Provisional Blog

5 Year-End Performance Review Mistakes to Avoid

December 11th, 2018

From entry-level employees all the way up to top-level managers, no one likes performance reviews. However, they play an important role in giving feedback, setting goals, and keeping people on track. So how can you go about conducting them in a way that’s as painless as possible this year? Provisional – one of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s top staffing firms – has the answers you need. Here’s a look at a few common mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: Not preparing.

You owe it to your employees to invest the time and effort to prepare for each review. If you don’t, the conversation isn’t going to lead to the kind of meaningful insight you need it to. Instead, it’s going to be unstructured and unproductive. That’s why it’s important to prepare for any feedback well ahead of time.

Mistake #2: Not telling the employee until the last minute.

Employees should know in advance when their review will take place. In addition, you should create an agenda outlining the areas to be discussed, so they can fully prepare ahead of time, too. This will not only give them a chance to get ready mentally, but also think through any issues, questions or areas they’d like to discuss with you.

Mistake #3: Giving empty compliments.

Employees don’t want to hear they’re doing a good job. They want to know that you really liked how they handled the Smith account and you were impressed with their ability to persuade the client to sign on for more services. It’s a big difference and when you give specific feedback, it will do a lot more to motivate and encourage your staff.

Mistake #4: Conducting them once a year.

In reality, you should be keeping tabs on employee performance throughout the entire year. While you might have one, year-end formal review, you should also have many mini-feedback sessions in between. That way, employees are always clear on expectations, where they stand, and won’t have a chance to get too far off track.

Mistake #5: Not having them at all.

This is perhaps the biggest mistake of all. Not having regular performance reviews takes away an opportunity with you to connect with each team member on a personal level, revisit goals and expectations, and ensure you’re both on the same page. In terms of the big picture, it can also provide employees a time in which to discuss career development and advancement, which can go a long way in retaining them.

Need help hiring great performers for your team?

Call Provisional. As one of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s top staffing firms, we can help you source, screen, evaluate and hire the high-level people you need, so you can build the strongest team possible. Contact us today to learn more.

How to Deal with a Defensive Employee

November 27th, 2018

As a manager, giving feedback is a must. But sometimes it can feel like you’re walking through a minefield when you do. This is especially true when you have an employee who tends to get defensive when the input they’re getting on performance isn’t 100% positive. So how can you communicate your needs in a way that they’re more receptive?

Provisional, one of the Northwest’s leading staffing firms, has the answers you need. Follow these tips to get you started:

Be direct.

Don’t sugarcoat the issue or talk in vague statements. Simply tell your employee that whenever you give feedback, you notice they get upset. That’s not your intent; however, the feedback is necessary. Then sit back and listen. Your employee might not even realize they’ve gotten defensive in the past.

Be clear about what you need.

Once the issue is on the table, tell your employee you need to be able to bring up areas of concern with them without fear of them getting defensive. There’s always room for conversation and listening; however, you expect them to be open and not to push back.

Remember, tone matters.

If you come across as angry or critical in any way, then your employee will simply shut down. Instead, diffuse the issue by letting them know that feedback is hard for everyone to hear. You can even share your own personal story of getting difficult feedback, how it felt and mistakes you made when dealing with it. Talking about your own experience will also make them feel like accepting feedback is a skill to be learned.

Give them reassurance.

If your employee is strong overall, tell them that. You don’t want them walking out of the conversation feeling like they’re skating on thin ice. However, do let them know that you want them to perform even better, which involves being able to take in and incorporate feedback into their everyday work.

Continue to give feedback.

You might not notice a big change right away. But don’t let it stop you from giving feedback to your employee. They need to hear about areas to be corrected because if they don’t, they’ll simply get off track in their performance.

Keep in mind, defensiveness is survival mechanism. It’s the brain’s way of reacting to and defending against criticism. So when an employee gets defensive, don’t take it personally. Simply deal with it head on and work with them to overcome it.

Need help with these and other staffing and HR-related issues?

Call the Northwest’s leading staffing firm: Provisional. We can help you source, screen, hire and train the people you need, where and when you need them. Simply connect with us today to learn more or get started.

Seeing Employees Burnout? Here’s What to Do

November 13th, 2018

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And yet, for many of your workers, it’s also the busiest. You need them to get projects completed and out the door before December 31st. But at the same time, they’re strapped for time and energy between all their work and personal obligations.

What can you do when you start to see them crumble? Here are some tips from Provisional – one of Coeur d’Alene’s top staffing firms – for dealing with burnout, so it doesn’t sabotage your team:

Provide clear expectations.

If employees are taking on too much and stretched too thin, meet with them to help recalibrate. Talk about year-end goals and what’s a priority. Also discuss those tasks and initiatives that can wait until next year. Finally, make sure they have the resources and support needed to meet your expectations.

Show your appreciate.

Sometimes, all employees need is for you to show them a little appreciation. They’ve been working hard and if it’s unnoticed, they’re not going to want to keep it up. That’s why it’s so important to offer regular feedback and praise. Get specific when you recognize them and tell them in detail how their contributions have helped the company. They’ll feel more engaged and motivated as a result.

Encourage time off.

You might have a lot of work to get done. But you don’t want your employees there around the clock. It will hurt both them and your team in the long run. It’s therefore important to encourage reasonable work hours and for employees to take the time off that’s due to them. This will create a healthier culture, one with less stress and more productive employees.

Keep off-hours communications to a minimum.

When employees don’t ever feel like they can fully unplug, it’s going to add to their stress level. Instead, make sure you only contact them outside of work hours when absolutely necessary. Otherwise, aim to keep workplace communications going just during standard business hours and give your employees the break from the office they need.

Build more flexibility into their schedule.

Another way to combat stress is to enable employees to take advantage of more scheduling flexibility during the holidays. Create flex hours or let them work from home more often than you typically allow. Offer an extra day of paid vacation between Thanksgiving and year’s end where employees can get holiday activities done, so they don’t feel stressed. This will help to alleviate anxiety so when they’re on the job, they can truly focus.

Is your company dealing with a lack of manpower during the holiday season?

Let Provisional, one of Coeur d’Alene’s top staffing firms, help. Whether you need to add to your team for the long-term or you require short-term, temporary assistance, we can give you access to the people you need, where and when you need them. Simply contact our team today to learn more.

6 Do’s and Don’ts to Keep Your Team Motivated at the End of the Year

October 23rd, 2018

It’s almost the end of the year. As a result, your team might be dragging in the motivation department. How can you get them back on track, especially with so many different personalities motivated by varying factors? Here are some do’s and don’ts from Provisional – one of Spokane’s top staffing agencies – to help you:

Do be clear about goals.

If employees are becoming unmotivated and disengaged, it’s time for individual meetings to talk about year-end goals and expectations for each employee. When they’re clear on what’s needed from them through the end of the year – including what’s a priority and what’s not – they’ll be more likely to succeed in getting the job done.

Don’t schedule time-consuming meetings.

These can be an energy suck during any time of the year. But they can be especially wasteful at the end of the year, when employees are trying to complete projects before deadline or wrap up loose ends. Instead, schedule meetings only on an as-needed basis and invite only those who truly need to be there. Send out meeting notes for the rest of the group afterwards.

Don’t hover.

One of the biggest ways to kill motivation is through micro-managing. When your team members feel like you’re constantly nearby, hovering over their shoulders, it destroys trust and loyalty. Instead, make sure you give your staff clear directions for your needs and expectations. Then let them go about meeting them in the way they think is best.

Do offer rewards for team success.

If you’ve got an important project or initiative that needs to be completed before year’s end, then motivate your team with a reward for achieving it. It doesn’t need to be monetary in nature. However, it should be something that will entice and motivate each personality on your team to work together, such as visibility and recognition within the company or a chance for more career growth.

Don’t punish mistakes.

If you want your team to be innovative problem solvers, then you need to leave room for mistakes. Not that you have to welcome them. But when a failure does happen, don’t punish your employees. Instead, talk about what was learned from the situation and encourage your team to try again.

Do cultivate a happy culture.

When people want to come to work each day – because they enjoy the culture – they’ll be far more motivated to achieve and succeed. Not only that, but they’ll be happier on the job, an attitude that can spread to other team members and create a more positive place to work.

Need help finding motivated team members for your organization?

Connect with the experts at Provisional. As one of Spokane’s top staffing agencies, we’ll learn the ins and outs of your hiring needs, then get to work meeting them with high-quality, hard-working people. Contact us today to learn more or get started.

New Manager Tips: Building Trust on Your Team

October 9th, 2018

As a new manager, you have a lot on your plate. You’re trying to get up to speed, get to know your new team, and strategize goals and plans, all while striving to build trust. The good news is that if you invest in the latter, then it will make your job as a whole a lot easier as your team members go above and beyond for you.

Here are some tips from Provisional – one of the top staffing services in Spokane, Washington – to help you get started and build trust among your new staff:

Be ready to learn.

Don’t pretend like you have all the answers. Your new team doesn’t expect you to. What they do want is honesty and authenticity. So instead of feeling like you have to act like you know everything, you can instead take an approach focused on learning. That means asking questions, learning about how work gets done from your employees’ perspectives, and finding out about any key challenges or concerns they’re grappling with.

Be open.

As a new manager, your employees are a little bit suspicious of you. They’re not quite sure how things will be different going forward. That’s why it’s important to be open and honest about your goals and the vision you have for your new team. Don’t let them come to their own conclusions. Instead, keep them informed, especially about key decisions that impact them, and welcome their feedback.

Be generous with praise.

When it comes to recognizing the hard work of your staff, be quick to offer praise and do it publicly. Not only will employees feel good about the work they’re doing, but others will see it and want to follow suit. However, when there’s an issue, never address it openly. Meet with your team members in private instead.

Don’t be a micromanager.

One of the quickest ways to create animosity with your team is to micromanage them and insist you need to know about every decision and step that they take. This sends the message that you don’t trust them. So why would they trust you in return?

Instead, give your staff some autonomy. Tell them what you expect and then step back and let them get to work. If there’s an issue, then get involved to determine the best course to follow. But don’t constantly look over the shoulders of your staff and still expect to build a team that’s engaged and motivated.

Are you a new manager in need of hiring help?

Call the experts at Provisional. Since 1994, we’ve been one of the leading staffing services in Spokane, Washington. We can help you source, screen and hire the top people you need for your team, all while you focus on other priorities. Contact us today to learn more.

Boost Retention with These 5 Easy Tips

September 25th, 2018

When it comes to your company, success depends on your team. That’s why holding onto your A-players is so important and should be a top priority. But if you’re not investing in employee retention strategies, then you’re missing an opportunity to keep your top talent happy and on board. What are some ways to do that?

Here are 5 tips from Provisional Recruiting, a leading staffing service firm in Spokane, Washington.

#1: Make sure salaries are competitive.
If employees aren’t getting paid what they’re worth, then they’re going to jump ship. It’s just a matter of time. That’s why it’s so vital to invest some time, do your homework and ensure what you’re paying – from entry to executive-level – is fair and market value.

#2: Focus on work-life balance.
If employees feel overworked and burned out, it’s eventually going to impact profitability, as well as productivity. That’s why you need to recognize that your employees have personal lives and support them in keeping them well-balanced.

Encourage them to take all their vacation time. Offer flexible scheduling. Let employees work from home one day a week. When you provide these perks, you’ll go a long way in keeping your team in tact.

#3: Build relationships with your staff.
Don’t be the boss that sits behind closed doors in your office everyday. Instead, make sure you get to know your people on a personal level.

Ask about their weekends. Talk to them about their concerns and issues on the job. And offer an open door and helping hand whenever they need it. When you have a good relationship with your team, it builds more loyalty in the long run.

#4: Offer growth opportunities.
No one wants to stay in the same job year after year. Once an employee grows bored, however, that’s often when they start looking for a new position. But you can ensure it’s one within your company when you offer opportunities for training and development, as well as advancement.

#5: Recognize and reward.
If employees feel like their hard work goes unnoticed, they’ll grow frustrated and disengage as a result. That’s why it’s critical to praise your people and even offer other recognition and rewards when warranted. Your team will feel more appreciated and be more apt to stay on staff, as a result.

Need more help hiring and retaining your team?
Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we know where to look to source the best candidates for a wide variety of positions and fields, and can offer you the insight you need on how to retain them. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

How to Put Your Job Postings to Work for You

September 11th, 2018

When it comes to hiring, your job postings play a vital role. They’re the first impression a candidate will have of your company and they need to successfully sell the opportunity, as a result. However, as one of Spokane’s top staffing agencies, Provisional knows if yours are long-winded, complicated, or vague, then you’re not going to attract top candidates. To help you boost the impact of yours, here are a few tips to follow:

Discuss what daily life is like at the company.

In addition to the list of requirements and responsibilities, make sure you paint a picture of what life is like at the company. What’s the office environment like? What kinds of personalities work successfully there? What’s the schedule like? Is there any travel required? This way, candidates can gain a better sense of whether the opportunity is the right fit for them.

Use clear language.

Skip the corporate jargon and legalese. Instead, make sure that the language you use is simple and straightforward. You don’t need to include details about every aspect of the opening, just the highlights. Also, make sure your job posting isn’t too long. Otherwise, top candidates will lose interest and move on.

Be candidate-centric.

Don’t simply focus on your hiring needs in the job posting. Also be sure to talk about the perks and benefits of working for your organization. Discuss the corporate culture and the leadership team. Talk about technology, innovation and awards. In addition, discuss anything special or unique that will make your company stand out as an employer.

Get help from experts.

If you don’t have the time or resources to write a strong posting, turn to experts who do. At Provisional, we’re one of Spokane’s top staffing agencies and know what local candidates look for most in job openings. We can work with your company, get to know your hiring needs and the corporate culture, and craft a persuasive job posting that gets noticed by top candidates.

Interested in learning more?

Give Provisional a call today. Since 1994, we’ve been Spokane’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, employing over 15,000 contract workers and placing over 8,000 direct-hire professionals with area companies. We can help you with every aspect of the hiring process, from job posting to candidate sourcing, interviewing and more.

Why Use Social Media When Recruiting?

August 28th, 2018

When it comes to recruiting top talent in and around Spokane, Washington, you have a lot of competition. You therefore need proven and efficient strategies for sourcing and screening, all so you can hire the best-fit people for your team. And part of your recruiting strategy should involve social media. Here’s why:

It raises the visibility of your job postings.
You’ll find top-quality candidates on social media. In fact, most candidates are actively searching for jobs online on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. If you’re not reaching out to them on these platforms, you’re therefore missing out on a huge  network of candidates.

It enables you to attract high quality candidates.
When candidates are applying to your company via social media sites, it typically means they’re tech savvy, which is a vital skill to have for jobs in a range of industries. Not only that, but you can put your existing staff to work reaching out to their networks via social media about your job openings. Through these types of connections, you’ll often find candidates that are a better fit for your company.

It reduces the cost of hiring and time to hire.
With social media, you can broadcast your job openings faster and to a wider range of candidates. As a result, you’ll be able to create a talent pipeline of candidates at a lower cost than more traditional recruiting methods. In addition to cutting down on costs, social media recruiting also reduces the time it takes to find quality candidates, meaning you can hire faster.

It allows you to target candidates better.
When it comes to recruiting on social media, one of the big advantages is that you can target very specific groups of candidates for your job openings. For instance, when you’re using LinkedIn to recruit, you can share your job openings with industry-specific groups. You can also use tools such as Twitter hashtags to target the types of professionals you’re looking for.

It helps you build a stronger employee brand.
Overall, when you’re online recruiting on social media sites, you can not only raise the visibility of your job openings, but your employer brand as a whole. Current and future candidates can therefore gain a better sense of what it’s like to work at your company, all so you can attract better-fit candidates for your team.

Don’t have the time to take advantage of social media recruiting?
Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we know how to source the best candidates, using both advanced and traditional methods, all so you find and hire the best people for your team. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

When You Have to Reject an Employee for a Promotion

August 14th, 2018

As a manager, you want to see all your team members succeed. For some, it might take longer than for others. And when an employee who’s not quite ready wants a promotion, it can be hard to get them to see the reality of the situation.

So how do you go about breaking the news? And what can you do to help them achieve their career goals going forward? Provisional, one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, WA, has the answers you need. Here are some tips to help you:

Be honest.

It doesn’t pay to try and avoid the situation or lie to your employee in the hopes they’ll stop asking for a promotion. Instead, be upfront with them. Not only will they appreciate it more, but when you’re as candid as possible, you’re actually helping them in the long run. What doesn’t help them is if you sugar coat the truth.

Focus on the positive first.

When your employee hears the news, they’ll likely be discouraged. What you don’t want is them to become disgruntled too. That’s why it’s important to also focus on the positives and the value they bring to the company. Talk too about the long-term and how you think their specific strengths can play a part in bringing the company vision to life.

Talk about specific next steps.

If your employee wants to get promoted, but doesn’t know what they need to get there, help them identify which areas to work on. Otherwise, if you cut short their dreams without a path forward, they’ll feel like they’re simply spinning their wheels in their job.

So, whether it’s taking classes, signing up for an online seminar, or reading industry publications, map out a plan so they understand what they need to do to get promoted and how they’ll go about developing their abilities, all so they can ultimately achieve their career goals.

Follow up with them regularly.

With a plan in place, follow up regularly with your employee. If they’re eager to achieve and they have potential, this will give you an opportunity to touch base and ensure they’re staying on track. If, however, you don’t see much of a possibility for them getting promoted, then it’s important to be honest about that too. You don’t want to leave them with a sense of false hope.

Need help hiring high potential candidates?

Call the experts at Provisional. As a leading staffing services firm in Spokane, WA, we can handle every aspect of hiring for you, from sourcing and screening candidates to vetting them through background and reference checks. You’ll get high-potential new hires without all the hard work and hassle. Contact us today to learn more.

Does Cultural Fit Really Matter When You’re Hiring?

July 24th, 2018

When it comes time to hire, you’re largely looking at technical skills, experience and the right track record. But focusing on cultural fit is just as important. After all, even if a new hire has the strongest skill set, they’re not going to mesh well in the workplace if their personality and work habits aren’t a fit for it.

So how can you make sure that cultural fit plays part in the hiring process in order to make the best hiring decisions possible? Here are a few tips from Provisional – one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, WA – to help you:

Be open about your company culture.

On your website and throughout your social media posts, discuss what your company’s culture is like. What’s your mission and vision? What does your company value most? What’s the workplace and working environment like? What types of people tend to thrive there? When it’s something you promote and talk about regularly, it’s easier to attract the right-fit talent when you’re hiring.

Talk about culture during the interview.

Don’t simply focus on the daily duties and responsibilities when you’re interviewing a candidate. Make sure you further discuss company culture and answer any questions a candidate might have about it.

In addition, evaluate for cultural fit by asking questions related to it. For instance, inquire about what management style they work best under and whether they like working alone or as part of a team. Some other questions include:

  • What do you like most about the culture at your current company? Least?
  • How do you like to get feedback? Through informal meetings each week or more formal performance reviews?
  • What kind of work environment are you most productive in?

By asking these kinds of questions during the hiring process, you’ll be better able to discern whether a particular candidate is the right fit for your company.

Focus on diversity.

While it’s important to hire for cultural fit, don’t aim to hire those who are all exactly alike. The strongest team will have people from diverse backgrounds with varying degrees of experience and many different perspectives. This will serve to enhance and strengthen your company, providing a competitive advantage. So even if you’re are focused on hiring those who are a cultural fit, they shouldn’t all be like you and your existing team members.

Need more help hiring for cultural fit?

Call the experts at Provisional. As a leading staffing services firm in Spokane, WA, we can handle every aspect of hiring for you, from sourcing and screening candidates to assessing their background for cultural fit. Contact us today to learn more.