Blogs

Delaware Employment

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The U.S. unemployment rate fell below 5.0% for the first time since the start of the recession. At 4.9%, the nation’s unemployment rate decreased from its peak at 10% in 2010. The Labor Department also announced yesterday that there were 5.6 million job openings in December, just shy of the all-time record of about 5.7 million set in July.

Good news, right? Well, the general consensus seems to be that we should celebrate progress but there is still work to be done.

An article from ABC news explains 3 reasons that people aren’t celebrating the new all-time low unemployment:

  1. Fewer adults are working
  2. Long-term unemployment is still high
  3. Wage growth is weak.

Where does Delaware stand with these three employment factors?

  1. The total number of employed residents in DE increased in December to 447,400, up from 444,700 in November and 431,700 last year. Delaware had the largest two-year employment gain in state history.
  2. Delaware’s long-term unemployment (unemployed who had been jobless for 27 weeks or longer) is 39.2%, which falls in the middle between the highest (D.C. at 49.2%) and lowest (North Dakota at 13.1%) in the country.
  3. Just last week, Delaware passed a bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.25 over four years. And while we don’t have more recent 2015 stats on DE wage growth yet, we know that from 2nd quarter 2014 to 2nd quarter 2015, Delaware’s 12 month percent change in average weekly wage was 1.5% (up $15).

So things look pretty good for Delaware, right? Let us know what you think in the comments below — is the Delaware employment situation good, bad, or somewhere in the middle.

The Gift of a Bike

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On Thursday Evening, Outside-In® Companies presented their second bike through Preston’s March for Energy.

Back in October Outside-In® partnered with Preston’s March for Energy, an organization whose mission is to provide adaptive bikes to children with special needs, to “Pay it Forward” to our community. The organization was created when Preston, a young man with Mitochondrial Disease, which leaves him with low muscle tone and developmental delays, was blessed to receive an adaptive bike donated to him through a fundraiser that was developed by a family friend. Preston’s family was amazed by this overwhelming support, and they immediately began to “pay it forward” by raising money (each bike costs between $1400 and $2500) for more children to realize their dream of riding their own bike.

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First, Outside-In® Companies adopted a 14-year-old boy named Zachary who lost his left leg in 2014 due to Osteosarcoma. He uses a prosthetic to walk, but missed being able to ride a bike around the neighborhood or go for a bike ride with his sister, Mother or Father. One of the first questions he asked when he found out he was going to lose his leg was whether or not he would ever be able to ride a bike again.

Donations from team members, family, friends, clients, candidates and other community organizations helped us purchase an adaptive bike best suited to Zachary’s needs and allowed him to ride a bike again.

On Tuesday evening, 12/1 Outside-In® Companies gave Zachary his very own custom bike. And, the fundraiser raised enough money to help Zachary pay it forward to another awesome child.

Jacob3Jacob is a 19-year-old young man who loves riding the school bus, watching videos, digging in the sand at the beach and playing baseball with the Challenger Little League.  He wanted to have an adaptive bike to enjoy spending time with his mom and sister while getting exercise around his neighborhood.  Jacob has cerebral palsy and it’s very important that he keeps active as much as he can.

On Thursday, 2/11, the Outside-In®  team presented Jacob with his new adaptive bike. “If you had a chance to be there, you were certainly moved to tears,” remarked President, Chris Burkhard. But they were good tears, with lots of smiles too. “What a fun day with so many smiles! The best smile was Jacob’s as he hopped on his new bike!” said Deb Buenaga, Preston’s Mom and director of Preston’s March, on her Facebook page. “It was cold outside so Jacob took a little ride inside but did not actually get off his bike until time to go home. He said he even wanted to take it to school to show his friends!”

To support or ask about our Outside-In® Paying it Forward program, contact us at charity [at] outsideincompanies.com.

Photos: 1st/left: Zachary with the Outside-In Team, Preston & Deb Buenaga; 2nd/right: Jacob on his new bike with Preston offering encouragement.

What Employment Gains May Be Saying About Admins & Secretaries

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America has near record 5.6 million job openings, an ABC news article reported this week.

Delaware had the largest two-year employment gain in state history.The total number of employed residents in DE increased in December to 447,400, up from 444,700 in November and 431,700 last year.

This is good right?

Joseph Fuller, a Harvard Business School professor explained to ABC, “the number of job openings could be a reflection of companies not finding the right candidates. Many Americans don’t have the skills that those available jobs require. It’s called the job skills gap, and it has become a serious problem in the U.S.”

He continues to point out some examples of how the workforce demand does not align with the skills that are available, “About 65% of job postings for secretaries who work for executives. But those require a college degree. Among current executive secretaries, only 19% have college degrees… That gap between reality and expectations has widened.”

In Delaware, there are a lot of Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant and Legal Secretary jobs available — both direct hire and temporary opportunities. After reviewing postings on Indeed.com, Executive Assistant roles tend to require a Bachelors degree, while Administrative Assistants and Legal Secretary job requirements are more varied including, High School Diploma/GED, Associates, Bachelors or related experience.

Placers Area Lead (and Staffing Specialist), Zach Werde explains the variety in the Delaware temp admin jobs we see at Placers. “Typically for a general Office Admin, a GED or High School Degree plus some professional admin experience would be on point. Most Legal Admins or Legal Secretary jobs we see require an Associates Degree or higher, plus some sort of certification, like a Paralegal Certification for example. Then you have Executive Assistants, which vary in level depending on who the executive is and what type of support is needed, and means that the requirements will greatly differ.  We see some that are more like the general Office Admin jobs all the way up to ones that require Bachelors Degrees and a lot of demonstrated, high-level experience.”

If you’re not finding jobs appropriate for your education and experience, OR if you’re not finding qualified candidates,  drop us a line to discuss. We’ll dig into the why.

Is “No Silos’ an achievable goal?

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Silo Mentality‘ is “an attitude found in some organizations that occurs when several departments or groups do not want to share information or knowledge with other individuals in the same company.” (Investopedia)

The key phrase I’d like to point out in the above definition is “do not want to share.” Why? I’ll get to that, but first let me set up where I am coming from.

No Silos is one of our Outside-In® values. We like to brag about being one team where politics, title and departments do not create barriers to doing business for us. With multiple brands, teams and functions this value symbolically declares our equality — regardless of title or role — to everyone internally and externally in the business.

Silo MentalityBut I am here to say that we have silos, and probably always will. There are a few sources of silos that are unavoidable. For one, it is only natural for people to imprint strongly or bond with a team, a client, or group of people (when you start in the same orientation class, for example). Folks are always going to find some commonality to silo around. Everyone looks to self identify — where we live, who we know, what we know and of course who we work with or share information with. We tend to discriminate or create silos when we don’t know others. It is easier to not help or not share when you are strangers. So with strong relationship bonds, silos are naturally created.

Another example of unavoidable silos in business are organizational functions. The operations, finance, HR and sales teams (and so on) are by nature separate functions that create silos for a number of reasons: knowledge/expertise, common projects & goals, shared leadership, or even the fact that people sit closer together. Work is organized in such a way that you spend a lot of time together working on similar work, and therefore barriers are created between one functional group and another.

So yes, companies and organizations will always have silos. There will always be groups of friends, project groups, account teams, functional departments and leadership at every company. Let’s go back to the phrase “do not want to share” in the definition of silo mentality. There is one thing that separates a company with silo mentality and one without: it’s the willingness to share information.

If you sense a Silo Mentality at your company, dig deeper into the why. 1. Are people unwilling to share information with other teams? 2. Are there rules from leadership that prevent information sharing? Or 3. Is it the organizational structure that makes it hard (but not impossible) to work across teams and departments?

At Outside-In® Companies, we have experienced a lot of organizational change lately as we get organized for growth and scaling. As we define roles and put infrastructure in place, we are experiencing some of #3. But what I can tell you, is that our issues with silos are not as severe as the stories I hear about from companies that experience #1 and #2. How about needing to fill out an actual form that must be approved by each department head to receive permission to talk to another department? So much for collaboration at the water cooler or getting together for happy hour to create, solve or address business problems, large or small.

Or this recent one. Sales and Account Management teams refused to include the Service team in the customer conversation. These departments misconstrued who owns relationships, and maybe most importantly who is involved with delivering an experience to the customer! Imagine trying to get anything done!

So yes, at the Outside-In® Companies, we do have Silos. But our Silo Mentality is not because we are unwilling to share with our team members or because we have rules in place that prevent cross-team collaboration. In fact, with No Silos as a value, cross-team collaboration is encouraged. The No Silos value is about building relationships because you can. And encourages reaching out across silos — without rules, forms, sign up sheets or leader’s permission. Regardless of a one leader’s behavior, one can always talk to or work with whom they want.

Now, back to the question at hand, “Is ‘No Silos’ an achievable goal?” No Silos is an aspirational value. It’s impossible to have No Silos in a business. But you can reinforce a ‘No Silos Mentality’ and adjust your organizational structure to break down barriers that prevent departments or teams from working well together. The mentality or mindset is achievable, and one we always strive to improve upon.

Does your company have a Silos Mentality? If so, you have a leadership problem. Yup, I said it. Silos exist because leaders allow it, can’t address it, or are rewarded or incentivized to allow them to exist. So dig deeper to find out the why.