Provisional Blog

4 Ways to Keep Your Employees on Track & Motivated During Summer

June 12th, 2018

Between traveling and kids out of school, summer can certainly be a busy time for everyone, including your employees. As a result, it’s can be easy for them to lose focus, impacting your productivity numbers in the long run. To ensure you keep your people on track during the hot summer months, here are a few easy tips from Provisional – one of the leading staffing agencies in the Northwest – to put to use:

#1: Set challenging goals.

Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean employees should be slowing down in terms of performance at work. To keep staff motivated, it’s even more important during this hectic time of year to meet with your people individually and make sure they understand their performance goals and expectations. Just make sure that whatever objectives you do set, they’re both challenging and attainable.

#2: Offer flexible work hours.

A flexible work schedule can be a small step that shows employees you care in a big way. Not only does it help your staff maintain a better work-life balance, but numerous studies have shown that it positively improves morale. In fact, according to one such study by PGi, 80% of employees reported higher morale when working from home.

A flex work schedule can mean a range of different options. For instance, it could include telecommuting one day a week. Or it could simply offer employees the option to come in at 8 and leave at 4, instead of working 9 to 5. Other possibilities include letting employees leave early on Fridays. It’s really up to you in terms of what works best for your team and your company.

#3: Encourage time off.

It might sound counter-intuitive, but it’s important to encourage your employees to take vacation days. If they don’t, they’ll risk burnout, which can negatively impact productivity, not to mention increase absenteeism and the risk of mistakes. In today’s culture, many people think it shows their dedication to not take time off. But if you want your employees to stay healthy and motivated, then they need a dedicated chunk of time to relax and unwind away from the office.

#4: Invest in training.

If summer is your slow time of year, look at it as an opportunity to ramp up your employees’ knowledge base. Send them to seminars, bring in speakers, host brown bag lunches, and offer online training opportunities they can take advantage of. It will be a change of pace from their daily tasks, while also enabling them to refresh and polish their skills, as well as gain new ones.

Need extra hands on deck during summer?

If summer is your busy time and you need more manpower to get the job done, Provisional can provide it. As one of the leading Northwest staffing agencies, we can help you find and hire the people you need on a seasonal basis. We can handle the sourcing, screening and reference checking, all so you get high-quality, hard-working temporary employees. Contact Provisional today to learn more.

3 Tips for Vetting a Staffing Agency Partner

February 28th, 2017

You know you need help recruiting. But with so many Northwest staffing agencies out there to choose from, it can be hard to find the right one for you. And if you pick the wrong one, it can turn into an expensive hiring mistake. Instead, do your homework ahead of time so you can have full confidence in the decision you make. Here are some tips to help you:

Understand their process.

How does the recruiting firm identify candidates, source talent and use recruiting technology to hire? It’s important for you to know their process before making a decision. The staffing agency you do choose should have comprehensive methods in place for uncovering and recruiting talent in a timely manner. This should include recruiting passive candidates, as well utilizing their existing network of candidates. In addition, they should have clear steps in place for interviewing, skill testing and reference checking – all so you get the best few candidates to choose from.

Understand their services.

Do you have a need for executive hires? Are you looking for help with temporary placements? Do you have variety of needs across many different fields? It’s important that the staffing agency you do choose has the right recruitment services available to you. Not only that, but it’s also important that the staffing agency has a strong working knowledge of your industry and the market you work in. That way, they’ll know where to source the best candidates.

Understand their success rate.

You don’t have time for weak candidates and poor hires. You need a staffing agency that’s going to send you the top-notch professionals you need – where and when you need them. So just as if you were hiring a full-time employee, you need to carefully check the success rate of each staffing agency you’re considering partnering with. This includes asking for references, as well as about the percentage of their candidates who get hired and how much repeat business they have. You should also look online for reviews and testimonials.

Another final note: The staffing agency you do choose will be one that’s representing your company during the hiring process. Not only that, but they’ll also be privy to confidential details about your company. That’s why you should only partner with an agency that you truly trust and respect.

Interested in learning more about partnering with a reputable staffing agency?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading Northwest staffing agencies, we can handle all your recruiting and staffing challenges, so you can focus on running your business. Put us on your list! Contact Provisional today to learn more.

4 Signs You Should Let Your Employees Telecommute

October 21st, 2014

As one of the leading staffing agencies in the Northwest, Provisional knows allowing workers to telecommute is no simple decision. It’s certainly not a situation that works for every company or every position. However, if you’re willing to consider it, it can offer a host of benefits, including increased productivity and retention.

For instance, most virtual workers know there’s a higher standard they need to meet when working from home, and that if they don’t deliver, they’re going to lose the telecommuting privilege or risk getting fired. So they’re going to work hard – potentially harder than those on-site every day.

With that said, what are some signs that telecommuting is a good fit for your company? Here’s a look at four:

Sign #1: You’re not a micromanager.

If you consistently like to look over the shoulders of your workers and you have the nickname “helicopter boss,” then letting employees telecommute may not be a good option for you. In order for telecommuting to work, you need to have set clear goals and expectations with your staff, then you must be able to step aside and let them do their jobs.

Sign #2: The work can be done from home.

Certain positions and certain tasks lend themselves to working from home. However, if there are jobs that require a high level of in-person interaction or equipment other than a computer or phones, then telecommuting may not be appropriate for your organization.

Sign #3: Employees already do a lot of work from home.

In today’s day and age, many employees work around the clock, checking emails and finishing up project reports in the evenings or on weekends. If this is the norm for your staff, why not just allow them to work from home during business hours, as well?

Sign #4: You have a high turnover.

Employees leave because they’re not happy at work. If you’re dealing with high turnover, one of the reasons could be a lack of flexibility when it comes to work arrangements. In addition, the best candidates scrutinize the benefits of working at your company, and that extends far beyond what you pay in salary. To attract top talent and stay competitive, you need to at least consider offering the ability to telecommute to your employees.

Need more help attracting top talent to your company? Call Provisional. As one of the leading staffing agencies in the Northwest – with more than 20 years of experience – we can help you recruit and screen high quality candidates, all so you gain access to today’s best talent. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

4 Signs of a Weak Leader

May 13th, 2014

A team is only as strong as its leader. You can have the best and brightest on staff, but if the person managing them isn’t effective, then that team simply cannot function.

If your organization has leaders who are underperforming, it’s time to stop and assess them for the following signs, then consider whether to train them or exit them out:

Sign #1: Complaining to Their Staff

As one of the leading staffing agencies in the Northwest, Provisional understands managers have tough jobs, but complaining about them to their own team will only cause them to lose respect in the eyes of the very people they are supposed to be leading. Your managers are supposed to be models of professionalism, not gossip hounds. When they complain, they look like frustrated teenagers, not in-control leaders.

Sign #2: Leading by Emotion

Being completely emotionless isn’t good. But neither is showing too much emotion. If you have a manager who every time something goes awry, they get angry, frustrated, hostile or bitter toward their team, then you’ve got a big problem.

Good leaders are expected to be cool and calm in all situations. Of course, there might be circumstances when tempers flare. But if it’s all the time, then no one can operate effectively in that kind of environment. Employees will begin to feel as if they’re walking on eggshells, breeding uncertainty and discontent.

Sign #3: Micromanaging

Attention to detail is important for a manager; however, playing helicopter boss and constantly looking over the shoulders of staff members creates angst, de-motivates staff, and kills any sense of creativity. And in fact, micromanaging is a major cause of turnover for companies.

Sign #4: Not Setting Boundaries

You can’t be friends with the people you manage; you can be friendly and have a warm, open relationship. But when a manager is best buds with staff members, all sorts of problems are going to ensue.

For instance, what if the boss and an employee always have lunch together and are good friends, then that employee is promoted? How is that going to be perceived by the rest of the staff? Not well. When it comes to managing, leaders need to care about staff, but also draw the line between being friendly and getting too personal.

Need more help hiring and training managers to lead? Call Provisional. As one of the leading staffing agencies in the Northwest – with more than 20 years of experience – we can help you recruit and screen high quality candidates, all so you gain access to today’s best talent. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

What Kinds of Questions Should a Job Candidate Be Asking You?

September 11th, 2012

You might think that personality tests and behavior-based interview questions are the best tactics for hiring great employees. And they certainly play a part.

But as one of the leading staffing agencies in the Northwest, Provisional can tell you that another component to helping you hire right is to evaluate the kinds of questions a job candidate asks you.

Unfortunately, many candidates either: a) ask a few boilerplate or generic questions just to look like they did their homework, or b) ask a few smart questions without really caring what the answers are, again, just to demonstrate they did their homework.

But the best candidates ask questions that they really want answers to. They know it’s just as important for them to evaluate you and your company, as it is for you to evaluate them.

So what are some questions that top candidates might ask? Here are a few examples:

What are some traits or strengths of your best employees?

Strong candidates know that it takes more than just skills to succeed in a new job…it also takes a fit between employer and employee. And asking about what strengths top employees share gives them a window into whether they would fit in with the organization, as well as what they would have to do to achieve the same success.

What do you like most about working here? Least?

Again, this is another question that enables the employee to determine if they’d fit well within the organization. And considering that most hires fail due to lack of fit, asking these kinds of questions is incredibly wise on the part of the candidate.

What kinds of goals or projects will you expect me to complete in the first few months?

This question indicates that the candidate is trying to dig deeper and evaluate if the position is a match for their skill set. They want to be able to get the job done and meet expectations – and need to find out what those expectations are in order to ensure their success.

The bottom line is that a great candidate will ask thoughtful questions that demonstrate not only a high level of interest in the position, but also in ensuring that the job and the culture are the right fit for them. So don’t just be evaluating a candidate’s answers to your questions…also evaluate the candidate’s questions for you.

Need Help Hiring?

If you do, let us know. As one of the leading staffing agencies in the Northwest, Provisional has the knowledge and experience (more than 18 years of it!) to help you uncover high caliber candidates; screen, interview, test and verify them; and guide you toward making the best hiring decision. Contact Provisional today to learn more.

Do You Have to Post Opportunities for Job Promotions?

May 1st, 2012

Does your organization have a policy about posting opportunities for job promotions? If not, you could be putting your company at risk for litigation.

In fact, there have been several recent court cases regarding this very issue.

In one case, a female employee quit because a male colleague received a promotion she believed she was qualified for. The promotion was never advertised, so she wasn’t aware it existed. So she sued her former employer, alleging sexual discrimination.

The employer countered that there was no discrimination since she never applied for the job and therefore could not have been considered. But the court disagreed and said that she couldn’t have applied for the promotion because it wasn’t advertised and therefore she could in fact sue the employer over the missed opportunity (Culver v. CCL Label, No. 10-5353, 6th Cir., 2012). The female employee eventually lost the case, but not after her former employer spent a considerable sum of money defending itself against the initial legal action, along with a lengthy appeal process.

And to think, this could have all been avoided through one simple action – advertising the promotion.

As one of the leading Northwest staffing agencies, we can tell you that even though you’re not required by federal law to post opportunities for promotions, it’s really in your best interest to do so in order to avoid a potential legal claim. And remember, even if you’re innocent of any wrongdoing, the legal representation you’ll need to hire in order to prove it will get expensive…fast. But when you advertise a promotion – along with minimum job requirements – no one can sue you over a lost opportunity.

In addition, besides helping you avoid legal claims, posting all promotions just makes good business sense. Why? Because it demonstrates to your employees that you offer equal access to opportunity, enhancing employee morale and loyalty in the process.

How to Hire Top Tier Talent

February 7th, 2012

Have you ever hired someone who looked great on paper, knocked it out of the park during the interview, and then fell apart on the job?

As one of the top staffing agencies in the Northwest, we know this scenario has happened to many employers. They rely on ineffective and outdated recruiting and interviewing techniques – and then pay the price after they hire the wrong person.

The reason that many of the these techniques prove insufficient are varied, including:

  • Interviewers going with their “gut” when they hire someone.
  • Many interviewers aren’t properly trained to conduct job interviews.
  • Many job candidates exaggerate their experience or skill set to get the job.

So how can you avoid making these same mistakes – and hire high caliber talent who can hit the ground running? Here are some steps to take:

Do your homework.

Make sure you understand the key elements of the job before conducting any interviews. If you don’t, work with other employees who are in similar positions or who are familiar with the necessary responsibilities. Screen resumes and develop standardized questions for all candidates based on this knowledge.

First impressions count.

The most talented professionals are going to have their choice between job opportunities. So you should be looking to make a favorable impression on them during the interview process, starting with the moment they walk through the company doors.

Ask a mix of questions.

To give all candidates a fair chance, interviews should follow a structured format that is the same for each one. During the interview you should be asking a mix of both behavioral- and situation-based questions.

Some examples include:


Example #1: What would you do if your boss asked you to lie for him or her?

Example #2: What would you do if you found out an employee was stealing?


Example #1: Tell me about a time when you took a risk and it paid off.

Example #2: Give me an example of a time when you faced a major crisis or challenge at work. How did you handle it?

Evaluate people skills.

People skills are tough to evaluate during an interview. Just like on a date, candidates are putting their best foot forward and aren’t necessarily showing their true colors. But understanding who they are – their personality and motivations – can help you significantly improve the hiring process. One way to do that is by conducting personality profiles of a few select candidates. Through these, you’ll get a better sense of a candidate’s behaviors, attitude, interpersonal skills and how they will interact with customers and co-workers.

And if you’d like some help with the hiring process, just give us a call. As on of the top staffing agencies in the Northwest, Provisional specializes in identifying, attracting and recruiting top-tier professionals to create strategic leadership teams with the experience, vision and character to improve business performance. Contact us today to learn more.

Wondering if You Just Made a Major Hiring Mistake?

January 10th, 2012

As one of the top staffing agencies in the Northwest, we know that there are a plethora of good candidates out there; unfortunately though, there are also many willing to lie on their resumes or in the interview to get the job.

While many of these can be easy to weed out through effective hiring and screening techniques, sometimes a bad candidate makes it through the process and winds up on your payroll.

In certain cases, the situation can be rectified with proper training and performance management strategies; however, often times, a bad hiring decision results in lost productivity and lower morale, while also increasing your cost of doing business. That’s why it’s so important to spot a sub-par performer early on – so you can take steps to rectify the situation and keep your team moving forward.

To help you, here are some signs of trouble:

They have a bad attitude.

Starting a new job is a stressful experience. So if your new hire seems a little stressed during the first few days on the job, don’t take it to heart. But when they seem personally insulted when you ask them to take on a project or perform a certain task, then you’ve got problems.

You can start off by talking to them. Make him or her aware of their attitude with specific examples. Sometimes being made aware of their attitude is enough to induce better behavior in the future.

They don’t ask any questions.

This can mean a variety of things:

  • They’re in over their heads and don’t even know what to ask.
  • They don’t care that much.
  • They’re not good communicators.
  • They’re afraid of looking silly.
  • They think they have all the answers.

Any way you slice it, it’s not good. To deal with this situation, strongly encourage your new hire to ask questions. Pair him or her up with a company veteran who you think is a good match for them personality-wise. Your new employee may simply feel more comfortable asking a co-worker for answers rather than the boss.

They’re disrespectful.

You need your team to operate as a well-oiled machine that delivers positive results. But when one of those components is nasty to another or treats a co-worker or subordinate with disrespect it can upset your operations. Not only can it result in reduced morale and infighting, but if the new employee is acting in a harassing or discriminatory way, it can result in a claim against your company. That’s why it’s so important to deal with this issue immediately.

Schedule a private conversation with the new employee and offer specific examples of the bad behavior, making it crystal clear that it won’t be tolerated.

In the future, if you’d like some assistance in hiring for your company, let us know. As one of the top staffing agencies in the Northwest, we know how to attract top candidates and what red flags to look out for that indicate a poor performer. Get started now.

The More Things Change…

November 22nd, 2011

When we look at the world around us, it’s easy to focus on the negative. Between a stagnant job market and high food and gas prices, there’s a lot of uncertainty and stress out there.

But as one of the top Northwest staffing agencies, we’re actually quite optimistic about the future.

We see the many challenges we’re facing as opportunities, rather than problems. We still have a variety of clients who come to us every day in search of help with recruiting and hiring. Likewise, we have a multitude of job candidates who walk through our doors each week, in search of help finding a rewarding job opportunity.

While things certainly have changed – more and more companies are looking for more strategic and flexible staffing options, for instance – the more they stay the same. In 2011, companies still need to find good employees, and job candidates still want to land good jobs.

And when they come to us to help with those challenges, we are always grateful.

As one of the top Northwest staffing agencies, we love what we do and we are passionate about it. Whether it’s filling a last-minute temporary administrative need, sourcing skilled professionals for a mission critical position, or locating job openings that fit our candidates’ backgrounds and lives, we are committed to getting the job done and exceeding expectations.

So to our clients and candidates, we just want to say “thank you.”

Thank you for turning to us when you need help hiring or finding work, thank you to being open to our suggestions and recommendations, and thank you for giving us the opportunity to do what we love.

Happy Thanksgiving!