Provisional Blog

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!

3 Things You Should Never Say to an Employee

April 12th, 2011

As the boss or supervisor, a big part of your job is to manage your people – not always the easiest task in the world, especially when you have so many divergent personalities.

But as a Northwest staffing agency, we know that in order to build a successful business, you first have to build a strong team, one that allows you to stay in front of problems. This can be a tall order, especially when things are busy and you’re under a lot of stress. And when an employee complains, it can be easy to lash out with harsh words. However, while you’re temporarily ending your irritation, you could be doing so at a high price in the form of lower morale and loyalty.

So what are some “harsh” words you should always avoid when managing your employees? Here are 3 statements:

1. “You’re the only one complaining.”

Just because you haven’t heard complaints from other employees, doesn’t mean things are going well. In fact, maybe this particular employee is the only one with the guts to say something. When they confront you, make sure you ask if their co-workers feel the same way. You might be surprised by their answer.

2. “It’s always been like that. Deal with it.”

It’s only natural for people to look for easier and more effective ways of doing things. So when an employee comes to you with an idea or concern, don’t dismiss it out of hand just because how you’ve done things seems to be working. You want your employees thinking outside the box and looking for newer and better ways of doing business.

When an employee does come to you, ask them for specific examples of what’s not working and how they would improve it. You could be unaware of a situation that they are dealing with on a daily basis, on the front lines – and their input could wind up saving you time and money in the long run.

Even if it doesn’t, thank them and let them know that you value their insight. Also, so they don’t feel dismissed, give them specific reasons as to why you don’t think their idea would work, or why things are better the way they are.

3. “If you don’t like it, go work somewhere else.”

It can be tempting to tell an employee to hit the road, but it’s just plain offensive. Plus, you’re really not facing the issue that the employee is bringing to you. Even if you don’t think it’s valid, don’t disrespect your employee with rude statements. By letting your employee know you value their opinion, you’re empowering them to confront problems and work with you to develop effective solutions – which makes them a pretty valuable employee.

And if you need some help finding valuable employees – ones that can help you reach your business goals – please contact Provisional. As one of the leading Northwest staffing agencies, we can provide the quality and trained personnel you need to build a strong team and a stronger bottom line.

Wishing You a Happy New Year!

December 28th, 2010

The holiday season is upon us and our Northwest staffing agency would like to take a moment to say some “thank yous” to our clients and candidates for your support and loyalty in 2010.

  • Thank you for reading our blog. In today’s day and age of information overload, there’s a lot of of content out there. And we feel privileged you’ve chosen us as your source for staffing and career tips.
  • Thank you for letting us share our knowledge and ideas with you about HR, staffing best practices, job hunts, and career advice.
  • Thank you for your insight. We truly love getting positive feedback from our clients and candidates and are delighted when we hear about your successes, whether it’s in finding the right person, or finding the right job.

The bottom line is that without you, our Northwest staffing agency wouldn’t exist. So again, thank you for your continued support! We’d also like to wish you and your family a terrific holiday season and a New Year filled with health and happiness!

How to Spice Up Company Meetings

May 4th, 2010

Most people don’t look forward to company meetings. Why? Even though they’re an essential part of doing business, they’re also usually long and dull.

So what can you do to spice up your meetings? Here are some tips:

Prepare and send out an agenda ahead of time.

If people know what topics you will cover, they will mentally prepare ahead of time – which will lead to a more productive meeting.

Plan to keep your meeting short, from 30-60 minutes.
After that one-hour mark, you tend to start losing people. If you have to hold a meeting that you think will run longer, consider breaking it up into two sessions.

Start meetings with an icebreaker.
Depending the meeting’s topic, go around the table and have each person share their experiences. For instance, if you’re meeting about improving customer satisfaction, have each attendee tell the group one positive and one negative they get in terms of feedback from your customers.

Use creative presentation methods.
Don’t lecture your employees. Use a range of presentation methods to keep them interested and to inspire discussion. It never hurts to add a little bit of humor into the mix, as well. (No off-color or inappropriate jokes, though.)

Change your meeting venue.
Instead of always meeting in the conference room, take your employees to lunch to meet about the topic. The flow of conversation and feedback is easier in a more relaxed setting. Or, if the weather’s nice, go outside. You never know, a little fresh air could offer a fresh perspective.

As a Northwest staffing agency, we know that your time is valuable – and the last thing you want to do is waste it on unproductive meetings. Instead, spice up your meetings a little so they are both more effective and more enjoyable.

Strategies for Managing Employees in a Slowdown

January 19th, 2010

Layoffs. Cost cutting. Hiring freezes. They all have the same negative impact on employee morale. However, slowdowns may actually provide an ideal opportunity to fix what’s broken and emerge stronger than ever from the recession. Here are five strategies that can help:

#1. Set the tone among your staff.
You don’t want rumors running rampant in the office. So be as honest as possible with employees about where the company stands. Explain both the challenges and opportunities that will be faced in the near future. Always try to be as reassuring and transparent as possible.

#2. Get your employees involved in problem solving.
Make sure your employees understand how their individual jobs connect to the bigger picture. Then ask them for feedback and help in reducing inefficiencies, cutting costs, and increasing profits.

Engaging your employees in this way will help them to feel more invested in the company. Plus, since they’re on the front lines everyday, they may be able to offer you a more accurate idea of what’s working and what’s not in their individual departments or positions.

#3. Hire top talent.
For some companies, hiring is out of the question right now. But for others, the recession is an ideal time to hire since there are more qualified employees on the job market than ever before. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can recruit A-level talent at a B-level salary. If you do, as soon as the economy picks up, that talent will be out the door, in search of greener pastures.

#4. Keep critical talent happy.
Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the mindset that employees are happy to just have a job during a recession. But the reality is that cuts, freezes, and layoffs may cause some of your critical talent to look for opportunities elsewhere. So it’s important to keep them happy – whether it’s through a promotion, bonus, or employee recognition program.

#5. Seek out new opportunities.
A recession may not sound like the best time to take on new initiatives, but if you’re going to emerge from the slowdown in a stronger position, you need to remain competitive.

So look for situations where your competition is unable to address customer needs and enlist your employees to go after those customers. Or ask staff members to spend some time now to research and develop new products or services. Even if you can’t afford to launch anything at the moment, doing the legwork now will reduce the time to market later. In addition, employees will feel energized and reassured by these plans for growth.

If you’re searching for additional strategies for managing employees in a downturn, please contact Provisional. As the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, we have plenty of tips and advice we can offer related to effective employee management techniques. We can also help you recruit high quality talent for your company.