Managing Contract Workers Requires Specific Feedback
When regular employees are brought on board, the terms of their employment are understood at the outset and the relationship between employer and employee is defined and — unless otherwise stated — permanent. Expectations, job descriptions, and standards for performance are typically part of the equation.
But relationships with contractors and contingent workers aren’t as defined. Contract workers tend to join the company on an independent or project-by-project basis, and they aren’t governed or protected by the rules and guidelines that serve this purpose for regular employees.
So, if you’re managing a team of contract workers, your methods for coaching and incentivizing may be limited. You can’t offer the same rewards, punishments, privileges, or warnings that apply to regular team members. How can you motivate them to give their all and correct them when they go astray? Here are a few simple tips that can help.
Don’t be afraid to give feedback.
Feedback — as with regular employees — should be frequent, low-drama, honest, and clear. But too often, employers withhold difficult feedback because they fear they may be misunderstood or they may drive contractors away. But if problems persist, they may eventually reach a breaking point, and at that time it may be too late to salvage the project or the relationship or both. Polite silence helps no one, so if you aren’t getting what you need, speak up.
It goes without saying that compassion and respect should influence all of your interactions with everyone, both inside and outside of the workplace. But contingent workers require extra consideration when it comes to criticism. Help them feel like part of the team, and trust that they understand the nature of their jobs. Before attempting to change an aspect of their personality or their work, make sure you’re asking for something that’s reasonable and necessary.
If something goes wrong and your contingency employee simply isn’t a fit, the arrangement can be severed much more easily than an employment relationship. So there’s no need to panic or become heated; just get to the heart of the matter (or speak with the person’s agency/manager/supervisor), and explain the issue. The next time you engage with a contractor, remember what went wrong and be extra clear about your needs and expectations.
Provide a quick but formal training program.
Before you send your contract off on an independent project, provide them with at least one paid training session so their questions can be identified and addressed.
Pay them fully and promptly.
There’s no faster way to undermine a contingency relationship then by allowing hassles, disputes, and hold-ups regarding payment. Set clear payment terms at the outset when it comes to rates, methods and payment frequency, and stick to these terms.
Work with a top staffing agency in Scottsdale
An experienced and established staffing agency can help you navigate every one of the items above. To learn more, contact one of the top staffing agencies in Scottsdale and work with the experts at the ACCENT Hiring Group.
Variable Compensation for Employees: What Does the Data Say?
If you’ve ever managed a team — or spent time working as an exempt employee — you know that a salary offer doesn’t always provide a complete picture of an employee’s total annual compensation. In addition to base annual salary for exempt employees and hourly rates for non-exempt workers, by the end of a given year a typical employee may receive compensation in the form of insurance benefits, a hiring bonus, a performance-based bonus, or team incentives that have yet to be determined as the year begins. Variable compensation means two employees who make the same amount on paper can take home wildly different amounts of money by the end of the year.
Is this a good thing for the company? Anecdotal responses are mixed; some say variable pay generates motivation and increases productivity, while others believe the practice inhibits transparency, perpetuates bias, and undermines company culture. If incentives are offered for subjective or undocumented reasons, if they’re offered unfairly, or if they’re offered and then withdrawn, the concept of variable pay can easily become a source of resentment and a driver of turnover.
In an effort to see past opinions and gather clear data on the subject, Payscale conducted research and published its 2017 Compensation and Best Practices Report, and the results were revealing in some areas. Here are a few key takeaways from the report.
Variable pay is a prominent aspect of modern compensation. 74 percent of the companies that participated in the survey report offer some form of variable pay.
Variable pay practices are more likely to take place in larger companies and less likely among small companies and start-ups.
Variable pay trends show increasing frequency during the year. Instead of one end-of-year bonus, companies are more likely than they were a year ago to offer quarterly or monthly bonuses.
Among surveyed companies, 64 percent offer individual bonuses, the most common form of variable pay. 25 percent offer team incentives, and 46 percent offer spot or discretionary bonuses.
A growing number of companies are providing bonuses and performance-based incentives to non-exempt workers. Top-performing companies are more likely to do this.
Individuals and non-exempt workers often don’t recognize their impact on team goals. Variable pay based on team performance can help these individuals align their goals with those of the company.
Contact the team at the ACCENT Hiring Group to learn more about the study and find out if variable pay is the right move for your growing company.
How Does Trust Affect Your Feedback?
As a manager, you’re probably aware that feedback carries weight, it gets things done, and it’s an essential aspect of open communication. If you don’t provide feedback, your employees don’t grow and your company stands still. So you know you need to do it. But you may also view feedback delivery as an awkward and tedious chore, something that your employees enjoy hearing about as much as you enjoy sharing…which is not at all. So how can you find a balance between these two poles? What can you do to make sure your feedback process is helpful, not destructive? And even better, what can you do to make the process as quick, natural, painless, and effective as possible? Here are a few simple tips.
Trust is essential.
If your feedback comes off as criticism (which it probably does; most employees naturally equate negative feedback with criticism), don’t respond by skipping it altogether. (This is also a natural human reaction to painful encounters and conversations; most of us avoid them.) Instead, keep searching for new ways to reframe your statements, and measure what you say against the level of trust your employee places in you. If your employee doesn’t trust you, don’t lay on the negativity. Nothing good can come of this. On the other hand, if your employee knows that you have their best interests at heart, say what you need to say fearlessly. If all or most of your direct reports fall into the first category, work on trust first. Worry about feedback later.
Talk about effort instead of ability.
Don’t use language that suggests your employee is “good at” some things and “not good at” other things. Every strength can vary from day to day and year to year, and what looks like exceptional or weak talent one year can fade or grow over time. Skills and talents are like muscles: If we exercise them they get stronger. So don’t frame your feedback in terms of inherent ability; instead, concentrate on where your employee is placing their efforts. Encourage them to shift effort away from some areas and increase it in others.
Empathy can save your relationships, and possibly save your company.
Before you deliver negative feedback, ask yourself one critical question: If you were in your employee’s shoes, how would you respond to the words you’re about to say? If these words would feel motivating and inspiring to you, they’ll probably feel the same to your employee. But if you’re delivering these words to make your employee feel small, to make yourself feel important, to scold, to punish, to manipulate, or to check off a box on your to-do list, pause. What outcome do you hope to achieve with these words? Keep your eyes focused on that outcome as you move forward.
Work with a top staffing agency in Scottsdale
Best City for a Job in 2017: Scottsdale
If you’ve been thinking about launching a job search or making the leap to a new industry altogether, now may be a perfect time to put the wheels in motion and make your move. Hiring trends are up, and a long, steady recovery has been well underway for the last eight years since the job market took a slide in 2009. The best news for both job seekers and recruiters: the unemployment rate, dropping steadily due to stimulus efforts and strengthened protections for the workforce, has now reached a near record low of about 4.6 percent.
Jobs are available, and the labor market is heating up. On the employer’s side of the table, hiring managers who could once sit back and watch excellent resumes roll in are now aggressively competing for talent. And skilled workers now face a host of opportunities for growth, change, and career advancement.
In almost every geographic region of the country, years of labor investments have paid off and hiring rates are on the rise. And according to a new analysis released by WalletHub, Scottsdale Arizona tops the list.
Why are talented employees and job seekers thriving in Scottsdale? The reasons are complex and several factors contribute to this equation, but as Scottsdale climbs the charts in terms of opportunity and quality of life, wise recruiters are acting quickly to leverage this trend. If you’re searching for top talent, here are few considerations to keep in mind.
Go where the candidates are.
Don’t wait for great talent to come to you. Extend your search to cover the Scottsdale area, or even better, create opportunities in this region. Offer remote positions that can be accepted by Scottsdale job seekers or add this area to your list of destinations when you’re ready for a geographic expansion.
If you’re an AZ recruiter, recognize your advantages.
Don’t just pitch the benefits of your open position; pitch the benefits of every aspect of the Arizona lifestyle. It isn’t just about the climate anymore (though our Arizona sun and rugged landscapes are hard to beat). It’s also about the booming economy, the excellent school system, and the thriving housing market.
Make connections and maintain them.
If you aren’t already connected with industry players and Arizona job market experts, now may be the time to pick up the phone and elevate your networking efforts. Great candidates are on their way to Scottsdale and businesses are putting down roots here. So get in on the ground floor! Explore the area to find out what — and who — our growing city has to offer. Start by turning to the ACCENT Hiring Group and work with a leading staffing agency in Scottsdale!
One Thing That Never Changes When You are Leading
As you step into a leadership role at the head of your company or your team, you can expect plenty of things to change over the next few years. You may experience personnel turnover, you may achieve some key goals and put those milestones behind you, and you may shift direction or change your definition of a successful product or service. Even your target audience may shift, which may require changes in your marketing plan or value proposition. But here’s one thing that won’t change: What you stand for as a company.
Your core values should be built on a foundation of bedrock that stays in place, even if your entire business model changes around you. For example, if your company believes in treating customers fairly, putting employee safety ahead of profits, or treating the local community with respect, these values won’t change — Even if you start out selling one type of product and transition fully to another. So how can you keep your actions in line with your core values when the winds of change begin to blow? Here are a few things to think about.
The pressure may be strong.
Maintaining your core values (and those of your company) won’t always be easy—but nobody promised it would be. Doing what comes naturally doesn’t always align with doing what’s right. For example, shareholders may pressure you– either directly or by issuing mandates to C-level executives—to increase profits by compromising employee safety. It’s easy to comply with such pressure, but compliance isn’t the answer. When you take a stand, expect strong headwinds. You can also expect thorny puzzles if, for example, your core values also include protecting shareholder profits at all costs.
Choosing your battles may become part of the equation.
If your core values include fairness to employees, and you’re considering dismissing an employee for possibly unfair reasons, it’s time to take a stand. But how far should you go? Push back when it’s right to do so, but recognize that fairness to one employee may mean injustice to another. Likewise, taking an employee’s side during a client dispute may mean a lost contract—but how damaging is the loss? Everything has limits, and some battles bring victory that may not be worth the cost. As you wrestle with these puzzles, keep your core values in sight at all times. Define them in simple terms and refer to them often. This is why successful managers often keep the company’s core values framed and hung in a visible location.
Don’t be caught off guard when your business model evolves or your values are challenged. This isn’t a rare occurrence; in fact, it’s an unavoidable aspect of maintaining a successful business. Nothing stays the same, nor should it. Growth means constant changes and constant challenges. If you’re standing still, something’s wrong.
If you are looking for the right employees to bring to your team to represent your company values, reach out to the ACCENT Hiring Group to work with a top staffing agency in Scottsdale.
Don’t Overlook Your Female Leaders
No responsible manager overlooks a female candidate for overtly sexist reasons. In a well-run company, you’re unlikely to find a manager who confesses to passing over a qualified candidate for a promotion simply because the candidate identifies as female. These kinds of unabashed sexist decisions and actions are holdovers from another era, and even if motivations are rooted in subtle sexist assumptions, most managerial training programs, and HR directives are designed to root out ingrained forms of bias that can undermine the workforce and harm the company. But despite surface-level societal changes, these forms of bias can be stubborn, and women are still not promoted at a rate that reflects their contributions to the workforce.
So in order to advance your own success and that of your organization, shine a light into your own deeply held, unexamined beliefs the next time you’re called upon to make a promotion decision. Keep these thoughts in mind.
If not, why not?
If you’re not inclined to promote a female candidate, ask yourself hard questions, and don’t seek escape in easy answers. Your first thought may be something like “Well, she just doesn’t have the numbers,” or “She doesn’t strike me as a leader.” Double check these numbers, and if you’re wrong, have the courage to admit it and change course. If she doesn’t strike you as a leader, ask yourself why not. Maybe you aren’t actually watching her or taking her actions and decisions at face value. Assume your decisions are motivated by ingrained bias and see if your perspective shifts.
“Her voice is too high.”
Write down your criticisms. Generate a list of statements that you assume preclude your candidate from a leadership role. Then go down the list and cross off every metric or assessment that you wouldn’t or haven’t applied to your male candidates. Chances are, her mistakes are similar to — not greater than — those of her male counterparts. And her voice, mannerisms, clothing, gestures, or shoe style are holding far more influence over your decision than they should.
Factor in every detail.
Recognize that fairness doesn’t come naturally to most of us; our fairest assessments of others are still influenced by unrecognized racial, gender, and other biases that we can’t root out of ourselves via a simple act of will. If you recognize a natural deficit within yourself (we all have them), and recalibrate to compensate for it, where does that leave you? And where does it leave your female candidate? You aren’t doing her a favor by making this internal adjustment; she’s earned the right to a fair and honest evaluation. And you owe it to your company to appropriately leverage her talents and leadership skills. If you overlook or disregard them, she’s likely to redirect her energies and search for opportunity elsewhere.
Work with a top recruiter in Scottsdale
Are you looking for the best employees to bring to your team, contact the ACCENT Hiring Group and work with a top management recruiter in Scottsdale.
Not Giving Feedback to Female Employees Can Hurt Their Careers
According to a joint study by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org, members of both genders ask for workplace feedback at equal rates, but managers are 20 percent less likely to provide “difficult” feedback to women than to men.
There may be several possible reasons behind a decision to withhold feedback from female employees, from a fear of seeming gender-biased to concerns about being disliked by the employee; Managers cited both reasons as concerns and some also reported a fear of seeming too harsh.
But as it happens, withholding criticism and withholding constructive feedback aren’t the same, and they don’t lead to similar results. Women who don’t receive honest feedback and coaching from their managers often report being left out and left behind and may miss out on opportunities for growth.
What does this mean for managers who — consciously or unconsciously — provide limited corrective or insightful comments to their female employees? If you feel you may fall into this category (regardless of your gender), keep these thoughts in mind.
Criticism isn’t coaching
Simply nitpicking female employees, criticizing them unfairly, or holding them to higher standards than their male peers won’t do the trick. Misogyny and bias often appear in the form of unwarranted criticism, so piling on more negativity won’t win the day. Instead, after an employee mistake or a performance that could use a few improvements, think about your words. Ask yourself three questions before you speak them: Will my words help her improve? Am I hesitating to share feedback because I fear her reaction? Is my criticism justified and fair? If you answer yes to all three, gather your courage and speak your mind.
If you hesitate to provide feedback because you believe your employee might have an emotional meltdown or run crying for the ladies’ room, stop and think. Is this imaginary scenario realistic? Or is it just the product of your own gender-related assumptions? Since it’s probably the second, take this opportunity to correct some faulty wiring and cultural biases within yourself, not your employee. Recognize that despite your assumptions, she probably won’t react this way at all, then deliver your feedback with dignity and confidence.
If you genuinely fear that your criticisms will be poorly received, be honest and open with your employee about this fact. You can simply say “I hesitate to give you negative feedback because I want you to like me, but some things are more important than being liked.” You can also say: “I’m afraid of hurting your feelings, but I believe my feedback can support your growth.”
Work with a top recruiter in Scottsdale
If you are looking for the best employees for your team, contact the ACCENT Hiring Group today and work with a top management recruiter in Scottsdale.
Employees First, Customers Second – Why You Need to Do This
In a perfect world, CEOs and managers could wave a magic wand and easily keep both employees and customers happy. Give the members of both categories exactly what they need to feel appreciated, and voila! Turnover stays low, sales stay high, and the company thrives. As far as possible, this is the goal that most managers strive to achieve; in fact, if you occupy a leadership role, you may notice that most of your late nights and early mornings are absorbed in the process of pleasing, educating, training, satisfying or motivating one group or the other.
But what happens when the needs of these groups conflict? What should you do when taking care of one group means taking something away from the other? If you need to put a customer on ice to support an employee, should you do it? Yes, you should. Here’s why.
Your employees interact with your customers more than you do.
Employees are your brand ambassadors and hands-on agents, and though you may hold more power and make higher-level decisions, your employees speak and interact with your customers directly and daily. If you take care of your teams, your teams will absorb that positive energy and redirect it. If they feel appreciated and respected, they’ll give others the same consideration.
When a conflict arises, think a few moves ahead.
If a customer argues with an employee, your first instincts should involve protecting and educating your employee, not throwing them under the bus to salvage a single sale. You have two relationships at stake when such conflicts occur, and in almost every case, one is more important and offers more long-term value to the company than the other. Let the customer go. Listen to both side of the story, but stand up for your employee and you’ll receive a loyalty boost that can’t be bought. Use the encounter as a teaching moment.
The customer isn’t always right.
This is an outdated old saying, and if you apply it literally, you can put your employees in an impossible position. Sometimes the customer is wrong, and sometimes the employee must say no, walk away, hang up the phone, or abandon the sale in order to succeed. Train your employees properly, and then step back and give them the freedom to exercise their own judgment when they can’t meet a customer’s needs.
Work With a Top Recruiter in Scottsdale
Keep in mind that a loyal, experienced employee can be worth more than gold. Don’t tarnish or tax this valuable relationship for a fleeting customer interaction that may or may not yield long-term value. For more on how to keep your employees onboard, thriving and engaged, turn to the top recruiters in Scottsdale and contact the ACCENT Hiring Group today!
The Real Way to Delegate Decisions and Empower Your Team
There’s an old saying that goes, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” But there’s another, more accurate old saying that goes, “If you want to become an effective leader and truly help your team succeed, delegate.” As often as possible, include teams in decision making, execution, and the completion of meaningful work. If you have knowledge, share it. If you have a plan, bring others on board. Instead of powering through on your own, turn your growth and success into a true team effort. Here’s how.
Harness the power of consulting.
Encourage your teams to bring you questions, not problems. Don’t let them simply dump problems in your lap and leave them for you to solve. Allow the problem—whatever it may be—to stay in the employee’s purview, but make yourself available when the employee needs information and guidance. Take responsibility for the suggestions and insights you provide, and if they don’t pan out, share in both the cleanup and the learning process. But when they do pan out, make sure the employee played a fundamental role in the victory.
Provide the tools.
If the employee needs information that can be drawn directly from the company’s institutional knowledge, records, or resources, provide these tools and point the way. If your employee needs insights that are rooted in your own personal experience or training, share what you have. Just try to stop short of providing ready-made answers and clear-cut step-by-step instructions. The less hand-holding you do now, the less you’ll do in the future as your employee gains knowledge and independence.
Set a goal.
When a newer or younger employee comes to you with an issue, you’ll start small. Over time, you’ll provide fewer supports as he or she begins to rely on her own experience and the lessons of her own mistakes. As your delegation skills improve and strengthen, your employee’s skills will improve and strengthen as well. So how will you know when you’ve reached a goal or truly helped an employee grow? Keep an eye out for the day in which your employee knows what you’ll say before you have a chance to say it. When your employee can predict your answers, then place them into a context of personal knowledge and experience, you’ll know that you’ve done your job. You’ll also know that you can trust your teams to handle the crises and issues that arise when you aren’t there.
Work With a Top Recruiter in Scottsdale
If you are looking for the right employees to bring to your team who don’t need to be micro-managed, contact the ACCENT Hiring Group and work with the top recruiters in Scottsdale.