Getting The Most And Best From A Temporary Employee

Young businessman celebrating his success

With the significant upward trend of companies hiring more temporary and contract employees, rather than traditional permanent employees, the process for employers to quickly assimilate new hires into a workforce can prove to be a challenge.  With more than 11 million temporary and contract employees entering and exiting the workforce each year, and the number of temporary jobs at an all-time high, getting new hires to focus on the company’s objectives and motivating them to contribute productively in a shorter time period is very important. This is particularly true when the new arrivals know coming in the door that their tenure most likely will not last long.  Making a temporary employee/employer relationship productive and successful for both the employer and employee requires an accelerated and comprehensive effort when it comes to motivation. Here are a few fundamentals to consider when it comes to making the most of a short-term relationship.

Start with those who want to be there. Like most abbreviated endeavors, getting some important things correct in the beginning will produce fewer barriers to achieving the best results in the end. The best candidates for temporary assignments will be those who share an employer’s interest in a forming a non-permanent relationship. Selecting the candidate who is as excited as much by the work, as they are about the particular workplace, will provide an early advantage to a mutually productive experience.

Make them part of the family. Temporary staff members should be teamed-up with regular employees and have access to all the same processes, tools and training as permanent workers. Teach them early on the company’s proprietary processes and methods. Including them as equals in the challenges and rewards of the project will keep them productively engaged. If possible, provide the best performers an opportunity to advance to permanent status.

Recognizing and rewarding accomplishments are important factors when motivating any segment of a staff. But honoring temporary team members is particularly important to making them feel as though they are key contributors  to a campaign that may not be realized and celebrated until after they are gone. Each member of a relay team is as important to winning the race as the one who crosses the finish line at the end.

Provide them with a positive takeaway.  Generously share knowledge, skills and experiences that a temporary worker may take with them to help benefit or advance their career. Real value is not always manifested in economic reward alone. If the relationship was positive, provide an open door, keep in touch and look for future opportunities to work together again.

A Fundamentally Changing Relationship

Business still life

The results of a new study conducted by the Freelancers Union indicates that more than a third of the American workforce, or 53 million workers, have become freelancers; workers who are not in a committed, traditional employer/employee relationship. The results also indicate a more than 10 million participant upward swing in freelancing in the last decade, confirming previous predictions that 40 percent of the workforce will be working on a contract basis by 2020.

The upward trend appears to be the result of more and more companies adjusting their hiring strategies to rely on workers who contract for a specific time and a project basis. With the cost of hiring permanent, long-term employees on the rise and the still unrealized implication of the Affordable Care Act on the company’s bottom line, hiring expertise by the contract is gaining favor with many companies who once kept their own fully stocked stables of full-time workers.

As for the new “contingency workers,” many are finding that the freelance relationship provided greater freedom and control over their time and their professional creativity.  The report indicates that 77 percent of freelancers make the same or more money than when they worked in a traditional employee environment. The improvement and increased availability in virtual communications and social media is making it easier to find freelancing gigs. Just 27 percent of contract employees are practicing their freelancing on a part-time basis while holding a traditional day-job. Millennials are more likely to be freelancing than their older counterparts, either by choice or by circumstance of the current job market. More than half of the survey respondents report that they are finding projects within three days and many within 24 hours.

The virtual nature of communication today also opens up job opportunities from around the world no matter where an employee resides. Many job skills allow contract workers to perform their duties from across the country or the continent without ever setting foot in the country or state of their employer. The relationship promises companies a more flexible workforce and the ability to access the right skills and people at the right time, making them more responsive to a changing global market and more competitive in general.

With the trend continuing in an upward direction, it begs a new challenge when it comes to managing both the company’s mission as well as government’s ability to gauge, monitor and maneuver economically. The present day public sponsored safety nets like unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, Medicare and Social Security were all designed to be supported by a traditional, committed worker/employer community. The current program processes may not perform sufficiently going forward without significant changes in the program’s functional design.

Sara Horowitz, founder of Freelancers Union, recently said in an interview with AOL Jobs, “A driving motivation behind the research was to find out how freelancers feel about their status. The positive-leaning results,” she says, “are a counter to the black and white all bad/all good extremes in the general market. This is a story about work in America. What we’re trying to say is this is the new reality, it’s a wakeup call. What will be the things that make people flourish?”

With the impact on commerce of rapid advancements in job changing technology, an ever expanding global economy and increased regulations, the workplace of the future will provide numerous opportunities and challenges but only one certainty. The workplace of the future and the relationship between employee and employer will look nothing like it does today.

Are We Experiencing The Weaponization Of Criminal Hacking?

Shooting piggybank

J. P. Morgan’s recent announcement that it has been the victim of a major data breach should come as a surprise to no one, after all, banks have been an obvious target of thieves and robbers since their inception. Separating depositors from their money has been a profession as long as banks and depositors have been in existence. After his capture in 1934, the legendary bank robber Willie Sutton was asked by FBI agents, “Why do you rob banks, Willie?” Almost as if he considered it a stupid question Willie replied, “Because that’s where the money is?” It is hard to imagine that Willie or his many professional compatriots could have imagined a future filled with such an abundance of opportunity for mayhem and larceny.

The unchecked flurry of data breaches that is being experienced across the spectrum of industry is proving to be a security challenge unmatched in history and one that is frustrating and exasperating to the whole of the cybersecurity community. The concern is heightened by the level of competency and capability that is now being demonstrated by these newest cybercriminals, leading many to wonder if they may be state sponsored and funded.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is looking into the J.P. Morgan breach, and possibly as many as four other major financial institutions that have not yet announced, to determine the source of the attacks.  It is current speculation that the breaches are centered in Eastern Europe, perhaps inside Russia.  The FBI has called the skill associated with the attack “far beyond the capability of ordinary criminal hackers,” leading many to conclude that the intrusions were carried out for reasons other than for profit.

If it’s determined that the most recent intrusions are state sponsored and motivated by politics rather than profit, it changes the dynamics of the game entirely. While an entire army of modern day criminal hackers can create significant calamity and disruption to millions of individuals, state sponsored weaponizing of illicit intrusions into the world’s largest financial institutions could lead to nothing less than a total failure of national economies. Vinnie Liu, partner at security consultancy Bishop Fox, says, “Financial institutions are attacked because they’re attractive, high profile targets for political messages, they represent in many ways the economic power, financial stability, and global standing of the U.S. itself.”

Breaches are going to be inevitable so long as modern day Willie Suttons roam the cyberuniverse in hunt of ill-gotten treasure. It is understandable that the increased and unrelenting volume of attacks is fatiguing our cybercrime fighters and numbing the senses of the occupants of our corporate board rooms. But it is critical that companies across all industry continue to make cybersecurity a top priority, not only to avoid a loss of corporate profits to stockholders, but to prevent the loss of something far more important to the rest of the free world.

Landing The Job May Be More About What You Didn’t Learn In College

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As the next class of college graduates returns to the halls of higher learning this fall, many do so with apprehension and uncertainty for their future. With so many of the class of 2014 still looking for their first career positions, those who are looking to graduate next year are wondering if the decision to continue their academic journey will land them their first dream job after graduation or if they will land back home, depending on the generosity of mom and dad for shelter and sustenance.

Getting a job in a difficult economy has always been a formidable challenge for new graduates and the persistent uncertainty that inhabits the most recent recovery is proving to be even more challenging. Success in the job search effort today will require more than matching the right skill sets with a corresponding opportunity. In fact it may be more dependent on what you didn’t learn in college classes than what you did.

Prepare to be flexible and willing to adapt to the marketplace. Finding the perfect career may involve a journey longer and more circular than you first envisioned. Adapting to the current terrain of employment and accepting a stepping-stone position may produce a higher return in the future. Sometimes finding a longer route around the traffic jam will beat the frustration of being stuck in park.

Credibility prevails in all things worthy of achieving. Perspective employers are looking beyond all the course work and grades for those traits and personal qualities that will lead to a successful working relationship. Trust, initiative and character still matter. Projecting positive, credible clues to your true character is important to making the short list of candidates.

Stay focused on your objective and stay on message. Being flexible in achieving an objective should not result in others becoming confused about your ultimate goal. Accepting reasonable course adjustments is one thing; wandering-off and getting lost is something much less desirable.

Don’t be closed minded. Often the best opportunities come from out of the blue; from a direction you could never have anticipated; from the least expected person or from a contact not yet made.  Be willing to step out on faith and follow a lead less obvious.

Don’t give up. Lack of persistence will only lead to less opportunity and a less fulfilling journey. Establish at least one new contact every day and reach out to as many people as you can along the way. Getting the first job is just one stop on a life-time of journeys. Don’t fail to plant a few seeds for a potential future opportunity.

Listen and learn from those who have gone before you. It’s not that they are smarter than you are, they have just been there before you. Some of the most expensive lessons are those which could have been avoided by simply taking a hint from those already well-traveled. Employers are impressed more by those who are comfortable with the idea that they don’t yet know all there is to know. Be willing to listen before you talk, take advice before you give it and act confidently only after you have benefitted from the experience of others.

And remember, there is no magic bullet for achieving success. Achieving is more about persistence, agility, practice and execution.