30Nov
When the holidays roll around, especially during Thanksgiving, many have an overwhelming sense of thankfulness and show appreciation to those they love. We even show more kindness to strangers with a friendly greeting or donating to a cause that means something to us.
During those times, we experience inner joy and naturally feel better. Now, what if you could hold onto that feeling all year? You can. And you’ll find it’s not that difficult to be grateful all year just by changing how we look at life.

GOOD MORNING STARSHINE

Add a little pep to your step this morning.

To start, we need to take a step back to take multiple steps forward. Are you of a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty mentality? There’s no right or wrong answer, as many of us have trained our brains to work one way based on past experiences or the actions of others. For the latter, changing the negative feelings that inevitably enter our brains during the most stressful situations takes work.
Your day begins as soon as you open your eyes; how you look through those eyes is up to you. When that alarm goes off, give yourself a few minutes to look forward to the coming day with excitement. We may tackle many of the same tasks daily, but think about how you could cheerfully approach some of these mundane responsibilities.

For example, you have a standing morning meeting with your team to review the day’s assignments. Usually, you would go through the list of items to accomplish with everyone responding to things that pertain to them.

Before each person reports, ask them to start with what they’re grateful for that day.

To get the ball rolling, you can lead by example with something like, “I’m grateful for my team who helps to keep the company moving forward.”

Not only will this lighten the mood, but it will also show you appreciate the group’s efforts. And you’ll learn more about each other which boosts morale and productivity.

Incorporate this into each meeting, and you will notice a difference in engagement.

You don’t need the thing you’re thankful for to be huge. If we can recognize even the most minor things, we’ll find so much more joy in the day-to-day, which can raise us, so we’re stronger for the not-so-good times. Examples of smaller pieces of joy – some are things we take for granted every day.
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Pets
  • Co-workers
  • Your Job
  • Fresh Air
  • Music
  • Clean Water
  • Good Book
  • Seasons Change
  • Duct Tape
  • GPS
  • Food Delivery
  • Fortune Cookies
  • Spellcheck
  • Good Food
Say these things out loud. When you incorporate thankfulness into your daily routine, your outlook will brighten, motivating others to do the same.

LULLABY AND GOODNIGHT

A simple and classic lullaby can bring back grateful memories.

It’s the end of the day, and some parts were good, but some may have gone less smoothly than we would have liked. Ups and downs are a part of life, but when we try to find the good in the not-so-good parts, it makes everything much more manageable.
When lying in bed, back where we began thinking positive thoughts that morning, you can quietly reflect on your day. What did you experience? Was there something unexpected that made you smile? Did you look at a typical difficult situation differently, and by doing that, was it easier to get through it? If you’re open to it, try journaling before going to bed. It can be as simple as writing down unseen events that brought you joy. Or how you turned around a problematic moment simply by digging deep and finding a life lesson that made you, or someone else, smile.
Ask yourself if there are things you can proactively do to bring more joy to your life. When you break it down into small bites, it’s not as overwhelming, and you’ll find that it can be life-changing.

Are you miserable at work?

Possible actions:

  • Talk to your immediate supervisor to see if you can work together to make it better. If you’ve already tried this or are fearful of losing your job, the following action may be better for you in the long term.
  • Work with a qualified staffing solutions provider to begin the search for a place where you can contribute your experience and talents that will also make you happy.

Am I my own worst critic, where I am known as the "complainer."

Am I always angry?

  • EACH time something happens that makes you happy, say, “THANK YOU” out loud, even if you’re alone. When you realize there are so many things to be thankful for, that gratefulness begins to take over the defeatist mentality.
  • Get others involved. During stressful times, they say misery loves company, but wouldn’t it be good if you had a posse who is experiencing the same thing but with an approach of humor? You can always find something funny about a situation, and talking openly with others who understand makes all the difference in your outlook.

Spending every day with gratitude will draw others to the light you now have. And the bonus is when you lead a grateful life, the positive impact on your mental and physical health is enormous.

Start now and see the change it will bring.
23Nov
We want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. We are so grateful for everyone who supports LS3 and makes it possible for us to help so many.
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17Nov
Have you invested a great deal of time training a new employee only to find that shortly after that, they’ve begun a new job search and have announced that they’re jumping ship? When you ask them why you may receive a detailed answer. But often, their response may be vague, leaving you to wonder what went wrong, especially when you thought everything was going right.
This frustration is a common theme among many employers. You’ll often move on to the next candidate without diving into why this happened, mainly because you need that position filled ASAP.

Let’s take some steps back to before you hired what you thought was a fantastic candidate. And in fact, they most likely were terrific and may not have expected the type of culture and responsibilities that came their way. These are areas that you should have discussed before the hire. But, we often don’t think of culture as a reason to accept or not accept a position. 

 

When we think of retention, we often believe it’s about matching the person with the job they’re hired to do, and we take steps to ensure they’re happy. However, what you think will make them happy may differ from what motivates a quality candidate. 

YOUR VIEW

  • Clean breakroom
  • Vacation time
  • Benefits
  • Friendly co-workers

THEIR VIEW

In addition to the attributes under "Your view," also includes:

  • Alignment with the companies’ values and goals, which helps with engagement and decisions based on the success of the company
  • Plan for a career path to grow within the company (i.e., your first effort is to hire from within)
  • Professional development through ongoing education (seminars, in-house facilitated learning, etc.)

This is where we come back to the title of this blog. Retention begins before you even make the hire, and it should be included in your thinking from the application process to choosing who to interview.

When you work with a recruiter, an experienced staffing solutions firm will ensure your job description relays what potential candidates can realistically expect. The recruiter will outline the:
  • Compensation
  • Job description
  • Type of culture
  • Potential career path strategy
  • Company goals
  • Company values
  • Opportunities for professional development
The above should not be an afterthought but should be well thought out. So once the employee joins your company, they don’t discover you just talked the talk to get them in the door but walk the walk every day.
Many employers may feel uncomfortable describing their company culture. Not because it’s terrible, but because they’re so close to it that it’s not easy to describe. A recruiter will know the right questions to ask an employer to extract the highlights of what is necessary to relay to qualified candidates.

And on the candidate side, they may feel more comfortable, at least initially, relaying what they need to consider longevity as part of their next role.

A recruiter has experienced many circumstances and has that sixth sense which helps to narrow the playing field to find the right fit.

The perfect candidate has joined your team and is doing great. Don’t get too comfortable. It’s essential to check in often to ensure they are getting what they need to fulfill their responsibilities. Ask them directly if they’re happy. Sometimes something small can fester, and if you keep an open line of communication, it will never get that far.

Keep an open mind and if needed, be flexible if the desired result is being accomplished.

TURNOVER HAPPENS

Sometimes it’s inevitable, and it may not be through any fault of the company, but perhaps their needs have changed or other circumstances that happen in life. If you’re prepared and have initiated cross-training in your organization, you should be fine until you find the next dream candidate.
The bottom line is if you perform your due diligence from the beginning and always remain engaged, the long-term chances of keeping an employee significantly increase.

Lone Star Staffing Solutions would love the opportunity to talk to you about the hiring needs for your company. We’ve been there and done that, so we know retention’s importance.

You only pay when we’ve successfully completed our task.

LS3 Staffing provides an unprecedented six (6) month free replacement guarantee as outlined in the terms of the staffing agreement.

10Nov
Check out these basic suggestions for putting your best foot forward during a virtual job interview.
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03Nov
Do you dream of having time to clear your head and get away, even for a little while? But then you immediately think about all the things you need to do:
Family | Work | Home Projects

We’ve all been there, trying to please everyone and get everything done without letting things fall through the cracks. But are you so overwhelmed that you feel as though you will never get off the treadmill of life? And if you do disembark from the “everyday,” things will fall apart, and at least one person will be unhappy.

If this is you, it’s time to change your mindset and think about WHY you feel guilty about taking time for yourself. When you think about allowing yourself to reach the point of overload and on the road to burnout, wouldn’t you be “dropping at least one ball” anyway if your health (mentally and physically) suffers?

And at that point, are you the person you want to be for your family and coworkers?

It’s time to think about why you shame yourself, especially when you feel jealous of those who take that time for self-care. When contemplating taking an hour for yourself and that guilt rushes over you, ask yourself why.
  • Does time for yourself cause you to fall behind at work? If so, it may be time, if you're already working a full day, to evaluate if there are areas you can delegate or eliminate. For a week, keep a timeline of the tasks you manage so that you can assess where some of the gaps may be.
  • Are there people in your life who constantly drain your time? This behavior may not be intentional, but if they're used to having on-demand access, it may be time for an open conversation about how it's affecting you personally.
  • Do you feel that anytime you sit still, its time wasted? For instance, you could organize a pantry during the 30 minutes you took to read a book. But consider what would benefit you personally.

Wouldn’t a time out regularly give you time to clear your head and do something you enjoy?

Is this new thought pattern scary? Start slowly and begin building “me time” into your schedule. It may mean getting up early when things are quiet or breaking the habit of eating lunch at your desk and taking it outside or to a quiet room to read while you eat.

The Word NO

Learn How to Use That Word Nicely

Are you the first to raise your hand to take on a new project at work? That’s great, but first, consider your current workload. It’s tough to back out of additional work once you’ve committed your time and unless it’s a career game-changer, take a step back on that next, “Yes, I can do that.”

Do you have a friend who can’t make decisions without your input? Be honest and let them know you care about their needs but are practicing self-care so that you can be a better person.

Once you’ve used the word no, do your best to push away the guilt. Instead, think about how refreshed you will be for those who need you.

Check out our previous blog: Learn the Art of Saying NO.

Your New Freedom

Test it Out

Create an appointment on your calendar and stick to it. Don’t let something distract you from that downtime unless it’s an emergency.

Put down the phone and set it to “Do not disturb.” On most phones, you can choose people to allow to get through, but before that, have a conversation to let them know about your downtime.

Downtime doesn’t necessarily mean you need to sit still.

You can:
  • Learn a new skill or language
  • Exercise – which is great for you physically and mentally
  • Get your nails done – you’ll feel better about yourself

If someone pressures you to help with something, be HONEST and explain that you need to commit yourself. It’s most likely they will understand and may even relate.

Share notes on your new awareness and get others on the self-care kick so you can back each other up.

Remember, practicing self-care can be difficult at first, but once you incorporate it into your daily routine, it will become second nature, and you may find you’re more productive in the “must dos” at work and home.
What will you do with your “me time?”
How about listening to a pastime favorite.
26Oct
The Lone Star Staffing Solutions team wants to wish you a very Happy Halloween. Have fun, but please BE SAFE!
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20Oct
We want to expand our staff in the new year, but isn’t it too early to think about that? If you know that hiring more people will be a Q1 task, it’s not too early to prepare. Like most things in business, planning is the best thing you can do for the most successful outcome.

What Will You Be Looking for in a Candidate?

The first step is determining what departments or areas in your company have gaps.

You must ensure you have outlined clear job descriptions for each role type and, when possible, lay out a career path for each position. This information is invaluable during the interview as savvy prospects will ask about future growth within the company.

That’s a good thing as it will mean that individual is seeking a long-term opportunity.

It is also beneficial to have a profile of what type of person you seek, also known as an “avatar.” It may sound complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Is there an example of someone who performs at the level you want? It could be within or outside of your company. If you have an example of the qualities, write them down, and include questions that help them convey how they would manage certain situations.

  • How do you manage your team members during a tight deadline?
  • Give me an example of how your communication skills kept a project moving forward.
  • How do you handle conflict among your team members?

Set the Wheels in Motion

If the first quarter is the hiring timeline, don't wait until the beginning of the year rolls around before preparing for a great hire.

After you’ve completed the above step of detailing what you’re looking for in both skills and qualities, you’re ready to determine mediums to secure the best candidate.

During the holidays, people are busy and not necessarily seeking a career move, especially if they’re counting on an end-year bonus. If you’re working with a recruiter, this time of year isn’t as daunting as their network never sleeps.

They have access to candidates who want to make a move in the new year but aren’t actively looking via the most common means.

This advance action will still allow you to postpone the actual hire to Q1, but wouldn’t it be great to begin the process to hit the ground running in the new year? In a candidate-driven market, this thinking will make all the difference.

Get the Market Facts

When you work with a professional recruiter, they should be following the trends and will provide more clarity when it comes to competitive salaries for that job type.

And, since money isn’t always the deciding factor, a recruiter can:

  • Offer suggestions about other benefits that will keep you competitive and attract the candidates you want.
  • Help you define your company culture so everyone involved knows what to expect.

Ask for Help

If you're like most business owners or department heads, your plate is full.

A successful search involves:

  • Reviewing and filtering incoming resumes
  • Doing your best to separate the legitimate from the “creative” applicants who embellish their qualifications
  • Networking
  • Engaging on social media
  • Upfront interviews to narrow the candidate pool

Yes, you can do it on your own, and some business owners are used to it, but working with a recruiter will allow you to continue to focus on your core business.

Don’t Push the Process
Remember the adage, “Hire Slow, Fire Fast, no matter what route you follow.” The goal is to expand your team to include candidates with the qualifications that will bring value to your company and complement your current team.
And finally, when you get a process in place that works, document it so that you can replicate it for the next hire.
13Oct
Are you a business owner with a successful company but lately, it’s become “too successful?” Most would say that’s a good problem to have. But when you have a reputation built on performance and delivery, you realize it’s very easy to tarnish that good standing with your customers or clients if you cannot keep up with demand.
When an entrepreneur starts a new business, the intelligent thing to do is hire once the income rolls in. And even then, most will employ slowly to keep the payroll expenses in line with the incoming revenue. During those early times, you wear many hats, which can be exhausting. Still, on the other hand, if managed correctly, you’ll be able to develop a model for future roles.

When you’ve expanded to the point that the amount of work outweighs the number of employees, your business can suffer in many ways. When entrenched in the business’s day-to-day, it’s easy not to notice the early signs of neglect.

The most frequently affected areas are:

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Depending on your business type and if it relies heavily on customer service, this area must be a priority for everyone in your company.

Incoming complaints aren’t acknowledged
  • Returns are increasing, and people are posting negatively on social media
  • Your on-time delivery record is a thing of the past
  • Loyalty programs fall by the wayside
  • Your service or product is not up to par with your ordinarily high standard

This area needs to be top-of-mind as it keeps people coming back and word-of-mouth, as always, is essential for incoming referrals. You don’t want to risk losing the momentum you built while managing it with minimal staff.

YOUR EXISTING STAFF IS BURNT OUT

When you build a team, hopefully, the goal is to:

#1 slowly build your team

#2 include them in your vision

When your employees understand your big-picture goals, they feel a sense of ownership without ever owning any part of your business.

If you build your team the right way, you’ll know they mean it when they come to you with alerts that they are overworked. You can count on essential pieces falling through the cracks when that happens. And when you reach a certain point without acknowledging that you need to expand your team, it may be too late. Some signs to look for if they’re not coming to your directly:

  • More people are calling out sick
  • Increase in incoming complaints
  • Turnover in staff

For this area, it’s up to you to let your employees know there’s an open-door policy where they can feel 100% comfortable communicating with you in a non-threatening atmosphere. Of course, they need to understand all communication needs to be respectful and professional.

YOU STILL MANAGE MINDLESS TASKS

If managed correctly, every job or task in the company is essential. However, if you find yourself spending time on duties that you can delegate, that can also be a downfall.

When your company reaches a certain revenue point, your focus needs to be all-in on your core business. Responsibilities that help grow your company, not tasks that bog you down and keep you from the heart of what drives your business.

When you consider the above key areas, and your revenue is steady with enough profit to add more expenses, it’s time to invest in growing your team. Slowly as discussed above, but when you hire the right people, your growth will continue to increase.

Are you ready to take your company to the next level but nervous about securing the right people to help you get there? Consider partnering with a recruiting company that will take the time to understand your needs and take into account your company culture.
Lone Star would love to talk to you about their experience and process for securing the quality candidate you seek.
06Oct
Most of us have been there. We’re in a job role we would ordinarily love if it weren’t for our horrible boss. You try to find joy in what you’re doing, but your boss wreaks havoc every time you attempt to move forward.

It’s a terrible spot to be in when you love what you’re doing and are good at your job but are regularly brought back to a negative reality when your boss gets involved.

DO YOU STAY? DO YOU LEAVE?
Who can you talk to, especially if your boss is the core authority?

If the situation is awful, with no other options for a reprieve, it may be time to leave. But before you take that drastic action, ask yourself, “Have you done everything you can to make things better without giving notice? “Is there a way to “manage” the existing environment?”

We’re all human, and you should rule out any underlying variables responsible for your bosses’ behavior. Consider putting yourself in their shoes, but first, forget they’re your boss, and look at your current situation from an outsider’s point of view.

If you’ve reached this point, you may not feel comfortable speaking to them openly. This scenario is unfortunate, as many times, a reasonable conversation could go a long way to clearing the air and repairing a negative situation.
Let’s first try to determine the “why” for the behavior you find to be unbearable.
A clearer understanding of what influences his demeanor gives you a more straightforward path to what prompts certain moods.
  • What does he consider a successful outcome? For example, how does he measure project results?
  • What is his worse fear? Does he have superiors who evaluate him as harshly as he judges you?
  • What makes him smile? Does he love it when you finish in advance of a deadline?
  • What makes him frown? Does he get grouchy when people don’t think on their feet and provide input during a meeting?

If you can figure out some of the above, you can try alternating how you approach him by simply rephrasing a sentence, performing a task differently, or doing more things he finds smile-worthy.

Help to Facilitate the Success of Your Boss

If your boss is the company owner or a division or department leader, you could share their success if you’re willing to help make it happen.

Why should you help someone who has been a bad boss? Is it possible that they have a weakness preventing them from accomplishing their own goals at a peak performance level? If you’re up for it, this could be a way to shine in their eyes.

For example, if they’re not great at keeping a project moving forward with all parties involved, perhaps use your project management skills to help manage that process. And at the same time, you could bring a focus to their strengths, boosting their ego.

It would be best if you didn’t attempt to “outshine” your superior in front of others but instead worked to make him look good behind the scenes. These actions go a long way, and there’s a strong chance their demeanor could change toward you, especially when you reduce their stress level. Others will know who is doing what, but by demonstrating that team attitude while becoming indispensable to your boss, it’s most likely the world as you know it at the office could change for the positive.

You may soon find that you’re the go-to person when they need assistance which could open more doors for you.

Horrible Bosses – Trailer

Quitting is not an option, so, with the benefit of a few-too-many drinks and some dubious advice from a hustling ex-con, the three friends devise a convoluted and seemingly foolproof plan to rid themselves of their respective employers…permanently.

LS3 is not recommending this behavior, and this video is included for the purpose of a good laugh.

Voice Your Feelings

Before you give up:
  1. Consider privately requesting a meeting to share your feelings with your boss.
  2. Use this opportunity to discuss how you feel openly.
  3. Preface the conversation with something non-threatening to set a more relaxed, non-judgment zone. For example: “I would love the opportunity to talk to you about some of the areas of discomfort I’ve been feeling, and hoping I can speak openly as I value your input.”

Write down your thoughts in advance so that you don’t miss anything, and ONLY include areas that directly affect your performance or morale. If your list is too long, there may be no hope of arriving at a “happy medium.”

Getting too petty or into the weeds isn’t productive. And, whenever possible, include a solution to something currently challenging.

During the meeting, keep the following suggestions in mind:
  • Allow them to respond without interruption. You may be surprised to find they have similar challenges or feel the same way.
  • Always keep your voice neutral. Scream at the top of your lungs if that’s how the meeting is going. But ONLY in private after you’ve exited the building for the day.
  • No blame games, as you’re both adults and can accept constructive criticism. This could quickly become a learning exercise for both of you and a starting point for future communication.

It’s incredible how you can misinterpret behavior and if you genuinely love your job, do all you can to make it a comfortable environment for everyone involved. And, of course, if nothing works, it’s time to move on once you’re secured another position.

For both employers and employees, if you’ve reached the point of no return, we’re here to help you take the needed steps to move on to the next opportunity.
29Sep
There are many “States of Emergency” that can cause an interruption in your business, such as:
  • Hurricanes
  • Blizzards
  • Wildfires
  • Earthquakes
  • Floods
  • Pandemics
Based on what part of the world you live in, there are more examples, but listed are the most common.
For areas with good chances of having a natural occurrence, such as “hurricane season,” it’s paramount to use this knowledge to prepare in advance. Let’s use hurricanes as an example because:
#1 they are one of the most common repeating disasters
#2 hurricanes can affect so many different aspects of your business
When we think about hurricanes, we commonly think of property damage and power outages. But there are many other ways they can negatively impact our community and business.
Preparing for a natural disaster is not a one-person show and should be a team mindset for cohesive results. If one piece of the overall puzzle is missing, there will inevitably be a hole in what you’re attempting to accomplish.
Before the Event Happens
Let’s talk first about the low-hanging activity that we know will most likely happen, such as:
• Power Outage
• Internet Down
Can your company function without these two key elements? Most likely not because you will need those tools unless perhaps your business is something like a fruit stand. And if you’re a fruit stand and a legitimate business, you will still need the Internet to process sales and keep track of inventory.
Your Location
If your existing work location is compromised (damage from the storm or Internet service out), do you have a backup plan? The most common options are:
• Moving to a temporary location
• Everyone temporarily working remotely
• Call a time-out and wait for things to get back to normal

For options #1 and #2 – you most certainly need an advance plan. For the third option, this is only realistic if your business doesn’t require time-sensitive work-related output and your customers or clients aren’t depending on you. But, if the third option decreases the revenue needed to keep your business moving forward, it’s best to opt, and plan for, one of the first two alternatives.

With any plan, practice makes perfect. If a temporary location is your choice, have a plan to move quickly with the materials and equipment you need immediately.

Less is more as it will still need to be returned to your main headquarters unless that’s not possible due to extensive damage and the need for repair.

If working remotely, ensure anyone involved knows the plan and can set it up to become functional quickly. Talk in depth to your team about overcoming the distractions at home as your business still needs to push forward. It’s an excellent approach to perhaps have a third party come in for a mandatory session to give tips and best practices to make working remotely a success. Working this way may sound like a no-brainer, but how quickly it can render operations dysfunctional is incredible. Communicating in the temporary “new norm” without a plan can lead to an “unnatural” disaster. Lay out the plan in written form, share it with everyone, and again, practice.

We’ve previously talked about how employees can be proactive when working from home. Check out this blog “Give Your Employer Confidence in Your Ability to Work From Home.”
You’ve heard the saying, “Prepare for the Worst Hope for the Best.
Prepare is the operative word. The more you ready your company for the unexpected, no matter how much notice, the better the outcome. It’s usually not a good thing to scramble because you didn’t have a proper plan.
For a hurricane, some preparedness ideas are:
Your Physical Office
Move all equipment away from the windows. For example, it could be damaged if the window breaks and is exposed to the outside elements. Break up this task to include the different preassigned departments or special “task team(s)” whose mission is to jump into action once notified of the incoming storm.
Your Internet is Out
  • The most apparent step is ensuring your data is continuously backed up to an off-site server (the Cloud). As a further measure, set it up to back up to an external hard drive.
  • For both instances, if you don’t have power, it’s crucial to perform this task daily, or more if you regularly update critical data. Some software can detect the most recent changes and back up only the most recent activity. This structure is significant because it will run faster as it already has the previous data.
And, if you commonly make important changes that may happen in between backups, think about purchasing a backup supply source such as a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) directly connected to the computer(s).
This investment will allow you the time to back up the data manually and properly shut down your operating system (i.e., unexpected computer crashes are not healthy).
Medical Preparedness
If you don’t already have a medical kit for minor office “emergencies” like papercuts or bumping a knee on an open file cabinet, it’s time to create one. During a natural disaster, the unexpected can happen. Of course, professionals should handle any necessary extreme care; however, that’s not always possible. Many times, small actions can make a tremendous difference in the outcome. For these types of measures, it’s a good idea to have the proper training to perform such tasks as:
• CPR
• Open Wounds
• Broken Bones
How you manage these types of injuries in advance of professional care, can make all the difference. Of course, as mentioned above, include training, as not knowing the proper method can do more harm than good.
Your company may want to train individual department members or form a safety task force responsible for jumping in and overseeing emergencies.
For some more tips and a list of suggested supplies to keep in stock, download a PDF of the Mayo Clinic First Aid Kit supply ideas.
Once you’ve determined the plan for all the above, make sure you:
  • Communicate to all key members and provide the training where necessary
  • So, they’re not blindsided, inform clients and customers in advance of any potential emergency event
  • Ensure all is in writing and regularly double-check to update as needs and circumstances change. The ability to refer to the “manual” is beneficial as most emergencies are infrequent.
How will you prepare for the next time a natural disaster rolls around?
22Sep
Do you need to add a critical role to your technology team? We know it’s a complex process of weeding through applications and then sifting through resumes to determine fact from fiction.
Call Lone Star as we take that burden off your hands and only deliver the top qualified and vetted candidates. What will your next hire be?
We’re here to help!
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14Sep
This blog talks about the importance of cross-training in the office. We’re not referring to cross-training as a fitness regime, even though that’s great too!
We’ve all learned over the past few years that we must learn to expect the unexpected. This mindset applies in almost every aspect of life and even more so in our professional lives. To keep a business moving forward so that it can provide for its employees and their families, customers & clients, and all of the vendors counting on sales, we need to prepare for the inevitable.
There are many reasons it’s easy to be short-staffed, yet, the workload doesn’t diminish.
For example:
  • Employees quit
  • Employees get sick
  • Employees go on vacation
  • Employees have family emergencies
Peace of mind with operations continuing to function normally.

Now, if only someone else could pitch in and help us before and after our leave. Wouldn’t that reduce stress while ensuring operations continue moving forward?

If you’ve set up a cross-training system in your office, you already know how it alleviates unnecessary pressure for everyone. And, wouldn’t we all look forward to vacation if we didn’t need to worry about the before/after of our leave, whether it’s a vacation or being out sick?

Company leaders should acknowledge how a cross-training plan will help alleviate tension for others, as talked about in the above scenarios.

Still, it should be incorporated as part of the protocol for other unexpected emergencies. We plan our time off, but so many things can cause us to be short-staffed that aren’t already on the calendar, such as a sudden employee departure.

IF YOU’RE AN EMPLOYEE

Jumpstart your internal drive
We’re not talking computer jargon but your inner motivation. If you are allowed to cross-train in other roles, it will enable you to be removed, for a slice of time, from the same daily routine and learn something new. Who knows, you may discover that you have unexpected skills or talents that will help you grow within the company.

Bond with other team members
When you learn more about what others do within the company, you will understand how the pieces come together for the considerable good. And you may even come to appreciate the contributions made by others in the roles where they are responsible. If it’s a department where you typically have little contact, you may even make a new friend.

Increased brand awareness
If you learn more about other departments, you’ll be able to provide an educated response to outsiders who inquire about the company.

IF YOU’RE AN EMPLOYER

Hidden Gem
Cross-training, as mentioned above, may uncover an employee’s hidden talent or provide a new perspective on a process that has stagnated. For instance, when one employee trains another to do their “job,” they may realize it’s difficult to show someone else how to do that job. Thus, demonstrating the need to do things differently.

Reduced Risk
When key players cross-train, they can easily slide into another role quickly when there is an unexpected staff shortage. This exercise will help decrease the instances where essential tasks fall through the cracks.

Increase in Morale
Knowing they won’t be overwhelmed before or after an event makes for a happy workforce when your employees want to vacation or are out with the flu.

Attract Quality Employees
When potential candidates know that part of your process is to cross-train the team, it is desirable to them as they can:

Learn new skills outside of their usual role
Work hard when they’re there, but then have the ability to take time off without the stress of knowing their work would be accumulating until they return.

There are so many benefits to cross-training, as you can use it in almost any position. Now is the time to set up a system to tackle cross-training, as it’s much better to do that BEFORE you have an emergency versus racing around at the 11th hour.

How will you get started as an employee or employer to ensure peace of mind in your workplace?
08Sep
When we think of making excuses, our mind usually defaults to the “reasons” we neglect to perform a task or handle an assigned responsibility. It’s not always intentional and can stem from the fact that we’re all so much “busier,” but too many excuses can be dangerous, both professionally and personally.
News stories come out daily where you hear people trying to rationalize or justify something they’ve said or done. When you must explain repeatedly, it just makes it worse.

And, we don’t want to confuse an excuse for an error, at least for the initial “mistake.”

For Example:

You hire an IT person to take on a specific responsibility. You set agreed-upon deadlines, and you outline the specifics of the first crucial task. The two of you discuss how important the timeline is, as others cannot do their part on this project until this stage is complete. The IT person acknowledges understanding and promises to make the company proud.

First Excuse

The first deadline comes and goes, and you ask for a status report. The IT person says, “the time got away from me, and I won’t let it happen again.”

Second Excuse

The second deadline arrives, and when you inquire about the status, the IT person says, “I’ve been swamped, and it’s a lot to get done.” This statement is made with no real explanation, no matter how much you try to get behind the reasoning by asking what is consuming his time away from the project. You revisit the initial conversation to ensure the IT person clearly understands the importance of being on time, and once again, the IT person acknowledges and says he “gets it.” You ask him to let you know if he needs additional guidance or help BEFORE the next deadline so that the team isn’t let down.

Third Excuse

The third deadline is here, and since you haven’t heard anything from the IT person, you have no reason to think it would also be late. But, when you approach him for the status, another flimsy excuse is made, and it doesn’t appear as if he cared about the outcome, and “excuses” were part of his MO. At this point, you need to pull him from the project. And unfortunately, you also realize he is not a good fit for the company.

For positions such as IT, it’s a sticky road as we hire them because they know more than we do, which can be detrimental. It takes a good manager to do that, as exemplary leaders surround themselves with people who know more than they do. The IT person in the example should not take advantage of that fact, and after three stages of excuses, providing you had conversations early on, it should be the equivalent of receiving “three strikes.”

Excuses can quickly become a habit that’s difficult to break. When it becomes second nature, you’ll find that even the little things (mistakes) become just an excuse, which is much easier than acknowledging the error. And even when you begin with good intentions by saying, “I’m so sorry, but I made a mistake,” it’s easy to finish the sentence with “but, this is what happened…”

Instead, try this. “I made a mistake and learned I should have gone about it differently. It won’t happen again as I’ve taken clear notes on the steps I should take in the future to do it correctly.” Not only will you gain respect from others, but you’ll also feel better about yourself. And, if you follow through on the promise not to repeat the same mistake, you’ll be considered trustworthy, and your word will become gold.
Refraining from making excuses may require practice, but it will be worth it. What steps will you take moving forward to be the one who not only “talks the talk, but walks the walk?”
01Sep
The team at Lone Star Staffing Solutions would like to wish you a Happy Labor Day. Have fun, but please be safe.
REACH OUT TO US
Make sure your volume is on.
23Aug
Working with a professional recruiter, whether an employer or employee, can be one of the best decisions, as there are many benefits.

For the employer:

  • It opens the door to quality candidates who would otherwise be working privately with a professional recruiter.
  • It saves valuable time since the recruiter manages all the details of the process of weeding through all prospects.
  • It saves money as a quality recruiter will know what you’re looking for and is invested in you, saving you time and money retraining someone new.
  • Their experience allows them to help you navigate an accurate job description and drill down your company’s cultural needs.

For the employee:

  • Since employers don’t openly advertise openings, a recruiter will have insight into more opportunities.
  • You will have more visibility as companies who realize the benefit of working with a recruiter will prioritize who they bring to them.
  • Expert advice from a recruiter is invaluable as they’ve been through this process many times and understand the needs of their clients, the employer.
  • If you’re currently employed, a professional recruiter will ensure complete privacy so that you don’t jeopardize your current position.

The above points highlight just some of the benefits of using the services of a professional recruiter. However, there is something we didn’t address, and it should be one of the most crucial requirements to look for when partnering with a reputable company.

When interviewing a potential recruiter, you need to ask about their experience in your industry. To further narrow the questions, drill down to the specific positions you need to fill within that industry.

Many recruiters claim to be able to work with every sector, which makes it challenging to keep up with focusing on top talent in every field.

Sure, you may give them all the questions you would like covered, but if they don’t know how to dissect and analyze the responses, you may end up meeting with unqualified candidates and wasting your valuable time.

For instance, let’s say you’re a technology company. Someone with just a general knowledge of that industry won’t be familiar with the necessary terms, acronyms, and skill levels to properly communicate with the employer and potential candidates. A recruiter who specializes in specific industries will continuously take steps to educate themselves in that industry.

When the recruiter is actively interviewing on your behalf and demonstrate their clear knowledge of your company and the position they’re seeking to fill, you look better to prospects.

This level of understanding attracts top talent who may help fill a future pipeline with people like themselves.

Think about it, which option would you choose:

A recruiter with “General” Experience with some understanding of your industry but wouldn’t be able to hold a professional, knowledge-based conversation with a potential candidate.

OR

A recruiter with “Specialized” Experience who lives and breathes your industry who can ask the right questions to separate the “fakes” from the qualified talent
Your employees enable your company to continue to move forward and grow. Do your research and trust your unique search needs to professionals who genuinely understand your business.
18Aug
Maintaining a “routine” can make us feel safe or the opposite and cause us to long for more spice in our lives. What if you’re somewhere in the middle and want some consistency, but you get trapped in the day-to-day activities that prevent us from following through, leaving us frustrated? If we’re being honest, leaning more toward the “routine” way of living ensures we accomplish our daily tasks with fewer items falling through the cracks.
It is possible to have a routine without it being tedious. Also, repeating tasks will be easier to delegate where appropriate when defined. Otherwise, the task, which could be very important, may not be accomplished because you thought someone else was doing it. Those are the types of things that can keep you up at night.

Start small with one routine if you don’t have any daily habits, which would be rare. You’ll have more than one routine tied to different things you want to accomplish.

Some suggestions to kick start the process of setting a routine that works:

Set An Initial Desired Objective

What is a goal you would like to accomplish? Let’s begin with an example like exercising, which will improve your overall wellbeing. When you feel good, other more mundane tasks aren’t so daunting.

We know that the gyms have their highest level of attaining new members every January, and then people drop off by February. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of jumping in with both feet and doing so much that you injure yourself or find it so difficult to keep up that you quit quickly.

Layout a Plan

When you identify how you want to accomplish this goal, be consistent with the time of day you perform that task.

  • Start small and take daily walks until you can build up your stamina.
  • Pick a time of day that works best for you. Many find the early morning the best time as it increases blood flow to jumpstart your day. And if you set this task for later in the day, it’s easier to blow off the walking if you get bogged down with other things.

Once you feel comfortable walking, you can incorporate other exercises, such as strength training. Remember to take it slow; this routine can develop into a lifelong habit you’ll look forward to completing every day.

Incorporate the Necessary Tools

Purchase a Fitbit or something similar to keep track of your steps. When you can see the progress visually and slowly increase the time you walk each day, it motivates you to stick with it. And, you can set it to receive notifications to get up and move (i.e., 250 steps) every hour within a specified period of time. This reminder is beneficial for those who sit at their desk all day.

Get Excited About Your Progress

If you are competitive and enjoy seeing advancement, add it as a repeating event on your calendar. To make it even more exciting, hang a calendar in a spot you see often and check off each day you accomplish that task. Competitive people are more motivated when they see there is no day not marked as complete.

Make it More Enjoyable

Do you live in a neighborhood where people frequently walk every day? If you don’t know your neighbors, be bold and begin walking, and you may make some friends. Or, if you have a dog, and it’s not too hot or too far, bring the pup along.

Do you have a podcast you’ve always wanted to hear? Make it a part of your walk so that you can listen but still be aware of your surroundings.

A Prize at the End

You’re more apt to push to achieve your goal when you reward yourself. Set a monthly plan, and then treat yourself to something that brings you joy at the end of the month. You’ll look forward to receiving the “prize,” and also significant because you accomplished what you set out to do.

Now that you know how to set up a routine for exercise, it’s easy to apply it to other aspects of your personal and professional life.

What will your first routine be?
11Aug
We often talk about how vital trust is but are we really trustworthy? Of course, we would all like to think of ourselves as moral, but it’s possible our actions don’t express that. It doesn’t mean we’re not good people; it just means that perhaps we must look closely at how we appear to others by rethinking some of our actions.
Credibility in the workplace is one of the most critical attributes. When you are considered trustworthy, it plays a role in how people treat you.
  • Your boss will be more open to listening to thoughts when they know your intentions are for the company's betterment. And this may give you more flexibility in how you desire to work with much less micromanagement.
  • Your colleagues will feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and working more closely as a team toward a common goal.
How Do I Demonstrate Trustworthiness?
First, let’s look at the definition of trust, as outlined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

 

One in which confidence is placed

While keeping the definition in mind, let’s review some ways you can take an active approach to improve how others perceive us.

Be Honest

We’ve all spoken those little white lies, and it’s usually to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. But what happens when lying becomes part of our nature to make ourselves look better or avoid conflict? As we continue down that path, it will become apparent to others that you aren’t telling the truth, and they will find it difficult to separate fact from fiction. If you are in the practice of telling mistruths, it’s not too late to change opinions, but you need to do it now, no matter how uncomfortable.

To follow is an example where an employee was trying to shift the blame when he forgot to perform a task.

“Don’t blame me. I wasn’t aware that I was responsible for sending the agenda to the board meeting.”

The employee should have said something like, “I apologize, it completely slipped my mind, and I will do my best to ensure it does not happen again.” There may be some consequences to him forgetting (i.e., being reprimanded by his boss), but there will automatically be a higher level of trust because of his honesty.

If You Say You'll Do It, Do It

We make promises and commit to things all the time, whether at work, at home, or among friends. In certain situations, it’s easy to say yes to end a conversation or make yourself look like the “star.” However, don’t accept the responsibility if you have any clue that you cannot fulfill that commitment. Others rely on you, and when you make a promise you cannot keep, others may begin to exclude you from activities where it’s crucial to have reliable people. And when this happens at work, it may mean fewer growth opportunities.

Don't Make Excuses

One of the most attractive traits in a person is when they’re able to admit that they’re wrong. It happens, whether intentional or not. If you discover you made a mistake about something you said, “fess up” and say you’re mistaken. Many take the easy route and try to justify why they’re wrong, but that takes more effort than admitting you make a mistake. It demonstrates integrity, and you’ll get more respect. 

Be Clear in Your Expectations

Miscommunication is often the most problematic in the workplace. It’s either because the person relaying the information is an inadequate communicator or the person on the other end is a poor listener. 

 

If you’re the communicator, make sure what you’re dispatching is clear. And don’t make the mistake of dispatching only part of the information while the rest remains in your head. 

 

If you’re on the receiving end, take the time, listen, and allow the other person to talk. And, it’s your responsibility to answer questions if you’re unclear. If you truly listen, the communicator will answer many of your questions in the initial instructions. 

It's In the Small Actions

When you go the additional mile with absolutely no hidden agenda, you will begin to build trust both personally and professionally. And people will gravitate toward you if they feel you are genuinely interested in them. When individuals perceive that you’re helpful and honestly care, you form bonds and develop trust. Some examples of efforts that lead to more trust:

You’ve finished your immediate work and have some time on your hands. It’s easy to jump on social media or just wait for the work day to end. Instead, ask your boss, or co-worker, if you can assist with something else. And, IMPORTANT, if you help a co-worker, don’t run to your boss or others to tell them. The behind-the-scenes help goes much further as you’ll be known for being supportive without asking for anything in return.

Demonstrate interest in their lives. If they tell stories about their children or experiences outside the office, lean in and show that you are listening. When you remember names and check in regularly to see how everyone is doing, it will show you’ve heard what they’ve said and care about what’s important to them.
When you consider some of the above by honoring your commitments, taking the blame when appropriate, and demonstrating kindness, you’ll begin to build a natural trust that will reflect positively in all that you want to do.
04Aug

I love my job. I hate my job. I love my job. I hate my job.

Every job has its ups and downs; no matter how often you jump from company to company, you’ll find that no one place is perfect. Have you considered that possibly you’re making multiple employment changes but not evaluating why you weren’t happy in your previous position? When you skip that step, you risk making the mistake of joining another company that may very well have the same “faults” as your previous company.

Depending on where you are in your career (i.e., just starting or a seasoned employee), there’s a chance you still don’t know what you want to be when you “grow up.” BEFORE you make your next “jump,” take the time to evaluate where you are and where you would like to be.

When you set goals, it makes it easier to lay out the necessary actions to get there.

If you don’t have a clear picture of where you would like to be, that’s OK. For many, the next career prospect presents itself without any effort from you (i.e., a friend sends you a job lead; something shows up on your LinkedIn, etc.), which can be OK; however, it’s better to be proactive regarding your career. And, if that opportunity does come up, knowing what you want will allow you to make the right decision versus leaping on the wrong option.

If you’re reading this, you’re ready to do the work to have a more straightforward path to your dream career. Taking the time to invest in yourself will put you on the right career path. Remember, no job will be perfect, but the clearer you are on what you want, the closer to “perfection” you will be.

Following are some steps to help get you started:

#1

Think hard about what you REALLY want to do.

Once you do that, determine if it’s realistic and attainable. For example, choose something where you already have the experience and motivation to succeed. This step is crucial if you’ve typically hopped from one type of role to another.

Outline your skills and experience to include talking points so you can effectively relay them to a potential employer. Or, if you like the company where you’re currently employed but not using your talents to their full potential, consider talking to your immediate manager. This can be a bit tricky as you don’t want to talk yourself out of a job, but expressing this could be welcome if you see areas where you can help. And when you ask them what you can do to follow the desired path, and it’s a real opportunity within the company, it demonstrates your loyalty. It also shows them your goal is to remain with the company. A good manager will be excited to help you get there.

#2

Decide what motivates you.

With any position, it helps to know, in advance:
  • What you absolutely must have
  • What you would like but can live without
  • What doesn’t matter at all to you

Employers increasingly realize that money isn’t always the deciding factor for quality employees. And, with a forward-thinking mentality, there are options to include in a hiring package that may make one employee happy, but not necessarily another. Customizing to the individual makes sense in many scenarios.

These are some of the factors that many consider before accepting a position.
  1. The obvious first for many is the salary and any potential bonuses. But again, for some, that can be flexible if other benefits exist.
  2. Medical benefits are often more important than monetary considerations.
  3. Growth within the company. And the potential for educational opportunities to achieve development towards that growth.
  4. Harmony between personal and professional (i.e., work/life balance) is high on many lists.
  5. Opportunity to partake in developing new products or services. This can be something as basic as participating in a special task team. When you have a valued role in a company’s growth, that respect goes a long way.
  6. Company culture is another motivating factor. If you’re more comfortable wearing jeans, then an environment where corporate suit attire is required may not be for you. And visa versa. Ask in advance about the culture so you know what to expect. You know yourself best and must include that in your decision-making before accepting a position.

Knowing what you absolutely must have and where you can be flexible will help determine what positions you seek. It also prevents you from being reactive and making a choice that ultimately is not right for you.
Once you determine the above, and if you’re currently in a role, assess if there’s hope within your existing company. We can often find what we need precisely where we are, and if not, it’s time to begin your search.
If a new job search is your decision, continue to perform at your best in your current role as you never want to burn bridges. There is also help out there through a qualified and experienced recruiter, and professional help will help you navigate all of the above so that your next move is the right move for you.
They also work closely with potential employers to ensure the match is the right fit. And all is managed confidentially.
In summary, it’s all up to you. It can be scary, but also exciting when you take the above steps and properly manage your search.
Are you ready to take charge of your career?
28Jul
Are you a business owner who believes in freedom of speech and an easy-going workplace? If so, that’s great and most likely means you have developed a culture of trust, self-expression, and loyalty. All of which lead to a happy environment and a higher level of productivity.
But, what do you do when trying to keep politics out of the workplace? It’s not that you want to squash opinions or open discussion, but we all know that it can often lead to heated arguments and hurt feelings. This behavior is not something you strive for in your office because it can be disruptive and detrimental to your company and team.

So how do you prevent your employees from discussing politics during working hours?

It’s not that difficult, especially when it comes from leadership, who must also help to set the example. It can be a relief for many who were afraid to speak up that they don’t feel comfortable being pulled into unwanted debates.

It’s critical to address this quickly as it’s easy to create an environment of “bullying.” Set your anti-political standards quickly, if you haven’t already done so, and to be fair, ensure everyone is aware of the policy.

Where to begin?

Make it part of policy for EVERYONE in your company.

The fact is that, unfortunately, business owners that openly express their political views can suffer lost business simply because of their political beliefs. And employees who share different opinions can become overwhelmed, especially if they don’t feel comfortable voicing their views. If you make the “no-politics” rule part of your handbook, employees will take it more seriously, and most will feel relieved that it’s not left to them to squash this behavior.

Let them know they are free to talk about all the politics they want during their free time, as long as it doesn’t reflect on the company. We’ve all been to that rowdy Thanksgiving dinner where political discussions are a given. But, as long as there is respect for others who believe differently than us, it can be a healthy conversation. But, again, this is not a discussion for the office, no matter how civil.

What Do We Say to Those Who Persist?

Now is your opportunity to provide advanced guidance. If it’s a serious issue, outsource this task to a third party with experience to come in and talk to the group as a mandatory part of everyone’s schedule. Doing it this way will remove the personal portion of it and make it more objective. It’s important to know you’re not trying to squash freedom of speech; you’re just trying to make it a comfortable environment for everyone. Some suggestions for those who do not know how to back away from an unwanted political conversation:

SCENARIO:

What if someone attempts to engage you in political conversation? First, you should never feel uncomfortable in your workspace or anywhere; the first and easiest thing to do is express yourself as being neutral. If approached, the following are some response examples.

RESPONSE OPTION ONE:

“I find the best thing for me is not to participate in political conversations; it’s saved me a lot of friendships.” Even if it has never happened like that, this “white lie” can stop a potential debate in its tracks. Try to think of something interesting to come back with, such as “Better than politics, let’s talk about my dog who barks when the doorbell rings on TV.” When you can turn the table quickly, it’s much less uncomfortable.

RESPONSE OPTION TWO:

“I hate to interrupt, but we need to discuss our time-sensitive project.” This tactic will allow you to change direction and hopefully get back on track with what’s important. The words “time-sensitive” add a sense of urgency and distract from the political path.

RESPONSE OPTION THREE:

There may be times a conversation can get heated. A direct approach that will most likely squash future attempts at the conversation may be: “It appears this topic is very important to you, and I respect that. But, I am feeling uncomfortable, and I would love it if we could talk about a different subject.

Once you’ve relayed your office politics policy to all employees, perhaps come up with a “safe” phrase like:

“Time for a topic change” when someone begins a political conversation.

You can even make it fun by ringing a bell or something that will be a quick reminder, as we all know how easy it is to fall back into old habits. If you use the latter, and until everyone is accustomed to the new and considerate norm, everyone may be surprised at how often the bell rings.

Ring the bell for a lighthearted effort to change the conversation direction. 

Business is business, and politics have their place outside the office. Without political agendas affecting daily activities, your employees will thank you, and your business will continue to move forward.

At Lone Star Staffing Solutions, we share your political office policies (if you have them) with potential candidates before you interview them. We take care of some of the delicate upfront discussions so that you can focus on building your team.
No matter your affiliation – we encourage everyone to vote!
20Jul
Are you ready to build your team? Sourcing and recruiting can be a time bandit! Our process works. Are you ready to get started? We’re here to help!
REACH OUT TO US
Make sure your volume is on.
14Jul
Did you know that I think Susie and Joe from accounting are secretly dating? Or that Nancy from customer service appears to be pregnant? Does this sound familiar?
When you don’t have all the facts and nevertheless share information that you shouldn’t, this is called GOSSIP. And when it affects others, it can be dangerous.

Not all gossipers do it maliciously, but even unintentional “talk” can be hurtful.

Many do it because getting caught up in other people’s drama can make them feel part of a shared story. And it gets even worse when we discover the narrative isn’t real.
So why do we instinctively jump in and stir the gossip pot? Maybe it’s because we are afraid that others will do the same to us behind our back. Or perhaps we feel like we’re a part of the chain of untruths, a secret club. And, we ignore the ripple effect it has on everyone around us, especially the people in the story.

Repercussions of Gossip

While we talked about doing things innocently, the act of gossip can be severe – especially in the office. There can be many adverse outcomes of workplace gossip, and the following are some examples you may have witnessed.
  • Anxiety increases for both sides
  • People take sides, creating divisiveness
  • Damaged reputations
  • Loss of trust among team members
  • Reduced employee morale
  • Less productivity

Before you chime in, insert your own opinion, or share gossip about someone else, ask yourself the following:

  • Is the information factual?
  • Will this be crucial for someone to know (i.e., an employee is embezzling company funds)?
  • Is it helpful for others to know? For instance, a fellow employee recently had a life-changing event such as divorce. If this is confirmed true, it will help to tread lightly and give some grace if that co-worker isn't acting like themself.

    Time and understanding will be appreciated.

For all the above, there are ways to manage the necessary sharing of news, but if you’re unsure, either stay out of it or confirm the TRUTH first.

It’s easy to get pulled into the toxic gossip environment but remember, if they’re whispering about others, they’re likely doing the same about you.
When you steer clear of the rumor mill, you will build a reputation of being someone others can trust, leading to respect.
07Jul
The thought of reaching this point on the calendar can be daunting, no matter how you word it, “3rd Quarter” or “Halfway Through the Year.”
The team is worried if they will have time to reach their overall annual goals, and the boss is cheering them on to stay motivated and crush it. Isn’t this what you should have done in the first two quarters? If you did, great, but can you keep it up? If you’ve fallen behind, you need to kick it in gear to catch up so that your overall numbers come together.

When reality hits and you have dipped below your target, don’t fall into the trap of freezing to the point of not taking action.

There ARE steps you can take to get back on track – there’s still time.

Suppose you need to “catch up.” Consider this your cue to swoop in like Superman and make this quarter count. Sometimes all it takes is an attitude adjustment, and even if you’re not feeling it, you can “fake it until you make it.”

When you do that, without worrying about all the other stuff, it will rub off until you’re actually in the zone of accomplishing your goals.

Give Yourself Constructive Criticism

Just as you have mapped out quotas at the beginning of the year, outline what went right and areas where you could improve. Were there techniques or processes that worked? Were there others that didn’t garner the anticipated success? Until you identify what worked and didn’t, you’ll continue to have the same pattern of frustration. Make the corrective action immediately and remember it for the future.

Hit the Ground Running

With your newfound sense of purpose and direction, it’s time to get serious and step up your game. Walk into the phone booth and arm yourself with your new cloak of courage and intent to raise your standards. Make sure your goals are clear with a path to follow to reach them.

What's In It for Me

Write down the rewards you expect if you reach your goals. Every company is different, and some will offer:

  • Monetary bonus
  • More paid vacation
  • Increase in salary or commission
  • Promotion

Some organizations will not necessarily provide something tangible at year’s end, and for many, it may be a part of the upfront agreed-upon expectations for someone in your role. The most valuable takeaway is the pride you feel from living up to your performance promise.

Steer Clear of Negativity

Hopefully, your company has a team player mentality. When you have a culture that flourishes on the support of others, with a friendly competitive spirit, everyone wins. If some naysayers or colleagues thrive on the failure of others, don’t get pulled in. Remain positive, ALWAYS, and stay on the path you’ve set.

Remain True to Your Boundaries

When you’re serious about getting back on track, don’t get distracted by taking on too much. If it doesn’t help you reach your target, stay focused on what will. We talked about learning how to say no in an earlier blog, and this is especially true here. Of course, if it’s something that is naturally part of your role, that’s different as you’re likely to have responsibilities that don’t necessarily include sales.

Stay Sharp
and Move Faster

When you are in the game to win, your health is an essential tool. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have the stamina to make it to the finish line. It’s like that commercial with the two deer about to be jumped on by the lion. To “win,” you need to be faster or at least have the most energy to sustain over the long haul.

This is not a product endorsement,
but a situation example.

Don’t let the third-quarter mile marker scare you and keep your eye on the ball. You will prioritize your daily habits towards those goals when you are more committed.
30Jun
As we celebrate the 4th of July, let’s remember those who have fought for our freedom. 
Have fun and always, be safe!
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23Jun
Whether you are personally performing the search for that next candidate or hiring an outside professional vendor, BEFORE you begin the “chase,” remember, you want to find one that is the best for YOUR company. We know that quality candidates are in demand; however, someone who would be a good match for one company may not be a good fit for yours.

And remember, there is no such thing as a perfect prospect.

The world is yours when you lower your expectations and consider a candidate who may not be perfect but could be a true asset to your company.
Before you begin your search, an accurate job description is one of the most essential tools you can have. One of the biggest mistakes employers make is to create a vague illustration of what the potential employee can expect while “on the job.”
You will want to include:
  • job title
  • position’s purpose
  • specific required skills
  • required, and preferred qualifications
  • overall responsibilities
  • company culture
If you work with a professional staffing solutions provider, they will work closely with you to fine-tune the description. Using their expertise to compose something truthful and attract the desired candidates is a bonus. Either way, you want to be upfront and clear about the expectations of the role.
When developing the job description, the most successful employers will determine what they must absolutely have and what they could live without, initially. Think back to when you first began your career. Did you have all the skills necessary for your dream job? Or did you develop them over time? We know that you can teach some skills more quickly than others. If the right person is in front of you but lacks some capabilities on your list, they can learn if they have the right attitude and aptitude.
Note: The above is only valid if:
  • you don't need that skill immediately for your company to function
  • you have the time to invest in training or the resources to outsource to a third-party vendor, or they can learn "on the job."
  • the candidate has many of the other abilities and has the motivation to learn quickly (you can set a timeframe for the learning before hiring)

Upfront Impressions

If you’re like most busy employers, performing a proper candidate search can be frustrating. But the more reliant your business is on a particular position in the company, the more critical it is to fill that role with someone who will be an asset. Many companies have the best candidate in front of them. Still, during the interactions that follow an initial interview, it could be a turnoff if you don’t put effort into that “after interview” communication. Some examples are:

  • Being very vague about compensation and benefits – do your research to be competitive in your industry. Adding unique perks and benefits are incentives to sweeten the offer.
  • Neglecting to take the time to check the references that were so important to collect from the beginning.
  • Response time to phone calls and emails to thank you, inquire about the hiring status, or ask a follow-up question.

Another internal person can also oversee the above, but the point is that someone MUST manage them. Otherwise, it’s easy for a potential candidate to assume your culture is inflexible and unwelcoming. Employees want a nurturing employer that allows them to thrive and help the company succeed.

The above tasks become more manageable when you work with a qualified staffing company as they will handle the day-to-day communication.

Invest in the most promising people, not the most flawless. No one is perfect, and if someone has the best mindset and majority of the required qualifications, the fit will usually mean a loyal and motivated employee.

When you open your mind and align your expectations from the beginning, you will ensure successful onboarding and an employee who is there for the long haul to help your company grow.

Are you about to launch a candidate search? Lone Star Staffing Solutions is here to help from the beginning of the process to the actual hire. We take care of the mundane tasks and bring you the candidates we feel would be the best fit for your company.
16Jun
We are true leaders when we can surround ourselves with skilled people with the experience to help a company grow. Not all company owners can shift to that mindset for different reasons:
  • Fear of appearing weak for hiring “up” from their own individual level of expertise.
  • Pure ego where they want to “be the best” despite the benefits others with more experience can bring.
It is a well-known fact that a company that isn’t afraid to fill critical positions with employees with a higher level of expertise has a better chance of success. Putting egos aside, your team and people looking in from the outside will more highly respect you if you’re not afraid to “level up” and learn from others.

You will know you’re on the path to success if you have some of the following key leadership attributes. These should be shared with your top leaders and then, once fully vetted, with the entire team.

How Do You Score Your Leaders?

Generate a practical list of what specific things your leaders need to accomplish based on your company’s needs. Review it with your managers, supervisors, or anyone who plays a critical role in the company. Then each month, without fail, “tally” the card to see where each person stands.

Are Your Leaders Allowed to Lead?

There are many cases in a business where an employee is defined on paper as having a leadership role. Yet, the owner, or board, finds it challenging to step out of the way and allow this person to make decisions, even when it’s aligned with the company’s agreed-upon objectives.

Sometimes it requires baby steps. If this is the case, take a few days off and see how things go in their absence. You’ll be an even better leader if you make them feel comfortable enough to reach out to you with questions where your role is more consultative. And this open-door role must come without repercussions as we all learn from our blunders. We can, however, question their approach when they repeatedly make the same mistakes.

Are There Options for Personal and Professional Growth?

When you give your team the tools to enable them to grow, they will thrive, and your company will benefit from their evolving experience and new skills. It is especially beneficial if you can lay out a path that will help them grow, but each new piece of learning should move them a little further on the track to growing within the company.

Leadership tools come in many forms. And, some employees will differ in the way they want to learn. For instance, one person may be more visual, while another may do their best reading a book.

Some options for learning are:

Books
Create a mini-library with an easy way to “check out” a book. It may be necessary to place a time limit (i.e., one week) if it’s a highly sought-after book or something that aligns with a preset curriculum.

You may want to purchase multiple copies if a book falls in line with the “required” reading. And to take it further and nurture a collaborative environment, consider forming a book club with your internal team to discuss and share their opinions in an open, non-judgmental environment.

In-Person Training
This option is often considered during the onboarding process and generally consists of reviewing the procedures and expectations for working with the company. This upfront training should be a part of the process, no matter the level of the employee.

Leadership training is different as it is geared to the roles of the company leaders, which can include “future leaders.” Many third-party vendors can provide this service at a higher level and can be accomplished in-person or online. In-person, when made possible, is often a more efficient option as the facilitator can better capture the attendees’ attention. Your team will benefit, but so will your company as they continue to evolve their skillset.

Check-In Without Hovering

Set up regular check-in points where your leadership team meets to ensure everyone is on track. Holding a weekly meeting keeps things moving forward and allows you, as the ultimate leader, to weigh in on progress and how it will positively impact the company.

And don’t forget to check in with each leader on a one-to-one level, so they feel even more comfortable sharing any challenges their facing.

When you focus on the executive development of your key leadership staff, you automatically elevate the quality and perception of your company.
And finally, don’t forget to work to improve your own skillset continuously. When you lead by example and openly share your progress, you gain the respect of your team while motivating them to do the same.