07Apr

Just Getting Warmed Up

Q1 of 2021 felt like it came and went in a flash. Maybe it was the fact that 2020 felt like we were all “stuck,” and anything feels faster than that. Then along came 2021, a sign of hope and reason that we were somewhat turning a page and would be able to accomplish so much of what we hadn’t in 2020.
Now here we are… 25% of the year is gone in a blink of an eye! How do you feel? Are you on pace to accomplish everything you hoped? Or do you already feel behind?

If you feel behind, THAT’S OKAY! The best news is that you still have 75% of 2021 to kick butt! So here are some pointers on how to get back on track with your goals!

Remind yourself of your goals and motivation.

Do you remember what those goals were? Please tell me they’re not lost somewhere on a sticky note or a cocktail napkin. Take a look back at those goals and if they still apply, remind yourself WHY! What motivates you? Who motivates you? Why is these goals so important to you?
There it is! It’s all comin’ back now!

Don’t beat yourself up.

Now is not the time to beat yourself up for getting a little off track. Instead, get yourself pumped to get ready for THE COMEBACK! Pat yourself on the back for what you have already accomplished, and then bring on the internal pep-talk to how you CAN and WILL do better.

After all, you could be having this conversation with yourself in Q3, BUT you will do something about it now!

Identify the roadblocks you encountered.

We all run into roadblocks. After all, if goals didn’t have roadblocks, then what would be the fun in that? Once you have identified your roadblocks, create a plan of action to get through them head-on or around them if necessary. Too often, we run into a roadblock and immediately talk ourselves out of the destination. BUT NOT TODAY! Today, we press on.

Update your plan of action.
You have 75% of the year left, and now is the time to figure out how to streamline your plan or adjust it accordingly. Then map it out! What do you do first? Then what? Then what!? GOT IT?
Just because you’re not as far along as you thought you would have been, the key here is to realize that you haven’t lost your chance to accomplish A LOT in 2021. It’s time to figure out what happened in Q1 and learn from it!

Remember… “It’s not how you start, but it’s how you finish!” -Michael Phelps

 

31Mar

Employers – Reap the Benefits When Honest With Your Recruiter

Part of a recruiter’s responsibility is to manage their candidate’s expectations and provide the employer with the best fit. These factors include the right experience, skillset, and mindset to match the company’s culture.
The following blog is to help employers better understand how we can best work together for the absolute best outcome.
The candidate sent to you just wasn’t your cup of tea. Should you give your recruiter the reason(s)?
YES! A top-notch recruiter will rarely be off-the-mark when they send you their candidate’s shortlist.

Both the recruiter and candidate have traveled an intense path to get to this point; explaining why it’s a “no” in further detail will go a long way to help both the recruiter and candidate to have more success in the future.

If the candidate was late, appeared frumpled, or didn’t smell fresh, was rude or unprepared, those are legitimate reasons, and if working with an experienced recruiter, it should RARELY happen.

The recruiter spends hours working with the candidate to get a true sense of their demeanor as their reputation depends on your satisfaction.

There are also instances where it may not be about the candidate’s skills or experience but something that rubbed you the wrong way. We’ve heard it all:
  • Did the candidate show up far too early and caused a mild interruption while your staff tried to make them comfortable ahead of schedule?
  • Did the candidate abbreviate or mispronounce your name?
  • Did they appear nervous and repeatedly use “um” in between words?
  • Were you having a bad day, and the time you thought you had for the interview was interrupted by a client emergency?

We all have our pet peeves, but the employer is the leader, and your opinion is valued. If one of the above, or similar, went “wrong,” we highly encourage you to be open to what the candidates’ skills and experience can bring to your company.

With open communication, something the recruiter can tackle on your behalf, you can overcome the more minor pet peeves.

Whether it’s something minor or even more severe, we urge you to be honest with the recruiter about your decision. It will help both the recruiter and candidate for future interviews.

There are current trends with other employers that you’re not ready to embrace right now.

Many companies are offering remote opportunities, and it may happen in the future for you, but you’re just not there yet. Be honest about that, and if you can offer a safe environment, we will know that’s a deal-breaker if we have a candidate that is only seeking to work from home.

Let us know if the door is slightly open for that scenario should we find the perfect fit to decide based on the individual.

If you are looking for someone who doesn’t have one foot out the door at 5 pm, please let us know that. We may have the perfect candidate, but he/she may have personal obligations that require them to be home at a specific time. There are many ways to compromise so that it’s a win-win.

The more we know upfront, the better we can serve your needs. An experienced recruiter with years of experience under their belt can be a sounding board to walk through some of the unknowns.

There may be something holding you back simply because you “don’t know what you don’t know.” Be open, as a recruiter’s goal should always be to find you the best long-term fit.

Exclusive Relationship, or Not?
Recruiters will tell you the exclusive relationship is the best scenario, and they’re right. However, if they are inexperienced or not proactive, it’s a lousy situation for the employer. A qualified recruiter will request an exclusive agreement because they will invest what is needed to:
  • Reach out to the candidates who they know would fit the bill.
  • Make those calls to the passive job seekers with who they’ve developed a confidential relationship. These are the most difficult to reach because they are not openly looking as they are interested in a change but currently in a position.
  • Once they identify the candidates, they will go through all the vetting stages to ensure only those who indeed would be a good fit for your company make the “hot” list.
It’s not to say they wouldn’t implement the above steps if you did not agree on an exclusive relationship. Still, it’s easier to bring one of their highly-qualified and currently employed applicant to the surface if it’s a more exclusive nature.
24Mar

What If?

What if…?
Our 3-year-old granddaughter’s favorite question to ask is “What if.”
“What if this accidentally gets broken? What would you do?”
“What if the dog ate this? What would happen?”
“What if a lion got in the house? What would you do?”

I’m sure many of you can remember your kids or grandkids going through this same phase of “what ifs” and “whys.” It’s funny because to an adult, 90% of the “What ifs” they ask, make no sense at all UNLESS, you are an unbelievably curious 3-year-old. Lol.

As a young child’s mind is developing, they seem to be flooded with this overwhelming curiosity and desire to understand the world around them.

This got me thinking… At what point did we stop using “What If” as a key for growth and started using it as a question we ask ourselves to pertain to negative outcomes that might occur?

“What if I get fired?”
“What if I fail?”
“What if things never get back to normal.”

Nina Amir (the Inspiration-to-Creation Coach), believes “The more often you say “what if” and follow it with words that describe a negative scenario, the more often you focus your attention on a potentially negative future. And where your focus goes, energy flows. Said another way, you create what you focus on.”

So how do we move forward from this? How do we restore our child-like curiosity and desire for knowledge, while kicking the negative “What ifs” to the curb? We can start asking questions like…

“What if I reach this goal.”
“What if I get back into shape.”
“What if I have a great day.”
“What if I CAN do it.”

Most importantly, WHAT IF our kids and grandkids started hearing us ask ourselves these types of questions? WHAT IF we end up teaching the next generation that you never have to outgrow the “WHAT IFs.”

WHAT IF we replace that negative fear and teach ourselves and our future generations the most important “What if”?

What if “I can be anything I want to be, do anything I set out to accomplish if I hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.” –Abraham Lincoln

What positive “What if” questions have you tried successfully?

 

17Mar

The Value of a Great Job Description

When ready to hire for a critical role in your company, do you clearly understand what you require when filling the position?

Before you begin, take a step back and determine what the role will entail, and start drafting one of the most important aspects – a clear job description.

Unfortunately, many hiring managers understand what they’re looking for but haven’t properly put it in writing to share with the person, or recruiting firm, who will assist with the job search.

This part of the process is essential. It could be the difference between employing the right person for the position or someone who, on the surface, looks like a proper fit but, without a clear description of their duties, does not possess the skills and mindset to be the right candidate.

Writing the job description is one of the most critical aspects of the hiring process. Poor hiring decisions can quickly impact your company’s long-term health, which is why it’s necessary to set your job search up for success from the beginning.

Elements of a Good Job Description

In addition to the daily duties, you want to include what you expect the right candidate to accomplish, so they have a proper understanding of that position’s goals. To be competitive, you will need to perform the research to have accurate job details and attract qualified candidates.

If the ability to write a good job description is not your forte, take advantage of a qualified staffing solutions firm’s services as they understand market trends and what makes sense to skilled candidates.
Your job description should include the following specifics to help weed out unqualified candidates:
  • Job Title
  • Description to include daily activities and responsibilities
  • Desired skillset
  • Required level of experience and education
  • The physical location of the position and if it’s remote, include details such as what that would look like (i.e., fully remote or a combination of physical/remote)
  • The expected amount of time needed to dedicate to the position. Is it full-time, part-time, or flexible as long as the work is complete and up to company standards?
  • The description of the overall company culture (i.e., more structured or more casual based on the type of work involved
  • The salary range and any benefits
  • Summary of your ideal candidate. This step further narrows down the applicants as it provides insight into your company.
Accuracy is Essential

If your job description is inaccurate or too vague, this could cost you time and money and leave you frustrated, especially when you need to fill the position swiftly.

On that note, expediting the process too quickly could negatively affect the process as the adage “Hire slow, fire fast” is a huge factor in getting it right the first time.

You will also be inundated with unqualified applicants if your details are not precise. The application process is already overwhelming as you need to comb through resumes and cover letters, which can be highly time-consuming.

If you’re like most, with a busy schedule, this may be the time you consider working with a staffing solutions firm that will remove all of the upfront legwork from your plate.

Help a Recruiter to Better Serve You

If you work with a staffing solutions firm, a poor job description can considerably slow down the process. A qualified firm will have the goal of making the hiring process much less stressful. Allow them to manage all of the upfront details.

They will provide you with only qualified applicants who meet the qualifications you require and who will complement your company’s culture.

As mentioned earlier, the right recruiting firm will help take your job description to the next level as they understand the terminology and what best attracts the right people for the position.

Valuable Tip to Help Lay the Road Map

Do you have someone in your company who fits the profile of your next desired hire? We encourage you to talk about this with your recruiter as he/she will be able to draw from that description and incorporate it into a good job description.

In summary, the goal is to lay the foundation of your search with a job description that will clearly define your next hire’s expectations. Simultaneously, it should provide enough information to attract the best person to add to your growing team and help your company succeed.

 

10Mar

Pushing Through Zoom Fatigue

For the past year, Zoom software has undoubtedly provided us with a functioning alternative to in-person meetings and conferences. While no one can deny that Zoom has practically kept the corporate world alive through the pandemic, we can likely all agree that we’ve grown weary of hours of virtual meetings.

You’re not alone. In fact, a new term has been coined for this—“Zoom fatigue.”

A recent study at Stanford University identified the causes of zoom fatigue and offered some suggestions for combatting it.

Keep reading to find out what Lone Star Staffing Solutions has learned about remedying videoconferencing exhaustion!
The Causes of Zoom Fatigue

The author of the Stanford study pinpointed four main issues that cause individuals to tire of using Zoom. These problems include:

  • Lack of Mobility
  • Extra Effort for Nonverbal Cues
  • Viewing Yourself During the Call
  • Too Much Close Up Eye Contact
The Solutions

If you’re participating in back-to-back Zoom meetings all day, you need to schedule breaks for yourself. You need to be able to turn off your video, walk around, stretch your legs, and perhaps get some fresh air in the sunshine. You can opt for shorter meetings as a buffer, too.

Another suggestion includes hiding your view during calls to not always focus on your perspective during a virtual session.

The Stanford study author insightfully likened watching yourself on the screen to being followed around an office all day with a mirror. Yikes- we can see why that would be stressful!

In a statement made by Zoom to USA Today, the technology company noted: “While for some the transition has been seamless, for others it has been challenging.

We’re all learning this new way of communicating and adjusting to the blurred lines between work and personal interactions.”

Hopefully, you’re able to take some of these “Zoom fatigue” suggestions and put them to good use.
Hang in there- we’re all in this together!
03Mar

Build a Solid Relationship with Your Recruiter

Are you ready to begin your job search but not sure where to start? Your colleague is pushing you to reach out to a recruiter, but you’re hesitant as you don’t know what to expect.

Let’s talk about what you can do in ADVANCE of talking to a potential recruiter.

Your Career Brochure – Your RESUME
While a good recruiter will help you polish your resume, it’s essential to begin with a good foundation. You need to:
  • Perform an automated spell and grammar check combined with a manual review. Better yet, ask a friend (who is detailed oriented) to give it their once-over as well.
  • Is it easy to read and appealing to the eye? Does it capture your attention in under 10 seconds?
  • Did you place all of your contact information in one location so the reader can easily reach out if they’re interested? You should include your cell number, email address, physical address (not a P.O. Box), and a link to your LinkedIn profile.
Get Your Resume Out There
Job Banks can be an excellent place to get noticed by an experienced recruiter. We suggest that you post your information confidentially, especially if you’re currently employed, while permitting recruiters to view it. If your credentials stand out, recruiters will contact you directly.
LinkedIn is a Great Resource for Recruiters. Are you there?

This platform is there to support professionals and corporations. You need to be on there, and your information must be up-to-date, or you are doing yourself a disservice.

If your information and resume don’t accurately reflect your career history, you may miss out on your dream employment opportunity.

One of the LinkedIn advantages is that you can highlight all of your experience, special skills, and achievements you’ve made. All WITHOUT openly stating that you’re seeking work.

Connecting with a Recruiter

Multiple recruiters have contacted you, and you have a decision to make. You’re asking yourself:

  • How do I know if this is the firm that will help take your career to the next level?
  • Are they going to guide me through the process and make me feel at ease?
  • Will they be completely honest with me regarding possible positions and the culture I can expect with each company I consider?
There are many ways to vet a recruiter properly. Please check out our “Working With a Professional to Secure the Right Position” blog.
Exclusive Relationship

Once you choose a qualified staffing solutions firm, let the recruiter know you will work with them exclusively over an agreed-upon amount of time (i.e., six months). This arrangement benefits both of you, especially if you allow them to truly understand what motivates you and what your “must-haves” are for future positions. You want them to go all-in on your behalf, and an exclusive arrangement gives them the incentive to do just that.

Before making these decisions, make sure the recruiter you’ve selected is clear about what you can expect regarding response time with phone calls and emails. Establishing this ahead of time will save both of you a lot of unnecessary stress and miscommunication.

During this time, we recommend removing your resume from job boards, so you are presented as the best-kept secret versus potentially appearing too anxious. The right recruiter will use this to make you shine in front of the right companies.

Give Your Recruiter Breathing Room

A good recruiter belongs to the right organizations and knows how to branch out to their established network. The clout they hold in the arena will get your resume much further up the ladder than if you were to submit it traditionally. Also, they are privy to opportunities that are not yet public as they’ll have relationships with decision-makers who test the waters first before openly posting a position.

The same goes in reverse. If you see a job posting or mention of a firm you’re interested in that is expanding, talk to your recruiter about it.

They know how to maneuver past the gatekeeper or already have experience with that particular company.

Collaboration is Crucial

You now have a motivated recruiter who is willing to dedicate the time needed to help you put your best foot forward. Now is the time when you need to keep your ears open to their advice and listen. After all, they have the experience and know-how to take you to the next level in your career.

A good recruiter will become a part of your professional family as you continue to navigate your career path.
24Feb

Secret Value Behind Reference Check Questions

Finally! You made it past the interview stages and jumped through all the hoops!

You are feeling great about the opportunity and eagerly awaiting that next phone call or email that starts with, “We have decided to make you an offer.”

Suddenly, you read an email from your hopeful “future employer” that says that they will be contacting your references.

Reference checks carry a strong opinion within companies, hiring managers, and employees everywhere.

What if I told you that there is a great deal of value from the type of questions presented during reference checks when YOU ask them during your time as an employee?

A good reference check consists of 5-7 open-ended questions that allow the reference (usually a former manager) to take a moment and think through interactions, situations, and accomplishments that the two of you shared during your time working together. Honestly, with every employee juggling all of their responsibilities, this reference check may be the first moment the manager has had the opportunity to reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, and more.

Why not change that? Why not use the same “reference check” philosophy and open-ended questions to create an open line of communication with your manager to help you in your career?

So, here are five (5) of the most asked “Reference Check” questions that you should know the answers to before providing a manager as a reference.
QUESTION #1
What significant accomplishments did (insert your name here) have, and how did it impact the organization?

Gaining your manager’s opinion on what they feel your major accomplishments have been can often reveal what you specifically have done that has made their life easier. If your manager is having trouble thinking of something, then this should be a clue that you need to either seek out more opportunities to make an impact or give you a chance to discuss some of the things you feel might have made a big difference.

QUESTION #2
What are (insert your name here)’s greatest strengths?

Will your answers align with your manager’s? Some examples of strengths might include: CREATIVITY, DEDICATION, DETERMINATION, DISCIPLINE, ENTHUSIASM, PATIENCE, RESPECTFULNESS

QUESTION #3
What are (insert your name here)’s areas for improvement?

This question will often and NEED TO go hand in hand with number 2. If a person is open to praise, then they need to also welcome criticism. Questions number 1 and 2 are crucial to creating an open line of communication with your manager and show that you welcome areas for growth. Understanding where your manager feels that you could improve while you are still reporting to them, can be a power move for your career.

QUESTION #4
How would you rate (insert your name here)’s work?

This question is about as open-ended as you can get and not the easiest to present to a manager. However, in a world that is turning more agile and deliverables are due daily, this question is a great chance to gauge your work quality with your manager. Life is moving fast, and often deliverables are accepted, or they are not. Asking this simple question can help your good become great, and your great to become “exceeding expectations.”

QUESTION #5
If an opportunity for growth had been available for (insert your name here), would they have been considered? If not, why?

In my opinion, this question is one of the most valuable questions asked in a reference check. It is also one of the most valuable questions that you can ask your manager.

Here’s the most important part though, DO NOT WAIT for a growth opportunity to open up before you ask this question.

This question will reveal your growth intention to your manager and allow them to start proactively considering you in that light. So, if growth is important to you… then incorporate this question into an open line of communication with your manager.

Love them or hate them, there is power in the knowledge of a good reference check. Don’t wait until you are interviewing with your hopeful “future employer” to find out the answers to these questions.

 

17Feb

Shining Some Light Into the Cloud

We live in the age of information, and it comes down to how we utilize that knowledge. When misused, it can cause a negative impact; however, when we use it correctly, it can mean the difference between success and failure.

As we continue to gain more knowledge, we are also developing new ways to share this information.

When cloud technology was introduced, it completely changed our way of thinking.

Most commonly referred to as “The Cloud,” cloud computing is how we can store and share information.

We no longer require a physical method to transfer data from one device to another and then deliver it to another person.

With the Cloud, you’re able to share directly from devices such as your computer, tablet, or phone for the purpose of storage with the ability to permit another person to download to their device of choice.

The Mysterious Cloud

In laymen’s terms, The Cloud is merely a virtual storage space on the internet. It is most commonly used to store digital resources, including applications, files, and anything you would typically share via a flash drive or disk.

The Cloud is not the internet, although the internet, many times powered by satellite networks, is the vehicle that allows people to share information without the restriction of a second device or requirement of a specific physical location.

How Does the Cloud Help Me?

People refer to the “The Cloud” in the same way they reference “Google” as an actual term. There are many advantages to using virtual space, and we’ve outlined some of the most popular benefits below:

Better Storage

Storage solutions previously used had capacity limitations that required constant upgrades, memory increases, or dividing data over multiple devices. It could be frustrating, primarily if you frequently work with large files.

Ability to Scale Up or Down

Your company may have varying bandwidth demands. CIOs call this “operational agility” and appreciate this flexibility based on the business needs at a particular time (i.e., some companies experience “seasons” in an industry where they are busier at a specific time of year).

Seamless Collaboration with Remote Users

With the increased amount of people working in a remote environment, using The Cloud as a tool allows team members to share digital resources from anywhere around the globe easily.

The ability to easily access the necessary files from multiple devices is what keeps companies moving forward.

It Won’t Break the Bank

Since you do not need the additional hardware to store and share information, you can reduce company expenses.

The ability to scale as required will allow you to budget appropriately.

Many businesses use the savings to continue to research other technologies that help lead to success. For smaller companies, hardware can become expensive, and they appreciate the pay-as-you-go opportunity while receiving the benefits of virtual storage.

Backup and Recovery Peace of Mind

Many businesses have protocols to protect data in the event of a disaster. In the “old days,” this could be extremely expensive. However, with The Cloud, you can perform systematic back-ups and have recovery solutions in place to easily retrieve information that may have normally been lost.

In summary, The Cloud may still be a bit of a mystery but think of it as a cost-effective tool that will make your life easier while allowing collaboration with your team, clients, and others who rely on sharing data.

 

 

10Feb

Career Caddie

Even the greatest golfers in the world find themselves staring down a Par 3 that is surrounded by water, with the match on the line and thinking,

“Please God, don’t let me mess this up.” In that moment, a voice of reason leans over and says, “It’s an easy 7 iron.

Pick your target, commit to that line, and trust your swing.”

What many don’t see behind those simple, yet impactful words, were the years that each individual spent maturing their craft and then the countless hours the caddie and player spent building trust. In the end, the caddie has developed a level of knowledge of the golfer that, when combined with their own wisdom and understanding of the course and the elements, is a powerful partnership.

“I don’t think anywhere is there a symbiotic relationship between caddie and player like there is in golf.” -Johnny Miller

Navigating through the uncertainty and challenges of your career can feel a lot like golf.

You continuously develop your skills, study your industry/field, and strive towards getting better every day.

Combining all of this with the right recruitment partner can be the career caddie you have been seeking.

So, how do you differentiate a recruiter from a Career Caddie? Let’s break it down…
Knowledge and Experience:

A successful player-caddie relationship must start with their knowledge and passion in the game of golf. You should expect the same for your career caddie.

As you get to know the recruiter, you should also observe the level of his/her knowledge in your industry, line of work, and success with similar folks.

Don’t expect him/her to have enough experience to do your job (after all, you are still the golfer), but a caddie with course knowledge, similar success, and passion is a great place to begin.

A GENUINE desire to understand YOU:

A great caddie has to know the player’s golf game almost better than the player himself/herself. That’s a tall task to expect from a recruiter, but I CAN tell you that an exceptional Career Caddie will always show a strong desire to really get to know you. When speaking to a recruiter, it should never feel like he/she is interviewing you based on whether you check the box on a pre-determined set of questions.

A career caddie will dive deep to understand your journey, strengths, goals, and more.

You can work with the greatest caddie in the world, but until the caddie knows your golf game, he/she is only as good as his/her knowledge of the course.

Similarly, in a recruiter’s case, he/she is only as good as his/her knowledge in the positions he/she is trying to fill at that moment.

Accountability and Consistency:

The partnership formed between a golfer and the caddie doesn’t start and stop as the tournaments are played.

So, when you invest in a true Career Caddie partnership, you want to know that this person genuinely cares about seeing you succeed whether you are actively looking for a job or not.

Just like in golf, though, that responsibility falls on you and the recruiter to keep a healthy and beneficial partnership alive. Whether there is a check-in once a week or once every six months, that ongoing accountability for you and the recruiter to reconnect and align is a valuable piece to the partnership’s longevity.

With technological advancements, the job market and industries are changing rapidly, and a reliable Career Caddie will offer a great deal of insight and perspective that can help you stay on top of your game.

At Lone Star Staffing Solutions, we aim to be more than your staffing resource. We aim to be YOUR Career Caddie and someone that you can trust to know your game.

Our leadership has been blessed to have 30+ years of industry experience and a team of highly passionate and knowledgeable Career Caddies ready to help.

“Make friends with your caddie, and the game will make friends with you.”- Stephen Potter
27Jan

Consistency Starts Now

The past year has been incredibly inconsistent for us all, affecting us personally and professionally. While much is out of our collective control, we can take steps as professionals to establish consistency for this year.

Why consistency, you ask?

In the words of Dwayne Johnson, “Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.”

Consistency for 2021 and beyond starts NOW! Check out our simple suggestions below for a consistent and successful year!
Establish a Goal

Mentally prepare yourself by identifying a goal you would like to achieve this year. Ensure that your goal is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. We recommend writing your plan down on paper and placing it where you can see it regularly!

Make a Plan

Once your goal is determined, you’ll need to decide what needs to be done to accomplish that goal. Your “to-do list” may be lofty, but remember that you do not have to do everything at once.

Prioritize the order in which your tasks need to be finished, and make a schedule or timeline to keep you on track.

Establish Habits and Routines

Build daily habits that will help you accomplish your goal. Start simple—you cannot change everything in one day. As time goes on, you can evolve and build upon your existing habits.

Stay consistent! We find that habits stick more easily when they are performed at the same time and place each day.

Maintain Your Focus

For your daily habits to be effective, you must eliminate unnecessary distractions when possible.

This can be difficult, but remind yourself that you will not make excuses.

Hold yourself accountable for the tasks you need to complete. After all, we become what we do daily.

Remember to focus on the short term with the long term in mind. Success and instant gratification do not often go hand-in-hand. Stay the course, and success is sure to follow.

 

20Jan

Your Career Toolbox

Are you currently in a career position that makes you happy, provides the challenges you need, and a clear growth path? Or, are you comfortable and Ok-ish when it comes to being happy, fulfilled, and not sure if there’s a current path for you to move to the next level?

For either of the above scenarios, you may not have given a second thought to what it would take to consider exploring other opportunities.

Even if you love where you are currently or not, being prepared for the unexpected is always a good idea.

We’re not trying to scare you, but you never know when things will change, whether you want them to or not.

To follow are some items to tackle and add to your toolbox so that you’re ready, whether it’s voluntary or beyond your control.

This way, you’re positioned for future opportunities on the fly, with a better outcome.
Meet New People and Expand Your Network
It’s incredible how many people found their current job by knowing the right person or attending that networking event where they made that life-changing connection.

Interacting with others is a great way to learn more about opportunities or find out what path others took to get them where they are today. We’re operating in a virtual world right now, but don’t let that hold you back. And of course, if you’re currently employed, it’s never a good idea to talk to strangers about your dreams of changing companies.

Listen, listen, listen, and your world may open up with options you didn’t know existed.

Don’t Lose Touch

Does this sound familiar? You’ve met these wonderful people whom you had inspiring conversations, with promises to keep in touch soon. Once you leave the conversation, it’s out-of-site out-of-mind.

Fast forward a couple of years, and you’ve made the decision to begin a job search, and you remember that guy who works for a company you would love to explore. But it’s been years, and you didn’t keep your promise to connect.

What do you think the odds are of him remembering you, let alone want to help as you didn’t keep your initial commitment.

Lessons learned and a reminder to keep in touch with others, even if it’s an invitation to share a virtual coffee or email him a funny meme. He’ll have a good laugh, and boom, he’s reminded of you.

Build On Your Existing Skills and Add New Ones
You may be an ace at what you do, but there’s always someone ahead of you. Continue to grow and develop by:
  • participating in seminars for your industry
  • take classes to add more certifications under your belt

When doing this, make sure there’s a plan so that you’re not taking classes only for the sake of adding more fluff. It needs to be relevant and have substance, so it adds tangible value to your resume.

Be Flexible to a New Direction

Have you always been interested in something outside of your current field? The perfect way to see if it’s for you is to try doing it in bite-size chunks versus altogether abandoning your current career. For instance, if you’re interested in marketing, choose a charity that relies on volunteers and join the committee responsible for that role.

You’ll learn from others and gain experience at the same time.

Another option is to talk to a trustworthy staffing solutions partner.
The right firm will offer advice to see if what you already know can be parlayed into your dream role or provide suggestions about what you can do to get closer to meeting those requirements.
Don’t Go It Alone

If you’re on the fence about pursuing a job search and concerned about your current employer finding out, which can be dangerous, reach out to a reputable staffing solutions firm.

They will be able to:
  • review your resume and provide suggestions to highlight your critical skills
  • recognize your value and show you how to put your best foot forward
  • talk to you about your goals, even if you’re not 100% clear about what they are or what they should be
  • be a sounding board for when you’re ready to test your interview skills
  • put your mind at ease by respecting your privacy and never disclosing your name until you are prepared to accept that perfect role (remember, legitimate firms have access to jobs that aren’t available to the public)
Employed or not employed, it’s never too early, or too late, to get your career toolbox in order. Now start building!

 

 

 

 

 

 

13Jan

2020: Finding the Silver Lining

Without a doubt, 2020 was a year of some serious challenges. We all experienced unexpected difficulties and were forced to make adjustments in the face of adversity. As we reflect on this past year, we acknowledge the hardships; however, we also recognize the good.

We encourage you to join us in a meaningful reflection of the past year as we search for some positivity in one of the most unusual times yet.

Thank Those Who Helped You

During 2020, did anyone lend you a hand? Perhaps a friend, family member, or colleague?

If someone helped you personally or professionally, make a focused effort to thank that person and show your appreciation!

Make a personal phone call, send a handwritten thank-you note, or give that special person a token of your thanks.
Find 10 Things for Which You are Grateful

While this may seem like a cliche task, it is one that is sure to redirect your thinking. Take a moment to sift through this past year’s problems, annoyances, and adjustments you made so you can identify reasons to be grateful.

Identify What Helped Build Your Resilience- and Carry that into 2021
What helped you get through this unprecedented year?

Sometimes we discover strengths through our adversities, and continuing to apply those strengths moving forward will build our resiliency.

How did 2020 push you to be a better person? Spouse? Colleague? Friend? What will you do to improve your experiences in 2021?
06Jan

Move Over 2020 –
We’re Ready to Roll Into 2021

If you’re like many of us, as we come out of an “interesting” year, you may feel guilty for not accomplishing some or all of the goals you made for yourself in 2020. It’s time to change the way you think!

Look at it as an opportunity to evolve your ideas and implement them in 2021, and if needed, beyond that.

This blog will discuss some ideas to create daily habits to make yourself feel good while making the world a better place.
Put Others First

It’s incredible how many times we say to ourselves, “I need to make time to support a specific charity or help in my community,” but you never take that first step.

It’s not that difficult to reach out but when you do, make sure it’s an organization where you share a passion.

Are you an animal lover? Volunteer at a shelter. Do you get upset knowing there are families out there who don’t have enough food to eat? Join a group within a food bank (or have them assign one to you) that warehouses and distributes food for those in need.

You will be helping others, and you’ll meet others who love helping too.
Think About List Making as a Time-Saving Task

Do you lose sleep thinking about what you need to do the next day, afraid you’ll forget to complete an important task?

At the end of each day, make a list of your “to-do” items and list them in priority order. You’ll be ready for the next day, which will help set your mind at ease.

There are many project management systems out there, and if they work for you, great. If you prefer a physical list, print it, and keep it close by. It’s very satisfying to check off those tasks as you move through them manually. If you don’t finish the list, and unless it’s time-sensitive, add it to your plan for the next day.

Make sure you make time for breaks and, if possible, time to meditate and clear your brain. This best practice allows you to think clearly, which is proven to reduce errors.

Turn a Negative Into a What-If
Mistakes are bound to happen, and it’s easy to beat yourself up. There are a couple of things to remember when you make an error or blunder:
  1. Learn from it and remember what happened and why. If needed, make a “do not do again” list to remind yourself of the proper way to manage a situation or perform a critical task. Especially if it’s something, you don’t do every day.
  2. Don’t blame others for your mistake, even if you weren’t the only person involved. It’s up to that person to take the heat with you, and if they don’t, you know you’re the better person in that situation. This philosophy is critical if you’re a manager in the company as you’re ultimately responsible for your team’s actions.
Sunshine on Your Shoulders

Do you spend a lot of time at your desk, or do you have a phone glued to your ear all day?

We know that work can be stressful, but we also realize that all work and zero play can be detrimental for you both physically and mentally.

If your location is conducive to it, make time for a walk during a break and take in your surroundings. Near a park? Many parks are filled with nature, which changes every day. You will learn that taking this time for yourself or with a friend can change your perspective when you’re back at work.
If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

Have you been in a group conversation that turns gossipy and escalates as everyone chimes in with their take on a particular person? Don’t fall into the trap of participating, as remember, the tables could turn, and you could be the brunt of the discussion. Break free of the drama, and you’ll feel better about yourself and gain respect from everyone around you.

Make New Friends and Be Present

These are different times, and in-person connections are rare for most, but keeping the bonds with friends, family, and colleagues alive is essential.

When you spend time with friends, family, or community members, PUT THAT PHONE AWAY, maintain eye contact, and ignore email during that time.

You want to be the person who listens – they will most certainly remember you for it. This rule of thumb applies to both your personal and professional interactions.

When you’re with others, don’t forget to compliment those around you. Did your colleague show up with a new pair of glasses? Tell her how great they look on her. A new haircut?

Do the same thing. It’s incredible how amazing you will feel simply by making someone else feel great about themselves.

If you can conquer even one or two of these habits into your day-to-day life, you will find it becomes second nature. The more natural it becomes for you, the happier you will feel. You can then pick the next habit to incorporate, and by the end of the year, you will notice a big difference in how others treat you.
By living life as a genuinely considerate person, you’ll find that success will follow.
30Dec

Maximizing Your Virtual Conference Experience

This year, the format of professional conferences changed considerably. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a notable shift from in-person meetings and conferences to virtual gatherings.

Many of us are accustomed to in-person conferences and prefer them. After all, a zoom meeting isn’t a superior alternative to a face-to-face meeting that allows you to shake hands with a client, colleague, or supervisor.

We get it—at LS3, we prefer in-person, too! Virtual conferences will not be going away anytime soon, so you may as well make the most of them! When we arrive at post-pandemic, the new norm will include a combination of in-person and virtual opportunities. We have a few pointers to help you maximize your virtual conference experiences.
Prepare Before the Conference

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!

Before the conference, block off your calendar so you can attend without distractions and interruptions. You don’t want to miss valuable information because you’re simultaneously answering work emails.

We also recommend reviewing the conference schedule beforehand so that you can select sessions that will be most valuable to you. This way, you can jump right into the appropriate zoom sessions on time, and you won’t miss anything important! Note: most virtual conferences include breaks to grab something to eat or return those critical emails or calls.
Be Attentive & Network

If you attended a conference in person, you’d likely be attentive and take notes. You should do the same during a virtual conference! Have a notebook handy, and write down important information as you learn! Alternatively, you could tweet key points during the conference and review them later.

Network virtually? Yes, it’s possible—and it’s important! Be an interactive conference participant, and your chances of connecting with people are sure to be higher.

Post photos and/or share your experience on social media using the conference’s hashtag, and search for others doing the same. Utilize conference chat features if possible, or start your own conversation thread.

You can even have some fun with a virtual happy hour or coffee break! If the conference does not already offer one of these, start it yourself and invite attendees using the conference app or your preferred social media site!

Before the conference, make sure to have prepared a clear blurb about your company, including your name, phone number, website, and email address. You will notice that other attendees are posting similar information in the chat. Your blurb should contain (briefly) what solution your company brings to a potential customer/client (i.e., what pain does it solve?)

Follow-Up

Just as you would follow-up after an in-person conference, you should do the same for a virtual one.

Review the notes you took so that you can follow up with your team by sharing your key takeaways. Follow-up with conference speakers you enjoyed and ask them further questions or simply thank them for their sessions!

Finally and most importantly, reach out to people you met at the conference!

Remember that networking is not about merely collecting contacts; instead, networking is about building and cultivating relationships. Send that email or make that phone call and include something you remember about that person, so he/she knows you were paying attention. Do this sooner than later!

Though undoubtedly different from in-person conferences, virtual conferences still have a lot to offer and can definitely be worth your time. Challenge yourself and consider attending one in the new year!
We’ve included a link below to upcoming conferences, shows, and IT expos (most of which are virtual). Good luck!

SHOWS | EXPOS | CONFERENCES

 

16Dec

Take the Necessary Steps to a Better Year

2020 has been very interesting, and if you’re like most of us, we’re anticipating a healthy and POSITIVE 2021.

While this year has been different than most, this is still the time of year where we prepare for the new year.

Unfortunately, many businesses have every good intention to improve for the upcoming year, but then “life” and daily activity in their company take over.

It’s then this time of year again, without significant progress on the goals set in December.

To follow are some steps you can take now to help you get started on the right foot:
Outline Your Goals

Being “busy” does not mean you’re making progress.

Now is the time you need to establish your short-term objectives to continue moving your business forward to reach its long-term goals.

Make them clear and easy to understand, so you know what needs to happen to achieve critical milestones.
Make Sure Your Reporting is Aligned

It’s vital to ensure your financials are in order as they tell the real story. Do you have an accountant or CPA helping to get your financial house in order? You don’t need to be a numbers pro, but you do need to understand where things stand.

Work with the person who manages these tasks for you and outline what you need to see each month.

Take your monthly reporting seriously, as this allows you to steer your team’s focus and adapt the direction for your business. Your business will evolve, but you need to ensure your metrics keep you ahead of the competition and align with your company goals.

Is Your Team Empowered?

Whether you have one team member or fifty employees, make sure they’re all on board to help you follow the vision you have for your company.

Simultaneously, make it easy for them to understand and “buy-in,” which allows them to understand your thinking with a higher success rate to help your company move forward—all with a smile on their face.

Are you still building your team and want the best of the best?

You may want to consider outsourcing this task to a recruiting professional who has the network and savvy to bring only the best candidates to your door. Sorting through resumes, holding interview upon interview, and knowing the right questions to ask can be daunting. Not to mention, it takes you away from working on your core business.

The right firm will do this work for you and bring you the best person(s) to fill the position and fit your culture.
Don’t Be Intimidated With Structure
You’ve outlined your plan and included the tactics needed to get there.

Stick to the plan, and even if you are a sole proprietor, schedule time each month to review where you stand so that you don’t travel too far down the road and not realize there were damaging bumps.

Compare month-to-month and steering left or right is OK, flexibility is essential, but following some of the above steps help prevent a complete U-turn.

 

09Dec

Job Hunting During the Holidays

We’re often told that the holiday season is not the best time to search for a new job. Contrary to popular belief, not all hiring stops during the holiday season!

Often, companies delay hiring until the new year, while others experience downtime in December and have more time to fill those positions.

Are you not convinced? Below, we have some reasons why job hunting during the holidays may be ideal!
Networking Opportunities

This time of year, social functions are everywhere you turn, which means opportunities to connect with others increase dramatically. Attending holiday social gatherings, charity events, and the like open the door to network with people who may be able to help with your job search.

Despite COVID reducing traditional large in-person gatherings, many groups and charities have adjusted their settings to virtual or limited capacity. Even though networking is more challenging through these avenues, it still provides the perfect occasion to follow up with fellow attendees with whom you now share something in common.

You never know who you will meet that has the power to change your path, so be prepared to discuss your background and qualifications briefly.

Remember to keep the focus on cultivating new relationships. In the words of Ivan Misser, “Networking is more about farming than it is about hunting.”

Less Job Competition

Many people avoid job searching during the holiday season simply because it’s a hectic time of year. For that very reason, the candidate pool is smaller, resulting in less competition for that highly coveted job you’ve been eying.

You may score an interview that you would not have been able to get during a different time of the year when the competition was higher.

As we mentioned before, some managers do hire during December! Even those that don’t may have their eyes peeled for qualified candidates to interview so that they can employ as soon as January hits!

Don’t throw in the towel during the holidays, and keep your chin up! Search and apply for those jobs!
A Seasonal Job Could Become a Permanent One

Hiring temps during the holidays is not uncommon for many companies, and seasonal jobs can often become permanent! What better way to prove yourself to a hiring manager than to get a seasonal job and treat it as an on-the-job interview?

  • Get to know your boss and your colleagues.
  • Work harder than expected.
  • Go above and beyond.
  • Then, let your boss know that you are interested in continuing to work for the company.
Even if your specific job is not needed come January, the company will likely have other job openings…and by now, your current boss is on your side!
Remember- don’t give up hope simply because of the stale old rumor that the holidays are an awful time to search for a job.
Onward and upward! It really is the most wonderful time of the year. 
02Dec

Gift Giving Etiquette at the Office

Do you get anxious when it comes to the responsibility of coordinating holiday gifts at the office? Again, we are at that wonderful time of year, but it can also be stressful, especially when navigating the office’s gift-giving minefield.

A customary gesture can either create division or boost morale. Your intentions may be right, but you may unknowingly cause problems with co-workers. There are ways to avoid this with well thought out gift gifting etiquette and holiday office party celebrations.

The goal is to leave everyone with a warm and fuzzy feeling and holiday cheer.

Before you begin your shopping and planning, the following are some simple guidelines to help you spread holiday cheer when it comes to celebrating and gift-giving at work.
It’s Not Just About the Gift

When done right, this should be a positive workplace experience. Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to think about a community-minded effort. By adding this dimension, you can show your generosity and create new company traditions. You or someone in your company assigned to this assignment can accomplish this by choosing a charity that means something to your organization. Be mindful that the “ask” does not become a financial burden on your employees. If you make this decision a team exercise, you will have more buy-in to this new initiative.

For example, you can set up a secret Santa or gift swap activity among co-workers, but ask that everyone also donate to the company charity. Or, if it’s easier, a charity of their choice.

You can take it a step further by tracking these donations and celebrating generosity as a team.

Conceivably add some fun by inviting creativity and perhaps a group donation for a feeling of greater inclusion. And again, reduce the financial burden by providing suggestions of items they can donate (i.e., something they already own like food, clothing, or a contribution of time). You will find many big hearts, but not necessarily big wallets. The worst thing you can do is cause anyone to feel embarrassed or force them into a situation that will harm them financially or cause emotional stress.

Another idea is to volunteer for a day as a group. Many charities offer team-building exercises and manage all of the arrangements for you.

The Office Party – Only Different

No matter the current environment, this time of year is usually filled with many activities, many of which may be different than your way of celebrating the holidays. Do some research to learn more about other people’s religions and traditions. By doing this, you can have a more desirable plan for making everyone feel included. Even better, ask people to share their cultural traditions and consider that when planning the party. For many, right now, this may be a virtual experience.

Get creative and include your team members (i.e., supervisors, department heads, managers) and delegate portions of the celebration. They, in turn, can work with others who report to them to tackle their assigned task. This new way of doing things is also an excellent opportunity to show existing and new employees that your company recognizes that the holiday spirit comes in many forms.

Co-worker Gift Giving Etiquette

Gift-giving among co-workers can be fun but can also become very stressful for the employee. As mentioned above, no one should ever feel forced into living up to an expense they truly cannot afford. To follow are some strategies to help navigate these traditions:

  • Try a lighthearted game such as Yankee Swap or Secret Santa, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand. Place a LOW dollar amount (i.e., $20 and under) for the item they purchase and only allow for one gift per person.
  • Make it clear that if they want to share gifts with a close co-worker, please do that privately. There are too many times the Secret Santa sharing event gets out of hand with others giving a gift to just one or more and not the entire group, which can cause division. This courtesy will help everyone feel better about this group activity.
  • If you’re planning on giving your boss or supervisor a gift that is just from you, unless they are a close personal friend, ask others to participate in a group gift. You will look like a team player and invite trust during a time that may already be stressful.
  • Steer clear of over-the-top joke gifts as you never know who you will offend. Unless you know for sure, it will be appreciated; it’s a good idea to remove alcohol from your gift-giving. And never give it in situations such as a Secret Santa gift.
  • And, very important, ALWAYS send a handwritten thank you note for gifts received.

Remember, this season isn’t about the gifts; it’s about the people who make your life better and the enjoyment you receive when giving.

Get creative and change a dreaded chore into something that has meaning for everyone on your team.
Need some help? Check out this WEBSITE that lays out the traditional rules of “Secret Santa.”  It also provides opportunities to manage the process online.

Note: We are not affiliated with the above site but thought it would help you get started.

25Nov

Gratitude Inspired Giving

As we approach Thanksgiving this week, we are reminded of all the people for whom we are thankful. Our Lone Star Staffing Solutions team would like to express our sincere and heartfelt gratitude to our corporate clients and to the many individuals we have had the privilege of working within 2020.

We are grateful for your business and are humbled by the trust you have shown in us. THANK YOU!

At LS3, we passionately believe in giving back as a form of gratitude.

Denzel Washington once said, “At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”

Are you inspired this Thanksgiving to give back to your community in some way? Not sure where to start? Don’t worry— we have a few simple ideas for you!

Deliver Thanksgiving Dinner to Someone in Your Neighborhood

Could someone in your neighborhood use a meal for Thanksgiving? Is there an elderly couple staying home without family this year due to COVID? Do some neighborly investigating! We bet you can find someone to bless with a hearty meal and your warm smile.

Send a Care Package to a Soldier
We are thankful for our troops and first responders, and we know we’re not alone. What better way to show appreciation for them than to send a care package or letter to a soldier or first responder? Organizations like Operation Gratitude provide awesome and easy opportunities to send care packages. Check out their webpage!
Donate to a Local Food Bank

Find your local food bank, and reach out to provide canned food or a monetary donation.

Alternatively, you could volunteer to stock shelves, bag food, or even help with administrative projects.

If you’re local, check out the North Texas Food Bank for donation and volunteer opportunities!

We hope these suggestions have encouraged you to give back in some way this ThanksGIVING. May your Thanksgiving be stuffed to the brim with happiness, love, and gratitude.
18Nov

Is Courtesy a Part of Your Work Style

When buried in the day-to-day tasks and for many now working remotely, courtesy and respect can get tossed out the window. This behavior can become a real problem as regard for others should be standard practice.

When we work in close proximity or conduct regular face-to-face interactions, we are more likely to build that human connection. In a way, we are almost “forced” to get to know each other, which makes it tougher to be rude or unpleasant to the other individual.

In the world today, most of our communication is neither in person nor even in real-time.

Email and voicemail, combined with virtual communication, have made it the go-to-choice versus meeting a colleague or employee in the same room.

This shift means there’s a lot less pressure to be “nice” to the person you’re with whom you’re interacting. It’s much easier to be less than kind via a phone call, and email communication makes it easier to be even more abrupt.

One of the benefits of working in a closer vicinity is that many co-workers get close and become confidants for each other. This connection reduces stress for many as they’re comfortable “venting” about a situation versus allowing it to grow out of proportion. The absence of high-touch makes it easier to experience a breakdown when it comes to courtesy.

Another example is that it’s easier to claim you didn’t know about a customer’s urgent request because you “didn’t receive the email.” Or, you know about the problem, and the manager or supervisor is too busy and ignores their emails and voicemails, which prevents you from responding promptly without approval.

Many such examples exist and can eventually lead to a toxic environment filled with frustration and reduced motivation among the staff if allowed to fester without being addressed.

To prevent further courtesy breakdown, to follow are a couple of suggestions to help you work toward a more respectful workplace.

Schedule a team meeting and make sure to include virtual organization members. Talk openly about the culture you envision and what you expect from the team. Don’t be surprised if they appear astonished that this behavior is even taking place. You can expect this reaction as remember, this way of doing things has most likely gone on for a while, especially if you’re now on a more remote model.

BEFORE you initiate the meeting, write down clear examples to share to help them better understand. Those who got into the groove of brushing off others during their interactions will see the light with this wake-up call if they are genuinely a kind person. It’s not a good idea to call on people directly in a group, but you can share it as a generic example and then talk to the “offenders” privately.

As with everything, make sure to include some positive interaction accounts to show it’s not across the board, so it doesn’t turn into a negative fest.

You may even consider ending the meeting by stating this is a fresh start and that you feel this behavior wasn’t intentional, just a force of habit to move through the day. And, that moving forward now that they have clear expectations, you will “call them out” as you see it happening. This strategy is a great way to re-orient your team and positively affect their interactions with each other.

The final suggestion will help keep everyone on track and avoid falling back into bad habits. Encourage them to be open with each other, and if there is an “offender,” that each of them should gently point it out to the person with whom they’re communicating (unless it’s a customer or client).

Truthfully, most people do not mean to be insensitive, but a heated conversation or frustration from something completely different can cause someone to be unintentionally rude.

If you can give everyone permission to point it out, at the moment it happens, you’d be surprised at how in the dark someone is about their behavior. Of course, this exercise needs to occur with courtesy and respect. And if it’s sincerely unintentional, this could be something they laugh at together and move on to the next task or conversation.

This mentality falls in line with one of the Golden Rules, “Treat others as you would like others to treat you.” We all want to work with others who treat us kindly, and just a little effort goes a long way, and after a bit of time, it will become second nature in the way you communicate with each other. This atmosphere leads to a happier and productive environment.
Now go out into the world and be kind!

 

11Nov

How to Show Your Appreciation for Veterans
– Every Day

This week, we celebrate and salute our Veterans and show appreciation for their selfless service to our country. These heroic men and women are our neighbors, our friends, our family, and our co-workers. We thank them for serving our country and protecting our freedom.

Can we do more than verbally show appreciation, though? Can we do more than type out the annual social media appreciation post on Veterans Day?

In the words of John F. Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.”

So, how do we take our appreciation a step further and live by our words, as JFK encouraged? We have a few ideas below to help show your gratitude to our brave Veterans who have sacrificed so much for us all.
Find Veteran Volunteer Opportunities

The US Department of Veterans Affairs offers a volunteer service locator on their website to help you find volunteer opportunities in your area. Visit www.volunteer.va.gov to see how you can help a veteran near you!

Donate to the Wounded Warrior Project

The Wounded Warrior Project is a nonprofit organization that helps Veterans and their families through a variety of programs, services, and events. You can make a one-time or a monthly donation to help wounded veterans recover and transition back into civilian life. Visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org to learn more!

Visit Veterans at a VA Facility

Find your nearest VA facility, and give them a phone call to inquire about visiting wounded Veterans. Many of the Veterans there may not often have visitors to brighten their day. A visit and a warm conversation can do wonders!

This Veterans Day, we encourage you to take action to help make a difference in the lives of Veterans. We may not know them all, but we owe them all.
03Nov

Be the Place Everyone Wants to Work

What does it take to be one of the best places to work and get the attention of top talent? This is a common question that many employers ask when they want to be the workplace that attracts, retains, motivates, and engages top performers.

To follow are some standard practices spanning the full cycle of employment, from recruiting for a position to planning for your company’s future talent needs.
Staffing & Workforce Planning
  • Align your workplace with the needs, interests, and preferences of top performers.
  • Recruit talent by selecting an effective staffing solutions partner who uses strategies aligned with definitive policies for hiring only top performers and defining what characteristics, competencies, and behaviors those top performers exhibit.
  • Select top performers using a variety of effective selection processes and tactics, including trained hiring personnel and a combination of valid selection tools, measuring the success of selection decisions, and amending procedures as needed.
  • Develop an effective onboarding program and engage new-hires.
  • Plan for the future workforce by engaging in succession and workforce planning practices.
Compensation & Rewards
  • Compensate top performers competitively according to market rates and review compensation structures to maintain competitive compensation.
  • Pay for performance by offering opportunities to earn more income based on their track record.

Recognize and reward employees in a meaningful way and show appreciation using formal and informal programs to recognize top performers.

  • Provide a competitive array of health, welfare, work-life, and retirement benefits that support employee well being, work/life balance, and wellness.
Development & Training
  • Provide training opportunities and ensure that these solutions meet employees’ needs and contribute to improved job performance.
  • Develop and advance careers by providing developmental services and programs that help employees attain their career objectives.
  • Build challenging, meaningful, autonomous, and empowering job experiences for employees by using their skills and abilities to their fullest potential.
Organizational Culture
  • Be socially responsible by providing ways for employees to engage in community efforts and initiating environmentally-friendly workplace practices.
  • Effectively supervise and manage by providing supervisors with the right tools to manage their employees and their performance. Incorporate and hold to general philosophies/policies surrounding managing others in the organization.

Foster coworker relations and teamwork by building a positive and collaborative work atmosphere, providing team building and peer recognition opportunities while embracing a diverse workforce.

  • Lead with talent integrity by engaging employees through communication, support for programs, positive interaction, and accountability.
  • Celebrate success as an organization and recognize employees’ life events.
Organizational Innovation, Success, & Performance
  • Facilitate creativity and innovation by providing opportunities for ideas, suggestions, and feedback; developing informal and formal ways to promote creativity and innovation; and initiating processes/initiatives for employees to enhance products or customer experiences.

Measure and communicating organizational performance as well as customer, client, or product achievements.

In summary, create an environment where you, yourself, want to work. Hold regular one-on-one meetings with your top performers to ensure they are on track and that they have what is needed to be successful in their role.
28Oct

Negotiating Tips for Your Job Offer

So—you finished the interview process and have been offered the job. Congratulations!

Now is the time to focus on your compensation package to ensure that you will be set up for professional and financial success. Are you feeling a little apprehensive at the thought of salary negotiation? That’s normal!

Studies show that many people—for various reasons—feel hesitant to negotiate their salaries.

According to salary.com, “Many experts agree most companies expect a job candidate to negotiate, so it can’t hurt to respectfully and wisely try to get a higher number.
After all, if you don’t argue your worth, who will?” So, now that you know a salary negotiation is likely expected of you, how do you proceed? We’ve got you covered with a few tips to ensure a successful negotiation process.
Determine and Prioritize Your Values

What matters to you, and what matters most? Remember to consider all the elements of your compensation package—not just the salary. Healthcare, vacation time, a retirement savings plan, signing bonuses, flexible hours, and more are on the table. Beyond that, perhaps you hope to work with a selected team, in a specific location, or with a particular technology. Whatever your desires, now is the time to decide what is most important to you.

Research Compensation Trends in Your Field
Time to do your homework! Before negotiating your salary, you absolutely have to familiarize yourself with salary trends in your industry or line of work.

What is the “going rate” for someone at your level with your amount of experience?

Is your position in high demand? Make sure to factor in your geographic location, education level, leadership experience, specific skills, and any licenses/certifications you hold.

Do a Run-Through

Prepare your talking points, then find a friend or colleague to help you with a mock negotiation. If you practice beforehand, you’ll feel more confident when the time comes to have the negotiation conversation with your potential future employer.

Make Your Case and Ask for What You Want
The big moment is here—time to put your preparation into play!

Take a deep breath; you’ve got this!

You know what you value, and you know what you deserve. You have rehearsed with a friend and now feel more confident.

When you receive your salary offer, make sure you do not immediately counter with a higher salary.

NOW is the time to explain to your potential boss why you deserve more.

Speak about your value, your qualifications, and industry compensation trends. Discuss why you feel that you would help improve the company’s bottom line. THEN, make your move and respectfully ask for a higher number. Ask for more than what you want so that you have some wiggle room when negotiating.

Remember to be flexible and know when to walk away.

Most importantly—no matter what happens—make sure to show gratitude and appreciation for the offer, the conversation, and (hopefully) the higher salary.

Good luck! We believe in you!

 

21Oct

Keep Your Virtual Team Engaged

The remote model has been around for a while, by choice, for some business owners. But, if you’re like many, the option to have your team work remotely was not a decision you ever expected to make, and you may be seeing signs of a disconnect with your team.

While many are slowly going back to their offices on a limited basis, many company owners are making it work and may not ever choose to go back to the old “normal.” With this model, it opens up your hiring pool to recruit from anywhere, which means a distant location won’t hinder you from hiring top talent.

Your team may be productive, but how do you continue to nurture your company culture via a computer screen?

Especially when so many personalities are working together. Working under the same roof and maintaining a healthy interactive work environment can be challenging in itself. It’s now even more critical to engage with your team to ensure your business’s success while embracing your team’s diversity.

To follow are some ideas to consider to help extend your culture beyond your own four walls.

Balance the Level of Communication

Suppose you have a mix of in-person attendance, with some participants calling in remotely. Set up the protocol in advance for when it is OK for others to speak as it’s good etiquette and helps keep the meeting in order.

For instance, come up with something that allows the people on the phone to provide their input during a discussion.

If the meeting is virtual and you can see everyone, set up a system for physically raising your hand or using one of the “hand-raising” tools that come with many virtual platforms. Using this system will allow you, or a moderator, to place everyone on mute and then unmute once you call on them to communicate.

Avoid Side Bar Conversations

Sidebar conversations are one of the biggest distractions that can happen in a meeting. It is even more annoying if someone is listening on the conference line as it can drown out the voice of the person speaking. This best practice applies to virtual meetings as well. Unless it’s a meeting or event where networking is encouraged, it may be wise to disengage the ability to type in the “side chat” to ensure everyone is paying attention.

Train Your Team

Do you have a manager or other leader who effectively runs a productive and smooth meeting on your team?

Work with him/her to document and set up organized training to train everyone, and then whenever you onboard someone new or as a refresher for those that need it.

Encourage your managers to help engage with those not physically in the office. You may have several who are great at it, so take advantage of those examples and include them in the training document. These actions will help ensure a better sense of inclusion for your entire team.

Team Building Activities

Do you currently have outside activities, such as exercise or wellness programs for your employees? Even if you decide to do it virtually, many interactive programs allow you to build teams to participate as a group. If you have employees worldwide, this activity is a great way to engage in a non-threatening community.

Virtual Water Cooler

Some of the best conversations happen around the water cooler.

Help keep your culture thriving by bringing it online and setting up an internal intranet where everyone can share the personal side of themselves, such as their pets, shows they’re binge-watching, and what they did over the weekend. Some platforms can help you do this for free or for a nominal subscription.

Happy Birthday to You

Seeing everyone in person is so much more fun when the big day rolls around, but if you’re creative, you can still give your employee that lift by sending a gift card or singing happy birthday virtually as a group.

Face-to-Face is Invaluable

When possible, if you cannot hold in-person meetings, have even informal conversations via video to nurture the relationships and allow others to see body language.

This option will enable you to know that the other person(s) is genuinely engaged. By doing this, you empower your employees to interact and feel more like a part of your team.

There are many ways you can keep your employees happy with a sense of commitment to your company by making an effort to show you care. It may not always run smoothly, but they’ll appreciate the attention you place on creating a culture that builds balance and trust.

14Oct

Volunteering with a Purpose

If you have ever been involved in volunteer work, you know how intrinsically rewarding it can be to make a difference in the lives of others.

Employee-sponsored volunteer events are becoming more common and with good reason.

According to a study done by United Healthcare, employees who volunteer report a multitude of benefits, including stronger bonds with coworkers, improved people/teamwork skills, and an overall increase in both happiness and self-esteem.

For these very reasons, you may have considered furthering your volunteerism and making it a more regular part of your life. Not sure where to start? We have some pointers for you to help you get involved with your community in a lasting capacity.
Research Your Options

Researching is the first step to finding volunteer opportunities. Try using a volunteer database, such as volunteermatch.org, to find opportunities near you. If you’re local, check out volunteermckinney.org! Sites like these will help you learn and understand your community’s needs as you search for a cause that speaks to your heart.

Consider Your Skills
Can your professional skill set assist others in need? You’d be surprised! Many organizations need skilled and experienced help with a variety of projects.

According to Catchafire, a skill-based volunteer matching service, “Nonprofits provide critical support for their communities, but limited budgets can block them from hiring the expert talent they need to operate most effectively. Skills-based volunteering can bridge that gap.”

Could you be the person to bridge that gap for a nonprofit? Use your talents for good while broadening your experience—and furthering your resume as an added bonus.

Reach Out to a Local Organization

Select an organization from your research to contact. You can also consider connecting with a local church or school district to learn about ways you can either help them directly or participate in their efforts to help others.

Now, pick up the phone! Send that email! You will be glad you did.

In the words of the inspirational Mahatma Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

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