Good, Better, Best Part 1:  Choosing the Best Candidate

b-loehr-best-candidateIt’s incredible, in both a good and bad way.

No less than five highly qualified candidates have risen to the top in the search to fill a key position within your organization. And you find yourself with the unenviable task of choosing which candidate to hire.

They would all be good, probably. Some could be, well, better. But you want the best. The best person to fill this crucial opening.

Short of playing eeny, meeny, miny, moe or throwing darts at the row of resumes tacked to the wall, how do you determine the best candidate for the job?

First of all, be mindful of two proven theories:

  • Candidates who interview extremely well don’t always perform well on the job
  • Candidates who are lackluster during the interview may end up being the brightest star on the team

Moving past the roadblocks, which the above theories can throw in your path, means some additional digging into these top candidates is in order. A second round of interviews is a great way to gain further insight about these potential employees.

Yes, that means carving out more time in your schedule for these additional interviews and will likely delay the process of filling the position. And your time is valuable, certainly. But hiring the right candidate is crucial—especially if your aim is not to be going through the entire process again, in the near future, for this same position. In this case, you would be wise to heed the “haste makes waste” idiom as a quick decision could end up being the wrong decision—one that you’ll regret for a long time.

Consider the following ways to glean additional information about the candidates. Choose which ones to include in this second round of meetings based on how each would mesh with this particular job opportunity.

  • An off-site meeting where the chance to observe the candidate in a neutral environment will reveal personality traits
  • A time for hands-on, interactive engagement with others from the company
  • An investigation into the candidate’s skills and qualifications, including those that aren’t directly related to the current opening
  • An inquiry into the “negatives” that can reveal depth of character—or lack thereof

In part two of Good, Better, Best: Choosing the Best Candidate, we’ll look further at these interview components.

At B. Loehr Staffing we understand the importance of matching the candidate’s skill set and personality with not only the job responsibilities but also the company culture. Our staffing specialists are experienced at asking the right questions that lead to a satisfying employment scenario for both the hiring company and the candidate. Contact us today. We’ve been leading the recruiting process in St Louis since 1898.

 

 

 

 

Engaging at Work

On a scale of one to five, how engaged are you in your job?

If that number’s less than you’d like, you’re not alone. In 2015, only 32 percent of U.S. workers felt engaged in their current job.

The reasons for a waning enthusiasm can stem from a host of factors, but the bottom line is, a lack of engagement doesn’t have to be permanent.

“Individuals who are engaged in their job have more fun, they feel more connected to their place of employment, they’re more likely to have good social relationships, and it contributes to their all-around wellbeing,” explains Lisa Sansom, a positive interventionist who helps bring out the best in organizations and their people.

Examine your level of engagement and consider which of these steps will help put that spring back in your work-a-day world.

  1. Get to Know Your Co-workers

A top reason employees love their job? Forty percent claim on-the-job friendships are a key factor in job enjoyment. Bonding with co-workers makes for a better working environment. And everyone knows that effective teamwork does wonders for productivity. So, put some effort into making your fellow employees more than acquaintances.

  1. Make Contributions

If you sit back and observe the daily happenings without being an active participant, no wonder your level of engagement is heading south. Taking an active part in brainstorming, presenting ideas, sharing insights, and simply getting involved in what’s transpiring is one of the best ways to boost your level of engagement.

A ho-hum attitude is in large part a conscious decision. Sure, you get your work done, but when you choose not to get into the mix, you’re in essence choosing to stay disengaged. At the very least, hop aboard the excitement of your co-workers.

  1. Branch out and learn something new

 

Is the company preparing to launch new software? Is the IT department installing new equipment? How about the memo asking for volunteers to scout out the competition?

The ho-hums tend to settle in deeper the longer a person’s been with the same company so look for opportunities to branch into new territory. Anything that challenges your brain and your creativity will get the engagement juices flowing again. Learning new things can bolster your enthusiasm and even boost energy levels.

  1. Set aside time for introspection

Spending some time looking back can help you chart a course for what’s ahead. Review why you wanted this job in the first place. What were your goals? Have you accomplished them? How have you grown and developed while there?

If the goals have been met, great, set some new ones. If not, what steps can you put in place to move toward completion? Maybe you’ve accomplished more than you realized and that discovery will fuel a new enthusiasm. Introspection can confirm a new set of goals, reaffirm your reason for remaining at the company and make clear the direction to head in the future.

A concerted effort to engage on the job can make you feel more inspired and confident, paving the way for a more enthusiastic and empowered work experience.

At B. Loehr Staffing we are all about engaged employees who find purpose in and derive enjoyment from their employment opportunities. Our team of staffing specialists can assess your skill set and direct you toward a position that meets your career goals. Contact us today.

 

5 Tips for Achieving Employee Engagement

b-loehr-engagementEngagement on the job is huge. Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202 percent.

Furthermore,  Gallup research found well-established connections between employee engagement and these nine key performance metrics:

  • Customer ratings
  • Profitability
  • Productivity
  • Turnover (for both high- and low-turnover organizations)
  • Safety incidents
  • Shrinkage (theft)
  • Absenteeism
  • Patient safety incidences
  • Quality (defects)

And get this. Engagement has a greater impact on an employee’s well-being than even vacation time or flexible hours.

What can you do to keep the flames of engagement burning? Frankly, there’s quite a lot management can do to encourage an atmosphere of engagement across the entire company.

  1. Be a person of integrity yourself

Saying one thing and doing the opposite is the perfect tactic for shutting down engagement. If the boss/manager/owner doesn’t care, “why should I care” will quickly become the unspoken company mantra.

Be fair and honest. Refrain from making snap judgments or decisions. Respect your employees. Be quick to take responsibility for errors or mistakes, offering a sincere apology and an effective resolution.

  1. Empower your employees

Ensure each employee has what he/she needs to be a success on the job. It’s tempting to assume all the ducks are in a row—training, equipment, procedural know-how, basic and detailed instructions, a clear understanding of the job responsibilities as well as a grasp of the chain of command—for each person to thrive. But despite the best efforts, slip-ups happen. A step or two gets bypassed and the new guy is left without the needed resources to excel.  Early, frequent check-ins can catch the blunders and fill in the gaps.

  1. Build on employees’ strengths

Rather than focus on improving an area of weakness, emphasizing strong points is a natural boost to job engagement. And people who actively use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.

  1. Utilize incentives

Some folks simply like a challenge while others just need the push an incentive provides. Either way, incentives are an effective way to boost not only engagement but productivity and teamwork as well.

Targets, in general, encourage hard work. And when met goals are recognized and rewarded, it demonstrates an appreciation from the top for a job well done.

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Consistent communication is key to maintaining a high level of engagement. Regular department meetings are one way to keep everyone on the same page. But one-on-one connections between employee and manager/supervisor, whether they occur in person, over the phone, or electronically, lead to higher levels of engagement. In fact, a combination of means seems to be the most effective.

Communication is, of course, a two-way street. An employee must be able to reach a manager and feel confident his/her calls will be returned promptly.

Make every effort to achieve a high level of engagement amongst your employees and then reap the benefits of a more productive, happier workforce.

When you contract with B. Loehr Staffing to meet your fluctuating staffing needs, your energies can then be focused on maintaining an engaged, effective workforce. Let us do the “legwork” involved in keeping your company optimally staffed so you can focus on operating the business. Contact our staffing specialists today.

Customer Service Skills Opens Doors in Your Job Search

Customer Service Skills Opens Doors in Your Job Search

If you bypass all how-to articles about customer service because your current/future/dream job isn’t “in” customer service, stop right there.

It’s true not everyone works the front counter or receptionist desk or answers the telephone, but that doesn’t mean all other positions are void of customer service aspects.

Regardless of the title or job responsibilities, nearly every job involves some element of customer service.

The intern serves the entry-level guy who answers to a supervisor who reports to a director. And the directors report to the president who serves the board of directors or stockholders. Sure, the titles of those jobs evolve, but the game stays the same. There’s no way you can get around customer service, and business couldn’t exist without it,” says Seth J. Carr.

Because having a team of employees well-versed in the “whys” and “ways” of customer service is crucial to businesses across the board, job seekers who excel in customer service-related characteristics will rise to the top of the candidate pool.

What customer service skills will serve you well in any job? A concerted effort in these specific areas will set you apart from the average job seeker.

  1. The commitment to value and appreciate people

Who enjoys being treated like a number? Umm, that would be no one. People everywhere expect and deserve to be treated with respect and given personalized attention. Don’t opt for false enthusiasm which is much easier to spot than a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill. And those “magic words” your mom and your kindergarten teacher insisted you use? Make them a regular part of your everyday vocabulary.

  1. The willingness to admit to and resolve mistakes 

When handling complaints, whether the errors were yours personally or involved the company in general, it always pays to take responsibility and offer to resolve the situation. Do not resort to the “blame game.” Issue a sincere apology and immediately resolve the issue. Everyone has goofed at some point, and most people will appreciate a genuine effort to make things right.

  1. An awareness of body language is key

Many people are unaware of frequent or even “pet” gestures or expressions that have become a normal part of their persona. Ask a close friend or family member to point out looks, motions or posture that could have a negative connotation. Consider recording yourself during a conversation to get a feel for the other person’s view of you.

One particularly difficult emotion to mask is boredom. To appear genuinely interested in a long, drawn-out exchange can be quite a challenge, yet very much worth the effort. A sincere smile, eye contact, the occasional, meaningful head nod—each of these gestures will not only convey interest, but they will also help to keep you engaged.

  1. Be a man or woman of your word

Who hasn’t been promised the moon by a smooth-talking customer service type only to receive absolutely nothing that he/she promised? Whether to end the encounter quickly or to appear to be more helpful than was the reality, the result is the same. The customer who walks away (or hangs up) relieved a resolution has been reached, will be furious later when the “dropped ball” is discovered. Shortcuts and false promises cheat the customer out of a deserved positive outcome. Lazy customer service always equals bad customer service.

  1. Treat co-workers the same as you would a valued employee

It’s no surprise the Gallup organization has found a “direct correlation between employee and customer satisfaction.” When co-workers treat each other with respect and kindness and are willing to lend a helping hand, it’s easy to see how that behavior would translate into an atmosphere of treating the consumer in the same manner. It’s difficult to be surrounded by an every-man-for-himself environment and yet maintain a high level of positive customer interaction. Employees who argue amongst themselves are much more likely to engage in disputes with customers.

The first step in being the customer-service oriented employee every business wants to hire is an understanding of the role customer service plays in the business world. And then, with a concentrated effort, anyone can improve their people interaction skills.

B Loehr Staffing is always seeking candidates with exceptional customer service skills as we strive to meet the staffing needs in the Greater St. Louis area. As our employee, we will put your people interaction skills to use in a career that fits your lifestyle needs. Contact one of our staffing specialists today.

Why Customer Service Always Matters

Anywhere you go, if you ask folks to share a time they experienced poor customer service, the stories will flow like the Mississippi River. Not only are such experiences all too common, but they tend to stick in a person’s mind like two fingers accidently super-glued together. Ouch.

As the stories unfurl, phrases like these will fill the air…

  • “They were soooo rude!”
  • “I was completely ignored!”
  • “They were absolutely no help at all!”
  • “Not one person cared about my situation!”
  • “That was the most unfriendly business ever. I’ll never go back!”

In contrast to the many bad customer service scenarios forever stashed in a person’s mind, most people can only come up with one, two at the most, really exceptional examples of customer service that will be forever etched in their minds.

These retellings will include expressions such as…

  • “They treated me like family!”
  • “I couldn’t be happier with how well my issue was handled!”
  • “Those folks were totally nice and helpful. They fixed me right up.”
  • “I felt as if my needs were their number one priority.”
  • “They’re the best at what they do. You can bet I’ll be back!”

If you think customer service is a concern for the retail sector only, stop that faulty thinking right now. Regardless of the type of business your company engages in, a focus on service is crucial. No business can afford to let customer service take a back seat to what they may deem as more pressing issues, say, product development or marketing.

There are no more pressing issues than delivering a remarkable experience to each and every person who comes in contact with your brand.

The key to excelling in the area of servicing people is to realize that customer service can’t “live” in just one department. Across the entire scope of the company, involve every employee in meeting needs and making lasting positive impressions. This “all hands on deck” approach is one of the best ways to strengthen your brand.

When you train your employees to make positive people interactions a priority, you’ll quickly gain a reputation for delivering satisfaction. These strategies are key to a winning customer service focus.

#1: Approach every customer interaction from an “it’s about them, not us” mindset. That means “We’re shorthanded today” or “The manager’s on vacation” sound exactly like what they are, excuses that are not the customer’s problem. Plan in advance to cover all bases, so the customer experience doesn’t suffer.

#2: Try to view the situation from the client’s perspective. How would you want to be treated? What resolution would you hope to come to in the end?

#3: Insist on active listening that incorporates eye contact and a smile. As you allow the customer to relay their questions fully, explain the situation, or to express a complaint, be “present” and monitor facial expressions.

Most companies understand that making customers feel valued is at the very least a good idea. But those who truly “walk the customer service walk,” know the value in extending exceptional treatment to vendors and suppliers, service and repair technicians, the UPS delivery person, the city workers, the businesses who share the hall/building/block/loading dock. I think you get the picture.

But why all the fuss? Will making a positive impression on the guy delivering packages every day matter? Oh, yes, it will. Because whether you experience it personally or witness poor customer service, it leaves a lasting impact. When the repair technician needs the product or services of the company who treated him like he was a bother, said company will not get his business. Neither will he encourage family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers to patronize the place.

Word of mouth will always be a valued marketing tool. People will share their positive experiences and then become loyal customers because of those encounters—that’s just the way it works. The thing is, people will talk even more about negative experiences. And then make a point not to become a repeat customer. That’s just the way it works.

Any efforts put toward servicing and nurturing the people connections associated with your company will pay dividends.

At B. Loehr Staffing we place the highest priority on servicing the needs of our clients. We take the time to understand our clients, provide top quality service and develop innovative solutions. That is how we can consistently refer the right talent to fill your staffing needs. Contact our team of specialists today. Great customer service has kept us in business since 1898.

The Benefits of Hiring the Candidates with Disabilities      

b-loehr-disabledOf course, it’s the right thing to do. To consider a candidate based on his/her ability to do the tasks, which a particular job requires, rather than to discount him/her as a potential employee based on disability. While some accommodations may be required, most employers find the time, effort, and costs are minor in comparison to the net benefits of employing those with disabilities.

As a means to encourage the recruiting and hiring of people with disabilities, a myriad of tax credits and deductions are available to companies who bring persons with a disabling impairment or condition onto their team.

Highlighted here are two of those credits.

A small business that earned under $1 million or had no more than 30 full-time employees in the previous year qualifies for the Disabled Access Credit. This incentive provides a non-refundable credit for expenditures incurred for providing access to persons with disabilities. The credit is offered each and every year the company incurs the access expenditures. Refer to Form 8826, Disabled Access Credit (PDF), for information about eligible expenditures.

Provided the appropriate government agencies have certified the employee as disabled, an employee with a disability qualifies as part of a “targeted group.” The employer is then eligible for a tax credit of up to 40% of the first $6000 of first-year wages through the Work Opportunity Credit. This credit is available to the employer after the employee has worked for at least 120 hours or 90 days. Employers claim the credit on Form 5884, Work Opportunity Credit (PDF).

In addition to the tangible financial incentives, many employers are quick to point out a number of hidden perks they’ve discovered.

  •  The physically challenged provide diversity that fuels ideas, viewpoints, and approaches

From ways to solve everyday company issues to ideas for innovative new products and services, employees with disabilities bring unique experiences and perspectives. Their viewpoint and wealth of understanding can transform a workplace, bringing greater depth to the products and services offered. Seeing the world through the eyes of someone with a disabling condition is bound to open doors for just about any business.

  •  Hiring the physically-challenged results in loyal customers

Candidates with disabilities, along with their families, friends and associates represent a trillion-dollar market segment. For one, just like other segments of the market, they will purchase products and services from the companies they feel best meet their needs. Secondly, they will also show their appreciation to companies who hire the physically challenged by patronizing said businesses and encouraging others to do so also, creating for the company a large, loyal customer base.

  • Several employment components see lasting improvement

 Not only have companies noted an improvement in retention rates, but also a rise in employee loyalty, as well as increased morale and productivity have also been reported by companies who make a point to hire those with disabilities.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we welcome physically challenged candidates amongst our talent pool as we strive to meet the staffing needs of our client companies in the timeliest fashion with the most qualified individuals. Contact our team of specialists and let us assist your company with your greatest staffing challenges. After all, we’ve been doing it for more than 100 years!