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Best Practices for Your Onboarding Program

March 8th, 2013

You have taken the time and devoted the efforts to finding and hiring the right candidates.  Now, you need to retain them.  One way to increase your employee retention is to establish an onboarding program.  A few reasons to put effort into this program:

  1.  New hires will immediately feel that they are a part of something bigger, and that they are important.
  2. They will get a good sense and understanding of your company culture.
  3. Newbies can become hooked into your social and professional networks more quickly.
  4. The training time required to get new employees up to full productivity is reduced.

When establishing your onboarding program, you should consider the following:

  1. Establish an official time frame for your program, probably 3 to 6 months or more, depending on the position.  There will be a few days of intensive immersion at the start, and then a schedule for the remaining weeks.  You may want to set up a “shadow” rotation so the new employee gets to spend some time in each department following another employee through their day to day tasks.  Also, schedule periodic check- ins with supervisors or managers to make sure the new hire is feeling settled and learning from the experience.
  2. Make sure that your new employee has all the necessary resources available at their fingertips.  This means everything from training manuals, videos and office equipment, to a peer mentor.  Make sure they know where the break room is and what is available to them for their use such as a microwave, refrigerator, etc.   It may seem overly simplistic, but you need to make sure they know how to use the telephone and have a phone list handy.  Make sure they get a crash course in how the copier works.  These are small items that can really take away some new-job stress for a person beginning with your company.  And, it will allow them to be able to focus on becoming productive right away.
  3. Help them assimilate.  So much employee turn-over is actually because a new employee never really feels that they fit in with the rest of your staff, or that no one is paying attention.  Make sure that you have a supervisor or a mentor directly responsible for insuring that your newest staff members get included in all team meetings or functions.  The manager should help the new hire to set goals, and then help them create a plan to meet and exceed those goals.   Further, the manager should monitor the employee’s progress and give them feedback all along the way.

Once you find the right applicant for your open positions, you really want them to stay long-term.  The time and energy you put into establishing your onboarding program will be paid back to you with increased employee retention.

ERG Staffing Services will find you qualified applicants for your light industrial jobs, and even prequalify and hire them for you.  This saves you time and energy so you can focus on all the other aspects of your business.  Contact our trained experts today to learn exactly how we can help you, and we can get started right away.

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.

Time Management – A Little Secret of Happy, Successful People

October 12th, 2012

We all say we wish we had more time.  We only get 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes per hour.  That never changes.  What we do have control over is what we do with those hours and minutes.  To be effective, successful and happy, we simply need to master our use of the time we have.  Here are some tips to help you manage your time.

  • First, you should figure out how you are using your time now.  What are you doing each day?  What are your thoughts, actions, intentions and conversations?  How much time are you spending on each, and which are productive, that is, giving you the desired results?  Carry around a notebook for a week, or as long as you can stand it, and jot down this important information.  It is from here that you can begin to make changes.
  • Now, look at which activities, conversations, thoughts and actions were giving you the results you wanted.  Those are the things to plan for.  This is now your new to-do list.  Budget time specifically to get these things done, as they are what is giving you satisfaction and productivity.  You probably want to set aside half of your time for your to-do list.
  • You will want to start each day by planning what results you want to achieve.  Plan which activities, thought, conversations and intentions will get you there.  Plan an order of activities, or at least prioritize them.  Some people list things to be done before lunch.  However you break it up is your own choice, just find some landmarks in your day that will work for you.  Set goals, and stick to them.
  • Make sure you budget time for interruptions.  It sounds silly, but you are operating in reality, not a vacuum, and you know one thing is certain- you will be interrupted, knocked off course temporarily, diverted.  So, just plan for it to eliminate any stress associated with “wasting time”.  It’s not wasted – it’s just part of the plan!
  • Don’t make yourself available all the time.  It is ok to let the phone go to voicemail.  You’ll get to them in your own time.  Set aside a certain time for checking emails each day, maybe once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  Address those messages as necessary, in your own time.  (Of course you can only do this if your business isn’t dependent on your constant availability.  For many of us, the world can actually wait a few minutes.)
  • Block out, turn off and otherwise disengage distractions during your desired productive period, like facebook and other non-essential social media.

This time is all yours.  You own it and you can manage it however you choose.  What’s funny is how our perception of time changes based on what we are doing with it.  Time flies when you’re having fun, but seems to stand still when you are plodding or rushing through an unrewarding or frustrating work day.  But, when you feel you are the master of your own time, it will seamlessly float by leaving great satisfaction and peace in its wake.

The time is right to call ERG Staffing Services.  We are ready to help you with all your light industrial staffing needs, from applicant screening to testing to final offer.  Contact one of our professionals today to get started.

Revitalize Your Job Search

September 21st, 2012

As we enter the fourth quarter of the year, you may be feeling an added sense of urgency about getting a job. The holidays are fast approaching as is the end of the year, and these can put some stress on top of an already taxing process. Here are a few ways you can lower your job search stress and stay focused on the prize.

1. Get motivated. Take an honest look at what your motivation is for seeking out the job you are after. Hopefully the answer involves more than a paycheck. You need to have some other personal goals involved with your career choice for you to achieve happiness and long term success. Decide what it is that makes you excited about the job you want, and what you will get out of it, aside from money. Remind yourself of why you chose this career in the first place. Now, tell yourself you can do this.

2. Get a Plan The plan you need has to have a few different parts to it. Make lists of things you need to do immediately, like get your resume updated or re-write your cover letter to be more specific. Then set aside time to do those things. Next list some things you need to do soon, mid-term goals, like reach out to some of your contacts you haven’t spoken to in a while, just to see how they are doing. Then plan a time for those tasks. Lastly, set some longer term goals for yourself, and if you are feeling strong, set a time frame for those too. If you don’t give yourself some goals and a plan to reach them, along with a deadline, you may never really get your ball rolling.

3. Self-examination. Some of us are very introspective naturally and others don’t really like this exercise, but it is important for all of us to do a bit of honest self-evaluation from time to time. What is it you are really good at? What do others see in you? Why are you uniquely suited for the job you want? Write down lists of things you are good at, things about you that set you apart, things you really like about yourself and that others seem to like about you. This is you differentiation list – what sets you apart from the crowd of others that want the same job you do. Many times, the person who gets the job when all other things are equal is the one who believes he should have it the most. Believe that about yourself. Remember the old saying: Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

4. Prepare yourself. Whenever opportunity knocks you want to be able to open the door looking good, feeling prepared and smiling. Go about your days with the thought that “Today I might meet my new boss”. This way, if you get a call to do a telephone interview, you are already in a mindset for success. Dress the part each day when you leave the house. Keep a mental list of past achievements that you can present to an interviewer when asked. Be mindful of items 1 and 3 so if you meet someone at the coffee shop who may turn out to be a potential connection to your next job, you can speak easily about why they should help you connect. Sometimes situations present themselves in the oddest ways and times, and if you are prepared for anything you will never have any regrets about a blown opportunity.

5. Be good to yourself. Remember to take care of yourself so you can stay energized. This process can be long and arduous if you allow yourself to get run down. Get plenty of rest, eat well, get some exercise, stay close to family and friends, and do things you enjoy. Live happy.

Call ERG Staffing for help with your light industrial job search.  Out staff of trained professionals are ready and able to place you in a job that fits your needs.

Refresh your Business: Allowing Your Industrial Business to Grow

September 14th, 2012

As the seasons change, we are reminded that change is good. It gives a fresh perspective on commonplace things. We see them in a different light, anew. The same holds true with your business. It is important to your continued growth and forward progress that you occasionally take a look at your business with fresh eyes and ears and see what small or even large changes you can make to keep it vital.

Stay on trends. In order to do this, you need to become aware of what they are for your industry. This is where forums like LinkedIn and Twitter are helpful. Check out the stream of topics that keep coming up. What can you contribute to the conversation? When you do add to the discussions of the day, your company name gets seem by new eyes. Or, people already following you will take note that you have your finger on the pulse of what is now. Remember the saying “what’s old is new again”? Why not see if you can start a new trend, based on what has already come around. Put a fresh spin on it and set it out there.

Make it more than it was. Think about the products and services you currently offer. What sets you apart from your competitors? If the answer is “not much” or “price”, you have a huge opportunity to differentiate yourself. Take what you are already offering and make it more. Consider things like bundling two or more products or services together. Perhaps you can offer a totally new and unique feature or add on to an existing service. Think outside the box here, because it doesn’t have to be something big, just different. Novelty creates buzz which gets you noticed. Novelty sells.

Update your presence. When was your last update to your website? Your regular clients will spend longer periods of time investigating your site if it looks different when they get there. And, change is good when it comes to SEO and improving your Google rankings. What does your exterior signage look like? Could your employees use some new uniform colors? Look around you and get inspiration from your industry and other unrelated ones too. An updated look brings a fresh new perspective to your business, and can make people perceive you in a whole new, and interesting, light.

Re-evaluate your advertising. Where are you spending your advertising dollars? What is your ROI? Is it the medium or the ads or both that need to change? Take a good look at the money you are spending and what you are seeing in return. If it’s not working, or not working well, change it up. Who are you reaching? Are they the right people? Maybe this is something you can handle internally. Or, perhaps hiring a professional should be considered to maximize your impact per dollar spent.

Whatever your decisions, know that change is good. Sometimes it isn’t easy, but most times it is necessary, beneficial and exciting for you, your business, your employees and your clientele.

Are you looking to make some changes in your staff? Maybe some additions? ERG Staffing can help you find the right light industrial workers, with accurate screening and quick placement. Call us today to find out how.

Ways to Build an Effective Work Team

August 31st, 2012

We all know the old adage “There is no ‘I’ in TEAM”, but have you really considered what that actually is saying? If there is no “I”, what is there then? Isn’t a team a collection of “I’s”? How do we create and maintain an atmosphere of teamwork in the workplace?
A team is a group of individuals all working toward a common goal. Teams don’t just happen. They are built. The group becomes a team. As managers, we have to help this process along by providing a basic platform on which the team can be built.

  • Define the goals. The team is working toward a common goal which must be clearly defined by management.
  • Communicate expectations. Individuals need to know the goals, and know the roles they will play in helping the team achieve them.
  • Reward success. More important than pointing out shortcomings is recognizing and rewarding accomplishments. Set mini goals to be achieved along the way to the ultimate goal, and celebrate each time a new milestone is achieved. This is a huge motivator for the team as a whole and for individuals as well.
  • Assign tasks based on strengths. Everyone on your team has their own unique skill set and different things they enjoy doing. To help the individuals stay motivated and focused, assign tasks that speak to their own individual strengths. If each member is tackling a piece of the job they are best suited for, they will more easily accomplish goals and have lower stress and greater personal satisfaction in doing so.
  • Keep egos out of it. Each team member must find a way to put the goals of the team above their own personal goals. The truth is that they will end up achieving their own goals through the work they do toward the common ones. If team members cannot do this, they will not be able to effectively contribute and will become a stumbling block to success. This belief system must be fostered by managers through team building exercises and reinforcing appropriate behaviors.
  • Keep information channels open. Communication is at the heart of any team’s success. Without the free exchange of information between departments, between managers and subordinates, between individuals, no progress toward any common goal can be achieved.
  • Empower. Team members must have the freedom and power to effect change for the good of the team and make decisions easily and in a timely manner. They must also have clear guidelines as to where there power for change ends.
  • Train. Do all your team members have the proper training to accomplish their set goals? If not, those without the skills necessary will be seen as not contributing their fair share toward the common goal, and your team will ultimately break down. One of the prewritten rules of a team is that all members will contribute to meeting the goal. Make sure everyone has the tools they need to keep the team functioning as one.
  • Lead. Every team needs leadership to steer them in the right direction, react to changes in the environment and help keep morale high and attention focused on the goal. As managers, you need to be the driving force that keeps the team committed and working together and insures that communication remains open and effective.

Are you looking to build your team? Contact us today to find out how our professional team at ERG Staffing help.

Pump Up Worker Productivity in 4 Easy Steps

August 17th, 2012

It is so easy to fall into a “turn the crank” mentality when your company is running pretty smoothly.  No major problems and many of us feel that all is well.  That may be, but is it as good as it can be?  Don’t we all want more?

Utilizing your existing team, you can increase productivity in a few easy steps.  These have to be maintained consistently to see long term results.  But your leadership can absolutely get your team to work smarter, not harder, increase productivity and boost employee morale and loyalty in the process.

Set goals as a team.  Top-down goals setting works, to a point.  The way to really get your team on board is to set achievable goals together.  Of course you are steering the ship, and the largest goals will still be set by top management, but all the smaller goals that will get you to the bigger ones can be worked out with your team.  By engaging employees in the goal setting process you create ownership of the goal for them.  Everyone thinks ideas are better if they are their own, and if seen as their own, employees will work harder to achieve them.  They will also get a greater sense of satisfaction from attaining success.

Establish metrics by which to measure success.  Now that you have established where you want to go, you will need to establish ways to measure your progress, individually and as a team.  The team may feel they are working so hard and making good progress toward their goals, but how can you tell?  Not having hard data to look at leaves you at the mercy of hunches, theories and opinion.  You need actual facts to back up the feelings of success, and to guide the team in specific directions where their efforts need to be increased.

Employees will see these metrics as their actual goal, so establish 3 to 5 metrics per quarter that are quantifiable and measureable.  Involve the employees in figuring out how to reach the goals, and then set up ways to measure those tactics.   Say one of the goals is to increase orders processed by 10%.  You know how many orders you process currently, so you will be able to measure progress in real time with actual numbers. You should establish metrics for individuals that will measure how they can get there, such as increasing order accuracy (which will decrease time spent on corrections).  This way when an employee sees his accuracy numbers going up, he will know for certain that his order accuracy is directly contributing to increasing the number of orders processed.

Share successes along the way.  Once the goals are established for the quarter, and everyone knows how you are measuring success, measure it.  Then, share it.  Frequent updates on how well (or poorly) your team is performing toward achieving their goals are critical in keeping them engaged in the process.  If they are doing well, knowing that will reinforce all the behaviors that have gotten them this far.  If they are falling short, they will know where, and you can coach them and guide them to better results.

Reexamine your metrics quarterly.  You work in a dynamic environment, so your metrics cannot remain static.  Have you raised prices lately?  Have you increased or decreased the number of employees?  These types of changes may directly affect your metrics, so reevaluate often to make sure you can still measure the same way.

This process of goal setting and measuring can be an incredible team building and motivating experience for your company.  People like to know what is expected of them, how they can meet those expectations, achieving them and being recognized for those achievements.  Satisfied and motivated employees are productive and loyal, and are your greatest asset.  Protect it.

Are you looking to increase your employee assets?  At ERG Staffing we have our own highly trained team that can help you find yours.  Call us today to get started.