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  • Strategies for More Successful Decision-Making

    07/21/17 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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    Gut feelings and hunches? Save them for choosing your next dessert.

    You’re a manager – which means that you need to apply disciplined, sound strategies to your decision-making practices.

    While it’s nearly impossible to distill complex decision-making processes into a few terse bullets, solid fundamentals are undeniably important. Here are four basic strategies you can use to make great decisions (large and small) and create great outcomes for your organization:

    Start with good information.

    You can’t be expected to make effective decisions without solid data. But all information is not created equally. Before you use data to inform a decision, consider:

    • The source of your data (is it reliable and objective?)
    • The quality of your data (is it relevant and projectable?)
    • The age of your data (what’s changed since it was collected?)

    Do your homework to collect high-quality data, and you’re much more likely to make high-quality decisions.

    Carve out “think time.”

    Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” He was onto something there. When you’re faced with an important decision, start by sharpening your mental axe. You’ll make decisions quickly, cleanly and with less effort.

    Struggle to find uninterrupted think time? Try these tactics:

    • Delegate more; do less. By freeing yourself from the details, you’ll get more time and space to look at the big picture and think more strategically. (Pro tip: contact Exact Staff for the staffing support you need).
    • Unplug. You know how; discipline yourself to do it.
    • Let things percolate. Don’t get frustrated if you aren’t suddenly struck with a revelation. Often, the best ideas arrive in pieces – a concept here, an insight there. Try a tool like Evernote to keep track of your thoughts, and then spend time connecting the dots.

    Systematically evaluate alternatives.

    To make a complex decision, ask a variety of questions to determine where you are now – and the best path for you to follow. Customize and expand upon questions like these to determine and evaluate options:

    • How are things functioning now? What’s the impact of doing nothing?
    • What caused the current situation?
    • Who must have a hand in making this decision? What are their perspectives, issues, pain points and motivations?
    • What are the limiting factors (e.g., time, money, technology, process bottlenecks, expertise)?
    • What’s limiting your ability to make a great decision (e.g., missing information, lack of perspective) and how can you overcome it?
    • What trends are likely to impact this decision?
    • Whom will this decision impact?
    • What’s at stake (i.e., what if you make the wrong decision)?
    • How can you mitigate risks in the decision-making process?
    • What are your viable options?
    • What will likely happen if you do “A,” “B” or “C”?
    • How will you define and measure the success of this decision?

    Don’t let fear or pressure paralyze you.

    The decisions you make impact employees, customers, stakeholders and sometimes even the world at large. And when the stakes are high, time is of the essence, and you have several equally good (or equally bad) options, making sound decisions becomes even more challenging.

    While there is no “magic formula” for making effective, high-stakes decisions, the four tips in this post, “Key Tips for Making High-Stakes Leadership Decisions,” will equip you to consistently make the smartest choices under pressure.

    Make a great decision right now: partner with Exact Staff.

    Whether you need to add great decision-makers to your core team, or simply want more time for critical thinking and decision-making, we’re here to help. And we’re just an email or phone call away.

Feeling Negative Vibes from Your Team? Consider These 6 Smart Fixes

07/14/17 9:10 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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“That’ll never work.”

“That’s not in my job description.”

“Nothing will ever change around here.”

Negative talk can really ruin the vibe in an otherwise positive organization. And pessimistic, hostile or downright toxic employees do more than just irritate your team. They can destroy your corporate culture. Undermine productivity and trust. And contribute to unnecessary turnover.

Enough is Enough

If you notice that negative patterns of talk or behavior are really taking hold in your workplace, confront the offenders. Use these simple ideas to turn their attitudes and actions around:

Address the Elephant in the Room

Gather your team and announce your intentions to foster a more positive corporate culture. Explain the impact toxic people have on your workplace, as well as the benefit of great attitudes, positive actions and supportive workplace relationships. Sometimes, putting offending employees on notice will immediately curb their behaviors with no further intervention required.

Be Direct

Call a negative employee into a private meeting to discuss their behaviors, as soon after an incident as possible. Use active listening and probing techniques to get to the root of their negative thoughts or actions. Then, very clearly explain why their behavior will not be tolerated, as well as the consequences if it continues.

Don’t Get Sucked In

Negativity is contagious and insidious. While it’s important to listen to employees’ complaints (so you can judge their merit and take appropriate actions), be careful not let their attitude dampen your optimism. If the individual you’re engaging is being stubborn, unreasonable or argumentative, don’t stoop to their level. Stay calm and point out areas of agreement to keep the conversation positive – or at least neutral.

Try Role-Playing

Help the employee to view the situation from other perspectives by pretending they’ve been asked to resolve the problem. Teach them how to understand the others’ viewpoints, appreciate differences and focus on solutions. By broadening their perspective and asking for their help in developing solutions, you effectively break the cycle of negativity.

Share Positivity Tools

Quite honestly, some people are negative simply because they don’t know how to act any other way. One remedy is to give these employees resources they can use to curb negative thinking and model positive behaviors. For example, share this earlier post: Happy People Have These Habits.

Hire Smarter

Sometimes you just have to cut bad apples loose. Strive to systematically replace negative employees with realists and optimists. Look for individuals who can engage in healthy conflict with a positive attitude, respect others and are upbeat even in tough circumstances.

Need More Positive Vibes in Your Workplace?

Exact Staff’s recruiting experts will refer candidates with the personality traits and soft skills to help you build a more positive work environment. Contact our national employment agency today to get started.

Three Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills

07/7/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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Sure, you hear the words coming out of their mouths.

But are you really listening to what employees and other managers are saying?

Great listening behaviors enhance your ability to lead, motivate and perform, but it takes more than functioning ears to be an effective listener. If you’d like to improve your skills in this area, Exact Staff shares best practices you can adopt immediately:

Be Fully Present

Distracted by an email you forgot to send? The dinging of your cell phone? That upcoming meeting you’re not prepared for yet? We all are; we live and work in “the interruption culture.” Make a conscious effort to be in the moment when someone is speaking to you, focusing your eyes and ears on them. And if a distraction is too strong for you to devote your full attention to what’s going on, excuse yourself for a moment. Take care of it, and return to the conversation as quickly as possible.

Make the Speaker Comfortable

This Forbes post explains how to set the stage for better listening by making the speaker feel safe and comfortable:

  • Physical body mirroring. Mirroring someone’s body position enables you to feel more like them and do a better job appreciating what they have to say. Make small, subtle adjustments to your own orientation and posture to reflect the speaker’s body language. Lean out when they lean out; cross your legs after they cross theirs. Just be sure that you’re not too obvious or mechanical as you shift position.
  • Keyword and gesture backtracking. Mirroring the words and gestures a person uses enhances feelings of “sameness.” If the speaker is animated, respond by gesturing similarly. If you notice that they repeat key phrases, incorporate them in your language.

Establishing rapport in this way frees up attention and energy in both directions, fostering better listening and communication.

Engage in Active Listening

Most people begin formulating their responses while the speaker is still talking. Active listeners are different. Take a page from their book by:

  • Focusing on understanding what the other person is saying (not how you’ll respond).
  • Paying attention to the speaker’s words, tone of voice and body language (you’ll get important information from all three sources).
  • Making appropriate eye contact (think friendly, not intimidating).
  • Reflecting what the other person has said, to make sure you understand them fully.
  • Clarifying or probing for more information, when necessary.
  • Responding only once you’re sure you grasp what the speaker has communicated.

Related Content:
3 Important Things Great Leaders Do Every Day
What to Do if a Conversation Becomes Loud and Aggressive

Are employees telling you that they’re stressed? Frustrated? Overworked?

Use the tips in this post to find out what’s really going on. If you need help with the process, Exact Staff is just a phone call away. We’ll listen, ask the right questions, and then create a solution that offers the workforce flexibility, support and access to talent your team needs.

What can we do for you? Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.



Buyer Beware: Spot Resume Falsehoods Before You Hire

06/19/17 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Brown, spongy and shriveled.

In the grocery store, it’s pretty easy to spot bad fruit.

But when it comes to screening candidates, things get a little trickier. From entry-level to C-level, unscrupulous job seekers are notorious for stretching the truth on their resumes. Some of the most common lies include:

  • changing dates of employment, especially to cover up gaps;
  • inflating salary history, in the hopes of getting a higher initial offer;
  • exaggerating work responsibilities or job titles, to make themselves appear more qualified.

How bad is the problem? According to one survey, nearly six in 10 hiring managers (58%) said they’ve caught a lie on a resume – and that doesn’t include lies job seekers get away with! So, when your organization is hiring, beware: things are not always as they seem.

Here’s how to weed negative applicants before you make a job offer:

Compare each job application to its resume.

Look for inconsistencies in dates, job titles and other details.

Confirm degrees before scheduling interviews.

Believe it or not, the “diploma mill” business is a billion-dollar industry. When education is a key job requirement, verify degrees as part of your initial candidate screening process – so you’re not wasting time on unqualified candidates.

Listen more; talk less.

If you give them the opportunity, dishonest candidates will often trip themselves up in the interview and get tangled in their own web of lies. During your initial round of interviews, listen more than you talk. Ask open-ended questions to encourage interviewees to speak freely. Keep an ear out for conflicting information or other evidence that candidates are not what they’ve claimed to be on their resume.

Probe for clarification in the interview.

Make a list of anything on a candidate’s resume that’s unclear or seemingly contradictory, and then clear it up in the interview:

  • Confirm the circumstances of every change of employment.
  • Ask for proof of measurable results on their resume. For example, if a candidate claims to have increased productivity or profits by a certain percentage, find out if they can provide documentation to support it.
  • Probe for details on supervisory or self-employed duties. It’s easy for a dishonest candidate to dream up fancy job titles and impressive-sounding responsibilities. Ask planned, pointed questions to determine if they really lived up to what they’ve claimed.

Complete all steps of your screening process before you extend an offer.

While you may be worried about losing a promising candidate, don’t enter a legal relationship with a job seeker until you have:

  • assessed the candidate’s job skills with required testing;
  • verified professional licenses and memberships;
  • conducted a thorough reference and background check.

Need to find the best of the bunch? Start by choosing a great staffing partner.

While effective, all these recommendations for spotting resume lies require a substantial investment of time and resources. To get the honest candidates you want, without the headaches and hassles, trust Exact Staff’s team of recruiting experts.

With a national presence and a full complement of staffing and placement services, we can rapidly deliver exceptional talent to grow your core team. Enhance productivity. And seamlessly flex your workforce to match changing demands.

What can we do for you? Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.



When Teammates Lose Their Passion, Reignite It!

06/16/17 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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When you and your teammates embarked on this project, you were full of excitement and enthusiasm. Everyone worked to their full potential, applying their skills and creativity to achieve your objective.

But lately, that passion has cooled. Progress toward your goal has slowed. And the finish line seems further away than ever.

It’s understandable. With most projects, interest wanes over time. Work loses its novelty. And people have a hard time sustaining their commitment.

It’s understandable – but that doesn’t make it acceptable.

When team members have “lost that lovin’ feeling” for their work, how can you get it back? Today, Exact Staff shares practical tips for reigniting teammates’ passion for a project – and keeping it moving toward successful completion:

Determine Where Things are Going Wrong

Lack of clarity, urgency, ownership, teamwork and/or resources frustrates team members – fueling apathy and undermining success. Assemble your team to diagnose where, when and why progress is stalled. Consider questions like:

  • How effectively are team members communicating and collaborating with one another? What can you improve?
  • Where are processes slowing down? How can you remove bottlenecks?
  • Is everyone clear on the project’s purpose and importance?
  • Are team members’ daily activities aligned with the project’s requirements?
  • Are skills or resource gaps preventing successful completion?
  • Are individuals overburdened?

Change What You Can

While some circumstances may be out of your control, improve the aspects you can to reignite team members’ enthusiasm and renew their commitment:

  • Fix what’s in your control. Use what you learn from the discussion questions above to get the project back on track. Clarity of purpose, adequate training, sufficient resources and team synergy all fuel passion in the workplace.
  • Help teammates get more out of the project. Give team members opportunities to express themselves, learn new skills and contribute in ways that move them closer to achieving their career goals.
  • Inject some novelty and fun. Shake things up a bit with a contest or unexpected “fun” breaks. Disrupting routine work in positive ways helps improve motivation and focus.
  • Celebrate milestones. Keep team members’ enthusiasm high along the way by recognizing interim achievements of individuals and the entire group.


Take a step back from the project to review, as a group, what you’re working toward. Remind team members of the overarching purpose for the project – and what’s at stake. Revisit the ways individual contributions impact your project’s success, to press their proverbial “reset” buttons and reignite their passion for their work.

Become a Source of Inspiration

Whether you’re a member of a team or its leader, being passionate on the job will stir everyone around you to realize their potential. In this earlier post, we explain how you can motivate your team to achieve greatness – by serving as a source of inspiration.

Team Members Dispassionate? Uninspired?

Reignite their passion, focus and productivity by freeing them to do their best work. With a full complement of national staffing and placement solutions, Exact Staff is here to support your core team’s success. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.



7 Things Smart People Don’t Do

06/9/17 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Uncategorized | Leave a Comment
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Looking for ways to be smarter and more successful at work?

Of course, you are – otherwise, you probably wouldn’t have clicked on this post title. So, let’s get to the good stuff…

Smart, successful, high-performing people operate differently from their “average” counterparts. And in many cases, it’s what they DON’T do that gives them their edge. If you want to handle situations of all kinds more effectively, steer clear of these don’ts:

Don’t Pretend You Have All the Answers

Nobody does! Smart people are not afraid to occasionally be vulnerable. They ask for help when and where they need it. Instead of being a know-it-all, rely on your team for insights and suggestions for tackling tough problems.

Don’t Let Other People Bring Them Down

High achievers won’t let anyone else’s opinions or achievements diminish their own happiness. True, it may be impossible for you to completely insulate yourself from negative people’s actions. And it may be necessary for you to measure your work performance against your peers’. But you don’t have to let your sense of pleasure and satisfaction be controlled by others. Be the master of your own happiness!

Don’t Sugar-Coat the Truth

High performers are direct and tell the whole truth – even when it’s tough. Shine a light on the cold, hard facts about yourself, your team, your products/services and your competition. Only by acknowledging reality can you begin to change it for the better.

Don’t Dwell on Problems

Successful people know that their emotional state is determined by where they focus their attention. Instead of fixating on problems (which perpetuates negative emotions and stress), focus on actions that will improve yourself, your circumstances and your team’s performance.

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

Smart people have fears and self-limiting beliefs like everyone else – they just don’t let those thoughts prevent them from doing the right things. The next time fear prevents you from acting, determine if that fear is legitimate – or if it’s really due to a limiting belief – and unnecessarily holding you back.

Don’t React

Failing to prepare is the same thing as preparing to fail. Smart people spend an appropriate amount of time planning, thinking and preparing in advance. Dedicate time each day, week, month, quarter and year to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and what you need to tackle next. If you create a calendar with prioritized short-term and long-term goals, you’ll spend less time reacting – and more time accomplishing your objectives.

Don’t Staff Your Business Alone

Work with a national staffing service to access the right professionals, right when you need them. With offices nationwide, and a full complement of staffing and placement services, Exact Staff can connect you with other smart, successful people to support or grow your core team. How can we help? Give your local Exact Staff office a call today.

What can we do for you?

Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.



What Generation Z Wants from the Workplace

06/2/17 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Juiceboxes and Nickelodeon reruns?

Nope – try again.

Generation Z, also known as iGen or homelanders, is all grown up. Entering the workforce. And changing how job satisfaction is defined.

Just what does gen Z want at work – and how can you deliver it? Let’s start by understanding what makes them different from older generations:

  • Age. Born between the mid-’90s and early ’00s.
  • Tech acumen. Having grown up with mobile tech, social media the internet and all that comes with it, iGen is extremely comfortable with rapidly changing technology.
  • Temperament. While every person is unique, homelanders are generally characterized as pragmatic, independent, competitive, sometimes stubborn and in a rush.
  • Immediacy. A product of their environment, gen Z is used to having immediate access to everything, everywhere, always.
  • Green. Environmental, social and financial crises have made this generation socially aware, fiscally conservative and committed to sustainability.

Bearing these differences in mind, here are a few practical tips to help you attract and retain generation Z employees:

Show Them the Money

While this generation wants to make a difference, their primary motivators are money and job security. During the Great Recession, many members of gen Z watched their parents struggle financially. Now saddled with college debt of their own, they’re driven to earn.

Provide Frequent Feedback

Today’s young professionals have grown up surrounded by support and feedback from parents, coaches, counselors and teachers. While they definitely don’t want to be micromanaged at work, annual reviews are not enough. Provide frequent, timely feedback for younger workers and give them adequate direction to achieve success.

Create Clear Career Paths

Having grown up in the gig economy, generation Z is comfortable with job change. To keep them happy and working for you, provide rewarding experiences that quell “FOMO” (fear of missing out), boost satisfaction and allow them to advance quickly.

Leverage Cross-Generational Mentorship

Gen Z has a lot to learn, but they also have a lot to offer. Pair them with mentors to accelerate learning curves and foster inter-generational bonds. At the same time, ask them to “mentor up” and impart their tech knowledge to older employees. You’ll help younger workers build their confidence, skills and work relationships in the process.

Recruiting Generation Z?

Exact Staff can help. Whether your needs are local or national, temporary or direct, the Exact Family of Companies provides solutions to make recruiting the right talent quicker and more cost-effective.



Great Organizations Know the Best Plans Can Go Awry

05/26/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Uncategorized | Leave a Comment
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“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

–Robert Burns, “To a Mouse”

Is the language in this excerpt archaic? Yep. Are there mice in your organization? We certainly hope not.

Verbiage and rodents aside, Burns’ message is timeless and universal:

Regardless of your organization’s size, industry, competition or market, the best-laid plans often go awry.

Great leaders realize this – and plan accordingly. What are their secrets to successful business planning? To find out, let’s examine two aspects of planning which frequently “gang a-gley” for other organizations:

Ignoring the Big Picture

Too often, leaders plan from the inside out: they review their organization’s performance over the past year and look for opportunities to tweak processes and make incremental improvements. By looking backward and inward, these leaders are being reactive and tactical.

High-performance leaders view their organizations through a strategic, forward-looking lens. When planning, they think beyond their own business, considering the ways the economy, competition, industry trends, customers, technological advancements and other external factors could impact them. By taking this “Outside in” approach, these leaders better understand the dynamics, relationships, threats and opportunities around them. Over the long-term, deeper insights help the best leaders create more strategic, flexible and realistic plans.

Failing to Prioritize

Most organizations have a list of business goals, but a list will only take leaders so far. Without clear prioritization – and a method for communicating and cascading those priorities – a list of goals is worth little more than the paper on which it’s printed.

Great leaders’ plans do more than just outline the steps to achieving a goal; they clearly prioritize the actions which will accomplish those objectives. What’s more, that prioritization is pushed down through the entire organization by:

  • “connecting the dots” (i.e., clearly explaining how individuals’ daily actions help achieve high-priority goals for the entire company);
  • ensuring that performance management and reward/recognition models align with delivering on key priorities;
  • making sure that all employees have the resources (i.e., time, tools, training and authority) to perform successfully.

Plans Changed?

We can help you adapt and thrive. With a full complement of national staffing and placement solutions, the Exact Staff family of companies offers the resources and expertise to effectively execute your business plans, even when things change in your organization. To learn how we can help, schedule a free consultation today.

How to Regulate Innovation – Without Killing It

05/22/17 9:30 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Regulation: innovators shudder at the mere mention of this term.

But does it have to be this way?

Not according to Kevin Werbach, a Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor. In a recent podcast, he explained why regulation doesn’t have to be the enemy of innovation, especially in what he calls the “Internet of the World.” Below, we’ve summarized a few of his key points (you can hear his entire podcast here):

What’s the “Internet of the World”?

According to Werbach, potentially everything in our physical and digital world is a potential generator of data. That data can be integrated, analyzed, processed and manipulated. As a result, the trends and developments we’ve seen online are now impacting services and physical objects – unlocking new markets, blurring the line between the digital and offline worlds, and spurring new regulations.

Do regulations threaten innovation as the online and offline worlds mesh?

Not necessarily. As the Internet of the World evolves, Werbach states that we need to challenge assumptions about the relationship between innovation and regulation. In his view, government agencies don’t necessarily drain or block innovation; in fact, they can be a positive force.

As an example, he cites the Microsoft antitrust case from about 20 years ago. Had our government not stepped in and filed that suit, Microsoft’s overwhelming power may have been able to warp or hinder the growth of our open internet economy.

How can we regulate innovation without stifling it?

Werbach purports that effective regulation:

  • Must start with a conversation between regulators and innovators – to determine what each party wants to achieve.
  • Must leverage data generated by the Internet of the World to transparently, yet securely, identify what the market performance is.
  • Must be more algorithmic (i.e., regulations should be data-driven and evolve along with the new markets they control).
  • Must have adequate accountability mechanisms. The government should set goals, and then give the industry opportunities to meet them, by providing transparent data and explaining how they’re complying with established guidelines/rules/laws.
  • Must start with trust. For regulation to be effective – without effectively killing innovation – regulators and innovators must trust one another to be honest, sustain communication and live up to commitments.

Drive innovation with intelligent staffing.

As a leading national staffing agency, Exact Staff can provide the talented people and smart staffing solutions to turn your innovative ideas into reality.

To develop the best strategy for your organization, we invite you to schedule a free workforce consultation with us. Together we can assess your needs, brainstorm options and design creative solutions to meet your workforce or hiring challenges.


Make Everyone Around You Great by Inspiring Them

05/19/17 9:30 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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You’re smart. Proficient. A flexible thinker. And an excellent leader.

But do you inspire your employees to greatness?

The word “passion” is commonly defined as a “strong and barely controllable emotion.” In organizational leadership, passion is the fuel that ignites success. It motivates you and your team to act. It’s the intangible difference separating “good” from “great.”

Inspiring others starts with passion, but it also requires positive habits and sustained practice. Here’s how to move the needle in your company, and stir everyone around you to realize their potential:

Do the Hard Stuff

Sustained practice – often of things you’re not great at – is needed to “level up” in any aspect of your professional life. Lead by example, exerting focused effort to improve your skills.

Share Yours

Passion is contagious. If, as a leader, you are focused and enthusiastic, and you share that energy with others, it will be reflected back to you.

Promote a Culture of Practice

Exceptional performance starts with great habits. Help your employees develop those positive habits by:

  • Giving them the time they need. Provide ample opportunity for employees to repeat actions that promote real behavior change.
  • Setting the bar high. Creating a sense of shared expectation around the minimum standards for practice.
  • Creating a community. Establish groups to connect with and support one another in their sustained practice.

Practice Mindfulness

Meditation does more than clear your mind; it helps you recognize and overcome feelings of uncertainty, resentment and the urge to procrastinate. Teach everyone (including yourself) to start each day with a minute or two of silent mindfulness. The practice refreshes your mind and refocuses your attention on the things that move you closer to your goal.

Teach Employees to Enjoy the Journey
Success is as much about the voyage as it is the destination. Remind your employees to relish being in the moment – not just “doing.”

Another Way to Inspire Greatness in Your Employees?

Provide the staffing support they need to do their best work. With a full complement of national staffing and placement solutions, Exact Staff can free your core employees to focus, innovate and perform at their peak. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.