St. Louis—A Great Place to be this Thanksgiving

b loehr - 2 thanksgivingThere’s no better place to be this November than St. Louis. Offering an extensive lineup of holiday happenings to add memory-making moments to your family’s Thanksgiving season, this Gateway to the Midwest offers events and experiences to please the youngest to the most distinguishing tastes.

Who doesn’t love a parade? The 31st annual Ameren Missouri Thanksgiving Day Parade will step off at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, the 26th from 7th and Market Street in Downtown St. Louis. Over 130 parade units are expected, including musical floats, giant helium balloon figures, animal units, restored antique cars and marching bands.

Then fill the rest of the long holiday weekend with these volunteer opportunities, special events and restaurants serving Thanksgiving Dinner.

Volunteer opportunities
• Adopt a Military Family
• St. Vincent Home for Children

Family-friendly events
• The Polar Express™ Train Ride!
New this year, experience the excitement of an adventure on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at Union Station. Real trains head to the North Pole while Chefs serve delicious hot chocolate and Elves lead sing-along carols. Children will receive a special gift from Santa. Check out exact dates, fares and excursion times.

• The Hungry Turkey
A fun route for the entire family immediately before the Ameren Missouri Thanksgiving Day Parade. Children 12 and under are free with each paid adult. Strollers, walkers and racers are all welcome. The course begins on Market at 16th.

• Teddy Bear Tea
Saturday and Sunday, November 28th & 29th, experience a festive afternoon of storytelling, face painting and caroling, as well as hot cocoa, tea, mini-sandwiches and pastries, and a special gingerbread cookie-decorating station. Guests encouraged to donate a teddy bear to Friends of Kids with Cancer. Seating begin at 11:00 a.m.

Sporting events
• St. Louis Ambush Soccer Game
St. Louis Ambush vs. Missouri Comets at 7:35 p.m. Friday, November 27 at Family Arena

• Show-Me Bowl 2015
Exciting Missouri high school football action featuring the 48h MSHSAA 11-Man Football Championships and 28h 8-Man Football Championships Friday and Saturday, November 27 and 28 at Edward Jones Dome

• St. Louis Blues Hockey Game
St. Louis Blues vs. Columbus Blue Jackets. 7:00 p.m. Saturday, November 27 at Scottrade Center

The day after Thanksgiving signals the kick-off to all things Christmas. Add these experiences to your agenda.
• Celebration of Lights
November 27 through December 30, experience a drive-through holiday light display of millions of twinkling lights and holiday scenes in Fort Zumwalt Park. View the light display via train rides, sleigh-hayride, Segway tours, and carriage rides (horse-drawn surrey and wagonette). No vehicles allowed in the park on Mondays or Dec. 8. Closed Christmas Day.

• St. Charles Christmas Traditions
Every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 27 through December 23, experience the magic of Christmas Traditions. Enjoy Victorian Carolers and the fife and drum corps, shopping and dining opportunities along the festively decorated brick lined streets. Wednesday & Friday 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.; Saturday 11:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m.; Sunday Noon – 5:00 p.m.

If you prefer to dine-out for Thanksgiving Dinner, check out the selection of fine restaurants offering a wide selection dining options.

From our B. Loehr Staffing office to your home, we extend the warmest of Thanksgiving greetings to you and your family.

Help! I’m Surrounded by Introverts!

b loehr - introvertsYou thrive on personal interactions. You love social gatherings. Brainstorming, group projects and teamwork are your ideal work scenarios. But your blood pressure rises at labels such as aggressive, attention-seeking and unfocused. Because from your extroverted vantage point, creative, expressive and out-going are much more accurate descriptors.

You enjoy collaboration and seek opportunities to share your ideas. You’re never happier than when you are “in the thick of things.” And it’s all good. Very good.

Until the next step in your career lands you in the annoyingly quiet midst of a department full of introverts. The near deafening silence that greets you sets your nerves on edge. After a round of bare-bones introductions, quiet nods and brief smiles, your new co-workers resume their individual tasks. Alone.

Your success in this world of introverts will hinge on implementing these 4 strategies. 

  1. Be yourself. (As if you could be anyone else!) But seriously, not only will you fail miserably in the long-run, trying to “pose” as an introvert will not gain the respect of your co-workers. Besides, your people skills will come in mighty handy. And their planning and organizational bent will be useful to you. So be yourself and extend the same courtesy to them.
  1. Swap any preconceived ideas or hearsay concerning introverts for the facts. Those less than favorable adjectives connected to “the quiet ones”? Toss them. Learn all you can because the more you know about your introverted co-workers, the greater chance you’ll understand them. Not that you’ll ever really get it—they are so different from you after all—still grasping what makes them tick and how their brains function will give a basis for building relationships. Make an effort to recognize the differences and accept them whether you ever really get it or not.
  1. Don’t take it personally if your arrival in the department appears not to warrant any fanfare. A low-key reception doesn’t mean the new co-workers aren’t glad to have you on board. Dial back your expectations. Be sincere and appreciative of this new venture, take your assigned tasks seriously and get to work.
  1. Adopt a patient, give-it-some-time attitude. Your department mates will need a bit of time and some breathing room in order to bond with you. Go easy on the “let’s hang out” invites and personal questions. You’re simply trying to be friendly and make a personal connection, but that approach may feel intrusive and pushy. So, proceed with baby steps, and give your co-workers time to get to know you on their terms.

Focus on the advantages of working with people whose natural abilities differ from yours and work to establish an environment where everyone’s skills are allowed to shine.

At B. Loehr Staffing, our employment specialists take seriously the opportunity to match unique job opportunities with the best qualified candidates. Contact us today for assistance in locating your dream job.

Thanksgiving Recipes. Yum!

b loehr - Thanksgiving recipesThanksgiving is quickly approaching and food is a hot topic.

We’d like to share some delicious recipes to accompany your holiday turkey.    

Onion Casserole

2-3 large sweet onions, sliced – then cut rings in half

8 0z fresh mushrooms, sliced

½ stick butter

8 oz. shredded Swiss cheese

10 slices of French bread – buttered on both sides

1 can cream of chicken soup

½ c milk

2 tsp. soy sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

1 c. French fried onion rings, crushed

Sauté mushrooms and onion in butter and spread in 13X9 baking dish. Cover with shredded cheese, then French bread slices. Mix soup, milk, soy sauce, and seasonings together and pour over bread. Cover with crushed onion rings. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Creamy Sweet Potatoes

3lb. sweet potatoes or yams, peeled & cooked

2 eggs, lightly beaten

¼ c orange juice

2 Tab. Soft butter

¼ c brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp. nutmeg

Dash of salt

Miniature marshmallows (optional)

Mash sweet potatoes with electric mixer or blender while still warm. Add rest of ingredients except marshmallows. Mix well until smooth and creamy. Transfer into greased 2qt. baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. If desired sprinkle miniature marshmallows on top and return to oven just long enough to puff the marshmallows.

Baked Pears

2- 29oz. cans of pear halves

¼ c. butter

¾ c sugar

½ c brown sugar

1/3 c flour

Cinnamon

Drain pears – reserving juice. Arrange pears in 13X9 baking dish. Dot each pear half with butter. In small bowl mix sugar and flour – spread over pears. Drizzle ¼ c. pear juice between pears. Sprinkle cinnamon over pears.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. 

For those Turkey leftovers

Sweet Sour Turkey

8 oz. canned pineapple tidbits

1 ¼ c sugar

2 Tab cornstarch

½ tsp. salt

½ c. vinegar (your choice of type – we like red wine)

½ c. chopped green pepper

½ c. julienne carrots

3 c. leftover turkey, cut up

Drain pineapple – reserving juice. Add water to juice to make 2/3 cup. Mix juice/water mixture, cornstarch, salt, and vinegar in sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook until clear and thickened. Add green pepper, carrots, and turkey – simmer until veggies are tender, 3-5 minutes. Serve over rice.

Turkey Salad

3 cups of cooked turkey, cut up in small pieces, or shredded

6 eggs, hardboiled, chilled, and chopped finely

¾ cup finely chopped celery

½ c. finely chopped onion

½ c. pickle relish (we prefer sweet)

2 cups Hellman’s mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients together, chill. Can be served as soon as it’s chilled, but best served the next day.

Happy Eating!  From the folks at B Loehr Staffing

5 Steps to a New and Improved You in 2016

b loehr newsletter - 2Chances are you’re already looking toward the New Year and the improvements you want to strive for in 2016. Whether you want to get your office or self in shape, your resolutions usually include some form of “doing more.”

Okay, then, don’t wait until January 1 to get serious about making some changes. Let today be the day you take these purposeful steps toward a more efficient you!

  1. Become a “Profiler”

The better you know yourself, the more you can strategize how to fit in a little more exercise time, be more productive at work, etc. on a day-to-day basis. Ask yourself these “profiling” questions:

  • What time of day do you do your best work?
  • What energizes you?
  • What shifts your mind into gear?
  • What spurs your creativity?
  • What helps you to concentrate?

The answers to these questions should be the building blocks upon which to build a solid strategy for improvement.

  1. Initiate a “Seek and Destroy Distractions” Mission

Distractions come in all shapes and sizes and intensities. Your focus can be stolen away by something as minor and innocent as the ping of incoming mail or the murmurs of co-workers in the next cubicle.  Maybe it’s financial concerns on the home front that are zapping your concentration. Or the lure of a few moments vegging out on social media.

The first step in eliminating distractions is to identify them. While some distractions are outside of your control, others are within your grasp to conquer. Whatever it is that steals your focus and zaps your concentration and/or energy has to be dealt with. Turn off the “ping” of emails and establish a reasonable time interval for checking your inbox. Carve out time away from work that’s dedicated to tackling family issues. Make a conscious decision to save social media for lunch or another designated time. Master the distraction train before your best laid plans are derailed.

  1. Say “Yes!” to Incentives

Remember the sticker chart on the fridge that rewarded your kids for doing their chores? It worked then, it can work now. Especially when it comes to those tasks/intentions that, for whatever reason, you find tough to finish in a timely manner.

Save that second or third cup of coffee for a reasonable accomplishment mark. Stow a mid-afternoon snack in your bottom desk drawer to be enjoyed at the conclusion of XYZ or when you return from the gym. Indulge in a break room respite when the last “t” has been crossed.

  1. Establish “Block Scheduling” 

Pretend you’re back in high school again and set up a “block” schedule that varies the focus of your attention every 90 minutes or so. Set a quiet alarm on your watch or computer to alert you to the next “class”. Take a ten-minute break – stand and stretch or visit the men’s/ladies’ room, take a lap around the office, indulge in an incentive “treat” if deserving – to refuel before diving into the next task.

Continue the concept beyond the work day to include chunks of time set aside for running errands, to spend with the family and on household chores as well as a timetable for exercise and a “my choice” period for reading or taking in a favorite television show.

If you labor too intensely or spend too long focused on any particular task, a foggy brain often makes for diminished productivity. Switching things up will not only clear your mind but will generally result in more checks on that never-ending “to do” list.

  1. Make the Most of “Down Time”

Being resourceful with commute time and/or down time outside of work hours – like waiting at the doctor’s office or on the kids at music lessons – can boost overall efficiency in one of two ways… maybe both. It can help you get a head start on your day (or the next day) by reviewing reports, making notes for a meeting, brainstorming the next big project. In other words, spend forced down time on a work related task.

The other way “down time” can be used effectively is if you spend that time preparing your mind for peak performance. Whether it be listening to music or an audio book, taking in a motivational speaker, industry podcast, or training program – or even the recording of last week’s staff meeting (wait… probably not!) – choose something that either relaxes you or stimulates your brain cells. Whichever will best prepare you for peak performance.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we’re continually seeking candidates who demonstrate a pattern of forward growth. We recruit, test and train only the highest caliber candidates to become our employees. It’s the outstanding performance of our employees that has helped to build our reputation as a premier staffing provider. Contact us today about our excellent opportunities for personal and professional growth.

 

 

 

Prioritizing Productivity in the Workplace

b  loehr - newsletter 1Any business, whether large or small, and regardless of the product or service being rendered, must be driven by efficiency and achievement. Tangible results have to be attained. Customers must be secured and then satisfied. The bottom line must be black for long-term sustainability to be realized.

For all of that to happen, productivity has to be a priority. Low levels of efficiency can’t help but have a negative impact and jeopardize survival. The foundation for any productive workplace begins with teamwork and a shared vision concerning the direction the business is heading.

In simple terms it means getting and keeping everyone on the same page so they can perform their job well and in a timely manner in order to ensure satisfied customers and a profitable bottom line. Achievable? Yes. But simple? Not so much.

These feats require purposeful effort on the part of management – time and energy poured into creating an environment where productivity will flourish. Part of that “creating” involves initiating an atmosphere where people feel accepted, encouraged and happy. Contented employees care about their work, perform well and don’t job hop. And let’s face it, you need a competent, loyal, trustworthy workforce.

Productivity hinges heavily on attention to these factors: relationships, workplace conditions and motivation.

The Relationships

  1. Create a level playing field where each person’s thoughts, suggestions and comments are valued and considered. Don’t limit innovative thinking to the marketing guys or the research and development team. Rather encourage every staff member in every department to share ideas. Will every suggestion make the grade? Of course not. But when you foster amongst the workforce an environment of acceptance of varying opinions and allow for open expression, creativity will blossom.
  2. Research has shown the boss/employee relationship to be one of the most profound issues impacting an employee’s level of on-the-job engagement. This connection, or lack thereof, influences everything an employee does from interacting with co-workers to efficiency to overall enthusiasm for the job. When you make the effort to connect with your team members in person, you’re communicating a “you matter” message that will reward in so many ways.

The Workplace Conditions

  1. Provide the right tools. The appropriate equipment, functioning properly, is a must. If you want to gut productivity, then go right ahead and ignore the copier that breaks down every other day, pretend the only-works-occasionally Internet is a non-issue, and refuse to address the glitchy telephone system. If you make top-working-order a priority, you won’t be sorry.
  2. Take note and take action. What was once the perfect fit or solution may have lost its perfection. What worked incredibly well in the past may now require tweaking. Group dynamics change. Department numbers increase and decrease. Look for situations that may benefit from further thought and consideration. Be flexible and willing to make adjustments. Something as simple as swapping out office space or rearranging a work station can boost morale with the added benefit of improving productivity.

The Motivation

  1. Studies have shown the single greatest employee motivator to be “clear expectations.” Time and again, employees label “the best job I ever had” to be the one where they felt confident in their understanding of the boss’s expectations. Knowing exactly what is expected builds confidence as it banishes uncertainty. Defined expectations eliminate frustration and save time – both obvious productivity boosters. It’s no surprise then that the most common demotivator in the workplace is “unclear expectations.”
  2. Coming in a close second is being appreciated and valued for his/her contribution on the job. Rewarding hard work encourages an employee to continue putting forth the same level of effort. Feeling unappreciated or undervalued deflates productivity in record time. So, seek out and reward innovation, determination, perseverance – all the qualities you pine for when seeking quality candidates. Whether it’s a hearty handshake, a high five or simply a sincere “well done”, be quick to express appreciation. Detailed praise that calls out project specifics or zeros in on the interaction with a particular client shows you’re “in the know” about who’s doing what and also that your praise is grounded rather than empty. When people feel as if the good work they’re doing is being recognized, they will want to rise to the occasion even more.

Here’s another productivity tip:  The staffing specialists at B. Loehr Staffing can handle your most challenging staffing situations in a cost-effective manner, allowing you focus your time and energy on managing the day-to-day operations of your business. Contact us today for staffing solutions that will suit your organizations specific needs.

Help! I’m Surrounded by Extroverts!

b loehr - introvertYou thrive on solitude. You favor working alone. Personal space is important to you. You’ve been labeled unsocial, shy and secretive, but you prefer reflective, conscientious and content. You’re perfectly comfortable in your introverted skin.

And then you discover the new job you were so thrilled to accept has stationed you in an office full of extroverts. They’re boisterous and unfocused and always talking. The job is great—it’s everything you’ve ever wanted except, you know, for all those extroverts. How can this possibly work?

Quite well, actually, if the workplace atmosphere is governed by these three disciplines:

  • Acceptance
  • Sensitivity
  • Communication

Acceptance means both an acknowledgment and an understanding that work habits, approaches to deadlines, preferred working conditions—and a whole lot more—will differ between introverts and extroverts. Differ as in polar opposites.

Sensitivity steps in when extrovert Eric chooses to take his out loud brainstorming session to the conference room so introvert Ivy can focus on her deadline.

Communication recognizes the need for a sit-down where strengths are matched with assignments, where weaknesses are realistically considered, where boundaries are established.

Set your introverted-self up for success with attention to these strategies.

  1. Arrive at work well-rested and with a fully-charged battery. If you bank enough alone time during non-working hours, you’ll be able to better handle those interaction-loving co-workers.
  2. Don’t apologize for who you are and how you tick. Total acceptance of the way you approach life and work will pave the way to both respect and a positive reception from your co-workers.
  3. Respect the contributions you make to the team’s efforts. Your ideas, percolating quietly in your brain while your office mates keep nary a thought to themselves, are just as valid as theirs. Push yourself to be assertive.
  4. Schedule moments of solitude during the day. Lunch alone when possible, steal precious private minutes running errands, take a coffee break in the least inhabited part of the building. Actively seek and plan for time alone to refuel.
  5. Recognize the benefit of a mixed bag of personnel. Imagine how difficult a group presentation would be if the entire team were introverts. Who would handle the loudly vocal, dissatisfied customers if not for a people-engaging extrovert?

Take the time to find your niche. You can and will shine when your natural inclinations are put to good use, and you’ll flourish even in an extroverted world.

B. Loehr Staffing specializes in matching qualified candidates with employers and specific positions where their unique skillset will be appreciated. Contact us today for assistance in finding the job for you.

5 Tips for Creating a FUN Workplace

It’s been suggested that three ways to motivate people toward productivity on the job are:
1. Threats
2. Money
3. Fun atmosphere

Threats used to do a bang up job at keeping employee’s noses to the grindstone. Of course fear and trembling did interfere with some jobs that required a steady hand and threatening launches a threats=fear=stress=burnout cycle that can wreak havoc with employee turnover ratio.

Money does talk – always has and always will. But now more than ever before, employees realize money isn’t everything. And it’s not like employers have a bottomless fund from which to draw payroll funds anyway.

So now we’re standing at the plate with two strikes. That leaves us with a fun atmosphere. And it’s a homerun. The best, long-term way to create an environment where happy, productive employees perform well and remain with the company is to cultivate a fun working environment.

In the same way threats set off a negative cycle, fun on the job sets in motion a sequence of positives. Fun creates happy workers which improves productivity and creativity and boosts both teamwork and a spirit of getting along.

Joy enthusiast Amanda Gore shares these stats from companies with happy workers—

 51% lower turnover
 43% more productivity
 125% less burnout
 33% higher profitability
 19% less sick leave

These tips will move you in the right direction.

1. Get everyone on the same page by defining what fun is not
Pranks, off-color jokes, sexually charged humor or innuendos and comedy that tarnishes the organization do not qualify as acceptable on-the-job fun. Don’t belabor the issue, simply state the terms and move on.

2. Take regular “ morale readings”
Big projects and looming deadlines can put a dent in the fun atmosphere you’re trying to create. Declare a company-wide breather with a catered lunch, an extended afternoon break or an occasional early knock-off time to refresh and boost sagging spirits.

3. Search out and celebrate the “You did it!” moments
People everywhere yearn for recognition and acknowledgement, not unlike the toddler whose first steps are celebrated by his/her parents. Make people feel special by noticing and applauding even the small accomplishments. Recognize the damaging effects of letting important moments that contribute to the employee’s sense of recognition and the company’s success go by without notice.

4. Don’t dwell on the negative, the mess-ups, and the what-were-you-thinking? moments
Just as ignoring the “you did it!” moments can gut the workplace environment, so can dwelling on the unfortunate mishaps that every company experiences. Handle the situation, make adjustments and then move on. The past cannot be undone, but the present and even the future can unravel if past mistakes aren’t put to rest. Foster an environment of forgiveness and consciously choose to focus on the positive.

5. Spice up break time
Make break time both a priority and an effective down time by allowing for flexibility on when breaks are taken. Create a dedicated break area away from the hustle and bustle of regular business where tired eyes and weary minds can recharge with a variety of innovative options.

While some will enjoy a challenging round of pool or ping pong, others will be energized by quiet moments spent working on a long-term project such as a 1000-piece puzzle, leafing through a magazine or several minutes of shut eye. Discourage “working” breaks that aren’t really a break at all.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we understand the challenge of having the right number of people in the right places to keep your bottom line in the black. Our specially designed Staffing Systems and Management Programs can find the staffing solution that suits your organization’s specific needs. Contact us today. Discover the difference that our “more than 115 years of experience” can make for your company.