Earlier this year, the IRS released a draft of the new Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods (Publication 15-T). The draft included:

  • An Employer’s Withholding Worksheet, which allows employers to calculate 2020 withholding using either previously completed Forms W-4 or the newly designed draft form
  • Percentage Method Tables
  • Wage Bracket Method Tables, which include three filing statuses: single, married filing jointly and head of household

The biggest change? No more allowances.

Employees fill out IRS Form W-4 (Employee’s Withholding Certificate) with information employers need to determine the amount of federal income tax to withhold from each of the employee’s paychecks. As part of the TCJA, the IRS separated the form into five steps and removed withholding allowances.

Previously, the value of withholding allowances was tied to personal exemptions. But starting January 1, 2020, employees won’t be able to claim personal or dependency exemptions anymore. That means employees can no longer request adjustments to their withholding via allowances. Now, they’ll need to use the revised 2020 Form W-4 to indicate specific increases or reductions in taxes and wage income subject to withholding.

These revisions were intended to reduce the form’s complexity and increase withholding accuracy. It uses the same basic information but replaces worksheets with questions that are supposed to make the process easier for employees. That said, any change to tax law can be confusing—and this is the first major overhaul in 30 years. If your employees have questions about filling out the new draft Form W-4, point them to this helpful FAQ from the IRS.


1) Encourage influenza immunization

The influenza vaccine is the most effective way (other than staying locked away) to reduce the likelihood of getting the flu. While flu-shot effectiveness can vary from year to year (as the immunization is predictive of which strains are most likely to break out), getting a flu shot is usually the best way to avoid getting the flu.

2) Clean and disinfect

Doorknobs, handles, keyboards and even the buttons on the copy machine harbor cold and flu germs and are great places for unsuspecting employees to increase their odds of becoming ill. In addition to having your cleaning staff disinfect common surfaces on a daily basis, place antibacterial wipes near surfaces that are shared by staff and encourage them to wipe before touching during the cold and flu season.

3) Develop a Sick Policy for your place of work and communicate it

As an employer, if you don’t want your employees to spread illness around the office, you have to be comfortable with allowing your workforce to stay away from work if they are contagious. A cold can be contagious for 3 to 5 days and the flu is contagious for 5 to 7 days. Much to the dismay of many co-workers, people often feel pressure to show up at work while they are contagious.

4) Encourage employees to avoid or minimize close contact with people who are sick

Let your employees know that it’s not “crazy” to avoid and minimize contact with those who are coughing, or with those who have a runny nose, sore throat or fever. Some people feel singled out as “paranoid” if they try avoid those who are sick. The fact is, it’s wise.

5) Encourage workplace hygiene

– Washing hands, especially before touching the mouth/nose/eyes, can greatly reduce the chances of catching an illness. Wash for 30 seconds or so with soap and warm water, making sure to get under the nails.  You should wash your hands for as long as it takes to sing (or hum) the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

– Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or the elbow to minimize the spread of germs. Sneezing can spread germs up to 200 feet (according to the MIT sneeze study). While most sneeze droplets land within 3-6 feet, many become airborne and can circulate throughout the workplace.

– Encourage employees not to touch their eyes, nose or mouth, which are the areas through which viruses are spread.

6) Promote a healthy lifestyle 

Encourage employees to get adequate rest, exercise and to manage stress and other health conditions. A healthy mental and physical state, along with managing chronic health conditions, can go a long way in boosting the immune system.


Remember that someone with the flu is contagious for up to 7 days and a cold can be contagious for 3-5 days. If employees feel pressured to be at work when they are sick, they can spread these illnesses to other workers


Things are getting a little hairy in the Alternative Staffing office these days.  Our recruiting team, Paul Kirkland, Chris Wages, and John Gooch have decided to bring No Shave November to the Alternative Staffing office. These three fellows have said goodbye to the 5 o’clock shadows and are welcoming a much darker do. Be sure to follow Alternative Staffing on Facebook to see the hairy updates!

No Shave November is a unique yet simple way to raise cancer awareness. What better way to grow awareness than with some hair? The concept of this month is to raise awareness by embracing our hair, which most cancer patients loose due to chemo therapy and radiation treatments. Also, take the money that you usually use on shaving products, and donate instead to help those who are fighting the battle.

There are a few hairy hashtags to go tag when you share your No Shave pictures on social media. For every picture posted in November to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr with #ChickenStache Dairy Queen & Dr. Pepper will donate $1 to No-Shave November.

Ladies, don’t feel left out. Put the razor away and let your legs get a little hairy too! For every photo shared in month of November with both #5MileShadow & #NewtonRunning, Newton Running Company will donate $1 to No-Shave November.

Show your support and learn more at #letitgrow


Benefits of using a Warehouse Staffing Agency

If you work with a seasoned staffing agency such as Alternative Staffing, we will know how to navigate getting you the best job placement. Some examples of benefits you will experience from work with Alternative Staffing include:

1. We Want To Place You Where You Will Be Most Successful

Staffing agencies are paid by the warehouse company. Therefore, agencies are determined to find employees that will do a good job for their partner companies. Agencies will make sure to look at your individual personality and skill set and do their best to match you with the positions that best suit you. You are less likely to end up in a position you have difficulty with if a staffing agency is assisting you because they want you to succeed.

2. Experience Is Not Required

If you are trying to break into a new line of work, the warehouse industry is a great option for those who have little to no experience under their belt. Because staffing agencies work with these positions so much, they will know what positions are best for newcomers and give you all of the information you need to get started.

3. You Won’t Get Bored

Doing temporary warehouse work allows you to change things up every so often without the stress of having to search for a new job all on your own. You will have the refreshing change of a new environment and project to work on, but the consistency of working for a staffing agency that knows you.

4. Quick Work Guaranteed

Staffing agencies know where the work is. They have all the connections and they can find you work when you need it. You may be looking for a longer stint or a quick few days of work to get toward that paycheck faster. The agency has a bunch of different warehouse positions that need to be filled, and they will work with you to match up to what you are looking for.

5. Health Benefits

Most agencies offer different health coverage options to temporary employees depending on how long the employee has worked with them. If this is an important factor for you, make sure to ask the agency about their health coverage options and requirements when deciding if you want to work with them.

6. Potential For An Eventual Full-Time Position

Temporary work might not always be what you prefer. Working with a staffing agency will get you into many different doors and gives you an opportunity to develop relationships with companies that may wish to bring you on full time. Through your different experiences you will gain knowledge about the warehouse industry and the type of environment you prefer so that when the times comes, you will know if the company is somewhere you would like to stay permanently.


Whether you are just starting out, or you are simply having difficulty finding consistent work, a warehouse staffing agency can find work for you. There are endless opportunities for growth and the development of your career through the agency’s services, and the warehouse industry has positions for everyone. For more information on warehouse staffing agencies and the benefits of working with one, contact Alternative Staffing.


New business owners quickly discover how imperative it is to calculate their service company labor and overhead rates in order to keep their finances healthy. Every industry needs to take these numbers into consideration so they can break down costs and ensure that they are making a profit.

In order to do so, you will need to determine the cost of each employee. However, this does not just mean the sum amount of what you are paying them yearly, there is more you need to factor in. It might seem like their pay is the most important number, but the extra stuff adds up quick. Don’t make the common mistake of looking over those ‘little’ extra costs. Keep reading for everything that needs to be factored in when using an employee cost calculator.


Many companies often exclude the cost of labor from their direct service overhead and final cost of production. However, labor costs tend to contribute a great deal to the expenses of each business. Calculating the overhead cost per employee is not overly complicated, you just need to factor in the cost of each employee’s:

  • Salary/hourly rate.
  • Payroll taxes.
  • Fringe benefits.
  • The supplies and expenses required for the employee to accomplish their job.
  • Insurance.
  • Any cost from equipment used by the employee.


As mentioned above, every little cost counts. Guessing a loose estimate of what each employee costs could lead a company to some serious money troubles. In addition to the general expenses presented in the first list, make sure to also include the following, if they do apply to any of your employees:

  • Paid time off.
  • Retirement and/or union benefits.
  • Training and/or any extra time spent working on enhancing the skills of the employee.
  • Any equipment that has been damaged by the employee.
  • Errors made by the employee that has caused production to move slower or possible loss in customers.
  • How much supervision and support needed by the employee.

With this information, you can now calculate the true cost for each employee.


Many companies struggle to keep their labor costs low enough so they can grow. Fortunately, there are solutions for this, it just requires some adjustments in the way that the company is staffed. With the assistance of a staffing company, a business does not have to cover the expenses of screening, testing, interviewing and reference checking. This will allow current staff to continue focusing on more critical activities and reduce the time to hire. In addition, they can provide you with capable temporary employees who can come in when you anticipate a peak in business.

Once that peak is over, you will not have to continue to find hours for them and watch your labor costs fly through the roof. Our team will work with you to ensure that you are adequately staffed and not wasting time and money attempting to do so. Want to hear more about how Alternative Staffing can help reduce your labor costs?



At Alternative Staffing we make it a point to reduce, reuse and recycle. We’ve made “Go Green in 2019” our slogan. Recycling bins around the office make sure that employee are recycling all products available. Reuse of one sided copy paper is flipped over and used again by owner, Jan Cappellini.

Alternative Staffing is always looking for ways to better our carbon footprint. So we did a little research and came up with a few office practices to incorporate into our days; and we encourage other businesses to do the same!

Tips to Going Green in 2019:

  • Recycle. If recycling seems so simple, then why don’t more people do it? Make it convenient for your employees. Put a recycling bin right beside every trash can – then no one has an excuse to pop that can in the recycling bin instead of the trash. Put a sign on the recycling bin to tell people what they can/cannot recycle. For example: Please recycle all paper, plastic, glass, and tin. Thank you! Sometimes people respond better when they see something word for word. Reuse your paper like us! Just flip it over and reprint on the other side. And who needs post-its when you have a plethora of note pads at your fingertips? Reuse copy paper by cutting it up into square pieces to use for notes, voicemail messages, and more!
  • Metal Straws. We’ve purchased metal straws to be washed and reused. We’ve given many of these straw out with our marketing material. These straws go great with the popular Yeti Tumblers.
  • Get rid of plastic water bottles. First of all, there is a lot of health conscious skepticism around the use of plastic water bottles; but we will focus on the earth friendly benefits of limiting the use of them! According to Ban the Bottle, Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year. So nix the plastic water bottles and switch to refillable water bottles. Add a purifier to your tap and you’re done! Again, you can customize for each employee and add company branding. Plus: This will reduce your office expenses!
  • Limit your gas consumption. We all know that highways in the Charleston Tri-County area can be a disaster from time to time. Make your commute fun and carpool with a co-worker, while using less gas. Use your bike to go to work if you live close by. Instead of driving somewhere for lunch, take your bike or add a brisk walk.
  • Reusable grocery bags. Make plastic and paper bags a thing of the past and go green with reusable bags! These are perfect for going to your local office supply store to buy supplies, office grocery store runs, or picking up lunch for the team. Do you see another branding opportunity here? We do!
  • Go green, literally, with plants. Having beautiful plants in the office are not only nice to look at but they make you feel better and even improve air quality. According to a NASA study, houseplants were able to remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours; and a study from Exter University concluded that employees were 15% more productive with plants in the office. Tip: Double dip and invest in an aloe plant. If someone gets cut or is burned, snip a piece of the aloe and rub on your skin!

Join Alternative Staffing and make the commitment to GO GREEN IN 2019 for a sustainable work environment! Mother Earth will thank you!


Does your 2019 business plan include supplementing your full-time staff during the summer or other busy seasons? This should be part of your overall hiring strategy: knowing exactly which employees you need and when, with a talent pipeline in place for the unexpected needs that will inevitably occur.

The Power is in the Planning

Your search for right-fitting talent should be ongoing throughout the year. Success is based on continuously assessing needs and anticipating when you’ll have to make changes.

  • Look at your sales plans and current coverage. Then you can statistically forecast your staffing requirements. Create a roadmap and from there, fill in the blanks. For instance, when will you need more sales strength? What about extra help in the stockroom? Are there specific time slots that will need fleshing out?
  • Always be recruiting. Use your contacts, professional networks and a staffing agency partner to build a pool of qualified candidates who can hit the ground running when the need arises.
  • Make sure job descriptions are correct, complete and current. Consider asking the author of each job description to spend a few hours shadowing an employee in the relevant position.
  • Provide adequate resources for onboarding seasonal staff. You can’t just throw them onto the factory or sales floor and expect them to flourish. Don’t view them merely as a way to fill your schedule, but rather as the company representatives they are. Customers won’t forgive poor service, regardless of who provides it.
  • Think ahead. Give preference to candidates who are likely to return for another season. This will streamline your hiring in the years ahead.

No Shortcuts or Assumptions

Seasonal workers can be a valuable repository of talent for your company’s future. You have the opportunity to make employment decisions based on hard performance data built up over the length of their assignments. Industry experts have noted that “in an ideal world, all our full-time people would have started out as part-timers.”

  • Hire for attitude as well as aptitude. The best seasonal workers are flexible and can get up to speed quickly. At the same time, they are highly dependable, support your mission, and place a high emphasis on safety and customer focus.
  • Don’t shortchange HR processes. It may be tempting to bypass certain procedures to save time and money, but this can lead to longer-term problems. Keep seasonal workers on you regular HR platform. Disseminate related information – such as interview and hiring procedures, orientation and training instructions and relevant paperwork – to satellite sites or branch offices that utilize seasonal employees.
  • Provide incentives for workers to stick out the season. Consider structuring compensation to reward those who stay as long as you need them. This avoids having to “replace your replacements.”

Partnering with a recruitment firm that specializes in your industry can yield excellent strategic results to meet all your hiring needs. To learn more, contact Alternative Staffing today at 843-744-6040.


Rule number one of searching for a job: always make a good first impression.

If your initial contact with a hiring agent or prospective employer is a personal meeting, it is essential to dress well, act courteously, and do whatever else it takes to demonstrate your poise and professionalism.

The same is true of your online job search process. Often, before there is a resume, a cover letter, or a verbal conversation, there is an email. Your positive image begins with the very first words in that message: the subject line.

How to “Get the Open”
HR professionals and recruiters are besieged with email messages every day. As a decision maker scans his or her mailbox, make sure that one of the messages opened and read is yours. Here are some tips for creating subject lines that are dynamic, interesting and professional – and take your job search to the next level:

  • Be Specific.
    Using as much detail as possible, use full words, not acronyms or slang, and list the full position you’re interested in. Some examples include “Materials Management Director Position” and “Human Resources Specialist Position #12345/Your Name.” If you’re seeking an exploratory interview, your subject line might read “Exploratory Interview Request – Communications Manager.”
  • Be Professional.
    Avoid silly remarks and stay away from statements which may seem catchy or humorous on the surface, but could be misconstrued. Likewise, avoid exclamation points. Do not use capital letters, which make text harder to read and are considered “shouting” at your reader.
  • Be Concise.
    A recent study found that subject lines of 35 characters or less received 52 percent higher open rates. So choose your words carefully and be detail oriented, but keep your subject line clear and on point.
  • Be Nice.
    Personalize your message and avoid bragging or appearing pompous or overly assertive. If you’ve been referred to a job or recruiter by a contact person, leverage that information appropriately, but don’t just name drop.


Remember, your goal in crafting the best possible subject line is to incite the reader to open and read your message. From there, the content of that message and the ensuing steps you take will set you on the path to career progress. But, if you miss that first step, you could take quite a stumble.

Building the right tools and the best plan for your job search takes strategy and hard work. Contact the professionals at Alternative Staffing if you need an experienced partner on your career pathway.


Finding the perfect employee can be a difficult task. However, the perfect employee isn’t one who does whatever you say, but someone who knows what to do without having to be told. That employee is someone who performs the job without constant prodding, someone who can manage himself or herself with a minimum of interference from supervision.

Here’s what to look for in a self-managing employee:

  • Goals. Look for people who set their own objectives and push themselves to achieve them. Instead of accomplishing the bare minimum, they stretch to do a little bit more, or a little bit better, without anyone else telling them to.
  • Guidance. An effective self-manager doesn’t pretend to know everything. The people you want aren’t afraid to ask for advice or assistance, or to seek someone else’s opinion when necessary.
  • Creativity. Pay attention to employees who are willing to suggest and try different solutions, who think about old problems in new ways and aren’t afraid to risk making a mistake or two.
  • Self-improvement. Does an employee take the initiative in learning a skill? You want employees who don’t wait for you to send them to a training seminar, but who identify gaps, or things they’d like to learn, and take steps on their own to move forward.
  • Challenge. Look at employees who seek out bigger projects, more responsibility, or a way to contribute more. The desire to grow is a valuable characteristic to nurture and reward.


Finding Good Talent Becoming A Struggle?

Having the right staff can be the difference between a smooth, drama free work environment and feeling like every day is a struggle just to make ends meet.

This is a common occurrence in today’s low unemployment rate workforce, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 6.7 million job openings in the US and only 6.4 million workers are available to fill them. This leads to lower and lower quality of employee when you are “scrapping the bottom of the barrel” per say.



If you have an opening for a supervisor position, make sure you consider the employees you already have for a possible promotion. Giving those that have been loyal to you a chance to excel is great motivation for them to work harder and find more purpose in their work.


You may have an idea of what you are looking for, but the people that really know what is going to complete their team is the team themselves. Give them a chance to contribute to the thought process as you consider what type of individuals you are looking for. Opening up this opportunity to them will allow them to recommend possible candidates they may know and offer their help to you by reviewing resumes and qualifications of possible candidates.


Not everyone likes to consider themselves competitive, but comparing yourself to your competition is not aggressive, it simply helps you understand where you need to set the bar to be successful. If other companies in your industry are offering higher pay rates and benefits to their employees, there is no doubt that the truly talented workers will want to work there. Offer something that is just a little better than your competitors and you will be the top choice for your ideal candidates.


Calling a candidate’s references always feel like a nuisance, but it is incredibly necessary if you want to be sure that you are hiring someone you can depend on. Anyone can look up a resume online and read what kind of answers make them sound experienced in an interview, you need to be sure that they actually have the experience they claim to have and talk to one or two people who have worked with them. Furthermore, you should always conduct background checks for each person for the safety of your other employees and your company. If anything goes wrong, you could be liable for it if you failed to do the background check.


Alternative Staffing not only does the background and reference checks for you, they have interviewed each of their candidates and collected a group of skilled individuals they can feel confident in. A staffing agency only matches people with companies that are sure to be a great fit. It saves you the time of having to post the position, filter through all of the responses and go through all of the interviews when they may not even prove to bring in any strong options. They speak with you in depth about what you are looking for and make it their prerogative to help you build a strong team that will last.


You know what it is that your company needs to accomplish, but it is not always easy to find enough people that will be dedicated in a way that will get the job done right.

By looking within the staff you have and then speaking to Alternative Staffing, you will find you no longer have to worry about the stresses of losing employees and filling positions.