Putting Candidates at Ease During a Social-Distanced Interview

If you’re one of the many Southern California employers that are starting to bring employees back to corporate offices and other on-site locations, you may need or want to hire new employees.

Los Angeles recruiters

While many employers have decided to continue interviewing via video conferencing, you may decide you want – or need – to interview candidates in person.

This, naturally, could make some candidates nervous. After all, most people understand how contagious the virus that causes the SARS-CoV-2 disease is and may be worried they could a) be exposed to the virus or b) pass the virus on to their interviewer under the chance that they or the interviewer could have the virus but be asymptomatic (showing no symptoms).

Making the decision to interview candidates in-person. Or not.

Every employer has different needs. You may be comfortable hiring with video-only interviews, or you may have decided you really need to see someone in person to get a true “feel” for their personality. After all, it isn’t as easy to evaluate a candidate’s personality traits in a video interview as it is in a “real-life” interview.

So if you have decided to bring candidates in for in-person interviews, here are some tips to help both you and the candidate feel safe…and have a productive, positive interview experience.

  • Naturally, you’re going to have to make sure your location meets – or exceeds – the CDC’s guidelines for making sure your workplace is safe for conducting business on-site.

The CDC offers guidance to reopening business on how to ensure your facility is clean/sanitized and is configured so that workers may properly social distance while at work.

  • Offer candidates written interview guidelines so that they know what to expect.

Will you require masks? If so, what can a candidate expect if they refuse to wear one (or can’t, for medical reasons)? What are you going to do about handshakes before and after the interview? Will candidates be allowed in restrooms? Will you be providing an office/site tour? Will the candidate meet with one or more people?

The idea is that these guidelines will give candidates information about what to expect at the interview location. Providing them with the “logistics” of their interview can help alleviate concerns and help put candidates at ease.

  • If you decide to have in-person interviews, will you allow candidates to request a video interview (in case they are leery of coming in for an on-site interview)?

This is a legitimate question for at least two reasons. One, people have varying tolerance for risk and – especially if the job will performed remotely – may simply be too nervous to come to your location for an interview.

However (reason two), if the job will be performed on-site – even if only a few days a week or month – how will you decide to look at the candidate’s virtual-interview request? Is it a deal-breaker for you? If not, and you want to grant the candidate’s request for a virtual interview, you’re going to have to come to sort of agreement about working on-site with the candidate if they become your employee.

  • Give candidates clear details as to what next steps are.

Employers should do this for all interviews, pandemic or no pandemic. However, it’s especially important now due to the uncertainty about, well, everything.

For example, it’s probably a good idea to give the candidate an estimate as to when a decision may be made and that a hiring choice could take longer than usual due to current circumstances. If that’s the case, it’s a really courteous move if you encourage the candidate to feel free to reach out to you if they haven’t heard from you in some capacity within a certain number of days.

If you need workers oriented and prepared in COVID-19 best workplace safety practices, contact Helpmates’ Rosalie Villa, our chief revenue officer, at 949-225-5016 or via email at rvilla@helpmates.com.

Motivating Passive Candidates When It’s Damn Scary “Out There”

Getting passive candidates to move from their current employer to your company is difficult in the best of times; it’s exceedingly so during a pandemic. After all, even though companies are still laying off workers – or even shutting down altogether – great employees are understandably loathe to take a risk and move right now.

Fullerton recruiters

Still, it is possible to get candidates motivated enough to change employers. Here’s how:

  • Find out what means enough to them to make a move.

That is, what are the benefits, job duties, perks, career dreams, and more that mean the most to them and how can your company make sure the candidate will get them if they become your employee?

Are they looking for more PTO, flextime or continuing education opportunities (such as employer-paid graduate school)?

If moving to your firm means a promotion, how much of a promotion is it in their eyes? Is one step up the ladder not enough? Could you revamp the job so that it’s at least two steps up?

  • Be completely open and honest regarding your company’s current health.

Naturally, passive candidates are going to want to know how robust your business is before jumping ship. If ever there was a good time to be as transparent as possible, now is it. Discuss layoffs or furloughs already completed and any plans you may have for more in the future.

As candidates ask questions – and they definitely will! – make sure you’re as above board and candid as possible. If you not sure about something, say so.

Finally, if the candidate is so terrific and/or the position being filled is so critical to the company’s success, consider the option of providing the candidate with a “no layoff or furlough” promise (in writing), but only if you feel strongly that you won’t have them in the future. (You’ll want to make sure at least one attorney reads the document, of course.)

  • Understand it may take longer to woo passive candidates.

Trepidation about making a job move is more than understandable right now. Don’t be surprised if you’ll spend more time talking with candidates and encouraging/allaying fears. Schedule virtual coffee meetings. Be open to taking candidates’ “on the fly” calls, emails or texts. Let them talk about all their concerns; don’t be surprised if you answer the same questions more than once.

Depending on the position, consider having members of the C-suite engage with candidates. Ask employees who would become the candidates’ co-workers – or even subordinates – to reach out and engage with your potential new-hires.

Passive candidates often are the best workers at their current employer….

…and they understandably are leery of making a move now. Look at recruiting passive candidates as more a relationship-building exercise rather than recruiting. Let them get to know and become interested in your company and what you have to offer that their current employer does not. You probably won’t be able to go into the courtship with a “quick score” mentality and will instead need to nurture their candidacy while growing their trust and allaying their fears.

Helpmates can be your partner in your search for passive candidates for your direct-hire opportunities. Contact the branch nearest your Southern California business to learn how we attract, recruit and vet top talent.

Motivating a Remote Workforce: 4 Strategies

By the time you read this, we’ll be almost three months from the start of safe-at-home orders and also well on our way to seeing Southern California “reopen.”

Yet many companies will still be asking employees to work from home. Because their team members have been working remotely for weeks now, managers no doubt have the management part down pretty well.

But what about motivating remote workers?

The “adventure” of working from home wore off long ago. Many people also are managing young children while working and – as summer approaches – may no longer need to supervise their schoolwork, but will have to figure out how to wrangle their children during a summer with “nothing to do.”

Cypress staffing

Even your employees without children no doubt are well into the work-from-home doldrums: tired of Zoom. Tired of working from the kitchen table. Tired of not having in-person interactions. Tired of not heading out with the gang to lunch. Fed up with #doomscrolling the Internet during breaks.

Work-from-home exhaustion is a real thing. If you’ve noticed that your workers – or even yourself – are less motivated than normal, is it really any wonder?

Motivating remote workers: 4 strategies

  1. Create routines. That could mean regularly scheduled meetings.

Yes, this means yet more video meetings! But when working from home – which often means employees have a lot more flexibility as to when they get work done – having set meetings and/or check-ins truly can help provide your employees with a sense of normalcy.

Regularly scheduled meetings also help employees stay on track regarding deadlines and helps keep communication among team managers flowing.

  1. Speaking of communication, make sure you do so regularly. And possibly more often than you “normally” do.

Remote work can be quite isolating, especially if employees don’t hear from management/leadership. Make sure everyone on your team knows your priorities because doing so helps them understand the ultimate reasons for their work while helping them stay productive. What’s more – and perhaps most importantly – regular communication, whether in formal email memos or simple quick messages or even calls – reassures members of your team that their efforts are valued.

Understand that good communication needs to go both ways. Welcome messages and input from everyone, no matter where they are on the org chart. You’ll be amazed at the great insights that come from diverse perspectives. This will only help nurture better communications and help your employees achieve their goals.

  1. Set a regular “quitting time” for the day and stick to it.

No doubt you and your workers have found how “easy” it is to work just about any time of day…or night. Chances also are good you – and your employees – may find yourself working 10 or even 12 or more hours a day because you can, a true recipe for quick burnout.

Making – and keeping – set work hours helps prevent days from melding into each other and helps you and your workers have true “work time” as well as real “downtime,” delineations that have become ever more critical for optimum health and productivity.

  1. Stay positive and create a culture of support.

Forrester Research has found that workplace culture is one of the most critical parts of a successful remote work strategy because workers who feel they can be who they really are and who believe they truly are part of a supportive team are more likely to feel motivated.

Showing compassion and concern for everyone you work with while also remaining positive as their leader is absolutely the best course to follow in these unusual times.

Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information on our staffing/recruiting services. You also may call our corporate office at 949-752-6888.

Building a Company Culture with Remote Workers

At the risk of using a platitude that is becoming (frankly) more and more clichéd, your employees need you to be their rock more than ever in these unprecedented times.

This particularly is so if a good portion – if not all – of your workers work remotely.

But there’s the problem: how to exude empathy and provide that stability and feeling of normalcy when your employees don’t work on-site. What’s more, without this feeling of solidity, is your entire company culture at risk? How can employees feel “a part of something larger than themselves” when their day-to-day lives are spent mostly with just themselves?

Garden Grove staffing

Maintaining company culture with a remote workforce

  • First step: send out a memo or a website link that reminds your employees what your company’s values are.

Doing so reminds workers what your business stands for and can help them remember why they joined your firm. Seeing your business’ values in black and white also will help guide them as they move forward over the next few weeks and even months.

  • Regularly ask your employees what’s working for them as they toil remotely.

Use their feedback as a chance to learn from them and take their recommends to heart, if possible.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask every now and then if they feel less connected to your company’s mission and/or leadership.

You may want to ask these questions via private video meetings, so that workers feel comfortable speaking truthfully (and so that you can counsel them privately should they be struggling with issues of a more personal nature).

It’s also a great idea to make sure that you keep these types of two-way communications (either private or public) among workers, managers and even members of your company’s C-suite for the foreseeable future.

  • Showing kindness to everyone in your organization is key to creating a warm and motivating corporate culture.

The more your company’s leadership “show up” as sensitive, thoughtful, transparent/truthful, productive, and optimistic, the more all of your employees will “show up” the same. Everyone will remember this ethos, the acts of kindness, etc. for a long time to come and it will help all secure this type of “brand” firmly in everyone’s minds.

To help ensure that all of your stake holders (employees, managers, leadership team, investors/stock holders, perhaps even your vendors and customers) act in these ethos-building ways, they need to know what kind of behaviors you seek.

That means that you need to get input from everyone to identify the behaviors that speak the loudest to them and then let everyone know the behaviors with which they are expected to “show up.”

  • Create rituals, and stories that back up the behaviors and culture you want/expect.

Humans thrive on stories. Stories, in fact, help us become better people. They also help us connect with one another, an important factor in creating a robust, cohesive company culture.

Once again – and especially if the culture has change a bit – it’s a good idea to create a “map” with your business’ guiding principles and then distribute it to all stakeholders so that they have “directions” as to how to interact with others.

Having a strong work culture – one that is in evidence daily – helps employees feel secure when so much is up in the air.

As California continues to reopen its economy slowly, Southern California businesses may find that employees furloughed or laid off are no longer available to return to work. Helpmates has proven performers ready to work at your site or remotely for short- or long-term assignments, as well as for career opportunities. All of these individuals have been thoroughly oriented in Covid-19 workplace safe practices.

Contact Rosalie Villa, at 949-225-5016 or email her at mailto:rvilla@helpmates.com for more information. You also may reach out to the Helpmates branch nearest you to learn more.

Getting the New Normal Right for Your Workers

Things have started a (slow) return to “normalcy” here in California as Governor Newsom okayed a slow re-opening of the state’s economy on May 8.

Garden Grove staffing

The fact is, more and more businesses soon will start to bring workers back to work and as the state’s economy very slowly reopens, your workers are going to need to get used to a new normal in the workplace:

  • Some will work from home full time.
  • Others will work from home part time.
  • Workers you need in an office or to work on-site may find that they have their schedules staggered.
  • Employers may need different policies for employees considered to be at higher risk of contracting the virus.
  • And so on.

Considerations for employers starting to reopen

First, understand that guidelines and even requirements may have changed by the time you read this. That said, here are some things experts (employment law attorneys, for example) believe employers may need to consider not only as they start to reopen for business, but also as additional restrictions are lifted over the coming months.

  • Employers may have to open in “phases.”

The CDC and the White House have recommended that the country reopen in phases (for example, golf courses and other outdoor venues first, retailers with curbside delivery next, gyms much later).

Yet employers also may want to get ready for opening in phases. That is: following government guidelines, employers may need to “open their individual business in phases by staggering the timeline for returning employees to work.” The idea is that employers need to “consider” which positions are most essential and start with those. Employers would need to orient on-site employees in Covid-19 safe workplace practices so that they can work at the employer’s location(s) as safely as possible.

  • Employers should plan for how they are going to deal with employees’ fears of returning to work.

While many laid off and furloughed workers may be thrilled at the opportunity to work again, others may not. In fact, some workers may be too afraid to return to work in the early stages of re-opening and employers may need to consult with their attorney regarding how to handle these employees.

In addition, many employers may be able to offer only part-time work, which could have an adverse impact on employees’ desire to return, especially if they were laid off and collecting unemployment insurance. Again, a chat with an employment law attorney may be in order.

  • As they craft a re-opening plan, employers will need to give special consideration of those workers considered at “high risk” of either contracting the virus or of developing severe symptoms if they do contract the coronavirus.

As mentioned above, employers may want to consult an attorney regarding risks and liabilities regarding whether to bring such employees back to work and what they will do if they require employees to return and what then happens if one or more high-risk employees is reluctant to do so. Employers’ actions will need to be balanced against the potential of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and other anti-discrimination laws (such as age discrimination as individuals at higher risk of severe symptoms tend to be people age 65 and older).

  • Employers may have to reconfigure their site’s physical layout.

Social distancing guidelines will need to be followed during re-opening for the foreseeable future and so employers may need to reconfigure workspaces. Employers also may want to reconsider having employees gather in large(ish) groups, such as in cafeterias/lunch rooms and conference rooms. If so, employers will still need to provide workers with sanitary places to have lunch and take breaks.

Additional strategies employers may want or need to consider include:

  • Requiring that employees wear face masks when around others.
  • Placing signs throughout the workplace that remind employees and customers to practice social distancing, especially in hallways, offices, lobbies, etc.
  • Ensuring that workers practice social distance during shift changes.
  • Establish a maximum capacity for public and employee restrooms.
  • Consider modifying frequently touched objects, such as installing touchless water faucets in restrooms and foot pedals to open doors.
  • Holding fewer in-person meetings.
  • Creating or revising “crowd” plans, such as setting a maximum number of workers and visitors that may be on-site at any one time.
  • And more.

We anticipate California’s re-opening to be something of a “learn as we go along” experience, with employers and workers – and the government – guiding each other as we move back to some normality. We therefore urge all of us – employers and their employees – to move carefully and with great consideration and understanding.

Helpmates can help employers navigate their reopening as we diligently work to stay on top of Covid-19 safe practices. We also ensure our specialists receive orientation on these practices before they head out on assignment and update them immediately as changes occur.

Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you or reach out to Rosalie Villa, CSP, our chief revenue officer, for more information on our Covid-19 safe practices orientation at rvilla@helpmates.com.

A Helpmates Case Study: 60 Call Center Specialists Ready to Follow Work-from-Home Orders in Just One Weekend

Thursday, March 19: California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order. Which meant that – unless they worked for what are deemed “essential businesses” – such as pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations, banks, takeout/delivery restaurants, etc. — thousands of workers across the state would now end up working from home.

Not all non-essential employees can work from home, of course: dental assistants, hairdressers, waiters, front-desk workers, and more, can’t perform their duties from home.

But many types of workers can: those who predominately use computers to do their work.

Los Angeles staffing

The governor’s stay-at-home order affected two of our large call center clients at which more than 60 of our specialists work on assignment – on computers. Our clients had the weekend to ensure that their employees as well as ours on assignment at their site were up and running and ready to take customer calls by Monday. At home.

Our customers called us late Thursday asking for help in ensuring that our specialists would be ready to continue working on assignment from their own homes, on our clients’ computers.

Transitioning Helpmates specialists from working on-site to working from home: the logistics

After speaking with clients, four of our internal team members immediately called all of the affected specialists at home, letting them know what we were planning, asking if they have wifi and if they logistically could work from home. Our internal team members coordinated that all of our specialists stayed safe at home on Friday and explained that were starting the process of understanding how Helpmates could assist our clients and our specialists with working remotely.

We shared that we would be working through the weekend and would be in touch with next steps. Our goal was to have all specialists ready to go on Monday, eliminating as much disruption as possible.

We received the calls from our clients after 8 p.m., and we therefore were on the phone with our specialists until late Thursday evening.

Over the weekend, several members of our internal team, including our director of risk assessment, researched what our specialists needed to know in order to work from home and reviewed safe-at-home practices while working. For example: they would need to watch out for too many power cords within their work space (a tripping hazard) and would need a stable work table, and so on.

We also had to ensure that our specialists received the equipment they needed to perform their work from our clients. In addition, we went over liability/responsibility documents with our clients, ensuring that they understood the responsibility of having remote workers.

Keeping our specialists informed

Our specialists naturally were very concerned about the new work-at-home guidelines. They wanted to keep working and many understandably were nervous about being able to provide call center services while working at home. We made sure we explained their new work arrangement with them as much as needed, helping them look forward to their new work environment while also helping them get their new (home) workspace ready for remote work.

We therefore also spent a lot of time explaining what they could and could not do with our clients’ equipment as they performed their duties.

Results

Come Monday, March 23, all of the specialists working at our clients’ call centers the Thursday before were up and running from their homes with few glitches, taking the calls of our client’s customers. Our clients report that their customers haven’t noticed a downturn in the quality of the call center services they receive from either their own employees or ours.

We also have become well-versed in work-from-home responsibility/liability issues as it pertains to staffing agencies and their clients and are happy to help other businesses transition temporary workers to work-from-home assignments.

If you would like more information on how you can use temporary workers for remote-work assignments, contact Rosalie Villa at 949-225-5016 or email her at rvilla@helpmates.com.

Helpmates’ Proven Performers Prepared for Work in Our New Normal

We have oriented and prepared our top specialists in Covid-19 work safety best practices and they are ready to deploy quickly.

Whether you’re an essential business and still operating during our current safe-at-home reality or you’re hoping to reopen your business as you anticipate a relaxing of social distancing guidelines in the next few weeks, Helpmates has the proven workers ready for assignment, whether you need them to work on-site or remotely.

Irvine staffing

We’ve been staffing companies throughout Southern California for more than 45 years providing workers businesses need now and in the future. We have oriented our top specialists in Covid-19 best practices and they are ready to work safely and securely in any type of business situation, whether it’s in an office, a distribution center, warehouse, manufacturing facility, or even remotely.

These are some of our exceptional employees, people who have received consistent top marks from their previous assignments and they are eager and ready to be deployed to companies in the industry segments in which we place workers:

  • Office/Administration
  • Accounting/Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution/Logistics
  • And more.

We visit each of our industrial clients before sending our associates to work on-site and we provide Covid-19 safety support to our office-location clients.

Our clients have told us that our safety oversight visits protect not only our specialists, but also helps our clients improve their pandemic safety practices for their own employees.

In addition, while all of our Helpmates specialists already have received Covid-19 safety orientation, they will do so again right before they head to an assignment with you. We also ensure our specialists receive orientation in your company’s individual safety parameters and/or procedures before they head out for their assignment with you.

We maintain close contact with our specialists while on their assignments with you and make sure they stay up-to-date with new safety recommendations or guidelines as they change. For example, Los Angeles County’s recent mandate that everyone wear cloth face masks when in public, while Orange County in mid-April required that all workers in essential businesses such as grocery and liquor stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and places where food prep is done wear face masks. (This may have changed since this post was written.)

Here for you as you reopen

California will slowly start re-opening its economy in the next few weeks. Helpmates is prepared to help businesses reopen carefully as we have started orienting all of our new associates in Covid-19 safety guideline so that they are well-prepared for deployment.

Learn more about how Helpmates can help you and your workers stay safe now and in the months to come by calling Rosalie Villa at 949-225-5016 or via email at rvilla@helpmates.com.

Recruiting Has Changed Forever (Even Once the Pandemic Ends)

Recruiting Has Changed Forever (Even After the Pandemic Ends)

As we enter week five of California’s “stay-at-home” order we’ve noticed some major changes in recruiting:

  • Video interviewing
  • Many job openings turning from working at the employer’s location to working at home.
  • Thousands of businesses closed and millions of people laid off.

And while we all look forward – do we EVER! – to social distancing restrictions easing, there are some things about recruiting that may never change.

Here are a few of the current recruiting processes and habits we feel will continue, and why

  • Job interviews via video

Cypress staffing

Interviewing via video was growing considerably before the pandemic. (It actually became popular during the last downturn in 2008.) It’s pretty much standard operating procedure for all job interviews now and we don’t see it changing much moving forward.

This will be especially so for screening interviews and possibly even for first “in person” interviews.

We also think the use of psychometric testing will grow as a way to screen candidates (in order to cut back on unnecessary interviews).

(An additional interesting side note: staffing and recruiting companies may start training their candidates for these “new” types of interviews as part of their work to ready their candidates for interviews with the recruiting agency’s clients.)

  • It will remain a candidate’s market for highly skilled workers; an employer’s market for lower-skilled positions.

It’s pretty much an employer’s market now as many businesses have closed and millions of workers have lost their jobs. But that may change as hiring needs grow back….for those with highly sought-after skills such as those in healthcare, tech, engineering and highly-skilled manufacturing and possibly even in construction.

But lower-skilled positions such as clerical, distribution, customer service, janitorial, caregiving, etc.? We think the market for these positions may turn from a candidate’s to an employer’s, even after the economy recovers.

  • All of us will think of work and careers differently.

Many of us – both employers and workers – will discover that we can work for home. This can turn into a great way to reclaim some work-life balance for overly stressed employees.

The pandemic also is making us think far differently regarding how our work lives and our home lives mix….or how well they don’t. We may rethink the entire concept of career such that working 10 or 12 hours a day and being always available so that we can “get ahead” at the expense of our families and our own health no longer appeals to many of us.

As we stay at home, not able to go anywhere or do much of anything except work from home, shop for food, help our kids with school work, etc. could mean we realize how little in consumer goods and the “next big thing” we truly need in order to be happy. Many of us may turn down positions that “require” work hours beyond 40 a week.

Only time – and the pandemic’s trajectory – will tell, of course. But the integration of work with a rich home life well could become the new “must have” for many of us.

How can we help you recruit and interview remotely?

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.

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