Minding the Gap: Management Strategies for Teams with Technology Gaps

August 27th, 2012

In a world in which technology advances at an exponential rate, employers are faced with a growing challenge: how to manage teams of employees who have different levels of capacity for understanding, operating and integrating technology into their fields. Without strategies to incorporate both the lightning-quick “millennials” (younger individuals who have grown up with, and adapt seamlessly to new technology) as well as the Baby Boomers, teams and companies can experience stagnation.

Here are several ways that strong leadership can lessen the technology gap:

Understand the effect of the technology gap on communication.

Teams cannot work together effectively without utilizing effective communication; unfortunately, according to one UCLA study, as much as 93% of communication is nonverbal, and this is where the office can become divided. More specifically, when employees communicate via technology (instant message, text message, email) there is no observable inflection, body language, or tone of voice–all of which have been vital for effective communication until very recently. Older employees might be offended that a younger person would email a question as opposed to asking it face to face, while younger employees could feel frustrated if they feel they are moving at a much faster pace than others in the office. Observe your team and listen to them; model your company’s ideals for effective communication and technology decorum.

Integrate both worlds.

One of the best ways to get a team working well is to make sure that each member feels valuable. And the only way to do that is, of course, to genuinely value each member’s skill set. Using this framework, encourage the mindset that the younger workers need to bolster their person-to-person skills and the older ones need to amp-up their working knowledge of pertinent technologies and social media. Offer teachable opportunities which will allow both groups to shine–as well as learn from each other. Provide feedback to your team about why both of these areas of business are invaluable, and go out of your way to make examples of employees who are exemplary in their ability to unite technological adeptness with excellent and effective writing and people skills.

Offer Incentives.

If your older employees have been doing their jobs well for years without the pervasive use of technologies, it can be difficult for them to identify a motivation for learning to use and incorporate those methods. Offering incentives for attending company-sponsored workshops and training based on social media and technologies as they pertain to your field is one effective way to encourage your staff to take advantage of those offerings.

Olympic Staffing can help you to find applicants who are motivated, hardworking, and committed to your company’s vision. Contact our staff to begin working with us on your staffing needs!


Recruiting Tools and Challenges

August 22nd, 2012

With an exponentially quickening pace and the vast expansion of technologies and social media, job recruiters have to adapt quickly, efficiently and seamlessly all the time. Challenges exist today that would not have occurred to recruiters and companies even five years ago. So how can you stay on top of the recruiting game? Follow these guidelines to ensure that your company can survive and thrive:

Utilize social media, and utilize it well.

In a recent survey conducted by JobVite, 92% of recruiters stated that they would use “social recruiting,” or social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, to employ candidates in 2012. The numbers speak quite clearly, indicating something every recruiter should pay attention to: without the proper use of social media and mobile tools, your company will be left behind.

Use Facebook to build a strong company presence on the site, and to garner interest in your product or service. Candidates will see that your business is thriving and want to be a part of that.

Twitter is useful for searching for candidates based on calculated search terms. Including hashtags in tweets for recruiting purposes allows candidates to find your tweets by searching for terms such as #NAJ (“Need A Job”; other suggestions include #employment, #jobsearch, and #sales).

LinkedIn is a resource for candidates and recruiters to network and broadcast their employment needs. The ability to use search parameters to make the pool of qualified candidates smaller and tailored to your needs is a resource that should not be overlooked.

Remember that you are selling each other.

The recession and subsequent growing unemployment rate has had a negative effect on many recruiters and employers; because so many people need jobs, it can be easy to slide into the mindset that only employers have something employees need–and not the other way around. If applicants do not feel that they will be valued or appreciated for their skills and contributions, they will not want to interview or work for your company, and if they do end up accepting a position, there is little guarantee they will stick around. In order to ensure that you do not fall into the trap of the interview power struggle, take just a few minutes before each interaction with a new candidate to remind yourself of what your company can offer that individual. Relay that during the interaction as opposed to focusing solely on what s/he can do for you.

Once you’ve employed a candidate, give him incentive to stay.

In order to prevent your employees from accepting better offers elsewhere, it should be your priority to offer a work situation from which an employee would not want to walk away. Many employers find that offering a better-than-competitive salary creates a reason for their employees to remain there, thus offsetting the costs for continual hiring and training employees due to high turnover rates. Additionally, employers find that the more “perks” they can offer (often at negligible or no cost to the company) the higher their retention of top-quality employees.

Olympic Staffing makes finding excellent candidates as easy as a phone call. Contact someone today to get started on building your dream staff! 

Unqualified: Decoded

August 17th, 2012

When an employer cites overqualification for choosing not to hire someone, it can be confusing, vague, and leave the candidate wondering exactly what happened. Even in situations where it seems like a sure fit, applicants are coming away jobless, with too much qualification to blame. There are some translations of this phrase that can be helpful to consider if you are ever told that you are overqualified for a job.

“Overqualified” can be a code interviewers use when they feel that you start out asking for more salary than they are willing or able to offer. Because it saves time, interviewers will not ask each candidate if s/he is willing to lower his/her asking salary. If you are flexible on your salary requirements, tell your interviewer during the interview. State in your interview why you would be willing to accept a pay cut; perhaps you would prefer to move to an area with a better school district, and this would be worth accepting less than you’ve asked for–or are worth. This also explains to your potential employer that you are invested in the position and do not plan to leave soon after you are hired.

Often times, however, telling a candidate s/he is overqualified is simply an expression that has become a catchall for everything from a perceived or assumed technology gap to an overall bad fit. Because it can seem initially flattering, and is a concise, liability-free expression of disinterest, the term has become overused. Employers use this term also to describe individuals they suspect will not stay in a position for which they are overqualified for very long. Because of the expense of continually hiring and training new employees after people leave for jobs to which they are better suited, employers are not willing to waste time or money on taking this risk. This is why it is important to be upfront and proactive by diffusing these potential preconceptions.

Two tips for overcoming overqualification: first, don’t dumb yourself down to appear as though you aren’t. It is unbecoming, and puts you at a disadvantage if you do end up landing the job. Living up to your full potential is always the best policy on the job. Second, research the company and be prepared to make a preemptive case for why your talents would be helpful to the company.

Being overqualified doesn’t have to keep you from landing a position with a great company. Effective communication and diffusing preconceptions may be all you need.

Contact us today to connect with someone and begin locating employees that meet your qualification requirements!

The Post-Promotion Office: How to Make a Successful Shift

August 10th, 2012

We spend eight hours a day with people at work. According to a recent Randstad study relating job satisfaction to workplace friendships, the best strategy for contentment and teamwork in the workplace is to create friendship bonds with co-workers. But what happens to the equilibrium of those friendships in your office when you are recognized for a promotion? It is impossible to be an effective manager without transitioning into the new role properly. Here are some ways you can ensure a smoother transition:

Create Distance.

If your new promotion comes with a new office, this distance will be created for you. However, if your title changes but workspace doesn’t, take some time to revamp your surroundings. Rearranging your furniture might be the most effective change, because it necessitates a shift in muscle memory. Both you and your co-workers will reap the subconscious benefits of this change.

If it is not possible to rearrange your office, try giving your personal touches a once-over and eliminate anything that undermines your credibility. Sure, that birthday card with the sexy swimsuit model your co-worker gave you six months ago might be a hoot, but will your female staff members feel the same in your newly promoted context? Edit your personal effects with the image you would like to portray in mind.

Be Honest and Open Your Transition.

Give your co-workers a heads up that things will be shifting in the coming days and weeks, and let them know that you will struggle with this, too. Gather them and illustrate in a friendly, direct way what specifically will need to be adjusted. Your staff will appreciate and benefit from an outline of the boundaries you need to set, and you will feel relieved that you can communicate what you feel: that you valued the friendships you had with them, but that those friendships cannot operate in the same ways now that you have advanced. Additionally, if you outlined your boundaries publicly, you have a much more solid basis for correction if someone has difficulty adjusting to your new guidelines.

Keep Yourself in Check.

Physical and social distance from people with whom you have had friendships can create feelings of loneliness and isolation for you–and those feelings can make it very tempting to bend your own rules a little and go out for just one happy hour drink with a co-worker or blab a piece of info divulged in a managerial meeting. To avoid this, take good care of your physical, mental and emotional health, and remember the three R’s:

 Remind yourself that objectivity and distance are your best bets for successful management of your team.

Refuse to gossip.

Remain consistent.

 A promotion can seem like an answered prayer, but it can also feel confusing and worrisome when in the context of shifting office dynamics. Following the tips mentioned above can help smooth your post-promotion transition and create a more harmonious environment. Olympic Staffing can help you find candidates who are ready to take on the task of managing your teams. Contact us to begin finding your ideal staff member!