Microsoft to require paid parental leave for suppliers’ employees

Microsoft will require its suppliers to offer eligible employees in the US a minimum of 12 weeks paid parental leave, up to $1,000 per week, the software giant announced yesterday in a blog post by Corporate VP and General Counsel Dev Stahlkopf.

The decision follows a policy enacted in 2015 mandating 15 days paid time off for eligible contract workers.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant will work with it US vendors over the next 12 months to implement the new paid parental leave policy, which applies to all parents employed by Microsoft suppliers who take time off for the birth or adoption of a child. The new policy applies to suppliers with more than 50 employees and covers supplier employees who perform “substantial work” for Microsoft. 

These types of benefits and incentives are great not only for the contingent workers but for the industry as a whole, said Dawn McCartney, senior director, contingent workforce strategies and research, the Americas, at Staffing Industry Analysts.

“We are currently experiencing something companies are not used to dealing with … extremely low unemployment rates and a war for talent,” McCartney said. “Although the tech companies in Silicon Valley have always struggled to compete for talent, we are seeing this affect organizations everywhere, not just in the technology vertical. The demand for talent is impacting every role, from light industrial/blue collar to the professional roles. In order for companies to truly have a competitive advantage, they are going to need to get creative and to be willing to give more than they have up to now, even if it means there is a cost associated to it.”

Microsoft’s paid parental leave policy is informed by state laws, including one in Washington state that was passed in 2017.

“Microsoft will work with our suppliers to understand the impacts of this change, and we will make these changes in a thoughtful way,” Stahlkopf wrote in the blog post. “We appreciate that this may ultimately result in increased costs for Microsoft, and we’ll put a process in place for addressing these issues with our suppliers. Our first step will be reaching out to our suppliers to discuss the impact of this policy change.”

TSR board approves shareholder rights plan, also known as a ‘poison pill’

IT staffing provider TSR Inc.’s (NASD: TSR) board on Wednesday approved the adoption of a stockholder rights agreement, sometimes referred to as a “poison pill,” to thwart a potential hostile takeover. The plan will take effect if a person or group acquires more than 5% of TSR shares in a transaction not approved by TSR’s board.

If that does happen, shareholders other than the person who acquires the stake above 5%, “will have the right to purchase, upon payment of the exercise price and in accordance with the terms of the Rights Plan, a number of shares of the Company’s common stock having a market value of twice such price,” according to TSR. For more, click here.

TSR’s move comes after investors have raised concerns. Zeff Capital LP, which last year sought to acquire all the shares in TSR, upped its stake in the company by purchasing the shares held by TSR Founder Joseph Hughes and his wife, Winifred. And on Monday of this week, QAR Industries announced it acquired a little more than 7% of TSR and raised questions about the governance of the company.

“Although our involvement with TSRI has been relatively short, we already have significant concerns that the board of directors places the interest of Christopher Hughes, TSRI’s current chief executive officer, above the interests of its shareholders,” according to QAR’s letter. “We sincerely hope that we are wrong in this observation and formally ask the Board of Directors to provide answers to the activities of concern with the hope that such answers will clarify the issues and confirm that the Board is in fact placing the shareholders’ best interests as their top priority.”

The board approved the rights agreement upon the recommendation of the special committee formed in July to review strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company.

“It’s a good time to be in the staffing business,” Mitchell Goldberg, president of investment firm ClientFirst Strategy Inc., told Newsday. “That’s at the heart of this TSR poison pill.”

If the investor group “wants the company badly enough, they’ll have to step up with a price that satisfies the board,” Goldberg said.

The board also amended its by-laws, eliminating the ability for special meetings to be called at the request of stockholders owning a majority of the company’s issued and outstanding capital stock.

Additionally, TSR also announced Regina Dowd resigned her position as a member of the board, effective Aug. 27.

Candidates are also consumers: ManpowerGroup

A positive candidate experience makes individuals more likely to purchase an organization’s products or services and satisfied customers are more likely to work for companies whose products and services they use, according to new research from ManpowerGroup Solutions. Conversely, lack of transparency around salary or no response to an application is most likely to negatively affect consumer purchasing intent — even more than rejection after an interview.

The report, “Add to Cart: Candidates are Consumers, Too – The Impact of Candidate Experience on Buying Behaviors,” also found that the candidate experience has an impact beyond human resources, directly influencing company brand and profitability.

In the US specifically, the survey found candidates’ most impactful negative experiences on purchase behavior include:

  • Lack of transparency on salary or job description: 61%
  • Negative interview experience: 60%
  • No employer follow-up after initial interview: 56%

“Job seekers are increasingly measuring their experiences against the same standards they use for buying products and services online,” said Kate Donovan, senior VP of ManpowerGroup Solutions and global RPO president. “Ensuring that candidates have a great experience is critical not only for attracting the best talent, but also for nurturing existing and future consumers. Transparent job descriptions, clear values and providing a good interview experience all contribute to the overall impression candidates have of your company.”

More than half of global candidates surveyed, 54%, said that a negative candidate experience makes them less likely to buy a company’s products or services in the future. This extends beyond retail relationships to include a wide variety of potential goods and services. And more than half of the survey’s participants, 56%, also said they are more likely to work for a company whose products they buy or use. Loyal consumers often connect with companies based on a perceived set of common values, so candidates may feel connected to organizational culture through their consumer experiences, according to the report.

One of the most significant links between customer brand and employer brand is in the US, where nearly two-thirds of candidates, 65%, said they are more likely to work for a company whose products they buy or use.

The global survey included 17,994 job seekers between 18 and 65 years old and currently in the workforce, including 745 in the US.

EEOC sues Adecco after worker not offered food packaging/distribution job

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against Adecco USA Inc., alleging it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not offering a candidate employment at a production facility based on his disability.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, in April 2016, a worker with learning and other mental disabilities visited Adecco’s office in Corry, Penn. to apply for a food packaging and distribution position with an Adecco customer. The lawsuit alleges the applicant, who has difficulty with reading comprehension, failed an initial employment test but passed after requesting that the test be read to him. The EEOC reported that an Adecco official then told the disabled worker that he was “too slow” for the production job and instead offered to place the worker in a car-washing job while other applicants were offered the job that the disabled worker sought.

When contacted, Adecco was not able to comment on the lawsuit.

“We want to inspire, train and develop people to fully embrace the world of work, regardless of disability, race, sex, age or any other protected category,” Adecco said in a statement provided to Staffing Industry Analysts. “In this particular case, we hope you understand that we cannot comment further on pending litigation.”

The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Adecco USA, Inc., Civil Action No.1:18-cv-00250-AJS) in the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Erie Division, after first attempting to reach a prelitigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Labor Department group updating joint-employer regulation (Bloomberg Law)

A small group of political hires at the US Department of Labor is working to update the department’s approach to “joint employer” liability, sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg Law. The department plans to restrict the scenarios in which one business is legally responsible for wage-and-hour violations by a contractually related company. It’s unclear whether the DOL plans to issue a proposed regulation through the notice-and-comment rulemaking process. The department could instead use other, less formal tools like opinion letters or field bulletins to signal a new approach to the joint employment question.

Hays revenue up 13% for fiscal year, sees strong conditions

Hays plc, the world’s sixth-largest staffing firm, reported strong growth in its global operations in its fiscal year ended June 30. Turnover, or revenue, at the London-based firm rose 13% both on an actual and “like-for-like” basis, which measures organic growth of continuing operations at constant currency. Net fees, or gross profit, rose 12% like-for-like.

Hays noted strong conditions in the majority of its markets, and conditions in the UK remained stable.

(£ millions) FY 2018 FY 2017 % change % change like-for-like FY 2018 (US$ millions)
Turnover (revenue) £5,753.3 £5,081.0 13% 13% $7,566.5
Net fees (gross profit) £1,072.8 £954.6 12% 12% $1,410.9
Gross margin 18.6% 18.8%
Profit for the year £165.8 £139.1 19% $218.1

The strongest growth in gross profit occurred in the company’s “Rest of World” segment, which comprises 28 countries, including the US. Hays reported it is investing significantly in the US and Canada; gross profit rose by 28% in the US and by 16% in Canada. However, gross profit in Mexico fell by 2%.

In Germany, the company’s largest market, Hays reported strong growth in gross profit, although earnings were affected by three fewer working days than the prior years.

Gross profit by region

(£ millions) FY 2018 FY 2017 % change % change like-for-like FY 2018 (US$ millions)
Australia and New Zealand £199.4 £180.7 10% 14% $262.2
Germany £276.0 £230.3 20% 16% $363.0
United Kingdom and Ireland £258.2 £252.9 2% 2% $339.6
Rest of World £339.2 £290.7 17% 17% $446.1

“Looking ahead, conditions remain positive in virtually all of our markets,” Chief Executive Alistair Cox said. “We are investing significantly in key growth markets where we see structural and market share opportunities, notably Germany, France and the USA.”

Share price and market cap

Shares in Hays closed down 4.34% in London to £194.00. The company had a market cap of £2.93 billion.

Adecco’s North America regional head to step down; firm announces new exec, other changes

The Adecco Group named a new executive to oversee its North America, UK and Ireland operations when present leader John Marshall, who served 20 years at Adecco, steps down on Dec. 31 from the role of regional head of North America, UK and Ireland.

Sergio Picarelli will take over Marshall’s role, the company announced. Picarelli will also retain his present responsibilities which include global oversight of Lee Hecht Harrison, General Assembly, Badenoch & Clark, and Spring Professional. In addition, Picarelli will take on the oversight of Pontoon, the company’s MSP and RPO business.

As part of the move, Picarelli will relinquish his present responsibilities for Italy, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. He had joined The Adecco Group in 1993 and its executive committee in 2009.

Adecco also announced that Enrique Sanchez will assume regional responsibility for Italy, Eastern Europe and MENA, in addition to maintaining his responsibility as regional head of Iberia. Sanchez also joined The Adecco Group in 1993 and has been a member of its executive committee since 2009, leading its Iberia and Latin America businesses.

Federico Vione, regional head of North America, UK & Ireland, general staffing, will take over additional regional responsibility for Latin America from Sanchez. He joined The Adecco Group in 1999 and has been a member of the executive committee since 2009.

Franz-Josef Schürmann, currently chief sales and innovation officer, has decided to pursue opportunities outside The Adecco Group and will be leaving the company at the end of 2018. The CSIO position on the executive committee will not be replaced. The roles of global head of sales and global head of digital operations will report directly to Group CEO Alain Dehaze.

“This enhanced management structure expands the responsibilities of proven leaders within The Adecco Group, illustrating the depth of experience and strength of our Executive Committee,” Dehaze said.

The Adecco Group added that there will be no changes to the group’s external segment reporting structure as a result of the above executive committee changes.

Harvey Nash revenue up 25% in first half of year

Global staffing provider Harvey Nash Group plc, a UK-based staffing provider with US operations, reported in a “trading update” today that revenue for the six months ended July 31 rose to £527 million (US$692 million), up 24.9% from the same period in the prior year. The company attributed the increase largely to increases in contract recruitment, managed services and IT outsourcing as a result of both organic growth and acquisitions; permanent recruitment has been broadly flat.

Gross profit rose 11.2% to £51.7 million (US$67.8 million).

Harvey Nash this month announced it struck a deal to be acquired by its largest shareholder. The deal values total shares in Harvey Nash at £98.7 million (US$127.9 million). The acquiring firm is The Power of Talent Ltd., which is controlled and managed by DBAY Advisors Ltd.

Shares in Harvey Nash closed down 0.76% today in London to £130.00. It had a market cap of £94.4 million.

Most recruiters say job more difficult, skilled labor shortage

Most recruiters, 62%, say their job is more difficult today than it was a year ago, according to a survey released today by Monster Worldwide Inc. This continues an ongoing trend as 67% said their job is more difficult than it was five years ago.

Additionally, 59% of respondents said it is more difficult to get quality candidates than it was a year ago and 62% reported it’s more difficult than it was five years ago. Fifty-nine percent said there is a shortage in the skilled labor they require, and 52% cited competition from other recruiters as a pain point.

Recruiters are only passing 44% of candidates on to hiring managers while wishing they were passing along at least 54%.

The research found 83% of recruiters are now taking a multi-solution approach to attract higher-quality candidates, according to the research. Top tactics include direct outreach to candidates, traditional job ads, posts on company/career websites and social media advertising.

Monster provided a few insights based on the survey:

  • Bring marketing to the core of recruitment. 67% of recruiters said they felt that they needed to understand marketing to be successful, yet only 36% of recruiters surveyed used employer branding strategies.
  • Create balance between digital and humanity. 64% of recruiters said they felt they needed to be digital experts to succeed today. And while 70% of recruiters said their organization is keeping up digitally, 64% believe they don’t have the right digital tools to make the job easier. And another 51% said that technology makes it harder to connect with humans.
  • Optimize your processes with data and analytics. 50% of recruiters said they are anxious about using their time efficiently, and 67% feel that they need to be analytics experts.

“Today’s strong economy is increasing the overall demand for talent, so recruiters are under tremendous pressure,” said Monster COO Bob Melk. “That underscores the need for an integrated recruitment strategy spanning the entire candidate lifecycle — from employment branding that introduces candidates to the cultural differences that demonstrate how your company is a great place to work, to social recruiting that targets passive candidates and engagement tools that let you connect via text messaging and chat.”

Monster commissioned the nationwide online survey of in-house recruiters, recruiters at staffing firms and recruiters who specifically target healthcare. The survey was fielded by Research/Now among 442 recruiters, between June 4 and June 11, 2018.

Staffing CEO faces visa fraud charges

The CEO of two Bellevue, Wash., IT staffing providers was arrested this week on a charge relating to a visa fraud scheme, the US Attorney’s Office announced. Pradyumna Kumar Samal served as CEO of Divensi and Azimetry, which supplied IT workers such as software development engineers to major corporate clients. However, the Department of Justice said Samal led a scheme involving forged and fraudulent documents to get visas for specialty occupation employment.

Smal submitted, and directed his employees to submit, forged and false application materials to the US government, making it appear as if two corporate clients already had agreed to use several foreign-national employees named in the applications, according to the department. However, neither client had agreed to do so.

The documents included forged letters and fraudulent statements of work, which appeared as if they had been signed by senior executives at the two clients, according to the department. After US Citizenship and Immigration Services relied on the false representations and approved the applications, Samal’s companies left those foreign nationals unpaid until and unless they were able to place them at actual end clients.

Nearly 200 workers may have been brought in under the phony applications, according to the department. The employees also paid Samal’s companies a partially refundable “security deposit” of as much as $5,000 for the visa filings, regardless of whether they were assigned to any projects that provided them with income.

The criminal complaint was filed under seal in April 2018, and Samal was arrested on Tuesday, as he arrived in Seattle from an international flight. Visa fraud is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.