09Jun
We talk a lot about employee retention and best practices to keep them engaged in a culture where they can thrive. These expectations are still critical, and employers who care about their employees will develop a culture that attracts and retains quality team members.
But what about the employer? What should they be able to expect from an employer-employee relationship? Is it realistic to think they should also realize certain benefits? The answer is a resounding YES. Suppose all of the benefits fall solely on the employees to keep them engaged and motivated? What keeps the employer motivated to nurture and support the growth of their team?

The goal should be to make the relationship a win-win with everyone on board to do what’s best for the company.

To follow are some of the expectations that an employer should be able to anticipate from an employee.

Treat the Company as Their Own

Your employees may not have direct ownership of your business, but you want them to feel like they do. If you’re a business owner who provides rewards or other benefits tied directly to company profit or growth, they will be more incentivized. On the other hand, this mindset should also be in place simply because they want to see the company succeed.

Creativity and Problem-Solving

You hired them for their skills and experience, but you will want all employees to think creatively no matter the industry. Creative thinking doesn’t just apply to artists but everyone.

For example, you reach a roadblock in a project. You want your team to think, “how can we get this done,” versus “we can’t do this.” Challenges come up every day, and while that “creative thinking cap” may be left at home on some days, ultimately, you want, and should expect, creative thinking to be a part of the daily perspective.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

When we first interview employees, one of the questions typically revolves around their ability to work as a team. No matter how much they express how well they work as a team, it’s essential to ask them for clear examples. If possible, give them some scenarios where they can insert themselves into the situation and talk about how they would respond.

In addition to the above exercise, make it VERY clear that leadership will not tolerate any disrespect of co-workers. When this happens, it disrupts productivity and is not in the company’s best interests. At the same time, let the potential employee know that working as a team will still allow you to assess them as individuals for future growth in the company.

Working Efficiently

Many tasks, including long-term projects, generally come with budgets set in advance. It’s easy for employees to spend more than the allotted time because they don’t understand how they should allocate their time. If this is especially important based on the type of work assigned, get everyone in the habit of recording their time. When they genuinely think of the company as their own, as outlined above, it will be much easier and less costly to the company.

Working efficiently also includes attention to detail. Work with your team to set up checkpoints to ensure they aren’t so far into the project that they cannot correct something missed.

Put Forth the Best Effort

Everyone, every day, should arrive ready, willing, and able to do their best. Yes, there may be some days when someone may not be motivated, but it’s important to address this quickly if those days happen frequently. There may be something affecting them either at home or work, and you may be able to help without getting too personal. However, this needs to be corrected if it’s more of a general “laziness” issue.

Integrity Is a Virtue

When an employee has integrity, it’s easy to spot, and this trait is something usually ingrained in someone’s character. If you can form a team full of people who have integrity, the workplace becomes lighter and less complicated.

Loyalty

This quality is one of the most important things you should be able to expect from your employees. No matter if you do or don’t have a rewards system in place, loyalty from your employees should be a given. It goes back to the mindset of treating the company as their own. When asked about the company, there should be nothing less than positive commentary from your employees.

As with anything expected of your employees, it’s crucial to have everything outlined in your employee handbook in laypeople’s terms. And even more important, these discussions should happen in the early interview stages.

Are you about to conquer the task of searching for someone to add to your team? Give us a call as we can help with these upfront conversations and help you find the right people with the right attributes and skillset to grow your team further.
16Mar
When we go to the grocery store and are patiently waiting in line to check out, in addition to the gossip magazines and preventative medicine advice publications, we all see the brain teaser books and puzzles meant to keep your mind active and alert.
We all choose, or not, based on what information we crave.
For some, the gossip magazines take us into the celebrity world with some facts and some fiction. For others, we want to know the best tactics to lose that weight or take better care of ourselves. Then you have the 3rd category, where we hunger to keep our minds alive and lean towards learning new things.
No matter your age, it’s never too late to keep your mind active by learning a new skill. It could be for your enjoyment, or you may want to increase your skill set to help expand your career. Either way, it’s always a great idea to expand your horizons.
These explorations into something new can teach you more about yourself and could even lead you in a different direction.

Get Motivated to Learn

Do you know the feeling you get when you have a planned vacation in the future? Just knowing you’re about to get away, even if it’s a stay-cation, gets you motivated to lose those extra pounds, get caught up at work, and even a reason to happily get out of bed.

And when we talk about learning a new skill, it doesn’t need to be career-related. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but either didn’t have the time or think it was worth the time to invest, such as:

  • learning a new language
  • learning to play an instrument
  • learning to play a sport

When we open up our minds to letting ourselves be creative, we then clear our brains to focus on the other part of our lives that requires us to be responsible. Including space on your calendar to enjoy something new makes the daily “tasks” much more bearable as we begin to look forward to learning.

Trying something new requires a little effort, but in the long run, you’ll find it beats getting swallowed up in a rabbit hole of social media or binge-watching TV. And, when you learn something new, you’ll have something you’re proud of to share with your circle.

~ THE BENEFITS OF LEARNING
  • It’s a confidence booster.
  • Your brain becomes healthier. The mind continuously reshapes itself as you continue to develop new skills.
  • You’ll gain confidence and find it easier to overcome anxiety in stressful situations.
  • A positive mindset. As you continue to learn, you’ll feel more empowered to take on new challenges, both personally and professionally.
~ WHERE TO START

First, ask yourself if there’s something you’ve always wanted to discover. As we mature, some of our options may no longer be there due to physical limitations, but there are plenty of opportunities to turn a “wish I could” into “I can.”

Start small and do your best to manage time, so the activities that pay the bills or caregiving for your family don’t fall by the wayside. As you move forward, you’ll work it out so that the balance is there. And once those around you know you’re following your passion, they will do their best to help you achieve it.
~ SOME IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED
There are many options to begin learning. You can learn through:
  • tradition paper books or audio tapes
  • apps
  • local or online course
  • tutors

Learning can be challenging initially, but once you jump-start your brain, it becomes easier and is more rewarding.

Are you ready to get the mental and physical boost you need through learning?
29Dec
Personally and professionally, difficult situations can be challenging to spin into a positive perspective. Business mistakes can feel like a roadblock, shifting your focus from success to pessimism and worry. But all isn’t lost!
These are a few key practices you can use to help you learn from these negative situations and start with a fresh outlook in the new year.

Look for the Silver Lining

This may be hard to find amid a” business crisis,” but many problems also result in an upside. Take the time to look for the positives of any negative circumstance. Outline specific choices that led to the issue to become more aware of what not to do again in the future. This knowledge will help you be a better business owner and serve as a valuable learning opportunity.

Make Changes For Better Outcomes

Now that you know what might have caused the mistake to happen, vow to make changes to avoid a future recurrence. This may mean updating a business process, learning a new skill, or outsourcing work to a strategic partner like Lone Star Staffing Solutions. Whatever the outcome, set yourself up for success by taking action.

Mindset Matters

It’s easy to fall into negative thinking about emotionally draining challenges. However, developing a positive mindset is critical to moving on from past mistakes. It may be tough, but do your best to avoid having a defeatist attitude that focuses on the problem and leaves little room for potential solutions. Some steps to change your mindset are:

  • Try starting a business gratitude journal
    Find a motivational accountability partner to help keep you on the positive path

Get Goal Oriented

Now that you know how to succeed, don’t be afraid to set new goals and try again. Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone is brave enough to own up to them and move on. You may fail again, but it’s important to remember that’s a normal part of learning something new. Prioritize by updating your goals to continue positive growth as an employee or leader in your business.
Lone Star Staffing Solutions is here to help you overcome challenges by providing solutions for your employment needs. We are committed to helping employees and businesses avoid mistakes by assisting them to make the right connections. We invite you to reach out to our experienced team today and start securing the best candidates to help you accomplish your 2022 goals!
14Sep
Do your employees go through ups and downs when it comes to productivity? Motivating your workforce can be a challenge, especially if you’re unsure what is causing the reduced energy.
Everyone wants their employees to get excited about coming to work each day. A motivated employee is a productive employee. It also helps when they enjoy spending time with their co-workers, making for a much better team.

Getting your employees motivated is more straightforward than it seems.

To follow are some things you can do to ignite the excitement they may have had at the beginning.
Positive Communication

Do you find yourself “barking” orders when it comes to office tasks or when you want to know the status of a specific project? This form of communication causes stress in the office, and the tension increases as soon as they hear your voice. Likely, this isn’t your intention, but if this is how you’ve always communicated, it’s a great time to change your ways. Taking just that one step will almost instantly change the dynamic in your office, at least once the team realizes they no longer need to jump each time you approach.

Replace the “barking” with a kinder, more personal approach and allow them to speak openly without fear of the familiar outbursts.
You want to be a leader that others want to follow, and when you set a good example, that attitude trickles down and helps establish a positive culture.

Click play for some “barking” orders. 

Friendly Competition Leads to Increased Camaraderie
We see charts of conquered sales and monthly employee rewards, but did you know that creating a bit of competition between employees can help produce a better work product? It comes back to you as the leader to set the tone so that it does remain friendly, and the vibe is a shared support system for everyone. When someone “wins” a particular competition, make sure to thank everyone for participating and NEVER reprimand in public, and if there is an issue, set up a meeting, in private, to discuss.

Continue to motivate and find out what they need to be out in front the next time.

Share Your Company Goals
Motivated employees like knowing the plan and what their role is to help get you there. When you have a path that also includes a road to future promotions, they’re more apt to work hard to reach the goals that will make the company successful. And even better, they will work hard without being asked because you have included them in your vision.
In addition to enlightening your team, include incentives that have meaning to them. You may be surprised, but it’s rarely about money. You can provide other considerations that help them become better at what they do while increasing their commitment to you and the company.
  • Additional training to increase their skillset.
  • An extra day(s) off without deducting from existing vacation time
  • Dinner for two
  • Grocery store gift card

To make it fun, write these perks on separate cards and let the employee draw their incentive when they’ve reached an agreed-upon goal. Make it a team event that motivates others to have the same opportunity.

Continue to Check In
You’ve implemented some of the above tactics, and you see a definite increase in energy. The work is flowing as it should, plus there’s a lightness in the office that wasn’t there before.
Continue to dialogue with your employees to ensure the new way of communicating is still working. Be open to ideas to keep a healthy environment in the office, and you’ll have a greater sense of dedication and positive attitudes. Now isn’t that a much better way to work and protect your workforce investment?
07Jul
Almost as fast as the pandemic was upon us, it appears that day-to-day business is returning to normal. What “normal” is has changed too, as we adopted new ways of doing things when we shifted to accommodate the need to change.
The excitement, combined with the anxiety of jumping back in, is why we need to do it in a way that keeps stress levels low. It’s important to take into account the hesitation of others as there are still many with reservations about getting back out there.

On the business side of things, in-person meetings are something many of us missed. And now, we are either raring to go or are hesitant because we’ve grown accustomed to the world of Zoom and feel our social skills are rusty. 

Just like anything “new,” you can test the waters while your confidence continues to build. To follow are some examples of how you can begin to immerse yourself:

Schedule shorter duration meetings

Limit the amount of time you spend at an event

Go with a someone who makes you feel comfortable

And remember, there will be many “rusty” people out there who are feeling anxious too. It’s a relevant topic for conversation as people find comfort in sharing similar experiences, so be open about how you’re feeling – in a positive manner.

If one of your reasons is that you didn’t complete your COVID resolutions, check out one of our earlier blogs, “Lack of Completed COVID Resolutions? That’s OK!

New Procedures Are There for a Reason

Many companies have established new policies to continue to think about safety while doing their best to resume “business as usual.” If there are procedures in place that you disagree with, don’t rock the boat. Unless, of course, it’s something that could negatively affect your safety and the safety of others. Everyone will have their version of what it will take to feel normal, so be flexible as you will expect the same respect should they participate in one of your meetings or events. And be proactive about communicating the measures you’ve taken to minimize risk. Most businesses have already been taking action to step up their game by:

  • Increasing their sanitizing standards beginning with a total deep clean
  • Positioning hand sanitizer stations throughout the office
  • Posting new procedures in a central location or, on the Internet or internal Intranet
  • Alerting vendors such as delivery personnel and companies that provide a service such as cleaning or catering.

In-Person Events and Meetings

Are you ready to host an event or meeting at your office or in an off-site location? If at your office, you should already have these systems in place, and if at a public venue, ask management in advance what protocols they have established. For either location option, make sure to share these safety guidelines with your attendees in advance. For some, it’s not a big concern, but for others, it will be the deciding factor on whether they will attend or not.

Offering the flexibility of a virtual option can help increase attendance, at least until all are ready for in-person. For a conference room meeting, this is reasonably easy to accomplish. However, for a more interactive event that involves networking and catered food, a virtual option wouldn’t necessarily be viable.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for getting together, but being flexible will increase participation when options are available.

Business Lunch Meeting

Your office may be where you feel more comfortable meeting a colleague or client for lunch, but getting out to enjoy a quality meal while supporting the restaurant industry, is terrific.

There’s something to be said for conducting business over a working lunch. It’s a great way to establish rapport and build on a relationship that leads to trust. Plus, a change in location helps reduce stress and increase morale.

  • If you’re meeting with employees, it’s a great way to bond as a team in an informal environment.
  • If meeting with potential/existing clients, it’s a more relaxing setting to have a confidential discussion.
  • If you’re the one buying, it’s always a great way to show your appreciation.

If you’re in charge of the lunch plans, make it easier on yourself by making upfront choices that will help demonstrate your professionalism. When you reduce the number of tasks you need to take care of during lunch, the smoother and less stressful it will be.

  • Make reservations. Not all establishments allow for reservations, but if you know you have a table in advance, your meeting can more likely start/end on time.
  • Choose a restaurant that has easy-to-eat food as most likely you’ll be in business attire. And, it’s always wise to ask the attendee(s) upfront if a particular type of cuisine works for them.
  • As always, proper etiquette while eating goes a long way as it helps to establish your personality and what they can expect when doing business with you.
  • And very important, arrive early. Be the first to arrive to ensure your table is ready and so you can be the one to greet any guests.
Whether you’re the one buying the meal, someone is treating you, or simply splitting the bill, all of the above helps you put your best foot forward.

Allowing for multiple modes of communication while incorporating appropriate safety protocol will open the door for more opportunities to build trust. But, NEVER do something you’re uncomfortable with as that doesn’t work either. When you’re ready to get out there, you will.
16Jun
As a technology staffing company with many of our founders and leaders who have been in the technology industry for upwards of 20 and 30+ years, we have witnessed first-hand game-changing advancements among technologies, languages, and methodologies.

Agile Methodology was introduced in the early 2000s and REALLY started taking off around ten years ago.

Agile methodology is a project management strategy that uses short development cycle “sprints” to focus on continuous improvement in the development of a product or service. In a nutshell, Agile focuses on 12 fundamental principles and has drastically transformed how development teams operate, giving a stronger focus on the customer and becoming faster and more flexible!

After seeing Agile take the technology industry by storm and its central focus around better productivity and customer satisfaction, leaders across all segments and industries are trying to translate it into their own careers.
WE DON’T BLAME THEM!

Here are just a couple of those critical principles that we feel you should immediately translate into your “Career Methodology.”
ONE: Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

Every great company should have their clients/customers top-of-mind when making business decisions, and that should trickle down no differently to an individual contributor level. Agile gave a new level of attention and focus to customer satisfaction, which should easily translate into everyone’s daily focus, whether in technology, accounting, manual labor, etc. If your continuous delivery is not already centrally focused on the client/customer — CHANGE IT IMMEDIATELY.

TWO: Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

In technology, Agile has aligned business initiatives with technology delivery like never before! Thanks to integrating business focus and leaders into the design, product owners/business analysts began to play an even more integral role as the liaison within a successful Agile team. This business alignment or overall cross-team collaboration should be applied for any delivery model impacted by multiple parties. The more segmented you are from different business units that affect your delivery, the more subject you are to delays, gaps, and misunderstandings.

THREE: Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

This principle is pretty self-explanatory when you consider using your motivated teammates/employees as a centerpiece to whatever you are trying to accomplish. However, this can have an impact in ways that are important to understand. If you are a leader in any segment, start building projects and initiatives around your most motivated employees. This leadership style gives them an extra sense of ownership and accountability for the delivery, and when communicated the right way — WATCH WHAT HAPPENS!

FOUR: Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

Paul J. Meyer once said, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

I have to think that the creators of Agile Methodology took a page out of this iconic motivators book. This principle is crucial for Agile’s success and something everyone should follow while performing their daily tasks. People have heard for years, “Do it right the first time.” Set your goals high, and ALWAYS shoot for excellence!

FIVE: The team reflects on becoming more effective at regular intervals, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

As part of this Agile Methodology, you have something call CI/CD. I like to think the CI has two meanings, Continuous integration, and Continuous Improvement. Agile Methodology trains all parties involved to not wait until the final delivery to reflect on the success of the project/initiative. In this methodology, regular intervals are created to better gauge the current effectiveness of duties and tasks. This ideation provides an opportunity to be more nimble and make adjustments before advancing further into the project!

Take a daily step back and reflect on your success so you can continually compare your output and effectiveness to your overall goals. That way, you can adjust accordingly to help avoid getting off track in the long run!

For your benefit, we encourage you to look at the 12 Principals of Agile Methodology and choose which ones you can immediately translate into maximizing your daily delivery. Good luck on becoming MORE AGILE as we have in our business!!!
27May
Many of us thought it would be just a few weeks and then back to regular routines when the pandemic was first upon us. As time continued to move on, with no insight into when this would happen, each of us had our realities to face. Whether it was home-schooling, working remotely, or, as many experienced, no work at all due to business closings. And, for so many, all of the above was coming at them from all directions.
In addition to the day-to-day changes and the increased computer time, we had all these learning options thrown at us. In-person events morphed into virtual conferences and meetings, and opportunities to learn everything from how to bake bread to learning a new language were everywhere. Those of us who were already overwhelmed felt compelled to jump on the merry-go-round and soak up what we could via webinars, online workshops and seminars, throughout the day.

And then came the COVID resolutions – not to be confused with the annual New Year’s resolutions – once we realized we would “be on our own” and away from others for an indefinite amount of time. For some, it was tackling those “honey-do” projects such as painting, cleaning out those cluttered closets or, getting in the best shape ever. For others, it was more of a spiritual time to slow down to reflect while taking time to catch up on their reading.

As time continued to move forward, some people accomplished all they set out to and more. And others started strong but then, with everything else that is going on, drifted back to old habits and lost their motivation.

The latter of the above scenarios is where we need to be careful in our thinking. As we turn to a healthier environment, thoughts of failure enter our minds and paralyze even the most optimistic person. You look out your window and see a neighbor running her silent marathon and getting better every day. Your best friend has mastered another language and still manages to tackle daily tasks.

When we put this type of stress on ourselves, it can cause us to retreat, and instead of making things better, we become complacent and more falls through the cracks. That’s OK. Between New Year’s and COVID resolutions, we pigeonhole ourselves by allowing resolutions to dictate our course of action. When we push ourselves when we’re not ready, we end up “failing” at what we’re trying to accomplish. For example, fitness centers sign up more new members in January and then fall off in February.

It’s all OK. When it’s the right time, and most importantly, don’t compare yourself to others.

Everyone has their time clock, and just because we’re headed into the new normal and back to in-person interactions, don’t beat yourself up.
Tomorrow will always come, and there is no right or wrong time to jumpstart whatever goal you are ready to undertake.

If you scroll through social media and notice that others accomplish what seems like a lot, don’t feel defeated. And better yet, refrain from visiting those platforms. This unprecedented time in history was unexpected, and there are no right/wrong behaviors when it comes to expanding your horizons. Take a step back and feel alive, and don’t judge yourself or others. If asked what you did during your time off in COVID, simply say, I learned a lot about myself and so happy to be alive.

In summary, create your own time for resolutions and set REALISTIC goals to give you a better chance of success.

If you slip up, no worries, start again. Better yet, find a buddy with the same interests and do it together. Healthy competition is good, and when you encourage each other, especially if you trip, it makes all the difference.
Do what makes YOU happy! Now, what would you like to accomplish?