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Did you know that Charleston made Forbes list of Best Places for Business and Careers for 2014? Charleston landed #61 on the list of 200 major cities throughout the United States, and was also ranked #28 in “job growth” in this list of major cities.

forbes-logoAn excerpt from Forbs reads: Charleston is a major tourist destination, with a considerable number of historical buildings, luxury hotels and bed and breakfasts. Higher education is also an important sector in the local economy, occupied by many institutions such as the Medical University of South Carolina, College of Charleston, The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, and Charleston School of Law among others.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that Charleston is climbing up Forbes Business and Career list with the city’s booming tourism industry, military base, and the thriving technology sector including major, worldwide companies such as Boeing, Blackbaud and Benefitfocus. Charleston has proven not to just be a city with historic charm, but a hub of leading industry experts.

At Alternative Staffing, we witness the growth of businesses and careers in Charleston every day! From serving incredible businesses throughout the Lowcountry to placing people in leading industry positions, we do our part and work hard to put our stamp on the growth of the local economy.

Though we think that Charleston is the #1 city in any category, we are excited that Charleston is climbing up this Forbes list and proud to call it home.

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Happy Independence Day from everyone at Alternative Staffing! But take a tip from our team today…while you are out having fun on your day off, remember to be aware of your social media.

When you are job searching it is important to keep a lookout of what you are posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. One of the first things an employer does is “google” your name. What will pop up? Your Linked In, Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts. Even if you have your account locked, a few pictures and posts are still available to see. Also, if the employer sees that a person he/she knows is “friends” with you or “follows” you, they can easily jump the fence and see everything.

Even when you have job security, you want to be aware of what you and others are posting as well. Try and stay away from photos of you drinking, personal issues, extreme political and religious views and more. It can be unbecoming, and you don’t want someone to judge you based on your personal life – you want someone to know that you are a professional, hard, and dedicated worker.

So on this Independence Day we hope you have a blast! But keep some of those memories that you don’t want the world to see on your camera and phone and away from your social media.

Happy 4th of July!

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Our Alternative Staffing tip of the week is about taking a step back and doing something a little more traditional – writing a Thank You note after an interview. Unlike sending an email (or doing nothing at all), sending and/or receiving a hand written note is far from and in between. It brings a sense of nostalgia and just good old fashion respect. It does take a little more time, but it adds a new level of thoughtfulness that an email just won’t deliver.

First and foremost, sending a Thank You note after an interview is a great way to keep you on the mind of the potential employer. It lets the company that you interviewed with know how serious you are about the job. A note is also a good way to capitalize on the positive points in the interview and how you could be a great asset to the team. Note: Don’t say “I think” or “I feel” in your note; be confident and say “I know”. For example, “I know I will be a great asset to the team” vs. “I think I will be a great asset to the team”. 

What should I say in a Thank You note?

Keep your note concise, friendly and thoughtful. Remember, this is not a formal proposal but a kind gesture. First, thank the employer for taking the time time to meet and interview you. Then recap on what happened during the interview – did you take a tour of the office; did you meet the other employees; did you go out for lunch/dinner – thank him/her for any of those things. Then you can capitalize on what you think went great in the interview and what you enjoyed learning during the interview.

Thank you note example

The following example is just the basic bones of your Thank You note. Be sure to add anything specific that you and the potential employer discussed or experienced during the interview.

Dear Mr. John Doe,

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to meet with me! It was so great to sit down with you and learn more about your company and considering me for ________ position. I know that I will be a great asset to your team under your leadership. Please feel free to reach out to me at anytime.

Thank you for the opportunity and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Sincerely,

Jane Smith

What should I write the Thank You note on?

To add an extra level of professionalism, write your Thank You note on a stationary or a nice black card. Choose something that you feel best represents who you are! Then there is nothing left but to seal it, stamp it and send it. Don’t know the address, just pop by the office and try a handy dandy hand deliver. A friendly reminder – be sure to spell check your note before you send it and especially spell the employers name right!

Check out all of the A-Team happenings, tips and job openings on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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At Alternative Staffing, one of our specialties is placing workers in manufacturing and industrial job opportunities. Some of these jobs are in corporate warehouses or require work outside. With the summer here, some of these work environments can get hot and workers must take precautions to avoid heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.

So we put together a few tips to keep cool while working in the South Carolina summer heat.

1. STAY HYDRATED – We encourage all of our workers to drink plenty of water before work, during work, and after work. 8 cups of water (64 ounces) is the daily recommendation, but when working a strenuous job or in the heat your body may need double that amount.

2. DRESS APPROPRIATELY – It is important to wear clothes that allow you to breathe. Try to wear loose-knit clothing and natural fabrics such as cotton and bamboo. Try to stay away from polyester and other artificial fabrics.

3. PROTECT YOUR SKIN – If you are working outside, be sure to wear sunscreen and wear a hat to avoid getting sunburned.

4. WORK SMART – If you can, try to plan your more strenuous activities in the cooler part of the day to avoid over exhaustion.

5. KNOW YOUR LIMITS – Only you know what your body can handle. Take small breaks in air conditioning or a cool environment to cool your body down. Don’t overwork yourself in the heat, because there is a possibility of heat stroke. If you have any disorders of the heart, circulatory system, skin, or lungs be sure to consult your doctor before working in high temperatures.

How to notice when someone is suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion:

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms: Dizziness, nausea, headaches, profuse sweating, rapid heart rate, fainting, and vomiting.

Heat Stroke Symptom: Dry pale skin, no sweating, hot and red skin that looks sunburned, irritability, confusion, seizures, unconsciousness.

If someone is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, call 911 immediately to get them the proper care. In the meantime, bring them to a cool place, give them cool water, place hands and feet in cool water (not cold) or place ice packs under their armpits, on their head and groin.

At Alternative Staffing we take the safety of our workers very importantly. For more information about how to stay cool and prevent heat exhaustion and stroke, click here.

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“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t be so wonderful after all.” – Michelangelo

At Alternative Staffing, we understand that hard work pays off. We are here to match the appropriate job with a qualified worker to get the job done for our client while helping our workers build their resumes.

We empower our workers to deliver on the job and impress the client, which inevitably leads to more jobs and possibly full time positions.

“Passion will move men beyond themselves, beyond their shortcomings, beyond their failures.” – Joseph Campbell, American Mythologist, Writer, and Lecturer

It’s not just about getting the job done, but doing it with confidence and ambition. Our ultimate mission is not to just match people with jobs, but to match them with the right jobs that drives them to find their passion. When a business is passionate about their workers and employees are passionate about the business, the sky is the limit.

So if you are looking for qualified workers for your business, or you are a worker looking for job opportunities, give Alternative Staffing in Charleston, SC and Orangeburg, SC a call today!

 

 

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Here at Alternative Staffing we are committed to providing worthwhile jobs to qualified workers throughout the Lowcountry and Midlands of South Carolina.

You may have heard some myths about staffing agencies, and we are here to debunk them and prove to you that if you are looking for a job…look no further than Alternative Staffing!

Myth #1 – The “Real Job” VS. the “Temporary Job”

When you are looking to jump start your career, you want to position yourself in front of reputable companies and organizations where you can excel and build your skills.

At Alternative Staffing we work with some of the most reputable organizations in the state. Each job assignment is important and a crucial piece to the puzzle for all of our clients. So we consider every job that we offer a “real job.”

Whether you are looking to find a career path, or are looking for temporary work, we aim to provide our workers with jobs that meet their criteria so they can excel.

Myth #2 – All job assignments are for a short amount of time

Some jobs assignments may only require a commitment of a few days or few weeks, but others require a commitment of several months.

Regardless of the time commitment, our tenured staff works hard to provide a platform for our workers to succeed. We expose our workers to various positions at several companies.

So while some job may be for a temporary amount of time, it has the potential to lead to full time positions. Countless workers at Alternative Staffing have worked hard and proven themselves during their job assignment that they have been asked to work full time.

As long as you work hard and with integrity, there will always be a job for you to do.

Myth #3 – The only jobs that are available are low paying jobs

At Alternative Staffing we offer a wide variety of job opportunities from manufacturing and industrial positions to office and receptionist professions. Each job varies in the amount per hour and time commitment. We are here to help you stay employed and find out what works best for you. So the more job assignments you take, the easier it is to find your niche. Then you can master your skills which makes it easier to position yourself as an expert candidate!  The more experience you have, the more your can market yourself and set a lifelong career path.

So give us a call at our North Charleston office at 843-744-6040 or our Orangeburg office 803-516-9433 and join the A-Team Today!

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“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” (Jack Welch)

There is no such thing as a single “best” leadership style – but there is the best style for you, in a given situation. And there is a style that best suits you as an individual. They key to effective leadership is identifying and perfecting your style while at the same time knowing when to adopt the best aspects of other styles. You also need to understand the styles of your team members, so you can call upon them as needed.

Embrace Change
“Leadership is influence.” (John C. Maxwell)

Management does not equal leadership. Management is about stability and getting results today. Leadership is about change and achieving greater results beyond today. By doing more of what you do today, you won’t get to where you want to be tomorrow.

  • Be aware of situations that need to change. Stay vigilant for opportunities for improvement or dissatisfaction with the status quo. Then adopt different thinking patterns and change – starting with your own behavior – so you can achieve desired outcomes.
  • Be bold. Boldness is essential for leading upward. Let your own personality shine. For one week, make a list of three to five things that worked well in your leadership efforts. Then, actively start using them the following week.

Know Your Strengths and Stretch Your Style
“I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” (Benjamin Disraeli)

Get to know your leadership style inside out. Are you more democratic or directive? Do you thrive on being an assertive pace setter or do you prefer a more affiliative or coaching approach? Heighten your awareness of what you’re good at and consciously play to your natural strengths as much as possible.

  • If you’re not sure, find out. Ask your colleagues and team members what they consider to be the strengths of your leadership style.
  • As you reap the benefits of your strengths, actively work to stretch into styles you find more difficult. The most successful leaders are those who draw on and seamlessly integrate various styles, depending on the circumstances. One size does not fit all.
  • Blend with your team’s leadership styles to the best advantage. The best teams are well rounded. Identify those on your team whose strengths complement your own. How could you better use them?

Look to the Future
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)

When people look to their leader, their basic needs are direction and hope for the future. Define and communicate a vision of where you and others need to go and how you’ll accomplish it, so everyone can clearly see the way forward. This will inspire confidence and cascade downward, as well as increasing your impact upward among your bosses.

  • Build your external network and research widely. Maintain a solid grasp on what’s happening outside your department and your organization. This helps you create a bigger-picture vision.
  • Be follower focused. Among the keys to a more resilient future are recognizing the contributions of others and giving them room to innovate.

For additional resources and guidance to grow your leadership skills – and those of others – contact the workforce development experts at Alternative Staffing today.

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Employee recognition isn’t limited to special occasions. Rather, it should be at the core of your workplace culture. You can – and should – tell your employees how much you appreciate them and their contributions any time during the day, week or year.

In a recent study, more than 80 percent of employees said they were motivated to work harder when their boss showed appreciation for their work. More than half said they would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciated.

Say Thank You
Along with “please,” this is still one of the most powerful verbal stimulants in our language. Identify the specific employee action that you found admirable and thank your employee for it in an appropriate manner. Do this consistently and don’t be surprised when morale, engagement and ultimately productivity, are enhanced as a result.

  • Make it public. The most meaningful form of employee recognition happens when others, namely coworkers, supervisors and executive leaders, are present – if not personally, then via other means of communications. As appropriate, recognize team members during team meetings and in newsletters and other company media.
  • Show them that others need them, too. If a client or co-worker makes you aware of an employee’s extraordinary contribution, be sure to share the details – not only with the employee themselves, but also with other key stakeholders.

Recognize Employees as Individuals
The more you acknowledge employees’ specific contributions, the more irreplaceable they’ll feel. Throughout the year, show a genuine interest in your team members by getting to know their interests, hobbies, passions and motivators.

  • Be intentional with everyday conversations. Ask about employees’ families, hobbies, weekends or events they attended. Get to know their interests well enough to present relevant, personal recognition gifts such as gift cards to their favorite restaurant or tickets to see their favorite sports team play.

Money Really Does Talk
Cash incentives are not the be all and end all, but they can be highly effective as incentives for continued improvement, engagement and performance. They can be in the form of a bonus or perhaps a coupon book offering free or discounted company apparel and related items.

Above and Beyond the Cash
Among employees who responded to the above-mentioned survey, 46 percent said they would feel more appreciated if their managers gave them unexpected treats such as lunches, dinners or even simple thank-you notes.

  • Time can be the greatest gift. So can telecommuting, flexible scheduling or even just a few hours off on a Friday afternoon.
  • Celebrate with food. Take the staff to lunch for a birthday, other occasion or no occasion at all. If a particular employee is being recognized, ask them to pick the restaurant.
  • Provide growth opportunities. Encourage valued employees to participate on committees where their talents will be utilized and noticed. Provide time off and pay for them to attend professional meetings and workshops.

Need more ideas for employee appreciation and other areas of workforce development? Read our related posts or contact the team at Alternative Staffing today.

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Before you know it, the calendar year will reach its midpoint. How can you look ahead to the second half of the year with an eye on renewing morale, performance and productivity? There’s still plenty of time to lay the groundwork for your best year yet in several key areas.

Work Area Enhancements
A simple step toward kick starting employee motivation is revitalizing the physical work area to make it more user friendly and appealing. A welcoming environment is a great way to start your day or shift.

  • Consider each employee’s work space. Is it comfortable, ergonomically sound and not too cramped? Fix that thermostat or air conditioner so the temperature is comfortable. Allow access to natural light whenever possible or at the very least, consider such adjustments as lower-wattage bulbs that may alleviate harsh fluorescent lighting. Small changes can add up to big improvements.
  • Take advantage of wall space. Put up a bulletin board where employees can post pictures, birthday greetings and other relevant news and information. This also can be used for recognition; for instance, colleagues can post notes congratulating one another on accomplishments and challenging projects completed.

Employee Recognition
This is the perfect time to reevaluate your employee recognition program. If you set out to honor an employee of the month, did you? How did that go? On both formal and informal bases, get your program on – or back on – track.

  • Improve both individual and group recognitions. Take time to call an employee into your office and acknowledge their successful contribution. Write an email and copy company leaders. Then let the team know by recognizing the individual in a group meeting.
  • Give appropriate gifts. Tailor them to the employee’s personal interests and preferences. A gift certificate to Starbucks will backfire if a person isn’t a coffee drinker. On the flip side, a busy parent may appreciate movie or amusement park tickets for the family.

Engagement
Engagement stems from a sense of involvement, ownership and autonomy – and it needs to be cultivated on a regular basis, all year round.

  • Be as transparent as possible. Provide employees with regular updates on company and departmental performance and plans. Let them in on any strategies you may have, seek their input and help them understand how they fit into the big picture.
  • Provide performance feedback. Regularly set aside time to meet with employees for this purpose. If their work is not up to par, work with them to develop ideas for improvement. It’s important that team members feel supported by you and by their company.

Communication
Successful communication is based on active listening and approachability.

  • Have face-to-face conversations. They strengthen working relationships, collaboration, trust and respect. Personal interaction also helps avoid miscommunication, which can occur if you limit yourself to emails and text messages.
  • Provide venues for sounding off. Use surveys, staff meetings and an open-door policy to give employees ample opportunity to air their concerns and share their ideas. Then, it’s absolutely critical that you follow up on what you hear. Nothing less than your credibility is at stake here.

Looking for more ideas on revitalizing your team for the second half of the year? Read our related posts or contact the workforce development team at Alternative Staffing today.

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As an employer, you have the right to impose guidelines on employee dress code at your place of business. Regardless of the season, your goal is to maintain a workplace environment that’s professional, comfortable and inclusive for every staff member.

Summer business attire, though typically more casual, should exhibit the same level of common sense applied during the rest of the year. Factors to keep in mind as you implement your summer dress code policy include good judgment, professional image and taste, and courtesy to customers, suppliers and coworkers.

Where to Start
Employee appearance should support your company’s image in the eyes and minds of your stakeholders. When you develop your summer dress code policy, be sure to write it down, make it definite and specific, and be very precise in the descriptive language used.

  • Keep health and safety in the forefront. The more complex the safety standards within your industry, the greater your need to focus on this area. For instance, manufacturing environments have more concerns than most offices. Review the specific terms of your policy with your legal team and safety leaders before signing off on them.
  • Review for sensitivity. Another good reason to review your policy with your attorney is to ensure that you correctly draft portions that may be prone to legal pitfalls; for instance, items that differentiate between men and women or impact religious dress.
  • Avoid red flags. These are protests on union rights, religious practice or unfair burdens on one sex or race that may result from the introduction of your policy. Be sure to send a copy to every employee so they know the rules leading into the summer months. You may want to take this a step further by having them sign a copy acknowledging that they have received and read it in full. If you have an employee handbook, include your policy in it.

Key Parameters
As you create your dress code policy, keep these points in mind:

  • State your business objective. Your intention is to present a professional and identifiable image to customers, suppliers and the public. (You may want to provide summer polo shirts or similar items imprinted with your company logo.) In addition to ensuring safety, your policy is designed to promote a positive working environment and limit distraction caused by inappropriate dress.
  • Define what’s appropriate. For instance, specify whether “casual” means dress slacks and collared shirts or jeans and tee shirts. If you don’t want employees to wear flip flops, shorts, sleeveless shirts or sundresses, specify this. If you don’t observe casual dress at all times, identify which days are designated for it. How about tattoos and body piercings? Do you require that they not be visible? Make your verbiage very detailed and precise.
  • Identify standards for employees who have direct customer contact or attend outside meetings. Often, employers require that these individuals dress more formally at these times.

Be consistent as you enforce your dress code policy. Hot weather and summer fashions can test even the most carefully-designed document, so be prepared to deal with this reality. It’s still work, not the beach or a pool party. Make HR contact information readily available in case employees have questions.

Contact the team at Alternative Staffing for additional guidance as you develop policies and strategies for effective workforce development.