Is the Bridge to Recovery Collapsing?

It’s been a long-held belief that a rise in the number of temporary workers hired usually precedes an economic recovery. And while it’s always good to see more Americans getting back to work (in whatever form they can manage), a troubling sign is emerging in the data, according to a new AP story:

“After the 1990-1991 recession, for instance, gains in temporary hiring starting in August 1991 led almost immediately to stepped-up permanent hiring. And after the 2001 recession, temporary hiring rose for three straight months in the summer of 2003. By September, employers were adding permanent jobs each month.”

Ahhh, those were the days, eh?

Fast-forward to this recession, however, and the full-time jobs just don’t seem to be following the temp jobs spike as they have in previous cycles:

“Employers added a net 52,000 temp jobs in January — the fourth consecutive month of gains. Over that time, total U.S. jobs shrank by 106,000. Employers have managed to boost productivity by squeezing more work out of their existing staffs.”

Is your organization focusing solely on temp workers until the recession is over? If so, what is your organization’s measuring stick to determine when that time is?

We, (and the rest of the American workforce) would love to hear from you!

Twitter It!

Background Check, Anyone?

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” as the old saying goes.

And it now looks like 39-year-old Jennifer John may have made a fool of TV retailer QVC’s pre-hire screening procedures.

According to police, John, who has been held in prison in lieu of $100,000 bail since her Feb. 4 arrest, allegedly stole more than $200,000 worth of QVC merchandise when she worked in the West Chester (Pa.)-based company’s production studio between last November and mid-January of this year.

Police say she sold the ill-gotten goodies to a local pawn shop, which in turn raised the suspicions of state and local police.

But the story gets far worse from there, at least from QVC’s point of view:

“Meanwhile, Montgomery County prosecutors are attempting to revoke John’s $2,500 bail on a June 2009 case because of her recent arrest. John is alleged to have embezzled more than $250,000 from a Lower Merion real-estate-management company where she worked as an accounts-payable clerk from 2003 into 2008, according to police.

A QVC spokesperson declined to answer questions about the case or John, including how she came to be employed by the firm while awaiting trial on the theft charges.”

Sounds like QVC’s HR department is in for a round of tough questioning about its pre-hire screening processes.

Twitter It!

Not in it for the Money

Executive recruiters say there’s a good reason HR professionals don’t get the outrageous bonuses given to some in the finance industry.

They just don’t care that much about the money, they say, according to an article on eFinancial Careers, a UK job board that is part of Dice.

Instead, says one recruiter, HR leaders are “driven by the relationship they have with the line manager and what’s going on in the business.”

I’m sure money would be nice, too!

Twitter It!

Recruiting at its Finest?

Included in an ad by an IT staffing company seeking a technical writer to focus on proposals to Chinese businesses: “An arrogant American will not work well in this role.”

The company, Viva USA of Rolling Meadows, Ill., who apparently was searching for workers on behalf of Exelon Nuclear Partners, subsequently took the ad down and apologized, according to Fox News.

It was “a mistake,” a company spokeswoman says, noting the language was approved by a “junior recruiter.”

True. It was pretty juvenile.

Twitter It!

Fussing about HR

Most HR leaders will understandably have a negative reaction to a column by Sathnam Sanghera in the (UK) Times Online, in which she offers a major diss to the profession:

“HR people … think they play a vital role in business and for that reason regard themselves as, if anything, underpaid. When Mercer compared the pay of HR, marketing and finance directors in 14 countries in its Global Pay Summary, a number of trade publications pointed out that HR was the lowest-paid of the three. I would say it is much more notable, given how little contribution HR makes, that Mercer found that UK human resources directors are the second-highest-paid in the world, behind the United States.”

She also notes that she doesn’t “value HR: the fuss that HR makes about itself seems to far outstrip its contribution,” saying too many HR departments “are self-serving, neurotic and navel-gazing.”

Twitter It!

Succession Problems Now a Fashion Issue?

The recent and unexpected death of noted fashion designer Alexander McQueen has left the fashion world stunned, none moreso than those who worked for McQueen’s label. This New York Times story takes a look at how other big-name fashion houses have fared after their creator died.

Admittedly, the fashion world is as different from the corporate world as a stiletto heel is to a flip-flop, but it does beg the HR question: Could your organization survive and thrive if its leader was to unexpectedly pass on without a succession plan in place?

Twitter It!

Disconnect on Pay

In the latest report from tech career board, Dice, Tom Silver, senior vice president for North America, writes of the “interesting disconnect between the people who manage technology staffs every day, and the HR professionals who assist them.”

“When we asked them to pick the most significant impediment to increasing their tech team’s motivation, technology leaders said ‘pay.’ However, HR managers picked ‘none,’ because their tech teams ‘were already motivated.’ “

Right.

IT workers are no different than other worker bees. All of that “doing more with less” leads to fatigue (his term), and that manifests itself “in many ways, including a desire for higher pay and the possibility for a workplace change.”

Whether those disgruntled workers actually ” ‘vote with their feet’ ” to pursue more promising opportunities at other companies is the question all HR leaders — and many corporate executives — are pondering.

And they should.

Here’s HREOnline’s latest look at the salary situation.

Twitter It!