If your business is in manufacturing or logistics, chances are you’ve received calls or visits from a staffing company representative at some point. With hundreds of staffing companies operating in Southern Ontario and British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, it can be overwhelming to determine which will be dependable, ethical, and knowledgeable strategic partners for your company.
Over the years, companies big and small have shared with ABL some of their concerns about staffing companies. Here are some of the warning signs to watch for when thinking about working with a staffing or recruitment company:
1. THE AGENCY REP PROMISES “PERFECT ATTENDANCE” OR “ZERO TURNOVER”
Employees, whether full-time, contract, or temporary, are not inanimate resources that are guaranteed to be where you last left them. They’re just as prone to life’s circumstances as the rest of us, despite the best of intentions. School closures, traffic accidents, sick kids, transport system shut-downs, snow-storms, sickness, or injury – none of these things can be avoided 100% of the time.
With record-low unemployment rates, candidates have multiple job offers and a responsibility to their families to choose the job that provides the best chance to improve their overall wellness and prosperity. Gone are the days of our parents and grandparents who worked for the same firm for decades and retired with generous retirement packages and benefits. Job seekers today move around regularly, embracing the opportunity to learn new skills, gain new experience, and increase their earning potential.
A good staffing company will help you identify the best fit possible for your open positions, given the applicant’s experience, goals, and long-term plans – but they will not placate you with irresponsible promises of zero turnover or perfect attendance.
2. THE AGENCY REP PROMISES TO PROVIDE MORE OR “BETTER” TEMPS THAN ANY OTHER AGENCY
Firstly, listen for that word: “temps.” The way a staffing company refers to its candidates is often a sign of how they treat their people. “Temp” is a derogatory term implying the person is a second-class citizen in the world of work, undeserving of even learning their name or reasons for engaging in a temporary assignment. Instead, listen for phrases such as “associate”, “temporary employee”, “candidate”, and “teammate.”
Secondly, many of the employment markets that staffing firms operate within are experiencing record-low unemployment rates: for example, 3.2% in the Milton, Ontario area. What proportion of that 3.2% are interested in working in manufacturing or distribution? How many of those are looking for work as a forklift operator, general labourer, or shipper/receiver?
In markets like the GTA, where a 1-bedroom apartment costs $1000 to $1400 per month, how many candidates can afford a vehicle to get to positions that are not on a reliable bus route?
The truth is that staffing companies that work within the industrial sector are often recruiting the same candidates. It’s not uncommon for a candidate to be registered with three, four, or five different staffing services. There is very little chance that a staffing agency has access to a completely untapped pool of candidates.
Instead, when the same candidate is registered with multiple recruiting agencies, the agency that cultivates a better relationship and engages in ongoing mentorship with that temporary employee will achieve better results over a rival staffing firm.
A good relationship between employee and staffing agency results in better outcomes on assignments and the chance that the employee will refer his or her friends and family. At ABL, employee referrals are consistently one of our top sources of new temporary employees. This speaks volumes about our ability to mentor and match people with the jobs they need and want.