Impact your Diet for the Positive with Small Changes

Little changes can mean a big difference, not only for your waistline but also in a positive impact on your health.

If you’ve been turned off by stricter than strict diets or a list of don’ts longer than your arm, you’re not alone. Dieters who watched a “food police”-style video that bluntly told them “All sugary snacks are bad” ate 39 percent more cookies than those who saw a more positive clip. It seems a gentler approach that combines a balance of negative and positive messages about food has a better effect, researchers say.

Quickly dropping huge amounts of weight is neither healthy nor likely to be permanent. “Baby steps” may result in less drastic weight loss, but losing weight is not the only positive to be gained from adjusting your eating habits. In fact, referring to the changes you want to make as “adjustments” rather than “restrictions” or “rules” is also likely to have a better outcome. It creates a positive outlook which establishes a better foundation and an overall more favorable vibe.

“When you focus on just a couple of small changes at a time, you begin to ingrain some healthy habits that last a lifetime. Better by far than trying an all-or-nothing approach that more often than not fails because it’s too hard to follow,” says Lesley Lutes, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of psychology at East Carolina University.

Choose one or two of these strategies to begin your journey toward a lifetime of better eating habits. After a couple of weeks, incorporate another one or two.

Here are some general “don’ts” – the good kind – to get you started.

  • Don’t skip breakfast. While you may think you’re “skipping” calories, research shows the opposite to be true. Breakfast eaters consume fewer calories throughout the rest of the day, a major factor in both losing weight and keeping it off.
  •  Don’t give up snacking! An in-between-meal snack will help you consume fewer calories at the next meal. Opt for fresh fruits and veggies or whole grains and don’t forget to include some protein.
  •  Don’t banish all your favorite foods. Nothing sidelines a plan to improve eating habits more than the feeling you’re being deprived of your favorites. Allow yourself to savor a small treat daily. The key word here is Aim for no more than 150 calories.

Completely painless “tricks” of the healthier eating trade

  • It’s easy to make the leftovers in the fridge either MORE or LESS tempting. Hide in aluminum foil the calorie-laden options while leaving in full view, by covering with plastic wrap, the healthier selections. You’ll be more likely to reach for the ones you can see.
  •  Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth right after a meal or snack to quell the urge to keep nibbling. “It’s both a physical and a psychological signal to your body that you’re done eating,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Choices that make sense

  • Eating in is, on average, better for your waistline. Large portions and indulgent options too tempting to pass up are two of the ways dining out sabotages a commitment to improved eating habits. If the time it takes to cook a meal is an issue, stock the freezer with frozen meals and entrees. Especially helpful for controlling portion size, these convenient meal options are available in many delicious varieties. Look for entrees with fewer than 400 calories.
  •  Blatner continues, “Instead of refined and processed white foods, aim to have whole-grain starches such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread and bran cereals.” Generally speaking, the browner the food, the higher the fiber, and by now, it’s common knowledge that dietary fiber creates a fuller feeling that lasts The consumption of fiber also decreases the absorption of calories from other food sources. Substitute whole-grain options whenever possible. Add fiber such as a sprinkling of high-fiber cereal on yogurt or fruit. Adopt a pro-fiber attitude.

The road to better eating habits is a journey that doesn’t require sprinting. An easy jog will get you there. So take it one “baby step” at a time.

While you’re making smart choices concerning diet, put B. Loehr Staffing to work for you – helping you make smart choices concerning job opportunities. B Loehr Staffing is continually seeking the highest caliber candidates to join our team. We provide the chance to “look before you leap” and experience a position before making a commitment. To sum it up, our employees enjoy one of the most competitive pay and benefit packages in the industry as well as excellent opportunities for personal and professional growth. Contact us today.

Start on the Road to Better Health with these Small Steps  

Lots of people choose an all-or-nothing proposition when it comes to making improvements to their diet.  Thinking the only avenue to achieving better health is a radical revamping of how they eat – they give up before they begin, abandoning even small efforts to make positive changes. Too hard. Too much trouble and bother.

Well, folks, major diet makeovers aren’t necessary to achieve lasting results. In fact, research reveals that “baby steps,” rather than giant leaps, result in lasting, positive changes that impact overall health more than a major diet shift. New routines that incorporated minor adjustments proved more successful over the long haul.

While the aim of most diet modifications is to see a lower number staring back from the scales, the positive impact on overall health, energy, and well-being is every bit as important as a drop in weight – and sometimes, more important.

The key to achieving any and all of these improvements is making changes that are both practical and sustainable; that can be adapted for and adopted into everyday life. Incorporate a couple of these tips at a time into your daily routine.

Choose food wisely

  • Pack in the Protein. Not only are proteins one of the four building blocks of life, “they constitute more of a cell’s dry matter than do lipids, carbohydrates, and all other molecules combined.” Studies have found that doubling up on protein could help you eat less without feeling hungry due to making the brain more sensitive to leptin, a hormone that helps you feel full.
  •  Aim for protein as a part of every meal, with a goal of at least one-third of the calories coming from a source of lean protein.
  • Take advantage of the increasingly popular one-hundred calorie packaging of many snacks from chips to yogurt to nuts to ice cream. While these portion-controlled servings may be costlier than economy sized packages, the convenience, and the lessened temptation are worth the expense.

Monitor shopping habits

  • Never, ever shop on an empty stomach. Even a quick stop to grab just a couple of items can result in a plethora of craving-satisfying foods walking out the door with you.
  •  Shopping without a plan in the form of a specific list? Then expect some indulgent, I-didn’t-plan-to-buy-that items to appear in your cart. Guard against hasty decisions with a commitment to make a list and stick to it.
  •  Because Little Johnnie is too cute to resist, and Susie can be expected to sob until Mom purchases all of her favorites, shopping with the kids is sure to result in unplanned items getting toted home. If at all possible, leave the “beggars” at home. Swap babysitting with another Mom or Dad also striving for solo shopping excursions.

Smart dinnerware and utensil choices

  • A smaller plate at meals will look “full” with a lesser amount of food. Kind of a “mind over matter” situation that will lessen the sense of being deprived.
  •  Insert a smaller serving spoon into higher calorie dishes, a larger spoon into low-cal salads and veggies.

Tame your Achilles Heel

  • Everyone has those one or two foods they can’t seem to resist. Lesley Lutes, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of psychology at East Carolina University suggests, “If you’re eating six of these foods a week, try to go down to five.” Each week, drop another until you’re at no more than one or two. Substitute better choices like fresh or sautéed veggies, fresh fruits, and whole grains.
  •  Fool your sweet tooth with a piece of hard candy rather than indulging in a calorie-dense dessert. Savor the sweetness as long as possible then pat yourself on the back for settling for a healthier option.

If you thought you’d reach the end of an article about diet improvements without any mention of water intake, sorry. Most people grow weary of the “drink more water!” speeches even while admitting they struggle to consume adequate amounts of water. Even though they realize that drinking more water can increase energy, flush out toxins, and lower overall calorie intake, often that’s not enough motivation. Because let’s face it, water can be boring.

Here are few strategies that can help.

  • Purchase a reusable water bottle that’s handy to tote around.
  • Change things up with flavored or sparkling water options.
  • Have a quantity of cold, flavored water always on hand with a DIY infuser equipped pitcher. Experiment with different flavor combinations to liven up the taste of the ol’ H2

B. Loehr Staffing  is here to cheer you on – and, while you are making wise diet choices, we’ll help you make wise staffing choices too. Whether you have open positions or need extra help for special projects, rolling out new products, or making changes to your service processes, our team at B Loehr will ensure we find the staffing solution that best suits your organization’s specific needs. Contact us today.

Laugh out loud! It’s good for you!

Relax, take five, pull up a chair and engage in the psycho-physiological reflex that manifests in a successive, rhythmic, spasmodic expiration with open glottis and vibration of the vocal chords often accompanied by a baring of teeth and facial grimaces.

Don’t worry – you’re not being asked to mimic a rabid dog. The above description is actually the medical definition of laughter.

Ah, heck, take ten or twenty and enjoy a good ‘ole belly laugh courtesy of Work One Liners:

  • When my boss asked me who is the stupid one, me or him? I told him everyone knows he doesn’t hire stupid people.
  •  Nothing ruins a Friday more than realizing that today is Tuesday.
  • My resume is just a list of things I hope you never ask me to do.
  • I can’t believe I got fired from the calendar factory. All I did was take a day off.
  • When an employment application asks who is to be notified in case of emergency, I always write, “A very good “
  • Whatever you do always give 100 % – unless you are donating blood.

Hold on to your chair because this LaughFactory.com joke may have you rolling in the aisle.

  • Two factory workers are talking. The woman says, “I can make the boss give me the day off.” The man replies, “And how would you do that?” The woman says, “Just wait and see.” She then hangs upside-down from the ceiling. The boss comes in and says, “What are you doing?” The woman replies, “I’m a light bulb.” The boss then says, “You’ve been working so much that you’ve gone crazy. I think you need to take the day off.” The man starts to follow her and the boss says, “Where are you going?” The man says, “I’m going home, too. I can’t work in the dark.”

If your aching side can stand a bit more humor, let these giggle-worthy anecdotes fill your laugh tank to overflowing!

  • I hope when I die; it’s early in the morning . . . So I don’t go to work that day for no reason.
  • My boss texted me, “Send me one of your funny jokes, Pete.”

I replied, “I’m working at the moment, Sir, I will send you one later.”

He replied, “That was fantastic, send me another one.”

My boss told me yesterday, “Ken, you shouldn’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.”

But when I turned up at the office today in Ghostbuster’s clothing, she said I was fired.

And one more source of good clean humor

  • Sam walks into his boss’s office. “Sir, I’ll be straight with you, I know the economy isn’t great, but I have over three companies after me, and I would like to ask respectfully for a raise.” After a few minutes of haggling, the boss finally agrees to a 5% raise, and Sam happily gets up to leave. “By the way,” asks the boss as Sam is getting up, “which three companies are after you?” “The electric company, water company, and phone company,” Sam replied.
  • The Boss of our small company was complaining during a staff meeting that people didn’t respect him enough. Trying to improve the office attitude, he came in the next day with a sign for his door. It said, “I am the boss.” One of the employees, apparently not appreciating the change, stuck a post-it-note on the sign, which said: “your wife wants her sign back!”
  • An employee approached his boss regarding a dispute on his Employee – “Sir, this is $100 less than my salary.”

Boss – “I know, but when you were overpaid $100 by mistake last month, you didn’t complain!”

Employee – “Well, I don’t mind an occasional mistake, Sir, but it seems to be becoming a habit, now!”

Manage your professional and personal life more effectively with B. Loehr Staffing’s vast database of resources. Our Candidate Resource Center contains a wealth of information to help you land a great position, maximize on-the-job performance, create a healthy work-life balance and more. Contact our staffing specialists today – we might even share a laugh or two.

 

A Good Laugh on Us

Every one of us can benefit from a good hearty laugh. Did you know laughter relaxes the whole body? Indeed it does. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes.

So laugh to your heart’s content over these hilarious happenings and enjoy the lingering, relaxing effect.

Get a hearty chuckle from the funnies at LaughFactory.com

  • Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Officer asks a young engineer fresh out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “And what starting salary are you looking for?” The engineer replies, “In the region of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package.” The interviewer inquires, “Well, what would you say to a package of five weeks’ vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a company car leased every two years, say, a red Corvette?” The engineer sits up straight and says, “Wow! Are you kidding?” The interviewer replies, “Yeah, but you started it.”

Hold your belly and enjoy these better-than-the-comics anecdotes!

  • The Invisible Man, Dracula, and the Wolfman were all applying for a job. Which one got hired?

Certainly not Dracula, he can only work nights.

Not the Wolfman, severe grooming problem.

Needless to say, the Invisible Man was hired, sight unseen!

  • “Has your son decided what he wants to be when he grows up?” I asked my friend.

“He wants to be a garbage man,” he replied.

“That’s an unusual ambition to have at such a young age.”

“Not really. He thinks that garbage men work only on Tuesdays.”

If you haven’t laughed yourself silly yet, check out these funny one-liners:

  • Imagine being 5 minutes from the end of the longest movie ever & it starts over because it forgot something. That’s my kid telling a story.
  • I changed my password to “incorrect”. So whenever I forget what it is the computer will say “Your password is “
  • Entered what I ate today into my new fitness app and it just sent an ambulance to my house.
  • A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.
  • You’d think that with NSA reading our tweets all the time, they could star or retweet some of the good ones.
  • The light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off due to budget cuts.

And finally, if your teary eyes can still focus, take a peek at these gems from Good Clean Jokes.

  • “Frank Smith,” announced the judge, “for breaking into a house in the middle of the night, I sentence you to two years in prison.”

“But your honor,” pleaded Smith, “last time I was in court you sentenced me to a year in jail for breaking into a house in the day! If not in the middle of the night, and not in the middle of the day, just when am I supposed to earn my living?”

  •  Sally walked into the Dentist office to make an appointment. “How much do you charge to pull out a tooth?” She asked.”

“It’s $130,” was the prompt reply. “$130!” gasped Sally, that’s ridiculous! There must be a way for you to go cheaper.”

“Well,” said the Dentist thoughtfully, I suppose if we don’t numb it, we could knock off $30.”

“Only $30?” countered Sally, “that’s still $100, you’ve got to make it cheaper.”

“Well,” said the Dentist after a long pause, “I suppose if we take it out with a wrench we could knock it down to $50.”

“Perfect,” said Sally happily. “I would like to make an appointment for next Tuesday, for my husband Jack.”

Let B. Loehr Staffing be your one-stop staffing solutions firm. We understand how challenging it is to have the right number of people in the right places to get the work done on time and still keep your bottom line in the black. Through our specially designed Staffing Systems and Management Programs, you can be sure of finding the staffing solution that suits your organization’s specific needs. Contact our staffing specialists today.

 

2016 Yields Positive Hiring Predictions for Graduate

2016 graduates are looking at the rosiest hiring predictions in a decade with well over half of employers planning to hire from this year’s pool of college grads.

More good news: the unemployment rate for recent college graduates is 5.6%, the lowest rate since June 2008, according to a report published by the Economic Policy Institute.

Employers expect to hire 5.2 percent more graduates from the Class of 2016 than they hired from the Class of 2015, according to the report from The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2016 Spring Update. The NACE’s original report last November announced a heady 11 percent increase over the previous year’s hiring. While the new prediction slashes the number by half, still the forecast is quite favorable.

Reasons cited for the swell in hiring include the need to offset upcoming retirements as well as the importance of building talent pipelines

Even with this promising outlook, striking out to find your first “real” job can be a nerve-wracking proposition. These four proactive do’s and don’ts will set you up for success in the life-after-college world of employment.

DO:

  1. Target what you want to do

While this may sound like a no-brainer, it’s amazing how many graduates shake the college president’s hand, grasp their diploma, and wander off the stage as questions like “Now, what happens?” swirl through their brain.

Simply wanting a job, any job, will make your job search unfocused and likely a disappointment in the end. Applying for everything and anything not only wastes time and energy but too often concludes with the grad accepting something—maybe the first “real” offer—simply to end the search. “Phew, now I have a job,” can quickly turn into, “What was I thinking?”

To avoid wasting precious time only to end up disillusioned, take the time to examine what you like to do and what you hate to do. By now you know where your strengths lie as well as your weak areas. Mesh all of that with your qualifications and skills, your experience and education. This composite of who you are should help you pinpoint several jobs to target on your quest for a “real” job. That will lead to #2:

  1. Put together a list of potential employers

There are many resources that can lead you to potential employers. If you’re seeking a position in a mega-company,  Deloitte Technology Fast 500 and Fortune 500 are good choices. Lists compiled by Forbes, including the Forbes 2000, America’s largest privately-held companies, and Best Places for Business and Careers are also a rich source of ideas.

The Thomas Register of Manufacturers is a help for anyone seeking a position in manufacturing, and the local Chamber of Commerce can offer can help you connect with small to medium size companies.

Networking, however, is your best bet for any industry – from small companies to mega. The more you connect with the right people, the greater your chances of securing the right position. Attending networking events, participating in forums and discussion groups on social media, and participating in community and volunteer events are just a few of the mega networking opportunities available.

Connecting with a staffing company will also net a broad range of potential employers. Not only do staffing companies know the employers, but they also have an inside track to available positions.

Note: Create a spreadsheet to keep track where and when you sent résumés, as well as contact names and other pertinent information about each potential employer.

DON’T:

  1. Fall prey to the “I have too little to offer” syndrome.

Of course your experience is limited. On top of that, your “real world” accomplishments are few and far between, maybe even lame outside of the world of academia. You’ve spent the past four-plus years learning and preparing for a career, which left little time to work in your chosen field. That’s okay. Employers know all of this.

Before you decide you have no choice but to settle for the first job offer you’re lucky enough to receive, take a step back and look at the bigger picture of the last four to eight years of your life. Your project team consistently ranked at the top in the department. Your management skills netted a supervisory position at the coffee shop. You served as a class officer in high school and on the student life committee at college. You brainstormed a successful plan to revamp class scheduling for your major.

Do not sell yourself short but rather focus on what you “handled”, “organized”, or “contributed to” rather than what you feel is lacking.

  1. Be afraid to dream big

Does this sound like you? “I know what I’d love to do. But I have zero experience, and it would stretch my qualifications and skills, so no point in even trying.”

Remember, this first “real job” isn’t likely to be the one you will still be at come retirement. Rather this is the perfect time to get your foot in the door of an industry you’re itching to delve into. Even if your major only vaguely links to this sector, if it appeals to you, there’s no reason not to give it a shot.

Employers want and need enthusiastic, passionate employees and are quite often willing to train candidates who are eager to learn and will give their all to the position.  Personal and family contacts can be of great help in such situations. When someone shares first-hand knowledge about a candidate’s personality and work ethic, that info often tips the scales in the candidate’s favor.

Set your sights high and get that game plan in order. Strive to impress employers with a “go get ’em” attitude and don’t allow what you might lack in experience to deter you. Approach your targeted job opportunities with ambition, energy, and a demonstrated desire to be a valued member of the team.

B. Loehr Staffing’s employees receive the most competitive pay package available as well a benefit program that includes portable medical insurance, referral program, and skills enhancement training. Take the next step in your career by submitting your resume or searching our currently available positions today.

What Employers Can Expect from the Class of 2016

As 2016 college grads get serious in their quest for a job, you may hear a rather odd sound whistling with the breeze. An echo-y noise that strangely enough sounds like a huge sigh of relief – and that’s exactly what it is. As these student-loan-ridden grads hear reports of the best hiring forecast in a decade, they are indeed heaving a huge, collective sigh of relief.  Finding a “real” job is imperative for these latest graduates as they are entering the workforce with the highest levels of debt ever – an average of $37,173 each.

The descriptor that pops up over and again for this group is “pragmatic”. They’ve grasped the reality of their situation and appear to be rising to the occasion with a determined passion.

What are these optimistic young adults looking for as they hit the job trail?

For starters, one-in-four new graduates report student loan assistance is a “top priority.” Such programs offer employer contributions that can shave years off the debt as well as save a bundle on interest. While several companies including investment firms FidelityNatixis, and auditing and consulting firm PwC offer such programs as part of their benefits package, a study by the Society of Human Resource Management found that only 3% of employers offer this perk.

Along these same lines, it seems basic economics will play a key role in the recent grad’s job search. Over 60% of this year’s graduating class claim that they want to be living on their own within the first year of graduating. This drive for independence will likely place economic concerns over the desire for a hip, happenin’ workplace. Which means companies who went all out on the cool culture they thought would attract millennials may want to dial those incentives back, just a bit, and focus on the financial perks they can offer. Cool is still in but it may take a back seat to financial incentives.

But what about employers? What are their plans for these fresh, young candidates? And what are they expecting from them as future employees?

It would appear they are as eager to bring youthful talent into their workplace as the grads are to secure a promising position. A recent CareerBuilder survey revealed that 52% of responding employers said they would make offers to students before graduation, with 67% noting they would be willing to negotiate salary when extending a job offer. Further proof of the all-around let’s-get-this-show-on-the-road attitude comes from the Accenture Strategy 2016 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study that found 21% of the Class of 2016 accepted a job before graduation, up from 12% last year and 11% two years ago.

Bottom line? The best and brightest of the class of 2016 won’t be unemployed for long.

Forty-three percent of hiring execs responding to a survey from Futurestep noted that learning agility as the top attribute they’re seeking in recent grads. This ability “to learn from experiences and apply those learnings to new roles,” is an important characteristic that crosses industry lines as well as geographic locations.

Employers share many concerns as they prepare to onboard a new crop of graduates. The continuing saga of the disconnect between the jobs these promising young adults will secure and the skills they bring to the table tops the list.

According to Karsten Strauss, “The gap has always existed. Young people coming out of school cannot all be expected immediately to possess the hard skills organizations require. Some will, of course, but most won’t.”

A recent PayScale survey highlighted the most frequently noted missing skills as writing proficiency, public speaking skills, and data analysis ability among “hard skills.” “Soft skills” found lacking included critical thinking and problem-solving skills, lack of attention to detail, and less than stellar communication skills. Leadership qualities and teamwork skills were also found to be lacking.

This is not an impossible situation nor, as Strauss stated, is it a new scenario. Bridging the gap can happen with additional instruction and a willingness on the part of both employer and employee to learn-as-you-go. In fact, some execs prefer to hire for an overall passionate, enthusiastic temperament and train for the specifics of the position.

The class of 2016 has much to offer, and companies have much to gain by filling openings in their workforce with these recent graduates.

At B. Loehr Staffing we know great teams don’t happen by accident. That’s why the top priority of our Team-Based Client Support System is faster access to more people who can handle your requests, answer your questions, and solve your staffing problems better than ever. Contact us today.

 

 

6 Teamwork Characteristics that Will Get You Noticed

Collaboration in the workplace is an effective way to harness creativity, birth innovative ideas, and bring major projects to a timely completion. That’s why job boards are littered with pleas for “team players”. Many of today’s fastest growing industries have stepped up to make teamwork an even more integral piece of their organization’s structure.

When it comes to sports, we know what a “team player” looks like. But what makes for a “team player” in the workplace? What are employers looking for from their team members?

Candidates who demonstrate the following qualities are the people who will grab an employer’s attention.

  1. Reliability

Teamwork fails or succeeds based on the dependability of the individual members. Someone who is known for being behind or shirking his/her duties altogether will not be anyone’s first choice for a project requiring teamwork. However, the person who delivers on time, every time, while willingly taking on a fair share of the work – plus a little when necessary, that’s the guy, or gal everyone will want on their team. Consistent reliability is a must-have quality for teamwork to be effective.

2.  Active participation

“Bumps on a log” have no place on an active team, so no “in name only” team members, please. Good team players participate. They come prepared for discussion, ready to share input and practice “active listening”. No thumb twiddling from the sidelines, thank you very much. A real team player takes initiative, volunteers and exemplifies a “How can I contribute?” attitude.

  1. Straightforwardness 

With tact and diplomacy, a good team member will strive always to be up front. Beating around the bush, game playing and leading folks down a long, winding road that ultimately goes nowhere undermine teamwork. A great team member shares his/her opinion – even when it is an opposing one – with tact and respect. And that includes not being afraid to say, “Look, this didn’t work like we thought it would so it’s back to square one.” Be honest about the good and the bad.  Failure isn’t about shucking plan A and moving on to plan B. Insisting everything is A-Okay when it’s as plain as the nose on your face that something has to change? That is failure.

  1. Flexibility

Being flexible, which is not at all the same as being “wishy-washy,” is an excellent team work characteristic. The ability to review and adjust and forge ahead without losing momentum is of huge value to group efforts.

It happens all the time. Either external or internal forces – maybe both – shift, resulting in the need to tweak or even perform a major overhaul. The best team players choose to view such situations as opportunities and refuse to dig in their heels, stamp their feet and declare a firm “No!” This isn’t about change with nary a thought to the outcome, but rather a purposeful approach that realizes sometimes change is necessary.

  1. Commitment 

Good team players get the job done. Exceptional team players do so with a level of passion that drives them to give 110%. It’s that extra commitment that will get employees noticed. They are in “it” for the long haul – whatever “it” may be. No taking shortcuts or knocking off early. They care deeply enough about the group effort to give their all and expect others to do the same. When they devote themselves to the team, it is serious business. 

  1. Initiative

Not everyone is a leader—and that’s perfectly okay. But everyone can demonstrate initiative. Like coming forward to take on an extra task. Stepping outside your comfort zone to fill a need. Speaking up to get or keep the ball rolling. Going the extra mile see a task completed. Shouldering more responsibility. Each of these initiative-taking roles plays an important part in effective teamwork.

You can make your unique blend of skills and experience shine by polishing your teamwork qualities. Fitting the “team player” bill will present a myriad of job options to the candidate serious about on-the-job collaboration opportunities. Pursuing teamwork-edifying qualities with all you’ve got will make you stand out amongst a sea of less teamwork-inclined job candidates. It’s in your best interest to pursue being the best team member you can be.

When teamwork jells, creativity thrives. Fresh, unleashed ideas and a get-the-job-done energy flow through team members. And that’s a good thing.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we test and train only the highest caliber candidates to become our employees. Their outstanding performances over the years have solidified our reputation as a premier provider of quality staffing in the greater St. Louis area. Contact us today about a position with excellent opportunities for both personal and professional growth.

 

Realizing the Greatest Gain from Teamwork

As more companies recognize the value of teamwork, group projects, and team-driven efforts have become the norm and for good reason. The best products and ideas increasingly spring from collaborative efforts.

“It’s becoming difficult to think of companies that aren’t depending on teams,” says Amy Randel, a professor of management at San Diego State University. “And usually, nothing is more important than having a goal that inspires and organizes people’s efforts.”

But it’s important to make the distinction between a team and genuine teamwork. Any group of people can slap on the label “team”. Maybe they share some interests, like to hang out together, even have common goals. That doesn’t mean teamwork is part of the equation.

The crucial characteristics of teamwork go far beyond the social identities many so-called teams share. To be effective, teamwork must include these critical elements:

  1. Commitment to a shared purpose

Teamwork is all about rallying around a common goal. It’s this goal that unites a group of individuals and provides the motivation for their efforts. As the team bonds around this shared vision, a mission is born. Once expectations are defined and accountability established, the next step is to chart a course toward the end goal.

The more clarity of mind and mission, the greater the commitment level tends to be. The more dedication to the cause, the greater the opportunity for realizing the most value from the collaborative effort.

  1. The expectation of individualism

While the vision and mission have to be the same, that same principle does not apply to the people. In fact, the beauty of teamwork is that differing viewpoints come together complete with all of the creativity and innovation—as well as past experiences—that make each of us unique individuals.

Everyone agrees that different viewpoints are not only welcome but expected and encouraged. Not allowed are discussion-squashing comments such as, “That will never work!” or body language that sends the same message. It’s expected that every suggestion will be thoroughly explored, dissected if you will, for feasibility. No one’s ideas receive more scrutiny than another’s.

This across-the-board agreement creates a strong sense of commitment as well as belonging and ownership. Because value is placed on the viewpoints, knowledge, and opinions of each individual, teamwork flourishes.

3. Established ground rules

By consensus, establish guidelines to ensure orderliness and assist with efficiency. Cover expectations concerning frequency and length of meetings. Out of respect for each other and the ultimate purpose of the team, insist on punctuality and consider how to address absences or periods of inactivity.

Whatever could become an issue, discuss and conquer it before it divides and renders the team ineffective. Review procedures on a regular basis because even as important as such guidelines are, they should never be seen as immovable. Situations change. Priorities shift. Constructive evaluation is always a good thing.

  1. Facilitate communication

Nothing will render a team ineffective faster than a lack of open, honest dialogue. Nothing is more crucial to the dynamics of teamwork than effective communication with its myriad of components. An oft-neglected tenet of communication is listening. People value their chance to talk, but it’s tempting to put less effort into listening. Another is comprehension. Ideas can pass from one person to another without a clear understanding of what is relayed. Words can be spoken and heard without any true communication happening.

Restating, asking questions, “boiling it down” are all useful for ensuring the speaker and the hearer are on the same page. In fact, have several people summarize, as different people hear things differently. A friend once shared how ten people who attended the same meeting, heard the same presentation, each walked away with somewhere between a slightly varying version to a barely recognizable synopsis of the discussion’s outcome.

  1. Plan for conflict

Even the most cohesive, connected team will face conflict. Clashes will erupt – hopefully not very often – but dissension will at some point rear its head. Again, expect it. Remember the emphasis in number two on individualism? That crucial building block that adds such value to group collaboration can – okay, correction –  will lead to conflict.

But seriously, disagreements do not have to destroy a team. Training in conflict resolution can change a taking-sides situation into a workable solution, one that might even result in a learning experience.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we believe in the value of teamwork. We understand how the right mix of people is crucial to successful collaboration efforts. Contact us today for assistance in building dynamic teams throughout your organization.

Why You Can’t Afford to Skip That Vacation

b loehr - vacationIf the promise of spring has you dreaming of a vacation, hold on to that dream—with both hands. Many people think of a vacation as a luxury, an extravagance that falls soundly into the “want” rather than “need” category.

“I’m an adult,” you insist, “with responsibilities and bills and a to-do list longer than my arm, and the kids—their schedules are crazy too. I just can’t . . .”

Well, you’ve just pinpointed the key reasons you need a vacation.

A friend recently shared that he’d taken only one or at the most two weeks of vacation each year when in fact he was entitled to four weeks. “Well, all that’s changing this year,” he announced to his family. Early in the year, they plotted a plan to use every bit of his well-deserved vacation time.

My friend is not alone. While most people earn a number of vacation days each year, a lot of us don’t take them – due to heavy workloads. In 2014, U.S. workers took only 51% of their allowed vacation days, with 15% taking no time off at all. Many cited worry about falling behind or losing out on promotions. Little do these hard workers know, but their thinking is flawed.

Here’s the simple reason you can’t afford to skip time off: vacation is as important as sleep.

Everyone knows that sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on . . . well, your whole life. Clear thinking and sound judgment are proven to suffer. A lack of sleep slows reflexes and hampers the body’s ability to fight off infection. The same goes for a lack of “play”.

Recreation deprivation can wreak as much havoc as sleep deprivation. For starters, it will do a number on your attitude and definitely will not earn you a “happy camper” award at home or on the job. And those minor annoyances (and people) found at every job? Your ability to cope may well fly out the window, resulting in unnecessary squabbles and added stress.

Here are a couple more reasons to put vacation planning on your to-do list today.

  • Time off is like medicine.

It appears vacations rank right up there with watching cholesterol and exercise as studies show an annual holiday can cut the heart attack risk by a whopping 30 percent in men and 50 percent of women. The devastating effects of stress can be halted by time away that allows emotional resources to be refueled.

  • Vacations ramp up productivity

 Time away refuels your ability to work by boosting energy reserves so that when you return, it takes less effort to get the job done. Vacationers report significantly higher job performance after the break.

“Counter to the prevailing bravado myth, productivity is not a function of how long or torturously you work,” states Work to Live author Joe Robinson.  “In the knowledge economy, the source of true productivity is a refreshed and energized mind.”

  • Closer family relationships

Family relationships get a shot in the arm when the family vacations together. Spending “down time” doing fun things or simply sharing the same space rather than going a hundred miles-per-hour in opposite directions boosts the sense of connection.

“Shared family memories and time spent together isolated from ordinary everyday activities (school, work and so on) help to promote these positive ties,” writes Susan Krauss Whitbourne. “Though family vacations can have their share of stress, the benefits outweigh the risks, even in families that are not particularly close.”

  • Vacations make you happier.

Well, I should hope so! But seriously, people who return from vacation tend to be more satisfied with their life in general. Research suggests post-vacationers are calmer, more energized and less stressed, and more likely to be in a good mood and report less tension.

You do no one a favor by working yourself to the brink of exhaustion or allowing stress to frazzle your nerves and damage your health. Take a break from the work-a-day world with a real, honest-to-goodness, unplugged-from-everyday-life vacation. Your co-workers, your family, and the post-vacation-you will all thank you profusely.

At B. Loehr Staffing we can offer you a career that fits your lifestyle. Whether you are looking for short term, long term, temp-to-hire, part-time or a full-time position, we can offer you the freedom and flexibility your lifestyle demands. Contact us today and discover why we are still in business after 118 years.

 

Maintaining Productivity While Encouraging Vacations

b loehr - vacation 2 Ah, vacations . . . The best way to relax and recharge the mind and body, to renew enthusiasm and motivation for life and work. A lengthy break from the daily grind makes for more productive, less stressed people who return to work better able to handle the day-to-day demands of the job.

You get that—that vacations are good a thing. You understand that time away provides a definite boost to a person’s overall well-being that translates into a huge positive for both their personal life as well as their work life.

Still, the $64,000 question is how to maintain productivity and ensure that business-as-usual doesn’t get interrupted by vacations. Operations must continue to run smoothly, and it’s important that the remaining staff not become overwhelmed.

The “how” to making all of that happen is planning.

  1. Maintain detailed, updated job descriptions

While at first glance, this may seem to have nothing to do with vacation-time-productivity, this crucial step can have a huge impact. For starters, responsibilities are easier to delegate when Employee XX takes his/her two-week vacation if Employee XX’s duties are accurately recorded. Insist on twice yearly reviews to keep job descriptions as current as possible. This will make the task less daunting.

  1. Claim vacations in advance

One of the best ways to keep vacations from wreaking havoc with the day-to-day operations is to require advanced notice for time-off. You want even the most devoted, committed employees to take vacations, but because it’s your job to ensure nothing falls through the cracks, a system needs to be established. Depending on the nature of the product/service you provide and the size of your staff, establish a process for requesting vacation time that includes an advance notice time frame.

  1. Create a calendar that everyone may access

Which means it’s not kept in a locked office or tucked in an individual’s desk drawer. Note all approved vacation dates here. It would be helpful as well to include major company happenings—conventions, trade shows, possibly even important project deadlines—on this calendar as well.

  1. Generate a “Vacation Planner” form

 No, this is not about the vacationer’s trip itinerary but rather a “road map” of what needs to happen in the days before the vacation time as well as while the employee is gone. This will be a great tool for working through the list of projects/tasks to be completed by said employee before departure—prepare the reports for the staff meeting, finish the quotes on the work order, etc. This form will also note those duties that will need to be covered by someone else—pick up the lunch order for the marketing meeting, figure the final head count for the upcoming networking event, etc. A copy of the completed form should be given to the immediate supervisor, and whoever will be covering the tasks noted on the form

Several strategies can assist in keeping all the bases covered while employees get some much deserved R& R.

  • Cross-train employees

Crossing training makes sense for so many reasons but can be particularly beneficial during vacation season as well as for covering sick days. While this principle may not work for highly skilled positions, it can be effective in a number of instances and should make things run a bit smoother.

  • Offer an incentive for picking up extra work

Whether for money or some other perk, many workers would be willing to pitch in to cover the responsibilities of a vacationing co-worker. Especially when everyone knows they too will have the opportunity to get away and would not want to return to a mountain of work, they’ll be willing to lend a hand.

  • Work with a Staffing Company

During the height of vacation season, it’s common to have one or more vacationing employee’s time-off occur in consecutive weeks. Employees from the staffing company, trained before vacation time, can step in and take up the slack for a number of weeks, preventing your employees from being overwhelmed.  If the vacationing employee’s duties are specialized, making it too time-consuming to train someone, use the staffing firm’s employee to perform the more administrative tasks of both the vacationing employee and another in-house employee, who will then have the time to cover the specialized duties of him/herself and the vacationing employee. In the event of a future medical leave or other unexpected time off, these already trained staffers can quickly fill in gaps.

A pro-active, established vacation procedure coupled with a vacation-friendly atmosphere will encourage your employees to get their earned vacation days and reap the benefits of a rest and relaxation while the company maintains productivity.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we understand the challenge to have the right number of people in the right places to get the work done on time and still keep your bottom line in the black. Through our specially designed Staffing Systems and Management Programs, you can be sure of finding the staffing solution that suits your organization’s specific needs. Contact us today