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.

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.

Find a Candidate Who Fits Well with Your Company Culture

March 10th, 2017

As you search for a candidate who can handle the challenges of your open position, take the culture of your workplace into account as well. “Fitness”, or the level of alignment between the candidate and the role, can be the product of a complex and delicate equation. The right candidate isn’t just ready to handle the daily tasks that come across his or her desk; she’s also ready to handle the kinds of clients your company work with, the coworkers who sit to her left and right, and the unique style adopted by the company’s upper management.

Are these managers hands-on or hands-off? Are these clients easy-going or edgy and demanding? Are these coworkers collaborative or competitive? No matter what the answers may be, here are some tips that can help you spot a promising match.

First, know what you’re working with.

Before you can find a cultural fit, you’ll need to understand the psychological and social fabric of your workplace. Look around, conduct surveys, and gather data points before you begin the sourcing process for an open position. Collect some statements that seem reasonable and plausible, like: “This is a fast-paced environment”, “Employees here are reserved and can seem cold at first”, “Mistakes and risks are not only tolerated here, they’re encouraged.”

Evaluate your candidate sources.

If you’d like to find seasoned employees who are experienced, level-headed and worldy, don’t recruit on a college campus. If you’re looking for young, ambitious dreamers and experience levels don’t matter so much, that’s a different story. Go where your cultural matches live, play, and search for work.

Explain your cultural challenges and watch what happens.

During your interview process, explain some of the challenges your candidate will face here and watch how he or she reacts. You might say, “We prioritize deadlines over everything else”. Or you might say, “Some of our clients can seem rude and unreasonable at times”, or: “We wear multiple hats here, which means you might find yourself sweeping or taking out the trash sometimes,” or “Our culture is demanding and rigid.” Ask how your candidate feels about these things and when as responds, read between the lines.

Rely on behavioral questions.

If your workplace is deadline driven, as your candidate to describe the most difficult deadline challenge she’s ever faced. If your workplace is collaborative, ask your candidate about the last time he had to work together with a team. Again, read between the lines. You’ll learn more if you keep your questions open-ended and encourage your candidates to answer by telling a story.

For more on how to use your screening process to find cultural matches, not just skilled employees, turn to the professional Charlotte recruiting team at PSU.

Are You Managing Millennial Talent Effectively?

January 6th, 2017

As an experienced manager, you already know that not all employees will respond the same way to the same communication styles and coaching techniques. Some employees appreciate criticism, some resent it, some prefer a hands-on approach, and some thrive when their managers take a step back and allow them to take full ownership of their projects. These preferences and quirks don’t always correspond perfectly to certain identity factors, like age or background, and it isn’t easy to divide employees along clear lines (for example, it’s never wise to assume that men like to be treated one way and women another). But in some ways, millennial employees tend to stand apart from their gen X and baby boomer counterparts, and taking note of these differences can help managers to understand the needs of this unique demographic. Here are a few tips that can help you maintain productive relationships with your younger workers.

Treat them like adults but respect their lack of experience.

Generations ago, a 22-year-old person could be considered a fully realized adult, but in today’s complicated world, that expectation just isn’t reasonable. Respect your millennial employees by recognizing the limits of their experience. When they make mistakes, coach and teach, don’t berate. Help them grow; don’t insist that they step into the workplace already knowing everything they need to know in order to succeed.

Technology is great, but it isn’t everything.

Just because your millennials have mastered social media does not mean they’re “tech-savvy”. It doesn’t mean they can manage an SQL database or update a legacy IT system or even confidently connect their own devices to the company network. Again, keep your expectations and assumptions under control, and keep communication channels open. Explain what needs to be explained, and ask what needs to be asked.

Recognize the way they’ve been raised.

Studies show that when compared to their gen x and baby boomer peers, millennials tend to be more empathetic, more comfortable with supervision and oversight, and more willing to take innovative risks. Some of these “millennial” traits are simply products of age; everyone goes through similar growth phases during their early twenties. But some of these traits are unique and have not appeared prominently in previous generational cohorts. This may be due to rise of the internet, hover-parenting, a 24 hour news cycle, a cultural shift, or any number of other factors; we may never know for sure. But if you keep an open mind and listen carefully when your millennial employees tell you who they are and what they need, you get the most out of these relationships, and you’ll attract and retain a group of hardworking, ambitious future leaders who will choose your company over the competition.

For more on how to build strong relationships with valuable young employees, turn to the Cleveland County staffing and management experts at PSU.

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Three Common Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid

March 11th, 2016

While your resume may take center stage during the review process, a strong cover letter can mean the difference between landing the job and missing the mark. Your cover letter can add supporting detail to your claims and accomplishments, and it can help you explain some of the omissions or credentials that don’t shine as brightly as you might like. Most important, your cover letter helps your reviewers put a human face on the facts and details listed in your resume. So as you draft and edit your document, don’t miss an opportunity to stand out, and watch out for these common mistakes.

Length issues

Don’t push your cover letter past the limits of about one page of printed text or 400 words in an email. If you go on too long, your readers might tune out before they reach the end, which is bad. But worse, they might read all the way to the end and then forget half of what they read two minutes later. Keep your message tight and concise. At the same time, a message that’s too short represents a missed opportunity. Use the entire page to make your case and share your background.

Wooden sentences

As you complete your cover letter, try to share your information in the form of a story. Make yourself the protagonist, or your reader. Talk about a problem your employers need to solve and how you can help. Talk about the moment you first developed a passion for this work. Talk about your recent career history and the ambitions that drove you to apply to this company. But tell a story; don’t just list a set of random facts or sentences that all start with “I”.

Studies show that message are far more effective and memorable if they’re structured as a narrative, or a series of events that flow into each other. Use this approach as you present who you are, what you can do, and what you want.

Weak beginnings and endings

The most important sections of your letter will be your opening paragraph and your final closing statement, so give these sections more attention than the rest. Keep them interesting, respectful, and fluid. Imagine your letter falling into a puddle and the middle section becoming unreadable; if this happens, will the beginning and ending still be able to stand alone? The answer should be yes. Use your first and last statements to show enthusiasm and readiness for the job.

For more on how to create a cover letter that stands out and grabs the spotlight, contact the staffing, career development, and job search professionals at PSU.

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