Blog

Posted

In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

Regular, open communication between coworkers is critical for workplace success. It strengthens interpersonal relationships, which leads to enhanced job satisfaction, efficiency and engagement. Effective communication builds trust and mutual respect.

So how can you make it happen?

Actively Listen
Hearing is not the same thing as listening. Too often, we get caught up in getting our own point across and hear the words a person is conveying but don’t really understand or listen to what they’re trying to say. Like all good communication skills, this one takes practice.

  • Know when it’s your turn to speak. In the meantime, while it’s their turn, give your coworker your full and undivided attention. Don’t interrupt or be mentally preparing your response even before they finish their statement.
  • Restate what you hear. Don’t be a parrot, but rephrase a person’s message and state it back to them. This shows you were listening and understood what was said. you’ve been successful.
  • Pay attention to body language – yours and theirs. It can tell just as much about what someone says out loud, if not more. Observe how people act while they talk. For instance, if your colleague is reassuring you they’ll meet a critical deadline but nervously wringing their hands at the same time, remember that actions really can speak louder than words.

Communicate with People as Individuals
Communication doesn’t have to be cold or matter of fact. Rather, it should be as friendly and caring as possible and it should be part of your daily routine.

  • Interact on a personal level. Ask about a coworker’s new car or their child’s dance recital. This goes a long way toward building trust. And, when the time comes, it makes it easier to discuss important or touchy issues.
  • Consider their communication preference. Email works for some people, while others prefer to text or talk on the phone. Respect your colleagues by using the communication method that they prefer.
  • Keep criticism constructive. If you comment on a coworker’s performance or contribution to a project, be sure that what you say is not emotionally charged. Think before you speak, so that your colleague grasps what you’re saying. And above all, keep it positive, even if it’s a suggestion on how to improve.

Learn – and Practice
Becoming a good communicator is like becoming a good piano player or golfer. You have to learn the basic skills – and then practice. In order to improve:

  • It’s all about continuous improvement. Take note of how others respond to your communication efforts. Look for ways to improve. Think of it as communications CI!
  • Focus on clarity and conciseness. Before you speak, take time to organize your thoughts. If you’re put on the spot, it’s perfectly okay to respond with “Let me think about that and I’ll get back to you.” Once you’ve thought through your response, you can communicate it more effectively. And keep it as brief as possible. Your coworkers don’t want to sift through a lot of jargon to get to the point.

Posted

How to Recognize and Avoid Burnout in Your Staff

ThinkstockPhotos-160611067We often hear about burnout in the nurses, therapists and aides we place on short-term assignments. Healthcare providers in particular suffer from higher rates of burnout due to many factors including long shifts, high-stress environments, or not addressing one’s own needs.

With known burnout in the field, we often overlook the possibility that the recruiters in high-stress sales roles who work with these healthcare professionals could suffer burnout as well. Sales roles tend to have a high turnover, but when we lose our best recruiters to burnout it takes its toll on both our business and our healthcare consultants. Here are a few ways to spot burnout in your salespeople and what you can do to prevent it.

Exhaustion and tiredness

Maybe an employee worked extra late, has a side job or stayed up late with a sick child and is noticeably tired the next day. As long as it doesn’t become a problem, we chalk it up to life happenings — until that tiredness becomes a pattern of exhaustion. This, combined with lack of motivation and negative attitude at work can be signs of burnout.

Lack of motivation

Most staffing companies have goals for their recruiters — a set number of calls, temps on assignment or other metrics each recruiter should meet. While some salespeople will always be more motivated than others to exceed their numbers, the goals we set for employees can also be helpful in monitoring motivation. A sudden dip in motivation from an employee who consistently over-performed in the past? Time to check in with that employee.

Negative comments or frustration

While employees will experience some negative emotions from time to time, it’s important to recognize when it becomes unusual or persistent for employees. Some employees won’t be overtly negative though. Best workplace and satisfaction surveys can be great ways to gain insight. The results often come with a price tag but when it comes to workplace insight it’s worth the investment twofold.

 

Recognizing burnout is essential to happy recruiters and a dynamic workplace. Here are just a few ways to prevent burnout before it occurs.

Surround sales pit in motivation

Positive attitude can be contagious but it can’t be forced. Some highly motivated employees won’t show it with the veraciously for which they experience it. Creating a positive sales environment where employees are allowed to express their ambition is key. One of our offices stretches as a group to both connect as a workplace and to energize — although this might not work for all organizations. Taking just a few minutes to connect and motivate one another is essential in keeping the momentum.

Extra training and continued education

Empowering your employees with more knowledge, tips and guidance can energize and ignite a new enthusiasm in an employee’s same position. Training sessions don’t have to be costly or time consuming — even one hour per month spent on new technologies and techniques can do wonders for morale. Upper management doesn’t have to lead education seminars; get to know your employees strengths in different areas and you’ll probably be surprised what they can teach your team.

Lateral moves or differentiated tasks

Burnout can also crop up from from repetitious tasks. Enabling your employees to move laterally within their department or take on new tasks can prevent burnout as they learn new tasks and help the company grow. In staffing, than mean allowing recruiters to branch out into new specialties. Differentiating tasks may require training but the outcome will be employees who take ownership over their role and are happier in the workplace.

 

Jennifer Fuicelli

Posted

Your successful workday starts long before you pull into the parking lot. Rather than arriving at your job rushed, hungry, and/or still half asleep, why not take a few simple measures to set the tone for a productive and satisfying day ahead?

Not every one of these ideas will work for you. Take this from someone who is so not a morning person! But pick and choose … and maybe try a few of them. You may just surprise yourself!

Start the Night Before
If morning is not your favorite time, then make the evening work in your favor.

  • Prepare and lay out clothing, pre-pack lunches, backpacks and briefcases, and have your morning checklist ready.
  • Pre-set your coffeemaker and while you’re at it, leave out any non-perishable breakfast items, as well as dishes, bowls and silverware.
  • Go to bed early. And try leaving your blinds slightly open so the natural light of the rising sun will signal your brain to slow production of melatonin and bump up production of adrenaline. This is a signal that it’s time to wake up.

Get a Jump Start on the Day
Get enough sleep – about seven hours on average – so your body and its internal alarm clock adjust to getting up in plenty of time to avoid a stressful morning rush. Then you can:

  • Have a good breakfast. It doesn’t have to be large or elaborate, but it should be healthy and filling. It’s not just a cliché – it’s the most important meal of the day as you fuel your body and mind after an extended period without nourishment.
  • Stretch. Even before you open your eyes, lift your arms and stretch each finger, hand and wrist. Do the same to your toes, feet and legs, and then your neck and back. This propels you out of bed, limbers up your muscles and joints, and enhances blood flow throughout your body.
  • Exercise some more, after you get up. Hop on the treadmill, practice early-morning yoga or take a brisk walk. Physical activity produces endorphins, which boost your energy level and mood for a good part of the day.
  • Drink eight ounces of water. You’ve been fasting all night, so your body is dehydrated.
  • Take five. Or ten minutes to listen to some music or sit on your deck or porch and just think. This allows ideas generated during the night to gel and grounds you into action for the day.

For many people, the first 20 minutes of the day is the most stressful, draining their energy and causing disarray for the rest of the day. Don’t let that happen. All it takes are a few simple lifestyle adjustments – and you could be the next morning person!

Contact the team at Alternative Staffing or read our related posts for more ideas on your career and work/life balance. And wake up with a smile tomorrow morning!

Posted

Do you remember the Golden Rule?

Also known as the “Ethic of Reciprocity,” it teaches a simple, but profound life lesson: Treat others the same way you want to be treated. It’s one of the best guidelines to remember – and practice – from preschool on. And your workplace is no exception.

When you show up for work each day, you have a job to do, results to achieve, tasks to check off your “to do” list. And while all these things are extremely important, it’s just as critical to maintain relationships, practice courtesy and common sense, and contribute to a sense of teamwork and well-being among your peers.

Here are three tips to maintaining proper workplace etiquette:

Be Respectful.

  • Use courtesy when utilizing shared areas including offices, kitchens and break rooms. For instance, if you expect others to clean up after themselves, you need to do the same.
  • Knock before entering another employee’s area. Even if it’s an open cubicle or similar configuration, make an attempt to announce your arrival without being loud or obtrusive.
  • Never criticize coworkers in front of others. Settle differences privately and quickly, before they escalate.
  • Rise above gossip. There is no good side to being the office busy body.

Be Sensitive.

  • Monitor the volume and nature of your in-person and telephone conversations. This is especially important if you work in a cubicle or shared area, where you can’t “close the door” to avoid disturbing others.
  • If you overhear a private conversation, practice “selective hearing.” Shut it out of your mind and pretend it never happened. If a coworker repeatedly carries on conversations that put you in this uncomfortable position, speak to him or her about it and if the problem persists, speak to your supervisor.
  • Discuss personnel matters only with appropriate individuals. These include human resources staff and, in most cases, your supervisor.
  • Be aware of scents. Save heavy doses of cologne or perfume for social occasions. Ask your coworkers before bringing in heavily scented flowers, and avoid foods with strong aromas, as well. Limit them to the cafeteria or break room.

Be Professional.

  • Keep personal conversations, phone calls and emails to a minimum. Use similar discretion when displaying personal items such as photographs or mementoes. Don’t overdo it or cause obstructions for others in your work area.
  • Practice “netiquette.” When emailing, practice common courtesy by saying “please” and “thank you.” Monitor your tone to make sure you come across as respectful and approachable. Avoid using all uppercase letters, which implies shouting.
  • Make sure your voice gives a good impression. Voice mail messages should be short, polite and easily understood. And when leaving a reply message, speak clearly and leave your full name. Repeat pertinent information if necessary.
  • Look and act like a pro. Dress appropriately for your work setting, and act professionally. Avoid behavior such as chewing or popping gum, which is perceived as undignified.

Posted

Got a job interview? This is a significant milestone in your job search, as it means your resume and any other initial contact made with a prospective employer scored you a spot on the short list of final candidates. Now for that critical step: your first face-to-face meeting and opportunity to personally sell yourself as the best person for the job.

There’s a lot to think about as you get ready for the big day: researching the company and the position, the right outfit, mapping out the location so you get there in plenty of time, and physically and mentally preparing yourself, right down to getting a good night’s sleep beforehand.

With all this running through your mind, don’t forget the key paperwork you need to bring to your interview. Having this organized will be a further asset as you present yourself – and it will make you feel less stressed and more confident, knowing you haven’t forgotten anything essential.

Pack all these items into your new or newly-polished briefcase. This means hard copies of all paperwork to augment any electronic versions that may have previously been submitted:

Resume

  • Be prepared to provide copies of your resume. Even though your interviewer certainly has already seen it, you may meet other people during your interview session and should be prepared to offer them a copy as well.
  • In addition, if you’re nervous going in, you may be able to skim over a copy yourself to remind you of your strengths and message points you want to convey during the interview.

List of References
It’s a good sign if your interviewer asks for this list. It’s a “buying signal” indicating your prospective employer’s interest in pursuing you as a candidate. So, have copies on hand to provide if asked.

Recommendation Letters
Like your list of references, these are strong supporting tools. If appropriate, you may want to supply copies to your interviewer or other company representatives at some point.

Identification

  • Bring your driver’s license and Social Security card. You may need these if you’re asked to complete an employment application.
  • Also, some employers may ask for identification as you enter their facility, for security purposes. If that’s the case, you literally won’t get in the door without proper ID.

Examples of Your Work

  • Organize a binder or portfolio that highlights your best work and bring it with you as part of your interview presentation. It should be neatly packaged and readily accessible.
  • If your materials don’t lend themselves to print, create an electronic portfolio on your laptop or iPad.
  • Portfolios are particularly critical when vying for creative professional jobs, in fields such as advertising, communications, public relations or graphic design.

List of Questions

  • Make a list of four to six insightful questions on the company and the position. This is another document you can refer to in case your mind goes blank, which can happen in stressful situations.
  • Be sure to incorporate your questions into your interview. This shows your focus on adding value to the organization.

For additional resources to prepare for your interview and your job search process as a whole, read our related posts or contact the expert recruitment team at Alternative Staffing.

Posted

The holidays are a busy time for everyone in the business world. Whether your organization is a service, product, retail, or industry, the volume of work can be high during the holidays. To keep up with the business demand and alleviate some stress off of employees, temporary workers can be a successful fix.

To get your holiday staffing needs put into place with these key steps:

Take it back a year

To figure out your organization’s unique holiday staffing needs are, take a look at the previous year’s holiday figures. Examine your financial gains and losses, and where you need to put your focus this holiday season. Did you hire the right people for the right job? Did you place your temporary staffers in the right positions, or were there positions that needed more attentions? Is there anything different this year than the previous year that you will need to account for when hiring seasonal staff?

Make a plan

Once you know the lacking areas that can be improved, things that worked in the past, and new office endeavors that must be filled, it is time to put a plan into place. Now you can narrow down the ideal candidate skill sets and traits for your holiday temporary staff. It’s a myth that temporary workers are not as skilled as permanent employees. However, the most reliable and qualified temps will typically be recruited well before the holiday season is underway. So making a seasonal staffing plan as soon as possible will increase your likelihood of snagging the best temps for the job.

Bringing the temps on board

Make the transition as smooth as possible for holiday temps and for your permanent staff by creating a unique training process designed specifically for the seasonal staff. Decide exactly what the expected duties will be, rules and limitations, and who is responsible for temp worker productivity.

Prepare Current Staff

It is important to communicate with your current team, whether full time or part time, the temporary staffing plans for the holidays. Make sure that your employees know what to expect: (1) how many temps will be working seasonally, (2) how long they will be working, (3) what the temps responsibilities will be, (4) who the temps will report to, (5) and then finally address any potential concerns.

Some employees may feel threatened by temporary staffers. Just ensure them that having temp workers will not take away from permanent staffers jobs, but will help make everyone’s job easier, increase productivity, and keep the holiday spirit high!

The process of finding the right talent to fit your holiday staffing needs can be more efficient and effective with the partnership of a staffing firm, like Alternative Staffing. Give us a call at 843-744-6040

Posted

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.

Posted

A career change can be exhilarating, exciting and at the same time, more than a little scary. This is especially true if your job switch comes with a significant cut in pay. Should salary be your main focus as you consider the next step along your professional path?

There are several factors to consider including the position itself, your future plans and growth potential, and the balance you seek between your work and personal life.

A pay cut is worth it when:

You switch to a more rewarding field.

  • You can’t expect an industry-leading salary when you move into a role where you have little to no experience. In this situation, you may be able to initially take a pay cut with the expectation that you’ll regain ground within the first few years. The tradeoff is worth it in terms of heightened job satisfaction.
  • Different industries have different pay standards. For instance, a move from a large global corporation to a local or regional non-profit organization is an apples-to-oranges comparison. But what you lose in annual income, you may gain in gratification and commitment to your personal social goals.

You crave better work/life balance.

  • A recent survey by management consultant firm Accenture showed that more than half of working adults consider their work/life balance key to whether or not they have successful careers. An equal percentage said they would, in fact, turn down a job that threatened that balance.
  • In another study, 45 percent of employees responded similarly, noting that on average, they would give up more than 8.5 percent of their income to achieve work/life equilibrium.

There’s something you want more.

  • Do you want to go back to school? The solution may be a job that requires fewer hours so you have time to study or a position at a company with generous tuition assistance benefits.
  • Have your priorities changed? Perhaps you’ve paid off your mortgage, educated your children and are ready to take more time to travel, but are still shy of retirement. The wolf has left the door and while work remains a tremendous source of satisfaction, money has jettisoned down on your list of priorities.

In essence, if taking a pay cut means things will even out in your life and boost your well-being, a career change probably is worth a few less dollars in your paycheck.

One final caveat: Be sure you’re ready for the change. As summarized by Holly Paul, chief HR officer at cloud marketing software company Vocus, “you need to know yourself well enough to understand if a pay cut will lower your motivation or passion for work. You also need to take a close look at your personal finances to make sure that the pay reduction won’t create a situation that’s not feasible at home.”

The professional recruiting and career coaching team at Alternative Staffing can partner with you as you plot your next career move and find the position that best meets your work/life needs. Read our related posts or contact us today.

Posted

As a teenager, I recall my grandmother waking up and ready by 6:30am just in case the phone would ring. It was not until I started working in the staffing industry that I realized how hard that must have been for her. Each time she left the house she was walking into a different school and a different classroom full of strange kids who didn’t know her, trying to do her best to ensure they did not miss a beat.

I recognize the value and the risk of having someone in your place of business in a temporary capacity. When you bring on a temporary employee you already recognize that putting extra work on your staff can affect morale, could result in overtime, or affect your clients. When reflecting on my temporary employees, I realize how hard it must be to go into a place where no one knows you and more importantly no one has to know you. However, I find when a temporary employee is welcomed by the team the experience for both parties is far superior. It sounds like a simple idea but most people want to be included and belong – we just work better that way.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your temporary employee.

  1. Just as a principal introduces a teacher to the classroom, ensure that the new employee is granted the same level of respect.
  2. When introducing them, use other words besides “temp”. For example: “Pat is here to help us while we tackle this project” or “Joe is here to assist the office while Sue is out of town”.
  3. Check in with them at the end of the day and address any questions they might have. They want to leave a good impression on you, so why not try and do the same?

A strange work environment can be just as intimidating as the first day of school. Over the past year, I have worked with some amazing companies and those who have had the best experiences are the ones who give temporary employees the same level of respect as anyone on their team.

What ideas can you share on making sure you get the most out of your temporary staff?

Posted

There will be times when you hire someone and that person turns around and quits six months later. Staffing agencies try their best to minimize that scenario as much as possible. But this can be tough when you’re hiring for demanding positions. To help you hire the best fit candidates here are a few questions to consider:

  1. What does the job description entail?

Before jumping into the recruiting portion of the hiring process, it’s vital to study the role and really understand what knowledge, skills, and abilities are important. Also, evaluate the candidates on how they will interact with of the employees already in place. This will help you better identify those who are the best fit for the job.

  1. What makes other people in demanding roles successful at your company?

Specifically, what personality traits and leadership styles make them good at their jobs? Are they excellent communicators? Do they have a certain leadership style that works well? Your goal is to find traits, abilities, and common backgrounds when you’re hiring for a new role.

  1. How to screen for particular skills?

You know what you’re looking for in a candidate. But how do you screen for those specifics during the hiring process? Asking good interview questions and then following up so you can get behind the candidate mask and understand how the candidate thinks and will perform once on the job.

  1. How will I promote the role?

When hiring for a demanding positions, it is best to promote the job and all its perks. However, it’s only fair to make the candidates aware of the realities they will face once on the job. So talk about both the ups and downs that come with job. That way, the person you ultimately do hire will walk into the position with a more accurate sense of the road ahead.

To learn more about how we can help your organization, please contact us today.