Using Feedback to Grow

November 26th, 2012

Communicating with anyone can feel like a guessing game at times; your mother may say she doesn’t need any help in the kitchen, for instance, but you know what she means is that she doesn’t want you in the kitchen getting in her way. When speaking with job seekers or clients about the service your company provides, it is important to be able to read between the lines and to identify what they actually mean so that you can maximize your use of that information to improve your company.

“You need an app.”

Interpretation: Yes, you may actually need an app. But be sure to ask several follow-up questions to interpret if customers would actually use an app in conjunction with your business, or if they are saying that because everyone seems to have an app, regardless of whether or not it is good or smart business.

“I like this.”

Interpretation: “I like this–but I don’t love this.” Ask customers why they like your service, but be sure to follow up by asking what kinds of changes would have to be made to ensure love and loyalty.

“I frequently use your service.”

Interpretation: “I’ve heard of you.” Use data analytics to determine if people really are using your company frequently–check online or service information to determine if your customers really are taking advantage of what you’re offering as often as they think. And if they aren’t, use similar data to figure out why and how to entice them to keep coming back.

“Your website should be more like __________.”

Interpretation: “I prefer ___________’s site to yours.” Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that you should make changes to your website to more closely compare to your competitors. In fact, it is an even better idea to create your website in a way that there can be no comparison drawn between the two. Yours must be different enough to be noticeable, but interesting and user-friendly enough to hold customers’ attention and convert them to your brand.

 

Often, people do not say what they mean without putting it through a wringer, which changes context, meaning and intention. When you are interpreting your clients and job seekers comments, it is important to pay attention to subtext as well as what they are really intending. Contact the experts at Olympic Staffing today, to find you great employees that know how to interpret feedback and grow your business!

Organizational Structure Discussion | Arcadia California

November 15th, 2012

No matter what industry you are in, your employees are more likely to benefit from a hierarchical company organization than an egalitarian one. While it may seem archaic and unnecessarily structured to many within the paradigm working toward global equality, it has been observed in numerous studies that people are most responsive to the proverbial “pecking order.” As a company owner or manager, it may become your prerogative to use this to your advantage.

In a thesis on social hierarchy, Joe Magee and Adam Galinsky of New York University, pose that,

The reason that people prefer hierarchical order, as opposed to other types of order, is that hierarchy is particularly effective at facilitating coordination within social groups. … As a mechanism of coordination, hierarchy provides clear lines of direction and deference that maximize the coordination of action for many kinds of tasks, especially in comparison to more egalitarian structures.

In short, your staff is likely to be more productive in a hierarchical office than in one where there is little or no chain of command. What is vital here is the clarity that hierarchy provides–the clear and accepted roles each person plays in an office create a sense of order, which in turns creates a more comfortable, less chaotic atmosphere. If your employees are operating calmly, without underlying structural anxiety, their output is likely to improve.

In a recent article published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the data of five studies was compiled a reported to indicate that subjects in the studies felt more confident in a company with hierarchy in its organizational chart, and they also showed that they were more readily able to quickly process and recall employees and their relationships given a structured illustration to study, rather than viewing several names group together without any linear connections. These conclusions support the hypotheses of Magee and Galinsky as mentioned above.

Ambiguity often breeds anxiety, and the lack of clarity that looser or non-existent company structures provide is likely to breed a less than stable work environment.

No matter the structure of your company, having the right employees is important. Contact the experts at Olympic Staffing to help find you the best employees for your structure and your business today!

Business Communication Advice | California

November 13th, 2012

Increasing your employees’ productivity may seem like an elusive concept, but the reality is that you have the capability to motivate your team by making even minor adjustments to your management style. It is practically impossible to be productive when staff fears outbursts from you on a daily or weekly basis. Try implementing the following ideas and see if your office begins to work more cohesively–and more productively. All you have to remember is, “Speak.”

 

Speak–do not yell. When you are speaking, you are not yelling, and yelling has been criticized recently by the WSJ as an ineffective communication tactic. When you speak at an appropriate volume and speed, you show that you are in control of yourself and the situation, and you show your employees that you are not acting emotionally, but rationally. Remember, employees are people, and people often come with baggage–you never know what kind of defense mechanisms your works have built around yelling, and what kinds of emotions they will experience just from the volume and tone of your voice. Speak to your employees to communicate with them about what went wrong, what you expect to rectify the situation, and what you want done differently in the future.

 

Speak–do not email or text. It is extremely easy to say things in haste and then press ‘send’ on an email or text. Or, you might find yourself in the sometimes tempting realm of self-righteousness, wherein an email to a worker turns into sanctimony. Finally, you may find that when you step away, you have been much more verbose than necessary, and you might have even brought up points that are irrelevant to your main point. Do not make contact if you are angry unless you plan to actually speak to the individual at whom your anger is directed, whether on the phone or in person. Taking the time to do this will allow you to cool off enough to speak rationally at an appropriate volume and tone, as mentioned above.

 

Speak–do not keep things bottled up. One point made in the WSJ article is that discouraging yelling or angry communication between coworkers is that people may interpret this as your not wanting any communication in the office. It is your responsibility to model how you want your employees to behave and communicate. If something has upset you, model the behavior you’d like to see: take a moment to gather your thoughts, speak directly to the person on the phone or in person, and speak calmly and only about what has happened, how to fix it and how you’d prefer things go in the future. Just as children model the behavior of their parents, your employees (to a somewhat lesser degree, of course) will model your communication techniques.

 

Communication is tough on everyone. Parents, teachers, managers, coaches, everyone has to deal with angry communication at certain points. All you must remember to have success without yelling is: “Speak.” Contact us today to find managers and employees who possess the rational communication skills you seek that will help your business grow!

Using Cold Calling to Your Advantage | Job Search Advice

November 9th, 2012

Though it seems counterintuitive, many individuals who are searching for jobs employ cold calling. The secret is this: if you can pull off a cold call, it can be an amazingly effective tool for advancing job prospects. So how do you master the cold call? After figuring out which companies would be a good fit for you, determining how you can provide benefit to the company and creating a concise explanation of that, try following these insider tips:

Bypass HR. The Human Resource Department is going to give you a standard answer when you call: “Send in your resumé and someone will contact you if there if an opening in your departments of interest.” Many HR reps feel that their department is a buffer between applicants and employees, and this is especially applicable if your departments of interest are not actively hiring. Choosing to dig deeper and call someone in the department, bypassing HR, will (if you have done your research) put you in direct contact with the individuals who will be interviewing you. If the department is not actively seeking employees, but you make a convincing enough case that you can serve a need that is affecting the company, the powers that be just might be persuaded to make room for an unexpected new employee.

Do your research. Use social media sites such as LinkedIn to connect with people to whom you can reach out for interviews. Alternately, use a site like Twitter to find out about them to help warm up your cold introduction. Even if you can’t “befriend” an individual on these sites, looking up the company’s pages can give excellent insights as to the company’s day-to-day operations, strengths, and needs.

Once you know who to make contact with, prepare to speak to an executive or administrative assistant. Train yourself to write down his or her name if it is provided so that you may use it at the beginning and end of the call. Asking something of someone is much more personally connected when you insert the person’s name: “Cathy, I was wondering if you would be willing to help me…” If the individual you are trying to reach employs a secretary or assistant, that assistant will be the first line of defense you must penetrate every time you make contact with the office; try to nail your first impression.

Cold calling can be brilliant if used effectively. Utilizing the advice listed above can ensure that you successfully set up interviews with companies you believe in. Contact us today to explore your employment opportunities!