Increase Productivity and Reduce Stress: Four Ways to Make it Happen
If your employees are stressed and unhappy and your culture seems to be making these burdens worse, not better, there’s no need to passively accept this as if there’s nothing you can do about it. Shrugging off the problem won’t fix anything, and neither will giving in to a sense of helpless resignation or pushing the solution onto your employees as if they’re the ones to blame for a toxic workplace.
And yet, when faced with this confounding, productivity-draining problem, that’s exactly what most employers do: Nothing. They throw up their hands, blame their employees, and get back to businesses…while absorbing the cost of high turnover, low productivity, and lost work hours. Don’t be one of those employers. If you take pride in solving problems, not ignoring them, take pride in solving this one. Here’s how.
First, demonstrate that you care.
Show, don’t tell, your employees that you recognize their burdens and you’re working on finding a fix. This might mean redistributing workloads, hiring more staff, keeping executive pay in check so workers can get their due, or any of the above. If you simply show that you’re taking steps to change the culture, your employees may surprise you by giving you the benefit of the doubt. An employment relationship is often like a marriage; you can sometimes pull back from the brink by simply showing that you want to.
Then, follow through.
After you’ve shown that you’re trying, commit to your attempts. If you want to foster work-life balance, try something. Anything. Develop a new program or policy and see how it works. If it doesn’t work, alter course and try something else. But keep moving.
Band-aids can work wonders.
You need employees to put in unpredictable hours during peak seasons, and this pushes them close to burnout. You don’t have a choice on this; peak seasons mean a rush of orders and the order must be filled. But consider compensating with bonus pay, flexible schedules, remote work options, or allowing employees to bring children or pets to the office. Supply lunch every Friday. It may not fix the core problem, but it can make employees feel better, and that’s a good place to start.
Cut conflict at the source.
Bad relationships often lead to chronic stress for employees. So, get to the root of these problems and solve them where they begin. Bullying? Personality mismatches? Creative differences? Wherever the issue may start, root it out and keep the workplace harmonious. Harmony can keep a host of other problems from developing later. Take interpersonal conflict seriously.
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Listen when employees share or show signs of burnout and take meaningful action based on what they say. When you need to supplement your staff with short-term or long-term help, contact the recruiters at the ACCENT Hiring Group.
Need A Specific Skill? Why Your Job Description Should Say Exactly That
You’re in the process of tailoring your job post, and you’d really like to cast a wide net. The way you see it, the more resumes you receive, the better. The larger your pool of applicants, the more options you’ll have, and the more control you’ll exercise over the outcome…right?
Not exactly. In theory, a larger and wider applicant pool puts the cards in the employer’s hands. But in actual practice, you’ll be better off with a smaller pool of applicants, if those applicants hold skills that align with your needs. It may seem like you’ll limit your options if you load your post with narrow and specific requests, but you won’t; you’ll just save time and avoid hassle for yourself AND your candidates. Here’s how.
Just ask for what you need.
What about skills that are hard to define?
If you need excellent writers, public speakers, client relationship management experts, or conflict resolvers, use terms that hew as closely as possible to the tasks your candidate will face on the job. For example, what kinds of conflicts will require resolution? What kinds of speaking engagements will the candidate step into? Without creating a job post that’s 10 pages long, try to give your candidate a sense of what her day will look like and how she’ll find success in this position.
Since a very specific request (“We need high-level budget management skills”) can lead to predictable counter questions (For example, “What does “high-level” mean?”), anticipate and address these questions in the post. The more accurate your responses and clarifications, the stronger your candidate pool will be. If you start with a strong pool, you’ll elevate your chances of ending the process with a truly winning candidate and an excellent long-term employee.
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For more information on how to frame and draft your post in a way that attracts the best applicants and improves the outcome of your recruiting efforts, contact a top staffing agency in Scottsdale at the ACCENT Hiring Group.
Can You Be Prepared for Everything a Candidate Could Ask For?
Your candidate selection process is winding down, and you’re on the verge of making an offer to your top applicant. As an experienced manager or HR pro, you know better than to expect an immediate, unqualified “yes” followed by tears of joy. An offer doesn’t seal the deal; sometimes it just opens the floor to negotiation.
Since you have an approved budget in hand, you know how far you’re able to go if the candidate asks for a higher salary. But what if she requests something else? What if her terms are unexpected and you aren’t sure how to say “no” or “maybe” without driving her away? Consider these tips.
What do candidates ask for?
Your candidate may surprise you by requesting
- 1. a preapproved salary boost in a year or six months if certain goals are met.
- 2. Commuter benefits
- 3. Childcare benefits
- 4. A flexible schedule or the opportunity to work remotely full or part-time.
Sometimes candidates request the option to bring a support animal with them to the office, and sometimes candidates simply like to have their pet dogs with them as they work. Some candidates need or prefer to bring children to the workplace periodically, and some request certain accommodations that extend beyond those required by the ADA. (Of course, you’ll need to do everything in your power to provide accommodations to disabled candidates). Any or all of these are likely, and it’s wise to keep in mind that before an agreement is signed, candidates are certainly within their rights to ask for anything they choose.
Don’t express dismay.
The quickest way to alienate a top candidate is to demonstrate judgment or hostility in response to a simple request. If a candidate asks to work from home on a preapproved schedule, listen and consider before reacting. Even a bemused smile can boost the lure of a competing offer. If the answer is no, say no respectfully.
Be ready to gather answers quickly.
You candidate may request a salary increase in one year based on specific performance metrics. If so, know beforehand who you’ll need to turn to with this request and how you might extract a yes from upper managers. Know in advance how you expect to evaluate performance for this specific role.
Expect candidates to ask for flexibility.
In 2018, most candidates place a high premium on time (in some cases, candidates value time as much as money.) So be ready to field requests for more annual PTO days, accommodating daily schedules, and the ability to work from home. Know exactly how far you and the company are willing to go to go on this point. Consider asking the candidate to submit all requests before you make your offer.
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Are you looking for the right candidates? Contact the team at the ACCENT Hiring Group today to get started!
Culture Fit or Culture Adds – What’s Right for Your Team?
We all know that it’s a good idea to consider your company culture as you sift through a field of candidates in search of your new employee. Culture matters! The right pairing between the newbie and your existing workplace population can mean the difference between a successful hire and quick resignation. So, of course, you’ll need to think about culture as you hire, but which option should you pursue: a “fit”, or an “add”? Here are a few factors to consider.
A “culture add” is a fancy buzzword for a simple idea.
When you look for a culture add, you start by examining your workplace and looking for gaps, areas of weakness, or underrepresented demographics. If everyone on your team is an extrovert, look for introverts. If everyone on your team falls between a certain age range, you’ll need to shake that up a bit. If you have a room full of rigid technical types, you’ll need some creative energy to balance things out. And if you have an entire team with loads of personality type X, you’ll need a few with personality types Y, Z, and Q.
Isn’t it a bad idea to look for candidates based on race or gender?
Nope. All other qualifications being equal, you cause much more harm to your company by hiring a monochromatic, single-gender, single-age workforce than you do by actively seeking diversity. Diversity is the key to strength and prosperity. Diversity means better ideas, more perspectives, less opportunity for error, and more room for both personal and company growth. And don’t just allow diversity to happen as it will: Aggressively seek it out. Both your teams and your bottom line will thank you.
What if my teams genuinely prefer being around people like themselves?
It’s natural and comfortable to seek out faces that look just like our own, and we all have a tendency to find people more trustworthy, smart, and attractive if looking at them feels like looking in a mirror. But these assumptions are simply not accurate, no matter how naturally they come to us. Don’t build your company on a foundation of false assumptions and bad ideas. Sweep those away and replace them with reality.
Fit has a place, too.
Say your brand represents a celebration of nature and the outdoors. Your target audience (and many of your workers) are young, in shape, and outdoorsy. Of course, it’s a good idea to aggressively hire across a range of ages and physical abilities, but if you define “outdoorsy” as a state of mind and nothing more, put it in the candidate plus column. Shared faces don’t necessarily lead to harmony and success, but shared sympathies sometimes do.
Find a Top Recruiter in Scottsdale
Hire new candidates who fit the mold …. but only the parts of the mold that matter. For more hiring guidance, contact the top recruiters in Scottsdale and work with the ACCENT Hiring Group.
An Employee Engagement Calendar to Improve Company Culture
You’ve probably heard plenty of casual advice on how to improve your company culture by making your workplace more fun. “Fun” is a simple concept that can yield big dividends in terms of retention, employee loyalty, team cohesion, and even internal competition and a general boost in innovation. And a little fun goes a long way; just one Saturday mini-golf outing or a few Friday happy hours can generate lasting memories and might give employees a meaningful chance to get to know one another. A few activities now and then can help them form friendships that transcend the bounds of the workplace.
But sometimes fun activities (no matter how easy!) still need to be formalized. Ideas are only ideas until someone decides to create a documented plan for execution. So why not create an Employee Engagement calendar? Here are a few ways this simple move can provide big support to your workplace culture.
A monthly calendar
Start with just the month. Sometimes a plan for a fun activity simply doesn’t take root, for any number of reasons. Instead of attempting to force Saturday mini-golf once a month from now till eternity (your teams might not actually like it), just plan one event. Feel out the reaction. If everyone has a great time, you can try making this a regular affair. A monthly calendar can include one-time trial runs, employee birthdays, social events (like showers, welcome back parties, small employee recognition events, and holiday-themed get-togethers). It can also include items of personal news (new babies, graduations, promotions, or occasions calling for sympathy and support.) Even if an event doesn’t warrant a full-out conference room party with a sheet cake, it might be something that employees care to share and fellow colleagues might like to know about.
Quarterly calendars can include big milestones
If your monthly event calendar seems to work, and employees seem to be tuning in and responding to your announcements and invitations, try going bigger. Plan ahead by a full quarter, and include a host of additional events, like retirement news and announcements of company-wide successes. You can even include employee feedback surveys and invitations to outside events (an employee might be exhibiting his art at a nearby gallery or taking her Schnauzer to Westminster).
If you decide to create an annual calendar, you can include your companies biggest annual events, like the yearly appreciation picnic or a scheduled team-building retreat in the mountains. You can also include charity events, blood drives, health fairs, and anything else you choose. At this level, feel free to involve the CEO of the company and maybe even publish an annual update in her name.
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For more on how to find the best employees who are ready to be a part of your awesome company culture, contact the recruiters at the ACCENT Hiring Group.
Challenging Top Performers to Keep Them – Yes, You Read That Correctly
“Challenging” isn’t usually considered a positive descriptor. When a person, situation, or environment are flagged as challenging, it usually means they’re a problem. They’re an obstacle to be navigated around or an issue that needs to be overcome.
When employees face challenges at work, for example, that usually means one of two things: 1.) they feel enough personal motivation and love for the company that they work to resolve the challenge, or 2.) they don’t. Challenges push engaged employees to excel, but they also push unengaged employees out the door.
So if you have a top performer on your team who seems disengaged, bored, or ready to look for work elsewhere, it may seem counterintuitive to deliberately place obstacles in the person’s path. But think twice. This may be just the thing that he or she needs to buckle down and face the job with fresh eyes. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Challenges help us learn, and learning feels good
Your employee wants to learn new things; she doesn’t just want this because learning feels positive and meaningful. She also wants to build out her resume and achieve her career goals. Difficult projects, new skills, and exposure to new aspects of the industry can all be considered challenges…but facing them can build an employee’s sense of accomplishment and rekindle a fading sense of ambition. Giving a glazed-over employee a difficult project can spark a transformation.
Challenges make us feel alive
We don’t always love adventures while we’re having them. And there are some activities we enjoy having done, even if we really don’t enjoy doing them. There’s something magical about looking back on a harrowing ride after it’s over. And when you offer this feeling to a checked-out employee or disengaged team, there’s a strong chance they’ll want to get back on the ride and go through it again.
Challenges should be appropriate; choose them wisely
Push your employees toward challenges that make use of their rarest and most valuable skills, not toward busy work or manufactured hassles. Just because a task is awkward, miserable or tedious doesn’t mean it will make your employee feel engaged and connected. Before you overextend an employee or push them into the deep end, make sure you’re choosing the right employee, for the right task, for the right reasons.
Again, the wrong task and the wrong reasons may push a detached employee further out the door, so be careful. Before you move forward, sit down for a conversation about what your employee wants to accomplish or learn while they occupy this role.
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For more on how to find the right team members that are ready to be pushed and help grow your business, turn to the experts at and work with a leading recruiter in Scottsdale!
Hiring is Hard: Three Areas to Focus on to Improve Retention
As experienced managers eventually learn, hiring is difficult, tedious, expensive and risky. Reviewing resumes and meeting with a long line of candidates can wreak havoc on a manager’s schedule, and it can pull interviewers and other employees away from critical tasks that require focus and attention. And the stakes are high; a poor hiring decision can have lasting consequences for everyone involved.
Fortunately, the best way to get around these hiring obstacles is simple: spend less time hiring.
Once you find and onboard talented candidates, don’t let them get away. Work together with them, help them grow their careers, and keep them stay on the team so you won’t have to face the hassle of saying goodbye and searching for a replacement. Here are three moves that can support your retention efforts.
If you’re like most employers, you probably conduct a formal performance review with each employee about once a year. Performance reviews can help employees stay on track to success, but once a year won’t do the trick. In fact, negative feedback gathered in July and dropped on an employee in January can feel like an awkward ambush, and it can undermine the relationship in ways both subtle and obvious. It’s not pleasant to be criticized, but it’s especially unhelpful to have that criticism delivered six months after the fact. Meet with your team members on a regular and informal basis to check in with them, let them know how they’re doing, and allow them to return the gesture.
Compensate with more than money
Of course, you’ll need to pay your employees a competitive salary in order to keep them on board, but a little extra effort goes a long way. In addition to your base transaction (a week of work for a week of pay), make your office feel like a second home and your teams feel like a second family. Small gestures like free lunches, fun events, softball teams, and Friday happy hours make an employer much harder to walk away from.
Talk about what they’re getting, not just what they give
When you meet with your employee during your regular sessions, don’t just talk about how well she’s performing and what she’s contributing to the company. These things matter, but they only represent half the relationship and half of the equation. Make sure your employee feels satisfied with how this job supports her career plans. Is she receiving the training and exposure she needs to build her resume and carry her to her next destination? If not, how can you help? What resources can you provide? What kinds of projects and challenges will benefit her the most?
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Retention Strategies: Talk to Your Employees Every Few Months
In a rapidly evolving job marketplace, the best way to protect your company’s bottom line starts with one word – stability. Lower churn can help you save money on hiring, training and onboarding costs, and the longer you keep your employees within your walls, the more you benefit from their growing store of institutional knowledge. So, stability matters and stability starts with careful selection and high effort dedicated to retention.
Hire the right people in the first place, then keep them on board if possible by cultivating management strategies that build loyalty and commitment. Start by meeting with each employee on an individual basis each month and discussing topics like these.
What’s working and what isn’t?
Is your new hire comfortable with the processes and procedures related to her work? Do your software systems and workflows support their productivity or stand in their way? Think about how you phrase your question and don’t imply that it’s their responsibility to adapt to the system (not the other way around). Make it clear that you’re listening, willing to consider their suggestions, and willing to change or fix elements of the process that don’t work for them. If they feel heard and they see the path toward success and productivity as a mutual goal, they’re more likely to stay for the long haul.
Are you happy with your current jobs/responsibilities?
Ask the employee to assess his general comfort levels with the job and their specific responsibilities. Does the job resemble what they expected? This question doesn’t just apply to their first weeks and months; it should be asked again, and again, year after year. When employees lose patience or burn out due to misaligned expectations, it doesn’t always happen right away. Sometimes this drift can take years.
How can the company improve?
Encourage the employee to be open and generous with her constructive criticism. Most employees – especially recent hires – won’t answer this question honestly unless they feel safe and respected, so make it clear that their insights have value and you genuinely want to hear and implement them. Clearly explain the purpose of your monthly chat sessions (improving retention) and explain that the company puts concerted effort into making employees feel valued and deploying their skills and talents in the most expedient way.
You want your employees to thrive, find meaning in their work, and stay if possible. So, make this clear. Encourage them to help you with these goals. As always, company success will result from a team effort between employees and managers.
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For more on how to use simple moves and cost-effective tools to retain your talented workers, turn to the management experts at the ACCENT Hiring Group.
Diversity and Culture Support Innovation
Countless management guidelines and tips emphasize one word over and over again: culture. A strong culture, we’re told repeatedly, means a strong staffing strategy and a strong and thriving business. If employees feel engaged with their work and they feel a sense of pride and confidence in each other, this positive attitude will spread, and if they don’t, negativity and distrust will pervade the atmosphere, with detrimental results.
But too often, “shape your culture” is misheard and misinterpreted to mean “hire people who make you feel comfortable.” If hiring managers don’t examine their feelings and they respond to candidates based on “a sense of connection” alone, they tend to unconsciously hire people who look, speak, and act like they do. The result isn’t a great culture; it’s a mess. Diversity is what makes a culture strong, and building a diverse workplace requires effort, thought, and strategy. Keep these considerations in mind as you move forward.
Gut Responses and Warm Feelings Won’t Get You There
People are often wired to behave in ways that run counter to their best interests. We want to stay healthy, but we eat donuts because they taste good. We want a thriving, functional, innovative company culture, but we choose the candidate who looks like us because there’s “just something about him” that puts us at ease. Look past the easy impulse and aggressively seek candidates that DON’T fit prevailing patterns and demographics in your office. The path to growth starts with an assessment (What is our age distribution? How many people with disabilities work here? How are our employee backgrounds similar and different? Where are the missing voices?) and a conscious effort to depart from homogeneity.
Act on Opportunities to Learn and Grow
A candidate who represents a minority in your company has registered a complaint about the culture. They feel unwelcome, unappreciated, or maybe even threatened by some aspect of the workplace. Do you coach, soothe, and silence the employee so the workplace won’t have to change? Or do you change the workplace and solve the problem? The second path is often more difficult, but it’s the path to success. The first option brings only toxicity and stagnation.
A Rainbow of Faces Isn’t Enough
For diversity to actually have an impact on your bottom line, you’ll need to embrace and cultivate it, not just tolerate it. If you look out over your workforce and see different faces, ages, and backgrounds, that’s great, and it’s a meaningful accomplishment. But not if you encourage your workers to leave their differences at the door and behave like robots from nine to five. Celebrate and leverage the different perspectives employees bring to the table—don’t downplay or encourage employees to hide them. That helps no one.
Work with a Top Staffing Agency in Scottsdale
For more on how to attract, hire, and make the most of a wide variety of voices and perspectives, reach out to the top recruiters in Scottsdale at the ACCENT Hiring Group.
How Do Recruiters Create Candidate Profiles that Attract Top Talent?
Accent recruiters know that the difference between a winning candidate and mismatch can be highly nuanced, and without years of experience, great listening skills, and evidence-based interview strategies, these important details can easily be missed.
With that in mind, we conduct a thorough, multi-stage candidate profiling process with both the client and the candidate in mind at every step. Here are some of the detailed steps that set us apart and help us match the right candidate to the right position.
We start with pre-screening.
The most efficient way to narrow the candidate pool starts with the very first step: pre-screening. When you ask the big questions first, you can get to the truth before either party wastes valuable money and time. Since we recognize the coarse-grain details that can turn candidates away (commuting distance, misaligned industries, misaligned expectations, etc), we ask about these details upfront. Candidate who can handle the biggest initial challenges (such as relocation) stay in the pool and move onto the next stage.
If the candidate shows interest in the role, the next stage involves personal interviews with Accent staff. We’ll invite applicants in for a sit-down meeting in which we discuss aptitude, work history, and goals.
Analysis and number crunching.
At this stage, the in-depth evaluation process begins. We create a data-enhanced resume for each candidate and factor in the details gained through the interview, the candidate’s behavioral profile, and a close examination of skill-work adaptability.
At this stage, if the candidate’s interest levels and the evaluation process reveal a match between company and candidate needs and abilities, we begin verification of key details. We’ll confirm references, education, and publicly available salary information. Then we’ll move on to optional reviews, which may include a criminal background check, drug screening, or handwriting analysis.
The final stage
At this point, after the candidate has passed each of our evidence-based reviews, we’ll double check to make sure the candidate can meet the specific needs requested by the employer during our consultation process. For example, if the employer needs qualified accounting pro, we ensure a skill match. But if they also consider second language fluency a plus, we’ll confirm that detail.
Find the Best Talent to Fill the Best Jobs in Scottsdale
At every stage, our process is tested, proven, and carefully designed to ensure a successful hire. But we know that times change and industry needs fluctuate. So when a certain data marker, skill test, or behavioral interview question no longer brings success, we adjust our process accordingly. At every turn, we apply the evaluation procedures that bring you closer to the talented new hires you’re looking for. To learn more, contact the team at the ACCENT Hiring Group today!