Surviving and Thriving on Your First Day

January 16th, 2015

You’ll be starting your new job in just a few days and you’re ready to make a great impression and launch your new relationships on the right foot. But since you don’t yet know these people and you aren’t familiar with the culture of your new workplace, you may have to make some educated guesses and chose your moves carefully. Consider taking the steps below.

Remember names and use them.

On your first day, you’ll have a lot to learn and a lot to remember. But keep the names of your coworkers at the top of your list of priorities. When you’re introduced, repeat the name of each new contact back to them as they share it. Write it down later if this will help you.

Take notes.

Carry a notebook with you (paper or digital) and take notes as your new boss, your mentor, or your coworkers explain aspects of your role and responsibilities. Even if you don’t use these notes very much later on, you’ll make the right impression by showing interest your new job and an eagerness to learn new things.

Seek connection and exposure.

If you aren’t automatically taken to your new boss’s office and introduced to him or her, show some initiative and request this introduction directly. Do the same for other directors, clients and department heads who you know you’ll need to work with in the future. Ask about work flows, processes and software platforms that aren’t shown to you.

Avoid idling.

On your first day, there may be occasions when your services aren’t needed and you don’t have very much to do. But when this happens, don’t stand still. Ask for schedules, look for projects, and keep your hands busy. Make it clear that you didn’t step into the job intending to stand around.

Ask smart questions.

Keep your questions necessary, smart, meaningful, and constant. And remember the answers so you don’t have to ask the same questions over and over again. While you’re working on asking questions only one time, you can also work on keeping your mistakes limited; don’t make the same ones more than once.

For more on how to manage your first day and get your new job off to a great start, reach out to the staffing professionals at PSU.

Should You Supplement Your Staff With Contract Workers?

June 6th, 2014

You have an important new client with a high profile project that will begin during next few months and may strain every one of your existing resources to the limit. Or maybe your high season is about to begin, and if you’re reading the signs correctly, you know this will be a blockbuster year. Or maybe you’re about to launch a new software implementation, acquire a smaller company, expand into a new territory, or embark on a new product rollout.

You know that the future looks bright…but it also looks busy. Very busy. And you’re not sure your current staff has the bandwidth, energy, or stamina to face these challenges alone. Should you start hiring new full time employees? Or should you consider the benefits of contingency staffing? Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.

Contingency Staffing Means Flexibility, Agility and Resilience

Hiring full time employees will involve a high level of commitment and no small amount of financial and practical risk. Sourcing, resume reviews, and interviews are all time consuming and expensive, and mistakes can send you all the way back to square one with nothing to show for your efforts. Contingency staffing, on the other hand, comes with minimal long term commitment and only as much risk as your company can handle. If you aren’t satisfied with your chosen candidates, you have the option not to extend their contracts. And if you and your temp employee are a mismatch, you can simply ask the staffing agency to send you someone else.

Contingency Staffing Means Minimal Legal and Payment Hassles

When you contract with a staffing agency, your workers are employed by the agency, not by you. Which means you don’t have to worry about taxes, insurance, or related paperwork. You simply describe your needs to the agency (or your recruiter), and welcome your chosen employee in the door on day one. Your financial agreement takes place with the agency instead of the employee, so one-on-one salary negotiations aren’t necessary.

Contingency Staffing Means Your Workplace Changes as Your Needs Change

Nobody makes money when there are too many idle employees milling around the workplace. And when a tiny skeleton crew is overloaded to the point of burnout and high turnover, nobody wins. Contingency staffing arrangements can help you avoid both of these possibilities—with independent and temporary contracts, your team is always the perfect size.

For more information on how contingency staffing can help you stay lean while facing the challenges ahead, contact the staffing and business management experts at PSU.

How to Become a Career Mentor

May 2nd, 2014

You’ve been working in your industry for several years now, inching your way up from the lowest level, making mistakes, bouncing back, asking the right questions, and climbing the ladder rung by rung. You know you haven’t gotten this far on your own—Plenty of others have helped you along the way by offering advice and setting a successful example. And now that you’ve arrived, you’d like to give something back by acting as a mentor for someone else.

If this describes you, you’re on the right track. Helping someone else is a great way to enhance your own career, and chances are, you’ll learn as much from your mentees as they do from you. But before this happens, you’ll have to establish a strong mentor relationship in the first place. Here are a few ways to get started.

1. Look around. Are there any younger or less experienced employees who you interact with on a daily basis who may already see you in this light? If so, take steps to formalize this arrangement. Ask them if they’d like to commit to weekly or monthly meetings, reading assignments, and feedback sessions. Let them know your reasoning, and let them know that you see potential in them and would like to help them reach their goals.

2. If you don’t see an obvious choice for a mentee, consult with mangers or company decision makers and encourage them to help you or to pair you with a younger employee who may be looking for professional guidance from a personal source.

3. Keep the relationship focused on your mentee’s goals, not your own goals or the goals you would like them to have. Before you pontificate or offer answers, make sure you listen carefully for the questions that interest your mentee the most.

4. When you don’t know, say so. But when you do know and you do have the answers, speak up. Be generous with your wisdom. Draw valuable information and helpful narratives from your own experience.

5. Document the relationship and your mentee’s progress as well as you can. In terms of growth and professional progress, milestones aren’t really real until they’re written down. Use your documentation to help set the course for future sessions, and call upon your records before you write recommendation letters, share testimonials, or help your mentee land a promotion or new position.

For more on how to build a relationship that can help both you and a mentee move your careers forward, contact the staffing and career development experts at Personnel Services Unlimited.

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