Defeating the Skills Gap

April 11th, 2018

Every company faces it – from trades such as construction, oil and gas, and welding to manufacturing and logistics, to healthcare and hospitality, to IT and C-Suite positions, when the economy is up, and unemployment is down, finding and keeping talent is a challenge. Specific plans and decisive steps are needed to maintain a steady workforce.

Review your Human Capital Needs

Meet with your managers and team leaders. Gaining a clear understanding of your weakest areas in need of immediate bolstering, as well as projected growth areas is crucial.

  • Is your current staff overstretched?
  • Do you have expansion plans in theEVP, flexible, culture, respect, appreciation,
  • process?
  • What do you need for immediate relief?
  • What’s your projection for three months, six months, one year?
  • What level of skill is most lacking? Entry-level? Mid-management? C-Suite?

Bolster your Talent Sourcing

Review, improve, and build on your talent sourcing – build a talent pool.

  • Do you have talent sourcing activity continually on-the-go?
  • Are your managers consistently tapping into their networks, seeking talent?
  • Do you maintain an attractive employee referral program?
  • Do you throw your employee fishing net in diverse ponds?
  • Are you connected with a reliable staffing firm?
  • Is your staffing partner specialized in your area of need? For example, do they have a healthcare expert for healthcare recruiting? A construction, security, safety, oil and gas, or IT expert for recruiting in their respective industries?

Assess your Hiring Process

Creating an active, efficient, and consistent hiring process will enhance your ability to attain the right talent when you need it.

  • Do you have clear communication channels in place among the key decision makers?
  • Is there a specific written process for hiring at each level – from single interview entry-level to multiple tier interview C-level?
  • Does everyone know his/her role in the process?
  • Do the right people have the authority to move forward?
  • Do you have accommodations in place for when a key decision maker is on vacation?

Evaluate and Improve your EVP

Your employee value proposition (EVP) is critical in attracting and retaining quality talent.

  • Are you a step ahead of the market salary index for each level and position?
  • Do you offer flexible schedules?
  • Are work-from-home options available for appropriate positions?
  • Do you offer and encourage career growth and advancement for employees?
  • Does your culture support work/life balance and integration?
  • Do you have efficient internal communication?
  • Is your company culture based on respect and appreciation?

Yes, it takes time to review needs, bolster your talent sourcing and assess your hiring process. Yes, it costs money to boost your EVP.  But burnout employees who leave because another company offers more and has a higher respect for their time costs you more in both time and money. Likewise, with bad hires. The only way to win in the war for talent is to develop the best strategy and invest in the best ammunition.

Olympic Staffing is your strategic advisor and ammunition source. Since 1983, Olympic Staffing has been dedicated to your success. We maintain a network of thoroughly vetted, tested, and experienced professionals. We offer a consultive approach, working to identify your needs and find the best solution. Contact us today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online Courses Fuel Career Success

March 6th, 2018

Online courses have proven to be an excellent way to boost your resume and increase your opportunities. Many of them are free if you are taking the class online for personal satisfaction, but if you want your work graded and an official certificate that documents you completed the course, then expect to pay a fee.  Many colleges and universities offer online courses from small junior colleges to the giants, including Harvard, Yale, MIT, Columbia, Standard, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to name a few.

There are multiple advantages of taking an online course. You can:

  • Choose the course of study you want without having to move – an especially important perk if you are working or have family responsibilities.
  • Take the course at your pace and timing. If it works best to listen to a lecture on Tuesday one week, but on Wednesday another week, that’s your option. If you have extra study time one week, but a work obligation the nest – adjust your study times.
  • Forgo paying for a parking pass. No wardrobe needed. No sorority/fraternity dues either.
  • Earn your degree at greatly reduced rates.

Of course, with the professors across the state – or country – rather than the classroom, you might run into difficulties when you have questions or need a little assistance, right? Not so. Many online programs offer online support groups and most courses include a portal for asking questions. Some include peer-based coaching.

Bottom line: Online courses/certifications build your confidence, skills and career tools, enhance your portfolio, give you a foot in new doors and increase your professional value. Any way you look at it, it’s a win/win.

Looking for a new job to match your new skills? Connect with Olympic Staffing: Together, we’ll create a strategy that leverages your career goals, education, and work experience.  We work with a variety of companies and industries to maximize your exposure and opportunities.  Helping you achieve your career goals is Olympic’s priority. Contact us today.

 

Are You Mentally Engaged?

February 27th, 2018

In our fast-paced society, where everybody wants it all – right now, staying mentally engaged or mindful on the job is often a challenge.  On the plus side, staying mentally engaged is vital to productivity, as well as career growth, and job fulfillment. So, how do you strengthen your ability to be focused on your task, mindful, engaged? With the right fuel. You can buy a new car right off the line, but if you don’t fill the tank, you won’t make it off the lot. It’s the same way with your ability to be a driving force on the job. If you don’t fill your tank – in both body and spirit – you won’t get far on the job.

Fueling the Body

It begins with understanding the difference between time and energy. Every day has 24 hours for everybody – the quantity of time never changes. Energy, on the other hand, is both renewable and expandable. We must have enough energy to stay mentally engaged.

  1. Get sufficient rest. This means 7-8 hours at night, of course, but don’t forget to take breaks during the day.
  2. Get regular exercise. A consistent daily routine – even just a brisk 15-minute walk, can increase your In fact, many people say they get more done in less time if they maintain an exercise program.
  3. Make healthy eating choices. Proteins help energy, while refined carbs drain it.
  4. Stay hydrated. Drinking sufficient glasses of water helps people keep a clearer mind, and stay less susceptible to illness.
  5. Take time for vacation – put the mundane tasks of work and home aside. It might be “waiting for you” when you return, but you will have more energy fo tackling it.

Fueling the Mind & Spirit

Everyone needs to feel that they have purpose, as well as a sense of belong. When our mind and emotions are sufficiently taken care of; our ability to connect to the tasks at hand increases.

  1. Be creative. Take time to discover your “gift” and use it. If you can craft a masterpiece, by all means, do so, but it can be much simpler. Perhaps you are an organizer who likes everything in its Creating a home/office that is organized and runs smoothly is as creative as painting a beautiful landscape.
  2. Take time to disengage – and yes, that includes your electronics. Pausing, taking a deep breath and just being for a while refreshes the mind and spirit.
  3. Fill your mind with good things. Develop a grateful attitude. Take time to express appreciation to others. Avoid gossip and negative self-talk. Read an enlightening book. Listen to your kind of music.
  4. Separate yourself from work when you’re home and from home when you’re at work. It’s easier to give both the mindfulness needed if you aren’t distracted by the other.

Giving yourself the right fuel – for your body, as well as your mind and spirit will have a significant impact on your ability to be mentally engaged on the task of the moment. Staying mentally engaged will help you be more productive, which will give your career a boost and build your sense of purpose.

Olympic Staffing is always on the lookout for jobseekers who stay mentally engaged. We match their skills and experience with top companies in our region – in fact, we’ve been doing it for more than 30 years. We know and understand the requirements of the positions we fill, ensuring that every job we suggest for you is a precise fit for your skills and career goals. Contact us today.

 

 

 

 

 

Win the Job Search  

February 13th, 2018

It might be a talent-driven market, but the job search road can still be full of bumps and potholes. If you want to smooth out the ride and win the race (there are other seekers who want that same job), then you have to prepare, work hard, and never give up. Here are some Olympic tips for you – after all, we’re on your team.

Build a support network: You need people – to offer help, connections, and accountability. Attend events. Connect with old friends, while building new connections. Don’t forget, genuine networking is as much about helping and giving as it is about receiving.

Conduct a self-evaluation: Make a list of your strengths and identify your skillsets. Find ways to hone them. Take a class, volunteer, attend a seminar. There are multiple ways to build your value.

Clean up your digital image: It’s easy to post a pic in the moment of enthusiasm with your friends or spout off a hot response to a situation or comment from the security of your home, but unfiltered postings can come back to haunt you. Pay attention. Pause and ponder before posting.

Tackle your LinkedIn profile: Update. Update. Update. Have you won any awards, completed any classes, scored any special achievements? Include them in your profile. Pay attention to keywords and phrases that pertain to your industry and include them in your headline, summary, and experience sections – in appropriate ways, of course.

Refresh your resume: Keeping your resume updated and ready to go gives you one up on the candidate who is scrambling to add all their latest achievements, correct their contact info, etc. Of course, being ready to go means having your resume ready to customize to a specific position – a must-do if you want to get the best position for you.

Sign up for automatic job alerts: You can do this on LinkedIn, as well as various job boards.  Choose selected job titles and keywords to narrow your alerts to pertinent openings.

Prepare for Interviews: Research. Rehearse answers to typical questions. Arrive on time. Dress appropriately. Be courteous and respectful – to everyone. Have a few questions ready for the interviewer. End with a verbal thank-you and follow-up with a written one.

Partner with Olympic Staffing: Together, we’ll create a strategy that leverages your career goals, education, and work experience.  We work with a variety of companies and industries to maximize your exposure and opportunities.  Helping you achieve your career goals is Olympic’s priority. Contact us today.

Research the companies who have openings. Read the reviews, news articles, history, etc.  Get a glimpse of their culture. It will be easier to prepare for an interview.

 

 

 

Managers and Employee Engagement – Part II

February 6th, 2018

Last week we posted part I of our discussion on “Managers and Employee Engagement. We talked about saying no to favoritism, trusting your employees, and being consistent. These are all critical aspects for managers to utilize if they want to create healthy employee engagement, but they aren’t the whole picture. . . So, let’s continue.

Keep an Open-Door Policy

Engagement involves interaction from two directions. Keeping yourself available to your employees is a crucial pillar to vibrant employee engagement.

  • Be warm, friendly, and respectful – to everyone.
  • Unless your workforce is too large, get to know your employees by name. If it is too large, at least know your department heads, team leaders, etc. by name.
  • Smile – a lot. Don’t just walk pass employees – stop when you can for a brief word.
  • Encourage feedback – listen to it – apply it when appropriate.
  • Express appreciation – verbally, in written form, and in tangible
  • Encourage company fun – such as once-month-doughnut breaks, pizza lunches, company picnics, friendly competitions between departments – the list is endless.

Offer Training and Opportunity

Don’t inadvertently send your employees away by failing to give them a reason to stay. Most people want to grow in their career, to increase their skills and responsibilities.

  • Offer in-house training opportunities. When possible personalize it to their current abilities, work personalities, and career
  • Give them access to online training, webinars, etc.
  • Provide incentive – and financial support toward earning certifications that will enhance their skills.
  • Promote from within first, whenever possible.

Building strong employee engagement among your staff is hard work and takes intentional action, but the ROI is high. Engaged employees tend to stay employees. And that’s a big plus. The cost of turnover is high – reducing it makes a notable difference in the bottom line.

Olympic Staffing understands the importance of strong employee engagement. We know it begins with great hires. As your strategic partner, we do more than fill positions. We work to identify your needs and then find the individual best suited to fit those needs. Our professionals work closely with you to ensure your complete satisfaction. Contact us today.

 

 

 

 

Managers & Employee Engagement – Part I

January 30th, 2018

Employee Engagement – how do you make it more than one of today’s buzzwords? Best answer: management! This is where walking the talk comes into play.

We’ve put together 5 win/win management must-dos for cultivating A+ employee engagement among your workforce. We’ll discuss three of them today. Be sure to return next week for the rest in part II.

Say NO to Favoritism

Sure, we all enjoy certain personalities more than others. When we find an employee who’s thought train and work methodology matches is in sync with ours, it’s easy to build a work relationship and . . . admit it, to look the other direction when they mess up. We also tend to give them more work opportunities. On the other hand, the worker who, at least in your opinion, is from another planet is not so easy to praise and encourage. While this may be understandable, it’s an absolute crusher to employee engagement. So,

  • Treat every employee equally. Extend respect, kindness to everyone.
  • Recognize that people are different and embrace their diversity.
  • Uphold company rules and regulations. Never excuse in one worker any behavior that isn’t forgiven across the board.

Trust your Employees

Yes, you are a manager – which also means you are a delegator. Delegate and step back – micromanaging is not the way to prove your trust your employees. Rather,

  • Assign responsibilities and expectations.
  • Provide the proper tools and instructions.
  • Ensure that authority level matches responsibility level.
  • Stand back and let them do their work.

Be Consistent

Don’t be continually changing the priority list, rules of the game, and level of expectations. It’s confusing and frustrating to your employees.

  • Don’t let a particular behavior slide, and then suddenly “make an example” of someone who commits it.
  • Don’t be lackadaisical about reports, and then suddenly critique them with a magnifying glass.
  • Don’t move item C on the priority list up to top position without first communicating why you need to make the change and expressing a vote of confidence in your employees.
  • Don’t allow Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde leadership. (It’s a great way to turn your workforce into a horror story.)

If your company is struggling with employee engagement, Gather your management team together and start brainstorming. Dig for answers among this group. Changes are in order? Are some departments more engaged than others? What are they doing differently? How can you implement their styles across your organization? Finding answers together is the first step to a fully-engaged workforce.

Start applying the above three principles and return to our blog next week for insight on open-door policies, as well as offering training and opportunities.

Meanwhile, remember Olympic Staffing understands the value of employee engagement; the connection between it and higher productivity, which of course, improves your bottom line. That’s why we work hard to match our clients with the best employees for the position. Contact us today for great matches – the kind that make employee engagement that much easier to obtain.

Your Company & Diversity

January 23rd, 2018

Every company says they support diversity, but how many are taking specific steps to make it happen. Are you? Let’s talk about how – but first, let’s share a little light on why you need diversity in your company.

Companies who encourage diversity – hiring based on skills, experience, personality, rather than gender, ethnicity, or lifestyle – reap in multiple ways.

  • A broader base of talent encourages more open-minded learning, which in turn, means increased innovation and effective decision-making.
  • Expanded recruiting opportunities, including improved attraction and retention rates, and broader talent pool, which turns into more productive, smarter teams. In other words, you now have a definite competitive edge when it comes to hiring.
  • Strong employee relationships and improved company culture, all which leads to increased company attractiveness and employee loyalty.
  • An increased market reach – due to your expanded awareness of trends for varying demographics, which means happier, more satisfied customers who keep coming back.
  • An improved and notable reputation with both employees and colleagues, as well as clients.
  • Improved bottom line – all of the above means a growing, healthy, and stable bottom line.

Ok – there’s a packet of reasons to build diversity, but how do you make it happen?

  • Be intentional about breaking stereotyping. You may think you don’t have a bias or preconceived ideas, but when we dig beneath the surface, most of us do – we have to choose to change our thought patterns.
  • Build a diverse network. Connecting with different organizations, and attending various conferences will connect you to a broader spectrum of talent.
  • Change your tactics when recruiting. Focus on top talent in skills – both hard and soft, experience, cultural vibes – rather than gender, ethnicity, lifestyle choices, etc. It will not only bring diversity into your company; it will give you the competitive edge of a more in-depth talent pool. Ideally, your work team should represent the full diversity of your customer base.
  • Start a pattern of not only accepting diversity but embracing it. Start at the top – what management does is much more influential than what management When you create a diverse team for a company project, encourage feedback and lively exchanges of ideas, promote by merit, express appreciation for every job well done, your employees will soon pick up on the idea that everyone has value and potential. And if someone doesn’t – it’s time for some private dialogue and laying out of your expectations. Don’t let a few ruin the whole.
  • Present opportunities for employees to express themselves.The best way to encourage innovation and fresh ideas is to provide a safe atmosphere for sharing. Respect differing viewpoints and promote a healthy exchange of perspectives. Foster group problem-solving.

Of course, there are more ideas afloat on how to build diversity, but the critical key is simple – do it!

Looking for help in building a diverse workforce? Contact our team at Olympic Staffing. We do more than fill positions. As your strategic partner, we craft solutions designed to increase your productivity and profitability. Contact us today.

Personality Traits that Impress Employers  

January 16th, 2018

Getting a job and keeping a job isn’t just about your skills and experience – even in a healthy market. Prospective employers dig deeper – yes, they want the skills and experience, but they are also looking for personality traits that will help their business grow. Do you have what it takes?

Professionalism

Professionalism is a pillar to success in the workforce. Employers are looking for candidates who present themselves professionally in every way. They know how to dress appropriately for the position. They can be depended on to do their work well and on time. They have mastered the art of communication – connecting with others, treating everyone with respect, abstaining from foul language, etc. Professionalism includes keeping the company’s reputation in mind when interacting with customers.  And one more thing – don’t throw professionalism away when it comes to social media.

 Interpersonal Skills

The ability to be a team player who can work well with diverse groups of people in a variety of situations. Being someone who can be counted on not only keep the peace but also to understand the art and value of a healthy debate – and the time and place.

Self-Motivation

Do we have to say more? Can you be counted on to get up and get there – on time – every day. Do you fulfill your job plus a little? Can you perceive what needs to be accomplished and do it? Yes, being able to receive instruction and willing to follow orders is critical, but so is being an initiator – someone the boss can depend on to keep going on their own, solving problems as they arise.

Flexibility

Everybody wants flexibility – they want the freedom to balance their work against their lifestyle, family, and other commitments, but your employer wants flexibility too. Change is a constant – they need employees who can bend in the wind when problems arise, change direction when necessary, and even fill a different role than their job description defines.

Aptitude and Desire for Learning

Employers want, and need, staff members who don’t remain happy with status quo but are consistently learning and growing, developing themselves professionally.

 Confidence

Do you have the confidence you need to do the work? If there’s a glitch, do you dig in and find the problem, consider your options, and present a solution, confident that you can complete the project?

Teachable and able to teach

Are you willing to learn from others, to receive instruction – including from someone younger? Are you ready to be mentored and coached when necessary? On the other hand, can you step in and teach/mentor someone else. Can you help them land on their feet in a new role?

Bring your winning personality traits to Olympic Staffing. Together we create a strategy that leverages your career goals, education, work experience, and yes your winning personality. We work with a variety of companies and industries to maximize your exposure and opportunities. Helping you achieve your career goals is our priority. Contact us today.

Time Management for 2018

January 9th, 2018

Did the close of 2017 catch you by surprise? Are you still holding that list of goals you made in January, and now it’s January again? You are not alone – a lot of people share the same story, but wouldn’t you like to sing a different tune this year? Maybe it’s time for the ABC of time management.

A. Evaluate where you stand right now. For the next ten days, keep a record of all your activities – at work and when you’re off the clock. If possible, do it in 15- 30-minute You don’t have to write a book – just jot a note. The point is to see:

  • Where you’re wasting time
  • When you are your most efficient
  • When the need-a-nap bug hits
  • What activities can be combined
  • What you need to delegate
  • Which activities support your big picture goals – and what doesn’t

B. Create a plan. Use the SMART system – You know: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and, of course, Time-based.

  • Give a swift kick to all your time wasters
  • Schedule specific times for social media, phone calls, etc.
  • Now for the meat of your responsibilities – assign each must do to the best time of day according to your energy, resources, and controlled boundaries.
  • Determine when multi-tasking is efficient (for example folding wash while you listen to your child’s spelling words or planning your meeting agenda while you walk the dog.)
  • On the flip side, eliminate any multi-tasking that hinders your progress.
  • Consider whether you can afford to hire some things done to free your time for something you need to do yourself.
  • Make a “do not disturb” sign and use it

C.  Work the Plan. Begin small, but keep growing. If it’s overwhelming, prioritize – Choose the most crucial area that requires change and focus on that the first month. Track your activities the last three days of the month and compare it to your first record. Note where you have improved. It will give you courage to work on another area. By the time December 2018 arrives, you’ll be a time-management pro.

Is a job-change part of your solution? Consider Olympic Staffing. Together we can create a strategy that leverages your career goals, education, and work experience. We work with a variety of companies and industries to maximize your exposure and opportunities. Helping you achieve your career goals is our priority. Contact us today.

Companies and Cell Phone Policies

January 2nd, 2018

Establishing a cell phone policy that respects employees while preventing disruption of productivity, encouraging a safe environment, and protecting company data isn’t easy. It’s downright complicated, but it’s a responsibility that cannot be ignored. Here’s some tips to help you get started.

Policies that work well for most companies –guidelines based on basic good manners and consideration of others.

  1. Keep phones on vibrate while at work.
  2. Make/take personal calls/texts during breaks and lunch time, excluding emergencies, medical calls, etc. Ensure that family and friends understand when calls are acceptable and when they are not.
  3. When calls must be made; keep them brief. If your call will disrupt others; step outside or into a private area.
  4. Keep all calls “professional” including personal calls – no arguments, foul language, intimate details . . .
  5. Never let cell phone use interfere with safety.
  6. Don’t use phones to take pictures during work.
  7. Don’t use personal cell phones to transmit confidential company information.
  8. Never let cell phone use interfere with customer service. If an employee who works with customers has an emergency, another coworker should immediately take the employee’s place.

Some companies – especially those with lots of customer contact, may find the need to ban cell phones while on the job, while others may have a very loose policy. The key is to have a policy.

  • Put it in writing.
  • Clearly communicate the policy to all employees.
  • Set specific expectations and consequences for policy breakers.
  • Enforce the policy consistently and fairly.

 

While most agree that companies need a cell phone policy – the big question remains – what should that policy be? Businesses come in various sizes and cultures. Likewise, with employee responsibilities. On the one hand, there are some policies, like those mentioned above, that make work well across the board. On the other hand, one size does not fit all – so in the end, common sense must come into play.

If you’re looking for a new employee, contact Olympic Staffing. We can help you find an employee in sales or any department, who is perfect for your company culture and who will be a good fit for your fellow employees.