Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: An Interview with Midwest Staffing

employment, unemployment, hiring, recessionDuring the economic slide and subsequent recovery, the jobs market has been in the spotlight throughout, scrutinized over and over, as traction has been hard to come by. But there have been glimmers of hope, as temporary hiring has shot higher over the past year, historically a precursor to permanent hiring.  But this isn’t your “typical” job market.

To shed some light on the current job market and future of the job placement industry, I sat down with Midwest Staffing’s Jen Granner, Director of Sales, and Tron Swanson, Marketing.  We discussed their business and industry, as well as any trends that they are seeing in the temporary and permanent job placement market.  Bridget Ortner, Human Resources Manager, and Brian Thoemke, President, contributed to the conversation as well via email communications.

Andrew Nyquist:  Can you summarize Midwest Staffing’s business and client focus for readers?

Jen:  Midwest Staffing is a growing and ever changing family owned company [Thoemke Enterprise].  Midwest offers innovative solutions that are flexible for our business partners needs, depending on their business goals.  As dynamic as the American economy is, we have taken an approach of understanding the ever-changing needs of our clients and responding accordingly.  We really focus on providing a flexible workforce as companies needs change on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.  We also assist companies in finding great talent in all areas of expertise.

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Tron:  Being a small, locally operated business allows us to better understand the relationship that businesses have within communities.  We strive to participate in this process, attending client and community activities, training programs, charity events and daily operations.  Community building is very important to Midwest.

Andrew:  Generally speaking, how’s business been of late?

Jen:  The current economic climate has made business very unpredictable, and we have seen more reactive needs from our clients than ever before.  It is due to this uncertainty that the need for a flexible workforce has increased significantly, and our business is up 30% from this time last year.  We see this trend continuing throughout the rest of 2011.

Andrew:  So, it sounds like you are seeing an uptick in temporary hiring.  Do you think it’s a precursor to fulltime hiring?

Jen:  Yes, there is definitely an uptick in temporary hiring, though most companies are still hesitant to turn this into full time hiring.  Again, this is due to the high level of uncertainty.  However, we are seeing that companies are still willing to add elite performers [top 10%] to their team in any industry, as talent is hard to find and sort through.

Andrew:  Are there any current or future hiring or workplace trends of note?  And how do these trends affect your business, now and in the future?

Jen:  IT, Engineering, Manufacturing and Sales are the hot sectors we are catering too and are seeing the biggest demand for top talent.  As we continue to evolve with the economy and trends, we have added new areas of focus to ensure we are keeping up with the marketplace.

Tron:  We continue to bring on talent that has an expertise in areas outside of our current business scope to ensure we are diversified.  This will help us better meet the needs of our clients.

Andrew:  What are your corporate clients telling you about the future?

Brian:  Clients we work with have never seen so much uncertainty with their future business.  The ability to accurately forecast no longer exists in today’s business climate.  As a result, we see greater demand for “last minute” help with projects that in the past we would have had several weeks-months lead-time.  Clients are feeling more optimistic about their prospects for growth when compared to 2009 but most remain somewhat leery of what the future holds for them and their business.

“Our success is built on a strong partnership with our clients, internal team and the communities in which we operate” – Brian Thoemke, President

Andrew:  What opportunities/obstacles does the recent healthcare reform bill pose for Midwest Staffing and your industry?  How do you think it will effect corporate hiring in general?  Temporary or Fulltime?

Bridget:  Midwest Staffing supports the recent health care reform bill as it relates to providing more Americans with health insurance coverage.  If health care reform is done correctly, the bill could make temporary employment an attractive option for individuals.  Midwest Staffing recognizes the importance of health care insurance as it increases retention and productivity for our clients.  Because we recognize the role that health care plays in creating a qualified workforce, we currently offer a limited medical and dental plan to our employees.  As health care reform stands now, we feel that more corporations will turn to temporary staffing agencies to provide a qualified workforce.  Using temporary employees could allow corporations to avoid directly paying for medical insurance and/or avoid paying the fine.

Midwest Staffing has a HR business partner who is dedicated to ensuring that their clients are prepared for any legislature changes regarding health care reform.  Each client will have a slightly different business model and strategy: some plan to move employees over to the temporary payroll and others plan to lean more on the temporary workforce as we approach 2014!  However, we realize that a lot can change over the next few years and we are prepared to help create effective workforce strategies for all our business partners.

Andrew:  How prepared is the job staffing industry for health care reform and any other changes that may present themselves?

Brian:  Health care reform is the biggest question mark going forward.  I believe the staffing industry is prepared to add staff for our client companies, however health care reform costs could potentially send many companies out of business.  The staffing companies that are best equipped to pass on the costs to their clients for health care reform will be the ones that survive and prosper.

Thank you to the Midwest Staffing team for making time for this interview, as well as follow up questions and comments.


Previously published as a blog by Minyanville.


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Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not in any way represent the views or opinions of his employer or any other person or entity.