The Truth About My Assumptions


The Truth About My Assumptions
By: Lisa Tracy

I have spent most of my adult life in management, restaurant management to be specific. I can remember so clearly the parts I loved, along with the parts I loathed. Management requires extreme multitasking and so often, things get pushed to the side for another day, and possibly never touched again at all. The one thing I always tried to prioritize was people. These people, no matter how small their responsibilities are, run your business, the day to day operations, filling in all the cracks and crevices that are inevitably unseen by management. They are the faces on the front lines. They create your atmosphere. They build your culture.

In leadership and management, your strongest efforts for success will always fall short without the buy-in of your people.

They outnumber you.

I would like to say that I successfully prioritized people, but the truth is, I never had the time to. Looking back, I see myself in a circus, standing on a stage, juggling fire-balls of all different shapes and sizes – budgets, operations, human resources, client and vendor relationships, product quality, repairs & maintenance, and insert an unexpected task of the day. The list goes on and on and on and on.

Sound familiar?

There’s no shame in admitting it.

I think we all play a part in this familiar circus, no matter what we do for a living. There are highs and lows, rewards and losses, and at the end of the day, we find a way to feel a sense of fulfillment because we gave it our all. But the reality is, most of us spend a work day giving a minimum of 10 things a maximum of 10%. With so many things on our to-do list, paired with the ever-changing business demands unique to each industry, how could we ever be able to stand on that circus stage, even as award winning performers, and confidently say we gave our people 100%? I was humbled to admit to myself that on the good days, I was only able to give people 10% of my time at work.

I had never heard of Priority Staffing Group before I interviewed with them. I had never even considered this as a career option. I was curious, but somewhat skeptical of accepting a position with a staffing agency, caught between my love for staffing and the words I associated with an agency – “low quality, short term, temp employment.” I have no idea where I got that perception from, but I imagine these are common association words from people, like myself, with little to no first hand experience. After all, how many of us have actually partnered with a staffing agency? My best guess is that we all get our perceptions from the few who have been unsatisfied with their experience from a low quality agency. It will always be true that bad news travels fast.

So what happened when I accepted this position and began to dig into this industry? I will tell you, I found myself completely wrong in my assumptions and unaware of the true rewards in partnering with a high quality staffing agency. High quality is the key word here. In a few shorts weeks, my association words would change drastically to “valuable resource, high quality solutions, long term partnerships.” I found that this industry provided a way for any kind of business to give 100% to their people. It’s how you gain an extra set of hands, a business partner, a focused expert in “your people.” It’s how you take something off your plate, and simultaneously guarantee the success of your existing and future employees. I have been completely blown away with my experience, serving as a resource to match local businesses of all sizes with their ideal candidates. While we do offer temporary services, it is not all that we do.

Temp work is a perk for your busy seasons and/or temporary needs. It is not the definition or the ceiling of our partnership.

So, I keep asking myself – How did I get this industry so wrong? How many other people believe the same things I once did? How can I change that?

Over the next few weeks, I am going to share information about a company that is worth knowing about, and an overall industry that is all too often misunderstood and undervalued. If you have any specific topics/questions you would like to be included, send me a message!

Lisa Tracy Account Manager – Priority Staffing Group – Middle Tennessee


2019 Ruthies Favorite Temp Service Winners!

Illinois Minimum Wage Increase


Illinois Minimum Wage Increases Starting in January


As most everyone is aware, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law to progressively increase the minimum wage in our state. Illinois is among one of the first states in the nation to pass an increase this large. The first increase will take effect in just a few short months on January 1, 2020.

In January, the minimum wage will increase to $9.25 per hour. That is a dollar more than the current state minimum wage of $8.25. Shortly thereafter, on July 1st, the minimum will increase another $0.75 to $10.00 hour.

A few other changes that take effect under this law is that minors (18 years of age and under) may be paid a lower wage per hour as long as they don’t work more than 650 hours per year. Damages to employers for violating the new Illinois Minimum Wage Act have increased drastically.

The state has implemented a tax credit to try to offset some of the burden on small employers. Businesses with 50 employees or less will be able to claim a tax credit for 25 percent of the cost in 2020. As the minimum wage continues to go up however, the credit will decrease and eventually be phased out completely.

What does all of this mean for you as an employer? There are several things that need to be considered when the minimum wage is increased.

Wage Compression – the definition of wage compression is the regularity that wages for low-skilled workers and wages for high-skilled workers tend toward one another. Not only does the minimum wage have to go up, but most likely the wage that you are paying your skilled workers as well.

Effects on small businesses – oftentimes wage increases force small business owners to raise prices on their goods and services or reduce the cost of doing business. This can lead to operating your business with leaner staff or cheaper products.

Passing on the cost to consumers – for obvious reasons, this could mean passing on these additional costs to your consumer. There are obviously pros and cons to this. Consumers will likely be making more money and can afford to pay a little more for goods and services. On the other hand, some businesses aren’t able to pass on increases to their consumers to remain competitive or due to the national standard for some of these goods and services.

As stated earlier, there are several things that need to be considered when the Illinois minimum wage increase takes effect. If you are curious about the minimum wage increases for the state of Illinois over the next several years, check out this link:

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.

Alzheimer's Walk Team Photo

Walk to End Alzheimer’s 2019


Alzheimer's Walk Team Photo

Walk to End Alzheimer’s

The Rutherford County Walk to End Alzheimer’s was Saturday, September 21st, 2019.

Priority Staffing Group’s walk team raised money for the cause in the months leading up to the walk. Collectively, our team raised $2,080. Each dollar donated goes toward The Alzheimer’s Association and their mission of providing help to those with Alzheimer’s and caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s. For more info on where the walk dollars go, visit their website.

Promise Garden

The Alzheimer’s Association website explains the significance of the Promise Garden:

“At the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, we hold the Promise Garden ceremony to remind us why we fight. An orange flower means you support our cause. Yellow means you’re caring for someone with the disease. Purple means you’ve lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s. And holding a blue flower means you’re currently living with the disease.”

Alzheimer's Promise Garden

Register Your Team

Next year, please consider joining the cause by signing up your business, family or friends to walk with us.

You can register a new team here.


2019 Walk Schedule
Registration at 8am
Ceremony at 9am
Walk at 9:30am


MTSU Dean Hayes Track and Soccer Field
1568 Greenland Drive
Murfreesboro, TN 37130


Can’t walk with us? Then please donate to the cause if you can.
You can make a donation to the Priority Staffing Group team here.

Gail, Dana, Emily, Brandy

Employee Appreciation 2019

Play ball!

That’s exactly what Priority Staffing Group did on our sports-themed 2019 Employee Appreciation Weekend.


Each year our three owners, Gail Lannom, Heather Goines-Evans, and Carlos Tanner, pack up and take all our internal employees on an Employee Appreciation Weekend to thank the team for their hard work all year.


Last year we spent the weekend at the lake and in 2017 we had a winery weekend.


For us, this is the one weekend each year we can get together with our spouses or friends and enjoy each of our coworkers’ company without the workday overhead. While we consider ourselves family day-to-day, this is a gift we’re given to just have fun together!


This year, Priority Staffing piled into a bus playing music hand-picked by each member of our team. We rode from our headquarters in Marion, IL to Chesterfield, MO. There we picked teams and played Topgolf for the first leg of our journey.



The team moved on to St. Louis to see the Cardinals play the Pirates.


The Cardinals won the game while we cheered them on. But as a team, we all felt like the winners after the Priority Staffing Annual Awards were handed out.

Helping Hand Award

Julie Simpson – “Helping Hand” Award

In It To Win It Award

Liz Sawyer – “In It To Win It” Award











Each baseball-themed trophy was hand-picked for the winner. Some of the categories were based on the work ethic of the winner, like “Out of the Park” for the team member who consistently hits it out of the park whether that is placing employees, satisfying clients, etc. and some awards were based on the good spirits of the employee like “Cheer Master” for bringing the most team pride to the office and “Comic Relief” for someone who always makes us laugh.


Employee appreciation doesn’t have to be shown on a big trip, but the extra praise makes a difference all year. What do you do for your employees to keep morale up? Do you have annual awards or a company picnic? We’d love to hear your ideas!


For any staffing needs you may have at your company, or if you’re seeking a new career, reach out to any of our offices for help.

Marion – 618-969-8800 | Vandalia – 618-283-9533 | Murfreesboro – 615-295-2127

Women’s Business Enterprise Certified

WBENCPriority Staffing Group is proud to announce national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Midwest Certification Committee, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).


WBENC is the nation’s leader in women’s business development and the leading third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women, with more than 13,000 certified Women’s Business Enterprises, 14 national Regional Partner Organizations, and over 300 Corporate Members. More than 1,000 corporations representing America’s most prestigious brands as well as many states, cities, and other entities accept WBENC Certification.


WBENC’s national standard of certification implemented by the Midwest Certification Committee is a meticulous process including an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women.


“Being an independently owned and operated business in the workforce industry has always been a huge accomplishment for myself and my business partners,” says Heather Goines-Evans, Vice President. “But being recognized by the WBENC brings us enormous pride and is very inspiring to our entire team at PSG.  We are proud to be a majority female-owned business and hope to inspire other women in business to continue in their entrepreneurship successfully.”


By including women-owned businesses among their suppliers, corporations and government agencies demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier diversity programs.

IL Equal Pay Act

Illinois Equal Pay Act – September 2019

A few weeks ago, Governor, J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 834 into law. This bill amends the Illinois Equal Pay Act (IEPA) of 2003 and takes effect rather quickly on September 29, 2019!


What makes this law different than it was in 2003? A few things:

  1. The law previously included language that stated that employees be compensated equally for “substantially equal work” without regard to sex or race. It has now revised “equal work” to state “substantially equal skill, effort, and responsibility.”
  2. The Act previously stated the pay discrepancies could be explained by several different factors such as seniority, merit, etc. However, there was a catch-all qualification that stated “any factor other than sex or race.” It is now clarified to state that any compensation discrepancy is tied to the job in question.
  3. Most of us that have been in a Human Resources or Office Manager role for a while have come across employees discussing their wages amongst one another and the issues that this can cause. As most of you likely know, we cannot require that employees do not discuss their wages with others, including their co-workers. The Act now states that you may also not force an employee to sign an agreement or contract stating that employees are not able to do this.
  4. Currently, the law permits employees to recover only amounts of an underpayment if they are on the winning side of a suit whereas the new law will allow an employee to succeed in being awarded compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief. Employers may also be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 per violation.
  5. And last but not least. The IEPA now bans employers from inquiring about an applicant’s wages at a previous or current place of employment. Specifically stating that Illinois employers are prohibited from:
    1. Requesting or requiring wage or salary history from an applicant as a condition of being interviewed, considered for a job, or hired;
    2. Requesting or requiring that an applicant disclose their wage or salary history as a condition of employment;
    3. Screening job applicants based on their current or prior wages or salary histories by requiring that the history satisfy a minimum or maximum level; and
    4. Seeking a job applicant’s wage or salary history from any current or former employer. However, this subsection does not apply if the applicant is a current employee seeking another position within the same organization, or if their salary history is available as a matter of public record.

The good news? You CAN engage in the interactive process with applicants. Ask them what their salary requirements or desired compensation is! Nothing prohibits an applicant from voluntarily sharing current or prior wage history with you, we are just not able to rely on this information when making decisions to make the applicant an offer of employment or when determining their salary.

What steps do you need to take to be in compliance? My typical answer…training! Make sure your interviewing managers are well trained on things they are and are NOT allowed to ask in the interview process. It also appears that an update to your application process might be in the near future if you still have a spot that asks for the current salary.

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 | HR Director

New Tennessee Director of Client Relations


Liz Pitmon, Dir. of Client RelationsPriority Staffing Group’s Tennessee office welcomed a new Director of Client Relations, Liz Pitmon, last week. She has come on board to help manage client relationships as well as create new ones in the community for our business.

Liz grew up in Dickson, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. She studied Elementary Education at Austin Peay State University. While in school, she worked as a Relationship Manager in the financial services industry and discovered her love for working with people. That took her career away from teaching and into brand marketing in the automotive industry for 10 years, followed by project management in the print industry for 12 years. After some time in operations management, she came to Priority Staffing Group for a job with more client focus. Liz loves helping others, which will make her an excellent Director of Client Relations for our team.


Liz is married and has a 17-year-old son. She is also a former Nashville Rollergirl and still loves to skate!

Coming from the small town of Dickson, Liz said they seem to have their own language.  Just for fun, she compiled a list of “southernisms” in a coffee table book, the Sub-Urban Dicksonary, to help all the newcomers to Nashville understand the language.  It’s the first of three and she is working on two other books with a similar concept.


We welcome Liz and her experience to Priority Staffing Group!

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