The Value of Empowerment

January 19th, 2018

Too often, new and inexperienced managers step into the role with an attitude that seems to make sense at first: “If I just work extra hard and maintain total control, nothing can go wrong.” They then proceed to hover relentlessly over their direct reports, not allowing a single mistake, a single moment of idle time, or a single lapse in productivity. They stay late, double check every project, and insist on being kept in every loop. Then they fail. And that’s when they begin to understand the value of empowerment. If you see a bit of yourself in this profile, take a step back and keep these key considerations in mind.

Refuse to be afraid of mistakes.

Or rather, don’t let your fear of mistakes control your decisions. Your direct reports are definitely going to mess up sometimes. And when they do, you’ll take ownership of their mistakes, like good leaders should. But mistakes have great value. The more your employees make, they more they’ll learn. And the sooner they start the cycle of mistakes and learning, the faster they’ll gain competence, personal investment, and meaningful, hard-earned skills.

Hard work isn’t always the answer.

Sometimes hard work wins the prize, and harder work wins even more and bigger prizes. But sometimes this isn’t the case at all. Recognize when it’s time to let go and trust others—even those who work under your aegis. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your team is step back and let them engage directly to solve a thorny problem on their own.

Free your hands and free your time.

If you constantly hover and micromanage, you may prevent a few clerical errors or squeeze a few more minutes of productivity out of your team. But at what cost? The time you spend devoted to this endeavor should really be invested in tasks that only you can take on—the kinds of planning, mission-focused, or concept based items that can’t be delegated or outsourced to others. If you give yourself time to focus fully on these tasks and do them well, you’ll be advancing the interests of your company and your own career. If you get bogged down in actions that can and should be handled by your team, both of you will be held back.

Listen and learn.

When your teams need the kind of help that only you can provide, of course you should listen and support them. Provide the resources, data, and guidance they need. But as a manager, sometimes what they really need from you is a quiet sounding board. Allow your teams to talk first. Chime in when it’s time.

For more management and coaching tips, turn to the recruiting team at PSU.

Hire Employees with the Highest ROI

December 1st, 2017

As you launch your staffing search, you’re looking for a candidate who knows what they need to know and has the right balance of interest and disinterest to thrive in the role at hand. A great employee will come with the proper education and a matching technical skill set. They’ll also have a personality that dovetails with the needs of the position; a solitary job will require an introverted candidate, for example. A socially forward-facing job will require a candidate with a deep well of social energy and a distaste for solitude and isolation. In addition to all of the nuts and bolts and boxes you’ll need to check, don’t lose sight of the big picture: you need a candidate who will generate returns for the company.

A truly winning profile attached to a great smile and a can-do attitude won’t amount to much if they require huge upfront training costs and then disappear in one year. A Steady Freddy who stays for ten years won’t bring high returns if they spend those years doing exactly what they’re told—nothing more—and surfs the internet for the remaining hours of the day. So in addition to checking off your must-haves, how can you make sure your candidate will be a high-growth investment? Here are a few signs to watch for.

They seem committed to this industry and career path.

Younger candidates rarely know for sure what they “want to do when they grow up.” At 22, this is not a realistic expectation, nor should it be. So when you find the rare candidate who truly knows that this is the perfect life-long career path for them—from now until retirement—scoop them up quickly. They’ll be invested in learning industry skills and seeing all sides of the field, rather than testing and asking if this is truly the field for them.

Check their reaction to the downsides.

During your interview, be clear and honest with your candidate about what most would consider the greatest challenges of the job. For example, make statements like: “You’ll rarely have a minute to yourself here”, or “We can’t afford to tolerate even minor mistakes” or “You’ll need to take apart and clean out the grease traps every single day, which some people find unpleasant”. Ask them how they feel about this challenge, and if their eyes genuinely light up, sign them on.

Check their work history and examine employment dates.

For the highest returns, look for candidates who tend to stick with roles for the long-term. If your candidate tends to drop jobs after less than three months because they don’t feel fulfilled, take a closer look.

For more on how to identify the “soft” skills that indicate team player and personality match, turn to the Cleveland County hiring experts at PSU.

Hiring Challenges You Can Overcome Today

November 3rd, 2017

As an experienced business owner, you’ve already learned the most critical lesson this process can teach you: Nothing is easy. Every stage of business ownership and management comes with hard work, uphill climbs, and the risks that come from putting your trust in others and earning their trust in turn. For every two steps forward, expect to take one step back, and it’s always a good idea to plan for trouble and think several moves into the future.

But when it comes to hiring and staffing, there are few challenges that you don’t have to face alone. Partnering with a local, highly specialized recruiter like PSU can help you overcome the obstacles that are a natural aspect of running a business. Work together with our team and take advantage of our experience, our wide network, and the hiring tools we rely on to find the right match between your open position and your next new hire.

Streamlining the Hiring Process

If you’re like most companies (even small operations), you have plenty of bottlenecks and paperwork- related hold-ups as you move through the sourcing and selection process. While you wait for your key HR pro to return from vacation, or you wait for your C-suite to sign off on a management candidate, your best potential hires may receive offers elsewhere. They may also simply become frustrated or exhausted by your slow process. So don’t let this happen. Let us handle the screening and paperwork so you don’t have to.

Gaining Access to a Talent Pipeline

Too often, small business owners without wide industry contacts simply turn to the internet to post open positions. But when you rely on huge global job boards to find your needle in a haystack, you turn an otherwise efficient process into a tedious chore—and after sifting through hundreds of resumes you may STILL end up with a candidate who doesn’t quite fit the bill. Partnering with PSU means you’ll rely on our targeted contacts and you’ll clear a direct path to the talent pool you need.

Improving Your Candidate Experience

Candidates who leave your hiring process with a strong positive impression retain that impression for a long time. That process becomes the cornerstone of a lasting brand relationship—Whether you end up hiring the candidate or not. If you do, you’ll end the process with a loyal, long term employee who embraces the company and stays for at least a year. If you don’t, you’ll send an upbeat, respectful message to a talented job seeker who may return later to apply with the company again in the future. In either case, a positive candidate experience can only help your company grow. A negative experience will do the opposite.

For more on how to form a profitable partnership with a specialized staffing agency in your local area, contact the Gastonia staffing professionals at PSU.

Win Talent from Your Competitors

October 6th, 2017

Competing for talent can be easy when the job market stalls and unemployment begins to push both the numbers and qualifications of job seekers. But when the tables turn (as they’ve been doing for the last several years since our recovery from the economic downturn), job seekers hold more of the cards. And when job seekers hold the cards, convincing them to sign on may mean drawing them away from your competitors.

This is not to be confused with “poaching” or directly approaching employed workers and trying to pull them out of their seats. Leave that process to someone else, and focus your energy on grabbing the attention of top talent before they sign a contract or accept an offer. Gain a legitimate edge over your competition during the job search, interview and negotiation process. Here’s how.

Make a better case.

Start by understanding the kind of case your competitors will present. If they can offer benefits, offer better ones. If they can offer salaries in the low sixties, aim for the high sixties. And if you can’t outbid them in terms of monetary compensation, find other ways to identify and then reach beyond whatever they put on the table. For example, maybe you can’t match their salary offers, but you might be able to provide flexible scheduling, transit discounts, or a more rewarding workplace culture.

Get to know your candidate.

If you open the conversation by listening instead of talking, you may gain a complete understanding of what your candidate actually wants and needs at this point in her career. Maybe they’re looking for something exactly like their last job, but closer to home. Maybe they are gunning for management and they’re willing to put up with a long commute in order to get there. Maybe they have an interest in a certain type of experience, exposure, or industry mentoring. If you can identify this goal and help your candidate get there, this one detail may help you overcome deficiencies in other areas of your offer.

Establish a partnership.

Maybe you can’t give your candidate everything they want right now, but if they step on board and help you grow your business, you’ll have the resources to drive their career forward in a year or two. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, but if you can both support each other’s goals, make this point clear.

Identify deficiencies in their last role.

Why did they leave their last job? If they left because the culture was toxic, build a case around your positive team energy and commitment to employee growth. If they left because they were passed over for a promotion, explain how your company can provide them with opportunities for advancement.

For more on how to attract, onboard and retain the best talent in the marketplace, turn to the Cleveland County staffing and recruiting experts at PSU.

Preparing Your Team for Seasonal Demands

September 18th, 2017

Fall is here! Your summer hires have packed up and your fall hires are in place, you’ll already need to think about the next big challenge: the holiday season. If your business model involves any kind of seasonal element, or touches on industries that move through staffing cycles during the year (like tourism, travel, academia, construction, and even healthcare), you’ll need to be ready for each of these cycles as they arrive.

Prepare for your seasonal demands—the packed rush of the high season and the quiet lulls of the low—by engaging with a temporary staffing firm and taking on seasonal help. A staffing agency can help you fill your open positions in short order with high quality experts. Here’s how.

We hire employees so you don’t have to.

When we present you with candidates or likely matches for your open position, you can bring them onboard as quickly as you like. They’re already insured, tax reporting has been taken care of, and they’ve already been vetted and reviewed, because they’re already working— for us. During their contract period, your employees are our responsibility, not yours. So you just have to show them the ropes and welcome them to the team.

Goodbyes can be painful, but not when you work with temporary talent.

When the season ends, some of your goodbyes may be cheerful occasions. Students returning to school and employees leaving for other positions will be taken care of. But what about those who aren’t? An annual cycle of lay-offs can be upsetting for both parties, but when you no longer need your temporary workers, we simply assign them to other jobs. No worries.

If you want full time hires, we can do that.

After your contract period ends, you’re free to hire your temporary employees full time if you choose. In this fashion, both employer and employee can test-drive the relationship to see how well it works for each of you. If you get along and appreciate what the other has to offer, you can easily hire your temporary employee for a full-time, permanent role.

We can stay at your side as your business grows.

If you see no end to your seasonal hiring cycle and you know you’ll need to deal with this aspect of your business model over and over, year after year, form a trusting partnership with your staffing agency. We’ll be here for you at the start of every season, no matter what future brings.

For more on how to manage the ups and downs of a cyclical staffing model, turn to the Cleveland County staffing experts at PSU.

Overcome Roadblocks to Successful Hiring

August 7th, 2017

If you’re like most managers, you define “successful” hiring in a few key ways: a successful hire steps into the role, picks up the ropes quickly, takes ownership of tasks within a few weeks or months, and stays with the company for at least one calendar year. An unsuccessful hire steps in amid confusion, misunderstandings about the nature of the job, and a slow uptake of responsibility, and then completes a short tenure with the company. If you’re looking for ways to remove obstacles from the path to successful hiring and generate more of the first case and less of the second, keep a few key tips in mind.

Remove your roadblocks with a recruiter

Talk to a professional recruiter who can help you identify the specific challenges that may be holding you back. You’re deeply immersed in your business model, your team, and your company culture, and sometimes a little outside perspective can help you spot problems that might otherwise remain under your radar. If there’s one small misstep or unhealthy habit standing between you and success, recognize that habit and get it cleared away.

Meet reality halfway

Most employers begin a candidate search with sky-high expectations. They want nothing less than the best, which may mean finding a global expert in three or more overlapping skill areas—who just happens to live down the street. Since this isn’t realistic, you’ll win by finding a clear path between your ideal vision and your actual successful candidate. If you can’t find that path, the confusion, disappointment, and frustration that result can cloud the water on both sides of the relationship and make a rough start worse over time. Communication and common sense can help both parties succeed.

Know where to look

The right approach to candidate sourcing can mean the difference between choosing from a stellar pool of nearly-perfect applicants, and settling for the best of a mediocre crop. If you can identify your target audience and publish your job post within easy reach of that audience, you’ll raise your odds of finding the candidate you’re looking for.

Move quickly and you’ll cover more ground

The more laborious and bureaucratic your hiring process, the slower you’ll move. And the slower you move, the more likely you are to let great candidates slip away. Help from a recruiter, a streamlined administrative process, and a rapid-fire interview schedule can help you gather data and make your decision before critical opportunities pass you by.

For more on how to overcome the staffing obstacles that and between you and your goals, contact the Cleveland County staffing experts at PSU.

The Benefits of Ongoing Feedback

July 17th, 2017

Traditional approaches to employee performance evaluation typically focus around one central event: the yearly review. Once a year, employees and managers meet for a one-on-one session in which the employee is praised for the year’s accomplishments and coached and criticized regarding “areas in need of improvement”. During the critique portion of the review, mistakes from the ancient past tend to be rehashed, and setbacks that occurred months ago are subject to scrutiny, the assignment of blame, and questions like “What resources could I have provided that would have helped to prevent this from happening?”

Employees approach the session with anxiety, hoping for a “good” review and dreading a bad one. Managers typically resent the process as well, since it can be overdramatized, socially awkward, and damaging to a relationship built on professional friendship and trust. So if this process sounds familiar—and unpleasant—why not try a new approach this year? Here are some reasons to deliver feedback all year long instead of saving it up for New Years.

Toss out the drama.

The tension and high stakes of an annual performance review benefit nobody. Being put under a spotlight six months after the fact won’t help employees better enjoy the fruits of their victories, and it won’t help them learn from past mistakes. But it will make them uncomfortable. Leave the letter grading system in high school where it belongs, and treat your employees like responsible adults, not students sweating over a test.

Real-time feedback has greater impact.

If an employee botches a presentation or misses an opportunity, sit down with them and discuss the error immediately. Better yet, don’t even sit down; just point it out in the moment (in private of course), issue corrections and coaching on the spot, and move on. The reasons for the stumble will be fresh in the employee’s mind, and she/he will be better able to identify and manage these reasons when they arise in the future.

Real time feedback is easier to remember and process.

If you exchange just a few words with your employee every day or a few times per week, then by the end of the year, you will have dispensed hundreds of tips, guidelines, wisdoms and meaningful corrections. But if you try to pack a year’s worth of comments and coaching into a one-hour session and then drop it on your employee like a load of concrete, very little of your message will actually get through. Takeaways and action items are the most important part of any feedback session. Keep them flowing all year long and you’ll see steady and continual growth.

For more on how to keep your employees engaged, committed, and constantly learning, turn to the Cleveland County staffing and management team at PSU.

How Much Does Turnover Really Cost?

June 16th, 2017

Turnover is an expensive, disappointing hassle; there are no secret there. Every experienced manager knows that an employee tenure of less than one year translates to high cost and limited returns for the company. If your selection process is flawed, your onboarding strategy is off-putting, or your job descriptions don’t match the reality that your new hires face in the workplace, you’re likely to turn your company into a giant revolving door. If you think you can afford a few reckless mistakes now and then, add up the actual cost and find out for sure. Don’t forget to factor in these considerations.

Training costs

When you bring on a new employee, that employee probably won’t serve as a financial asset to the company right away. In fact, almost every position in every industry requires a ramp up period, or a period in which the new hire can only be expected to learn, listen, pick up skills and make educational mistakes. This period may last three days or three years, but as long as it’s still underway, the employee’s presence in the workplace can been seen as a liability, not an asset. You invest in your new team member by providing the training, patience, and damage control that new employees almost always need… at least until they learn the ropes. If the employee leaves before the ramp-up period is over, their tenure can be considered a cost, not a source of revenue.

Morale

Morale and attitude are contagious. Positive or negative, they spread from one employee to the next. So when one person on your team isn’t happy, others may start to feel the same way (and vice versa). When an employee heads for the door in search of something better, others follow suit. By the same token, a happy and loyal employee lifts morale, which boosts productivity.

Opportunity costs

When an employee leaves, the replacement process begins, and everyone involved in the sourcing, resume review, interview, and selection process begins shifting their attention toward this project and away from other things. If you add up the hourly salaries of all of the people who contribute to this effort, the price tag starts to rise. Simultaneously, the work they would otherwise be doing must be shifted to someone else or left undone during this time.

Administrative costs

After you account for the advertising fees and the general costs of recruiting and screening candidates, you’ll need to factor in transportation to interviews, fees associated with background checks, and fees associated with adding and removing employees from benefit and insurance plans.

When you estimate the total combined cost of each of these elements, you’ll better understand the scope and the stakes of your hiring decision. For more on how to complete this calculation, contact the Charlotte staffing experts at PSU.

Flexible Work Opportunities: Keeping Employees Happy

May 5th, 2017

To keep your company in motion, you need to attract and retain top talent. And to attract top talent, you have to be willing and able to offer the perks and benefits that talented employees want. Of course your salary offers will need to be competitive, but how can you move beyond salary? And how can you choose offerings that appeal to the types of employees you’re looking for?

Driven, brilliant, focused and self-sacrificing employees often have one trait in common: they have busy lives. Their attention is typically pulled in multiple directions by personal passions, family obligations, an interest in lifelong learning, and a desire for growth. So the best way to keep such people or you team can often be expressed in one word: flexibility. Keep these considerations in mind.

Let them manage their schedules.

Nothing irritates a passionate, high-achieving person more than being tied to a desk for no apparent reason. If your employee has no meetings scheduled at the moment but needs to remain in the office despite pressing obligations elsewhere, this can wear away at her patience with the company and increase her desire to work somewhere else. She’s an adult; you can trust her to leave the office for a dentist appointment and still complete her work on time.

Remote work typically means more work.

Despite what some inexperienced managers believe, allowing employees to work remotely can actually increase their output and productivity. Talented employees tend to overproduce, not underproduce, in the absence of oversight, so turn them loose and let them figure out what needs to be done and when.

Rigidity limits problem solving.

If you require a talented employee to work in only one place, in only one way, under strict supervision and within the limits of a rigid set of policies and procedures, you may reduce the potential for mistakes (sort of). But you’ll also reduce the kind of growth and learning that can result from mistakes and risk. Encourage positive outcomes, but demonstrate flexibility when it comes to how the work gets done and where it happens.

Trust begets trust.

Allowing your employees to work off site or manage their own schedules (or both) can demonstrate trust and respect. This can become a symbolic gesture that may result in immeasurable benefits for your organization. When employees and managers work in an environment of trust, they can stop looking at each other and start looking in the same direction.

For more on how to provide talented workers with the leeway, respect, and flexibility that can help them thrive, contact the Cleveland County management experts at PSU.

Think Reference Checks are Overrated? Think Again!

April 17th, 2017

As you source candidates for an open position, review resumes, and conduct interviews, you rarely doubt the value of you endeavors. You feel confident that the time you invest in these activities will pay off as you narrow your options and hone in on the most qualified candidates in the pool. But when it comes to reference checks, you may feel differently.

Too often, HR pros and hiring managers eliminate reference checks altogether, assuming that the payoff just isn’t worth the effort, time, and social awkwardness that reference checks entail. But if you’ve weighed the cost and benefits and decided to skip the reference check process, reconsider. Here are some benefits you may be overlooking.

Reference checks don’t take long if they’re done right.

You don’t have to set aside an hour for a long phone call; just correspond by email. And you don’t have to allow a rambling discussion to consume your afternoon; just ask a quick series of concrete questions with easy answers. If you read between the lines, even a five-minute exchange can provide insight into how others feel about your candidate and the general impression he leaves behind.

References DO provide meaningful information.

Managers often skip reference checks because most references provide bland, non-committal, unassailable answers that won’t get them into trouble. But if you don’t let this happen, it won’t happen. Instead of saying “Did you like the candidate?” (of course the answer will be yes), ask something more pointed. Try: “Was the candidate consistently on time? What did she do best? If you had to provide a coaching tip for me, what would it be?”

References catch red flags.

Just embarking on the process can provide meaningful information. For example, if you reach out to a reference and your call is ignored or avoided, you can consider this a successful data-gathering mission. You never exchanged a word, but this non-responsive reference has shared a data point that you can add to a growing picture of the candidate’s profile.

References might give more than you asked for.

An enthusiastic, full-hearted, hyperbolic testament to the candidate’s abilities can be a powerful statement. If even one of your candidate’s references shouts her praises to the heavens, you can consider this a plus. These enthusiastic supporters can also tell you about accomplishments or proud moments the candidate herself may have omitted due to oversight or modesty.

Reference provide a point of comparison.

You may have two candidates with apparently equal technical abilities, in which case a reference check might provide a quick and immediate tie breaker. Make the calls and see what happens.

For more on how to conduct reference checks in an efficient, appropriate, and meaningful way, reach out to the Cleveland County professional staffing team at PSU.

©Year Personnel Services Unlimited, Inc.
All Rights Reserved. Site Credits.