Provisional Blog

When an Employee Keeps Messing Up

June 7th, 2016

You have an employee who keeps making mistakes. They may not be huge, earth-shattering errors. But they keep messing up, nonetheless. They’ve done good work in the past, and you see potential in them for the future…but not if these performance issues continue. How do you handle this situation? Here are several tips to consider:

Listen first.

As a leading Spokane staffing agency, Provisional knows it’s easy to blame mistakes on carelessness or incompetence. But don’t jump to any conclusions and immediately attack your employee for making mistakes.

Instead schedule a sit down with your team member and ask about what’s going on. Really listen to what they have to say. Perhaps they have too much on their plate, don’t feel they have the resources do get the job done, or are having a personal family problem. But before you take action, listen to your employee.

Talk about your expectations.

Your employee should take accountability for their mistake. But it’s also important that you’re clear about your expectations going forward. Doing so will help them understand what they should have done differently and what they need to do in the future.

Create a plan of action.

Now that you’re both on the same page in terms of performance and expectations, it’s important to create a plan with clear goals and deadlines. Remember, as a manager, it’s up to you to work with your employee to create a plan that helps them be more successful.

Follow up.

Make sure you’re following up regularly with your employee. It’s easy to have a one-time talk, but it’s important to consistently check in with your employee to ensure they’re on track and not falling back into bad habits.

Look at the big picture.

If your employee continues to falter, it’s time to start asking yourself some tough questions – namely is it worth it to keep this person on staff? The individual’s poor performance is likely impacting everyone on the team, whether in the form of lowered morale or more work for those who have to pick up the slack. So look at the big picture and think through carefully whether you need to invest more time and effort into the employee, or whether you should let them go.

Do you need help filling an empty seat on your team? Call the experts at Provisional. As a leading Spokane staffing agency, we can help you find experienced, reliable, and high caliber employees for temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire positions. Contact us today to learn more!

4 Tips for Preparing for Bad Weather at Work

January 5th, 2016

As a leading Spokane staffing agency, Provisional knows when it comes to work, winter weather can seriously hinder productivity. However, if you have a plan in place ahead of time, it can reduce the likelihood of work coming to a complete standstill when a big storm hits. To help you stay a step ahead of the weather, here are 4 tips to follow:

Tip #1: Prepare ahead to let employees work from home.

Make sure employees are prepared to work from home when they can’t drive in. Staff members who primarily work on a computer can still get work done and connect via teleconferencing or phone rather than in person meetings. Pay attention too to the weather report so you know when a storm will hit and you can advise your employees to bring their laptops home the night before.

Tip #2: Prepare for times when staff can’t drive home.

There will be instances when the weather gets so bad during the day that your staff members get snowed in at work. If an employee doesn’t feel safe driving home, then allow them to stay in the office. If this isn’t an option, set forth a plan B ahead of time, such as asking another employee with four-wheel drive to give them a ride home, or paying for accommodations at a nearby hotel.

Tip #3: Prepare for when employees have to stay home.

When an employee has to stay home because their child is sick or has a snow day, don’t give them a hard time about it. It’s not a situation they have control over. Let them know they can make up the work in the evening or over the weekend if need be, or telecommute throughout the day to get work done. Just make sure your employees feel like they have options and not like they’re going to be punished.

Tip #4: Prepare for times when urgent work needs to get done.

When an urgent job needs to get done – but the weather is not cooperating – then ask for volunteers to come into the office. Don’t require those who don’t feel safe driving to come in. It’s not worth the risk if they should get into an accident. If work isn’t urgent, then reschedule it for another day.

Keep in mind, your people are your most important asset. So you want to ensure they stay safe during nasty winter weather.

Do you need help staffing your office when employees are out sick or on leave? Call the experts at Provisional. As a leading Spokane staffing agency, we can help you find experienced, reliable, and skilled employees for temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire positions. Contact us today to learn more!

Looking for Employees With Drive? Here’s How to Find Them

September 1st, 2015

As a leading Spokane staffing agency, Provisional knows that hard skills are important for getting the job done. However, employees who are passionate about what they do are driven to go the extra mile and succeed. But spotting these ‘A’ players during the hiring process can sometimes be a challenge. After all, many job candidates are good at “turning it on” in the interview, only to fall short once on the job. So how can you uncover the ones with real drive and true passion? Here are a few questions to ask during the interview:

Tell me about a time you took a risk in your career.

People with passion and drive are the ones that also take the career risks. They’re confident in their abilities and don’t want to miss out on opportunities. So calculated risk are welcome to them – and they should be able to describe a few of these to you. However, if a candidate can’t come up with a single time they took a career risk, then they are probably more concerned with playing it safe and maintaining the status quo.

When it comes to work, what makes you want to jump out of bed each morning?

When you ask a candidate this question and their eyes light up and they begin talking about how much they love A, B, or C about their job, you know you’ve found someone with passion. However, if a candidate stares blankly at you after being asked this question, then they’re likely missing the passion factor.

Do you have any interests outside of work?

Those who are driven and passionate at work tend to have many hobbies and interests outside of work. So if you don’t see signs of passion about their careers, ask them what they do in their spare time – whether they have any hobbies or activities, like volunteering, that they enjoy. If they are clearly enthusiastic about a sport they play, or a non-profit they support, then that same passion may carry over into their work.

Passion can translate into progress. If you hire someone who truly enjoys what they do, then they are going to naturally work harder and look for ways to improve. On the flip side, if you hire an individual who is less-than-passionate about their job, then they’re going to deliver mediocre results, or worse.

Do you need expert help hiring employees with the drive to deliver? Call Provisional. As a leading Spokane staffing agency, we can help you find experienced, reliable, and skilled employees for temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire positions. Contact us today to learn more!

Helping Your Employees Accept Change

July 21st, 2015

As a leading Spokane staffing agency, Provisional knows that change can be good – but it can also be difficult for your employees to buy into. They may like or be comfortable with the status quo, even if it’s not in the company’s best interest. So how do you communicate an important change to them and get them on board? Start by following these tips:

Clearly communicate why the change is necessary.

When change is needed, to many times companies just forge ahead without explaining to staff the logic behind it. But in order to get your people to buy in, you need to communicate why change is necessary before any implementation efforts begin. You also need to explain what will happen without the change you’re talking about. When you do, they will be far more likely to embrace it because they understand it.

Take it to a personal level.

Besides letting employees know the reason for the change, take it to a personal level. Explain to them how it will impact each of them individually, even if it’s not necessarily in a positive way. Uncertainty leads to fear and disengagement. So make sure employees are kept in the loop with how the change is going to impact the company and their jobs specifically, whether it’s a process change or an elimination of certain duties.

If you can, let employees offer some feedback throughout the process. After all, they’re on the front lines so their insight could prove invaluable. In addition, it will boost buy-in and make employees feel like their voices matter.

Manage resistance.

Even when you do everything possible to make the transition easy, there are still going to people who won’t accept it and resist. When this happens, deal with the situation swiftly. It will not go away on it’s own and resistant employees can create a toxic environment that poisons the whole team.

Keep your door open.

Communication is critical to the success of any company; but even more so during times of change. Make sure employees know they can come to you with issues, questions, or concerns. Ensure they all fully understand any new goals, duties or expectations. And be open to feedback and finding solutions that work. Having an “we’re all in this together” attitude and striving to communicate as much as possible will go a long way in getting employees to accept the change.

Do you need help hiring flexible and innovative people for your team? Call Provisional. As a leading Spokane staffing agency, we can help you find experienced, reliable, and innovative employees for temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire positions. Contact us today to learn more!

Are You Killing Creativity at Work?

June 16th, 2015

As a leading Spokane staffing agency, Provisional knows creativity is what results in innovative products, better service, and more efficient processes. Unfortunately, there are many managers out there who are actually hindering creativity. They may say they value it; but their actions show otherwise. Could you be one of them? Here are a few signs:

You always think the safe solution is best.

Do you reject ideas because they’re too different or off-the wall? If you do, then you’re hurting your team’s creativity. To be truly creative, it involves a level of risk and questioning the status quo. If you never do that, then you’re not going to change things for the better.

Timelines are more important than ideas.

Obviously, you want to hit your deadlines. But if you don’t give your staff enough time to brainstorm and develop solutions, then they’re not going to be able to be truly creative. Instead, they’re going to wind up burned out and frustrated.

There’s no diversity on your team.

If everyone comes from the exact same background, they’re going to get along great. The trouble is, they’re not going to be all that innovative. Many times, the best ideas come from the merging of different minds from diverse perspectives. So during the hiring process, don’t look for those similar to you or others on your team; don’t be afraid to bring those from different backgrounds on board.

You make everyone work the same way.

Some employees are at their best at 7 am; while others are night owls and produce top results after midnight. Whatever the case for your employees, allow them to work during times they are most productive and effective. That’s not to say you can’t require them to be in the office during certain hours; however, it’s ok to offer some flexibility as well.

There’s never a change of scenery.

Many times, great ideas don’t happen around the conference room table; they happen while you’re taking a walk or doing something different. So if you want your staff to be inspired and get creative, encourage them to go outside, go to lunch, go for a walk, go to the gym, or do something that will help them come up with the best ideas.

Do you need help hiring those who can create and innovate? Call Provisional. As a leading Spokane staffing agency, we can help you find experienced, reliable, and skilled employees for temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire positions. Contact us today to learn more!

Fixing a Broken Interview Process

May 19th, 2015

As a leading Spokane staffing agency, Provisional knows effective interviewing is critical to hiring high value employees. Unfortunately, not all interviewing processes are created equal. If yours isn’t reaping the kinds of results you need, then it could be time to evaluate and make some changes to your interview process. Where do you begin? Here are some tips to help you get started:

Make sure hiring managers are properly trained.

For many hiring managers, the interview process is one in which they rely on instincts, not training. But the end result can be bad hiring decisions. It’s therefore critical that you ensure hiring managers are properly educated about what each position needs and what to look for in candidates, as well as the proper techniques and best practice that will help them effectively vet each candidate. This will not only accelerate the hiring process, but also help ensure it’s more effective as well.

Define the interview process.

Interviews will certainly differ based on the position you’re hiring for. But there should still be a defined process in place. For instance, make sure you know how many interviews you need to conduct with candidates for a position before you begin the interviews, as well as who needs to be involved in the process. Otherwise, it could go on indefinitely, leading to a long interview process and frustrated candidates.

Prepare for each interview ahead of time.

Don’t wing it during an interview. Make sure you prepare ahead of time by reviewing a candidate’s resume and developing a list of questions to ask. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask anything off-the-cuff. But by preparing ahead of time, you can walk away from an interview with the information you need to make a smart hiring decision.

Create a rule for responding to candidates.

Update the candidates you do bring in for an interview as quickly as possible. For instance, if after an interview, you know a particular candidate isn’t a good fit, create a rule that they must be notified within two business days. After all, if you know right away you’re not going to hire them, why wait? The candidate will appreciate the prompt reply, even if they are disappointed.

Do you need more help interviewing and hiring top notch candidates? If you do, call Provisional. As a leading Spokane staffing agency, we can help you find experienced, reliable, and skilled employees for temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire positions. Contact us today to learn more!

Is Conflict Among Employees a Good Thing?

May 5th, 2015

When most people think of conflict, they typically view it in a negative light. But, as a leading Spokane staffing agency, Provisional knows when it comes to building strong teams and healthy work environments, some conflict is actually a good thing and can fuel innovation. Here’s why:

  • Better business results. Research shows that diverse teams produce better business results. In fact, according to a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and George Washington University, men and women don’t really like working together on teams. However, business results were shown to be much better when men and women worked together. When you have people with different perspectives and backgrounds on a team, they can help others see issues in different lights. As a result, good decisions can be made and bad ones avoided.
  • Discoveries are made. Sometimes, in the midst of a healthy debate, a discovery is made that one perspective alone would not have produced.
  • Top talent is identified. Strong leaders can emerge from conflict. They are the ones who have done their homework, know the ins and outs of an issue, can think on their feet, and articulate a strong argument when someone questions them.
  • Positive change occurs. Positive change results from challenging the status quo and tradition. It comes when employees have the courage to question how the organization is conducting its business.

That being said, you don’t want conflict to result in negative feelings between co-workers. That’s why it’s important to always have conflict resolution procedures in place to ensure the conflict doesn’t get personal. Be sure to:

  • Act promptly. Once a conflict starts getting out of hand, don’t sit back and wait. Promptly step in.
  • Be fair and respectful. Listen to everyone’s opinion and don’t take sides.
  • Keep the team focused. Remind them of the goals and points the team agrees upon.

Conflict is inevitable. But when managed well, creativity can be enhanced because ideas are more vigorously debated. One idea leads to another and the quality of each is properly vetted, leading to better decisions and better results.

Do you need help building a more innovative team? If you do, call Provisional. As a leading Spokane staffing agency, we can help you find experienced, reliable, and innovative employees for temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire positions. Contact us today to learn more!

How to Get More From Your Staffing Agency

February 17th, 2015

Partnering with a staffing agency is one of the most strategic decisions a business can make. But in order to get the most value from your relationship, you have to ensure it’s a strong one. How do you do that? The more your Spokane staffing agency can get to know your company and culture, the better they can match you with high quality, right-fit job candidates. If you work with a staffing agency, here are a few tips for building a solid relationship – and getting more from it:

  • Do your homework. If you’re still in the process of choosing a staffing partner, spend the time to learn about their skill set, whether the services they provide suit your needs, and how their geographic locations can impact your relationship. Also, evaluate the agency’s communication and work style, as well as reach out to their other clients to gain their perspective.
  • Communicate clearly and often. Good communication is important for the health of any relationship. When it comes to your staffing agency, though, you need to be regularly talking to them about your upcoming needs, expectations and goals. Make sure your job orders are as thorough as possible and give your agency feedback on the candidates they send your way. Schedule regular touch points that can help ensure your staffing agency is on target. If a situation changes – for instance, you need to cancel a job order – alert them immediately.
  • Give your agency enough time. When you have a staffing need you know about, it’s never too soon to let your staffing agency know, even if it’s months down the line. Even if they don’t need to immediately get to work on your request, a heads up ensures it goes in the queue and they can develop an effective time line and strategy for meeting your needs. This approach also helps avoid a scramble to fill a last-minute job order, resulting in higher quality candidates.
  • Focus on the long-term. If you have a consistent need for staffing, then you’ll benefit from forming a long-term relationship with one staffing agency in a variety of ways, including access to a deep and specialized pool of talent, having a single point of contact when you have a job order, and achieving cost savings when you work with one experienced vendor. In addition, when you work with an agency over the long-term, they will gain a sense of knowledge and familiarity about your company, enabling them to do their jobs better.

When you partner with the right staffing agency, they can help you reach your goals by making insightful, timely recommendations and determining the best staffing strategy for company. But to get the most from the relationship, it’s up to you share details such as budget, overall challenges and current staffing needs. When you do, your staffing agency can determine how to best accommodate your hiring needs for the upcoming year.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits a staffing agency can offer your business, give Provisional a call. As a leading Spokane staffing agency, we can help you find experienced, reliable, and skilled employees for temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire positions. Contact us today to learn more!

How to Get a Problem Employee Back on Track

December 21st, 2010

When it comes to an under-performing employee at your Spokane company, it can be tempting to ignore the problem or go to the other extreme and dismiss the employee altogether. But, in some cases, fixing an existing problem is less expensive than recruiting, hiring, and training a new employee. So here are some ways to help you deal with this tricky situation.

Identify the Problem

First, you should identify the problem and try to find the reasons behind it. For instance, maybe the employee isn’t in the right role and needs to be re-assigned. Possibly, the employee is having personal or family issues that are impacting their work quality. Or, as is sometimes the case, the problem could be an indication of a bigger management issue in the department or at the company as a whole. Whatever the reason, the only way to find out is to talk to the employee privately.

If the performance issue rests solely with the employee, not with management, then your next step should be to work with the employee to develop a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). In simplest terms, a PIP is a plan to help an employee improve his or her performance. Here are the steps to take to develop an effective PIP:

  • List what performance areas needs improvement. Be as specific as possible. Don’t talk about behaviors, talk about results. For instance, don’t say “Your aren’t being productive enough.” Instead, say something like: “You’re often quite late in the morning, which is impacting your ability to get your work done.”
  • Also describe the expected standard of performance. Be very clear, using examples, about how you expect the employee to perform in the future.
  • Let your employee know what resources, training, materials, and support you will provide to help them meet expectations. For example, an employee might need to participate in a training program in order to gain knowledge and skills to perform their job better.
  • Create a plan for offering feedback to your employee. Let them know when and with whom they will be meeting to discuss performance. Be specific when it comes to the measurements you will be using to evaluate performance. Also, make clear the consequences of not meeting performance expectations.

Once you’ve developed the PIP, make sure your HR department reviews the plan to ensure it’s consistent with company policy and that it treats the employee fairly. And if, throughout the process, you and your HR department determine the employee is not making acceptable progress, it may then be necessary to take disciplinary action, such as verbal and/or written reprimands and if those don’t work, a suspension from work. If the employee is still not willing or able to make progress, then it may be necessary to terminate them.

In the future, conducting regular performance reviews can help you tackle performance issues. At the very least, conduct reviews annually, but you’d be even better served by conducting performance reviews every few months. That way, any issues that arise can be addressed quickly and don’t come as a surprise to the employee. In addition, by having frequent performance reviews, you can set smaller, more achievable goals and check in more regularly on whether goals are being accomplished.

And if you need help finding top-performing employees in Spokane, please contact Provisional. As a leading Spokane staffing agency, we can help you find experienced, reliable, and skilled employees for temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire positions. Contact us today to learn more!

6 Tips for Conducting Better Performance Reviews

November 2nd, 2010

The end of the year is rapidly approaching, which means it’s time to start thinking about scheduling those dreaded employee performance reviews. While most employers – and employees – are uncomfortable with the process (after all, who likes giving or getting criticism), these reviews are a great opportunity to offer feedback, and revisit expectations and goals.

As an experienced Spokane staffing agency, we’ve put together some tips and advice to help make the review process a little less painful for you:

1. Create a performance file on each employee.

At the end of the year, it can be difficult to remember the good, the bad, and the ugly about every employee you’re reviewing. To make it easier, create a performance file for each employee and make notes throughout the year about their performance. Include letters from customers, copies of work (good or bad), and notes to yourself. While it’s too late to create files for this year’s reviews, consider implementing this idea to make next year’s performance review process easier.

2. Use an evaluation form.

A week before performance reviews, hand out evaluation forms to be completed by your employees. On the form, you should ask employees to note specific objectives and goals they have achieved over the course of the past year, what areas need improvement, and what their short- and long-term career goals are. Employees are often aware of their short-comings and this form helps to open the door to discuss them, as well as the more positive aspects of their performance.

3. Get input from others.

When appropriate, get feedback and specific performance examples from other staff members or from customers.

4. Set the tone with a positive.

Always start each performance review with a positive. This is a good time to tell each employee how much you value their hard work.

5. Be specific.

When you do have a criticism to offer an employee, it’s important to be as specific as possible. Give the employee an example where they didn’t meet expectations. Don’t just say something like: “You’re not a good communicator.” Instead, consider something like: “Some of the mistakes you’ve made are a result of not asking enough questions at the start of each project.”

6. Review regularly.

Implement a policy for regular performance reviews. For instance, make sure you evaluate employees every year. For new hires, you may want to conduct performance reviews at the three-month and six-month marks, as well.

Another reason you should consider regular reviews is to avoid having to conduct a review prompted solely due to bad behavior or poor performance. This can imply that information is being collected to document the poor performance should the employee be fired.

And if you need help implementing a performance review process, please contact Provisional, a Spokane staffing agency with over 16 years of experience.