NorthBridge Blog

Pat DuganWe’re not telling anybody anything newsworthy when we mention President Donald Trump’s stated objections to illegal immigrants taking jobs on this side of the border.

Whether or not they’re actually stealing those jobs from native Americans—many of whom haven’t shown an interest in being migrant produce pickers or low-wage janitors and maintenance workers—is a question for somebody else to answer.

TrumpBut Trump’s election has definitely resonated with many foreign temp workers who are here legally, working on H-1B visas.


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Pat DuganAs we roll into the New Year, there always new trends to keep an eye on as the job market evolves. There will be some new “best practices” for the jobseeker and the human resources professional alike, and job sectors will open up – while others will narrow. Here are just a few of the 5 Trends 2017trends that’ll affect business staffing.

1. Growing transparency in the hiring process

Today’s best candidates aren’t like yesterday’s jobseekers. They expect more transparency and responsiveness from the entire process, just as they expect it from marketers or commerce providers that are part of their digital world. If you’re not upfront about matters like compensation, benefits, company culture and other factors, a lot of the new generation of job seekers simply won’t be interested.


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Pat DuganSome of us here at North Bridge are South Siders at heart, so it pains us to acknowledge competence anywhere around the intersection of Clark and Addison. If you’re not from Chicago, find a Chicagoan and ask them what that means. If you’re from around here, there’s no explanation necessary.

But as staffing and recruiting professionals, we always have to admire when an organization gets it right. Hiring Theo Epstein to be the man in charge of the Chicago Cubs turned out to be exactly the perfect move for that franchise.

Source: Wikipedia.org


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Pat DuganThere are changes on the way in the workplace, and they’ll impact all of us — from candidates to hiring managers alike, in a wide range of segments. And, as you might expect, a lot of those jobs are being driven by technology.

So what are some of the changes we’re going to see over the next few years?

1. The rise of customer service & sales automation: It’s estimated by the technology analysts at the Gartner Group that by 2020, 85% of a customer’s interactions with a company will be automated, as artificial intelligence platforms take over sales and customer service functions presently being handled by us messy, inefficient and expensive human beings.

What’s that mean for us today? If you’re interested in a career in these areas, you’d better do your research to make sure there’ll still be the opportunities you seek in those segments.

6 Ways Tomorrow's JobsNot every company is going to automate immediately, of course. But as the Cloud-based platforms that provide marketing and customer service automation become more prevalent — and universally affordable — they’ll be adopted by more and more companies.


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Pat DuganAt North Bridge, we’ve learned a few things by trial and error over the years about why good candidates apply to a job posting — and why they don’t.

And as the dynamics of recruiting change, thanks to social media and word-of-mouth, it’s important to stay alert and aware of candidate behaviors and mindsets. Because there’s no worse feeling for a recruiter than to post a job…and then get very few applications. Sometimes? None at all.

What’s up with that?

A new survey by LinkedIn probed the reasons why candidates don’t apply for a job, asking 20,000 people (including 7,000 recent job-switchers) why they don’t apply to listed jobs. The results bear out something we’ve observed ourselves — that in an age where more and more information is available about companies, work cultures and jobs, the employers who don’t serve up enough information are the ones who don’t get applications.
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Pat DuganAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois had 5,176,800 private-sector jobs in January 2000.

Also according to the Bureau, Illinois had 5,175,900 private-sector jobs in March 2016.

Jobs TableIt doesn’t take a statistician to read those numbers, and realize the shape of Illinois job growth over the past 16 years: on a net basis, it’s been practically non-existent.

So some policy groups and political pundits make a great stir about the need to slash regulation, taxes on business, and otherwise make Illinois a much more friendly location for businesses. Our present governor is certainly in favor of that, and the constant deadlock in Springfield is one result of the unwillingness to compromise on both sides.


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pat_smallThe trend toward having more workers spend more time working offsite is growing, according to a recent Gallup study of telecommuting.

Whether they’re full-time or temporary/contract employees, more and more of the workforce is embracing the flexibility that technology allows.

“Technology has made telecommuting easier for workers, and most companies seem willing to let workers do their work remotely, at least on an occasional basis if the position allows for it.” – Gallup

What’s this mean for recruitment professionals and company managers? What are some solid best practices you can use when it comes to managing and motivating full-time telecommuters?


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pat_smallCalifornia recently passed one of the most stringent equal pay laws in the country, enforcing gender pay equity with a very rigorous standard. California already has tough rules in place since 2014 regarding temporary and subcontracted employees, too.

Neither of these may seem relevant if you’re a small to medium-sized business located somewhere outside of the Golden State, but what is crucial for any employer is that they have a firm understanding of the wage and benefit laws in their own state.

Those rules are always evolving, at the municipal, state and national level, as seen in the Obama Administration’s proposed changes to overtime rules.
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pat_small5 HIDDEN BENEIFITSWe’ve mentioned the many benefits of hiring temporary staffers and independent contractors in the past, and most hiring managers are probably aware of the main advantages, like flexibility, seasonality and cost savings.

There are other benefits, however that aren’t exactly “hidden” but may not spring right to mind when considering hiring temporaries:

  1. Leveraging specialized skill sets: To reach your organization’s goals, there may be a need for ultra-specialized proficiencies that might not need to be permanently engaged, or for worked with particular accreditations or licenses. Temp hiring can be a perfect route to adding these talents to your company for as long as you need them.
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pat_smallAs the new baseball season moves forward, we’ve got to wonder – did anybody really have faith that the Cubs would have the season they did last year? Even those of us who have been known to raise a cheer (or a beer) or two for the boys on the South Side have to give credit where credit is due…

And we’d say a lot of that credit goes to Joe Maddon, who’s made a practice of getting teams to perform to their max potential.
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pat_smallThis article about developing “alumni networks” of former employees to spread good word-of-mouth about your company got us thinking – about the idea of the “walking brand” and how it relates to temporary staffers, who might be one of the best tools available for creating positive buzz about your enterprise.

If you don’t know it already, “walking brand”  is a longtime marketing term for an employee (or extremely brand-loyal consumer) who represents their company in an outgoing, affirmative way. Think of a car company employee who shows up at track days or auto events wearing their company jacket, or any of us who are proud to tell others, when we’re off the clock, where we work, why we enjoy it, what our firm’s advantages are, and more.
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pat_smallIf there are any doubts about how attitudes within the labor and talent pool have changed in the new “freelance economy,” those should be dispelled by a new, massive survey by global research firm Edelman Berland, done on behalf of Freelancers Union and Upwork.

The survey sampled 7,000 U.S. freelancers and temps, weighted to ensure demographic representation in line with U.S. labor statistics, and some of the more eye-opening results included:

  • One in three Americans – 34% of U.S. workers – is freelancing: That’s 53.7 million people doing freelance work in the last year, though the definition of “freelance” in the survey included five groups: 19.3 million “traditional freelancers” who have no employer and work on project-by-project basis; 13.2 million “moonlighters” with jobs who work on freelance projects in off-hours, 14.1 million “diversified” workers with part-time jobs who also take on freelance work; 4.6 million “temporary” workers, including those employed through staffing agencies; 2.5 million “freelance owners” who are freelancing but also hire other freelancers.
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