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5 Ways to Increase Loyalty of Your Warehouse Workers

February 8th, 2013

Your employees are your company.  They are ultimately what determines the success or failure of the organization.  There are steps you can take to insure that you retain your team, such as increasing employee engagement.  Here are 5 more tips to try to increase your workers’ loyalty.

1)      All employees want to be respected.  They need to feel that they are valued as important assets.  This usually comes from their manager.  It is often said that workers leave their manager, not their job.  A good manager will make sure that workers know that their efforts are noticed, important and appreciated.

2)      All employees value the truth.  They respond well to an open-door approach of management.  Obviously, not everyone will or should be privileged to all the particulars of your business.  But, workers do appreciate you presenting them with an honest assessment of the state of the business.  Hold a meeting with your workers at least annually, to let them know in as much detail as you feel comfortable with, how well the business is doing as a result of their hard work.

3)      All employees need a good manager.  If you have an ineffective or just plain bad manager, you need to do something about it fast.  A poor manager can have a tremendous negative ripple effect throughout many layers of your business.  You have two choice:  retrain them or fire them.  If you don’t, you will lose workers.

4)      All employees want to be compensated fairly.  Understand that many workers feel that they work to make managers and owners rich.  Also understand that perception is reality.  Instead of trying to change their perception, work with it , and guarantee that their efforts are appropriately compensated.  If you can afford to pay more than the going rate, and you choose to do so, make sure that your employees know that.  Tell them that they are compensated at this higher level because you value them and know they are worth that and more.

5)      All employees want their personal lives respected.  It starts with knowing them a little.  Do you know the names of your warehouse staff?  Who has children?  Who has a long commute?  Who might be dealing with some personal struggles that are making it difficult to work, and yet are showing up every day and getting the job done?  Thank them once in a while for doing what they do every day, not only when they go above and beyond.  Workers want to know that you see them as people, not cogs in the wheel of the business.  They value their time greatly and if you respect that time, they will respect you and you will have their loyalty in spades.

Increasing your workers’ loyalty to you begins with hiring the right workers and managers.  This process can be extremely time consuming.  That is how ERG Staffing can help.  Our staff of trained professionals is able to supply you with qualified light industrial staff to meet your needs, freeing up your time to do what you need to do:  focus on driving your business forward.  Contact us today to get started.

Employee Resigned? Here’s What to Do to Replace Them

February 1st, 2013

You are faced with filling the hole left by a resignation.  Where do you begin?  This may be something you have to do somewhat frequently, or if you are lucky, it doesn’t happen too often.  But whatever the frequency, you will always have a more successful search if you learn to work smarter, not harder.  Here are a few ideas on how to do just that.

Know exactly who you are looking for.  Spend some quality time thinking about who your ideal candidate will be.  Define his experience, skill set, training and education, leadership abilities and any other traits that will make him ideal for the position.  Fully understand the requirements and day to day operations and demands of the job.  Once you have a crystal clear picture of all this data, then you can effectively search for candidates.

Remember that a resume is just a resume.  Most of the time, the people you are trying to hire are not professional resume writers.  There will be some small flaw in a large percentage of the resumes and cover letters you receive.  But, you shouldn’t really be reading them that closely anyway.  As they come in, quickly scan each one in 10 to 20 seconds.  If you do not uncover any deal breakers in that time, put the resume in the “consider” pile.  Resumes are a flawed way of analyzing talent anyway.  Many times, a candidate will actually have the qualifications for which you were looking, they simply did not represent them in an effective way on paper.  Also remember you are hiring people, not resumes.  It will pay off to consider a wider selection.

Look at resumes even if they are not current.  Whether you are searching LinkedIn or a pile of paper resumes in a folder, don’t overlook ones that are “old”, that is more than a month or two.  By doing so you are making assumptions that these people have been hired, and are happy where they are.  Logic dictates that this is far from the case.  There are myriad reason to call up these candidates, and almost no reasons not to.  They may still be looking for job.  They may have been hired but are dissatisfied.  They may have been hired for a temporary position that will be ending shortly.  Or, they may be in danger of a layoff or downsizing in the near future.  Call them.

Don’t hire too quickly.  Don’t hire the first candidate you find who has the right qualifications.  Do yourself the courtesy of continuing to interview all the individuals in your consider pile.  You never know who you are going to uncover.  If you speak with everyone, and the first one is still the lead candidate, you will rest easy knowing that you thoroughly weighed all your options and have made the best choice.

Explore all your options for sourcing.  Don’t forget your internal referral network.  Make sure all your current employees know you are looking to fill the opening.  Use your own professional and social networks to get leads.  Utilize all the job boards and search engines.  Even candidates who are not the exact right match may know of someone who is.  Cast as wide a net as possible.

Filling these openings is always a time consuming challenge.  That’s why you should call ERG Staffing Services today.  We can help you fill any clerical or light industrial position  efficiently, with the right individual, right away.

7 Tips for Retaining Your Light Industrial Talent

January 25th, 2013

Once you have a great team in place, you want to keep it that way.  The costs associated with training a new hire can be pretty large, not to mention the time and energy required from your management team to get the newbie up to speed.  And, during this training period, the rest of your team may be under increased pressure from being short-handed.  So, all in all, keeping the talent you have is important economically and culturally as well.  Here are a few tips for retaining your team.

  1.  Hire the right people to begin with.  If you make good hires that fit in with your existing team and are a nice cultural match, they are much more likely to stay.  Don’t hire and train individuals who you know deep down are not really right for your business.
  2. Help to provide a balance between work and home life.  There are a number of things you could implement that would help workers maintain this balance.  Consider flexible scheduling, job sharing or even, when applicable, telecommuting.  Even things as simple as flexible or extended lunch breaks so employees can run errands or go to doctor appointments during the day instead of scrambling to get these things done after work.  These accommodations can go a long way to easing the stress some workers feel when trying to balance work with family.
  3. Offer opportunities and communicate them.  Today’s workers want to know that they are working toward something greater, whether it is more responsibility or more money or a bigger title.  Not only should you offer ways to advance for employees, you should also clearly map out how they can achieve these goals.  A well communicated plan for advancement gives workers the peace of mind that they are not merely turning a crank and staying still; their efforts are getting them closer to their goal.
  4. Make sure you have adequate staff.  There may be nothing more frustrating than working really hard all day long only to find out that you barely made a dent in the workload of your team.  This can be demoralizing, and may be a leading cause of employees looking elsewhere for a job.  Make sure you have enough hands on deck to effectively tackle daily tasks.  Consider temporary staffing to help you get caught up and stay that way.
  5. Re-examine your benefits package.  Salary is important, but so are the other benefits you offer.  And many times the benefits package is a deciding factor to take one job over another.
  6. Provide an environment that encourages open communication.  Workers need to feel they have a voice and that management is listening.  It is also important that they get help when they need it.  Make sure you are offering opportunities for peers to mentor each other and share their knowledge.  Ensure that employees understand that they can come to management with questions and suggestions, and that their ideas are valued.  Along with this goes feedback from you.  Talk to your team about their progress and opportunities for improvement on a regular basis.  They will know that they are not being overlooked and that their success is important to you as well as them.
  7. Maintain fairness.  All employees on the same level should be offered the same opportunities and be held to the same expectations.  Make sure that your managers are not playing favorites and giving some workers unfair advantages or allowing some employees to slide by while others are expected to uphold a standard.  This creates a very negative environment which will surely encourage people to leave the company in search of equitable treatment.

Whatever your particular staffing needs are, ERG Staffing Services can help you fill them.  Whether you are looking for temporary clerical staff or permanent placement for warehouse workers, contact us today to get started.

Resume Fraud – Don’t Get Caught in an Accidental Lie

January 18th, 2013

You have found what you believe to be your dream job.  You really want this job!  When writing your resume and cover letter, you are struck with the fear that on paper you don’t look as good as you think is necessary to land the position.  You are tempted to exaggerate your past titles, salaries, tenures or skills.  Don’t do it.  It isn’t if you get caught – usually, it’s when.

Sometimes, with all good intentions, you may accidently and completely innocently commit resume fraud.  Here are some items for your resume punch list too help keep your information as above board and beyond reproach as possible.

Google yourself.  Just type your name into the search and see what comes up.  This is what your potential employer is going to do.  Now follow each link.  Do you like what you see?  Are there some pictures on your Facebook page that may not paint the best portrait of you?  Is the data on your LinkedIn profile accurate, up to date, and matching the data on your paper resume?  As you sift through this online portfolio of yourself, make changes where needed so this information is as accurate and acceptable as can be.  Any inconsistencies may lead HR to believe that you are not being honest.  A reported 64 percent of HR professionals did not extend a job offer to a potential employee because they uncovered inconsistencies in dates of previous employment when conducting background checks, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Tighten Up.  When listing dates of employment, list the month and year, not just the year.  You may unwittingly exaggerate how long you were employed at one place – it’s the difference between “2004 – 2009” which looks like 6 years, and “Nov. 2004 to Jan. 2009” which is actually more like 4 years.  If HR researches this, it will appear you were stretching the truth.  List your titles as exactly as you can.  Use the title used by the company and the accepted industry title too if they are different.  If every sales person is called “Vice President”, also list “(salesperson)” so you are not accidentally misrepresenting yourself as having held a higher position than you did.  These may seem trivial, but to HR they are anything but.

Be Proactive.  The standard listing of references is fine, but you can do better.  What you should do is reconnect with all your past supervisors and let them know of your current job search.  You should even attempt to mend any broken fences you may have in your past.  Because in today’s environment of somewhat rampant resume fraud, HR workers are not only reaching out to your listed references, but any other places you have worked.  How do they find this information?  They obtain all sorts of information about you through professional background checks.  So do your best to ensure that when they call, you will receive positive, prepared responses.  Also, have available proof of advanced certifications and education you have, transcripts and any other evidence that your skills are in fact what you are representing them to be.  This will instill confidence in HR right off the bat, and save them some time as well.

Are you in the market for a light industrial or warehouse position?  Why not start with ERG Staffing Services.  Contact us today and we will help you find a situation that best suits your particular skill set and needs.

Is Negative Better Than Neutral? You Bet!

January 12th, 2013

In the world of fashion, trends change frequently; one year brown is the new black, the next it’s gray, the next it’s black again.  In the world of HR reference checking, some things never change. Neutral is really negative, and negative is really information.

With the threat of lawsuits hanging over HR manager’s heads, many of us will absolutely never give a negative reference when asked.  We will give the basic employment verification information and not a bit more.  This leaves the person on the other end of the phone with no more information than before they picked up the phone.

If what we are seeking is clarity, what can we do to get more information from reference checks?

  • One way is to get more verified information directly from the applicant.  To ensure you are getting correct employment history, ask for a business card from previous positions held.  If you’d like to make sure you get an accurate picture of his job performance claims, ask to see a copy of previous performance reviews.  You can even verify salary claims be asking to see an old pay stub from their last employer.  This is real, verified information about the applicant that can aid in your decision making process.
  • When asking for references, see if you can get his direct supervisor, and perhaps even that person’s manager as well.  If you have more than one superior to speak with, you have a chance of getting real information about the candidate from one of them.
  • If you have the opportunity to leave a message asking for a reference, you can say “Please give me a call back at your convenience if this is someone you would strongly recommend for (position available).”  If you get no return call, it may be an indicator that this applicant does not get the recommendation from his previous employer.  It may also mean that the previous employer does not return reference calls.  Either way, it can serve to possibly confirm suspicions you may already have about the applicant not being a good fit.  Alternatively, you may get a call back right away with a glowing endorsement.  Information achieved.
  • This question may get you some useful data on your applicant too:  “In what position in your company would you absolutely not place this person, and why?”  Listen closely to the answer.  You may have to wait a minute for a response as they may be caught off guard.  That’s a good thing for you, as you might be lucky enough to get an honest answer that will shed some light on your candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

Reference checking can be a long and daunting task.  At ERG Staffing Services, we take care of that, and so much more, to provide you with temporary and temp-to-permanent light industrial staff that fit your needs and culture.  Call one of our representatives today to get started.

Take a Second Look at Those Underemployed Candidates

January 4th, 2013

The turn of a new year usually lends to new beginnings and change.  Change is almost always good, even when on the surface it may not seem so.  One change you may consider making in your hiring strategy for 2013 is to consider more closely the applicant who may be struggling career-wise.

In our current economy and abysmal job market, many, many qualified people have been laid off.  There are so few jobs available that they are forced to take on jobs outside their normal career path, that may not be anywhere near their actual potential.  But people need to work, for financial as well as self-worth reasons, so they will give their all to a job that is less than they are capable of.  Your policy for hiring may summarily reject anyone who is unemployed or not employed at a certain level.  Considering whom these individuals tend to be, a policy revision may be in order.

A flawless screening process is critical for being able to tell who is a star and who isn’t.  You must know exactly what qualities you are looking for in a member of your team, and design your interview questions to get a good sense of whether or not your candidate is in possessions of them.  You must also train your hiring managers to recognize the signs of a great asset.  Many times, if you are considering hiring someone for a job in which they have little direct experience, your instincts will be you guide.  But if you are on the lookout for your key factors, you will have something more concrete to go on.

Attitude is everything.  Many times these underemployed people have suffered a rejection and loss from being laid off from a company at which they worked long and hard.  These candidates are generally highly motivated to get back some of their workplace esteem and former level of achievement.  Motivation to learn is one of the most critical qualities in a successful hire.  Most other things can be taught, but a good attitude has to walk in the door with them.

Fresh eyes with experience in other realms can spot areas for improvements and make suggestions for change.  You and your team have been doing things a certain way, and that’s the way you do them.  A new hire with work experience different from your environment brings to the table their own fresh perspective.  The expression “You can’t see the forest for the trees” exactly describes the phenomena here:  they see the trees and can tell which ones are healthy and which should be kindling.

The growth potential for these candidates is meaningful, for them and for you.  They need to know that they can begin to rebuild toward something higher in the workplace.  They are motivated to achieve more.  You benefit because you are hiring potential.  These employees are ones that can grow with your company professionally, and also build long term relationships within your company creating a stable and welcoming work environment.

You can afford them.  Because they are changing careers, or starting over, or whatever you want to call it, their past experience does not relate exactly to what their new job will be.  Consequently, the salary they can initially draw will many times be less than what they were making at their previous position, at which they had climbed the ladder and made a name and a reputation for themselves.  You as the employer can get a great bargain in hiring an underemployed candidate.

ERG Staffing Services specializes in providing temporary and permanent light industrial staffing solutions to business like yours.  From initial screening to HR support, we are ready to handle the hiring process for you, so you can focus on the rest of your business.  Contact us today.

Turn a Performance Review into Employee Development

December 21st, 2012

As HR professionals, we have many functions.  One that we strive to constantly improve, and unfortunately sometimes do not look forward to, is the employee performance review.  We always work toward making the process more valuable and meaningful because it is such an important function for us as managers and for our employees as well.  Some of us, both management and employees alike dread it because it feels stilted, uncomfortable and lacking any real relevance outside of a salary increase for the employee.  In fact, in a survey conducted by Leadership IQ of 48,000 CEO’s, managers and employees, only 13% of managers and employees and 6 % of CEOs thought their year-end reviews were effective

The basic components of the traditional performance review are goal setting and measurement criteria, assessment of goal achievement, rating and salary review.  All reviews incorporate most or all of these elements.  Here are some ways to make these meetings a more useful, productive and valued tool for employee engagement and development.

Talk money first.  This conversation always comes at the end of the meeting after all the results of the analysis have been brought to light.  Unfortunately, many times the employee doesn’t really hear what you are saying because they are merely listening for clues to answer their burning questions “What am I getting?”  So bury the lead, and tell them at the outset of the meeting.  This way you can have a meaningful conversation in which you can both fully participate.  Next cover performance evaluations, and finally move along to future goal setting.

Get a self-assessment.  To keep the focus on the employee’s performance in a productive direction, ask for their own assessment.  What does she feel were her greatest accomplishments of the quarter?  What struggles did she overcome?  Where does she wish she could have had more success?  Allow your discussion to be guided by these answers.  Struggles open up discussion for training and mentoring.  Successes can be celebrated and built upon.  The greatest benefit about this tactic is that it is purely employee focused and employee specific.

Keep it that way – Specific.  One chief complaint of employees is that your feedback can sound canned, as if it could apply to half the department.  Keep all your written evaluations very employee specific.  This may be a challenge, especially in the beginning.  We all tend to have a bag of phrases we draw from to describe employees, like “team player” or “self-motivated”.   It is ok to use these when appropriate, (they are catch phrases for a reason, after all) but make sure you make more specific notes of examples of when, where and why you rate them this way.  If your employee feels that your feedback is actually relevant to her, she will be much more receptive to coaching and improvement plans you set up.

Start with the easiest reviews first.  This is nice for you as well, because you get to begin the process with positive results!  This serves an important function for the rest of the department, too.  By meeting with your top performers first, you avoid negative grumblings of low performers, who are not thrilled with their assessment, permeating the attitudes of other employees and setting up a negative environment for the rest of the reviews.

Improving this function of your job is going to drive productivity upward and impart a greater sense of satisfaction for both your employees and for you, too.   At ERG Staffing Services, our staff is expert in providing you with qualified employees for your clerical and light industrial staffing needs.  Beginning with the right people sets you up for future success and satisfaction as well.  Contact us today to find out all we have to offer.

Interviewing 101: How to Answer “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?”

December 14th, 2012

If you are fortunate, you are looking for a new job while you still have a job.  More and more likely these days, you are looking for a job because you lost your last one.  If you were laid off due to the bad economy or any other reason, the question in the title is an easy one to answer.  But, if you quit or were fired, then just like Lucy, you may have some ‘splaining to do.  The time to think about how to answer the question is now, before you get asked.  Here are some tips on how to respond gracefully.

First of all, stay positive.  Do not go to the dark side.  Do not start complaining about your old boss, or how disorganized your last company was, or anything of the sort.  Nobody likes a whiner, and if you go off on how bad it was at your last job, the hiring manager is going to bristle imagining how you will talk about his company when you quit.  All companies are flawed.  Complaining vehemently just makes you an unattractive candidate.

Explain it in terms of cultural fit, or lack thereof.  The most graceful way to explain why you are not with your last company without assigning any blame either way, is to say that you and your last employer were simply not a good fit.  Perhaps it was the right company but you didn’t fit the position or department you were in.  Maybe you would feel more comfortable in a small to midsize company culture, and your last employer just got too big.  However you spin it, make it about a bad “fit” and you are able to remain neutral, without assigning blame to your old employer or yourself.

Focus on your skills.  Now that you have established why you were not a perfect match for your last employer, let these new guys know why you are a good fit with them.  Focus on how your skills align beautifully with the set required for this new position.  Point out that the cultural vibe is just what you are looking for and why.  Describe how you can contribute to the company culture and how you feel you already fit in.  Demonstrate similarities in style.  However you can align your strengths with their needs – that’s what you should focus on.

The most important item to remember is to not talk badly about your previous employer.  Think of it this way:  You know that woman who is always gossiping and talking badly about everyone?  Well, you know how you wonder what she says about YOU when you’re not around?  If you are trashing your previous employer, you are that gossip lady.  Don’t be that gossip lady.  Be the gracious host of the party and offer positive information on what you can do for your potential NEW employer.  That’s what gets you lots of friends, and gets you invited back.

In the market for a new job?  Contact the professional staff at ERG Staffing Services and let us begin the placement process to get you into a new light industrial job today.

Avoid Being Duped by Fake Resumes

December 7th, 2012

You would think that in today’s era of unavoidable transparency, with internet searches available at the click of an index finger, that no one in his right mind would fake a resume.  Unfortunately it still happens, even with high profile jobs.  Here are a few simple steps you can take to avoid making a potentially costly hiring mistake.

Even if you need to fill this position yesterday, don’t rush the process.  Every hiring decision has an impact on your business, so every one matters.  Properly vetting applicants takes time if you are being thorough.  If you are in a hurry, you may be tempted to skip a step or two to just get the candidate on board.  The time saved in the screening process will not outweigh the expense of making a bad hiring decision, so don’t give in to that temptation.

Interview, interview, interview.  Much can be learned from the interview process.  And the more times you meet with a candidate, the more you will come to know them as a person, a worker, a leader or a colleague.  Bring promising candidates back in for second and even third interviews, and involve other managers in the process.  Their insight will be valuable as each of us perceives things differently, and when you compare notes afterward, you will be able to uncover potential inconsistencies in the candidate’s story.  Or alternatively, you’ll find out that what they claim is true and you’ll have confidence moving forward with that candidate.

Utilize the tools at your disposal for background checks.  This can be as involved or superficial as you feel necessary and your budget will allow.  Do a Google search and see what comes up.  You can even check our social media outlets for information.  Does what you found agree with their resume?  From there you can delve into background checks, drug tests, criminal records and the like if you need further investigation.  These are widely available through agencies offering packages from roughly $1500 and up, depending on your needs.

They’ve given you references, so check them.  Call each listed person.  Then, reach out to others at their previous employer such as coworkers or direct supervisors.  It is important to seek out character references other than the “gimme’s” listed on a resume.  It may be a bit challenging for you but if you do speak with someone who reveals something that gives you pause about the candidate, the effort will all be worth it.

In this economic environment of high competition for jobs, the occasional applicant will fudge their work history or experience, or try to conceal employment gaps.  It is important for you to have a clear and accurate picture of the candidates so you can make an educated decision.  By doing your own lie-detecting, you will have the confidence that the individual to whom you make an offer is really who he claims to be.

If this process seems daunting to you, you are not alone.  ERG Staffing Services specializes in helping companies like yours by locating, screening and hiring clerical and light industrial staff for you.  We learn your business, your culture and your hiring needs and then take over the process from there, with as much or as little involvement as you’d like.  Contact one of our trained professionals today to find out all we have to offer.

Workplace Policies You Should Have in Place for 2013

November 30th, 2012

With the New Year just around the corner, many of us are going to be thinking about resolutions for 2013. One of yours should be to establish the following policies for your organization, if they don’t already exist. Unfortunately, they probably are not concretely in place yet, leaving you vulnerable to expensive lawsuits and/or ruined reputations. Set your sights on nailing these 5 down:

Social Media Policy. This policy sets out to protect information and the rights of your employees and organization. It should protect your corporate “voice”, brand identity, intellectual property and reputation. Further it should protect the organization from being misrepresented by employees using social media, and seek to distinguish content they post as their own opinion and not that of the company. Additionally, it should address employees discussing other employees in social media forums. There is a lot of ground to cover here, and a good policy will take a great deal of effort to clearly flesh out.

No Retaliation Policy. This sets out to protect any employee from retaliation for reporting an individual of wrongdoing against the company. Simply put, if Mary reports Tom for sexual harassment, this policy would protect Mary from any retaliation from Tom like bullying, intimidation or the like. You need to define which types of activities are protected, and what constitutes “retaliation” as well. Outline to whom, and how, violations are to be reported.

Data Protection and Privacy Policy. You probably have more than one type of data set that you need to protect; company data and private data of your employees (e.g. Social security numbers) and/or customers (e.g. credit card or contact information). This policy will apply to every person employed by the company from line workers to CEOs, and will involve policies on passwords, who has access to what levels of data, quality assurance checks, etc.

Hours and Wages Policy. This policy will cover a lot but is probably already fairly well defined for you, even if it is not written out into a definitive document yet. But, it is important that you take the time to write this policy and make sure every employee is aware of its contents. Cover items like number of hours constituting full time and part time, benefits available to each designation, lateness, vacation, sick time, over time, lunch policies and bonuses.

Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest. Protect your company secrets and proprietary information, operations, methods, formulas, procedures, etc. Also, protect your company from employees working in competition with your products and services. Clearly outline what is considered a conflict of interest, and the terms and time limits of the confidentiality agreement.

Distribute these written policies and obtain every employee’s sign off that they have read, understand and will abide by them. Hold classes for management and others to insure that all understand the policies as they are set forth. You will start the New Year with a new sense of confidence and security.