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How Has COVID-19 Affected The Workforce?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe, companies are adopting different strategies to responsibly contribute to containing the spread of the virus as well as ensure that there is minimal interference with business. As a result, the hiring processes for many companies have been significantly altered or adjusted. This blog will discuss the ways in which the pandemic is affecting the ability of companies to engage full-time hires during this period, among other things.

Pandemic-specific Policies

As companies respond to the pandemic, they are developing policies that guide how they should be run given the circumstances. These policies are mostly in line with the guidelines provided by the CDC and various governments on how to ensure the virus is contained. Such policies may limit companies from engaging full-time staff as a way of protecting existing employees and adhering to the established guidelines.

Reduction of Customers

The most obvious impact from the pandemic has been the rapid downturn in consumer activity as customers seek to protect themselves and their loved ones (Maurer, 2020). This has resulted in:
Reduced business activity: Most customers are now seeking all possible means to stay at home as well as work from home. With reduced activities across nearly all sectors, many companies have less of a need for full-time employees. The reduced number of customers has consequently led to a decrease in demand for labor.

  • Reduced revenue: Reduced business activity is also leading to a decrease in revenue. With decreased revenue, engaging staff on a full-time basis may be a challenge for many companies due to the expenses involved.
  • Increased financial burden: Companies have other expenses that need to be addressed despite the pandemic spreading at high speed. Such expenses include rent and other overhead. However, with a decrease in commerce, taking care of these expenses may be strenuous for companies. As a result, supporting full-time staff may be a challenge.

Workforce Shortages

Despite massive layoffs that would theoretically contribute to the number of people available to be hired, the pandemic has resulted in a diminished workforce. There are two primary factors for this, one of them quite obvious.

  • Increased mortality rate: Regardless of the true case & mortality numbers, there is an undeniable excess in deaths for the year of 2020 compared to 2019. Though the impact has been placed largely on older adults, there has been an uptick in mortality among adults who were still active in the workforce.
  • Increased anxiety among the workers: As the full impact of the coronavirus is still largely unknown, worker fears are further limiting candidate pools. Certain industries that require close-contact exposure to others may be struggling to hire full-time staff during the pandemic.

Impact On Hiring
Efforts to contain the spread of the virus have demanded that people stay at home as much as possible. This has limited the number of HR procedures involved to make a hire. For instance, applications for certain positions have reduced as people are not actively looking for those jobs. Secondly, for some jobs, interviewing and induction processes cannot be done using online platforms (Nadeem, 2020). Some need close contact and monitoring of employees, which of course results in virus transmission. As a result, engaging full-time hires is compromised.

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Maintaining Connections Through the Pandemic – Managing Remotely, Pt. II

COVID-19 has prompted many companies to ask their employees to work from home to avoid further spreading the virus. As such, many employees have started to work from home using online services such as Zoom, Skype, and even social media platforms. However, leaders need to be in contact with their employees to ensure that operations are well coordinated and operated. We touched on this earlier in our Insights, but in this blog we’ll be further discussing how team leaders should use communication to connect with the team while working remotely. 


Invest in technologies that foster collaboration.

According to Zogby Analytics, 41% of teams that operate remotely use Facebook, Skype, and texts to collaborate. However, employees should be given platforms that are specifically made for remote communication and projects. Such platforms will enhance trust and security of the communication from any external harm. 


Set up communication guidelines.

It is very important for leaders to draft rules and guidelines that direct employees on when and how to use communication tools. For instance, when should employees use emails?  When should they use chats? What questions or situations call for someone to pick up the phone? 

Establishing communication guidelines is important for several reasons. For example, sending project notifications via chat can be distracting to a focused employee when they are sent constantly, and members can easily lose significant messages in a thread. Emails are always appropriate for sending updates, but are not well-suited for collaboration. On the other hand, if the subject requires clarity and sensitivity, it’s very important to use a scheduled call to avoid misunderstanding or leaking any confidential information. 


Manage by objective.

One key problem many remote teams face is that they lack clear objectives from their managers. It is the duty of team leaders to ensure that they communicate clear objectives to their team members and make sure proper strategies are in place. This will make communication fast and productive in terms of operations. 


Share new and measurable metrics.

Since it is highly difficult for leaders to judge employees’ effectiveness on a timely basis, it is critical for leaders to focus on goals and manage expectations. In case an employee doesn’t meet the goals that have been set, managers should try to analyze the hindering factors and identify new solutions and metrics that can help the employee to improve productivity. 


Make all necessary information easily accessible to your team.

During this pandemic, people are busy trying to balance an unusual routine in a different environment: home. Therefore, it is very important to note the hurdles that arise while working at home. As such, it’s essential to make it as easy for your team as possible to communicate, receive information for work, and access instructions & directions. In fact, employees should not spend much time at all searching for relevant information, but rather the information should search for them (Check out the no searching revolution).


Practice continuous engagement. 

Continuous engagement promotes constant attachment between workers and it enhances productivity. An organization should ensure that there is a central place where employees are able to collaborate and engage with each other on a daily basis.  Modern internal communication tools can facilitate sharing of information among employees in real time such as digital signage, employee social networks, video chat tools, team bonding tools, intranet and forums, instant messaging tools and collaboration tools. Encourage remote employees to keep in touch and join conversations even when they are not physically available. 


Make communication and collaboration fun.

During these difficult times, people have been affected differently in terms of physical & mental health, finances, and social needs. Many are likely affected by ailments like depression because of the drastic and challenging chain of events influencing daily moods, ways of working, how they communicate, and so forth. Add a little bit of fun to it just to keep employees going in the collaboration process. This might include sharing fun moments that employees had personally or with the company. This will not only engage employees, but it will also share the company’s culture and give employees a sense of belonging. 

Manage projects’ deadlines and ideas with remote teams.

It’s important to keep your team in check regarding deadlines and targets. This can be fostered by tools such as Trello which make creating to-do lists and tracking progress interesting and engaging.

Finally, creating standard working-from-home policies is of chief value because it gives employees a basis in which they relate to each other. This might include universally accepted ways of dressing when attending visual meetings, and setting hours in which all employees are expected to be available for calls & meetings. Policies must be clearly articulated and understood by your entire team to keep operations running smoothly. 

Need help adapting to the “new normal?” Contact Cisso Bean & Dutch for expert HR guidance today. 


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Managing A Remote Workforce: 3 Tips

In the midst of this pandemic, most companies have seen most or all of their workforces shift into a remote setup if the nature of their business will allow it. For many companies, this means business as usual. In the year 2020, there were already thousands of businesses that managed predominantly remote workforces that span multiple timezones. However, for most companies, the current environment has resulted in a total transformation of the employee experience.

The shift to remote working will be most felt by managers who are used to the opportunity of poking heads in offices, stopping by desks, or calling team meetings. You’ll need to make big changes to keep your team productive, projects on track, and deadlines met. Here are 5 tips designed to help managers cope with managing a team virtually.

Communicate a set weekly or daily video meeting or call schedule to your workforce.

In the absence of face-to-face meetings or group working sessions, it’s important to stay in regular contact with your team. From an operational perspective, regular video meetings via Zoom are a great way to make sure tasks don’t fall through the cracks. They keep everyone on the same page, and ensure that everyone is working toward the same goal. From the perspective of managing your own personal stress level, they can also alleviate the anxiety that comes from not being able to visually confirm that your staff is staying on task.

Schedule weekly meetings that remain at the same time on the same days each week. Give each meeting a certain focus, and make sure each meeting has an agenda to keep the meetings productive. Consider implementing a 15-minute morning huddle by video to start each today. Just be mindful of scheduling too many meetings or making your team feel micromanaged.

Keep your company’s goals, objectives, and tasks in a centralized project management platform to track productivity.

If you weren’t already utilizing a project management platform like Teamwork or Monday to track progress and productivity, now is the time to get on board. Most businesses have several moving parts all working independently of each other, and it’s crucial to have everyone working from the same playbook. When your team is working remotely, it’s more important than ever for you to have a central hub for all information regarding your current projects.

These platforms give you the ability to create and assign task lists to your team, develop project timelines & deadlines, and track progress towards goals. They also give you the ability to track the time spent on your projects, which is necessary to gauge both the profitability of your projects and the productivity of your team.

Use Slack to increase the ease and openness of communication within your company.

Many remote workers are sorely missing the ability to pop in on coworkers to ask questions, seek feedback, and kick around ideas. These interactions don’t translate well into emails, which are tiresome to write, tiresome to read, and oftentimes still ignored in spite of all the effort. They can also lead to delays and missed deadlines when a quick question doesn’t get answered for hours or even days. If you have a larger team and you’ve been relying on emails as your primary form of internal communication, this has undoubtedly already caused you several headaches.

Acquaint yourself and your company with Slack, and you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it. Slack is an instant messaging platform that allows you to quickly exchange messages and files with teammates. You can message teammates one-on-one, or you can message people as a group. The simple nature of the platform makes it easy to pick up for new users, and you’ll enjoy an increased level of communication almost instantly.

Need help adjusting to your newly-remote business?

Cisso Bean & Dutch specializes in helping businesses adapt to challenges like the ones we are currently facing. Contact us today to partner with a seasoned HR specialist who can help you reach your “new normal” and get the most out of your socially-distanced team.

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5 Tips For Effective Group Meetings

5 Tips For Effective Group Meetings

We’ve all been in meetings before that could have been summarized and distributed in an email. Often, it feels like group meetings have become more of a tradition than a necessity. Expressing this concern to your boss, however, can seem intimidating and it may not seem important enough to bring up to your human resources department. 

Do not fear! We’ve all been there. A human resources department is there, in part, to ensure that your workplace environment is non-threatening and accepting of new ideas. You should feel encouraged to share these five tips for an effective group meeting with your office. 

Build And Share A Schedule:

It is important that everyone involved in the meeting receives a brief overview of the topics and goals to be discussed ahead of time. Everyone should be on the same page before the meeting starts. This will ensure that time is not wasted and everyone is prepared for the material that will be discussed. Distributing a pre-meeting schedule will also help to remind everyone when and where the meeting will take place and can help all members to prepare their materials ahead of time. 

Make It Interactive:

No one wants to sit through a lecture about data that could have been shared via email. Meetings should be discussion-based in order to get everyone involved. Opening up the floor for discussion is an effective way to create a more comfortable and welcoming work environment. In addition, sharing ideas is a great way to creatively solve problems as a group. This can be accomplished by assigning different members of the team to take the lead on discussing a particular topic.

Make Goals A Priority:

A group meeting can often get off track quickly. Ideas and thoughts can surface that may derail the main subject of the meeting. It is important to maintain control and take advantage of the time allotted by ensuring that the subject matter being discussed always ties back to the goals of the meeting laid out in the schedule. 

Essentials Only:

This applies to the information being shared as well as to the group members invited. In order to make the most out of everyone’s time, the essential information should be shared with those to whom it may concern. Jeff Bezos calls this the “two pizza rule.” In short, group meetings should be small enough that it only takes two pizzas to feed the group. This rule ensures that no one’s time is wasted by sitting through a meeting that does not pertain to their role. 

Make It Fun:

Group meetings do not have to be seen as a burden! Get to know the preferences of the group members and provide entertainment accordingly. This could be in the form of food and drinks, a quick game, or team-building exercise. Whatever way you decide to spice up your meetings, make sure it is something that can be enjoyed by everyone involved.


If you follow these tips and find yourself still struggling to keep meetings productive and your employees engaged, you may benefit from the experience of a trained HR specialist. Contact Cisso Bean & Dutch today to partner with skilled HR experts that can help you maximize the impact of your meetings. 

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5 Keys to Building A High Performing Team

The success or failure of every business depends greatly upon 2 factors:

  1. The product or service the business provides
  2. The team that provide the product or service.

But that’s not news to anyone. For years, CEOs, consultants, and HR managers have stressed the importance of building a strong team. 

While most people understand the importance of building great teams and how it impacts their bottom line, the process to do that seems to elude many. 

Here are five factors that can make or break a team, and what you can do to improve each one. 

Roles and Responsibility

When roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, each team member knows how they contribute. They understand their own value and can value the contribution of team members fulfilling other roles. 

If your team is struggling to understand their roles and responsibilities, a team conversation can help everyone gain clarity. 

During the meeting, identify the top 3-5 things that each member of the team is responsible for. Explain why each of these responsibilities is important.

Your team needs to understand how their roles fit together, and how their daily, weekly, and monthly tasks aid their team members and the company at large. 

When employees see the big picture, they work more seamlessly as a team. 


One consistent issue found in underperforming teams is a disconnect in the strategic plan and an understanding of its impact on the organization. If your team does not understand how their contribution helps to progress the overall mission of the company, they may begin to feel as if they are simply going through the motions. At that point, team members may complete their necessary requirements, but will seldom go above and beyond for the team.

Take a step back and ask, “What is the purpose?”

What value does the team add to the organization? How can you communicate that value in a unifying message? What is the purpose of each team member? How do their goals, values, and development plan align with the overall mission of the organization?

As a leader, answering and understanding these questions can drastically shift the mindset and performance of your team, but only if it is communicated properly. Which brings us to the third component of high performing teams.

High-Performance Coaches

The leaders of your team are also the coaches. It is their responsibility to promote, develop, and reinforce positive performance. 

Align the purpose of the team and each member with the vision and goals of the organization. 

Coaches also directly intervene to implement positive teamwork processes and provide pertinent team updates.

If your team has been failing to perform at their highest potential, it may be a lack of sufficient coaching that is hindering the team.  

Trust and Familiarity

Managing a team that lacks trust in one another isn’t managing a team at all. It is managing a group of individuals, working on the same projects, often delivering mediocre results.

When team members are confident that they can trust and count on one another, morale and productivity increases.

Facilitating trust among team members begins with managing the workplace culture. In a positive culture, each team member is viewed as a valued asset. Infighting and gossip should be stopped before it gets out of hand. This can be controlled by establishing an open-door policy and creating peer mediation groups if necessary.

Team Norms

Norms are the set of unspoken rules that govern how people interact with one another. In personal relationships and interaction, it is common for these rules to remain unspoken but understood. In professional settings where multiple people work together, it may become necessary to discuss and agree on these rules with your team. 

This type of discussion should be had organically rather than a scheduled meeting. As a leader, you should ask team members to openly discuss how they feel about the interactions of a team. 

Prompt the team members with questions such as “Think of the worst team you have ever worked with and why the team was hard to work?” Also, ask team members to share their best experiences working with a team. 

This will open up a group discussion around the subject of what makes for good team experiences and what makes for bad ones. Keep track of any suggestions that your team makes during this discussion and help members clarify their expectations to one another. 


All of these crucial factors for establishing a high-performing team should be revisited often. Consistently reviewing these factors can help to keep your team performing at their highest potential.

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4 Recruiting Tips You Should Know

Recruiting the right people for your company is not a simple task. Finding the best possible fit for your company is not just a challenge, but a tremendous opportunity. To help streamline the process, we’ve put together a list of 4 recruiting tips. 

Consider In-House Candidates

When looking for someone to fill an open position, first consider any in-house potentials. This is a great way to provide an opportunity for promotion to your current employees. Plus, no one knows the goals and needs of your business better than your employees. Allow employees the chance to interview for the position. At the very least, it is an opportunity for you to get to know them better. This initiative will also boost company morale. 

Prioritize the Interview Experience

There are plenty of reasons why you should prioritize every candidate’s interview experience. For starters, you want your organization to maintain a positive reputation within your industry. Remember, this is the first experience the candidate will have with your organization. If done correctly, candidates see that your organization cares for its people as well as its potential employees. This is a powerful message to get across. This will also show your candidate how important a welcoming office culture is to your company. If you implement a positive interview experience, even candidates who are not chosen will have great things to say. The last thing you want to do is have a candidate leave with a negative outlook on your company. Regardless of pay or benefits, if you fail to treat a candidate with the same respect as you would an employee, you’re harming your company’s reputation. 

To ensure you are providing a quality candidate interview experience, review this checklist:

  • Provide an accurate description of the job before the interview
  • Arrive on time
  • Be prepared
  • Provide a proper introduction
  • Allow time for feedback
  • Thank the candidate for their time
  • Provide next step information

Require Relevant Assessments

Although you can use a resume to view a candidate’s skills, why not put them to the test? Have your candidates complete relevant tests or assessments before an interview. If you want to be certain your candidate has the necessary skills, ask them to complete the assessment at your office or online. Tests could be written or verbal. Be sure you provide clear instructions and indicate time expectations. There are a number of assessments currently used as a part of the employment process. Predictive Index (PI) is one example.

Value Time

Lastly, value your time as well as the applicant’s time. The recruitment process is a lengthy one. During the hiring process, check your emails or applicant tracking system for applications daily. You don’t’ want to take too long to let an applicant know you are interested. You also don’t want to wait too long to inform an applicant if you have chosen another candidate. 

Remember that competition for the best candidates is intense especially when unemployment rates are low. Every company has the same goal, to recruit the best talent available. Set yourself apart from your competition by following these recruiting tips. If you have any further questions about the recruiting process or need help assessing your current process, contact us today. 

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Common HR Mistakes to Avoid

Everybody makes mistakes from time to time, especially in the workplace. However, HR mistakes can create major headaches. The HR department has several responsibilities to take care of to protect the company as well as its employees. While mistakes are inevitable, it is crucial for you to be aware of potential mistakes.

Poor Hiring Practices

Hiring is an essential part of a company’s success. The hiring process is long, complicated, and costly. Ensuring you put the right person in the right position can make or break your company. Be patient and make sure the person you hire is the best fit for the position. Keep in mind that interviewees are reviewing your company just as much as your company is reviewing them.

Lack of Onboarding Process

Make sure you dedicate time to your new employees. They need time to adjust and understand exactly how your company works. When there is not a set onboarding process new employees will never learn the ropes. This can cause both the employer’s expectations and the employee’s job satisfaction to not be met. Spend time welcoming and training your new hires.

Incomplete Employee Files

Part of avoiding HR mistakes includes keeping an updated record of employee documents regarding their work histories. Make sure you keep their personal documents in a separate folder from the work files because they contain private information that is not related to managing employee performance. Another common mistake HR managers make is not filing all valid forms that verify employee’s work eligibility and employee identity based on federal and state rules. 

Failure to Document Performance Issues

Don’t let performance issues go undocumented, this is how you avoid a lawsuit. HR managers should give employees time to improve their performance by bringing the issues to their attention during check-in meetings. These meetings should also be documented. When employees are let go it is crucial the HR managers have documentation of the lack of change and reason for termination.

An Outdated or Non-Existent Employee Handbook

Every business needs to have an updated handbook full of work policies. The HR department should be in charge of making regular updates to this handbook. Any policy changes must be communicated to employees regularly. Don’t go more than two years without updating your handbooks. Be sure to have your employees read and sign to confirm they acknowledge the information. A typical employee handbook includes compensation and benefits, code of conduct, nondiscrimination policies, employee guidelines and termination, and communication policies.

Lack of Training

If your business isn’t investing in employee training, you are one step behind. Providing employees with training opportunities allows them to increase their skills in their area of specialization. HR departments are not just supposed to train new hires but continue to ensure professional training for existing employees. This also helps your employees see their value to the company and increase their work performance. Regular performance reviews are necessary to ensure that the skills and growth opportunities are reflected in employees’ reports. 

If your HR managers are correctly doing their job, your employees will do the same. If you have questions or concerns about the role of HR or the consequences of a mistake, contact us today. We will work with your management team to get things back on track and ensure things are done correctly the first time.

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How to Create a Positive Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance means balancing the numerous demands of family, friends, yourself, and your career. Creating the perfect balance between work and home is a constant challenge especially when modern careers seem to require more from us. Schedules are busier than ever, which causes both work and personal lives to suffer.

If your employees feel a better sense of control over their own lives, they will have better success with overall time management. This will allow your employees to leave home issues at home and work issues at work. Employees who find the ideal work-life balance also experience less stress at work. They tend to be more motivated and in return increase their productivity.

When a company can help their employees reach a positive work-life balance, it will be seen as a more appealing place to work. This will allow the company to attract employees from a larger pool of candidates, as well as increase the employee retention rate. In the long run, this could decrease the time spent training new employees thus allowing more time to focus on company-wide goals.

There are a few ways for employers to promote work-life balance within the office without disregarding productivity or efficiency.

Create a Family-Friendly Work Environment

Consider offering a family-friendly work environment. As most parents know, your duties do not stop when you leave for work in the morning. Offices with a family-friendly work environment benefit both the employers and the employees. If possible, consider providing an onsite childcare facility with trusted staff to take the stress out of babysitting or daycare services. If this is not an option, think about offering your employees a childcare service discount. If neither option is possible, just be flexible with your employees’ duties to care for their children.  If the employee needs a flexible start and end time to drop or pick up kids from school, allow it.

Encourage Exercise

One of the best ways to relieve stress is through exercise. Plus, employees who exercise regularly and have a healthy lifestyle are less likely to get sick and miss days from work. Many office buildings offer an on-site gym facility or sponsored health and wellness programs. If this isn’t an option, consider offering your employees a discounted membership at a nearby gym. Encourage your employees to stay active.

Plan Gatherings Outside Of The Office

Another way to promote a positive work-life balance is to schedule occasional company outings. Plan a gathering outside of the office to allow coworkers to get to know each other in a stress-free environment. This could be as easy as treating your team to lunch at a restaurant or providing tickets to a local sporting event.

Offer Community Service Opportunities

Consider offering your employees a few hours of paid volunteer time. The amount of time you are able to offer may vary, but this is a great incentive to get your employees to get involved within the community. Offering paid volunteer time allows your employees time off that is meaningful to both the company and the individual.

Allow a Flexible Schedule

Without compromising the productivity of your company, give your employees the freedom to work remotely when they need to. Whether it be due to an emergency or a sick child, allowing your employees to work remotely shows you trust them. Plus, your employee doesn’t have to waste an entire day off.

Encourage Vacation

Many employees feel the pressure to work every day without considering their personal needs. Most companies offer  paid vacation or paid time off per year. Encourage your employees to take advantage of their vacation days! One way to do so is to not let vacation days carry over if they go unused. Vacation days are important for a positive work-life balance.

Encourage Vacation

It is important for your employees to take mental breaks throughout the day. Sitting in front of a computer screen for an extended period of time is not only uncomfortable but can lead to health issues. Encourage breaks throughout the day. This will allow your employees to do their job more effectively and with a better attitude.

Give your employees the chance to take control of their work and home lives. This will allow your employees to feel satisfied with their job, and in return increase your employee retention rate and company productivity. Contact us today and we’ll reach out to you ASAP to provide the solutions you need.

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6 Ways To Become A Better Manager

Becoming a better manager isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time, hard work, and the willingness to change. Management today is much different than it used to be. You can’t limit your focus to the end results. There is a clear correlation between job satisfaction and productivity. Keep this in mind as you perfect your management skills. A good management strategy should result in less turnover and more productivity. We’ve put together a list of 6 ways to become a better manager.

Get To Know Your Employees

Take time to get to know your employees on both a personal level and a professional level. If you have a bigger office, schedule out time to meet one on one with each employee. Find out their career goals and where they see themselves in your company. More importantly, show interest in their personal hobbies and passions that go beyond the daily office interactions.

Determine Your Management Style

Before you can change your management style, you need to take time to examine yourself. A strong manager is always performing self-assessments. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, then use your strengths as an advantage in your management style and decide how you’re going to improve in areas of development. For example, if you know one of your developmental areas is communication, make it a point to think about how you deliver and receive information, and test new methods. Better yet, be transparent and let your team know you’re working on it. Over time, you’ll observe the positive effects your change will have on your team.

Be Comfortable With Delegation

We understand how difficult it can be to relinquish control of a project – and still be comfortable with the decision. As a manager or team leader, you want everything to be done efficiently and correctly the first time. You hired your employees for a reason; show them you trust them! Your team will quickly lose motivation if you don’t give them responsibility and freedom on their work. Employees who feel trusted by their manager are more likely to feel proud about their work. Plus, you’ll have more time available to work on other pressing tasks.

Foster A Positive Work Environment

So much of our lives are spent in the office, so it’s no surprise that our work environment is just as important as the job itself. One of your roles as a manager is to set a positive tone in the work environment. Your employees’ attitudes towards work are extremely important to their productivity and quality of work. Check in frequently with your employees to gauge their satisfaction and stress levels. If an issue arises, be quick about addressing their problems and concerns. By creating a positive work environment, your employees will perform to the best of their abilities. For more tips on how to foster a positive work environment, check out our other blog on the topic here.

Challenge Your Employees

There is no end to the level of growth your team can experience. Assign projects that may be out of an employee’s skill set. This will not only require them to learn new skills and get out of their comfort zone, but it will show you care about their career goals and professional growth. You’ll be able to see their full range of capabilities, including those that might not have even been known to your talent!  The greater their abilities, the greater potential to grow their responsibilities within your company.

Determine Effective Motivation

Figure out ways to motivate each of your employees. When your employees are motivated, they will show increased productivity and be more eager to perform. It’s extremely important to note that your employees won’t all be motivated by the same thing. It’s equally important to remember that motivation isn’t always generated by money. Although a raise may motivate your employees in the short term, many employees will respond better to an increase in responsibility. Sometimes simply recognizing a job well done will give your employees the push they need to perform at a higher level.

The transformation into a better manager is about constant self-evaluation and learning. When you perform your best as a manager, your employees will do the same. In return, your company will benefit.  If you have any questions related to changing or enhancing your management style, don’t hesitate to ask! Contact us today and we’ll reach out to you ASAP to provide the solutions you need.

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How To Foster a Positive Work Environment

We spend so much of our lives at work, so it’s no wonder that where we work is just as important as the job itself. Even your dream job could potentially be tarnished by a toxic culture or a poor working environment. As a manager, one of your most important jobs is to set the right tone in the workplace for your employees. The attitude your employees bring to work matters, and attitudes are heavily influenced by their work environment. If you want your talent to perform to the best of their abilities, you must foster a positive work environment. In this blog, we’ll discuss a few different ways to achieve this.

Communication is Key

Good communication between management and employees is essential for a positive workspace. Your employees need to have a clear understanding of what they need to accomplish, but you also need to know what your employees expect from you. There must be open communication channels and an equal amount of communication amongst you and your employees (not just top down).

The most important part of communication is to be clear and direct. Don’t avoid issues. Address them head-on. Make it clear why certain behaviors or levels of performance are an issue. If the news is bad news, it is much better to be direct than to delay the news.

Recognize & Reward Hard Work

Recognizing an employee’s hard work is essential. Not only will this encourage them to keep up their hard work, but it also shows your employee that hard work does not go unnoticed. If it is clear that hard work is acknowledged and appreciated, other employees may excel in order to receive the same recognition.

A great way to acknowledge your employee’s hard work is during a staff meeting. Set aside a few minutes in the meeting to address your employee’s accomplishments in front of their peers. Another simple way to reward your employees is to let them leave work a little early or come in later. The half-an-hour or hour of work missed is an easy loss to take when you’re rewarded with the increased productivity a happy (and loyal) employee will bring you. Similarly, you can also reward employees for spending time outside of the workday furthering their knowledge in your industry, growing their skills and expertise.

Demonstrate Trust

Make sure your employees know you trust them. This includes refraining from micro-management. Don’t hover over them and give them limited space to work on their own. It may be difficult to withhold your involvement, but micromanaging will create an uncomfortable work environment for your team. Take a step back, and let your employees do what you hired them to do. If you’ve already properly communicated your expectations to your workforce, you should be able to trust them to meet those expectations.

Create a Safe Space

Nothing can tear your work environment down quicker than toxicity. Toxicity can take the form of an office bully, poor behavior entrenched among co-workers, or even poor expectations set by management, like the expectation to reply to emails after working hours. Toxicity will stifle new ideas and inhibit collaboration. In order to create a safe space for your employees, you need to eliminate any negative personalities and policies. Furthermore, every idea needs to be respected, regardless of the seniority of the staff member presenting it. Each team member needs to be treated equally. If you make sure you lead with honesty and integrity, your employees should feel safe.

Incorporate Some Fun

Make sure your employees enjoy coming to work each day. Being professional and being fun are not mutually exclusive concepts. At the end of the day, a happy employee is much more effective than an unhappy one.

There are plenty of ways to add fun to the average workday without sacrificing productivity. Find creative ways to let your employees show off their personalities. Hold office-wide contests. Allow more flexibility with your staff’s breaks, whether you allow more frequent small breaks or longer lunches. Put your employees’ birthdays on your calendar and make them feel special in the office. Be creative!

Be the Leader

As a leader, you set the overall tone for your employees in the office. If you want to achieve a positive work environment, it starts with you. Don’t show up to work short-tempered and exuding negativity, or run the risk of setting a bad example for the rest of the office. There is a high possibility your employees will react the same way.

Be uplifting and encouraging towards your employees. Listen to what they have to say and be engaging. Let them have a voice, be the supportive leader they need, and you’ll be well on your way to establishing a positive work environment that brings the best out of your talented team.

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From Day 1 – How To Help A New Employee Adjust

As an employer, it’s important to capitalize on this opportunity to make new employees feel welcome, comfortable and included as a part of the team. Unfortunately, many companies neglect the employee onboarding experience, which can be a factor contributing to high turnover rates especially within the first few months of employment.  A well organized and structured onboarding experience can make a huge difference in creating the positive experiences needed to support quicker acclimation and increased retention.

As an employer, it’s your job to capitalize on this opportunity that only comes once during your employer-employee relationship, and make them feel welcome, comfortable, and included in their new environment. Many companies neglect this step of the employee onboarding experience, which plays a factor in the high rate of turnover from employees within their first six months of starting a job.  A well-performed onboarding experience can make a huge difference when bringing a new employee up to full productivity, and a positive experience on their first day will help keep them around for the long-term.

Prepare for their arrival beforehand.

Employee onboarding doesn’t begin on an employee’s first day – it begins the second they accept the job. Make sure they have a clean, fully-stocked workspace that provides everything they’ll need for the first day, including a desk, supplies, a company computer, and usernames and passwords. They will have a lot on their mind on the first day – make sure they don’t have to scramble or wait for basic necessities on top of it all.

You’ll also benefit from helping your hire prepare mentally. Prepare the newest member of your team by providing them with materials that help acquaint them with the company culture and get them to look forward to their first day. For example, show them videos of one of your favorite team-building activities. Send them information about the interesting perks provided inside the office.

Introduce them to the team.

Social barriers are the biggest obstacle a new hire will face when starting life with a new company. It’s natural for humans to observe their peers before engaging in social behavior, so don’t be surprised when your newest talent seems quiet at company meetings. Help them overcome their initial social anxiety by introducing them to the team, and letting them know that their input is welcome and encouraged. The quicker a new employee becomes acquainted with their peers and the expectations of the company, the quicker they’ll feel comfortable with providing you with the insight you hired them to give.

Don’t lose them in the “noise” on their first day.

As a business owner or hiring manager, you undoubtedly have a great deal of responsibility, as well as day to day competing priorities. A routine Monday can quickly turn into a pivotal moment for your business, and it’s normal for your otherwise open schedule to quickly fill with short-notice meetings or business emergencies.  You must account for this when planning your new employee’s first day.

First, be ready to greet them at the door when they first show up. Make sure your morning is clear enough to make an un-rushed introduction to the team, and provide a tour of the office. Don’t let an unexpected email or phone call derail you from giving them a warm, genuine welcome. If your attention is diverted or unfocused, you risk making your new talent feel unimportant or uninteresting. Once you’ve ensured they have everything they need to begin their work, check in with them throughout the day to see how they’re feeling. Show them that you’re a supervisor who cares.

Invest in your long-term relationship.

Onboarding is a process that doesn’t take place overnight. Make a good impression on their first day, and continue building on that relationship over time. Keep in regular contact with them to gauge their workplace satisfaction. If your workforce is larger and it’s not feasible for you to keep tabs on all of your hires personally, assign them a mentor to help them adjust to their new job. Starters tend to feel the need to overproduce and overwork to “prove” themselves to you. Having a more experienced peer close at hand can have a relieving effect on the stressed newcomer.


In conclusion, the first day can be a major source of stress for everyone involved – the new employee, managers, and even coworkers – but this doesn’t mean it has to be. Put in the work necessary to produce a positive experience for a new worker’s first day, and you’ll enjoy a much smoother onboarding experience as a whole.

As with everything in business, the “first day” onboarding experience is made more efficient with clearly-defined company processes. If you need help creating yours, get in touch with us here for a free first consultation.

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Does Your Company Need An HR Specialist?

As an owner of a small business, operating costs are one of the things that can keep you up at night. As a result, you likely handle several different jobs and responsibilities that would normally be handled by a hired specialist within a larger company. Rather than hiring an accountant or bookkeeper, you might handle payroll yourself. To save money on IT services, you spend an hour troubleshooting a stubborn POS system when the need arises. And, wary of the costs of a professional recruiter, you end up reading when you can find the time.

This is all perfectly acceptable – so far as you’re still accomplishing all of your other duties. As soon as these responsibilities start to cut into your primary roles, you run the risk of failing in all of them. As businesses grow, it’s easy to justify spending on things like CPAs and IT support teams. However, one of the last areas to receive the necessary attention and expertise is HR, especially when there is the perception that HR will increase your operating costs, not reduce them.

Which brings us to a question all owners of growing businesses grapple with:
When is a dedicated HR professional (or department) necessary?

Many business owners are looking for a hard and fast answer, usually in the form of a number of employees. It’s true that if you have 30-50 employees, you’ve probably begun the process of hiring an HR specialist. Once you hit 50 employees and need to comply with applicable state and federal regulations, an HR professional becomes a no-brainer. However, the real number could be much lower for your business, in relation to the factors listed below.

How much of your time is taken up by HR-related duties?

If you find yourself struggling to make time for your core responsibilities due to a litany of HR-related tasks, it’s time to consider hiring help. These kinds of tasks include recruiting and hiring, updating your employee handbook, and handling compliance issues. Beyond these tasks, you might find your daily schedule eaten up by an inordinate amount of time dealing with internal disputes, lackluster employee conduct, and strategies to retain great employees. If these critically important duties aren’t getting the proper amount of attention, you should seek the experience of a trained human resources specialist.

Do you have an effective system for reporting or managing internal complaints and disputes?

The most frequently-cited reason for a small business owner to neglect hiring HR help is cost. However, not having the right HR guidance can be the exact opposite of cost-effective. Ask any company that’s battled a wrongful termination suit or lost quality talent due to poor company culture if skimping on HR was worth it, and you won’t be surprised by the answer. Regardless of the size of your company, the risk management benefits of a dedicated HR specialist will always be worth the investment.

Are you satisfied with the quality of talent that your business attracts, as well as your business’s ability to retain them?

As your business becomes established, it might make sense to handle talent acquisition by yourself. After all, who would know best the talents and skills required to succeed in your company, if not you? Unfortunately, while you may indeed know the necessary skills and attributes, you may not be finding the best talent available. It takes an experienced recruiter to know where to look – and to attract the perfect candidates for your positions. Until you’ve hired the expertise of a human resources specialist, you’ll need to be satisfied with knowing that you may be hiring “the best talent you could find,” not necessarily the best talent for the position.

In short, you should hire a human resources specialist as soon as possible.

Whether your business has 2 employees or 42, there is significant value in utilizing an HR consultant to grow your business. Your business may not need an entire HR department, or even a full-time dedicated HR professional, but you’ll have peace of mind with HR support to help you navigate troublesome human resources matters.

Contact us here if you need help with:

  • Recruiting and hiring talent
  • Employee handbook updates
  • State and federal compliance
  • Workplace culture and productivity
  • Payroll, benefits, and compensation research
  • Career transition and outplacement services

If you have any questions related to your company’s particular needs, don’t hesitate to ask! Contact us today and we’ll reach out to you ASAP to provide the solutions you need.

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5 Tips For Writing The Best Resume With The Fewest Words

Whether you’re drafting a new resume or changing an old one, it might be tempting to write a resume that could be mistaken for a small novel. After all, this is an important document meant to list your achievements, work experiences and educational background. Shouldn’t that list be long? A document that proclaims your talents and accomplishments should not make a hefty thumping sound when it’s placed on your prospective employer’s desk!

However, depending on your career and the job for which you’re applying, a long resume could damage your chances of being hired. It’s important to keep your resume concise by including only the information relevant to promoting  yourself for the position. If you find your resume is filled with “fluff,” or information that serves no purpose other than to pad out the length of your resume, apply some of these helpful tips to hone your message and showcase your talents in a professional, to-the-point manner.

Make sure your resume passes the “skim test.”

Hiring managers review a lot of resumes. For any single position, based on the amount of public interest, he or she might read dozens or even hundreds of resumes. As a time-saving measure, most managers will first skim over your qualifications just to ensure they don’t waste time reading a verbose essay by someone who doesn’t even meet the job’s basic requirements. Because of this, your resume needs to be easy to skim through.

Take a copy of your resume and quickly scan over it. If someone were to only take a few seconds to read over it, would they know the most important things about you? Make sure that any qualifications that you think are especially important stand out on paper. Bold or otherwise set apart your skills and experiences that are listed as essential to the position. Further, you should write your introduction like it’s the only thing they’ll ever read. Ensure that it gives your “elevator pitch” and provides a clear picture of your abilities in a few sentences.

Keep it current.

As you continue to progress down your career path, you’ll find that employers care far less about what you were doing two decades ago than what you were doing in the past few years. You’ll often find that your earliest endeavors aren’t in line with what you’re actively pursuing today. If older positions don’t contribute to the job you’re currently seeking, leave them off the resume. Remember by eliminating irrelevant or unnecessary information, your most important qualifications become more visible.

Make updates to your resume that are specific to the job you’re seeking.

Even if you’re looking for a limited range of positions with relatively similar job duties, each hiring manager may be  looking for different characteristics, certifications, and experiences. Pay close attention to the jobs you’re applying for, and tailor your resume specifically to that position.

Does one employer seem more concerned about qualifications in technology? If so, draw more attention to the software and hardware you’re familiar with. Does one hiring manager value experience from one of your past jobs more than another? Flesh out your job description for the valuable experience, and consider minimizing or eliminating details about the less applicable job. Each employer will be looking for something different, so be sure to identify their biggest needs or concerns and address them with extra emphasis in your resume.

Eliminate unnecessary educational credentials.

It might make you feel nostalgic to include your graduating high school class on your resume, but do yourself a favor by keeping that in the past. It should go without saying that hiring managers care more about your work and professional experience than the activities you were involved with in high school. Unless an achievement propelled you toward your current goal or you are entering the work world directly from high school, the high school information is not needed.  If you have attained a degree that’s relevant to the position you’re seeking, include it by all means but be targeted in what educational credentials you list.

Be readable, not pretentious.

If you use big words to impress your potential employers, you’re more likely to give them a headache than a good impression. Again, this comes down to the fact that many hiring managers have a stack of resumes that reaches the ceiling. If your writing is bloated with esoteric industry terminology, unwieldy passive language (“this duty was handled by me”), or your resume otherwise looks like it was written with the aid of a thesaurus, consider simplifying or eliminating the content in question. Focus on the main objective of your resume, which is to present your qualifications as clearly as possible, not prove to your future boss that your minor in English is useful.

To recap, it’s not so much the actual length of a resume that determines its effectiveness, but the actual content. If you’re applying for a particularly ambitious post that’s the culmination of years of hard work, it may be necessary for you to write a 3-page resume if that’s what’s required to provide the full picture. However, for most applicants, less is more. Clarity is perhaps the most important quality of a successful resume, and it can only be achieved by focusing on selling yourself for the position and nothing else.