5 Key Traits When Choosing an Industrial Staffing Partner

By Tim Massey, CEO, Penmac Staffing

By Tim Massey, CEO, Penmac Staffing

In today’s labor economy, attracting, hiring and retaining a good workforce is a tough gig. Many companies are still frozen in 2009 and think the streets are brimming with workers begging for a job. The reality isn’t so pretty when the first surge in manufacturing or distribution hits their floors. The most recent numbers from the BLS show the staffing market penetration over 2%. For some areas of the country, filling semi-skilled positions within a few days is possible but challenging. In most areas, these positions can remain unfilled for weeks costing each company lost production time and ultimately money.

The challenge becomes knowing whom to partner with and when, and, most importantly, the true capabilities of the staffing company you chose. The following are 5 Key Traits that every manufacturing plant, distribution center or packaging facility should consider when choosing a staffing company.

1. Market Penetration – Many times the misconception is the more branches they have in an area the better the coverage. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead of picking a firm with 10 locations, buyers should focus on daily applicant flow, daily order fulfillment, and the firm’s strategy to attract, hire and retain good workers.

2. Hours of Operation – Does your industrial firm keep an 8 to 5 schedule? If so, it is time to look for a new partner. The best industrial firms will adapt their schedule to meet the needs of their clients. Split or rotating schedules provide clients more access and allow a broader window for applicants to apply. It is not uncommon for high volume firms to staff 12-14 hours each day, 7 days a week.

3. Training – In addition to the important orientation process, training ensures labor standards and retention goals are met. Whether the training is on the job, objective based or in a mock environment, it is a key to staffing success.

4. Honesty – If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Firms that set realistic expectations with their client partners are a rarity. Promising to fill 100% of your orders on time, every time with no turnover is a fantasy. We are dealing with an unpredictable product – people. Finding a firm that knows the market, that can tell you the rate of pay for similar positions at similar companies, and that doesn’t over-promise and under-achieve is a tough job, but they are out there.

5. Involved – Does your staffing partner attend production meetings and do you encourage their participation? How engaged are they with their employees on the floor and with your line management team? Do they participate in employee events, community events and training sessions? Is your business success important to them and the team they supply? Staffing suppliers focused on long term sustainable relationships will excel in all of these.

Just like there are good BBQ joints and bad BBQ joints, the same is true with staffing. Taking time to learn more about how they operate and their recent level of success will tell you more than a fancy slide show and a sunny disposition.