Friday, March 23, 2012

High Five Friday - March 23, 2012

This week we had a chat on our social network, My CoolWorks, about management and motivation. It was an interesting discussion, and I was pleased to hear from both sides - the employees and the managers. We came to a few simple conclusions. Treating your employees with respect goes a long way. Good snacks do too! Also, figurative "pats on the back" work as well.
My motivation for having this discussion was this article featured in the Smart Brief.
"Good Bosses Are The Same Today As They Were in 1992." 

The line that caught me was "[T]reating employees with respect, encouraging them to participate and to make suggestions, and listening to them are as important as ever," Sutton writes. In other words, nothing has changed as to what employees want from a boss over the years.

In other news, my favorite client quote of the week from Joel at Innersea Discoveries.

"Perfect, such a joy to get instant service;)"

We do our best. :)

Lastly, we had an employer want to take his ad down because he was getting unqualified applicants, predominantly Internationals, applying for his Maintenance Supervisor position. Granted this is a position with a very specific skill set, but still we were bummed. We want to be able to fill EVERY job that's posted on our site. Perhaps that's not realistic, but it's our goal. We did remove the ad and canceled the charge.
  • The good news is he's had qualified response to another ad he currently has running for a Chef/Cook.
  • The interesting thing to note was that his method of taking applicants is the submission of resumes via email. Essentially what was happening is that all of these unqualified candidates were flooding his inbox. Now, if he had an online application, and utilized an applicant tracking system like our Staffing Center, he could have saved his inbox the International flood, and he could more easily view their skills and take the appropriate action.
We've covered Internationals on this blog many times before. 2012 is a banner year for interest, with a low need for J-1 / H-2B visa holders. It's the typical supply and demand argument. The supply way exceeds demand. As I told my Cool Works partners this morning, I wish that we could place them all, wave the magic wand, but 2012 isn't going to be that year.

So not to leave this blog on a sour note, I guess I want to close with a plug for having better screening tools in place, primarily an employment application. This standard form goes a long way to help control your recruitment process. It also makes it easier to find the candidates who meet your requirements and are qualified to do the job.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Explanation Point Monday

We love emails like this about how our ads look or how they perform.

"It looks awesome Kathi!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for all of your help!"
Which of course then, makes us think of Elaine from Seinfeld.  Sometimes you just need that "certain emotion and intensity...." :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

High Five Friday - March 16, 2012

It's St. Patrick's Day Eve.  The Chicago River is already green.  I heard Irish music today at lunch.  I was even given some "gold" from the end of the rainbow from a fan of leprechauns. :)

As for the week that was, it's been a week of catch up for me, and with the switch to Daylight Savings Time, I feel very much sleep deprived and have been running on adrenaline, which is okay.....for a while.

I celebrated my 5th anniversary with Cool Works on March 13th.  It's amazing how quickly the years go.  For all of my years here, it means I have not been working for Princess for about the same about of time.  I'm thankful that the friendships remain, and as always, I am thrilled with my Pied Piper'ess job and my more balanced life since joining CW.  Thanks Bill!

Megan, David and Matt at the HAP Alaska - Yukon office in Seattle, WA - March 2012

Hopefully by the end of today or early next week I will finish my blog post for our social network about my history with Cool Works.  I will link that up to here when I'm done.  My five years is really thirteen years when I look back because I was a client in 1999!  As much I as benefited from working with Kathi as a client back in the day, I benefit even more by being her co-worker, and I hope that we, collectively, can provide wonderful services to you, our job seekers and clients.

Kari and Jasper in Gardiner, MT - March 2007

So, raise a glass if you're Irish, or raise a glass if you're not.  Thanks for reading and Sláinte! 

PS - I didn't quite get a post done last week so here's a photo of Bill and I at the APPL (Association for the Partners of Public Lands) conference with Beth Pratt and the crew from the Yellowstone Association, also based in Gardiner, Montana, last week at Caesar's Palace.  When in Vegas....

Yellowstone Association Staff and Cool Workers, B and Q - Las Vegas, NV - March 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

All Visas Are Not Created Equal

Seasonal Employers have long been involved with the Work and Travel Program - this "Exchange Visitor Program promotes mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by educational and cultural exchanges." These international students-turned-employees add a flair to staffs, help create a dynamic work force at times of the season when more traditional US-based college-aged employees must return to campus, and bring a 21st Century twist to the very spirit the United States was built on.

In addition to the Work and Travel Program (aka J1 Program), some seasonal employers have turned to additional resources in order to keep staff numbers sufficient during key seasons in remote and/or resort areas. The H2B Visa Program allows for longer stays, non-students and other components that the J1 Program does not allow, in addition to stringent program requirements.

Both programs are currently under the microscope, with audits and questions and concerns for all involved.

If you have survived the miles of red tape to secure H2B Visa positions, you know that it's not for the faint of heart. However, even if your H2B employees have "left the building", you could be held accountable for "things you didn't know you needed to know", as noted here:

On August 21, 2009, Department of Labor Deputy Administrator John McKeon issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2009-2 to Regional Administrators and District Directors discussing travel and visa expenses of H-2B workers. The Bulletin was published in light of the Wage and Hour Department's ("WHDs") new enforcement authority with regard to H-2B workers, and addressed the interaction of the H-2B program and the FLSA. After weighing all the factors relevant to transportation and other costs incident to temporary employment under the H-2B program, the WHD determined that the employer is the primary beneficiary of the temporary employee's travel and immigration-related costs. Thus, because the WHD concluded that under the FLSA, the transportation expenses and visa fees of H-2B employees are primarily for the benefit of the employer, it clarified that the employers should pay those expenses or fees (or reimburse employees), where shifting these costs to employees would effectively bring their wages below FLSA minimum wage in their first week of employment.

For additional information, click here for the Department of Labor web site.

Click here to read more at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Best wishes as you move into your summer season.

Friday, March 02, 2012

High Five Friday - March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss!  Patty just featured this quote in our weekly newsletter last week.  And, of course, we believe that using Cool Works, you'll certainly get to go to many great places!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” 
 Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Also, Cool Works Bill and Kari are heading to Vegas this weekend for the Association of Partners for Public Lands conference from March 4 through 8.  If you're there, please stop by our booth #328 at the LVH. :)

Have a great weekend!