Client Resources

What’s Hot This Season? Contract Employees!

By Catherine Lang-Cline

Paychex recently put out a news release titled “New Paychex Data Shows Independent Contractor Growth Outpaces Employee Hiring in Small Businesses”. The data basically tells us that contractors are being utilized more than hiring employees to do the work. Why is this happening and would it work for your business?

According to the data, small businesses are using the most contractors. This is because it is much easier to hire a person on a temporary basis to complete your project than to hire them as a full-time employee. A business can hire a highly skilled professional to tackle a project to perfection then have them step out and move on. No costs for hiring, firing, or healthcare. Think of it like this, your company will always have plumbing. Do you need to hire a plumber as an employee or just call them when their specialty is needed? More realistically, do you really need an employee that is an IT specialist or web designer 24/7 or can they set you up and go?

Large businesses use contractors a lot as well. They are used for IT, creative, trade work, transportation, and utilities. If you are a large business you report to advisors and possibly a board of directors. Full-time employees are headcount. Contractors are expenses. If things get slow or as projects become complete, it is much more pleasant to report to the board that you are cutting expenses rather than cutting headcount. The cost of hiring comes into play here as well as is trying to hire the perfect individual with the ideal skill set. Most of the time, the perfect person isn’t even looking, they are already working for someone else.

If you choose to add contractors rather than hire a full-time employee there are some rules you will need to follow according to the IRS and they listed in layman’s terms on the Paychex website that was referenced in the news release; payx.me/contractor.

“The level of control an employer has over a worker generally determines whether a worker should be considered an employee or contractor for tax purposes. Here are commonly accepted indicators of control:

Behavioral: Does the employer control how and when the worker does their job?

Financial: Does the employer control when and how the employee is paid and which expenses, if any, are reimbursed by the employer?

Relationship type: Does the worker have a written contract or receive any type of benefits such as sick leave, paid vacation days, or health insurance? Is the relationship ongoing or finite in length?”

There is another option. For example; at Portfolio Creative, a staffing, recruiting, and project company has been finding temporary workers and contractors for their clients for years in marketing and advertising. Portfolio Creative can serve as a bit of a buffer for the IRS and they handle the requirements listed above as well as the additional ones on the Paychex website. This sort of situation makes it even easier to get the best talent at your office on a temporary basis.

After all, all of the cool companies are doing it, don’t get left out.

Pay Matters: Getting What You’re Worth

By Kristen Harris

Everyone wants to be paid what they’re worth. But what exactly is that? What factors determine your worth? How do companies determine the pay for a role and how can you find that out? People generally don’t like to talk about money so anything related to pay tends to be murky and mysterious.

First, it’s important to keep in mind what type of work you’re considering. There is a big difference between pay rates for freelance or project work as opposed to hourly contract roles or full-time salaries. Let’s break it down.

> People who work on a freelance basis are running their own business, even if it’s a business of one. Generally, you’ll be a 1099 contractor with all of the responsibility of finding your own work, running the business, paying the employer’s portion of payroll taxes, and providing your own healthcare and retirement. You have flexibility, but when you don’t work you’re not paid; there’s no holiday pay or paid time off. Whether you’re paid hourly or by the project, generally freelance rates are higher than contract or full-time because you’re taking on all of the financial risk and responsibility.

> With a full-time position, you’re generally paid the same salary every week, or an hourly rate with a guaranteed number of hours per week. The employer probably also offers benefits like paid time off, holiday pay, healthcare benefits, retirement plans, and maybe even an onsite health coach or foosball table! Plus the employer’s share of your payroll taxes is paid by the company. If you divide the annual salary by 2080 hours (the number of work hours in a year), the hourly rate might actually be lowest of the three but add in an additional 30-40% of your salary for those benefits to get a true picture of your total compensation.

> The pay for an hourly staffing or contract role usually falls somewhere between a freelance rate and full-time salary. Depending on the firm you’re working with, you may have a level of benefits similar to a full-time position (that’s us) or little-to-no benefits provided by the firm. If a lot of benefits are provided, the hourly rate will be more similar to a full-time rate; when no benefits are provided some firms pay a slightly higher hourly rate (although many do not).

So, with the context of whether the position is freelance, staffing/contract or full-time, how do you know if the rate being offered is appropriate?

Pay ranges are a bit of art and science. There are some online resources where you can search by title, experience level, location, and other factors. I always like to look at 3-4 different sources, remove any outliers, then find the average. These resources usually gather their information from individuals self-reporting so this gives you a good idea of the going rate for that type of position. That’s the science. From there you have to consider other factors like your particular experience or level of expertise, your reputation, whether you already have a relationship or have worked together before, and even the company itself. Some places simply pay more than others; every business is structured differently.

Even with all of your research, at some point, it might just come down to whether the pay being offered fits within what you’re willing to accept. If there is a gap, consider other ways to bridge it. What else is important to you? Sometimes it’s easier for a company to provide additional time off, flexibility or other benefits rather than additional pay. Just keep in mind that any negotiations need to happen upfront, before taking the job. Once you agree on a rate, that should be the expectation on both sides.

We all want to feel good about ourselves and that we’re being paid “what we’re worth”. However, there really is no magic formula to come up with that number. Only you know what is most important to you, what you’re willing to compromise on, and what’s a deal-breaker.

Getting “what you’re worth” really means that you feel appropriately compensated for the work you’re doing, and that number is different for everyone. It helps to understand the different types of work arrangements, and the market for your skill set. We work with creatives in this area every day, just let us know how we can help!


Do Perks and Benefits Outweigh Salary?

By Catherine Lang-Cline

What we are seeing more and more often are people looking for jobs that offer them a better quality of life. That quality of life does not always equal who is offering the highest salary. Many individuals in the new workforce are looking for employment that fits with their lifestyle. Work that is enjoyable, reflects their beliefs and allows them to do other things than work.

What are some of the things that people are looking for? To no surprise, healthcare is a must. After that, people are interested in things like flexible work options, working remotely, on-site amenities like gym access or dry cleaning services, unlimited vacation, on-site childcare, and in-office meal options.

Knowing that this is what attracts good candidates, what can you do when some of these things are not in your budget? If you are one of the companies that are still trying to figure out healthcare, see if there are groups in your community that you can join and be a part of a larger group to get more affordable pricing. Chambers of Commerce in your area are one option to look into to get more affordable coverage. Look at other groups you could be already affiliated with or could join that could help offer discounts.

Flexible work options could include part-time workers, 4-day/10-hour work weeks, and allowing employees to work certain days or hours from home if their role allows. Working remotely could also help in cases of emergency childcare needs like last minute school closings or illness. You may not be able to have a lot of amenities on site but can you have free gym memberships? Can you arrange weekly dry cleaning pickup? As far as meals, let’s assume that you do not have a full cafeteria, but is your office located in a place when food options are nearby or walkable? If not, maybe pizza delivery may be in order on occasion.

Unlimited vacation can be tricky. That comes down to trust and trusting the people you have hired are still able to do their job and work will keep moving forward if they are not in the office. Are they people that you know will get the work done regardless of how much time they are actually in the office? Having goals and numbers to be accountable for might be your answer here. “Facetime” doesn’t always mean that someone is being productive. Can you put together a scorecard for them for accountability and check in weekly? Allowing this might get you both what you want.

Employing people becomes more and more challenging as the bar tend to be raised continuously as people fight to get talent. Really think about, or even ask, what your employees think are the most important benefits they need and go from there. What would really make them stay with you? As you are going through your list, it is worth mentioning that no one ever stayed at a place of employment for the bean bag chairs or the foosball table.

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Think we can help you or your organization? Contact us at www.portfoliocreative.com Also check out the Portfolio Creative blog and sign up to receive expert hiring tips from our pros.

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Catherine Lang-Cline is President and co-founder of Portfolio Creative, an Inc. fastest-growing company for six years. Portfolio Creative helps companies connect with creative talent in all areas of marketing, design, advertising, and digital roles for corporations, retailers, and large creative agencies. More information is available at portfoliocreative.com

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included. ©2018 Catherine Lang-Cline, Portfolio Creative, LLC.

#SheMeansBusiness Presents: Women at Work

Recently, Facebook stopped by our office to learn more about our Co-Creators, Kristen and Catherine, for their #shemeansbusiness series.

Watch the full video below!

The Best Results Come With a Referral

By Catherine Lang-Cline 

Staffing Success recently published an article about how creative people are in high demand. We could not agree more. With every company needing a person with a skill set that addresses the many changes that are going on in technology and how we sell things, the need for web and mobile development, web production, user interface, and interaction design, and creative development has reached new heights.

About half of the companies out there can get a referral from someone else for people with these skills. What about the other half? That is where we hope that companies like ours can help. One of the reasons we started this company is that we thought we knew everyone in town that did creative, but over the last decade, we have met thousands more really, really good creative people. 

How does that help you? Definitely ask around for a referral. If that comes up empty, reach out to a well-respected company that either specializes in the project you want to accomplish or reach out to a service company/recruiting company that can find you the perfect person. What a well-respected company that specializes in what you are looking for can do is really understand your need and be connected with the exact person that will fit your project and your culture. Their reputation should be based on who they can find. Think of it as a group of people that can offer you even more referrals on who the best people in town are. Far better than an online job posting that connects you to people you don’t know.

What are the hardest roles to find?

  • Web and mobile development

  • Creative development

  • User interface and interaction design

  • Information architecture

  • User experience

  • Web production

  • Visual design

  • Marketing strategy

  • Animation

  • User research

Any of those sound familiar?

Again, find a partner that would love to talk to you about the changes in technology and people that can help you get things done. Find people that have done work like this, understand work like this, and understand what a person needs to know to get the work done. This is your company, this is your money, and you want to get the right person for the job the first time.
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Think we can help you or your organization? Contact us at www.portfoliocreative.com Also check out the Portfolio Creative blog and sign up to receive expert hiring tips from our pros.
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Catherine Lang-Cline is President and co-founder of Portfolio Creative, an Inc. fastest-growing company for six years. Portfolio Creative helps companies connect with creative talent in all areas of marketing, design, advertising, and digital roles for corporations, retailers, and large creative agencies. More information is available at portfoliocreative.com
This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included. ©2018 Catherine Lang-Cline, Portfolio Creative, LLC.

 

Diversity in Creative: The Power of Conversation

By Kristen Harris

Our business is to connect clients with the best creative talent, which means we’re working with candidates and companies in the creative space all day long. 

As we go about our work, we often notice a lack of diversity in race or ethnic background amongst candidates for creative roles. Let’s just say it here–we know that this conversation can be tricky territory. But if a company is focused on change, and it’s coming from the right place for the right reasons, we support that. Our job and the commitment we make to our clients is to find top candidates for the role regardless of how they look, their name, background, physical differences, or any other trait that has nothing to do with how well they can do the job. 

At Portfolio Creative we’re in a unique position because we work with both creative talent and employers, but we don’t have all the answers. Seeking input, ideas, and support from people with different experiences than our own, recently we tapped into the power of community and conversation by hosting a Diversity in Creative roundtable as part of the Columbus Foundation’s Big Table event

We invited creatives, marketers, diversity professionals, employers, hiring managers, and community leaders to discuss this topic. While nearly all of the participants were people of color, we knew each person would bring their own unique experience and perspective. All of the attendees were incredibly generous with their time, ideas and insights. 

They shared challenges and barriers they’ve seen personally and have observed in the workplace and discussed where there is an opportunity for change and how we might go about achieving it. While each individual’s experience is unique, there were common themes about how important contacts, access, sponsorship, preparation, and acceptance are to career success whether it’s within a company or starting your own business. 

How did we have a productive conversation about a complex and potentially awkward topic? We set the stage by asking everyone to be open, honest, and a bit patient with each other. Just by hosting the roundtable, we encouraged people to get involved in a conversation about a topic that is rarely discussed, and made sure everyone around the table was engaged. And we listened. We learned from others, heard their ideas, and asked questions to better understand the issue.

So, where do we go from here? We know one conversation won’t create change so we’ll keep reaching out to the community, inviting conversation, asking questions, and listening to learn. And, as it becomes more clear how and where we can be influential to facilitate change, we’ll take action. Because conversation is great, but action leads to change.

Our Favorite Places for Offsite Meetings

Our days are filled with meetings, but sometimes it's nice to get out of the office once in a while. Below are a few of our favorite places for offsite meetings. 

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Photo by Fox in the Snow 

Fox in the Snow

[German Village] + [Italian Village

Website

 

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Photo by La Chatelaine

 

La Chatelaine

[multiple locations

Website

 

 

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Photo by Pistacia Vera

Pistacia Vera 

[MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Website

 

 

Jenis.png

Photo by Jeni's 

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Photo by Mission Coffee

Mission Coffee

[MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Website

 

 

 

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Photo by Zen Cha Tea Salon 

 

Zen Cha Tea Salon 

[Short north

Website

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Photo by Winans

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Photo by Bros' Coffee 

 

Luck Bros' Coffee 

[Grandview

Website

Get More Candidates with an Inviting Job Description

By Catherine Lang-Cline

You have a role to fill and you know exactly what skill sets you need. You start your long line of bullet points and it covers every single detail of what you are looking for in a candidate; the amount of experience required, software knowledge, responsibilities…. Check! Check! Check! It's perfection. Or is it completely boring?

Sure, all of these details are incredibly important, but does it sound interesting or inviting? Think about when you receive an invitation to an event. The details are what, where, time, and maybe who it may benefit. Party invitations include all of that too but instead, there is a line about, “Come celebrate!” or “Join us!” or “Don’t miss this!” Exciting, right?

Now a job is not a party but in order to get people interested in what is making your job description stand out over the others? The job market is tight, what would make them choose to go to your party, um... company, over another job offer? What are you offering or should be offering that would make your company the place to be?

Here are a few examples of bullet points that you could add to your next job description that will really attract candidates:

  • You can help grow

  • Collaborative environment

  • You will own… (as in be responsible for)

  • We love self-starters

  • You will work with an amazing team

  • Freedom to create

  • Free coffee!

  • Looking for people that believe in our mission

  • Flexible hours

I am guessing that you see the difference between this and a typical job description. It is basically building some excitement around being a part of your companies team. If you have a lengthy description that you really want to stick to, you could also have this welcoming invitation in a nice intro. Notice that it has nothing to do with foosball tables or bean bag chairs.

Still struggling? Not only would we love to help you re-craft your job description, we would love to help you find “the one” for your company. We invite you to contact us if you need help with this or any other workforce issues. We would be excited to help — portfoliocreative.com

Workplace Culture: It's a Reflection of Who You Are

By Kristen Harris 

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“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” (or lunch). 

This relatively common quote is often attributed to management guru, Peter Drucker, although it’s not really clear who actually said it. Really, it doesn’t matter who said it first, now people say it all the time. 

But what does it really mean?
What IS culture? 
And why is it so important?

While there are plenty, here is my definition of workplace culture: the set of norms your company and employees live by, otherwise known as “what happens when no one is looking”.

Culture is the standard of how things are done, how people treat customers and each other, the flow and pace of work. It’s all of the tiny (maybe seemingly insignificant) details that all add up to “this is how we do it here”. Culture is not what you do, it’s how you do it.

Every company and workplace has a culture, whether it’s been created intentionally or just happened over time. Cultures can be good, feel good, do good. Or they can be bad, feel bad, turn out bad. And, of course, there’s a lot of grey area in-between. 

In most cases, “good” or “bad” may be a judgment call of whether it feels right to you. If you like a laid-back vibe then a hard-charging, competitive culture won’t feel good. And, vice versa. Each culture may be right for that business, but rest assured that they are all different. Culture is a big part of what differentiates one business from another in the same industry.

Think about your favorite coffee shop. Is it a single location, down a side street, where only locals go? Or is it ultra-hip, in a trendy area, a place to network and be seen? Or is it a ubiquitous chain, found on every corner, consistent and easy to find? Each of these shops has its own culture–from the decor and how you’re greeted to what is offered, how it’s made and delivered to you. The way you feel receiving that coffee shop’s product and service is a reflection of their culture. And you probably feel more at home in one over the other. 

Culture reflects company values–what’s important to the people working there–and influences every part of your interaction. Which makes us feel more at home in one place over another.

At Portfolio Creative our culture has always been very important. Catherine and I set out to create the type of company where we’d want to work; we figured if it’s the kind of place we want to be, then our clients, talent and team members would too.

Here’s a taste of our culture:

  • Fun – If we’re not having fun then we’re not doing it right! There’s a lot of laughter throughout the workday, even in meetings (yes, we’ve proven even meetings can be fun).

  • Friendly – We smile, say “Hi”, ask how you’re doing and actually listen to your answer. We act nice because we are nice.

  • Caring – We genuinely like each other, our clients, our talent, and all the other people we get to work with. When you really care, it shows.

  • Helpful – It’s our job to help people; we’re problem-solvers for our clients, talent and each other. If we can’t solve the problem, we try to share ideas or provide resources; no one walks away empty-handed.

Culture isn’t about what you do–it’s how you do it and who you are. How everyone in the company behaves every day, even when no one’s looking. Especially when no one’s looking. 

Our Portfolio Creative culture reflects the values we live by every day. Want to see how it feels to work with people who are fun, friendly and caring? Reach out to let us know how we can help; you won’t leave empty-handed.

Why Clients (and Everyone) Deserves More Than a Text

By Catherine Lang-Cline

You know how when you read, hear, or see something that it can sometimes feel like that you have been hit like a thunderbolt? That occurred to me recently when I read that Nicole Kidman told Parade magazine that she has never sent her husband a text. "We talk all the time and we FaceTime but we just don't text because I feel like texting can be misrepresentative at times."

We all know that to be true but I am willing to take that thought one step further by saying that too much texting or email will simply erode any relationship. Speaking in terms of personal relationships first, my husband and I are very busy, there is a lot of travel, too. Therefore for speed, we text a lot. Typical, right? Just a long string of notes like:
“What’s for dinner?”
“I found my keys.”
“I love you xoxo”

Informative and sometimes sweet but after a while, it is just words, just information without feeling. The feeling comes in the face-to-face. The expression your husband makes when he sees you enter the room, the actual laugh vs the “LOL”, and sometimes it is no words and it is just holding hands. Awesome. The idea of that kind of communication makes me want to not use texting as a form of communication with my husband anymore.

Now let’s move this all to a professional arena. Clients are busy, we are busy and a client relationship can turn into a long string of quick notes, updates, and questions. Sometimes the client won’t get back to you in over a week. Ask yourself if your client relationship has dwindled to a bunch of unfeeling data. Your clients need to know you and we need to know them. We need to shake hands, let them see our faces when we are so excited to be working with them, and get to know them as people with feelings and challenges. What if you chose to cut your electronic communication with clients in half? What if you called, left voice messages, went out for lunch or coffee? Clients may still email return responses and not accept your lunch invitation but the seed about elevating this relationship has been planted. Sometimes you have to wait for it.

It might take a sliver more time to do this, you may not want to talk because you prefer the safety of a nicely constructed email, but if the result is a better relationship with your client..so worth it! Ultimately, we will all like each other. And who doesn't like working with people that we like? Let’s try it again this time with feeling.

Want to be treated like a person? You might want to contact us at portfoliocreative.com. Open, honest, helpful people work here.