Summer Rewards

Summer Rewards: Ways to Reward Employees

As an employer, it is becoming increasingly more important to focus on employee engagement. This goes for established Millenials as well as the newest age group in the workforce, Generation Z. Work-Life balance is at the top of the list for many modern employees and in the summer the desire to balance life only gets stronger.


If you want to keep your employees engaged, consider some extra rewards during these warmer months. A little effort on the part of the employer can make a big difference to your employees. And studies show that well-rested employees bring better work back to their companies. So… what are you waiting for?


Time Off

This is a big one. Days are longer, the weather is nicer, and school is out for the summer. With all that, your employees want to make the most of these scarce months and spend all the time they can with their families. Consider these options as extra rewards for your hardworking employees.

  • Summer Hours: This can be a really effective way to let your employees look forward to the end of the week. Consider allowing an extra hour of work Monday – Thursday so everyone can work a half-day only on Fridays. The same number of hours gets put in each week, but the long weekend helps for planning fun, summer getaways.
  • Impromptu Time Off: Who doesn’t like getting a call on Friday from their boss telling them to enjoy the weekend a few hours early or plan to come in late Monday morning? Unscheduled extra time off just because the weather is nice or everyone worked hard on a special project is the perfect way to say “Thanks.”
  • Optional Telecommuting: The truth is, with modern technology, you can do many kinds of work from just about anywhere. Why not let your employees put in their hours from a hotel on vacation or just at home so they can spend time with their kids without using valuable PTO. This doesn’t cost anyone extra time but can boost morale tremendously.


  • Company Trip: Each summer, Priority Staffing Group takes a company trip somewhere fun. This is all-expenses-paid for employees, so no one has to worry about money for hotel stays, food, drinks, etc. Each employee can also bring a spouse along. This not only lets everyone have a fun weekend, but it stimulates employee relationships and carries over to time on the clock later. Company trips do not have to be at exotic (i.e. expensive) destinations. Lake days are a huge hit and cost is minimal (but keep in mind the risks associated with vacationing to certain locations).
  • Meals with the Boss: This seems too simple, but it’s actually a great way to reward your employees for a job well done. Invite everyone out to lunch mid-week to get to know them better. Find out more about their families and personal lives and then share more about yourself in return. Build trust and get better work in return.
  • Volunteer as a team: A lot of entrepreneurs are surprised by the number of employees who are willing to come out and do a volunteer project. Especially in the summer, when there are extra daylight hours, this can be a good opportunity to get everyone out of the office to do something together. If you can’t get enough people together on a weekend, consider closing up early one day to volunteer somewhere as a group. Habitat for Humanity is an excellent organization to plan an activity with. Consider a group build. It requires very little construction knowledge; just willingness to work as a team to accomplish something great!


  • Bonuses: If you’re very busy and truly don’t have the time to spend out with your employees, a little extra on their paycheck is a nice way to say thanks for working hard during the year. This time of year can have lots of added expenses at home, so consider a bonus for the month of July or August.
  • Free Vacation: If you really want to go above and beyond expectations, consider paying the way for an employee plus one on a vacation. All-inclusive trips, like cruises, can be a special way to reward your employees while they take time off this summer.


As an employer, you have the power to reward your employees however you see fit. These ideas are just a jumping-off point. At the end of the day, you know your employees and what they want. Some employees will appreciate a hand-written thank you note. Just remember to do something to keep them happy this summer and the reward for you will be loyal, hard-working employees!


Employment Law Update: ISERRA

Effective January 1, 2019, Illinois put several new employment laws in place. One of those laws is the Illinois Service Member Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (ISERRA). From what I can tell, the purpose of this law was a simplification. It repeals and replaces the Military Leave of Absence Act, the Public Employee Armed Services Rights Act, The Municipal Employees Military Active Duty Act the Local Government Employee Benefits Continuation Act but does not repeal the Illinois FAMILY Military Leave Act. I’m not going to lie, working in the Private sector, I didn’t even know about some of these laws.

That being said, ISERRA is very similar to the federal law (USERRA) with the exception that on the state level, it provides some additional protections:

  • Expands the definition of “Military Service.” ISERRA defines “military service” as not only service in the Armed Forces of the United States or National Guard (as provided under USERRA), but also “state active duty” (i.e. the “full-time State-funded military duty under the command and control of the Governor”), or service for any “federally recognized auxiliary of the United States Armed Forces when performing official duties in support of military or civilian authorities as a result of an emergency.” This would include National Guardsman who are called upon but the state Governor to perform State Active Duty which is not covered by USERRA.
  • Salary Continuation. Under the newly formed ISERRA, public sector employees are entitled to full salary continuation for periods of annual training up to 30 days each calendar year. AND, if the public employee is out for 60 days, they are entitled to differential pay. Meaning they can be paid the difference between their normal salary and their military salary.
  • Notice of Leave. Under ISERRA, an employee is not required to get permission but is required to give advance notice of pending service. Employers are not allowed to impose conditions upon leave either, such as shift replacements.
  • Provides special treatment for performance reviews and seniority. If you have a service member utilizing ISERRA, their review must be treated with care. They must be credited with the average of his/her own efficiency or performance ratings/evaluations received over the three years preceding the leave, but in no case can the average rating be less than the employee received for the last rating period preceding his/her leave. Additionally, military periods must be counted as civilian service when computing seniority for promotion eligibility or promotions.
  • Enforcement and Damages. ISERRA provides for a private right of action to individual employee claimants as well as enforcement authority by the Illinois attorney general. The court may award actual damages “or any other relief that the court deems proper.” Punitive damages are not authorized except in cases involving discrimination against service member employees, and may not exceed $50,000 per violation. ISERRA negates any statute of limitations for individuals or the attorney general to bring suit.
  • Creation of an ISERRA Advocate. ISERRA calls for the creation of an “ISERRA Advocate” in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. The ISERRA Advocate’s role is to assist both service members and employers with questions about service members’ protections under the statute. You may find more information about the advocate on the Illinois attorney general’s website.
  • Posting Requirements. ISERRA requires that employers post a notice of employee rights. This free posting can be downloaded from the Illinois Attorney General website.


So what are my next steps?

  1. Review and revise your handbook and/or policies and procedures concerning leaves of absence. ISERRA applies to all Illinois employers. Private, public, large and small.
  2. Train your supervisors to be aware of the policy and the next steps when someone in their department is facing an upcoming leave.
  3. Post the notice of employee rights.


This article (“Article”) is a service made available Priority Staffing Group, Ltd, its partners, affiliates or subsidiaries (“Provider”). This Article provides general information related to the law and is designed to help users safely cope with their own legal needs. This Article does not provide legal advice and Provider is not a law firm. None of our content writers are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want legal advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship exists or will be formed between you and Provider or any of our representatives.


Megan Jones, Human Resources Director

Priority Staffing Group – Marion, Illinois

Megan Jones

Vandalia Office Closing

Vandalia Office Closed

Priority Staffing Group opened up our office in Vandalia Illinois in 2014. Now, after several successful years, we’re closing the physical location in Vandalia and continuing our staffing operations in the area by recruiting remotely.


Applicants should apply online for positions they’re interested in for the Central Illinois area they will be contacted to schedule their interviews. Everyone is encouraged to continue following the Priority Staffing Group – Central Illinois Facebook page to stay updated on dates for open interviews and hiring events.


The phone number, 618-283-9533, is available for calls 24/7 and if there is no answer, a voicemail should be left and the call will be returned as soon as possible.


Thank you to everyone who has supported our journey in Central Illinois. We’re excited about the growth we’ll see for Priority Staffing in the coming months!

Fireworks Safety Tipd

Fireworks Safety


Each July, our country unites in the celebration of our Independence Day. Our tradition of fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday is exciting, but can also pose serious risks.

The National Safety Council advises everyone to stay away from all consumer fireworks and to only enjoy fireworks at a public display conducted by professionals, but if you choose to celebrate at home or work, remember that fireworks can cause serious burn and eye injuries if not used with extreme care. Start with the basic rules below to help prevent injuries.

Fireworks Safety Checklist:
  • Light fireworks only one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over fireworks when lighting the fuse.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishaps.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.


Additionally, OSHA warns employers who have fireworks displays for their employees of the dangers. Some important tips to follow are below.

OSHA’s Display Checklist
  • Verify fire service and EMS units are available and ready to respond.
  • Establish good communications between crew, event sponsor, AHJ, and fire service/EMS units.
  • Maintain crowd control, utilizing monitors and/or barriers.
  • Use all required personal protective equipment especially protection for head, eye, hearing, and foot.
  • Wear long-sleeved and long-legged clothing made of cotton, wool or similar flame-resistant cloth.
  • Avoid placing any portion of your body over mortars when manually igniting them.
  • Monitor weather and crowd conditions to maintain safety.
  • Comply with directions given by the AHJ, spotter(s), or fire/EMS units.
  • Use only flashlights or other nonincendive lighting in firing and ready box areas.


Priority Staffing Group wishes everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Nourish HUB Partnership

Priority Staffing Moves into Nourish Food Bank


Nourish Food Bank

Priority Staffing Group is excited to announce our newest partnership with Nourish Food Bank in Murfreesboro. In addition to our current location on Veterans Parkway, our staff will now occupy a second space located within Nourish’s HUB distribution center to better serve our community members needing employment services.


We will be on-site at 1809 Memorial Blvd Murfreesboro, TN 37129 on Tuesdays and Thursdays to take applications and conduct interviews for current and future job openings. We will also be available to assist with resume building and interview coaching upon request. 


The distribution center, The Nourish HUB, just opened its doors in September of 2018. The new facility exists to offer critically needed resources, preparation, storage and distribution of food supplies to nonprofits including food banks/pantries, mobile meals programs, shelters, senior and youth food wellness initiatives, and others as appropriate to the hunger relief movement.


Visit the Nourish Food Bank website for more information about the incredible work they do in our community.

Want to support them even more? Purchase tickets to benefit the Nourish Food Bank at their upcoming event, Aloha Hanai, a Lei’d Back Luau. The community event is Saturday, June 22nd 6:30 – 9:30 pm.


Check out some of our other non-profit partners, like Endure Athletics and Amelia’s Closet.

Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act

Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act


On June 4, 2019, the Illinois legislature passed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. In a nutshell, the use of cannabis in Illinois will now become recreational effective January 1, 2020.

Under this act, the General Assembly finds and declares that cannabis should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol. To the extent that persons, age 21 and older, will have to show proof of age before purchasing cannabis.

When it comes to how we handle this in the workplace as employers however, we still have some rights, unlike other states. The General Assembly declares at the beginning of the “Cannabis Act” that “employee workplace safety shall not be diminished and employer workplace policies shall be interpreted to protect employee safety.”

A snapshot of Sections 10-50 gives us a few guidelines on what we can expect as employers in how to move forward with our enforcement of this new law.

  • Nothing in this Act shall prohibit an employer from adopting reasonable zero tolerance or drug-free workplace policies, or employment policies concerning drug testing, smoking, consumption, storage, or use of cannabis in the workplace or while on-call provided that the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.
  • Nothing in this Act shall require an employer to permit an employee to be under the influence of or use cannabis in the employer’s workplace or while performing the employee’s job duties or while on call.
  • Nothing in this Act shall limit or prevent an employer from disciplining an employee or terminating the employment of an employee for violating an employer’s employment policies or workplace drug policy.
  • An employer may consider an employee to be impaired or under the influence of cannabis if the employer has a good faith belief that an employee manifests specific, articulable symptoms while working that decrease or lessen the employee’s performance of the duties or tasks of the employee’s job position, including symptoms of the employee’s speech, physical dexterity, agility, coordination, demeanor, irrational or unusual behavior, or negligence or carelessness in operating equipment or machinery; disregard for the safety of the employee or others, or involvement in any accident that results in serious damage to equipment or property; disruption of a production or manufacturing process; or carelessness that results in any injury to the employee or others. If an employer elects to discipline an employee on the basis that the employee is under the influence or impaired by cannabis, the employer must afford the employee a reasonable opportunity to contest the basis of the determination.
  • Nothing in this Act shall be construed to create or imply a cause of action for any person against an employer for:
    • actions, including but not limited to subjecting an employee or applicant to reasonable drug and alcohol testing under the employer’s workplace drug policy, including an employee’s refusal to be tested or to cooperate in testing procedures or disciplining or termination of employment, based on the employer’s good faith belief that an employee used or possessed cannabis in the employer’s workplace or while performing the employee’s job duties or while on call in violation of the employer’s employment policies;
    • actions, including discipline or termination of employment, based on the employer’s good faith belief that an employee was impaired as a result of the use of cannabis, or under the influence of cannabis, while at the employer’s workplace or while performing the employee’s job duties or while on call in violation of the employer’s workplace drug policy; or
    • injury, loss, or liability to a third party if the employer neither knew nor had reason to know that the employee was impaired.
  • Nothing in this Act shall be construed to enhance or diminish protections afforded by any other law, including but not limited to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act or the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program.
  • Nothing in this Act shall be construed to interfere with any federal, state, or local restrictions on employment including, but not limited to, the United States Department of Transportation regulation 49 CFR 40.151(e) or impact an employer’s ability to comply with federal or state law or cause 25 it to lose a federal or State contract or funding.


So what should we do to prepare for the upcoming change in 2020?

  1. Consider whether or not you will continue to provide a drug-free workplace. If so, will you address with your staff prior to rolling this out?
  2. Evaluate your policies and procedures when it comes to the legalization of marijuana. The policy should clearly state that you are cannabis, drug, and alcohol-free workplace, what the consequences will be of violating this policy as well as how they can contest a cannabis-related disciplinary decision.
  3. While this act does not state specifically that reasonable accommodation must be made, medical marijuana laws might require you to engage in the interactive process.
  4. Train your staff on the signs of impairment and the procedures to follow for reasonable suspicion drug testing and post-accident drug testing.
  5. It’s always wise to consult your attorney to review these policies prior to putting them in place.



This article (“Article”) is a service made available Priority Staffing Group, Ltd, its partners, affiliates or subsidiaries (“Provider”). This Article provides general information related to the law and is designed to help users safely cope with their own legal needs. This Article does not provide legal advice and the Provider is not a law firm. None of our content writers are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want legal advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship exists or will be formed between you and Provider or any of our representatives.


Could an RPO Program be Exactly What Your Business Needs?

RPO Programs are taking the business world by storm and becoming one of the most sought after business extensions today.  If you have not considered an RPO Program for your company, you could be falling behind.

Benefits of RPO


Let’s start with the basics; what is an RPO Program? RPO stands for Recruitment Process Outsourcing and by definition it is when a company transfers all or part of its recruitment processes to an external service provider. But an RPO is not a one size fits all type of program.  There are so many customizable features that are designed specifically for the client.  The only part of an RPO Program that stands firm in every situation is that it is highly beneficial and cost effective for the partnering company.


We know that an RPO Program is flexible and customizable for each company, but how flexible is it really? Great question! An RPO Program can be designed for a long term recruiting solution, seasonal workers, a special 6 month project, a reoccurring project, a new department, or to bulk up an existing department; the options are endless.  More specifically, Priority Staffing Group will design an RPO precisely for you and the needs of your business.

A few great examples of an RPO in action are:

  • Your business landed a new contract and you need a group of employees to start working very quickly in a specific department. (Sales, laborers, nurses, plumbers, electricians, etc.)
  • You want your current employees to focus their time on the bread and butter of the company and decide to turn over the Recruiting and Hiring functions completely to an external vendor
  • You need employees for a short project and need experts to handle the recruiting to have time for your internal team to prepare for the project

What are the major benefits of an RPO?

  • Efficiency and Cost Effective Solutions
    • By streamlining your company’s recruiting process through a Priority RPO, your company will experience an improvement on the overall time-to-fill while simultaneously reducing your cost-per-hire. The access to a greater talent pool allows for better quality applicants and an enhanced speed through the hiring lifecycle.
  • Highest Technology and Resources
    • Priority currently utilizes the industry’s most advanced technology in addition to their unbeatable buying power. Due to our large scale volume, we are able to seize advertising opportunities that would be out of reach for most other companies.
  • Subject Matter Experts at Your Fingertips
    • At Priority’s core, we are recruiters through and through. Our entire focus is recruiting, hiring, and onboarding.  Our RPO program allows you to focus on your core business while we use our knowledge and expertise to overcome your overwhelming hiring needs.
  • Go Big or Go Small
    • If you have a need for seasonal employees, a group of skilled employees for a specific department, a multitude of employees in different areas of expertise for a project, or a long term solution. Priority can make an RPO program as small and precise or as big and inclusive as you see fit.
  • Mitigate Risk
    • Between ever changing employment laws and special circumstances, staying on top of the changes is a full time job in itself to make sure your company is in compliance. By working with Priority’s RPO Program, you can feel secure knowing your hiring process is always in compliance.
  • Strategy and Analytics
    • Partnering with Priority’s RPO Program, you will have access to your Recruiting Specialist and Project Manager at all times. We will have the ability to adjust the talent strategy to expand business growth while tracking the data and statistics necessary to ensure the success of the strategy.  This allows for you and Priority to alter the strategy based on historical trends, diversity, and talent availability if needed. Having this type of advanced insight into the workforce demographics will make a significant impact on your company and the overall ROI.

A Few RPO Customizable Solutions:

  • Short Term Projects (3-9 months)
  • Seasonal Needs
  • Reoccurring Projects
  • Long Term Projects (9 months – 2 years)
  • Long Term Solutions (Ongoing)
  • Department Specific (example: Only Sales Department – All positions)
  • Position Specific (example: Only Customer Service Representatives)
  • Location Specific (example: Only the North Carolina Location)

Overall, a Priority Staffing Group RPO Program can become an extension of your hiring and recruiting functions with a seamless transition.  You will be wishing you had partnered with us sooner. Priority Staffing Group is here to help you get the results you need, today!

Contact Staci Gooden, Director of Client Relations at or call 618-969-8299 to set up a demo call.

RecruitCon 2018.

RecruitCon 2018


On May 10 – 11, Priority Staffing Group sent representatives from each of our offices to attend RecruitCon 2018. This conference was designed to teach groundbreaking strategies for staffing and recruiting.

Our goal is to learn as much as we can throughout the year to better service our clients. Part of this year’s conference focus was marketing to the newer generations of candidates, including Millennials, who now make up a large part of the working population, and Generation Z, who are just breaking into the workforce. In fact, 50% of the world’s current population is under 31 years old, which makes these two generations more important than ever to focus on in terms of employment.


By collecting the information needed to effectively hire and train these generations, we are able to take one step ahead of other companies who are hiring.


Three important takeaways: 

1) Keep hiring simple

2) Growth opportunities are a must

3) Flexibility is key


We pride ourselves on keeping up with the newest Human Resources trends to better service our clients. If you want more information on how we can help your business, reach out to any of our locations.


Marion, IL – (618) 969-8800 | Vandalia, IL – (618) 283-9533 | Murfreesboro, TN – (615) 295-2127


Want more information on RecruitCon’s sessions? Read this recap by RecruitLoop’s Paul Slezak, a presenter at the conference.

3 Ways to Wow Your Recruiter



This is going to be one of those honest moments for job seekers who ask “Why haven’t I found a job yet?”

Interviewing for an open job, even at a staffing company, does not guarantee you’ll get hired.


I know it seems like because we place people in jobs for a living that you should get one just for walking in the door. But we have hundreds of applicants sometimes for each open position and when we call you in for an interview, that’s exactly what you have to do – interview.


Your odds can even be better at a staffing agency if you approach the interview correctly. Read why we can help you have Better Odds.

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Our tip: treat every interaction with a staffing agency like you would with a direct hire employer.


We would love to give every applicant a position, but our overall goals are to find career placements, meaning we find long-term positions that our candidates want to work at. If we just throw people into the first open position we have, no one would be happy.


So, when you go to an interview, start with these three easy tips to wow a recruiter!


1. Dress the Part

The biggest mistake we see made at interviews is not dressing the part. Whatever position you’re interviewing for, dress one step up.


That’s not to say you can’t wear jeans for a cleaning position, but you should wear a button up shirt or blouse and the jeans should be clean, hole free and well-fitting. Office positions should always be business casual.

Read more about what to wear for your interview below: 

Interview Attire



2. Be Respectful

Respect has many different aspects. First and foremost, show up to your interview and be on time. If something comes up that causes you to be late or miss the interview, be respectful enough to call and let the recruiter’s office know as soon as you can.


Respect extends into the interview as well. Unless you have an emergency, there’s no reason to have your phone out during the interview. Best practice: turn it on silent and put it away.


3. Prepare

A frustration for many recruiters is asking any question in the interview process and getting the answer “I don’t know.” To avoid answering that way, prepare for your interview ahead of time. First, bring an updated resume. Make sure all dates of employment are correct and expect to answer questions about the job you did there. It wouldn’t hurt to have bullet points on your resume for each position.


Also, prepare to answer questions about WHY you want to do that job and know a few things about the company you’re interviewing for. It shows interest in the job and that alone can signal to a recruiter you might be the best fit.


If you need help creating or updating your resume, read our post on Resume Writing.

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These three tips you just read are a great start for interview success, but if you want to really impress your recruiter, read the 5 Most Common Interview Mistakes to avoid.

Interview Mistakes


If you have more questions on Interview Techniques, we are happy to do coaching sessions at any of our locations.

Marion, IL: 618-969-8800 | Vandalia, IL: 618-283-9533 | Murfreesboro, TN: 615-295-212

5K Walk for Autism & ADHD


April is National Autism Awareness Month and we’re participating in an Autism & ADHD Walk to raise awareness.


Because early diagnosis and treatment are so critical in dealing with these conditions, General Cable elected to work with the Tri-County Special Education (TCSE) school in DuQuoin, Illinois to help purchase much needed sensory equipment. The school provides K-12 education for children from Perry, Jackson and Union Counties.


Priority Staffing Group has sponsored the 5K Walk for Autism & ADHD. The charity event will be held April 14, 2018 at the Southtowne Shopping Center in DuQuoin from 8:30am until noon.


We’ve also encouraged our employees to walk on April 14th. Celesta Bowers, Priority Staffing Group’s Finance Manager, said she is participating because “it is very important to educate others and show support to other families that have children with special needs.”


The goal of the walk is to raise awareness and facilitate better understanding of the needs children with these disorders have. All proceeds that are raised from this event will benefit TCSE to purchase special stools, desks and sensory equipment that is helpful to the education of children with Autism and ADHD.


autism early interventionIf you would like to help the organization financially, checks may be brought or mailed to:

5K Walk for Autism

General Cable

1453 S Washington

DuQuoin, IL 62832


Marion, IL – (618) 969-8800 | Vandalia, IL – (618) 283-9533 | Murfreesboro, TN – (615) 295-2127