Safety First: Employee Wellness

Did you know?

If you are overweight, losing just 5-7% of body weight, that’s 10-15 lbs in a 200 lb person, can reduce your risk of diabetes. (National Institutes of Health)

Low sodium diets have blood pressure lowering benefits. It is recommended to consume less than 1 teaspoon of table salt a day. (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute)

Physical activity not only helps control your blood pressure, it also helps you manage your weight, strengthen your heart and manage your stress level.

 Employee Wellness

Small changes can make a big difference to your health and wellness. If people made the choices to eat better, engage in more physical activity, reduce the harmful use of alcohol and quit smoking, at least 80% of all heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes – and over a third of cancers – could be prevented, according to the World Health Organization. Poor eating habits and lack of physical activity are the major contributing factors to being overweight and obese in the U.S.

Make healthy eating choices

Healthy eating can reduce the risk of chronic illness and disease, including the three leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer and stroke.

Healthy eating tips include:

• Make half your plate fruits and vegetables

• Make half the grains you eat whole grains – such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice

• Choose fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese

• Drink water instead of sugary drinks

• Choose lean sources of protein – such as seafood, turkey and chicken breast, eggs and beans

• Choose foods with less sodium – look for “low sodium” and “no salt added” on food packages

• Eat some seafood each week – such as salmon, tuna or crab

• Pay attention to portion size – when eating out, avoid “supersizing” your meal or take some home for later

Stay active

For substantial health benefits, adults are encouraged to engage in 30 minutes of moderate exercise*, five days a week. This can be done through activities such as:

• Taking a brisk walk at lunch

• Going for a bike ride after work

• Working in the yard

• Cleaning the house

• Joining a sports league

• Going to the gym

• Swimming laps at the pool

* Moderate activity is safe for most people. If you have a chronic health condition such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes or other symptoms, talk with your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity right for you


Employment Update


  FEBRUARY 2012 MARCH 2012 APRIL 2012 MAY 2012
Unemployment Rate 8.3% 8.2% 8.1% 8.2%
Non Farm Employment +227,000 +120,000 +115,000 +69,000
Temporary Help +45,200 -7,500 +21,100 +9,200
Manufacturing +31,000 +37,000 +16,000 +12,000
Construction -13,000 -7,000 -2,000 -28,000
Professional and Business Services +82,000 +31,000 +62,000 -1,000
Computers Systems and Design +10,200 +3,900 +7,400 +5,300
Financial Activities +6,000 +15,000 +1,000 +3,000
Retail Trade -7,400 -33,800 +29,300 +2,300
Transportation and Ware. +10,600 +2,800 -16,600 +35,600
Education and Health Care +71,000 +37,000 +23,000 +46,000
Mining Employment +7,000 +1,100 +600 +700
Leisure & Hospitality +44,000 +39,000 +12,000 -9,000
Government -6,000 -1,000 -15,000 -13,000

The Employment Situation – May 2012

Nonfarm payroll employment changed little in May (+69,000), and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in health care, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade but declined in construction. Employment was little changed in most other major industries.

Household Survey Data

Both the number of unemployed persons (12.7 million) and the unemployment rate (8.2 percent) changed little in May.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.8 percent) and Hispanics (11.0 percent) edged up in May, while the rates for adult women (7.4 percent), teenagers (24.6 percent), whites (7.4 percent), and blacks (13.6 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.2 percent in May (not seasonally adjusted), down from 7.0 percent a year earlier.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) rose from 5.1 to 5.4 million in May. These individuals accounted for 42.8 percent of the unemployed.

The civilian labor force participation rate increased in May by 0.2 percentage point to 63.8 percent, offsetting a decline of the same amount in April. The employment-population ratio edged up to 58.6 percent in May.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) edged up to 8.1 million over the month. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In May, 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, up from 2.2 million a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 830,000 discouraged workers in May, about the same as a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)  Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.6 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in May had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment changed little in May (+69,000), following a similar change in April (+77,000). In comparison, the average monthly gain was 226,000 in the first quarter of the year. In May, employment rose in health care, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade, while construction lost jobs.

Health care employment continued to increase in May (+33,000). Within the industry, employment in ambulatory health care services, which includes offices of physicians and outpatient care centers, rose by 23,000 over the month. Over the year, health care employment has risen by 340,000.

Transportation and warehousing added 36,000 jobs over the month. Employment gains in transit and ground passenger transportation (+20,000) and in couriers and messengers (+5,000) followed job losses in those industries in April. Employment in both industries has shown little net change over the year. In May, truck transportation added 7,000 jobs.

Employment in wholesale trade rose by 16,000 over the month. Since reaching an employment low in May 2010, this industry has added 184,000 jobs.

Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in May (+12,000) following a similar change in April (+9,000). Job gains averaged 41,000 per month in the first quarter of this year. In May, employment rose in fabricated metal products (+6,000) and in primary metals (+4,000). Since its most recent low in January 2010, manufacturing employment has increased by 495,000.

Construction employment declined by 28,000 in May, with job losses occurring in specialty trade contractors (-18,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (-11,000). Since reaching a low in January 2011, employment in construction has shown little change on net.

Employment in professional and business services was essentially unchanged in May. Since the most recent low point in September 2009, employment in this industry has grown by 1.4 million. In May, job losses in accounting and bookkeeping services (-14,000) and in services to buildings and dwellings (-14,000) were offset by small gains elsewhere in the industry.

Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, retail trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, changed little in May.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in May. The manufacturing workweek declined by 0.3 hour to 40.5 hours, and factory overtime declined by 0.1 hour to 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.7 hours.

In May, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 2 cents to $23.41. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 1.7 percent. In May, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees edged down by 1 cent to $19.70.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for March was revised from +154,000 to +143,000, and the change for April was revised from +115,000 to +77,000.

Ace that Interview!

With over 60 years of combined experience, our recruiters have had their share of less than desirable interviews. The job interview is your opportunity to create a positive impression of yourself, and can mean the difference between the door opening, and the door slamming shut. Here are eight tips designed to help you create a favorable–and memorable–impact!


By being late you are making a poor first impression before you even arrive.  There is NO excuse for being late and trying to make one can upset the person interviewing even more.  Leave early, do whatever it takes. BE ON TIME!

2. Dress Appropriately

Dress for the part AND environment.  If you are interviewing in an office (even if it is for a farm position) wear office attire.  If you are interviewing in a warehouse, we don’t expect you to wear a suit, but be presentable.  Never wear anything too revealing or dirty. Make sure to groom appropriately and not wear too much perfume or cologne. My best advice is to Dress to Impress!

3. Cell Phones

Leave your cell phone in the car.  This way it cannot interrupt you or your interviewer in any way. If you think you will need information out of your phone for the interview (such as a phone number for a reference) write it down on a piece of paper in advance.

4. Be Prepared

Bring your resume, a note pad, references, certificates or reference letters, etc.  Your interviewer may already have this information but you will look prepared if you bring it with you. Also make sure to take the time to learn a little about the company and position you are interviewing for. Take some time to think of the questions you may be asked (but don’t rehearse your answers or you will sound too scripted).

5. Use your manners

Be polite and professional.  Be friendly and outgoing but don’t make jokes. Also don’t try to be best friends with or flirt with the interviewer. Answer the questions directly and don’t babble. Don’t badmouth bosses or coworkers, etc. Look confident and have good posture. Don’t play with your hair or put your feet up. Make direct eye contact!

6. Be confident

Talk about and be proud of your accomplishments, both professionally and personally.  Have goals for your career and tie them to the position you are interviewing for.  Have a passion about why you want to work in the field/industry you are interviewing for and talk about how you are going to further your knowledge in that area.  The more intelligent and informed you are, the more impressive you will look.

7. Ask Questions

Not only will this make your interviewer know that you are interested in the position but it will give you a chance to make sure you understand what you might be getting into.  If the interviewer doesn’t offer you a chance, ask to ask.

8. Send a thank you note

It is easy to send an email, but make the extra effort to mail your interviewer a hand written thank you note.  It once again reinforces your interest in the job.  It doesn’t take long, but make it sincere.

Make Every Conversation Count

December 14, 2011 1 comment

Everyone could use a little help with communications skills from time to time.  And since we all have limited time to communicate, we should try to make the best of it.  When you talk with people, you define your relationship with them.  Choose your words carefully and you will build trust and a positive reputation.  Try using these principals to steer conversations.

Respond, don’t react – Weigh your words before you speak. Don’t assume that you know everything about a situation before you respond.  Ask questions and listen.

See the influences –  Many factors outside the conversation can affect how you and the other person speak. Recognize if, for example, you are ready to snap at someone because you are stressed about another situation. Analyze what may be influencing the other person too.

Create the right first impression – The first words you speak will set the tone for the conversation and how the other person views you.

Seize the opportunity – Choose the response that will leave the other person with the impression that you want to make. Remember also that others may be watching the conversation, or the other party may talk about your conversation with them later. One conversation can influence the way many people see you.

Close the conversation – Always end with a positive comment. Follow up after an important conversation. Check in to clarify any possible misunderstandings, by asking questions or reinforcing your message. Thank the other person with whom you had a positive encounter. Send a note of apology if you didn’t handle the encounter well.

Approach each conversation with the right attitude and it will be easier to choose the best words and convey the right tone.

September is our Employee Recognition Month

September 6, 2011 Leave a comment

“If businesses are to grow their way out of the current economic malaise, they will have to get more productivity out of their people—not by cutting and slashing, but by nurturing, engaging, and recognizing.” – John A. Bryne, editor-in-chief, Fast Company magazine

In a down economy, a manager’s first instinct is to cut back. And the “soft side” of business—including recognition programs— is often the first to be slashed. But when you cut recognition, you are sacrificing the future. As Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton describe it in the book, “A Carrot a Day”, recognition is the lifeblood of innovation, retention and productivity. It’s what keeps employees motivated in the tough times. (And it’s why they’ll still be devoted when things improve.)

Managers and employees are constantly looking for the secret of “motivating their people.” Therein lies the problem. You can’t motivate people- But you can set an example and create an environment where they will motivate themselves. As a leader, the secret to creating a successful work environment is to first create an atmosphere in which success can occur. This means a continuous positive attitude on your part and continuous positive reinforcement from your employees. It means recognizing and rewarding great performance.

The tone for the company is set by creating the right work environment (and the right boss environment). Word of mouth is just as powerful from your employees as it is from your customers. If you treat your customers great and your employees lousy, that mixed message is devastating at the cash register.

So many leaders fail to realize that their employees go home and talk about their day with you, just like customers go home and talk about their purchases and experiences with you. And the internal customer is just as powerful as the external one. When you have a great, productive, high-earning team the word gets out. The “law of attraction” kicks in. Great talent will call and want to work for you. What a great dilemma to have!

At Star Staffing, we treat our customers just the same as our employees. We understand that our employees and internal staff are the ones who make us the premier staffing firm we are today. We believe in recognizing our employees for positive behavior and performance. One of our employee recognition programs is our Star of the Month where we recognize an individual in each office that demonstrates the following:

  •  Performance –meeting and exceeding work load expectations, completing tasks early, taking on additional tasks when requested.
  • Safety – adheres to all safety rules, makes suggestions for keeping the workplace and others safe.
  • Perfect Attendance – always on time and ready to work, returns on time from breaks.
  • Attitude – maintaining a positive attitude, being willing, going above and beyond.

We value and appreciate each and every one of our employees. Although we recognize them through numerous programs, we thought we would dedicate an entire month tailored to them. We will be providing them with thank you notes, cupcakes and goodies, gifts, and in the last week of September, they will have a chance to win a 32 inch plasma TV! We are excited to take the month of September to recognize each individual on a specific attribute that contributes to our success. Together, we make the difference!

Why YOU should consider hiring contingent staff…

August 22, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s that time! The work has piled up and you cannot continue to manage it all on your own. You’re thinking about hiring, but where do you begin? You need someone immediately, but how do you find them? Are you able to spend time finding someone without letting your day to day business operations suffer? What if the work does not continue to flow in? I have 3 words for you, Hire Contingent Staff.

As a staffing owner, I can confidently say working with a temporary agency is your best bet for a multitude of reasons; mitigating rising costs as well as risk, improving performance, saving time, and/or increasing flexibility. Employees are your biggest expense and greatest asset. Employment costs such as insurance, healthcare, taxes, and benefits are soaring. Partnering with a staffing company can save you time in several ways. They advertise, screen, interview, test, and reference check to attract the most viable candidate for your open position. Each candidate must go through the staffing firm’s rigorous screening process which weeds people who are prone to drugs, theft, violence, workers compensation fraud, etc. They also administer skill assessments to pinpoint extraordinary performers with the right skills and expertise so you get a qualified candidate from day one. This means less training on your behalf. The staffing firm can also conduct background and drug screening as well as credit reports.

In addition to saving you time, working with a staffing firm can mitigate rising costs and risk. Healthcare costs, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, social security and other staffing costs continue to rise each year. Staffing firms handle all these responsibilities so that you just pay a flat fee. In addition, they take care of the temporary employees’ payroll and benefits administration. They consume general liability as well as managing those employees. Yes, you heard me correctly. The staffing firm will end their assignment, counsel them if needed, and handle any issues pertaining to the employee.

And if those weren’t enough, you can hire as needed which allows your company to respond to market demands quickly without adding full-time staff. You can utilize the services of a temporary only as long as the work or peak period lasts. When the job is complete, the temporary is no longer a burden on your labor costs.

Staffing firms are a great resource and mostly likely, you’re best. With one call, they will do the rest. You can focus on what you do best and let the recruiters do what they do best. You will receive the most qualified resumes for your open position. From there, you can choose to phone screen or conduct an in person interview. Once you have selected the best candidate for the position, the agency will pay the employee on a weekly basis. All you need to do is verify and sign off that the hours are correct. Sounds like a piece of cake, right? That’s because it is! Staffing firms give you peace of mind throughout the process. So, what are you waiting for?

Safety First!

Safety is always a top priority at Star Staffing.  June is National Safety Month so  why not dedicate this month’s blogs to safety!  I would have to write a blog every hour of every day to even cover half of the topics I would like to get too so I’m sure we won’t get to everything.  But hopefully the information provided will be beneficial. Please contact Star Staffing for any additional information

Most importantly, safety in the workplace is important for the worker but it is also important for the company.

Many workers spend most of their day in the workplace and expect it to be as safe and free from potential hazards as possible. To be most productive employees need to know they are working in a safe environment. They need to feel confident in their safety training and know that their fellow employees are also trained in safety issues and procedures. When workers feel they are in a safe work environment they are more motivated to do a good job.

Companies want to keep their workers safe and free from potential dangers. Naturally, personal safety is important however management also must consider the financial costs of workplace accidents. When a worker is injured on the job, the company can be affected in many ways including the following possibilities:

  • Medical expenses for the employee
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Increased premiums to workers compensation
  • Lost man hours of work
  • Legal costs

The morale and productivity of employees is also often affected when a workplace injury occurs. This usually happens whether or not the injured worker was following specified safety procedures or not.

One of the duties of an employer is keeping his workers safe from illness and injury in the workplace. One way to accomplish this is to follow the regulations set by OSHA for the specific industry. Companies should also have a program of health and safety training for their employees that focuses on general safety as well as the specific hazards of the industry. In addition to setting forth specific industry regulations, OSHA also works with employers to achieve compliance of the regulations at the company’s request.

In addition to regular safety training meetings, here are many things management can do to help keep workers safe on the job.

  • Include employees in discussions on policies involving safety issues and in identifying existing and potential workplace hazards. By doing this, workers are more apt to be compliant and accountable.
  • Encourage workers to report any workplace hazards they encounter.
  • Post a copy of the company’s health and safety policy in a place that is visible for everyone to see.
  • Make certain an employee is properly trained on any new equipment, or on a piece of equipment that is new to that employee.
  • Post workplace safety slogans, signs and posters that reinforce safe work habits.
  • Form employee safety teams or committees and have them take part in safety inspections.
  • Make certain that all managers and supervisors are trained to recognize potential workplace hazards.
  • Safety issues may change over time and need to be reevaluated periodically.

Star Staffing is a member of the National Safety Council.  Not only does this keep us at the top  of our safety game but it allows us to provide our employees, clients and communities with some of the best safety information.  Check out this link for more information about National Safety Month.

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