How to Keep Your Business Humming During the Cold and Flu Season

It comes every year, and yet everyone seems to be surprised when it’s upon us. Yes, we are fully entrenched in cold and flu season. Sick employees are a reality for just about every business, but they don’t have to sap your productivity.

Avoid productivity lapses during cold and flu season Untitled

Of course, the health and well being of your employees is most important, but running a business still requires productivity. Here are critical steps to prevent flu season from negatively affecting your productivity this year:

  • Be a “model” sick employee. We all catch a cold from time to time, but coming into work sick just about guarantees your sniffles will spread like wildfire among employees. You don’t want sick employees coming to work and spreading germs, so be a model sick employee (and leader) – stay home when you’re ill. If you come to work sick, you’re sending a message to your employees — whether you intend to your not — that they should come to work sick. Thus, preparing the office for a rampant spread of germs. So do yourself (no one is at their best while sick, and you should get some rest anyway) and your staff a favor and set the example – stay home from work when you’re sick.
  • Plan for fewer staff – then do something about it. It bears repeating – getting sick is pretty inevitable this time of year. So plan ahead for some increased absences. This small step will ensure you avoid unreal expectations or productivity goals during the season. This can also help with employee morale – if your goals are astronomical and you have a rash of sick days that mean your team falls short, no one will feel good about it (and some people might even still be sick – yuck!). Set realistic goals that expect people to miss work for sick days. And to meet your goals despite the obstacle of sick days, augment your staff with temporary help by calling a staffing firm (like Helpmates). We can provide critical staff to help you meet your goals throughout this crazy season.  
  • Consider investing in updated technology. Surfaces can foster germs for days (weeks, in some cases). And in places like restrooms or kitchens, many employees are frequently touching things like handles and faucets. Hands-free options are available for frequently contaminated surfaces like sinks, toilets, soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers and hand dryers.
  • Provide germ-reducing products. In addition to updated appliances, using disinfectant spray (like Lysol) on commonly used devices like printers or copy machines can also be a big help. Another low-cost investment that can reduce sick days is a simple one – purchase hand sanitizer and distribute to your employees, place in restrooms, meeting rooms and other areas where people both congregate and frequently touch surfaces.

The cold and flu season can make you feel pretty miserable for a few days, but taking these few steps can make a big impact on your productivity. And if you need temporary help to keep your office humming, give us a call.

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How to Foster a Corporate Culture of Learning

The opportunity for continued education is a critical factor in employee engagement and retention. Not only are the opportunities themselves critical, but fostering an environment that supports learning as a critical component of career (and business) success is also important. Authenticity and a genuine passion for fueling your employees’ desire to grow and learn will help make your efforts more successful, and will give you a greater return on your investment.

But where do you start? 

Demonstrating your commitment to a culture of learning.

To convey authenticity and create a genuine culture of learning within your organization, consider taking these steps:HM Blog 1

  • Put someone in charge. It happens all too often – someone has a great idea and members of the team get excited about it. But then…what? Sometimes, great ideas fall by the wayside. It’s not because they weren’t great ideas or people weren’t excited about them – it’s often because no one was in charge of getting them done. Once your organization has determined it is committed to creating a learning environment, put someone in charge of instituting changes and increasing opportunities. This doesn’t have to be a full-time role, or even one person, but delegating a person or team to getting it done ensures that your commitment is fulfilled, and real opportunities become an actionable commitment for your organization.
  • Get everyone involved. Employees at every level can benefit from a culture of learning. From customer service reps to sales professionals and even executives – everyone should get involved. When every member and level of your team is excited about learning opportunities, your entire organization benefits.
  • Offer different ways to take advantage. Particularly in today’s e-society, there are more ways than ever to learn. From books and eBooks to webinars and eCourses, give your employees a range of choices to continue their learning. Each employee may respond differently to various media, so offering a range of opportunities ensures no one feels left out.
  • Don’t forget to be hands-on. While eLearning is making career advancement and increased knowledge easier and more accessible than ever, try not to forget the human element. Bring in a speaker to deliver a seminar to your sales team. Encourage cross training, so that members of your staff can show off their skills and help others learn while presenting at a ‘lunch and learn’. Tapping into multiple resources and encouraging team participation while embracing the human element offers meaningful opportunity.

Today’s most successful professionals crave knowledge to help them become more proficient in their careers. Foster a culture of learning, and you’ll not only engage and retain your current employees, you’ll become a magnet for truly exceptional talent. And if you’re looking for exceptional talent, Helpmates can deliver. Our extensive network of professionals across Southern California is ready to jump in and make an immediate impact on your business.

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5 Keys to Successful Onboarding

Is onboarding a high-focus part of your hiring process? It should be! In addition to having a dramatic effect on job performance and satisfaction for new employees, onboarding is also an important team-building tool for your current employees. Put simply, onboarding is a relatively cost-effective tool for employee retention – one that you shouldn’t ignore.

Developing a successful onboarding plan.

If you’re struggling to understand where to start when it comes to your onboarding plan, here are five tips to help you get the ball rolling:Onboarding

  1. Set a formal plan. Regardless of size, all businesses should have a formal onboarding plan for new employees. This ensures all employees have the same experience and are equally prepared for success in their new positions. This can be as simple as a Word document saved on your team hard drive, or it can involve a full orientation and engaging process. The call is yours – just be sure to formalize and document it.
  2. Be prepared. You expect your new employees to come to work prepared; be sure to offer them the same courtesy. This includes things that seem simple but can often be forgotten like, a functional desk chair, office supplies, a working computer and computer login(s), among other things. Designate one or more employees to be in charge of new employee setup, and ensure everything has been completed at least one business day before new employees are scheduled to begin.
  3. Make introductions. This may be a challenge for larger businesses, but be sure to introduce new employees to their co-workers as close as you can to the beginning of the day. From receptionists to the CEO, new employees should feel welcomed by the entire team, or at least their immediate team and key personnel. While new employees won’t remember everyone’s name right away, introductions can immediately set new employees at ease and make recollection easier.
  4. Set immediate, measurable goals. Starting a new job is overwhelming to most people, but it can feel a bit less stressful when employees have concrete goals they can work toward from Day 1. Determine these goals before employees have begun, and communicate them as early as possible. Then, provide regular feedback so that employees can make adjustments where necessary (and can hear regular praise from the earliest days of their employment).
  5. Keep in touch. Direct managers should schedule regular meetings with new employees to answer any questions or address any concerns that should arise. This can also save managers time by setting expectations for when non-priority questions arise. Rather than a constant barrage of emails and phone calls, employees and managers can prepare notes for regular meetings.

With the right preparation and execution, onboarding can make a big impact on your performance and retention. If you’re looking for ways to maximize your talent investment, contact Helpmates. Our range of staffing services help businesses across Southern California reach their goals through human capital.

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