5 Time Management Tips

Are you usually punctual? Do you get your work done on time? Are you good with deadlines? Are you satisfied with the timeframe it takes you to finish things?

Bottom line: Are you a good time manager?

If we’re completely honest, most of us would admit that a little help in the time management department couldn’t hurt. And there are those among us who are not afraid to admit to needing considerably more than a little assistance in getting a grip on the productive use of time.

These 5 tips can put you on the road to consistently better time management.

  1. Prioritize

Take to heart habit # 3 in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: First Things First. With only twenty-four hours in each day and a plethora of “things” vying for our attention, it’s crucial that we distinguish the most important tasks from those that are less significant, and especially from those that barely qualify as trivial. First things first, lesser stuff later, if there’s time.

  1. Clear The Clutter

Distractions in the form of piles of stuff, general disorganization, or – dare we say it – downright filth will do a number on efficiency every time. It’s tough to focus when your eye is drawn to a mountain of junk or pulled toward the boxes of files waiting not-so-patiently to be filed. Set aside time to clean-up, then vow to make orderliness a priority.

  1. Focus, focus and then focus some more

Nothing promotes efficiency more than complete attention to a task. Close your door, window or whatever else will minimize background noise. Immerse yourself in the task at hand. If music increases your focus, go for it, but if it’s just another distraction, be mature enough to skip it.

In our “always on” world, the thought of disconnecting is almost hard to imagine. It’s so easy to become a slave to your inbox and other forms of instant messaging. Log out of all social media. Stash your phone and silence it too. It won’t kill you, your friends or colleagues to be out of contact for a time. If the Internet is too much of a temptation, disconnect from Wi-Fi while you give concentrated effort to a project. Make a habit of allotting one or more specific chunks of time each day for “checking in.” Resisting the urge to stay connected 24/7 will free up your brain power for accomplishing more in less time.

  1. You deserve a break

Allow for some downtime between tasks. Rushing from one intense period of focus to another is stressful for mind, body, and spirit. Fatigue and productivity are not pals, and it’s emotionally draining to even think about a long stretch of work without a break.

Allow for a moment to pat yourself on the back for finishing on time, then get some fresh air, take a walk through the halls, grab a light snack, and just chill. A few deep cleansing breaths can get the blood and oxygen pumping again before you forge ahead to the next task.

  1. Use downtime to your advantage

Turn those minutes spent waiting for your turn in the lunch line or even at the copier into thinking time. Rather than stare mindlessly at the back of the person in front of you, let your mind delve into the details of the upcoming task or revisit the last assignment.

Use those chunks of time when your body is active, but your mind is free – like when exercising or while commuting – to engage in “thought productivity” sessions. If it’s been a long, stressful day already, use the downtime to purge your mind and regroup for the next project.

And one more piece of advice. One of the fastest ways to zap productivity is to allow the prospect of a busy schedule to overwhelm you. Yes, there’s a lot to do. Welcome to today’s adult life! But in the same way the adage advises that the best way to eat an elephant is one piece at a time, a hectic schedule can be managed in the same way:  one task/activity/project at a time.

Focus. Complete. Break. Breathe. Repeat.

As a comprehensive source for staffing and human resource management, B. Loehr Staffing will save you time while increasing the effectiveness of your search for employment. Allow our Staffing Specialists to assist you in obtaining a position that fits your skills and career goals. Contact our office today.

Phone: 314-567-6500   Website: blstaffing.com

Clean Your Schedule for Better Time Management

The first outdoor hints of spring often bring with it the urge to purge house and home of winter; to do a thorough cleaning, toss out the clutter, and let a fresh breeze blow away the stuffiness.

Houses aren’t the only thing that can benefit from a good ol’ spring cleaning. It’s likely that your schedule could use a thorough scrubbing as well.

“Nothing gets filled up with useless odds and ends like a calendar,” shares Michael Hyatt. “You know the story: past commitments that don’t fit our present circumstances; too many yeses to other people’s projects; breakfast meetings, lunch dates, and dinners with clients, colleagues, and old friends you were never close with, to begin with.”

The same “spring cleaning” strategies that leave your home feeling fresh and light and breezy can do wonders for your schedule. After all, no matter who you are, no matter how you try to slice it up, there are only twenty-four hours in each day.

Use these strategies to purge the sludge and put a little “spring” back into your schedule

  1. Consolidate your calendar

An I’ve-got-it-all-up-here, finger tapping convincingly on one’s temple, approach simply won’t cut it. The most fundamental step to corralling your schedule is a calendar – whether it’s a hard copy on your desk or in your pocket, a component of your mail software, or an online version such as Google Calendar. Whatever best fits you and your lifestyle. Many folks opt for a format that will sync with their phone and other devices which puts their daily schedule literally at the tip of their fingers.

The most effective calendar time-management tip? Combine work/personal/family/leisure activities in one place. Why hassle with two, three, or four separate calendars just to see if you can spare an hour a week from Tuesday? Include everything you must remember whether it be an appointment, a deadline, or something fun. Especially don’t forget to schedule in the “fun” stuff.

  1. Consolidate tasks and locations

More hopping back and forth, either from one task to another OR from one location to another, may be happening than you realize. In our hurry-hurry world, we become accustomed to a certain degree of chaos, believing that it’s inevitable. Such a frenzied, survival-mode mentality squashes moments of reality that try to advise, “Hey, there’s a better way to do this.”

Serious, unhurried scrutinization of your schedule is likely to find tasks and activities that when consolidated will save time—not to mention stressful wear and tear on body, mind, and spirit. This goes for both work and home life.

  1. Tame technology habits

What would an in-depth look at your technology habits reveal? An obsession with checking your inbox? An over-zealous attachment to texting? Habitual, almost unconscious fascination with social media?

Sure, email is an efficient means of communication. The same goes for texting.  And social media has opened wide, promising doors for promoting anything and everything. But too much of any good thing can spoil the porridge . . . or however the saying goes. With discipline and self-monitoring, these technology-related marvels can drive your success. But when boundaries aren’t established, enormous amounts of time can be eaten up by these modern day wonders of twenty-first-century life.

Reign in the potential for technology to gobble up valuable chunks of your day by allotting specific times to check emails, check and reply to texts, and get caught up on social media.

  1. Delegate

One of the surest ways to put the “spring” back in your schedule is to pass off less important tasks to someone on your staff. Type “A” persons, however, and those bent toward perfectionism, in particular, have a rough time sharing work because “No one else can do it the way I can . . . well enough . . . to suit me.”

Begin small – delegate a twenty-minute-a-day task – and let yourself get used to accepting assistance. Next hand off a one-to-two-hour a week job. Already you’ve carved from your schedule 160 to 220 minutes each week, time that can be better spent reaching toward an important goal.

  1. Learn to say no

Even a quick glance at your schedule is likely to reveal some weak moments when, “Sure, no problem, I can handle it,” slipped from your mouth, when everything inside you was screaming, “NO! Not one more thing!”

Before you say “yes” to more work, more responsibility, more volunteer or community commitments, more time away from the family, ask yourself these questions suggested by Kristie Notto,

  • Do you have the time or energy to do that extra task?
  • Does it invade on your personal time?
  • Does it involve doing something you enjoy?
  • Does it fit in with your list of priorities and goals?

More words of wisdom from Hyatt. “To honor your existing commitments, you have to learn to say no.”

Revisit these strategies every month to keep your spring-cleaned schedule from getting bogged down – because better time management leads to a more relaxed, less stressed you. It also makes the work day more pleasant and allows for more time to do the things you enjoy.

A relationship with B. Loehr Staffing will result in you getting faster solutions to your staffing needs. Free up your time by allowing our team of Staffing Specialists do the legwork for you. Contact our office today.

Phone: 314-567-6500   Website: blstaffing.com

 

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!

The Joys of Autumn

b-loehr-autumn-joyWinter boasts the sparkle of a snow-covered landscape and the excitement of Christmas.

The beauty of spring bursts in a rainbow of color as the plant world comes to life again.

Summer is replete with long, carefree, fun-in-the-sun days.

And then there’s fall. It’s true every season is special and unique, but a lot of people admit to being partial to fall.

The way the routine of daily life settles back down after the spontaneous days of summer is comforting. The bountiful harvest of late-season produce and the impressive variety of pumpkins and gourds. The crispness in the evening air. The gorgeous colors as the leaves trade their lush greenness for hues of red and yellow, orange and brown.

Let’s not forget football, roasting marshmallows around a campfire, hayrides, and sipping hot chocolate while watching the sunset.

There is an abundance of things to love about fall.

Around our place, we get into fall in a big way. From the fall scented candle that surrounds us with the aroma of autumn, to the bright splashes of orange that adorn the front landscaping—and the fireplace mantle and many other flat surfaces within our home—to the sampling of every pumpkin-flavored recipe we can dig up. Oh, and let’s not forget pumpkin-shaped finger Jell-O, pumpkin-shaped and decorated sugar cookies as well as every variety of candy corn we can scrounge up. Fall colored candies are a must too.

And so as not to miss a second of immersing ourselves in everything autumn, we honor this favorite season from mid-September through Thanksgiving.

One of the recipes we make no less than three times each fall is Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. This delectable dessert also works well in the form of cupcakes.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake  

Preheat oven to 350˚.

Combine and mix:

  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin (not pie mix)
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • ½ t. salt
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 c. nuts (optional)

Pour into greased jelly roll pan (15x10x1). Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool and frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting  

Blend well:

  • 1 – 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick of margarine, softened
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • ½ c. nuts, sprinkled on top (optional)

Spread frosting over the cooled cake (or cupcakes!). Cut into pieces and enjoy.

BLoehr Staffing As the seasons change, so does life. For employees, it might bring desires for new job opportunities. B Loehr has positions. For companies, it can impact your staffing needs. Our quick response system can effectively meet the variations in your workforce needs with qualified candidates from our large pool of employees. No matter where you stand,   Contact our team of specialists – we’ve been helping talent and companies connect more than 100 years.

 

Which Job Offer do I Accept?  

b-loehr-offerYour hard work has paid off. All that time spent researching and filing out applications and those nerve-wracking interviews have led to a job offer. Time to celebrate, right?

Not just yet. Now may be the toughest part of all. Deciding if the job is right for you. I mean, really right. After all, this isn’t a summer gig at the corner convenience store. This major life decision requires major consideration.

And then your phone rings, and now you have two offers.

“For the employer, it’s a commercial decision,” says Kim Seeling Smith, founder, and CEO of Ignite Global. “For you, it’s a life decision, so you have to put a lot of thought into taking the next opportunity.”

With the job market stronger across the board, it’s become a candidate’s marketplace, especially for those with sought-after skills. So, winding up with two appealing offers can happen easily.

The next step is to delve deep into the specifics of each offer. To get started, answer these basic questions:

  • What are the business hours and the schedule you’ll be expected to work?
  • Do you have a solid understanding of the day-to-day tasks?
  • What is the start date?
  • When does the company need your decision?

Next, move on to the benefits package. Here’s where a spreadsheet will come in handy. It’s difficult to compare two benefits packages without seeing them side by side as the individual benefits may vary widely.

  • Consider the out-of-pocket expense for health care by calculating premiums, deductibles, co-pays, prescription coverage, etc.
  • Are dental and vision coverage included? Again, get out the calculator.
  • Review the vacation/personal time/sick days’ policies.
  • What paid holidays are standard at this company?

Now for a moment, put all of this information aside and revisit your values, priorities, and career goals. How do each of these offers compliment these goals? How do each work against these goals? Which job is a better fit for where you want to be in two years? Five or ten years?

Use additional columns on the spreadsheet or a good ol’ pros vs. cons list to note the answers to these important questions. By now, one offer probably is shining a little brighter – may even be a clear leader. Or it could be a dead heat. Before you disqualify or accept either offer, there are two more ways you can gather valuable intel.

  1. Ask to meet the team
  2. Ask for a copy of the employee handbook

Such a request shows genuine interest on your part and should be met with a willingness to make it happen . . . unless the employer has something to hide. Both will net vast amounts of information to assist your decision.

Did you notice salary isn’t getting a mention until the end? Money is by far not the only thing to consider when choosing between two job offers.

Whether you are looking for short term, long term, temp-to-hire, part-time or a full-time position, B. Loehr Staffing is your connection to offers. Since 1898, we have been matching companies and candidates. We are your opportunity. Contact our team today and discover best-fit positions for personal and professional growth.

Planning for Retirement – Part II

With the average American spending roughly 20 years in retirement, creating adequate retirement income is a challenge some folks begin to plan for as early as their 20’s. While that’s the ideal scenario, too often retirement planning gets pushed aside by seemingly more pressing matters, like keeping the kids fed and in respectably clean clothes. Not to mention the mortgage, soaring utility bills, and that four-wheeled money pit in the drive.

If retirement is coming sooner rather than later, and you’re regretting not focusing more attention on the financial aspect of how you’ll spend those golden years, don’t panic. There’s still time to put some plans into place with these practical how-to’s:

  1. Become a pro on the ins-and-outs of Social Security

While you may begin receiving payments as early as 62, in many cases it’s wise to delay benefits until you reach full retirement age at 66 or 67. Postponing benefits until age 70 will yield a bigger monthly payout. A Social Security calculator can assist you in determining the most advantageous time for you and your spouse to begin receiving benefits.

While you’re storing away Social Security knowledge, don’t forget to get acquainted with the sign-up process and determine the timeline for receiving that first check. 

  1. Contemplate health insurance options

It’s likely your decisions were few when covered under the company’s group policy, but once you enter retirement, healthcare coverage becomes a much more complicated matter.

 

Should you be fortunate enough to retire before age 65, when Medicare takes effect, plan to seek the assistance of those well-versed in the complexities of private health insurance.  Allow yourself plenty of time to sift through the many plans and options before choosing the coverage that will best meet your needs. And remember that once you qualify for Medicare, it won’t pick up all of your medical expenses so plan to choose supplemental coverage to fill in the gaps.

 

  1. Build up a rainy day/emergency fund

 

It’s wise to have a minimum of three months’ worth of living expenses tucked away for the unexpected. Like the red tape that may delay your pension checks. Or any other emergency that could take a chunk out of the amount you’ve planned for routine monthly expenses. You’ll rest easier, knowing this little nest egg is there.

 

  1. Consider the cost of retirement pursuits

The big bills are most likely paid off because that’s how you planned it. Now it’s time to have fun – buy a boat, trek across the country, or turn the spare room into an art studio. However you plan to spend this much-anticipated downtime, don’t underestimate the cost of these relaxing pursuits.

 

Financial planners often advise you’ll spend less money in retirement than you did while working as you won’t be commuting to work or have other work related expenses. However, golden-years adventures can put a sizable dent in your monthly budget. Before splurging on new experiences, gather cost estimates and make wise decisions.

 

If you hopped on the planning-for-retirement circuit rather late in the game, don’t fret. Your best strategy now is to gather all the info you can get your hands on so you can make the most informed decisions.

 

At B. Loehr Staffing, the satisfaction of our clients and candidates is our number one priority. We work hard to make your working years fulfilling – a best-fit position that ends in a well-planned retirement. Take advantage of our more than one hundred years of experience in bringing employment and staffing solutions to the greater St. Louis area. Contact our team of specialists today.

 

 

 

Keys to the Perfect Mix of Friendly and Professional

A continuing challenge for today’s employees is the effort to strike a balance between professionalism and warmth/friendliness at the workplace.

The goal? Be friendly enough to be an approachable, desired member of the team and yet professional enough to be an effective, respected part of the team.

Who will notice if you fail to arrive at the middle ground between professionalism and friendliness? Umm, everyone. Folks on both sides of the equation, meaning boss and co-workers as well as customers and industry peers.

Let’s take a peek at each of these tenets individually beginning with “friendly”.

Nothing exudes friendliness better than a warm smile and a pleasant disposition. Even better? A smile that “reaches the eyes”. Working relationships get a natural boost when all involved possess a positive attitude and a cheerful demeanor. People whose personality bends toward the other side of the spectrum simply have to put more effort into being pleasant.

Genuinely friendly people are easy to detect. They are interested in others, rather than consume with power and status. It’s almost as if he/she wore a name tag proclaiming in bold, black Sharpie letters, “Friendly, Approachable, Interested. How can I help you?”

When it comes to professionalism, some think of wardrobe selection and an extensive, industry-related vocabulary. While those tenets are components of professionalism, there’s much more to it.  Professionalism is born from a mixture of discretion, credibility, tact, and polish with a liberal dose of common sense thrown in for good measure. It encompasses how a person conducts himself/herself as well as a how he/she deals with others.

Knowing how to respond to a multiple array of situations is a mark of professionalism. If this is a weak area for you, tap into available resources for growth and remember, concentrated effort can certainly bring about improvement. Mentoring and accountability by a colleague or peer can be especially helpful.

Here are few do’s and don’ts to get you started.

DO foster relationships

“It’s much easier to work with folks if you get along,” says Lisa O’Neill, a public relations account executive at Trinity Communications in Boston. Make an effort to find common ground and put aside personal differences for the sake of the working relationship.

A get-the-job-done attitude may earn you the coveted “professional” label. But if you ignore everyone in the office, forego lunch and break time socializing, and then head out at the end of the day without a word to your co-workers, “friendly” will not be a descriptor attached to your name.

DO engage yourself in the job

Get with the program. Bring your A game. Jump in with both feet. Whatever phrase gets you motivated, use it. If you appear disinterested in the position, less than excited to be there or worse yet, a slacker, you won’t be perceived as either professional or friendly.

Get and keep up to speed with the department happenings and the overall business. Not only will this awareness assist you in the area of job performance, but you will also be recognized as a resource and gain the respect of your colleagues.

DO dress appropriately

Most jobs come with at least a basic dress code while others have very specific wardrobe requirements. Pushing the envelope to see what you can get away with simply because you dislike the established parameters creates awkwardness amongst colleagues. On your own time away from the workplace, the choices are yours. When you’re on the clock or at a company function, show professionalism by adhering to the dress code.

Grooming habits count too. If it looks like you slept in it, choose something else. While the stubble-faced look may be “in”, company leadership may frown on this trend. But shower-fresh, with clean hair and nails, never goes out of style.

DON’T get caught up in office politics or gossip

It’s unfortunate but almost every workplace has its share of drama and/or politicking. Turn a deaf ear to gossip and refuse to be part of it – neither spreading it nor basing decisions on anything less than documented information.

Want to climb the corporate ladder? Focus on giving 110% to the job and don’t worry about the other guy edging you out. If you strive to be professional and incorporate steps 1, 2, and 3, you’ll get noticed for the right reasons.

DON’T be needy or clingy or foster relationships that are

“But I want everyone to like me best.” If this is your mantra, it will be quite an extraordinary battle to maintain professionalism. This isn’t the playground. You and each of your co-workers are here to do a job. There’s nothing wrong with, nor is it uncommon, for people who work together to become friends. But during work hours, the friendship has to take a backseat to the work relationship and the job.

BLoehr Staffing wants to be your career partner. Whatever your professional goals, B. Loehr can offer you a career that fits your unique situation, enhancing your ability to be professional and friendly, with the freedom and flexibility your lifestyle demands. Contact our team of employment specialists today.

 

The Foundations of an Ethical Workplace

An internet search about “ethics in the workplace” will uncover a lot of discussions, most of which centers around practices of the unethical kind. Names such as Enron, WorldCom, and Lehman Brothers are still circulating years after their scandals made the headlines.

To note that poor ethical practices are unhealthy for the bottom line is like saying winter is cold in Minnesota. More than half of the ten largest corporate bankruptcies since 1980 resulted from unethical business practices.

Each year, almost half of U.S. employees report witnessing unethical or illegal conduct in their workplaces. Many of these incidents are not reported and therefore remain unaddressed. A fact that should concern each and every one of us.

What does it mean to have an ethical workplace? What does such a place look or feel like?

Perhaps the best way to discover the answers to these questions is to point out traits that are not part of an ethical workplace.

  • A place where misconduct is tolerated.
  • Where different standards apply to particular departments or individuals.
  • Where “cutting corners” is encouraged.
  • An atmosphere that pushes profits above everything else.
  • Where leadership is not held accountable and/or not expected to set an example.
  • Where no system of “checks and balances” exists.

Michael C. Hyter, senior partner, leadership and talent consulting, at Korn Ferry in Washington, D.C. sums up his idea of an ethical workplace quite nicely,

“What it means to me is an environment that makes it easy to do the right thing and makes it difficult to do the wrong thing.”  

It usually starts with minor stuff. A “white lie” here, a misrepresentation there. A growing “sweep it under the carpet” attitude that becomes toxic. The thing about ethical missteps is they tend to snowball. One misstep become two missteps – then three . . . leading to a “break” that doesn’t stop before becoming a full hiatus from doing the right thing.

Establishing an ethical workplace culture will not happen without solid, ethically grounded leadership leading the charge. Employees will naturally take their cues from management. An attitude of utmost commitment to a high standard must start at the top if it’s to reach the bottom rung.

So, what are the hallmarks of an ethical workplace?

  • Respect is a priority

Between co-workers, amongst management, between management and staff. Across the board, mutual respect is given and expected.

The same parameters are extended to vendors, peers, customers, the UPS man, the city workers who plow the streets – everyone. Anyone who comes in contact with the company is treated with respect and is expected to behave in the same manner.

  •  Integrity is required

Consistent demonstrations of this character quality are mandatory. Being a man or woman of your word is evidenced in every department, across all phases of the business, to the point of being woven into the very tapestry of the company. Senior leadership not only models the highest degree of integrity but makes no apologies for demanding the same from everyone in the company.

  •  Reporting procedures are in place

Every employee knows, from day one, what to do and to whom to report should he/she witness unethical or illegal conduct. Fears of retaliation are dispelled because the company culture is such that 1. Retaliation is not tolerated. 2. Reporting is expected. 3. Management is consistently watchful toward such behavior.

While it’s okay to hope the company never has to use such procedures, savvy businesses know they cannot afford to ignore the potential for unethical conduct occurring.

  • Swift, consistent consequences apply across the board

Nothing is hushed, poo-pooed, ignored or in any other way disregarded when it comes to addressing and resolving issues of an ethical nature. Whether it be the CEO or a janitorial team member, consequences will be administered in a timely fashion for all infractions. Investigations into the wrong-doing do not cease until all involved parties are uncovered. In other words, “who you are” has no bearing on the degree of ethical behavior expected from any individual.

A company culture that upholds and expects a high level of ethical standards will have happier, more productive employees, less employee turnover and will benefit from a positive reputation among consumers.

B Loehr Staffing holds all of our employees to the highest level of ethical standards. Their outstanding performance has helped to build our reputation as a premier provider of quality staffing.Through our distinctive Team Based Client Support System, we can respond quickly to assist with all of your staffing needs, supplying your business with ethical workers. Contact our staffing specialists today.