Business Q & A

A conversation with Phillip Hayes

Phillip Hayes, vice president of human resource services and operations for the Arnold Group, loves taking on human resource consulting projects for small- to medium-size businesses.

He likes to help strengthen their business practices.

But as an extension of traditional human resource departments, the Arnold Group performs a variety of functions.

"We help companies with everything from recruiting new employees to the termination process and everything in between," Hayes said.

That includes training, temporary staffing, direct hire placements and short- and long-term staffing projects.

The business is different from other staffing companies because it doesn't have a particular niche. Instead, it works with entry-level to skilled and professional positions for office, administrative, light industrial and labor-related industries, he said.

Hayes was born in Italy and grew up in Wichita.

He followed his father into the Air Force.

While in service, Hayes earned a bachelor's degree in human resource management from Bellevue University. He also has a master's degree in management information systems from Friends University.

In 1998, Hayes attended a job fair at Century II and met the sales manager of the Olsten Group, now the Arnold Group.

He joined the company as manager of a branch in Hutchinson.

Hayes and his wife, Amy, have three daughters.

You noticed a downturn in staffing business beginning in February 2008. But you mentioned we're starting to turn a corner. What are you seeing?

"If you look at where we are in 2010 as opposed to this time in 2009, we're about 43 percent up (in sales and hours worked). ... (That's an) encouraging sign for the Wichita economy. There's work out there."

But?

"The bad thing is everybody is still in the 'sit and wait' mode. Does it make sense to bring someone on full-time or do we turn to supplemental staffing and go that route? ... As a whole for the Wichita economy, I'll start to feel a lot better when they get hired from a temporary to a full-time position."

Still, that's a good sign, right?

"History tells us coming out of any recessionary period, temporary staffing tends to (increase). It's certainly a better position than we were last year. It should be an indication of what's coming down the road."

What's the biggest challenge you face in human resources?

"The biggest challenge is keeping up with all the legislative changes and trying to stay ahead of what could potentially be coming down the pike."

You're also active in the legislative process on human resource issues. You're chairing a statewide committee on unemployment insurance. What's the issue?

"The heart of the matter that we're trying to push is trying to bring some predictability to the system for Kansas employers. In a nutshell, the rate tables change every single year."

What's the best advice you have for a small-business owner when it comes to human resource issues?

"The best advice I could give to a small-business owner is to be fair and be consistent. ... That's been my guiding light in my 12 years in H.R. Second, documentation is critical. ... No documentation is certainly problematic in a variety of situations, and being inconsistent can lead to potential discrimination claims."

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