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Investing in your employees’ good health is money well spent – and a great way to do that is through a company wellness program.

You’ve already made the wise decision to take this proactive step toward a healthier work force. Here are some tips to get you started:

Identify Your Employees’ Needs.

  • Survey your work force to determine their health care needs. Include questions pertinent to family members as well. (Note for the future: Plan to re-survey periodically to check progress and keep your program current.)
  • Contact your health insurance provider to see if they will offer you a discount for implementing the program.

Recruit a Wellness Team.

  • Appoint a wellness coordinator. This could be an existing employee if that option is feasible – or consider an outside contractor. Among their first duties will be developing a mission statement, setting a budget and forming a committee.
  • Your company wellness committee should be a cross representation of your employee population. Depending on the makeup of your workplace, representatives typically come from human resources, public relations, health and safety, your union and/or your dietary department or cafeteria.
  • Wellness is mission driven. Your committee will use its mission statement as its North Star, setting direction for the future. And the mission statement should be based on results of the initial employee survey.

Have a Plan and Set Measurable Goals.

  • Set reasonable, achievable goals. For instance, one goal could be to have a certain percentage of employees enrolled in a smoking cessation program within six months. Determine how you will measure and evaluate progress.
  • Include fiscal goals. You may want to reduce worker’s compensation cost. By how much? And by when? And how much will this save the company? This data will justify program continuance.

Form Healthy Partnerships.

  • Reach out to health and fitness businesses to see if they’ll offer discounts to your employees. Gyms, nutritionists, massage therapists and yoga studios are just a few options.

Make it Convenient and Fun.

  • Develop a calendar of events that works for your employees. If you have a multi-shift work force, be sure to accommodate everyone. Your “back shift” workers will be especially appreciative! And the more programs held on site, the better.
  • Provide incentives. Rewards really do work. Provide smaller incentives for joining the program and incrementally larger ones for reaching milestones. Think gift cards, paid days off or free parking, or use items specific to your program design, such as pedometers, cookbooks or sugar-free candy and gum.

Get the Word Out.

  • Involve your communications staff right from the start and publicize your wellness program regularly. Utilize whichever media are most effective to reach your work force: email, newsletters, in-house television and/or bulletin boards.
  • Create an informational packet for distribution to all employees. Include it – as well as a presentation on program – as part of new staff orientation.
  • Hold an initial kick-off event. Consider offering flu shots, cholesterol screens, blood pressure testing or body mass index (BMI) assessments, along with information and incentives.

The experts at Alternative Staffing can help you develop your wellness team and make your program viable for the short and long term. To learn more, contact us today or visit or job board to see our available positions.

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If you’ve been selected to interview for a job, it typically means you’re a serious contender for the position. At this stage of your search process, follow-up is extremely critical. In fact, it can significantly affect whether or not you progress to the next stage in the hiring process or ultimately, receive an offer.

Increasingly, email follow-up messages are better received by hiring managers – versus hand-written notes – because they are easily saved and shared, and response is efficient and easy. Post-interview emails should be sent within 24 hours to everyone with whom you interviewed or interacted with during the session.

Why Your Follow up Message is Important
Prompt follow up via a well-crafted and timely email is not only a way of expressing your gratitude for an interview opportunity, but it also reinforces your qualifications and continued interest in the position.

Other reasons why you need to take this important step include:

  • By following up, you have another opportunity to demonstrate positive qualities typically sought by potential employers, including tenacity, dedication, attention to detail and the ability to follow through.
  • Some employers use follow up (or lack thereof) as a screening tool in the hiring process. If there are a number of similarly qualified candidates on the short list for filling a position, effective follow up can be a strategic means of tipping the scales in your favor.
  • Following up after an interview gives you a confidence boost and additional inspiration to move forward in pursuing your desired job.

Tips for Getting it Right
Keep these tips in mind as you write and send your follow-up email:

  • Get the right contact information. Find the correct names and addresses of the people to whom you are sending your message. Be sure spelling and grammar are flawless and that there are no typos or other errors.
  • In your email, thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you.
  • Highlight your relevant skills and experience. Briefly summarize why the position is an excellent match based on your assets and interest.
  • Promote your candidacy. Remind the employer what a positive role you would play and valuable contribution you would make to the company.
  • Maintain a positive attitude. Even if you are not selected, your follow-up can mean the employer will keep you in mind for future openings.

 

Job searching is a multifaceted process. It’s extremely important that you orchestrate each step to your benefit. A career coach or recruiting specialist can be a valuable partner as you find and secure the job of your dreams. To learn more, Contact Alternative Staffing Today.

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As summer steams on, likewise, the Charleston job market is heating up.

The hazy, lazy days of August may not be the most conducive to job hunting, but keep up the good work! To make your search process just a bit easier, we’ve done some homework for you. Here’s a look at employment trends in the Charleston region – and snapshots of some currently open positions.

Overall, job growth has been steady in Charleston since mid-2005, with peaks and valleys as the nation and most of the world weathered a historic economic recession. Industry experts forecast that the top up-and-coming jobs will include positions in trucking and transportation, operations management, general maintenance and repair, customer service, carpentry and retail sales. Among our area’s leading employers are the US Navy Weapon Station, the Medical University of South Carolina, the US Air Force Base, Robert Bosch Corporation, Piggly Wiggly, Wal-Mart, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, and the Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester county school districts.

Recent reports show upwards of 5,500 to 6,000 jobs currently available within a 25-mile radius of Charleston. Here are a few highly-recommended openings.

Drive Quality
Title:  Quality Assurance Specialist or Auditor
Location:  Orangeburg

Description:  Develop quality assurance documents and procedures for a leading manufacturing facility. Create formatting and assign QA documentation and procedural work processes. Interface with customers and teams to conduct audits, identify non conformances and lead and facilitate corrective measures.

Required Experience and Skills:

  • Minimum of three years’ experience and involvement with ISO and TS16949
  • Ability to work with little or no supervision
  • Excellent computer and administrative abilities
  • Strong organizational, listening and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team, as required
  • Ability to create new documents and procedures and meet related deadlines
    Don’t Miss the Opportunity to Apply for this QA Position Today. 

 

Utilize Your Machine Assembly Skills
Title:  Panel Assembler
Location:  North Charleston

Description:  Assemble machined parts into precision aircraft and missile assemblies including landing gear struts, brakes, fueling equipment, control linkages actuators and gearbox mechanisms. Perform parts measurement, filing and buffing, positioning and alignment, disassembly and replacement, testing, cleaning and lubrication.
Apply Here for this Panel Assembler Position.

 

If these jobs don’t match your career goals and you’d like to explore other areas and industries, Contact Alternative Staffing at 843-744-6040 in North Charleston or 843-515-9433 in Orangeburg. Our specialty is customized solutions to provide the best opportunity for you.

 

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According to Harvard Business School professor Theresa Amabile, the most effective middle managers provide clear goals and have a solid understanding of how individual efforts contribute to a company’s success.

So, if middle management is the next step in your career, how can you best prepare for your upcoming job interview? Consider these four steps:

Research

  • Do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the company, the job and the industry.
  • Comb the company’s web site, and use Google, LinkedIn and other on-line resources to gather information.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact your potential employer to request details on the position. This illustrates your commitment, intelligence and planning ability.

Practice

  • Hone your interview skills. Just like fine tuning your golf swing or mastering a new piece on the piano, practice makes perfect.
  • Recruit a friend and role play. Critique yourself afterwards, do it again and make it better.
  • Use audio and video recording. Reviewing your mock interviews is a great way to see how you did.

Prepare

  • Make a list of potential interview questions, as well as your responses. Be sure your answers highlight your career experiences, success stories and achievements.
  • Behavioral interviewing is increasingly common. This technique is based on the premise that a candidate’s past performance is indicative of his or her future business success. So think of specific examples where you have effectively used the skills you’ve acquired and made value-added contributions.
  • List the questions you want to ask. Remember, you aren’t simply trying to get the job. You’re assessing whether or not the position and the company will be a good career fit for you.

Shine

  • Dress for success. Part of your research of company culture should be to determine the customary dress code of your potential new workplace. On the day of your interview, make your attire just slightly dressier that what you’d expect from your interviewer.
  •  Keep in professional. Wear a well-tailored outfit in a conservative color. Make sure your hair and nails are professionally groomed and your jewelry and cologne or perfume are kept to a minimum. Look polished, but be sure you’re comfortable with your clothing and appearance. If you look good, you feel good and perform well.
  •  Greet your interviewer with confidence. Use a firm handshake and make eye contact. Be courteous and speak clearly and at a moderate pace.
  •  Conclude your interview with a verbal thank you – and send a written or email thank you as follow up. Not only is this common courtesy, but it also provides you the opportunity to follow up, as you can conclude your note with the message that “I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.”

 

You also may want to consider a career coach to help you prepare for your middle management interview. For more information on this and other components of your job search toolbox, contact the experts at Alternative Staffing Today!

 

 

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When you first wrote your resume, or had a professional craft it for you, you listened to those “in the know” who told you to review and update it once or twice a year. And, you said to yourself, “I’m going to do just that!”

Fast forward five or even 10 years. You’ve been working and life has been buzzing along when, wham! You’re blindsided by a restructure or downsizing. Or even if the situation is less drastic, you find yourself in the job market, either passively looking due to growing dissatisfaction with your current position, or actively in need of work, once again. And the words “resume” and “update” have not appeared in the same sentence since you ran off copies of that original document. Well, take heart; it’s never too late and always a good idea to make this happen.

These tips will help make your resume more professional and eye-catching and breathe life into it as you forge ahead on your career path:

Add Relevant Accomplishments and Professional Achievements.
The operative word here is “relevant.” Courses you’ve completed, degrees you’ve earned, organizations you’ve joined and conferences you’ve attended are all good examples, as long as they’re pertinent to the new position or career you’re seeking. Remove the accomplishments that are no longer important. Create a concise document that tells a compelling – and current – story of the added value you can provide to an employer.

Think in Terms of Keywords.
Chances are, when you last updated your resume, keywords were not a major consideration. But this has changed, as a growing number of companies utilize electronic scanning and searching methods. Study sites like Monster and note which keywords appear in postings for jobs similar to yours. Then, incorporate these keywords into your resume.

Survey and Freshen up the Skills Section of Your Resume.
Make sure your proficiency levels and years of experience are current. In fact, proof the entire document with the same thought in mind.

Start and Update a “Kudos File” to Keep Your Resume Fresh and Sell Yourself.
Make a bulleted list of recent projects you’ve completed, impressive performance reviews and emails or other documents complimenting your work. Include quantifiable detail expressed in terms of percentages of improvement, dollars saved, revenue earned and before-and-after comparisons. Recording this valuable data while it’s fresh in your mind means you won’t have to dig and search for it later on.

While refreshing the content of your resume, it’s also a good time to put it into a new file format such as plain text or PDF, which makes it more user-friendly and accessible to a wider audience. Also, keep in mind that once you’ve completed a general resume update, you’ll need to produce tailored versions of it for every job you apply for.

With just a little planning, organization and creative thinking, you can turn yesterday’s resume into today’s highly effective job search tool.

 

For more help with constructing resumes, interviewing, networking and other advice during your search process, Contact the experts at Alternative Staffing Today.

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When you hire a person, you make a significant financial and human investment. Hiring the wrong candidate is damaging to your company’s bottom line and devastating to everyone involved. On the up side, hiring the right person pays you back many times over in productivity, successful interpersonal relationships, and a positive impact on your overall workplace environment.

How can you help ensure that you fall into the latter category?

Make a Plan … And Stick to It
Establishing a check list of hiring criteria will help you to be objective and stay on point when it comes to selecting the best candidate for a job. It also will prevent you from these recruitment pitfalls:

  • The “halo effect” which occurs when you are so enamored by one particular trait in a candidate that your judgment becomes clouded and you fail to see their shortcomings.
  • The “clone effect” whereby you hire the person with the skill set most like your own, even though they aren’t the best fit for the job.
  • “Top of mind syndrome” which occurs when you lean toward hiring candidates interviewed late the process, because their attributes are fresh in your mind.

The initial step in your hiring plan should be a job analysis, which enables you to collect information on the duties, responsibilities, skills and work environment of the position. This information is fundamental to the development of a job description which, in turns, helps you to plan your total hiring strategy.

The Importance of Pre-Screening
Put your hiring checklist to work as you read cover letters, resumes and applications. Then, move on to a telephone pre-screen. These steps will save time in the long run as they help you to nail down such details as salary expectations and cultural fit. This is also a logical point at which to implement a candidate background check.

In essence, your best pre-screen strategy is to gather as much information on a candidate as you can, from as many different sources as you can. Keep an eye out for any discrepancies that crop up, and red flag them.

Take Your Time
We know, easier said than done. But try to avoid rushing your candidate selection process, regardless of pressure to “do it yesterday.” If necessary, fill workflow gaps by hiring temporary help. (By the way, this can be a winning solution if your temporary employee turns out to be a good permanent fit – and if not, it’s relatively painless to cut your losses.)

Partnering with a staffing firm can help you save time and cut stress when it comes to choosing the right candidate for the job.

To learn more, contact the industry experts at Alternative Staffing Today. We are more than happy to discuss any questions you may have about selecting a new candidate.

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Your cover letter is often the earliest contact you have with a potential employer, so never underestimate its importance as you make that critical first impression.

Studies have shown that reviewers spend an average of only about 10 seconds scanning candidates’ cover letters. So, you need to make your mark quickly and effectively or you run the risk of your letter – and accompanying resume – landing in the recycling bin.

How can you ensure that your cover letter will rise to the top and land in a decision maker’s inbox instead? These tips can help:

Customize and Personalize.
Make sure your cover letter is tailored to the job description and reflects your personality and interest in the position, as well as the added value you bring to the table.

  • Address it to a real person. Stay away from “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom it May Concern” and if possible, address your cover letter to a staffing or HR decision maker within the company. Conduct research via the company’s web site, LinkedIn page, or other sources to find this information.
  • If you have a contact within the company, mention them. If you’ve been referred for the job by, or know someone who is a reliable employee at the company, use this to your advantage by referencing them and telling how they inspired your interest.
  • Zero in on how you can help the company. Demonstrate your knowledge of current issues facing the organization and/or its industry, and point to how your skill set and experience could help them improve and add value.

Quality Versus Quantity.
Nearly half of employers in a recent survey reported that a cover letter of about a half page in length is ideal. Other research cites three to five short paragraphs as the optimal length. So, choose your words carefully and keep your cover letter concise and to the point.

  • Make it easy to read. Remember the 10-second parameter. Bullet points are helpful in listing examples, details and data.
  • Include keywords. An increasing number of companies use computerized systems to track cover letters and resumes. When you include the right keywords, your documents have a better chance of being selected.
  • Settle for nothing less than perfect when it comes to spelling and grammar. Errors convey the perception that you’re careless, lack an eye for detail, and will continue to make mistakes if hired.

Show Your Value.
Your cover letter should present a compelling case for why you are not just a great candidate, but the candidate who will add the most value to the job.

  • Put yourself in the employer’s shoes. When you identify your pertinent skills and experience, keep in mind that this is determined by the hiring manager’s best interests.
  • Quantify your experience with data. For instance, if you’re interested in a manufacturing management position, consider a statement such as, “As plant manager at XYZ Company since 2009, I have reduced accidents by 33 percent, increased productivity by 17 percent and grown quality by 11 percent.” Be as specific as possible.

For additional tips on how to make your cover letter and related materials – and you – shine during your career search, contact the experts at Alternative Staffing.

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When are you most productive? When you’re down in the dumps dreading that Monday morning alarm clock, or when you sincerely look forward to a day at work?

The answer is pretty simple.  Happy employees are productive employees. So what can you do as a leader to positively impact office morale and ultimately reap the results when it comes to overall team effectiveness?

Four-Step Plan for Success
When it comes to morale building, the key is to make your employees feel valued. The following tactics go a long way toward achieving this ongoing goal:

  1. Good morale – like good leadership – starts at the top.
    Your attitude and daily demeanor will rub off on your employees, so keep it positive. Treat your staff members with respect, give them compliments, practice basic courtesy, and take a sincere interest in projects they’re working on.  If it’s necessary and appropriate, don’t hesitate to roll up your sleeves and help. Be supportive, even in situations where you have to step in and manage conflict on behalf of your employees.
  2. Walk a mile in your employees’ shoes.
    In other words, be considerate of each staff member and his or her individual lives, needs and concerns.  That single parent may need more flexible scheduling or the chance to do some work at home now and then. And back at the office, a meeting or work session held outdoors or off site may boost everyone’s enthusiasm. Be aware of and inquire about employees’ families, hobbies, interests and plans for their weekend or upcoming vacation.
  3. Celebrate milestones and successes.
    Never underestimate the power of employee recognition. Incentive and rewards systems – whether it’s something as formal as an Associate of the Month program or as simple as a birthday cake during a staff meeting – have proven return on investment.  Recent studies by organizations including Gallup and the Corporate Leadership Council have shown that recognition is highly correlated with enhanced employee engagement which, in turn, boosts job performance and overall business value.
  4. Perk things up.
    Employee perks – those discretionary, optional benefits that make life just a little easier, sweeter or more fun – can go a long way towards boosting morale. Company logoed apparel, movie passes, or a few hours off to make it to the school play will tend to pay for themselves many times over in terms of enhanced performance and productivity. As you select these perks, consider the unique characteristics, interests and preferences of each individual employee. Don’t give the logoed golf tees to someone, only to find out she spends her free time at the bowling alley. With just a little thought and consideration, you can ensure that your perks are right on target.
For more information on boosting office productivity, Contact us Today. As staffing and recruitment experts, we’re always happy to discuss your needs.