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Provisional Blog

6 Strategies for Overcoming Management Challenges

March 14th, 2017

Being a manager can be a challenge. From handling different personalities on your team to meeting project goals, you could use an extra few hours in your work day. As one of the Northwest’s leading recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows the good news is that there are a few strategies you can employ to make your job a little easier. Here’s a look at 6 of them:

#1: Keep an open mind.

As a manager, you’re the decision maker. But that doesn’t always mean you have the answer. That’s why it’s important to be open to looking at things differently. It’s also important to solicit the opinions of your employees. In fact, some of the best ideas will come from those working in the trenches, who are closest to your customers, processes and any challenges coming up ahead.

#2: Set a high, yet attainable bar.

It’s important to have high expectations for your team. However, whatever goals and expectations you do have need to be attainable. If they’re so ambitious that there’s no way your employees can meet them, then your team will eventually grow disengaged and mentally check out. However, when you set challenging, yet reachable goals, it’s easier to keep employees motivated and excited about the rewards and possibilities ahead.

#3: Have a clear focus.

One of the biggest obstacles for a team is when there’s lack of focus, whether it’s about a certain project or about individual job descriptions. Your employees need to be clear about what you expect from each of them individually, as well as together as a team. Specific objectives are also a valuable guide you can use throughout the year to evaluate and measure performance against.

#4: Set boundaries.

If you’re like most managers, you’re pulled in too many directions and stretched thin. But it’s up to you to set clear boundaries and to protect your schedule. You need to be focusing on optimal results and quality work, not on quantity. That’s why prioritization and delegation can be your best friends.

#5: Deal with conflict swiftly.

When it comes to the workplace, a small conflict can quickly get out of control. That’s why it’s important to deal with it quickly, as soon as it appears. It can be tempting to look the other way, or avoid uncomfortable conversations, but these can often escalate into something worse.

#6: Communicate clearly and regularly.

Communication is the foundation upon which good leadership is built. That’s why it’s important to provide plenty of feedback, both positive and negative. It’s also important to make yourself available to your staff and easily reachable for when they have issues, questions or concerns.

And if one of the management challenges you’re dealing with involves staffing, call the team at Provisional. Since 1994, we’ve been the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, placing over 6,000 direct-hire and temporary professionals with companies in Seattle, Spokane, and Coeur d’Alene. Contact us today. We’re ready to help you find the people you need, whether on a part-time, temporary or full-time basis.

Is an Employee on Your Remote Team Underperforming? Here’s How to Tell

November 24th, 2015

Thanks to technology, more employees than ever before are working remotely. In fact, a 2013 report from the U.S. Census Bureau states that 13.4 million individuals currently telecommute at least one day a week.

As one of the Northwest’s leaders in specialized recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows that while there are many benefits to letting employees telecommute, managing them can be a challenge. For instance, it can take you longer to spot trouble brewing in the form of a performance problem.

With that in mind, what are some signs a remote worker is starting to slide? Here’s a look:

They don’t respond in a reasonable timeframe.

If an employee is under pressure to meet a tight deadline, they might be too focused or busy to respond quickly. That’s understandable. However, if an employee regularly doesn’t respond to your inquiries in a reasonable timeframe, then it could be a sign they’ve checked out.

If this sounds familiar, be proactive about the situation. Connect with them privately, whether in person or over the phone, and ask about how things are going on the job. You may find they don’t feel like they have enough resources or support to achieve performance goals, or there could be a personal issue going on at home. Whatever the case, have a conversation first so you can get to the root of the matter first.

Also, define your expectations in terms of communication. For instance, communicate that, when they are not under a tight deadline, you expect them to return your phone call or email by the end of the business day.

They keep missing deadlines.

When you don’t see your employees on a regular basis in person, it can be easy to forget what they’re working on and when deadlines are coming up, or just assume your employee has everything under control. But if deadlines and details slip through the cracks, it can become a major issue that can blindside you.

If deadlines are becoming an issue, bring it up to your employee. Offer them specifics on the deadlines they missed and how it impacts the team as a whole. Make sure there were no miscommunications or other issues that may have come into play. Also, be clear about your expectations for deadlines and also commit to checking in on the email to find out about progress on a regular basis.

They don’t seem connected.

When you ask an employee questions about progress and details about a project – and they don’t have the answers when they should – it could be a sign they’re becoming disengaged. Communication is critical in every workplace, but even more so on a virtual team. Your remote workers should be regularly keeping you and others informed about progress and issues so everyone feels engaged and in the loop.

If there’s a problem with lack of communication on your team, it’s important to ramp up communication through multiple channels, such as phone calls, emails, IMs, and web and video conferencing. That way, remote workers feel aligned with each other and the rest of the in-house team.

Need sourcing or hiring help for your remote team? Call the team at Provisional. Since 1994, we’ve been the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, placing over 6,000 direct-hire professionals with companies in Seattle, Spokane, and Coeur d’Alene.

Contact us today. We’re ready to help you find the people you need.

How to Conduct Better Performance Reviews

December 16th, 2014

It’s that time of year again – performance reviews. And if you’re gearing up for end-of-year evaluations with employees, then you want the process to be as seamless and effective as possible. To help you get started, here are 5 tips to consider:

Tip #1: Your Attitude Matters

As a provider of Northwest recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows how you approach performance reviews will have an impact on their effectiveness. If you view them as just another task to complete or more paperwork to fill out, then they’re not going to be successful. Instead, approach reviews with an attitude of genuine interest in each employee and a goal of helping them achieve their potential.

Tip #2: Preparation is Key

Don’t ever walk into a performance review without having prepared ahead of time. If you wing it, you’re going to miss out on opportunities to offer specific input and ideas on improvement – defeating the entire purpose of reviews in the first place. That’s why it’s important to spend some time preparing for each review and sharing documentation – such as the review form you complete – with employees ahead of your scheduled meeting so they have time to digest the information.

Tip #3: Remember, It’s a Conversation

A performance review isn’t a lecture. It’s a time for you to have a conversation with your employee about their performance. You should not be doing all the talking; otherwise, the employee will wind up feeling like they’re in the principal’s office and they won’t gain much from the experience.

To facilitate the dialogue with your employees, ask questions like:

  • What were your biggest challenges this year?
  • What were your greatest accomplishments this year?
  • What are your hopes for the next year in terms of goals?
  • What support or additional resources can I give you to help you reach those goals?
  • Do you feel like you get enough feedback?

Tip #4: Focus on Goal Setting

The outcome of every performance review should be clear and attainable goals. If you want an employee to improve in their performance, or achieve certain goals in the year ahead, it’s critical that they know exactly what you expect from them.

Tip #5: Feedback Shouldn’t Only Happen Once a Year

Keep in mind too, whether you’re delivering positive or constructive feedback, the performance review should not be the first time an employee is hearing about your thoughts on their performance. You should be checking in with them regularly throughout the year to provide your input and help ensure they stay on track. So strive to make performance reviews a conversation that re-emphasizes the critical points that have arisen during the course of the past year.

Performance reviews offer a host of benefits – including helping you to re-connect with employees, enhance your relationship and boost their performance. Follow the tips above to make yours as effective as possible.

If you need help hiring top-performing employees, call Provisional. Since 1994, we’ve been the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, placing over 6,000 direct-hire professionals with companies in Seattle, Spokane, and Coeur d’Alene.

Contact us today. We’re ready to help you find the people you need.

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