Reducing Employee Burnout

August 15th, 2017

Burnout saps efficiency, damages your workplace culture, and leads to expensive and time-consuming employee turnover. According to studies quoted by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) “between 26-41% of employees feel their job is stressful or extremely stressful or that they are often or very often burned out by work.

Learning to recognize the signs of burnout and managing the problem can lower employee turnover and increase workplace productivity. Here are some major signs your workplace is adding to employee stress and strategies for making improvements:

Work-Life Balance is Off.

Everyone needs to maintain a balance between work and life to stay on an even keel. When your employees don’t have enough time away from work this balance can suffer.

Habits like working too many hours a day or too many days a week without taking time off can wear your employees down over time. Sometimes time off isn’t time off, employees who take work home or are expected to be available for phone calls and e-mails at all hours can get stressed as well.

Monitor the hours per week and days per week your employees are working. Make sure they are getting time off even if you have to encourage them. Limit after-hours communication, and if you have to have people on call after normal work hours make sure you are sharing the load and giving everyone free nights where they aren’t expected to pick up a phone.

Employees Need the Right Tool for The Job.

How often do you replace your workplace tools and equipment? Are your employees being asked to use clunky old electronics that run slow, are inefficient, or worse have started developing habitual screen freeze?

According to Amy Blackburn, “not only does the equipment’s performance reflect poorly on the employee’s production, but the failure of management to recognize the need to upgrade can also create an air of helplessness. Frustration with equipment can be one of the first symptoms of burnout, and solving this problem can alleviate work-related stressors tremendously.”

Making sure your employees’ equipment is up to date and effectively working solves two problems. It eliminates the stress from dealing with faulty equipment, and showing you are paying attention lets your staff know you are invested in them.

Don’t Ask Too Much – Or Too Little

When employees feel overwhelmed by a never ending mountain of work they start to suffer from burnout. Make sure you communicate about workload often. If your employees are complaining about never ending tasks, or saying they are afraid to take a day off because they know the pile of jobs waiting for them will be impossible to deal with they need help.

Likewise, an employee can be bored at work by performing tasks that are too easy for their skill level. An engineer who is catching customer service calls is going to be interested in new opportunities elsewhere.

An employee who is devoting all their time to low-level tasks can start feeling underappreciated and out of the loop. Making sure everyone is involved, and the workload is shared evenly can lower stress. Assign your employees tasks that will push their existing skill-set. Rotate tedious work so everyone can try something new.

If you’ve your current workplace is too stressful, and you need to make a change, contact Olympic Staffing. We can help you find employees with the current skills, abilities, and education level to take on the mountain of work you have built up.

How to Attract Millennial Employees

August 1st, 2017

There is an entire cottage industry built around detailing the frustrations some managers have had trying to integrate millennial employees into the workforce. Here’s a wakeup call: By 2020 Millennials are expected to be fully half the workforce. Attracting millennials isn’t an option when filling job openings, it’s a necessity. Here are some basic strategies for sourcing new talent within this demographic group:

Flexibility and compensation Matter

According to Nancy Altobello, the best way to attract and keep the best and brightest is to pay them well. Millennials want choices about how to deliver a job well done. With the understanding that deadlines and client needs must always be met, they want options about where and when they work–and they want their managers clearly on board. People are looking for approval around flexibility.”

Offer Them a Path Forward

Millennials have a reputation for jumping ship. Usually, they do this to advance their career. This is why one of the most potent tools for recruiting and retaining millennials is to offer them a career map that shows them a clear path forward, including development like training and mentorship and clear opportunities for advancement.

Communication is King

Millennials grew up in the social media culture where everything is out there all the time. They require a lot of information, transparency, and opportunities for conversational give and take to feel comfortable. Give this to them.

Don’t just request an interview, send them an information packet with plenty of links to follow up on and include points of communication to ask questions or make comments. Then schedule a follow-up face to face meeting to discuss the job opening.

Use Other Millennials to Recruit Them

Tracking the ways Millennials communicate, learn, and interact is like tracking pop culture – the further away from high school and college the harder it is to keep up.

You need to use employees who are swimming in the same social media waters as them to find out if you are on the right site, using the right hashtags, meeting the right people.

If you are looking for ways to recruit millennial employees, contact Olympic Staffing. We excel in meeting candidates within that group and helping companies put together the kinds of offers that motivate them for the long term.

Providing Employees with Regular Feedback

July 25th, 2017

A lot of companies treat feedback as a yearly ritual. An annual employee review or salary review is formal, nerve wracking, and can become very tense when negatives are covered. Making feedback a regular part of the work environment can defuse the stress that often comes with criticisms and open new opportunities for you to grow as a business. Here’s why you should provide employees regular feedback.

Timing Matters.

Harvey Deutschendorf of Fast Company thinks “the time to give feedback is as soon as possible after a situation or event has occurred.” This is important with negative feedback but also important with positive feedback. You shouldn’t wait to motivate employees or help them improve. Fast feedback is also more effective than the annual sit-down. People learn best when events are fresh in their mind and can apply lessons better.

Feedback Sessions Help You Understand Your Business.

Employees may want to defend themselves or present differing views on situations than your own. This is a positive. Being a good listener helps team cohesion and gives you a chance to learn and grow as a company.

Feedback Is a Form of Training.

Thinking of feedback as a form of criticism is limiting. You should look at feedback sessions as training sessions. Treat them as an opportunity to exchange ideas, train new concepts, and motivate staff. Using feedback sessions to improve performance and leaving each session on a positive with set goals for improvement can create real impacts in your ability to deliver, sell and produce as a business. Cynthia M. Phoel of the Harvard Business Review says you should “approach the feedback session with the goal of getting a complete and accurate picture of the situation.” This will help you be more responsive and fair to your employees.

If you need to hire more employees who will help contribute to your workplace’s internal ability to learn and grow from feedback, contact Olympic Staffing. We are trained to look for potential recruits who have positive outlooks and know the value of constructive workplace dialogue.

How to Market Yourself as an Employee

July 3rd, 2017

When you are looking for new opportunities, you need to make sure employers know the right things about you. Marketing yourself can be the difference between getting the right job and just another paycheck. Using a little strategy can get the right info in front of the right companies with your name attached. Here’s how you can market yourself as an employee.

Build Your Network.

Most of us have a personal network on social media. Don’t neglect your professional presence. Make sure you have a full profile on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Having a professional looking profile isn’t enough by itself. You have to be active, reach out to people, and engage in conversation. Diane Gottsman recommends you “start by sharing recent company articles and other compelling content.” This is a great way to jumpstart your presence and connect yourself with the issues that generate interest.

Remember networking has to be targeted and relevant to you. You also need to make sure you are relevant to the people you are reaching. Highlight the strengths you have that are in high demand and can discuss issues intelligently with potential employers or colleagues.

Control Your Online Presence.

If a company is interested, they may check your LinkedIn account for professional background and associations. Make sure you are posting info about your education, skills, and past projects online. Offer to write a guest post for a blog covering your field. Tune into groups and forums where your colleagues discuss issues. Come up with an e-mail signature that sells your skills and use it for e-mail or when you answer forum or blog questions. You need to be search-savvy. Online search is all about keywords, make sure your name is returning with info relevant to the kinds of keywords prospective employers are seeking. Specific education and job skills, companies in the field, even specific projects you have worked on if they are well known.

Bring in Help.

Don’t be afraid to ask others to market you. Call people you have worked with before and ask them if they have leads. Ask them to name drop you. When you get leads, follow up. Research the person and company online first and call. Tell them your friend thought they might be able to give you some advice and listen to their ideas. Ask them if they know anyone else you should be talking to, so you have more opportunities to network.

If you are interested in marketing yourself as an employee, contact Olympic Staffing. We can help you get your name in front of the right people in companies that are hiring now. We will help you market your skills to employers and enable them to see you as the next opportunity for their firm

Should You Drug Test Employees? 

June 20th, 2017

If you are covered under Federal Department of Transportation regulations, drug testing is mandatory, but for many businesses drug testing is optional. Deciding whether or not to drug test employees can seem like a difficult decision. Consider the following.

Laws

The laws regulating drug testing for these businesses vary from state to state and compliance can be complicated. Knowing why you should maintain a drug testing program and how to manage your program legally are key to improving your workplace.

Benefits

The benefits of drug testing are real. Employees who use drugs can be unproductive, expensive health risks, and dangerous to themselves and others. Drug testing programs can also benefit the employees who use drugs. By forcing them to confront their problem and providing real consequences for mistakes you can help them face their problems and get their lives on track.

Semantics

Employees who are abusing drugs will miss more work days and are more likely to have medical conditions. They are more prone to having accidents that can cause injuries to themselves, other employees, or even members of the public. Employees who abuse drugs can be overly lethargic or manic at work, have difficulty communicating, or become confused when attempting even simple tasks. This can make them unproductive and interfere with the employees around them.

Expenses

Employees who use drugs incur four times the healthcare expenses of sober employees and are more likely to incur a workers’ comp claim. Most states won’t honor workers’ comp claims when drug use is considered a cause, but without a testing program, you can’t take advantage of that.

Risks

The only real risk is staying inside the legal guidelines in your state. This is why it makes sense to outsource your program to a company with specific expertise in both carrying out testing and compliance with regulations.

Once you have the right partner to keep your drug testing program safe and legal, you can get started on building a cleaner, safer more productive workplace.

If you’re looking for reliable employees, contact Olympic Staffing. We can help find you an employee who is a good fit for your company culture, goals, and overall advancement.

Managing Your Time Amidst Stress

May 16th, 2017

When you’re stressed out, it can be easy to let your scheduling and organization fall by the wayside as you desperately try to juggle different tasks and responsibilities. Unfortunately, this only reduces productivity and increases your stress. Following these time-management tips, however, will help you move through the stress.

Take a Break

Though it may seem counterintuitive, you need to take a break for your mental health and well-being before you can get a handle on your stress. Whether this is a ten-minute break, a day off, or a week-long break, you need to step away from the stressors temporarily so that you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them when you return.

Schedule Out Your Week, Month, and Year

Don’t let stress affect your organization. When you’re feeling overstressed, that’s when you need to make a concerted effort to schedule out your week, month, and year. The reason why you should schedule out all three is that it will let you think about your stressors and projects in term of short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. This will help you keep things in perspective, which, in turn, will reduce your stress.

Delegate Whenever Possible

One of the best ways to manage your time when you’re stressed out is to delegate part of whatever is stressing you out. If you oversee an intern or an employee, they may be the best person to help you out with this as they are directly accountable to you. If you don’t have someone who can help you, see if you can try to ask one of your colleagues to share the workload with the promise that you’ll do the same when things are stressful for them.

If you’ve identified that your current job is too stressful and you would like a new one, contact Olympic Staffing. We can help you find a job that is within your comfort zone and will take advantage of your current skills, abilities, and education level.

Find a Career Mentor

May 2nd, 2017

Whether you’re just starting off in your career or are further down the road, everyone can benefit from a career mentor. A career mentor is someone who can give you guidance, advice, and teach you valuable skills that are directly related to your career of choice. If you’re looking for a career mentor, here’s how you can find one:

Attend Networking Events

Attending networking events in your given field is one of the best ways to find a career mentor. First of all, you’ll be associating with people who are on the same career path as you but who are in different steps of the journey. Try to make an effort to speak to those who have more experience so you can determine whether or not that person would make a good mentor.

Ask a Former Boss

If you have a boss for whom you particularly enjoyed working, consider asking him or her to be your career mentor. The chances are that your boss remembers being in your shoes several years back and would be happy to pass on tips and tricks to help you in your career endeavors. Plus, you already know that the two of you work well together.

Get Recommendations from Family and Friends

If you want a career mentor but don’t know where else to turn, you can always get recommendations from family and friends. There is a good possibility that at least one person you know will have a friend or family member in your chosen profession who would be open to mentoring you. All you would have to do is ask for an introductory call or e-mail to solidify the working relationship.

If you have a career mentor and s/he has hinted that you should find a new job, contact Olympic Staffing. We excel in meeting candidates who are currently transitioning from one role to another or even one field to another. We would love to help you figure out your niche and assist you in obtaining the best position possible in your field.

 Make Your Company Meetings More Productive

April 18th, 2017

Company meetings are meant to be productive, but often become frustrating and possibly damaging to your employee culture. As management personnel, it’s your job to make sure company meetings are as productive as possible. Consider the following tips.

 Set an Agenda.

 The first and easiest way to have your company meetings be more productive, is to set an agenda – and send it to those attending.  This also allows your employees to know what to expect. It will also help you stay on topic and fulfill the purpose of the meeting.

 Have Them at the Same Time Every Week.

 If you have regular meetings, holding them at the same time/place every week/month, etc., will increase productiveness.  There are several reasons for this. First, your employees will know to expect this, and therefore, be prepared with questions and feedback in preparation for this meeting. Second, your employees won’t be caught “off-guard,” so they will be more receptive to items discussed in the meeting.

Allow Your Employees to Submit Feedback.

 The last and best way to have your company meetings to be more productive is by allowing employees to submit feedback. A meeting isn’t effective if you’re just talking at your employees the whole time; you should be talking with them.  Allow your employees to submit feedback before the meeting, so you can address their concerns, and seek more feedback during the meeting.

If you’re looking to hire employees who can contribute to or lead meaningful company meetings, contact Olympic Staffing. We can help you find employees who are invested enough in your company that they care about the process and outcome of the company meetings.

How to Ask for a Reference

April 4th, 2017

If you’re looking for a job, you should have one to three references ready in case your future employer asks for them. If you don’t currently have any references, don’t fret – they’re easy to obtain if you know the right steps. Here’s how to ask for a reference:

Determine Your Past Professional Relationships.

When you ask people for a reference, you need to make sure the people you’re asking are professional references as opposed to personal references. It doesn’t look good if you only list personal references, as your new employer might assume that you have burned bridges with all your past employers. When you’re looking for who to pick, think a manager or superior who was directly impressed by your work.

Put Together as Much Information as Possible.

When you ask a professional connection to be your reference, you need to provide them with as much information as possible, so they’re not caught off guard when your potential employer calls them on the phone. It could be a good gesture to compile information in an e-mail or on paper in regards to what the job is, which of your accomplishments should be highlighted, and what else you want them to address.

Just Ask!

Don’t get hung up on asking other people for a reference because you “don’t want to inconvenience them.” Yes, respect and appreciate their time, but remember that everyone has had to or will have to ask someone else for a reference at some point.  Just do it so you can advance your career as soon as possible.

If you’re happy with your references and are looking for a job, contact Olympic Staffing. We will be able to help you find a job that is a good fit for your current career goals while still taking your past experiences, education, and other factors into account.

Online Reviews – the Negative (Part II)

March 28th, 2017

Last week we discussed the power of positive online reviews and how to generate them. But, there is always the other side of the coin – negative reviews. It happens to every business sometime. In today’s blog we’ll share helpful tips for deflating even the nastiest comment.

One of the best ways to combat negative reviews is to have a good defense…without getting all defensive.

  1. Don’t take it personally. Stay calm, professional, and polite. Reviewers will respect you for that, even if they still disagree.
  2. Designate a person high up in the company to manage reviews. Reviewers want to know that an executive cares about them.
  3. Respond quickly to every Inc.com says, “Businesses that respond to reviews have an 86% higher rating compared to those that ignore them.”
  4. Listen to the reviewer, and examine the problem. If the problem doesn’t exist, provide evidence, and ask the reviewer to remove their review. If the problem is real, thank the reviewer for their feedback and let them know what steps you’re taking to correct the issue.
  5. If this could become a long conversation, ask to move it off the public site. Request that the reviewer email or call you, so you can solve the problem together and in private.

When you show how much you care for reviewers and give personal responses, unhappy reviewers may amend their review after talking with you. Potential talent, as well as your current employees and your customers, are watching to see how you treat people and how you solve problems. Look at negative reviews as an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism and caring toward other people.

Building a team of caring staff who appreciate the value of great customer service is a positive step toward combatting negative reviews. That’s where Olympic Staffing steps in. Contact us today. We’ll connect you with staff who bring out the best in your company.