Top 10 Social Media Tips for Job Seekers

May 27th, 2016

Your resume is perfectly polished and proofread. Your cover letter gives a solid introduction while highlighting your strengths. You’ve practice for your job interview and are ready to go.

You’re not done yet.May 2

All of these elements are essential to a successful job search, so you are most definitely doing the right things. But, there is one important aspect of your job search you might be neglecting: Your social media presence.   

By now, you realize that social media offers more than a great place to share pictures and news with your family and friends. It’s also a powerful tool for networking and searching for jobs. But just as social media offers excellent opportunities for you to enhance your job search, it also presents an excellent opportunity for recruiters to learn more about YOU.

So what are they learning?

The information recruiters find on your social media profiles could help you land (or not land) an interview or even help you get the job. The only way to ensure it helps your job search instead of hinders it is to follow some best practices. Consider these quick top 10 social media tips for job seekers your “cheat sheet” to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward:

  1. Check your privacy settings. Social media sites like Facebook will almost always be about family and friends first, but that doesn’t mean recruiters aren’t researching you there. The best way to keep your personal life personal is to constantly check and update your privacy settings – especially on Facebook, where privacy settings can sometimes change frequently. They’re also not a “set it and forget it” -type element. Since Facebook is updating their policies frequently, you may be leaving personal posts and images open to the public after an update. A good rule of thumb is to check them about once a month.
  2. Be consistent. You may have forgotten about that old Twitter account, but you can bet recruiters are finding it when they search online for your name. If your image and bio are outdated on one profile, it could give recruiters the wrong impression. Ensure your profiles tell a complete, consistent story.
  3. Use a great photo. Your profile photos don’t have to be stuffy head shots (even on professional sites like LinkedIn), but they should present you in a personable, professional light. Avoid pictures with family or friends (especially the “cropped out” friend who is half visible), and keeping #2 in mind, try to use the same picture on all your social profiles.
  4. Complete your profiles. This is especially important on LinkedIn. If there’s a section for information about you – complete it! The more complete your profile, the better the impression you’ll make on recruiters. Added bonus: Profiles with more information tend to perform better in searches, so recruiters may end up finding and calling you about a job because they found you on LinkedIn!
  5. Show some balance. Online recommendations or endorsements can add real value, but be sure to focus on quality rather than quantity. Most recruiters would rather see a handful of thoughtful LinkedIn recommendations over a dozen “5-star reviews” without any details.
  6. Post content. A good-looking, complete profile is one thing, but to really make a good impression online, try to share relevant content. When your privacy settings permit (often on Twitter and LinkedIn, not Facebook), share articles from well-known and respected publications (Inc., Entrepreneur and Success are a good place to start) to show recruiters that you not only understand social media, but are active there. More importantly, you’ll also demonstrate some business savvy and will actually provide value for not only recruiters, but all of your connections.
  7. Stay positive. Recruiters can review your social media profiles at any time during the hiring process – it can often be your only chance at a first impression! Avoid positing negative content to ensure you’re making a strong impression and are presenting yourself as someone a recruiter would want to talk to during an interview. This also includes discussing past employers – it is never appropriate to post or speak negatively about any past colleagues or employers. Always stay positive on social media (and during job interviews).
  8. Get connected. Once you’ve set up strong social media profiles (or have updated your current profiles), be sure to build your connections. This is especially powerful on LinkedIn (and sometimes on Twitter). It is perfectly acceptable to send a request to connect to recruiters on LinkedIn.
  9. Be personal.  While connecting with recruiters is a valuable tool in your social media arsenal, there’s one thing to keep in mind: Standing out means getting personal. Specifically, be sure to include a personal note with your request to connect (not the standard invitation text auto populated by LinkedIn). Most people do not take this extra step, so you’ll not only make a great impression, you’ll really stand out.
  10. Ask for feedback. The best way to know how a recruiter views your social media profiles is to ask one! Our recruiters can help you assess and improve your resume, cover letter and your social media profiles to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

Building a social media presence that helps your job search isn’t difficult, but you’ll have to follow through on these steps to maximize your efforts. Here at Helpmates, we help job seekers from across Southern California to find their next job or take their careers to the next level. Search our current job openings or contact a recruiter today to learn more.

5 Important Steps You Should Take After Every Interview

May 23rd, 2016

You’ve found the best candidates, put them through your hiring process and ultimately made a hire – congratulations! Your new hire is ready to get to work. But your job isn’t over once the hire is made. Each interview presents an opportunity for your company to learn, adapt and further build its employer brand.

Follow these 5 steps after every job interview to continuously improve and attract top talent:Helpmates May 1

  1. Ask candidates for feedback. The best way to know how candidates view your company and your hiring process is the easiest – ask them! Whether anonymously via an online survey provider, or via email or phone call after the process has been completed, candidate surveys can provide excellent insight into your company, employer brand and hiring process. But be prepared – most of the candidates you survey will not have received the job, and they may be (understandably) upset. Honestly assessing critical or negative feedback, though, can help your organization tremendously.
  2. Identify delays or snags in the process. Every organization and hire is different, but it can cost you top talent when your hiring process is exceedingly long. After each interview, take an honest look at the process to see where you can trim unnecessary steps. A leaner process is better for talent, and it helps get new hires to work for you, faster! If you need help identifying some common hiring process delays, we recently profiled three of them in our blog.
  3. Examine your notes. Take a look at notes gathered during each interview. If you had multiple interviewers, be sure to gather and review their notes too. Did you get all the information you needed to make the best hiring decision? The questions you ask – or how you are asking them, could affect the information gathered that ultimately enables you to make the best hire. If there are gaps in the information you prefer to have, determine why you were unable to get that information, and take steps to ensure you’re gathering everything you need in the future.
  4. Look for what’s missing. Rather than just looking at what you gathered during the process, take a look at what you didn’t gather. Could something have made the hiring decision easier? Would including another team member in the first round of interviews made moving into the second round easier? Could a skills test or references upon application help you bring in only the most qualified candidates, saving time and resources? If you need help identifying key data or gaps in your process, call Helpmates. Our experienced team of recruiters can analyze your hiring process to determine the best, most efficient way to identify and interview only the best candidates for each position.
  5. Be honest. Honesty and candor are essential here and during every step of your interview review. Whether it’s reviewing candidate feedback or identifying holes in your process or interview questions, taking a fresh look at your job interviews every time will help you improve. But most importantly, it will help you attract and land better talent.

Attracting, screening and interviewing candidates can be a major time and resource burden for organizations. Here at Helpmates, we help some of Southern California’s top employers find the best talent to help them reach your goals. Call your local Helpmates office to learn more about how we can help your business.

Why Temp Jobs Make Sense For Your Career

April 29th, 2016

The job market is heating up and employers are looking for more talent – especially for temp jobs. As businesses look for ways to scale up their workforce to meet increasing demands, more temp jobs are becoming available across a range of industries and disciplines.Helpmates Temps

Temp jobs can provide a boost to your career.

Temporary employment has helped employers and professionals for decades, but understanding how temp positions have evolved, and the benefits they offer today’s professionals, can help you map out your career strategy. Here are four ways temp positions offer tremendous opportunities:

  1. Temp can often lead to permanent. If you’re at a crossroads in your career and are looking for stability, temp jobs can offer surprising stability. As mentioned above, partnering with a staffing firm like Helpmates helps you become part of our team – many specialists are entitled to similar benefits you’d receive in a full-time job. So if you decide you like the flexibility of temporary work, Helpmates can often provide the stability of a full-time job with the flexibility of temp jobs. But if your long-term goal is permanent employment with one employer, temp jobs can be the perfect gateway. Often, employers take advantage of “temp-to-hire” opportunities with firms like Helpmates. That means they hire an employee for a temp job with the option to hire that person as a full time employee at the completion of the contract. This allows the employer to see if potential employees would be a good fit before making a permanent decision, but it also allows YOU the opportunity to determine if there’s a fit. Do your best work in this type of temp job, and if there’s a mutual fit between you and the employer, it could lead to full-time employment (without the risk and uncertainty typically found when starting a new full-time job).
  2. Boredom is typically avoided. If you’re the type of person who likes a fresh challenge and gets bored in the same position for too long, temporary positions (particularly through a staffing partner like Helpmates) offer you the flexibility you crave with the stability of having a career partner on your side. While some temporary positions are six months or longer, some are considerably shorter. Depending on what you’re looking for, your recruiter can help find the best opportunities for your needs, goals and desires.
  3. Testing the waters becomes much easier. Thinking about a career shift? Gaining the necessary experience can be difficult. And do you really know that your new career is the one for you? Temp jobs offer tremendous opportunity to “try out” a new industry, position or employer, so that you can take the time to really know if a full career change is right for you. If you decide that you’re ready to make the jump into a new career, you’ll have a solid foundation of experience to get you started.
  4. Yes, benefits are often available. There is a popular misconception among some professionals that temp workers don’t receive benefits. Here at Helpmates (and at many other firms as well), we offer a robust set of benefits for qualified specialists. These include many of the benefits you would expect and receive from a full-time job, like 401k, insurance, holiday pay and more (Contact your local Helpmates team for more details!). Also, pay is often extremely competitive for temp jobs compared to full-time employees — sometimes it’s even higher.

Looking for temp jobs? Helpmates is hiring! We work with top employers in a range of industries across Southern California. Search our jobs now or call your local Helpmates office to take the next step in your career.

Is Your Employer Brand Sending the Right Message?

April 26th, 2016

With competition for top talent becoming stiffer by the day, focusing on a strong employer brand is critical to helping your business stand out from the pack. While you don’t have to be named a “Top Place to Work” in order to attract and retain top talent, a strong employer brand helps you build trust and engagement with candidates. In the past, we’ve shared tips to help you differentiate your employer brand from the competition, and have highlighted some ways to attract and retain top talent.

Have you followed our advice? Great, then you’re on the right track!Helpmates April 2

Now it’s time to take your employer brand to the next level.

While many employers have great intentions in developing their employer brand, many make some considerable mistakes that end up costing them access to talent. Avoid these mistakes to prevent an uphill battle in your quest to land top talent:

  1. Underestimating candidates. In their most recent candidate behavior survey, Jobvite found that 18% of all job seekers are using Facebook to research your company’s culture. Today’s job seekers are more savvy than ever. They know what they’re looking for in an employer, and they want to find a match between their needs and your company. Specifically, they want to know what it’s really like to work for your business. And with tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Glassdoor and Google at their fingertips, it’s easier than ever to get this information. To ensure that candidates are finding a message that truly represents your brand, a strong social media presence is essential. We recently posted a blog offering advice for employers looking to engage candidates on social media. This is a good place to start. Showcase your employer brand, expect and understand that candidates are doing their research and that they value honesty and a strong message from your company
  2. Not “walking your talk.” Creating a strong employer brand involves more than messaging.  A strong employer brand engages candidates while accurately depicting your company’s values and the experience of working for your organization. Now “walking the talk” here isn’t just overtly misleading candidates (which most employers wouldn’t do deliberately). Many employers have the best of intentions, but don’t actually understand what day-to-day life is like in their workplaces for most employees. Before embarking on an employer branding initiative, an informal, anonymous survey of your current employees can help you pinpoint the true benefits and experience of working for your company. Bonus: It can also help illuminate areas where you could be doing better. Take this information and use it to create a better experience for your employees!
  3. Thinking your employer brand is “one and done.” Embarking on an employer branding initiative like the one mentioned in #2 is a great way to start your employer branding efforts. Notice the emphasis on “start.” Understanding your employer brand and crafting your message is just the beginning. A strong employer brand is constantly built and honed – it takes a long-term commitment from your organization. Ensure that your mission, vision and company goals are properly communicated to prospective employees by investing time and resources into a strong social media strategy so that when candidates research your company, they’re finding recent, relevant content that engages. Work on improving areas that underperformed in the survey you conducted as part of #2, then promote those advances across the board. Refresh your employer branding materials as needed to ensure the messaging is the most current, up to date and engaging. Ensure that your organization is committed to building and leveraging its employer brand. This may require someone within your organization “taking ownership” of employer branding. Designating a dedicated resource toward your employer brand can be a great way to ensure this important area doesn’t fall by the wayside.

Landing top talent doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. Follow this advice, and call your local Helpmates office. Our network of top talent across Southern California is ready to jump in and make an immediate impact on your business.

It’s Time For Spring Cleaning (Your Job Search)

April 22nd, 2016

Spring has officially sprung — as the trees blossom and the weather improves, are you where you want to be in your career? Just a few months back, we offered these tips for turning your New Year’s career resolutions into a reality this year. If you haven’t made as much progress as you’d like, it’s time to use the spring season to your advantage. 

Get to work on spring cleaning your job searchHM April Blog 1

The theme of “spring cleaning” has a few different applications – maybe it’s cleaning out the garage, a spare bedroom or your car. Maybe it means changing your diet to focus on healthier foods. This year, take a different approach to spring cleaning — use it to freshen up your job search.

Spring cleaning your job search doesn’t have to be as intensive as a weekend spent cleaning the garage – follow these three steps to take a fresh approach to your career this spring:

  1. Overhaul your resume. You should be reviewing and updating your resume at least once or twice a year (or perhaps more frequently if you’ve changed jobs multiple times). This checklist offers four things many people forget to put on their resumes (make sure yours is complete!). Spring cleaning your resume can really help remove unnecessary clutter and help employers focus on the most pertinent and relevant details. Here are a few places to start: Removing work experience that’s more than 10 years old or isn’t directly relevant to the jobs you’re applying to right now; Freshen up your bullet points by adding your most recent accomplishments (quantifying results wherever possible) – remember to go beyond your to-do list and focus on what you’ve done in your jobs; Tighten up the language by including relevant keywords to your target job titles wherever possible; and Eliminate unnecessary words or clutter to make your resume more visually appealing.
  2. Call your recruiter. Maybe you’ve been working in your latest position for awhile, or perhaps your job search just took a backseat to other priorities to start the year. One of the best ways to freshen up your job search this spring is by calling your recruiter. Either on a phone call or in a meeting, update your recruiter on what you’ve been up to, what your goals are and what you’re looking for in the short and long term for your career. Your recruiter is one of the most critical tools in your job search, and ensuring he or she has the most up to date information about you, your job and your goals means that recruiter is able to match you to the most relevant jobs within those goals. Plus, many recruiters are extremely busy – when you take the initiative to touch base with an update, you’re ensuring that you stay top of mind, which can be a huge boost when new jobs open up.
  3. Spring clean your wardrobe. Hiring managers are using a lot of information to determine whether you’re a fit for their companies. Resumes and input from recruiters play a part, but your wardrobe is also essential. From the moment you walk through the door, potential employers are assessing your wardrobe to determine your level of professionalism and respect for the position and company. In the literal sense, spring cleaning your wardrobe means putting away the heavy sweaters and moving into lighter clothing. But also take the opportunity to determine whether your spring and summer interview clothes truly put your best foot forward. Ask a friend or relative for input if you’re not sure. New wardrobe pieces don’t have to cost a fortune, but your interview clothing should be professional, and your work wardrobe should match the corresponding employment environment of your profession.
  4. Review and revise your online presence. Recruiters are putting in the time to review your online profiles for sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook. While you’re updating your resume, take a few minutes to update your social media profiles to ensure they are up to date and positioning you in the best light. For Facebook, verify your privacy settings keep personal photos and posts to family and friends. Keep Twitter content personal but professional and respectful wherever possible – if you spot something that could be misconstrued or hurt your reputation with a hiring manager, play it safe and delete the tweet(s). On LinkedIn, verify your photo is professional, and update your profile throughout to ensure it helps tell your personal story while highlighting your professional accomplishments. Taking a few minutes on each of these sites helps ensure recruiters and hiring managers see a complete, professional portrait when visiting your social media profiles.

Spring offers an excellent opportunity to recharge your job search – the team at Helpmates can also help you take your career to the next level. Visit our job board or contact your local Helpmates office today to get started.

3 Ways To Speed Up Your Hiring Process

March 4th, 2016

The unemployment rate dropped considerably in 2015, driving up the competition for top talent. In a candidate’s market, employers must find ways to stand out as the best choice.

Are top candidates choosing your business?HM

One of the biggest barriers to landing top talent for many organizations is the hiring process. A longer, more drawn out hiring process with multiple layers of approval or more calls, meetings and stress for candidates makes it increasingly unlikely you’ll land the best talent.

Streamline your hiring process to attract top talent

For many organizations, the hiring process stalls or is challenging around several key areas. The good news is that many of these areas are easily fixable, so you can start improving your hiring process and recruiting top talent in no time:

  1. Focusing too much on hiring the “perfect” candidate. “I’ll know him/her when I see him/her” is not the best way to identify the right candidate for a position. In fact, you should clearly define your needs, wants and “musts” well in advance of posting your job opening. Without having a specific list of background, skills or experience requirements, you could end up so focused on hiring the “perfect” candidate that you pass on highly talented and qualified candidates who could make a real impact on your business. If multiple people are involved in your hiring decisions, bring them in early in the process to help you define a range of skills and background necessary to succeed in the given role. Then carefully articulate those requirements in your job descriptions and throughout the hiring process. You’ll get better quality candidates applying to the job, and you’ll be able to make much more efficient decisions during the hiring process.
  2. Lack of awareness over current market conditions. Depending on the industry, specialty, skill set or even town/city, the market for talent could vary considerably. For some specialties, the current market for talent compensation is extremely competitive. If you’re entering the process without the most up-to-date knowledge, your definition of the role and your specific desires in a candidate could be off track, causing unnecessary delays in your process.
  3. Eliminate unnecessary steps. The easiest way to streamline your hiring process is to document it – many organizations don’t have a formal hiring process. You might be surprised just how many steps are required to join your company (and how long it takes!). For an outside perspective, consider bringing in someone from a different department to look for opportunities to eliminate, reduce or streamline steps. Do you really need to collect references in the beginning, for all candidates? Or could you use them as a last step when deciding between a handful? Do five people really need to interview that candidate, or would two work? Could both interviews be scheduled on the same day to save time and prevent bringing a candidate in twice? These are just a few places where you can start cutting/streamlining – get creative, think objectively and see how you can make things run leaner and more smoothly.

Of course, one of the easiest ways to streamline your hiring process is to partner with a staffing firm (like Helpmates!). We’ll help you craft job descriptions that attract the right talent, and we’ll only present those candidates who are the right fit for the job. We can help eliminate unnecessary steps and identify ways for you to improve your internal processes. Plus, we have an extensive network of top talent across Southern California. Contact your nearest Helpmates office to take the first step.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

10 Ways to Stand Out on Your Temporary Work Assignment

March 2nd, 2016

Temporary work assignments offer excellent opportunities to expand your skill set, get to know different industries and employers and advance your career while taking advantage of short-term, flexible work arrangements.

Employers are continuing to take advantage of the benefits temporary workers offer them as well. This means that professionals across a range of disciplines can expect more opportunities for temporary work assignments in the coming years. Sure, the length of your temporary assignments may vary, but each offers an excellent opportunity for you to not only benefit your career, but to make a great impression. And standing out while making a great impression will help you land the best temporary work assignments with the most desirable employers.

How to make a great impression on temporary work assignmentsMarch blog 1

Try these 10 steps to stand out on your next temporary work assignment (for the right reasons!) and boost your career:

  1. Always arrive for work on time. This is one of the most basic pieces of job advice out there, yet it always bears repeating — because many employees don’t arrive to work on time! For the purposes of any job, “on time” usually means arriving about five or 10 minutes early. If you like to say hello at the water cooler, drop off your lunch or do any small tasks before getting started on your actual job duties, 10 or 15 minutes early may be more appropriate. Arriving “on time” means starting work on time. So take the necessary steps to ensure you’re starting work on time every day.
  2. Ask questions and be engaged. Even for experienced professionals, every job comes with a bit of training. Take notes, ask questions and show that you’re truly interested in learning the right way to do things at your employer.
  3. Be a “team” player. Show a genuine interest in your coworkers and be friendly. Even for a one week or 30-day assignment, being approachable and friendly is always appreciated, and is more likely to earn you a favorable review.
  4. Show that you’re flexible. Sometimes the exact nature of a position evolves or changes, or an employer notices another need after you’ve begun your assignment. If you can be adaptable and step up to help in a new area (even one that you didn’t expect), you’ll make life much easier for your employer.
  5. Present yourself professionally. There are a few elements to this – avoid getting caught up in any office gossip or politics (which can happen, even on shorter assignments) and also be sure to dress appropriately for the position and office where you’ll be working. If you arrive on your first day and notice everyone else is adhering to a certain standard, show up on your second day with something that’s more in line with the team.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It may be tempting to try and do everything yourself to make a good impression on temporary work assignments, but sometimes asking for help is the best way to make a good impact. No one expects you to know everything!
  7. Don’t wait around for next steps. If you’ve finished a task or series of tasks, don’t wait around for your manager to find you and tell you what to do next. Instead, seek him or her out, share that you’ve completed your tasks and ask what else you can do to help.
  8. Be polite. Saying “please” and “thank you” goes a long way in every aspect of life, but especially in an office.
  9. Pay attention to details. It can be overwhelming when you’re inundated with details on the first days of a new temporary work assignment, but pay attention to them. Write them down, add meetings to your phone or calendar – do what it takes to ensure you aren’t missing key meetings or crucial details.
  10. Learn about the company. Your Helpmates recruiter will provide you with information about your next company, but take the time to not only read what they provide, but to do your own research as well. Showing up to your temporary assignment with some knowledge about the company and its goals will show that you value your time with them as much as they value your contributions!

Helpmates works with top employers across Southern California, and we have a range of temporary work assignments that can help you reach your goals. Search our available jobs now or contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Helpmates is Named to Inavero’s “Best of Staffing” List For the 7th Year in a Row!

February 18th, 2016

For the seventh straight year, Helpmates is proud to announce it has been named to Inavero’s “Best of Staffing®” list. This annual list recognizes those staffing services that truly deliver exceptional service to their clients and specialists.

We are extremely proud that our clients and talented specialists and direct hire professionals have helped to recognize us with this distinction!

Best of Staffing Client and Talent Awards for 2016

 

While staffing industry veterans may recognize the mark of Inavero’s “Best of Staffing” lists, here’s a helpful breakdown of Inavero and their annual lists:

  • Inavero’s “Best of Staffing” award provides the only statistically valid and objective service quality benchmarks in the staffing industry
  • Although the staffing industry’s scores are trending downward as a whole, Helpmates achieved scores significantly higher than the industry averages
  • Less than 2% of all staffing services in North America receive the “Best of Staffing” award for service excellence
  • Helpmates is rare among the “Best of Staffing” client winners – earning the 2016 Best of Staffing Diamond Client Award for outstanding service over five consecutive years (this is our seventh!)
  • In addition to the Diamond Client Award, Helpmates earned the 2016 Best of Staffing Diamond Talent Award for outstanding service over five consecutive years!

We are immensely proud of our team for continuing to raise the bar for our clients and specialists, and for their incredible commitment to providing the most exceptional service possible.

Most of all, thanks to our valued clients and talented specialists across Southern California for their continued partnerships with Helpmates! We are proud to help you reach your business and career goals!

Workplace Wellness: A Retention Key in 2016

January 25th, 2016

Have you made any 2016 New Year’s Resolutions? Chances are if you did, at least one of your resolutions is health focused. Half of the top 10 resolutions are health related….and 1 in 3 people will ditch their resolutions by the end of January.

We’re closing in on the end of January now, so rather than let your employees (or you!) ditch their health-related resolutions, why not take advantage of the shift in focus toward healthy living and build a stronger wellness program? Forty-five percent of Americans working at small to medium-sized companies say that they would stay at their jobs longer because of employer-sponsored wellness programs, and productivity also increases as a result of employer-sponsored wellness initiatives.

Keys to a successful wellness program HM Jan Post 2

Has your employee wellness program faltered in recent years? Or perhaps your organization is still waiting to get started? Here are five keys to a successful wellness program in any industry:

  1. They’re realistic. Sure, many of us would love to become ultra-marathoners or adhere to the healthiest diet on the planet, but those aren’t exactly realistic goals for most people. So rather than creating programs that aim to create superheroes, aim instead to help your employees make incremental changes that steadily improve their lives. A lunch hour massage therapist visit will likely be a huge hit. Yoga classes, meditation coaching, healthy cooking classes, team outings to local “laser tag” venues or other active but fun places, are all very fun, simple and accessible ways to get your team moving in the right direction.
  2. They’re fun. If you look at the few examples mentioned above, they’re all realistic for sure, but they’re also fun. Watching filmstrips and reading textbooks may have been necessary when we were in school, but in the real world we tend to, well, avoid them like the plague. Choosing fun places for active team outings and bringing in engaging teachers or coaches to lead classes are great ideas. Adding a competitive element can also make things fun and provide some extra incentive to your team. “Biggest Loser Challenges” are very popular in workplaces across the country, and winners designated for milestones and achievements throughout the challenge (which can be any duration, but are often between 8 and 12 weeks) can win small, yet fun and healthy prizes like gift cards for healthy restaurants, supermarkets or gyms, extra break time or even cash (budget permitting).
  3. Participation starts at the top. Many of us have been in organizations that tried to enact new policies or programs that ultimately failed because participation waned. And that often starts at the top. If you’re going to start a “Biggest Loser Challenge” or a series of lunchtime classes — any of these or your own suggestions — your organization should believe in these initiatives and be active in them at every level of your business. If you’re bringing in a chef to teach healthy cooking classes, your CEO or VPs should stand alongside your customer service reps. When participation and enthusiasm are genuine from all levels, it is contagious. Your team will believe that the organization truly supports and cares about the initiative, and its potential for success is much higher.
  4. Practice what you preach. If your employee cafeteria serves junk food or your vending machines are filled with candy bars and unhealthy snacks or drinks, you could be derailing your employee wellness efforts. Supporting your initiatives by surrounding employees with easy, healthy choices is one of the biggest ways to nurture a successful employee wellness program. Beyond the break room, think about meetings – bring in salad bars and flavored water instead of pizza and soda. Post signs around the office sharing information about employee wellness initiatives. Swap out the TV in the break room for a treadmill or bike. Think of ways to create a healthier office, not just a health program.
  5. Follow through. If your initial foray into employee wellness is an initiative – like the Biggest Loser Challenge – don’t just let it end. Keep up momentum by enacting ongoing initiatives and changes (like those mentioned throughout this post) to create and nurture an environment of wellness. One-off events and initiatives are great for spearheading efforts, but your continued commitment to employee wellness is what can ultimately help boost productivity, improve your employees’ health and build a stronger team with higher retention rates for your business.

Before you can develop and implement successful employee wellness programs, you need a team of superstar employees. Helpmates has an extensive network of talent in a range of disciplines across Southern California. We’ll help you find the right employees to help you reach your goals. Contact us today to get started.

How to Turn 2016 Career Resolutions into Reality

January 18th, 2016

Research shows that 45% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions – are you included? Resolutions can be an excellent way to set goals and devise a plan to achieve them in the new year.

But here’s the thing: Research also shows that only 8% of Americans who make resolutions are successful. If you’ve set career resolutions for 2016, don’t be discouraged by these statistics – we’re here to help. Armed with the right knowledge, your odds of success should increase dramatically.

Your 2016 Career Resolutions Game PlanHM Jan Blog 1

This game plan can help you get off to a great start in your path toward 2016 Career Resolutions success. Feel free to print it out and hang it next to your bed or computer for a regular dose of focus and inspiration:

  1. Be realistic. Aiming high and reaching for the stars is admirable, but sometimes it takes longer than a year to reach the highest heights. Instead of aiming for the stars initially, take a more realistic approach. Think about what you can accomplish in one year – aiming high enough that it won’t be easy, but that it’s attainable. When people set goals that seem impossible, it can seem too daunting and ultimately result in giving up. A realistic yet challenging resolution offers just enough “reach” to help you strive for your best, but with an end result that is most definitely achievable.
  2. Be as specific as possible. “Find a new job” is a great goal, but in order to make goals more actionable, you should get specific. What kind of job? Is there a location that works best for you? How much would you like to earn? When would you like to find your new job by? These are just some of the questions you should ask in order to get specific with your career resolutions. If you’re struggling, just think about everything that would impact your goal. Focus on what would be the most ideal fulfillment of your resolution, then write it down. So “Find a new job” becomes, “Find a new administrative position for $17 an hour that is within 20 minutes of my house and offers the flexibility to work from home one day a week.” With the vague goal, devising and acting on a game plan can be hazy – it’s hard to know if you’re spending your time and effort on the right things or if you’re really making progress toward the goal. But when your goal is specific, you can eliminate unnecessary steps and options, allowing you to focus your energies in the right places.
  3. Spread the word. The phrase “accountability partner” is popular with people who make resolutions. Whether it’s having a friend call you every morning at 5am to help you wake up earlier or a family member who joins you for your morning jog to help you stay on track, having someone who will keep you in check and ensure you’re working steadily toward your goals can make a big impact on your success. If you can’t find one person who will hold you to your goals and plans each day, find two or three and ask them to do one thing (for example, one person might email you every day asking which jobs you applied to, while another might call you after a job interview to see how it went). And outside of your accountability partners, tell as many people as possible about your goals. While we may not be afraid of letting ourselves down from time to time (“life” gets in the way sometimes, we know!), as human beings, we are less likely to fail at a goal if we know other people are counting on us. So put your family and friends to work for you, and let them know about your goals. Ask them for encouragement, and talk about your progress with them in conversations and emails, and also on social media sites like Facebook. Their continued encouragement can help keep you motivated and focused.
  4. Break it up. You have set your resolutions and defined your goals for 2016…now what? Breaking down those goals into actionable steps and putting them on your calendar are essential. Having a goal is great, but taking action on that goal is what gets things done. Using the example above, your steps might include, “Attending three networking events each week,” or “Updating my resume before January 31,” or “Reach out to 10 former colleagues and update them about my status before February 7.” Break down how you’ll achieve your goals, then put those steps on your calendar to define how long you should take to complete each step.
  5. Expect setbacks. Remember, “life” happens. Maybe you’ll catch a cold, or a family member will need your help unexpectedly. Something may come up that derails you from your schedule and goals temporarily. But let the emphasis be on “temporarily.” Schedules can be changed and updated. Goals can be refined. If you know and appreciate that setbacks will happen, you will be more prepared to roll with the punches and get back on track. Setbacks happen to everyone, but those who persevere are the ones who end up reaching their goals in the end.

Do you need help setting or reaching your career goals in 2016? Helpmates works with some of Southern California’s top employers. Search our jobs now to find a position that will help you aim higher in 2016, or call your nearest office to speak with one of our recruiters.

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