Managing Remote-Work Employees for the First Time

We’re several weeks into our stay-at-home orders here in the Los Angeles and Orange county regions and many companies are in the thick of managing work-from-home employees. Many of you no doubt have worked the kinks out and things are going smoothly.

Brea Staffing

But perhaps not. If you’ve never managed remote-work employees before, or if your employees have never worked from home before, you still may be finding new issues that create stress for all of you.

How well are you managing….yourself?

Probably the first step in managing remote workers is taking a look at how well you’re managing yourself while working at home. After all, you can’t expect your subordinates to do as well as you’re doing…unless you’re doing well yourself.

If you’re not getting work done on time, how could you expect your team members to do the same?

Your first step when it comes to managing remote workers, therefore is….become the remote worker you want your team members to become.

Work hard to remain calm

You may be stressed to the max and your subordinates also may be. In fact, now that more people have been laid off from work, now that more of us are becoming sick, the stress may be even more now for employees, even if they’ve been working at home for a few weeks.

If you’re feeling stressed, it’s OK to feel it, but your job as manager is to serve your team by being calm. The more you can help them get through this from a place of respect and understanding, the better and the more your subordinates themselves will be able to calm themselves and do their work.

Avoid criticism, if possible, and understand that probably no one will be able to work at the capacity they did before life changed completely. Encourage your team members and praise them for small things, things you (may) not have done so before.

Cut everyone – including yourself – a lot of slack

Chances are everyone is getting a bit stir crazy. Maybe a lot stir crazy. This could be especially so if one or more of your team members is finding their family situation becoming more stressed. (After all, living with young children cooped up in a home for days on end can do that to even the most “chill” of individuals.)

For example, if possible, don’t absolutely require that everyone “be at work” right at the usual start time and throughout the day. So long as your team members are getting their work done well and on time, let them know they have the flexibility to do their work when they see fit. (This may not work, of course, if they have customer-centric roles and your clients expect them to be available at certain times.)

Focus on the achievable

Many people in times such as these – constantly stressful and mostly not under our control – can start thinking they can’t do anything that will control or change their situation. (And even highly competent individuals can come to think this way.)

But focusing on achievable projects or tasks helps your subordinates have a sense of control and agency. Accomplishing these types of tasks and projects also helps redirect them from distressing thoughts and even moods.

Guide them in focusing on what they can do instead of what they can’t. For example, many salespeople may be greatly stressed about not being able to make sales calls in person. Let them know they can make them via video. More importantly, help them come up with achievable goals regarding how many video sales calls they may be able to make now. Chances are great that number will be much less than the number of calls they made in person. So instead of focusing on sales calls, help them focus instead on something they can control, such as how many prospects to whom they reach out to each week.

Cut back on priorities if possible

Aim to have a one-on-one (via video, of course) with each of your subordinates to discuss priorities. It’s best if you can reduce that number to just two or three.

Check in with team members regularly

Work with your subordinates to see what this will look like. Perhaps you’ll send an email every day to see how things are going while having an all-team video chat two or three times a week.

Don’t be afraid to send individual emails every now and then to team members that have nothing to do with tasks or projects. Ask them how someone in their family is doing, for example, and if they’ve been able to get out for a walk every day.

On a more work-related message, make sure to ask if there’s anything more you can do as their manager to help them.

Note: don’t be surprised if these daily check ins decline in numbers for each day and even how many you have in a week as your team members get used to their new work situation.

Encourage self-care and even team activities

Let your team members know they really should get outside, if possible, a few times a day. Consider having a weekly video get-together in which everyone can have fun together, perhaps by playing a game (with prizes), “having lunch together” via video, etc.

Keep them in the loop, no matter what

As the Covid-19 crisis continues for the next few weeks, you’re company may need to make major changes. Keep your team members aware on how things are going, especially if some big adjustments are coming.

How can we help you build or manage a remote team?

Getting Through Challenging Times

So. Things now are, shall we say, a tad dicey. The coronavirus pandemic has caused the stock market to decline precipitously, and now many economists are predicting a global recession.

Fun times, right?

Irvine recruiters

You may be worried that your employer will cut back. You may be an employer and worried that you’ll have to let people go. You may be an employer worried you may have to shutter your entire business. This has, after all, already happened to many enterprises: many restaurants, clothing stores, gyms, hair salons, concert halls, amusement parks, and more already have closed. The idea is that they will reopen once the emergency has passed, but it’s common sense to understand that many may never open again.

We understand your (possible) panic

First, please know that we’re in no way minimizing or scoffing at your concerns. They are legitimate and you have every right to worry or even dread what may be coming. In fact, if you’ve already lost your job/livelihood, it’s perfectly acceptable to collapse in a puddle of “woe is me.” Really. Wallow and wallow some more! For at most two days.

Then, here’s what you do:

  • Reframe your thoughts.

If a negative thought goes through your mind push it out and replace it with a positive one. Even if the negative thought is catastrophic (“We’ll lose our home!”) and the only positive thing you can think of is so minor in its positivity that you feel it can’t possibly “overcome” the negative thought (“We have peanut butter in the cupboard and I love peanut butter”), switch it for the positive one.

Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones really is a minor miracle: it truly DOES help you stay positive and functioning in chaotic times because it shifts your energy.

Once you’ve done that and calmed your mind, you can look back at the negative thought and label it a “negative thought.” Doing so lets you see the thought as something “to either ‘look at or to look from.’” It’s just a thought: it’s not a real thing.

  • Channel your energy in positive ways.

Exercise (with gyms closed, try some bodyweight exercises at home or at least go for walks, if possible). Aim to eat as healthy as possible. Rest and sleep (and don’t take your smartphone to bed with you). Don’t be afraid to ask friends and loved ones for support. (And, instead of texting friends, call them or even Zoom/FaceTime them.)

  • Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t.

If you had to shut your business due to social distancing, you had no control over that decision. If you get laid off due to cutbacks during the (more-than-likely coming recession), you’ll have little control over that (although you may have more control than you think).

But you definitely can control over what you do now.

As some examples:

  • Look for part-time or temporary work (staffing firms are still hiring temporary workers, for example). Restaurants may need delivery people.
  • Start networking. You’ll have to do so remotely/online of course, but if you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile lately, now’s the time. Reach out to former co-workers and supervisors to let them know you’re available.
  • If you were laid off, check with your employer’s human resources department: there’s a good chance you will qualify for unemployment monies.
  • If you ran a business, what aspect of it could you run yourself? Were you a yoga instructor at a gym? Perhaps some of the gym members would be willing to pay you for instruction via Zoom? Did you operate a clothing store? Could you sell some of the items on Poshmark or Ebay?

In all things, be honest!

If you’re a business that might have to close or lay people off, be honest with your workers as soon as you understand that it could happen. Even if layoffs won’t happen, your employees no doubt are extremely stressed: keep them in the loop on everything and shut down any rumors as soon as you hear they’re circulating. Thank them for working even while they’re no doubt worried about the future – and possibly the health of some loved ones.

People here in the U.S. – and even around the globe – have been incredibly kind and supportive of each other in these last few weeks. It’s uplifting and gratifying how willing many people are to work at home (with children home from school, no less!) and how understanding businesses that have had to close for social distancing purposes have been regarding this critical step in controlling the coronavirus’ spread.

We can hope this continues, and it has the best chance of doing so if all of us are honest and above board about the challenges we face.

These aren’t easy times and they probably will get much worse before they get better. If you need staff to replace employees who have contracted COVID-19 or if you’re looking for work, we hope you’ll consider reaching out to the Helpmates branch nearest you.

We wish you good health, calm, hope, and love.

Showing Empathy When it’s the Last Thing You Want to Do

What’s that old saying? “Life would be so much better except for the people”? Is that it? You’ve no doubt heard something similar. After all, as wonderful as people can be, they often … aren’t.

Carson recruiters

And this especially is true of employees. Or at least the ones who over and over and over again come to you, the human resources manager or representative, to complain about something.

Actually – and in defense of your employees – complaints to HR often aren’t given by the same one, two or handful of people. But complaints do come. Often and regularly. And if you work in HR yourself you know all too well how easy it is to become desensitized to employee complaints and concerns.

This worries you, of course: after all, many employee complaints are valid and should be looked into. But what happens if you’re stressed, you’re tired, it’s the end of the day, you’ve heard this complaint before, and on and on?

As we mentioned in a recent post on keeping the human touch in human resources, showing empathy when interacting with unhappy employees can go a long way to ensuring workers understand HR can be a true resource for them.

First, understand the different types of empathy

There basically are three: cognitive, emotional and compassionate.

  • Cognitive empathy is when you’re able to interpret the persons’ feelings and thoughts, helping you figure out the best way to move forward. In a way, you’re able to see the other person’s perspective on the situation.
  • Emotional empathy is when you feel the same emotions as the person. For example, let’s say someone you know is caught in a lie and you feel shame when you think about if you had been caught in a falsehood.
  • Compassionate empathy is when you see someone go through pain and you experience the pain yourself. It’s different from emotional empathy in that it compels you to take action to help alleviate the person’s pain yourself.

When working as an HR professional, as tired as you may be, as often as you’ve heard these concerns (or similar ones), as short-tempered as the person speaking or writing to you may be, it’s important that you respond in a professional, calm and even empathetic way.

We know: it’s really hard to do so. And we want to help.

Some tips to help you maintain your empathy when it’s the last thing you want to do

  • If you’re absolutely sure you won’t be able to handle. One. More. Complaint, ask a colleague to take over.

You may want to do so as you feel your fatigue rising before an employee comes to your office. You certainly may want to take your colleague aside privately when you ask him or her to do you this favor, especially if you need to step away from the employee to do so. The point is – if you’re definitely at your emotional limit – to see if you can ask someone who has more emotional bandwidth at the moment to listen to the employee.

  • Take a deep breath after listening to the complaint before responding.

Also, the first thing you should say is to ask if you can reiterate what the person just told you so that you can be sure you understand the issue. Take your breath, ask and then when the person says yes (almost always), say words to the effect of “So what I’m hearing is…,” and then repeat the situation as you understand it.

If the person corrects you, restate it as you understand it until the person says you have it correctly.

  • It’s OK to ask the person to slow down. It’s also OK to ask the person to stick to the facts and to stop with name calling, if applicable.

Nothing good comes from allowing someone to vent in a vitriolic manner. Quietly ask the person to stick to the facts. If the person is unable to, let him or know know gently that spewing is not helpful and that you’re happy to hear them out, but that they need to state facts, not venom. If the person is more upset than angry, you naturally will help him or her calm down.

  • Aim to find the core issue and focus on that.

Once you appear to have heard the individual’s main beef, ask questions. How long has the issue been going on? What has happened as a result?

This is where you can really start trying out your empathy skills. When you repeat back what happened, you can add something along the lines of “I can imagine that when you heard Sara received the promotion that you’d worked so hard to earn yourself that you felt unappreciated, at the very least.”

  • Ask the person what they’d like to see happen.

Obviously, if the person wants someone fired immediately, you need to state that that’s an inappropriate request. But no matter what the person wants, if it’s an issue that’s in HR’s sphere of interest, state that you’ll look into it.

And then, of course, make sure you do so.

Perhaps this one “reminder” can help

Whether you’ve worked in HR for a year or for decades, we know that you’ve heard employee complaints and concerns that are very similar to each other. Many times.

In other words, it’s old news to you. Been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt and donated it to the thrift store long ago.

But remember: to the employee, it’s all brand new. Remember that as much as possible and you’ll more often than not show a true empathetic and human face to your company’s employees.

Hard-working people when YOU need them

Whether you need workers for long- or short-term assignments, call upon Helpmates to help you find and place them. Reach out to the recruiters at the Helpmates location nearest you to learn more.

 

Keeping the Human in Human Resources

Technology is great … until it becomes a substitute for the human touch.

Many experts are worried that too many of us are relying on technology in our day-to-day lives. This extends, of course, to relying on tech to do away with tasks we find tedious or rote.

Cypress Staffing

But should we? Take HR. For example, instead of calling or emailing candidates personally, how many times do you send out template rejection letters or emails to people who you interviewed in person? Don’t they deserve a personal touch such as a phone call? After all, they took the time out from their day – their jobs – to come to your business to interview. Is it really too overwhelmingly tempting for you to shoot out a cookie-cutter email letting them know they weren’t selected?

How technology already impacts HR

Technological tools already have made a huge bang on human resources. For example:

  • Recruiting tools such as applicant tracking systems (ATS) have simplified the hiring process.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) helps match candidates with your open positions. It also can be used to help your current employees find answers to the many “typical” questions to which they normally turn to HR to ask.
  • Video conference and other collaboration platforms help recruiters interview candidates (in preliminary interviews, at least).
  • Many performance-management tools now automate processes such as collecting employee feedback, sending messages to employees, etc.
  • Paying employees digitally.
  • Providing online training, new employee onboarding and employee development programs.
  • Company-wide intranets that give employees information as needed. These intranets also can provide employees with direct access to their own personnel records, etc.
  • Human capital management software automates many tedious HR tasks, such as tracking hours worked by department/project, employee turnover and attrition, storing critical compliance data, and more.

The ways in which technology makes us feel disconnected from each other

Whether the following are “unintended consequences” or not of using technology to make our day-to-day work lives easier, the fact remains: we’re feeling less and less connected to each other:

  • Text messaging, email and social media often are the preferred method of communicating with colleagues, even when a face-to-face meeting or a simple phone call would answer questions and concerns easily, more collaboratively and even more quickly.
  • Technology allows us to work remotely, so we may never interact with subordinates or co-workers in real life at all.
  • Many of us now are “tethered” 24/7 to our bosses/jobs, always feeling that we “need” to be available to our employers lest we be seen as slackers of non-team players. This feeling of “always being at work” is proven to be detrimental to our health and personal relationships.

As technology – particularly artificial intelligence (AI) – moves more and more into the recruiting/human resources space we feel it’s more important than ever to ensure that the human touch remains an important part of the work we do in our professions. So much so that we’ve decided to discuss the idea of keeping the human in human resources in more depth moving forward.

That said, we will discuss how human resources professionals can keep their empathy on full display when dealing with employees and candidates. We know all too well how stressful working in recruiting/HR can be and how easy it is to start look at people as “problems” rather than as assets. Look for that post later this month.

In the meantime, if you need more humans to work for a few hours or a few months, contact the recruiters at Helpmates. We can source, vet and place terrific workers quickly. We look forward to hearing from you.

Making the Most of Your Meetings

Oh no, not another meeting! At some companies, meetings have become synonymous with wasted time. When a meeting is announced, employees immediately begin to think of ways to get out of it. It doesn’t have to be this way. If done properly, meetings can help you employees perform their jobs better. Here are some tips on conducting effective meetings.

La Mirada staffing

  1. Decide if it’s even necessary.

This is the first question you need to ask. It may have been scheduled a long time ago, with no clear agenda, with too many people. It may no longer be needed. Often, what needs to be communicated can be accomplished through email and doesn’t even require face-to-face interaction.

You need to be clear exactly what the purpose of the meeting is and what you want to accomplish by having it. You need to have an agenda that is clear and detailed. It should be circulated before the meeting. Some business experts estimate that half of the agendas for meetings are simply recycled.

  1. Keep it short.

Studies have shown that after 30 minutes, people begin to tune things out at a meeting, so it is important to not waste time at a meeting with extraneous items. If you absolutely need to go longer than 30 minutes, schedule breaks. Also, agenda items at the top of the list generally get more attention than those further down, so plan accordingly.

You also need to stick to the agenda. If someone brings up an issue not on the agenda, make a note of it for discussion at a later date, either at another meeting or among those involved.

  1. Target goals, ideas and solutions.

In other words, you should focus on results, the ends and not the means. It is generally just a waste of time to listen to people’s stories of how they got to a particular goal or made a particular achievement, unless that is the explicit purpose of the meeting. Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees.

  1. Don’t dwell on disagreements.

If there are conflicting viewpoints on an issue or course of action, and they cannot be easily resolved, don’t waste time trying to hash through things at the meeting. Save it for another time when those involved can discuss it on their own.

  1. Stick to the particular and the concrete.

Avoid straying into abstract, conceptual language when discussing problems. Focus on real examples that people are confronting people in their work. Dealing with specific, concrete instances where problems are occurring will help people to more easily grasp what is going on and more directly engage with it to come up with a solution.

When talking about situations or dilemmas, avoid getting caught up in emotions and focus on the data, the actual evidence of what is going on.

  1. Draw up precise deadlines.

Meetings should revolve around results and outcomes, goals to be reached. Without deadlines, there is no accountability for achieving those goals, and no way to begin to assess your efforts.

  1. Sum things up briefly.

At the end of the meeting, everyone should clearly understand what was accomplished, the important points that were considered and what comes next.

  1. Follow up with an email.

At the end of the meeting, someone should be chosen at random to put together a short email to record the decisions made, the main ideas that were covered and the action plan that was decided upon, and send it out to all the participants and any others who need the information.

If you and your team members decide after a meeting that you need more workers for a crunch project, reach out to Helpmates. Contact the branch nearest you and talk to us about your staffing needs.

How to Lead by Example

Good leaders, it is said, never ask their subordinates to do anything that the leader would not do. This is what leading by example means – showing your people how to get things done rather than just telling them. It is the kind of leadership that gains the trust and respect of employees, when they see their bosses walk the talk.

Irvine Staffing agency

It’s more powerful than any motivational speech or business master plan. Here are some tried and true leadership routines that also embody the practice of leading by example.

  1. Modeling what you want to see

If you as a leader expect your employees to do things a certain way, to practice certain behaviors or performance standards, you need to model those behaviors yourself. This is true not just for significant kinds of work projects but for little things as well. You need to model the core values of the company.

For example, if punctuality is important, make sure you get to work on time or arrive at meetings promptly. If you want a company that values openness and communication, you need to take the time to initiate conversations with employees.

  1. Communicate

How well do you communicate with your employees? Everyone may believe that they do, but on closer examination, you may find that when deadlines loom or other pressures mount, communication lags. As a leader, you need to make sure you are talking to your managers about business developments and decisions and make sure they are talking to each other as well.

Take the time to keep each other abreast of the latest activities, even if just a quick word or two.

  1. Acknowledge imperfection and fallibility

Many leaders believe they always need to show competence and decisiveness. But this can be counterproductive. Leading by example means that if you make a mistake, you acknowledge it and correct it. It shows employees that it’s OK to sometimes make mistakes. You want people to take risks to make improvement, but taking risks means increasing the possibility for mistakes.

Being honest like this also encourages communication among employees because they feel they can talk about their uncertainty or seek advice.

  1. Let your team members know your goals

Every company has performance and productivity goals for employees. This goes for leaders to. Leading by example means sharing your goals, letting employees know that you are holding yourself to the same standards of accountability that you expect of them.

  1. Setting priorities

If you want to show employees that what matters is not just getting things done, but doing the stuff that really makes a difference to the company, you need to set priorities for yourself, share them, and emphasize the importance of doing so for everyone.

  1. Explain your decisions

If you value transparency, you need to show it. That means taking the time to explain why things work as they do, why certain decisions were made. This helps employees understand the reasoning behind the actions of company leadership and will help workers to do their own jobs better. It also boosts employee morale.

  1. Help your employees

Let your team members know that you are there to help them if they need it. Talk with workers, and ask them if there is anything you can do to help out. This is a powerful example of teamwork and collaboration, of working cooperatively rather than competitively.

  1. Keep your cool

There are times when things will go wrong or become hectic. This is the time when you as a leader especially need to stay calm, taking a deliberate, measured and businesslike approach in tackling whatever problem has come up. This too will set a powerful example for employees in times of stress.

If one of the things causing you stress is a shortage of workers for crunch times at your business, call upon the recruiters at Helpmates. Contact the branch nearest you and let us know you staffing needs.

Does Your Business Really Have a Healthy Culture? Questions to Ask Yourself

A healthy culture at your company is critical today because you can neither attract/retain top talent, nor maintain high productivity, yet culture is often something that companies pay little attention to, regarding it as nonessential.

La Mirada staffing

Turning a dysfunctional culture around isn’t easy, but unless you do so, you’ll have a lot of unhappy people working for you (until they leave). And in a world where social media plays such a big role, news of your unhealthy culture will spread quickly, scaring off potential job candidates.

Here are some questions to ask yourself regarding your company’s culture issues.

  1. Do you even have a culture?

Some companies don’t. In one recent survey, only a little more than 10 percent of workers responding said they actually understand what their company culture is. Another study revealed that only about 41 percent of employees know what makes their workplace unique.

You can outline the culture you would like to have, you can even believe that you have the culture you want. But to find out the culture you actually have, you may need to survey your employees.

  1. What are your foundational values?

Have you clearly defined them, and are your workers aware of them? Do they guide the operation of your company? For example, if you have defined one of your values as innovation, how well do your employees collaborate and share ideas to foster innovation? Or if one of your foundational values is diversity, how well is it actually represented in your company?

  1. Are you honest with job candidates about your culture?

In their eagerness to land new talent, some hiring managers tell job candidates what they want to hear. In their efforts to sell the company, the managers may exaggerate a little or shade the truth. This is a recipe for failure. Managers need to be honest and up front about what the company is really like. Otherwise, the new hire will leave when they discover things aren’t as they thought.

In fact, about one-fourth of all new employees leave their job in the first three months. The main reasons for this are misunderstandings about the nature of the job and the company. If a lot of new people are leaving the company, you need to find out why.

  1. Do your business partners reflect your values?

Companies rely on independent contractors and consultants. Do these business partners share the foundational values of the company? If not, this could create friction in working relationships, and even worse, possible exposure to legal action.

  1. Are employees engaged?

If there is a good alignment  between the values of the employees and the company, workers will be more satisfied with their jobs and more engaged, resulting in better performance all around.

One of the aims of company culture is to instill a sense of purpose and meaning in the work of employees. Posters with motivational quotes just won’t cut it. Employees stay at a company because they feel that they are making a contribution, that their work matters and that their career will flourish and they will grow at the company.

To create the culture you want, you need to survey your employees about their perceptions and share the results throughout the organization. To move forward, you need to establish a collaborative process for creating the culture you and your employees want, involving input and buy-in from workers throughout the company.

Are you looking for employees that will thrive in your particular culture? Contact Helpmates: we’ll help you source, vet and place workers who “get you.”

Best Texting Practices for Recruiting

Texting is becoming ever more critical in the recruitment process. It’s a great way to contact job candidates quickly to deliver short messages. This post will take a look at how texting is being used and offer some advice on recruitment texting best practices.

Brea recruiters

Because texting is a more informal, casual way of communicating, it’s all too easy to wander off course, and the message you want to convey gets lost in the banter. And, while the easy back and forth of texting can help to establish a rapport with a candidate, it may also wander into territory that is a little too familiar and personal or contain language that is suggestive. And this in turn opens the door to possible misunderstandings and animosity.

To avoid this, it is important to establish guidelines for texting with candidates. Take a look below for some to consider. (Additional recruiting texting tips can be found here.)

  • Maintain Your Professionalism

This is important to protect your own reputation and gain the respect and attention of the job candidate. Doing this means being a little more formal in your texting than you ordinarily would. For example, use complete sentence, and make sure your grammar and punctuation are correct. Watch your spelling. Avoid using emojis.

Stick to the business at hand – recruiting – and avoid any messages of a personal nature, even if the candidate decides to share some personal information.

  • Keep It Short

Texting is not the best medium to use for longer messages. It is best used for messages such as setting up or confirming appointments. If you need to have a longer conversation with a candidate, send the person a text asking them  to call you or tell the person in the text that you will correspond through email.

  • Include Identification with Every Text

Again, this is just another way of maintaining professionalism. It also lets the candidate know clearly who sent the text because the candidate may be dealing with more than one recruiter. Each text you send should include your name, title and company.

  • Send Texts Only at Certain Times of the Day

First of all, you should only send texts during business hours. However, if the candidate sends a text that requires a response after business hours, it is certainly acceptable to respond.

The best time to send a text is in the morning, between 9 am and noon.

  • What Not to Text

There are two things you should never do by text: one is offering a person a job and the other is telling them they didn’t get the job. These transactions are too important to leave to texting and demand more formal lines of communication.

If you text a job candidate and get no response, stop doing it and communicate through other means. It’s important to remember in this context that many people do not find texting an appropriate way to communicate job-related information. In a recent survey, about one-third of those responding believed texting to be unprofessional, while only one-third thought it appropriate. The survey included all age groups.

  • Using Texting with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Some recruiting experts recommend using ATS that have a built-in texting function. It helps recruiters follow the best texting practices mentioned above, as well as storing a history of all conversations recruiters have with candidates, either by text, phone or email. An ATS also enables recruiters to text on any type of device.

If you’re looking for workers for your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities, contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you. We look forward to hearing from you!

Negating the Parent Trap: Helping Working Parents Move Up the Career Ladder

Career ambition isn’t just for the childless: parents have career dreams, too. But too many unwritten rules in the workplace keep parents trapped in lower-level positions.

Anaheim  recruiters

We’ll first delineate some of these “rules,” and then we’ll offers some suggestions companies could use to help working parents move high up the career ladder.

Take a look below.

  • Presentism

The number of people working from home has risen greatly in the last few years, up 44 percent over the past five years and increasing by a whopping 91 percent over the last 10 years. People doing all kinds of work and of all ages embrace the concept. Parents especially like the idea due to the work-life balance telecommuting offers.

Yet telecommuters lose out when it comes to job promotions and while many workplaces today say they want their employees – parents or not – to have a good work-life-balance, who tends to get the job promotions? Those workers who work full-time in the office: telecommuters and other remote workers are 50 percent less likely to receive a performance-based promotion than in-house employees.

In other words, if a manager doesn’t see someone doing their job, no matter how great their output and quality of work, it’s much harder for them to receive a promotion than someone who works in the office (and who is regularly seen by a manager).

  • You must not be serious about your career if you ask to take time off to see your child’s basketball game.

This harkens back to presentism and really hits parents where it hurts – in both their hearts (family) and their professional ambitions (many employers expect “that employees devote themselves fully to work.”)

Employers Lose, Too

It’s not just employees that lose when they don’t get a promotion: many workers have left a company – and take their skills, education and corporate knowledge with them – if an employer balks at offering flexible schedules.

Helping Your Company by Helping Working Parents Move Up

How can you help employees who are parents with their career goals? We have some ideas, below:

  • Focus on employees’ output/quality of work rather than how often they’re in the office.

Does it really matter when and where an employee works as much as the fact that the work gets done on time and is of high quality. Does it really?

  • If you don’t do so yet, start offering a telecommuting program and/or flexible schedules.

A telecommuting program is a big perk to many candidates, and can help you attract the best-of-the-best. Just don’t “punish” those of your workers who take advantage of it and doubt their value to you as well as their dedication. Conduct a gut check on whether you – and other managers – have a presentism mindset. If you see it’s there, fight it. HARD.

  • Provide online training opportunities for telecommuters.

Your remote workers want to learn new skills, just as your in-house workers do. But if you offer only on-site workshops and benefits/perks for in-class education, you could be hindering your remote workers’ chance to learn new skills and certifications. Because working parents often opt to telecommute, this can be detrimental when a promotion opportunity requires some type of certification or education level.

  • Have regular “How are you doing?” and “How can I help you with your goals?” conversations.

Ask your working parent employees what they need to help them perform at their best. See if their suggestions are something you could implement.

  • If you’re a working parent yourself, remember the challenges you faced if you wanted a promotion when your children were young(er).

Remember how hard it was to prove yourself as a working parent? The obstacles and challenges that came your way your non-parent colleagues didn’t face. Don’t forget your own beginnings and have compassion and understanding for ambitious employees who just happen to also be parents. You were just like them once; remember that.

When you need high-caliber workers for your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job opportunities, call upon the experienced recruiters at Helpmates for help. Reach out to the branch office nearest you and learn more.

Boosting Employee Productivity and Morale

Employers need happy and productive workers. Yet if employees don’t have autonomy, the freedom to make mistakes, learning and growth opportunities, a sense of mission, etc., morale and productivity often plummets.

Two Sides of the Improved Productivity Coin

Cypress staffing

This post offers productivity tips. Yet, in addition to tips on what to do, we’re also going to offer tips on what not to do because positive morale and high  productivity often are results of the “don’t” as much as it is of the “do.”

What Not to Do

  • Stop skipping breaks.

We know how it is: your workers are on a roll, they have “just” an hour or two left on this project and even though they’ve been working on it for two hours already, they’re loathe to take a break because they worried they’ll “lose momentum.”

Make sure they take the break! It’s not true that momentum trumps rest. Instead, even just “stand up and walk around” breaks help our brains relax and rejuvenate and “improve focus.” Try it yourself. You’ll be amazed at how new ideas pop into your head when you resume the task and how much energy you’ve regained.

  • Stop with the meetings! (So MANY meetings!)

Researchers at UNC Charlotte found that executives (in this research) spend up to as much as 23 hours a week in meetings. How much deliverable work or “output” actually gets DONE in meetings? We believe pretty much none. Instead, encourage walk-and-talk meetings. Not only will meeting-goers get a bit of a break from sitting, but meetings will be much shorter and ideas may flow as a result of the short exercise session.

  • One word: stop!

Many of us believe we do well – if not very well – on tasks we do at the same time. This is a myth. In fact, multitasking, according to Stanford University professor Clifford Nass (a multitasking expert), instead produces people with low attention spans.

  • Stop aiming for the perfect.

Good enough is…good enough! Perfectionists tend to have lower productivity. Instead, help your employees embrace the “good enough.” Note that we’re not talking “Ok” or “so-so.” We mean “good,” just not “perfect.”

  • Email can wait; stop checking it constantly.

Checking email more than three times a day makes us less productive. It can wait. If necessary, encourage your workers to let people know that they check email at set times each day and only then. (Doing so lets people emailing them know why replies aren’t instant.)

What to Do

  • Help your employees learn to relax…after work.

People who constantly think about work after work never really are away from work. Which makes it pretty much impossible to relax after work hours.

You can help your workers relax after hours by helping them create a “closing down” process every time they get ready to leave the office. Do so and don’t be surprised if productivity at work increases because they’ve been able to truly decompress once they leave for home.

  • Encourage employees to take short “exercise” breaks.

And what we mean by exercise is a walk around the block (or three), some stretching for a few minutes, perhaps some deep knee bends at their desk or even some pushups. Short exercise bursts are proven to rejuvenate people and help them focus. In fact, you might consider allowing employees to exercise on the clock for at least 30 minutes a day for terrific results.

  • Help your employees work in chunks of no more than 90-minutes at a time.

Florida State University researchers found that those who do so tend to be more productive than those who work in intervals of 90 minutes or more.

  • Encourage employees to minimize interruptions.

Concentrated work takes….concentration, and having a friendly colleague pop by for a quick chat can ruin that focus. So make it Ok for employees to shut an office door, make offices available for cube-farm workers who need some quiet time, etc.

Are your employees overwhelmed with work and therefore finding it hard to get all that needs to get done done well? If so, you may need to bring on more people.

Helpmates can provide you workers for short-term assignments, long-term needs. Contact the branch office nearest you and speak to one of our recruiters.

 

 

 

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