Exact Staff News
Tags: 2016 Saving Money, Saving Money in 2016, Strategies to Saving Money, Strategy to Saving Money, Tips to Save Money
Want to save more money this year?
Maybe that’s a silly question to ask – most of us do! Perhaps the more accurate one is:
Want a few practical strategies to save more money this year (that don’t revolve around Ramen noodles)?
If you’re already tight on funds or living paycheck-to-paycheck, it can seem impossible to stash cash away for a “rainy day.” But with a little discipline and creativity, you can save a tad more, spend a bit less and brighten your financial situation by the time summer hits (did someone say “vacation”?):
In other words, plan to succeed! Set a concrete, realistic goal for your savings. Doing so will make it easier for you to adopt new habits. And don’t just stop at setting a number. Break that big goal into smaller milestones (i.e., target savings for each month), and then create a specific action plan for achieving each step, using the suggestions listed below.
Change Your Grocery Routine
Do you grab lunch out most days? Shop at a boutique grocery store because it’s smaller and more convenient? Take a hard look at what and where you eat, keeping a written record of everything you spend on food and drink for one week.
Shocked at the total? Don’t be – look it as an opportunity for saving. Then, develop some positive habits to spend less:
- Clip coupons and check circulars for specials (many chains have handy opt-in emails with e-coupons, as well as store discount clubs you can join)
- Search for lunch specials before noon hits
- Plan your meals each week
- Use a list for your shopping trips (and if an item is not on the list, don’t buy it)
- Shop once a week at a store that caters to value-oriented consumers
Negotiation works for all types of goods and services – not just for cars and homes! For example, try contacting the “customer retention” department for your cable or satellite provider. Tell them that you’d like to keep your business with their company, but you need to trim your bill. Your provider wants to keep your business and should be able to suggest alternatives (including promotional rates) to retain you as a customer.
Ditch Your Credit Cards
When you’re headed out to shop, eat or go to the movies, budget a specific amount of cash to spend – and bring only that much with you. Without access to your credit or debit cards, you’ll be far less likely to make that impulse buy or cover that round of drinks.
Another Great Way to Improve Your Financial Situation?
Make Exact Staff your career partner. With opportunities coast-to-coast that offer competitive pay and excellent prospects for growth, we can help you earn more – and save more. Search jobs in your area or contact an Exact Staff recruiter to get started.
Is 2016 the year that you become a better leader?
Whether you consider resolutions a boon or bane, you know that improving your leadership skills won’t happen by accident. It will only come from setting SMART goals and changing specific behaviors.
But what habits should you change? What goals should you set? While your objectives will depend on the areas of leadership you want to strengthen, consider these top ways to grow as a leader:
You’re probably great at a lot of things – but that doesn’t mean you have time to do them all! Examine and prioritize your responsibilities, and then get non-critical activities off your plate (Exact Staff can help). Use the time you regain to focus on strategic activities and develop your leadership skills.
Great leaders don’t just give constructive feedback; they welcome it, too. Take a 360-degree assessment to find out where you’re strong and where you could improve. Then, take what you learn to heart and make the required changes.
Think for Yourself
Find yourself influenced by public opinion or trends? Make a conscious effort to form your own opinions – based on solid facts and evidence – instead. Seek out information from a variety of reputable sources to fill your gaps in knowledge and reach sound conclusions. Rely on what others know – not just what they think – to guide your decisions.
Your phone. Your laptop. Your employees. Your clients. As a leader, the demands on your attention are too numerous to count. Instead of being a multi-tasker (i.e., scanning emails while listening to a staffer), try being a serial focuser – and being truly “present” in the moment. The simple act of focusing your attention on one thing at a time dramatically improves performance, which will ultimately improve your ability to lead.
Embrace Constructive Conflict
Great leaders don’t shy away from disagreement, and they’re humble enough to realize that they don’t always know it all. If you’re prone to knee-jerk or emotional reactions to others’ dissenting opinions, try welcoming disagreement. Improve your leadership abilities by truly listening to what others say, evaluating whether or not their ideas and points of view are valid. And if they are, be willing to embrace those ideas. Being an exceptional leader is about producing great results, not just being right.
Become a Better Leader by Choosing the Right Staffing Partner
With a national presence, and a full complement of staffing and placement services, Exact Staff can rapidly deliver exceptional people to build your core team. Improve productivity. And seamlessly flex your workforce to match changing demands.
What can we do for you? Contact a staffing expert at Exact Staff today.
They get defensive.
They call in sick on performance review days.
They nod their heads and promise to change, but keep on doing the same things in the same way.
Let’s face it – some employees just don’t want your management advice or feedback. And if you share it, they’re not likely to take it to heart. Why are they so resistant? Sometimes it’s because of management mistakes like these:
- Only providing negative feedback.
- Criticizing behaviors or performance without sharing practical suggestions for improvement.
- Sharing negative feedback in public.
But other times, the blame rests squarely on employees’ shoulders. When an employee resists or dodges you, how can you get him to accept your feedback? Use these tips from Exact Staff to make your employee less defensive and more receptive to changing his behavior:
Try taking a break from giving performance-related feedback.
If an employee is tuning you out, take a step back. Instead of commenting on his job performance, focus on how he actually processes the feedback you give him.
Explain the importance of accepting feedback.
Your employee may not actually realize that part of his job is to listen to constructive criticism – and then adjust his behavior accordingly. Make sure you “connect the dots” for him. Clearly explain the impact his resistance has on you, his work team, the organization and his own job security.
Stay neutral and open-minded.
Keep your demeanor calm and professional. Withhold judgment and interpretation until after you get his input. And most importantly, don’t tell your employee that he’s being defensive – it’ll only make him more defensive!
It’s tough to share negative feedback. But when you do, be sure to give specific examples to support the point you want to make. Instead of saying, “You’re not living up to your end of the deal,” say, “When you cross your arms and stare at the ground when I attempt to discuss an issue with you, it gives me the impression that you don’t care about your work. Can you help me understand this behavior better?”
Agree on a plan.
When you request a behavior change about how your employee handles feedback, be open to counter-offers. Once you agree on a goal, secure a commitment. Try saying something like, “The next time I have constructive feedback to offer and you have a different perspective, tell me that in our meeting. I’ll listen to your side, and together we’ll work out a plan. Does that work for you?”
Have some feedback for us?
At Exact Staff, we understand and appreciate the importance of constructive feedback in maintaining a productive business relationship. Please contact our national staffing service with your comments, questions or suggestions.
The real secret to creating an outstanding company culture?
Lean a little closer to your screen and we’ll tell you.
The secret is…
…that there is no secret. Or magic formula. Or foolproof method. An amazing culture can’t be created by waving a wand; it takes persistence, patience and team effort (and great ideas, of course!).
So with that out of the way, let’s move onto the real point of this post – which is to provide real-world strategies you can use to build and sustain an outstanding culture:
Be More Authentic
Do whatever you can to make your company more friendly, honest and “human”:
- Adopt a straightforward, proactive communication policy. Skip the mind-numbing “corporate speak” whenever possible and use simpler language to convey your ideas.
- Strive for transparency. Share your big ideas (even if they sound a bit crazy). Bring up the issues and challenges your company is facing – and discuss them as a group.
- Talk about your culture. If you want to improve it, make it a regular part of your work conversations. Find more ways to bond and have fun. And when you detect significant stress or discord, bring it into the light. When you show that you’re willing to discuss challenges (as well as the good things), your employees will be more open to discussing and resolving them, too.
Invest in Your Employees
Give your staff the guidance, opportunity and growth they crave within your company:
- Develop a more robust onboarding program to get new employees off to a better start.
- Meet one-on-one with employees to create a 3-to-5-year career path for each.
- Establish mentoring relationships.
- Offer reimbursement for continuing education, professional training or tuition, so employees can stay at the top of their game (and become even more valuable to your organization).
When you invest in your employees, your teams will work better together. Your entire organization will perform at a higher level. Your employees will know that you’re committed to them – and stay more committed to your business.
Provide the Work/Life Flexibility Employees Need
When employees are stressed out, overworked or unable to meet their commitments outside the office, culture takes a nosedive. Set it on an upward trajectory by resolving to improve your employees’ work/life satisfaction. Here are a few options to consider:
- Job sharing
- Compressed work weeks
- Shifting start/stop times
- Throwing things like sick leave, set working hours, vacation time and PTO out the window. When you have the right kind of people on your team (and a business conducive to this kind of flexibility), you can trust them to plan their time, get their work done, and do what’s best for the company – as well as your customers.
Build a Better Culture with Exact Staff
Temporary employees provide the support your organization needs – keeping your staff happy and working at their peak for you. To find out how Exact Staff can help you create and sustain an amazing culture, schedule a free workforce consultation today.
Want a great New Year’s resolution for your business?
Commit to staying on top of the legislation changes impacting your organization.
Admittedly, employment law isn’t a very glamorous topic, but staying up-to-date and compliant is essential to making the New Year both happy and profitable for your business.
Below, Exact Staff summarizes three new or amended laws that should be on your radar in 2016. While this review is not intended as legal advice, it will help you better understand the impact the legislation could have on your organization:
Closing the Gender Pay Gap with the California Fair Pay Act – SB 358
Taking effect on January 1, 2016, SB 358 has been referred to as “the most aggressive equal pay law in the nation” by employment law firm Fisher & Phillips, and as “the strongest equal pay law in the nation” by Governor Brown. Here’s why. Instead of merely requiring equal compensation for men and women performing equal work, this law calls for pay equity among employees whose jobs are “substantially similar” – effectively lowering the burden of proof for plaintiffs claiming gender-discriminatory pay practices.
The Fair Pay Act also makes it tougher for employers to defend claims, further refining the criteria they must meet to justify pay differences.
Minimum Wage Gets a Hike with phase 3 of MW-2014
Also effective January 1, 2016, the minimum wage in California is $10.00/hr. – the highest in the nation. With this new hike, white-collar workers must now earn more ($3,466/month) for employers to exempt them from overtime pay.
PTO to Care for Kin: SB 579
This Act was amended so that, as of January 1, 2016, employees may take “kin care” leave to care for their grandparents, grandchildren and/or siblings. Furthermore, SB 579 clarifies and broadens the reasons an employee may take leave to include existing health conditions and preventative care (as opposed to just “illnesses”), as well as certain absences resulting from sexual assault, stalking or domestic violence.
Although these laws are specific to California, they could eventually impact states and organizations throughout the country.
Another great New Year’s resolution?
Partner with Exact Staff. Our national employment agency can provide the workforce management advice and solutions to help you make 2016 a productive, profitable year.
Give your local Exact Staff office a call to schedule a free workforce consultation.
Looking for quick and easy ways to improve productivity?
We all are! Boosting productivity is essential to achieving work goals – whether they’re for yourself, your department or your entire organization. Below, Exact Staff shares five tricks that will help you and your team get more done in a snap:
Change Your Mentality
One of the best ways to instantly increase productivity is by resolving to never touch the same thing twice. Instead of filing something away to tend to later:
- Act on it.
- Delegate it.
- Or get rid of it.
When you make decisions about how to handle things as they come in, you don’t bog yourself down with follow-up items that rob you of critical time and focus.
Add “No” to Your Vocabulary
Are you one of those nice people who has a difficult time saying “no” or denying any favor asked of them? Get over it. When you can’t add a task to your plate, be professional – but direct. Vague phrases like “I’m not certain” or “Let me see” are just stalls that waste your (and the requester’s) time.
Tame Email Checking
If you let it, email will continually disrupt your focus and undermine your productivity. So instead of responding to each message as it comes in:
- Set alerts to notify you when important vendors, clients or internal customers contact you.
- Only check your email at predetermined intervals (say, every few hours or so).
- Use your email’s auto-responder feature to notify people of when you’ll be checking your email again.
Acknowledge the Multitasking Myth
Research has proved that multitasking doesn’t work. Why? Because when it comes to the brain’s ability to pay attention, it focuses on concepts sequentially, not on two things at once. The brain has to disengage from one activity in order to engage in another— so you’re not able to give anything your full attention if you’re trying to do more than one thing at one time.
Give your brain a break – and your productivity a boost – by focusing on only one task at a time.
Get Help When You Need It
When work piles up, Exact Staff’s experts are here to:
- Offload low-priority and administrative activities, freeing up more of your time.
- Provide on-demand support, right when you need it.
- Cost-effectively flex your workforce, keeping your business running smoothly.
- Prevent burnout and overwork, both of which can undermine workplace productivity.
Whether you’re up against a deadline, need to staff up for a big project, or want to build your core team, our national staffing agency provides a full complement of staffing and placement services to help you get the most from your workforce.
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
You’re running a successful business – and you know that having a sound plan with measurable objectives is the best way to grow it. For example, when creating your strategic plan for next year, you probably included some sort of an over-arching growth objective like “grow top-line revenue by X percent over the next 12 months.”
Long-term growth goals like these are absolutely essential to establishing a clear direction for your business activities. To your employees, however, achieving them can seem like a daunting task – kind of like eating an elephant.
As a leader, it’s your job to help your employees “eat elephants” one bite at a time – by breaking down massive goals into smaller ones that are shorter-term and less intimidating. Because when it comes right down to it, strategic goals are achieved by picking away at them each day, one task at a time.
So, what’s the best way to devour your company’s “elephant”? Today, Exact Staff shares three tips for achieving your growth objectives in 2016:
You may know that you want to increase revenue by a certain dollar amount or percentage, but how does that translate into your employees’ daily activities? Take that growth goal and create an exact plan, which includes monthly and quarterly targets, to keep your team on track throughout the year. Smaller, shorter-term, time-specific milestones give your strategic goal structure and keep employees from feeling overwhelmed.
Find Ways to Create Momentum
When you set a massive, long-term goal, inertia can be the biggest obstacle to attaining it. To get your team moving, set some easy goals (like holding a brainstorming session, conducting some research or analyzing your sales data) which can be achieved quickly and with minimal effort. Why? When employees have frequent, early success, it creates a snowball effect. Their initial success leads to commitment and hard work, which ultimately fuels future success.
To stay on track throughout the year, revisit your goals regularly. Hold weekly meetings to review your team’s progress toward your growth objectives:
- Check off short-term goals you’ve completed
- Discuss successes and challenges your staff is experiencing
- Determine gaps or obstacles to hitting your goal
- Adjust course (i.e., revise short-term goals) when necessary
Need Talented People to Fuel Your Growth in 2016?
Whether you’re increasing top-line revenue, launching new products or services, or targeting new industries, Exact Staff can supply the right talent for your local or national staffing needs. Contact a recruiter today to discuss your requirements.
Remember Rosie the Riveter?
A cultural icon from the WWII era, Rosie became a symbol of feminism and women’s rise in the workforce.
Since that time, women’s labor force participation rate has steadily increased. And today, women account for over half of U.S. workers.
Needless to say, women have come a long way in the world of work – but they still face considerable obstacles. What are their biggest concerns in today’s workplace? A global study of over 9,500 women by the Thomson Reuters Foundation reveals these top five issues:
Among U.S. respondents, 43% of women rank work-life balance ahead of flexible work hours, insufficient maternity leave and even access to childcare.
In the United States – and around the world – women are becoming more aware that they earn less than men working in the same jobs. Though the gender pay gap between male and female U.S. workers has narrowed over the past few decades, progress has stalled in recent years. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics research, in 2014, women working full-time in the U.S. typically were paid just 79% of what men were paid.
Nearly one-third of the women polled say that they have been harassed at work – but unfortunately, less than 60% report their issues.
The Impact of Having Children on One’s Career
On the positive side, millennial women are more optimistic than older generations when it comes to their role in the workplace. Study results show that younger women are more confident that they can have children without damaging their career.
Equal Career Opportunities
Nearly half (47%) of the U.S. respondents believe that men have better access to career growth and professional development opportunities than women do. And when it comes to starting a business, just 33% of U.S. women surveyed believe they have the same chance of success as men.
In today’s workplace, achieving pay parity, and providing women with the work-life balance and career growth opportunities they need, are business imperatives. Whether you need a single temporary for a day or a comprehensive workforce solution, Exact Staff provides a full complement of staffing and placement services to support your pursuit of these goals.
2016 is almost here – and with it comes the chance to make a fresh start for your company.
No matter what sort of business challenges you struggled with last year – hitting production goals, managing turnover, controlling expenses – the New Year brings new opportunities to reinvent your organization, re-energize your team and turn over a new leaf.
Don’t miss your chance! If you’re ready to shake things up, here are 3 pieces of advice from the Exact Staff team to help you make a fresh start in 2016:
Get out of your box.
The same approaches, the same products and the same services will yield (you guessed it) the SAME RESULTS. The best way to get out of your rut? Try something different! Here are two suggestions for you and your team:
- Get outside your comfort zone. You never know where your company’s next great idea or source of inspiration may come from. It could be from reading a new book, visiting a museum, attending a thought-provoking presentation, taking a class or even talking to a stranger. Challenge your employees to try new things – it’s a sure-fire way to get their creative juices flowing and spark innovation.
- Test a new idea. Should you expand your offerings? Enter a new market? Diversify your business? You’ll never know unless you try. Exact Staff can provide project support to try out a new idea or free your core team to test new concepts.
Make it okay to fail.
To make a new start, you need to take risks. So build a culture that supports calculated risk-taking and outlines parameters for doing so. And when your employees fail, don’t punish them. Support them, learn what you can from their mistakes, and use that knowledge to create a roadmap for future success.
Don’t let perfection paralyze you.
Striving for excellence is admirable, but if pursuit of perfection blinds you to pursuing other smart opportunities, it can actually thwart your growth and change. Be smart about what things actually require “gold plating” in your business – and then create guidelines for areas of your business in which “great” is good enough.
Make your fresh start a success with help from Exact Staff.
No matter what you want to achieve in 2016, Exact Staff can help you get off to a great start. Whether you need short-term assistance, project professionals or talented people to grow your core team, we have the resources and national reach to help you attain your business goals.
Ever get so wrapped up in fighting fires, or managing your job, that you lose sight of the big picture?
There’s a cure for that – and it starts with better goal-setting.
The truth is, it’s easy to get derailed from achieving your growth goals unless you’re deliberate, consistent and structured.
“SMART” Goals Can Help You Stay on Track
If you’re unfamiliar with this common business acronym, SMART goals are:
- Specific: They should describe, in detail, the result that is desired.
- Measurable: Goals must be structured so that it’s very clear whether or not they were met.
- Achievable: Individuals and teams should have the resources, training and experience needed to attain goals.
- Realistic: Goals should be challenging, but not so much so that the chance of success is small.
- Time-based: Goals should have specific timelines so that they’re a tangible priority.
But once you’ve created those SMART goals, how can you ensure they’ll actually help your organization grow in 2016? Use these tips to move from “nice idea” to flawless execution:
Garner Support Beyond Your Executive Team
Involvement breeds commitment! To ensure your goals will be supported company-wide, involve your high performers and thought leaders in every step of execution.
Communicate to Get Everyone on the Same Page
Provide customized, plain-English documentation to each department, emphasizing goals that are most relevant to each group’s work. The better your employees understand what you’re trying to achieve – and how their daily efforts can support your growth – the more likely they are to help you accomplish them.
Create Cascading Goals
Once you’ve rolled out high-level goals, require teams to build measurable goals that support them. This encourages employees to develop ownership responsibility not just for their own accomplishments, but for those of the entire organization.
Revisit Goals Regularly
Meet monthly with personnel who are accountable for reaching your goals. When you get together, ask the employee who is responsible for meeting each objective to give a quick status update. If progress is on track, that’s great; but if growth is behind schedule, discuss the reasons and create a plan to get back on track.
Need Exceptional People to Fuel Your Growth?
Whether you’re launching new products or services, targeting new industries or increasing market penetration, Exact Staff can supply the right talent for your local or national staffing needs. Contact a recruiter today to discuss your requirements.