Phone: (888) 895-5200

How to Maintain Productivity During a Temporary Hiring Freeze

March 1st, 2013

Forecasts for our country’s economy indicate sloth-like growth in 2013, with estimates of 1.4 percent for 2013. For recruiters, this poses a real challenge, because slower growth inevitably leads to layoffs and hiring freezes.  And for managers, an even bigger concern is how to keep up your output and productivity in a climate of fear and uncertainty.

It all starts with you.  As a manager or team leader or senior staff member, you have the eyes and ears of the rest of the staff on you.  The mood and morale of the group can be directly affected both positively and negatively by your actions and words.  So when your team freezes up and morale starts to sink for fear of losing jobs or at the very least not getting ahead in their career with your company, it is up to you to lead the way.  The team is looking at your level of commitment as a guide to what their own should be.  If you are committed to the goals of the company and it is obvious by your behavior, your team will pick up on that and follow suit.  However, if you are scared, and you show it, they will follow your lead there too, and you will end up taking everyone down with you.  Be positive and energized and lead your team to higher morale.

Give them the state of the union address.  Fear usually comes from ignorance.  If a hiring freeze is announced, no matter how short term it may be, workers immediately lose confidence in the company’s security and assume that layoffs cannot be far behind.   This in turn will bring morale crashing down and productivity will grind to a halt.  If layoffs are not around the corner, tell them so.  Do not let the rumor mill take the place of actual information.  Ask your team what their concerns are.  As soon as possible, have a team meeting to address their questions and discuss exactly what the hiring freeze means for your company, giving them insight as to why this is a good decision.  By being up front and forthcoming with facts and information, workers should be able to keep their faith in their leaders and will hopefully be able to focus on their goals.

Set new goals for the new climate.  A team can be defined as a group of individuals working together toward a common goal.  There is no better time than now to rally your team around some common goals that you will establish.  This renewed focus gives workers confidence and allows them to maintain and even increase their productivity if they feel they are making progress toward a goal.  Communicate what the new goals are, how you plan to achieve them, why they are important and what the rewards are for reaching them.  Now is the time for motivators and cheerleaders.  Celebrate all milestones, small and large, and keep your team focused and motivated with continuous feedback and updates.

If you are faced with a hiring dilemma, let the trained professionals at ERG Staffing Services guide you to a solution.  Contact us today and we will get you in touch with the right candidates to fill any light industrial or clerical staffing needs you have – the right people, right now.

Employee Burn Out – Diagnosis and Solutions

February 22nd, 2013

“Burn Out” may be a somewhat antiquated term, but it is alive and well, unfortunately, in today’s workforce.  According to Jonathan Alpert, a NY psychotherapist and author, nearly everyone “is facing more pressure.  With people laid off, people are taking on more responsibilities, working harder and having les support and that amounts to burnout. No one wants to complain for fear of losing their job”, so most employees stay and suffer in silence, all the while becoming less and less productive.

There are other possible factors that can cause burn out, too.  Unrealistic deadlines can result in the hamster wheel effect – employees keep running at full tilt but are never able to reach the goal.  Compounding this feeling of high stress, managers who never recognize or reward such hard work  create an atmosphere of despair and eventually, apathy.  Don’t let things get this far.

How to spot it:

  1.  Missing deadlines
  2. Not living up to previous standards of work quality
  3. Doing less work and being less productive
  4. Increase in lateness or absenteeism
  5. Negative change in demeanor or attitude

How to remedy it:

  1. It starts with communication.  Meet with effected employees one on one or even in a group setting to uncover root causes of burn out.
  2. Really listen to what they are telling you.  There may be some messages you don’t want to hear.  But to save your workforce and protect your team’s productivity, listen.
  3. Work out a plan together of how to reedy these issues.  For example, if a worker feels completely overburdened, consider redistributing his workload.  If someone feels that work is completely taking over her life, figure out ways to help her achieve better work- personal life balance.
  4. Write it all down.  Document the individuals who are feeling burned out.  Write down what the causes are, and describe in detail what solutions you have come up with together.  Distribute these notes to all appropriate parties.  Treat this as a living document and revisit it frequently to see if your solutions are working or if they need modification.

Prevention is key, too:

  1. Keep it fresh.  Whether it is tasks or just the environment at large, variety is truly the spice of life that keeps us coming back for more.  If there are routine tasks that need to be performed regularly, change who has to do them.  Maybe it can be as simple as redecorating the breakroom, or changing the location of the weekly staff meetings.  Anything you can do to periodically break the monotony of reoccurring tasks is positive.
  2. Cross train.  The benefits of cross training employees are vast, but in this case the big benefit is that it keeps workers interested.  Everyone enjoys learning new things, and they feel more valued as employees if they know you are investing in their training.
  3. Team building.  This doesn’t have to be a huge company outing, but if you have it in your budget, why not?!  If not, think small, like a company night out to the local ball park, or even breakfast at a favorite spot near the office.  In nice weather, have a pot luck picnic and organize games for the families.  Helping employees to enjoy each other’s company outside the workplace promotes teamwork and productivity in the workplace.

“Ultimately the biggest price companies’ pay for burnout is a loss of talented people.  As the economy improves, they will leave the enterprise,” says John Izzo, author of Values-Shift: The New York Work Ethic and What It Means for Business.

Let ERG Staffing Services help you in finding staffing solutions for your warehouse business.  We are highly trained staffing professionals and we are a phone call or an email away.  Contact us to get started.

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.