September Employment Trends Report [Infographic]

Total non-farm payroll employment was up by 142,000 this month with a 6.1% unemployment rate. Check out the infographic to find more updates and get news about the staffing industry. Click here to view the PDF: September Employment Trends Infographic.

Karah Bradshaw

The Benefits of Balancing Your Life [Infographic]

Repeat after me, “work-life balance.” Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, not anymore! The idea of work-life balance has become a craze and thanks to all of the attention, there are finally some practical ways to bring balance into your life. This infographic gives you a quick rundown on how to achieve work-life balance and just how beneficial doing so can be.

Click to Open Infographic

Claire French

MSPs for Small and Mid-Size Markets: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Click to read the full article.

In their May issue, HRO Today featured an article by George Lanzano on the customization of Managed Service Provider (MSP) programs for the small and mid-size market. George, an expert in the field, is the Executive Director of Business Solutions for Staff Management | SMX’s Global MSP Programs and has more than 20 years of experience working with clients to create customized contingent workforce management programs. In his article, he discusses the challenges that small and mid-size buyers face when looking for a solution to optimize their contingent workforce management practice.

Historically, these buyers have had more limited options for contingent workforce management solutions than their larger counterparts. With scalable and customizable options now available, MSPs are making it possible to achieve targeted objectives, thus becoming more accessible to and impactful for the small and mid-size market.

George’s Top 3 Strategies to Scale an MSP Program for the Small and Mid-Size Market

  1. Define the right funding model.
  2. Establish a suitable service model.
  3. Apply MSP resources to address the client’s most immediate concerns.

To learn more about scaling MSP programs for the small and mid-size market, read Getting in the Game!

Karah Bradshaw

The Practical Guide to Achieving Work-Life Balance

Life might be the greatest juggling act of all time. When you’re young it’s usually pretty simple – you’re only juggling two or three balls as you focus on academics, extracurriculars, maybe even a part-time job. But the simplicity of the act doesn’t last long. Bowling pins are added here and there as you continue to grow up and face new responsibilities. And the next thing you know, you’re juggling flaming batons as you attempt to balance your life at work and your life at home.

It’s no wonder everyone seems to be searching for that perfect balance – I sure am. We’re living in a fast-paced world that is obsessed with multitasking and getting things done. With these societal ideals engrained in our minds, we often forget the value of time.

So I started to search, and as I began my pursuit for this so-called ‘perfect balance’, I stumbled across a variety of how-to’s and quick tips that promised to help me find it. They sounded simple, all I had to do was follow a few tips, make a few changes and my life would be balanced. Right?

Well I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the time to take a vacation every time I start feeling overwhelmed. Nor do I have the resources for a life coach to keep my balance beam aligned. I cannot simply say ‘no’ to certain requests, just because I don’t want to take them on – sometimes it’s my job to get them done.

Maintaing balance between your work, family and recreation time is hard – we all know that. But what we may forget, is that we all have different resources and responsibilities. If we could all take that vacation or hire that life coach, we might live in a perfectly balanced world. The truth is, not everyone can and that’s why I want to share some of the most practical tips I came across in my search to find that perfect balance.

Practical Ways to Establish More Balance in Your Life

Set Priorities. Acknowledging how important each task actually is will allow you to add value to your daily schedule by helping you engage in what means most to you. You will feel less stressed when the tasks you see as highly important have been completed.

Avoid Multitasking. The act of multitasking tends to blur the line between work and play. Do your best to concentrate on work when you are at work and focus on recreation when you are out of the office. By resisting the desire to multitask, you’ll be able to accomplish more while you’re working and enjoy more while you’re not.

Look Forward to Something Each Day. It doesn’t have to take much time or effort, it just needs to be something you enjoy – read a book, take a bath, or play with the kids. If you have something to anticipate throughout the day, your productivity will likely increase and you’ll feel more energized along the way.

Set Goals. Setting small goals will enable you to make doing something for yourself a priority. By defining a specific goal, it’s easier to be disciplined about accomplishing it. Enjoy five minutes of silence after dinner. Spend an hour playing with the kids each day. Get to work an hour earlier. Whatever goal you set, make it a priority and make it meaningful.

Evaluate. Make the effort to monitor how you are spending your time. If you notice that you’re wasting time on meaningless tasks, it may be an indicator that you need to reprioritize or even work on your time management skills. Time is one of the biggest commodities – make sure you’re spending it on something that matters to you.

Although life may be a constant juggling act, I hope you will find it a little easier by using these practical methods to bring balance into your life. Do you have a great method for keeping your life balanced? We’d love to hear your tips as well – leave us a comment!

Claire French

Job Openings at Seven-Year High

Employment Trends ReportRecent data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides a continued positive outlook for employment trends this month. Job openings currently stand at a seven-year high with 4.5 million openings reported in April, up from 4.2 million for the previous month. The number of job openings have increased over the past 12 months in each region of the United States, with the exception of the South.

The BLS reports that total nonfarm employment added 217,000 jobs in May, with average monthly job gains remaining at 197,000 over the past 12 months. Growth has been prominent for several industries including: health care and social assistance, professional and business services, food services and drinking places, and transportation and warehousing.

Jobs in the temporary services sector have also continued to rise, adding 14,000 jobs in May and a total of 224,000 jobs over the last year. The Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) report a temp penetration rate of 2.06% for the month and an 8.5% increase in temporary employment compared to May of last year.

Richard Wahlquist, President and CEO of the American Staffing Association (ASA), notes that “the demand for temporary and contract workers continues to increase across most sectors.” This is good news for those searching for temporary or flexible work or jobs that could lead to full-time time positions in the future.

While the unemployment rate sits untouched from last month at 6.3%, employment trends indicate that the jobs outlook is still on the rise. According to the BLS, the number of people who lost their jobs and those who completed temporary work declined by 218,000 in May. Despite the unchanged unemployment rate, this decline in jobs lost is a positive sign, signifying that those who are currently employed have greater job security than in the recent past.

Another indicator that points to this positive outlook is The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index (ETI), which shows a 5.4% increase since last year with improvement in each of its eight categories for the first five months of 2014. Gad Levanon, Director of Macroeconomic Research at The Conference Board, reports that the ETI “continues to signal solid job growth” and points to a “need for employers to rapidly expand their payroll in light of strengthening economic activity”.

If you have any questions on current employment trends, feel free to leave a comment below or email me at!

Karah Bradshaw

Why Single-Tasking is the New Multitasking

Why you should stop mulitasking In an era where technology is running the world, it’s common to see a person walking with their head down, looking at their phone, texting a friend, checking their email, or scrolling through social media sites. With busy and demanding lifestyles, multitasking becomes a need or sometimes an addiction. According to Peter Bregman’s article, How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking, “Multitasking leads to as much as a 40% drop in productivity.” To get things done in an effective and timely manner, end the multitasking cycle and begin single-tasking instead.

If you’ve always considered multitasking a positive attribute, you’re not alone. Most people think that by multitasking they get more accomplished. In fact, multitasking is a commonly requested attribute in modern job descriptions. However, as author Julie Morgenstern said in an interview with Forbes, “It has been scientifically demonstrated that the brain cannot effectively or efficiently switch between tasks, so you lose time. It takes four times longer to recognize new things, so you’re not saving time; multitasking actually costs time.” In order to fully focus on the task at hand, you must be able to put forth your best work by being focused with no distractions.

By bouncing between different tasks, you lose valuable time and are less efficient. Dr. David Meyer, a cognitive scientist at the University of Michigan who specializes in multitasking explains, “For tasks that are at all complicated, no matter how good you have become at multitasking, you’re still going to suffer hits against your performance. You will be worse compared to if you were actually concentrating from start to finish on the task.” By working on one assignment at a time, you’re able to zone in on one certain topic or task with no distractions, which will enable you to put forth your best work.

5 Ways You Can Become a Better Single-Tasker

1. Keep track of your tasks: The best way to do this is to create a calendar and write down all of your tasks, meetings, and presentations on the days they are due. This will keep you on track without any second-guessing. A calendar is also a great visual tool because you can literally see when due dates are approaching.

2. Prioritize: Complete all tasks that have the closest deadlines first. This will ensure you do not miss due dates and can help you fully concentrate on the task at hand. Prioritizing keeps you focused and, as a result, you become more efficient (and successful) in the workplace.

3. Silence electronics: Maintain focus on your work by putting your phone on silent and out of sight. If you’re working on a computer, only keep windows you need visible. During breaks, check your email or social media pages instead of going back and forth during work hours. This will help keep distractions to a minimum.

4. Stay organized: A study conducted at Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute explains, “Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.” To be the most effective at work, your desk should be clean with papers filed, folders labeled and distractions at a minimum. This not only keeps everything systematized, but also provides a subconscious sense of peace while you’re at work.

5. Take breaks throughout the day: You might be surprised how much of a difference it makes to get up and walk around or take a trip to the cafeteria to eat your snack. Breaking up your day will give the brain time to relax and your eye muscles time to ease. Then, when you get back to work, you’ll feel refreshed, energized and ready to tackle your next assignment.

If you are overwhelmed with a long to do list and feel the need to multitask, take a second to slow down and remember you are only making it harder for yourself to focus on getting things done. By following these five steps, you’ll find that you can get more accomplished in a timely manner, without the need to multitask.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Lost time is never found again.” This statement certainly rings true for time lost while attempting to multitask. So, don’t squander your valuable time trying to complete multiple tasks at once. Instead, practice single-tasking whenever possible and it will become a habit!

Join Us
If you are interested in joining a friendly team with great coworkers you should check out the opportunities at Staff Management | SMX. We are building our talented team to keep pace with our strong business growth. Our culture enables our hardworking employees to be engaged, valued and enabled to reach their full potential. So, if you are serious about providing exceptional service and want to be part of a winning team, we want to talk to you!

We have great opportunities at our home office in Chicago and across the country supporting our world-class clients. So, check out our career opportunities to learn more about being a part of the Staff Management | SMX team where you can make a real impact on our success.

Corporate & Field Positions
Temporary Position

Amanda Kassel

MSP’s Evolving Value Proposition for Your Non-Employee Workforce

Over the last half decade, contingent staffing has become an increasingly important strategy for US corporations and a critical element of their workforces. The use of contingent staffing is expected to continue to become a larger component of the total workforce in coming years.

The non-employee category, which now spans traditional temporary labor services, independent contractors and, to an increasing extent, direct hires, is becoming more complex. As a result, this workforce requires effective, multi-tiered management strategies. Organizations now call for expertise to continue to drive cost savings for this category while also achieving visibility, compliance and effective management.

The range of contingent talent, from entry level to the most highly sought-after skills sets, is now spread across critical projects and geographies throughout many organizations. Subsequently, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are offering a more holistic management approach designed to provide visibility and consistency across contingent talent channels. In addition, there is a growing need for analytics that go beyond the traditional performance metrics many organizations have used in the past.

Value Beyond Cost Savings – Integrating Your MSP in Workforce Planning

As companies of all sizes become leaner, their supply chain and procurement groups are openly embracing outsourcing for the non-employee category. As a result, the value of the MSP in supplier management has evolved. MSPs were initially a strategy to help companies drive down costs, gain visibility and attain management reporting for their contingent labor usage.

Today, early adopters and those just beginning to evaluate an MSP strategy alike are putting more weight on the value of a broader supplier network for their contingent workforce. They are now looking to MSP providers to do more than just manage costs, but also to support end-to-end supplier management from sourcing to contracting to performance management in order to ensure better results and drive compliance in all aspects of the program.

Clients are also expecting their MSPs to find the best talent for the best price across multiple markets and talent channels. It’s no longer about driving down mark-ups in a vacuum – the MSP value proposition is now shifting to the ability to provide quality talent at the right cost. Effective compliance, risk mitigation and providing real analytics are also now big areas of focus for buyers in terms of service levels.

A few years ago, these capabilities might have rated lower on the list of priorities than the ability to generate costs savings. Now, they are equally sought after. SLAs are also becoming more sophisticated and are reaching beyond price, volume and fill rate to metrics such as performance against milestones and delivery dates as well as financial metrics that go beyond the mark-up.

Our MSP program directors are sitting at the table with our clients’ human resources, talent acquisition, supply chain, legal and business unit leaders as the expert on the non-employee workforce. To support strategic decision making for their entire workforce, we provide our clients with aggregated market data and trends as well as competitive research and current state analysis. We are finding that integration of MSP partners into overall workforce planning leads to a more holistic approach and better decision making.

Value for Small & Mid-Size Users of Contingent Labor

We are also seeing a remarkable increase in interest from small and mid-size users of contingent labor in adopting a formal MPS strategy. Key stakeholders from these companies are taking action to adopt a defined strategy for contingent workforce management and are embracing outsourcing as a part of their plans.

Organizations of all sizes now see MSPs as valuable because they allow their talent acquisition group to better service the business by having a partner address non-employee talent. These buyers have come to understand that their traditional approach, which was often a master supplier program, can no longer support their more complex requirements with consistent levels of quality and performance. With the broader supplier network that MSPs offer, these small and mid-sized users gain greater flexibility and scalability in their program as well as compliance to consistent processes.

To learn more about this trend towards MSP adoption by small to mid-size users, please see George Lanzano’s recent HRO Today article, Getting in the Game.

To learn more about the latest trends in the MSP space, read Russ Banham’s recent article Sometimes, It Is Rocket Science, which highlights MSP’s critical role in a company’s overall talent strategy.

If you’d like to learn more about how Staff Management | SMX is helping to evolve the MSP value proposition for our clients, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at – I’d love to connect with you!

Anne Osty

How Improving Your Body Language Can Advance Your Career

How Improving Your Body Language will Advance Your Career Freeze where you are – take a second to look at yourself and evaluate your body language. What is your posture saying about you? Do you come across powerful and confident, sitting tall with your feet flat on the ground? Or do you seem timid, with your shoulders hunched or arms crossed?

We have all heard the phrase, actions speak louder than words – and that statement could not be more accurate. According to Darlene Price, author of Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results, “Nonverbal communication has been shown to carry between 65% and 93% more impact than the actual words spoken.”

There is tremendous importance for efficient nonverbal behavior within the business world. The way others perceive you in a job interview or business meeting is established through the appropriate combination of body language and verbal communication.

The following tips will help you perfect your nonverbal behavior, enabling you to make a great impression. The more you practice improving these skills, the more naturally they will come and the more effective they will be.

Practice Your Power Pose
Not only do our nonverbal behaviors impact how others think of us, they also dictate how we feel about ourselves. According to the research of Amy Cuddy, professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, striking a power pose for just two minutes before any high-stress situation produces a greater sense of power and dominance.

Engaging in a power pose is about increasing the amount of space you take up. Open up – when you widen your stance and broaden your posture, you are likely to increase levels of testosterone, a chemical associated with dominance, and decrease levels of cortisone, a chemical associated with stress. Practicing this sort of pose before you walk into your next interview will give you the confidence you need to land the job.

Talk to the Hand
Dr. Carol Kinsey Goman, writer for, suggests, “If you hold your arms at waist level, and gesture within that plane, most audiences will perceive you as assured and credible.” When these gestures accurately reflect what is being said, it will help listeners understand the full meaning of the message. Otherwise, if the gestures are contradictory, credibility will likely be lost.

There is a part of our brain, the Broca area, which is responsible for producing language. Dr. Goman explains that this area of our brain is stimulated when we motion our hands, which allows us to speak more fluently. With this being said, it is important not to let hand gestures affect you negatively. Avoid fidgety movements, such as foot tapping or head scratching, which would serve as a distraction from what you’re saying.

Maintain Eye Contact and Natural Expressions
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Maintaining eye contact shows people that you are honest and open; this should come instinctively if you are focusing on what the other person is saying. People who tend to avoid eye contact are portrayed as guilty and lose credibility. However, you do not want to force eye contact for too long. According to a study done at Oxford University, holding a gaze for over 10 seconds can trigger discomfort for those involved. Likewise, it is important to maintain genuine facial expressions. Allow your face to relax and be natural as you let your expression reflect the message you are sending.

Speak Naturally
Just as with body language, the tone and rate of your speech should complement what you are saying. According to Dr. Goman, people speaking in a low voice tend to seem empathetic and powerful, while those who speak in a high-pitched tone come off as nervous. Reducing the use of verbal fillers is another way to improve the effectiveness of your communication. Words such as “um” and “like” take away from the value of the message and, if used too often, can be frustrating to the listener. Always remember, slowing down is okay. It is better to pause and take a moment to gather your thoughts than to ramble.

Put a Smile on Your Face
Say “Cheese!” Although this may seem like a simple function, many times people forget to smile when they’re in high-stress situations. Smiling not only establishes you as approachable and trustworthy to others, but it also fosters a sense of comfort within yourself. Another perk of smiling is the release of endorphins. Endorphins are a type of hormone that allow your stress to decrease and happiness to increase.

Research from Duke University found that people are more likely to remember those who smile. So the next time you are wrapping up an interview, be sure to throw on your million dollar smile so you have a better chance of being remembered among the sea of candidates.

Now freeze! Take another look at your body language and reevaluate it. Has it improved as you read through these tips? If it has, that’s great! Being aware of your body and adjusting it as needed is a crucial component in using your body language effectively. If not, that’s okay! Here is one more piece of advice that may help you – from the words of Amy Cuddy, “Fake it ‘till you become it.” Take the time to practice these skills and in time, they will come naturally.

Are you eager to apply your new body language skills during a job interview? Your next opportunity might be waiting for you at StaffManagement | SMX!

Join Us
If you are interested in joining a friendly team with great coworkers you should check out the opportunities at Staff Management | SMX. We are building our talented team to keep pace with our strong business growth. Our culture enables our hardworking employees to be engaged, valued and enabled to reach their full potential. So, if you are serious about providing exceptional service and want to be part of a winning team, we want to talk to you!

We have great opportunities at our home office in Chicago and across the country supporting our world-class clients. So, check out our career opportunities to learn more about being a part of the Staff Management | SMX team where you can make a real impact on our success.

Corporate & Field Positions
Temporary Positions

Claire French

Making Work More Rewarding: 5 Essential Tips

As kids, most of us learned a similar lesson – to play well with others. When you were young, you may not have realized how important this lesson would be throughout the course of your life, but now that you’re all grown up, playing well with others is more important than ever. Not only will this trait help your personal life, but it affects your professional life as well. Building positive relationships in the workplace is one key to career growth, happiness and success.

Being social at work also makes working more enjoyable. A recent Gallup poll found that “close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50% and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work.” So next time you’re having a hard day, reach out and talk to someone for a few minutes – you might just find cheap retro jordans that you feel a whole lot better after you do!

Deanna Geddes, chair of the department of Human Resources Management at Temple University, agrees that having friendships in the workplace not only “improves your mood and outlook at work, but also your performance.” Staying hyper-focused on work all day can become tedious and extremely draining. Breaking up your work day by having a few conversations with coworkers or by stepping out for lunch will make a positive impact on your overall demeanor.

Connecting with your coworkers will make your work day more social and enjoyable, not to mention setting you up for career success! So what’s the best way to make these important workplace connections? We’ve outlined five essential tips below to get you started on the right track.

5 Tips for Building and Maintaining Positive Workplace Relationships

1. Be Approachable
Look for opportunities to connect with your coworkers and be sure to take advantage of social opportunities when they present themselves. Say “yes” next time you receive an invitation to join your coworkers for lunch or take part in a cross-departmental team.

2. Be Helpful
When someone approaches you for help, do whatever you can to assist them with a smile. Helping a coworker solve a problem in a high-stress situation allows you to stand out from your peers and helps you develop a reputation for being a good coworker. Who doesn’t like someone who’s always willing to lend a helping hand?

3. Be a Communicator
To make genuine relationships with people at work, always remember to listen more than you talk. By seeking to understand what is important to your coworkers, their personalities and their perspectives, you will form stronger connections with them. People tend to get along with those they can relate with.

4. Be Trustworthy
Always keep your integrity intact and be careful not to share confidential or personal information that someone has shared with you. Being trustworthy is an important stepping stone to building effective working relationships and maintaining your integrity speaks volumes about your character. Keeping a good reputation amongst co-workers is a major key in building strong workplace relationships.

5. Be Professional
While all of these tips are important, maintaining your professionalism while developing workplace friendships is one of the most important. Be sure to keep all communications appropriate by not oversharing or making comments that could offend others. Set personal boundaries and don’t let workplace friendships cloud your professional judgment – your reputation is on the line!

These attributes, as well as having a solid reputation as a hard worker and loyal team member, will help you create strong relationships at work. Good communicators are perceived as more approachable, helpful, trustworthy and professional, so they tend to be more likeable. All of these traits are factors for future career success. In the short-term, maintaining a positive and receptive attitude at work will make it more likely that you will be brought in on special projects or a new assignment, which can catapult your career forward.

As Dale Carnegie wrote in his renowned book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

Join Us
If you are interested in joining a friendly team with great coworkers you should check out the opportunities at Staff Management | SMX. We are building our talented team to keep pace with our strong business growth. Our culture enables our hardworking employees to be engaged, valued and enabled to reach their full potential. So, if you are serious about providing exceptional service and want to be part of a winning team cheap real jordans, we want to talk to you!

We have great opportunities at our home office in Chicago and across the country supporting our world-class clients. So, check out our career opportunities to learn more about being a part of the Staff Management | SMX team where you can make a real impact on our success.

Corporate & Field Positions
Temporary Positions

Amanda Kassel

Jobless Claims Lowest in 7 Years

Employment Trends ReportThe employment outlook remains positive and jobless claims have dropped to their lowest point in seven years, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) yesterday. With the unemployment rate dropping to 6.3% and an increasing number of jobs added, those searching for work can see a brighter light at the end of the tunnel. The BLS reports that the average monthly job gain over the past year stands at 190,000 for nonfarm employment. Their preliminary figure for April, 288,000 jobs added, indicates the economy is on the rise.

Temporary jobs were up 24,000 for April and have accounted for an average of 20,200 jobs gained each month over the past year, according to the BLS. Temporary job gains have resulted in a record-breaking temp penetration rate of 2.07% – a number that has grown steadily for several years. The temp penetration rate is equal to the number of temporary jobs as a percentage of total employment.

The year-over-year temporary employment rate is up 9.7% from 12 months ago. On average, jobs added through temporary help have grown 9% per year since August 2012, pointing to the continued upward movement of the temporary employment industry. Experts agree, forecasting more job gains year-over-year in this sector.

Richard Wahlquist, president and CEO of the American Staffing Association, predicts that businesses will continue to utilize staffing and recruiting firms to meet rising demand after a slow first quarter. The numbers agree with Wahlquist, showing that staffing industry revenue has grown by 6% every year since 2012 and is expected to grow another 6% in 2014 and 2015, as reported by the Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) in their April trends assessment.

SIA also reported that temporary staffing firms landed in third place for job gains during March, falling behind leisure and hospitality in first place and professional services in second. So far this year, construction jobs are also on the rise while those in the financial sector continue to decrease.

According to the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM), middle market companies (those with $10 million to $1 billion in annual revenue) are forecasting 1.4 million new hires over the next year. With sustained growth throughout these companies and the majority of middle market executives planning to invest in their businesses, the jobs outlook for this sector has already increased by 500,000 since the projection released earlier this year.

With job availability on the rise, we should continue to see a decrease in unemployment rates and expect this positive outlook to endure throughout 2014. If you ever have questions on current employment trends, leave us a comment or email me at!

Karah Bradshaw