A new year is upon us, and, in three weeks, a new era in America will dawn. Change is coming, most of it (hopefully) good, but none of it truly anything any of us can affect to any significant degree. So, whether your candidate takes the oath of office on January 20th or takes another hike in the Chappaqua woods, the only thing you can truly affect is yourself and your business.

To that end, here are a few ways those of us in the staffing industry can resolve to use the new year to advance our business interests in light of the very real changes coming our way.

1.) Resolve to educate your clients on pay

The Carrier deal is just the tip of the iceberg. Thanks to Trump and his America-first agenda, jobs are coming back. When you combine that with the likelihood of at least somewhat decreased immigration, particularly from low-skilled workers, you have a recipe for increased labor demand. This demand will, in turn, lead to a rise in the cost of labor.

It might have been possible for some companies on the low end of the pay scale to offer a nickel above minimum wage and still be selective among a multitude of applicants in 2009-2010, but those days are as gone as President Obama is about to be. If your low-paying clients aren't aware of comparable wages in their industry and area, it's your job to be sure that happens. After all, you can recruit until the cows come home, but if the price isn't right they simply aren't going to come (the people OR the cows!). Show them the data, show them what you're doing to recruit qualified candidates for them, and explain where they need to be on pay in order to attract what they're looking for. After all, you get what you pay for!

2.) Resolve to hold the line on bill rates

These days, everyone seems to be under pressure to decrease their margins. Maybe a new HR or Purchasing Manager wants to make his or her mark by saving their company money, or maybe your competition wants a foot in the door and is willing to essentially work for free to get it. Regardless, you need to have a firm sense of what it costs to provide what you provide, including maintaining an office and keeping your staff happy. (After all, your experienced, dedicated staff are absolutely integral to keeping your clients happy in the long run, right?) It's one thing to remain competitive, but it's quite another to work for free or a penny above. Your clients wouldn't do it, and neither should you.

Odds are, you're going to need every extra penny you can get to recruit qualified candidates, so as much as humanly possible, resolve to hold the line on bill rates. And, when necessary, be willing to walk away.

3.) Resolve to treat your associates as you would like to be treated

Without the candidates we recruit and place on assignment, it goes without saying that we wouldn't exist. However, facing a plethora of job orders combined with a percentage of candidates who can be annoying, demanding, and outright frustrating, its easy for staffers who do this stuff every day to get jaded. In 2017, resist the urge to get cynical and instead focus on the successful candidates you have placed before and are going to place this year, people who will be doing meaningful work and feeding their families in part because of your efforts.

Treat your candidates and associates with respect and appreciation and they will often, in turn, reward you by referring their friends who need work to you. After all, when you get great service somewhere don't you tell YOUR friends about it?

4.) Resolve to go the extra mile

Going the extra mile doesn't have to involve significant expense or often any expense at all. From standout customer service to free advice, an employee pizza lunch, or a free safety inspection, the extra things you do for our clients for the cost they are already paying will give them a sense of value that will, in turn, translate into loyalty and even, quite possibly, referrals.

Whether it's doughnuts in the lobby for your applicants or an off-hours trip to your client to deal with a pressing HR issue, resolve to go the extra mile in 2017. It will pay off!

5) Resolve to defend our industry

We all know it. In certain sectors, the staffing industry gets a bad rap. Sure, the American Staffing Association has worked tirelessly to counter this perception, but its also up to each of us to explain and defend our industry to the doubters and those who disparage it. In truth, in an increasingly complicated labor market, the service we provide by bringing job seekers and employers together in countless mutually beneficial relationships is more needed today than it was when our industry first began.

Resolve to become educated on the many reasons why, and resolve to share them in 2017 in situations where it's mutually beneficial. We do important work, and its time more people knew about it!

Here's to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017!