deliberately with agencies aligned within your strike zone should yield the best results.  There are no costs for candidates.

 

Recruiters will often ask interview questions you should expect on first interviews so this is an opportunity to sharpen your answers, as well as find available opportunities often not posted publicly. Depending on the position you’re seeking, immediate matches to your specific search is a high expectation, but providing the details of your  “strike zone” ensures you will be top of mind when an opportunity is available.  https://www.itecgroup.ca/Careers.htm

 

Routine Action: Optimize your applications. That’s the most important action you can take, without a resume in front of a hiring manager it’s very difficult to expect results.

 

Deliberately schedule yourself for “application time”. 9 am to 12 pm is an ideal timeframe where you’ll stay focused, creative, and stay on the task.

 

Set up tomorrow today and track your applications.

 

Expect silence -No feedback is common, hard to understand, and react to, but it is expected.

 

Create space - Burnout happens. Find something outside of your search that absorbs you, hobbies, family, renovations etc. Give yourself and a chance to appreciate your value outside of your career.

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The Courtesy of Follow-Ups

 

In this day and age of technology, we are inundated with a barrage of messages of people selling one thing or another. It's easy to dismiss a deliberate mass email pitching a job opportunity if there is no sign of a personalized touch demonstrating the recruiter has done any homework on your professional background.

 

Things change so quickly within the professional world and at one moment you may find yourself totally content in your role and the next find yourself blind-sided by an organizational restructure. It is in everyone's best interest to maintain some form of dialogue and to be receptive to keeping your options open.

 

This is a two-way street between recruiters and candidates, don't let your busy schedule stop you from a courteous follow-up as simple as "not interested, thanks for your time".

 

Craig Allan, Lead Technical Recruiter

itec group Inc.

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