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  • Power Up Your Workforce

    09/21/15 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers, News | Leave a Comment
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    Ever notice how some employees do the absolute minimum required to keep from getting fired, while others consistently go above and beyond your expectations?

    The difference in their performance is called “discretionary effort.”

    In simplest terms, discretionary effort is effort employees can give to go above and beyond requirements – when they want to. If your organization can find ways to increase discretionary effort, you’ll make huge improvements in productivity and performance.

    So let’s get to it, shall we? Here are a few ideas for powering up your workforce – by driving discretionary effort:

    Increase psychological ownership.

    Your employees are hired to do specific jobs. Their compensation (and desire to keep it flowing) is what drives their performance, right? To an extent, perhaps. But for employees to consistently exert higher discretionary effort, they must have true “psychological ownership” of their work and the outcomes they produce.

    Psychological ownership occurs when an employee’s job is part of his overall work identity. When an individual gets satisfaction from completing a task or accomplishing a goal – and not from merely collecting a paycheck – his productivity and quality increase dramatically.

    To give your employees psychological ownership over their performance:

    • Help them understand and experience the benefits of their work.
    • Explain how employees’ jobs fit into your company’s “big picture” – and make an impact on the company, the community and/or the world at large.
    • Focus on results and outcomes, empowering employees to use their expertise and best judgment to figure out solutions.

    Use “AMP” motivational levers.

    Tony Driscoll recently posted an article on Trainingmag.com which describes Dan Pink’s three intrinsic “motivational levers” for increasing discretionary effort:

    • Autonomy – the ability to control ones’ actions and decisions in the workplace (i.e., greater control over how work is accomplished, as long as it achieves desired outcomes).
    • Mastery – becoming a true expert in what one does.
    • Purpose – creating reasons for “going the extra mile” that reach beyond compensation.

    Essentially, Pink asserts that motivating employees with traditional “carrot and stick” methods (i.e., financial rewards, recognition and fear) yields limited benefits. To truly drive performance long-term, managers must tap into intrinsic motivators like the three listed above.

    Want to get more out of your employees?

    Ensure your team has the support it needs. Serving employers from coast to coast, Exact Staff provides best-in-class solutions to keep your organization functioning at optimal levels. Contact us to schedule a free workforce consultation.


Controlling and Avoiding Workplace Violence

09/18/15 1:57 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers, News | Leave a Comment
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Think violence can’t touch your workplace?

Think again.

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA):

  • Homicide is the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the U.S.
  • Nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year – and an unknown number of additional cases go unreported.
  • Working in small groups, in isolated areas, in jobs where money exchanges hands, in places where alcohol is served, in areas with high crime rates or late at night increases the risk of violence.

The truth is, no organization or individual is immune from violence. It can impact employees, customers, clients, visitors and contingent workers. And no matter how it manifests itself – threats, disruptive behavior, intimidation or physical violence – you should do everything within your power to prevent it.

Today, Exact Staff shares three practical tips for controlling and avoiding workplace violence:

Institute Sound Policies

  • Include a zero-tolerance policy for violence in your employee handbook. Clearly define actions which constitute violence and spell out the consequences for violations.
  • Conduct thorough background checks on all new hires.
  • Train employees on policies, warning signs and personal safety.
  • Create formal grievance procedures, so that disgruntled employees have a non-violent channel for airing complaints.
  • Encourage employees to report incidents.
  • Investigate threats and incidents immediately.
  • Refer troubled employees to your company’s Employee Assistance Program (if you have one).
  • Enforce consequences 100% of the time.

Know the Warning Signs

Every person has a breaking point – but how can you tell the difference between an individual who is merely stressed, and one who may actually get violent at work? Here are a few red-flag behaviors which you and your employees should look for:

  • Extreme language or actions that are out-of-character.
  • Refusing to take responsibility for actions and continually blaming others.
  • Becoming fixated on an individual or situation – to the point where work, social skills or even hygiene suffer.
  • “Acting out” when frustrated – instead of calmly resolving conflicts.
  • Lying.
  • Substance abuse.

Prevent Situations from Escalating

The best way to manage workplace violence is by preventing it from happening:

  • Foster a culture of mutual respect, tolerance, patience and professionalism.
  • If employees work in “high risk” environments for workplace violence, take proactive steps to ensure safety, such as: limiting cash on hand; installing surveillance equipment and alarm systems; and check-in/safety procedures for individuals who work alone or in small groups.
  • Train employees to recognize the warning signs of impending violence, as well as how to respond to threatening situations.
  • Notify and involve law enforcement (and your own security personnel, if you have them) at the first sign an employee may turn violent.

Although there’s no foolproof system for eliminating violence in the workplace, sound policies and proper training can often keep problems from escalating.

As a premier national employment agency, Exact Staff plays an important part in workplace violence prevention by carefully interviewing and screening each candidate referral.

We seek to keep our clients informed with the latest information on all critical issues in the workplace and will continue to bring you top tier ideas and solutions for preventing workplace violence as they become available.



Can You Do That? Tips for Asking Applicants about Criminal History

09/14/15 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers, News | Leave a Comment
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“Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”

If you have any hiring responsibilities, the mere mention of a question like this can raise the hair on the back of your neck. New laws and an extremely vigilant Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have made the process of protecting your organization – while still ensuring great hires – complex, risky and altogether nerve-wracking.

How – and when – and where – can you legally ask applicants about criminal history?

It would be great if there were a simple, cut-and-dry answer. Unfortunately, however, laws vary based upon where your business is located. Here are a few facts you should know:

  • Currently, the U.S. has no “ban-the-box” law that entirely prohibits criminal history inquiries.
  • A growing number of states (including Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island), local governments, cities and counties DO have “ban-the-box” laws that impact private employers.

And here’s what you should do to protect your company:

  • Determine whether or not you operate in a “ban-the-box” jurisdiction (new laws are passed all the time!).
  • If you do operate in one of these jurisdictions:
    • Know the detail of the law – including whether you’re prevented from asking about criminal history entirely.
    • Scrutinize your organization’s job applications to be sure any questions about criminal history comply with applicable laws.
    • Adjust your hiring process, so that it delays inquiries about criminal history until a point at which it’s allowed by law.
    • If yours is a national employer, you’ll have to choose between tailoring your hiring practices to comply with each applicable jurisdiction, and creating a uniform policy that complies with ALL applicable “ban-the-box” laws.
  • Create and enforce a policy for conducting background checks. A good policy is in writing, uses objective criteria and is applied to every candidate in the same way.
  • Train everyone involved in your hiring process on the rules of your background check policy. This ensures that the policy can be applied uniformly, which adds another layer of protection against the risk of a discrimination lawsuit.
  • Avoid adopting a “blanket” background check policy that unilaterally eliminates all applicants with any criminal record.
  • Never ask an applicant about information that is not relevant to the job for which they applied, even if it appears on the criminal background check report.
  • Keep criminal background check information confidential.
  • Always consult a qualified attorney who specializes in employment law if you have specific questions regarding applicable laws in your jurisdiction. While the information in this post is intended to be helpful, it is not a substitute for professional legal advice.

Stay compliant – and hire smart – with Exact Staff.

Exact Staff stays up-to-date on the rapidly changing world of hiring law to:

  • Screen candidates properly
  • Perform legal background and reference checks
  • Offer you the best possible pool of candidates

If you lack the in-house resources to conduct compliant criminal background checks – or just need a little help with the process – we’re here to help you stay safe and hire smart.


3 Ways to Improve Your Overall Workplace Productivity

09/11/15 1:49 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers, News | Leave a Comment
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Feel like you can’t gain traction at work?

Overwhelmed by continual interruptions?

Struggling to focus?

We get it. Honestly, most of us deal with productivity issues at least occasionally. But while the world around you won’t stop so you can catch your breath (and catch up), there ARE things you and your team can do to improve your focus and overall workplace productivity. Here are three fresh ideas from Exact Staff:

Turn “can’t” into “can.”

Hear a lot of great excuses for why employees can’t get things done? Prone to procrastinating yourself? Find ways to eliminate excuses, and you’ll all get more done:

  • When employees offer excuses, ask good questions to get to the root of the problem. Determine if they really “can’t” get something done, or if it’s possible to remove roadblocks, resource constraints or other external factors on which they place blame.
  • Make sure everyone has the tools, time, training and support needed to accomplish objectives.
  • Discuss projects and timelines candidly before “can’ts” arise. Proactively managing expectations helps employees adopt a high-performance mentality which will improve their productivity.

Put time constraints on daily tasks.

According to Parkinson’s law, work expands to fill the time available for its completion. In other words, if you give an employee an hour to complete a task, he’ll get it done in an hour. And if you give him an hour and a half, he’ll take the full hour and a half to complete the exact same task.

The lesson here? A little structure can go a long way toward improving productivity. Assemble a team to analyze processes, procedures and everyday tasks throughout your organization. Develop realistic estimates for how long each should take, and then set time budgets for their completion moving forward. This doesn’t make you a “task master”; it makes you a smart business professional. By putting realistic time constraints on common tasks, you encourage employees to get down to business quickly – and waste less time.

Access others who can help you.

When work piles up, it can be tough to focus on accomplishing your highest priorities. An experienced staffing partner like Exact Staff can serve as a valuable ally in driving your productivity:

  • Offload low-priority and administrative activities to free up more time for key priorities.
  • Meet tight deadlines.
  • Cost-effectively flex your workforce to keep your business running smoothly when things get busy.
  • Prevent burnout and overwork, both of which can undermine workplace productivity.

Looking to improve overall productivity in your workplace?

Exact Staff is here to support you. Whether you’re up against a deadline, need to staff up for a big project, or want to build your core team, our national employment agency provides a full complement of staffing and placement services to help you get the most from your workforce.



4 Power Foods to Eat in the Morning to Increase Productivity

08/21/15 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : News | Leave a Comment
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Want to boost productivity by 20 percent?

Get off to a better nutritional start in the morning.

According to the World Health Organization, consuming the right foods can improve brain power by as much as 20 percent. Furthermore, healthy morning eating habits can reduce sick days, boost morale and even reduce accidents at work.

But while the benefits of great nutrition are clear, knowing exactly which foods will really kick start your day can be a bit of a mystery.

Don’t worry; we have you covered! Broaden your breakfast with these four a.m. power foods – and boost productivity for you and your team.


  • Rich in antioxidants, berries of all types increase memory. And the darker the berry, the more rich it is in antioxidants.
  • Blueberries, in particular, are packed with anthocyanins. Thought to be responsible for neuron protection, this powerful antioxidant may enhance learning.
  • Put more berries in your breakfast. Try a berry smoothie, a berry and yogurt parfait, or a triple-berry fruit cup.


  • Quick energy comes from glucose – and bananas are a tasty (and filling) resource for this energy-inducing ingredient. In fact, just one banana contains all the glucose your body needs for an entire day, wrapped in its own beautiful yellow package.
  • Bananas are a healthier option for getting your glucose than cane sugar or other carb-heavy foods (which are often devoid of other nutrition).
  • Put more bananas in your breakfast. Try a peanut butter and banana smoothie; add banana to your berry and yogurt parfait (see above); or slice banana onto your morning cereal.


  • Packed with choline (which helps your body produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that boosts memory), eggs work to stimulate your brain’s reactive sensors.
  • Eggs are an excellent source of tyrosine, which creates chemicals that regulate your mood, alertness and attention span.
  • Eggs are also loaded with protein, which provides slow-digesting, sustained energy.
  • Put more eggs in your breakfast. Try them poached, fried, hard-boiled or in an omelet.

Green Tea

  • Okay, it’s technically a beverage, but green tea packs as much nutritional power as other power foods – including polyphenols (another powerful antioxidant).
  • Green tea also contains a moderate amount of caffeine, but it isn’t as likely to jangle your nerves as coffee.
  • Put more green tea in your breakfast. Switch out your morning cup of joe for a cup of steeped green tea, or try matcha. It’s powdered green tea, so you get the added value of fiber.

Employees super busy?

Maximize their performance by helping them make better morning food choices, and by providing the support they need. Whether it’s a single temporary for a day or an entire project team, Exact Staff provides a range of staffing and placement services to increase productivity and create a healthier bottom line.


Avoid These LinkedIn Photo Mistakes that Look Unprofessional

08/17/15 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : News | Leave a Comment
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New to LinkedIn? Want to polish up your existing profile?

Then focus on your photo. Why?

  • Your LinkedIn photo is one of the first things people look at.
  • According to LinkedIn, your profile is 11 times more likely to be viewed if it has a photo.
  • If you’re on the job market, recruiters make snap judgments (consciously and subconsciously) about your professionalism and viability as a candidate based on this one photo.

Right or wrong, your profile picture makes a HUGE difference in the success of your job search and your professional career. But the good news is, you can stack the deck in your favor – IF your photo sends the right message.

Convey a professional, positive image by avoiding these LinkedIn photo fails:

The Microscope.

Make sure your photo isn’t so zoomed in that viewers can count your eyelashes – or so zoomed out that viewers can’t make out your features. As a rule of thumb, your face should take up about 60% to 70% of the frame.

The Slacker.

Wearing a dingy t-shirt? Reclining on your sofa? Holding a cocktail? Even if your hair looks great and your smile is confident, photos like these don’t help your career. So don’t use them. Make sure you’re sitting upright and wearing clothing that’s appropriate for a workday in your profile picture – because that’s how other professionals should think of you.

The Moldy Oldie.

Considering using a photo of your “younger self?” If the photo is old enough to see a PG movie, ditch it. Outdated images look, well, OLD – and may make others wonder what you’re hiding. Show that you like your current self, and that you’re on top of your game, by uploading a photo from within the past two years.

The Macabre.

Unless you work (or want to work) in a haunted house, skip photos that are dark or were taken in harsh lighting (scrutinize them for creepy shadows cast across your face). Use a picture that was taken in natural light or a well-lit indoor location.

The Selfie.

Arms-length photos? They’re fine for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – but definitely not LinkedIn. Even if you hate having your picture taken, ask a friend, family member or professional to snap your picture for you.

Don’t ignore the background!

Your fellow professionals size you up based on the context of your photo. So if that great headshot was taken at a bar or a pool party, skip it. Take a new photo which recaptures that relaxed smile in a more appropriate setting.

Need help with your job search strategy?

Contact an Exact Staff Career Agent. As a national employment agency, our recruiting experts can help you identify your strengths, evaluate your career options, and find assignments and full-time positions that align with your goals. Search open jobs here.

Conquer Your Inbox | Here’s How

08/14/15 1:00 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : News | Leave a Comment
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It’s official:

Email is running our business lives.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, we spend, on average, 13 hours per workweek reading, deleting, sorting and sending emails. That’s over a quarter of a typical 40-hour week! Honestly, it’s a wonder we get anything accomplished in the office.

The key to greater workplace productivity? Conquer your inbox. Here’s how:

Stop the flood.

How many unwanted emails do you delete every time you check your inbox? Stop the barrage by conducting a simple search in your email program for the term “unsubscribe.” This pulls all the messages you receive from recurring senders. Scan the results and unsubscribe from senders who clog your inbox with irrelevant, unsolicited emails that waste your time.

Don’t check your email first thing.

Nope, that’s not a typo. While this may sound counterintuitive – even counterproductive – there’s sound logic behind tabling your first email check of the day (at least for a bit). When you plunge headfirst into your inbox without a clear plan for the day, you are automatically forced into “reactive mode:”

  • addressing yesterday’s fires;
  • responding to others’ requests; and
  • potentially shifting your priorities and derailing your workday.

Email is important, but checking it shouldn’t be the first item on your To-Do list. Keep control of your day by establishing your priorities first, and then adjusting them based on what you find in your inbox.

Check your email at regularly scheduled intervals.

If you drop everything to immediately answer incoming messages, you get off task and undermine your productivity. It’s way smarter to “batch” your email-checking activities, instead. Decide how often to check your email, whether it’s once an hour, every 15 minutes, or whatever works for your schedule. Then, only check messages at those pre-determined intervals.

Implement the “OHIO” rule: Only Handle It Once.

Immediately take care of the issue you find in each email. If that’s not possible, forward it to someone else to handle, file it to an appropriate folder, or schedule it for a later time.

Use built-in productivity tools.

For all those emails you have to “get to later,” don’t just flag them. Learn and use the productivity tools your email program contains to organize, prioritize and tame an otherwise unruly inbox. For example, Outlook allows you to color-code flagged items, create “rules” for incoming emails, and even setup a filing system for important emails that you need to save.

Conquering your inbox is one great way to improve productivity, but sometimes you need extra help to get things done. Exact Staff is here for you!

As a leading national staffing firm, we provide a full complement of staffing and placement services to improve focus. Eliminate busywork. Save time and money. And relieve administrative burdens that slow you down. Give us a call to find out what we can do for you.


The Most Influential People Have These Habits

08/7/15 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : News | Leave a Comment
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Barack Obama. Pope Francis. Bill Gates. Oprah Winfrey.

No matter how you feel about these individuals, you can’t deny this simple truth:

They’re some of the most influential people in the world.

They speak their minds. Sway people’s opinions. And leave an indelible mark on everything they touch.

What’s their secret?

In a word, discipline. Influential people have created key habits for themselves which drive their success and enable them to make a profound impact on others. The good news? You can adopt these same habits – and become more influential, yourself.

Here are four habits to start working on:

Think for yourself.

If you’re easily swayed by public opinion or trends, strive to form your own opinions based on facts and evidence. 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.

Pay attention to nonverbal cues.

Posture, tone of voice, and eye contact all send powerful nonverbal messages – and present opportunities for exerting influence. Show that you’re connected to the person you’re speaking with by mirroring their body language. Modeling another’s nonverbal behavior makes them feel more at ease, and therefore more open to your ideas and influence.

Tell others that you have faith in them.

When others know that you believe in them, they will work harder – and outside their comfort zone – to achieve what you expect from them. Make it clear to those you wish to influence that you’re confident in their abilities. They’ll be inclined to prove you right.

Embrace constructive conflict.

Influential people don’t shy away from disagreement – and they’re humble enough to realize that they don’t always know it all. Guard against knee-jerk emotional and defensive reactions to others’ dissenting opinions. Instead, welcome disagreement. Listen to what others say. Consider whether or not their ideas and points of view are valid. And if they are, be willing to embrace those ideas – because achieving a good end result is more important than being right.

Expanding your sphere of influence is a great way to attract talented candidates to your organization. But for those times when you need help with the process, Exact Staff is here for you.

With a national presence, and a full complement of staffing and placement services, we 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 your local Exact Staff office today.



OSHA Compliance Update: How to Provide a Safe Workplace for Employees

07/30/15 5:48 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : News | Leave a Comment
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Date: Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Time: 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM PST

Cost: Free for Exact Staff clients


Led by Mike Rubell of the OSHA Defense League*

  • Review of New Regulations including all New GHS Rules
  • Discussion of the Most Frequently Cited Violations and How to Prevent Them
  • What to do if OSHA appears unexpectedly in your lobby
  • Least known OSHA violations and their potential costs and penalties
  • Q & A – you can submit a question PRIOR to the webinar and Mike will answer during the webinar


Register online by emailing to ginas@exactstaff.com – request to participate and you will receive an email back with access details. For additional registration needs or questions, contact ginas@exactstaff.com or call 818-348-1100 and ask for Gina Sarracino.

*Mike Rubell, MBA, Certified Safety Professional, is a regulatory compliance consultant with over 25 years of experience. He is the founder of National Compliance Institute, an independent full service environmental, health and safety consulting firm. The company specializes in bringing small to Fortune 500 sized businesses from all industries into regulatory compliance with such agencies as OSHA, EPA, DOT (Department of Transportation), and EDD on both state and federal levels. He serves as a consultant and expert witness on all OSHA related matters. Mike is the founder of the OSHA Defense League and produces OSHANEWS.COM Safety Compliance Newsletter.

EXACT STAFF – 818.348.1100

10 of the Most Commonly Misspelled Words in Business Correspondence

07/24/15 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : News | Leave a Comment
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Whether you’re an experienced manager or a recent graduate looking for your first job, one thing is for certain:

Mispelled misspelled words make you look ignorant.

And nobody wants that (especially in business correspondence)!

So before you send that email, upload that proposal or submit that resume, make sure it doesn’t contain one of these commonly misspelled words:

  1. Incorrect: seperate. Correct: separate (tip: remember the “par”).
  2. Incorrect: accomodate. Correct: accommodate (tip: remember that this word has two sets of double letters).
  3. Incorrect: definate. Correct: definite (tip: remember the “nite”).
  4. Incorrect: calender. Correct: calendar (tip: emphasize the “dar” as you write the word).
  5. Incorrect: arguement. Correct: argument (tip: remember to drop the middle “e”).
  6. Incorrect: embarass. Correct: embarrass (tip: this one also has two sets of double letters).
  7. Incorrect: existance. Correct: existence (tip: no “a” exists in this word).
  8. Incorrect: judgement. Correct: judgment (tip: drop the “e” before adding the suffix).
  9. Incorrect: liason. Correct: liaison (tip: remember the second “i”).
  10. Incorrect: perseverence. Correct: perseverance (tip: think of the word “severance” with a prefix).

“But I have a spell checker!”

That may be, but you shouldn’t trust it. Unfortunately, many programs miss homonym errors (i.e., incorrect usage of a real word), which are just as bad as typos. Here are the most common culprits:

  • “Too” (also) and “to” (preposition).
  • “Your” (possessive pronoun) and “you’re” (contraction for “you are”).
  • “Their” (possessive pronoun), “they’re” (contraction for “they are”) and “there” (adverb describing location).
  • “Its” (possessive pronoun) and “it’s” (contraction for “it is”).

Nobody is perfect, but we hope these tips will help you send correspondence that’s as close to error-free as possible!

Searching for that “perfect” temporary or new hire?

Exact Staff can help with that, too!

We go beyond job descriptions to uncover what candidates truly need to thrive in your organization. Whether your requirements are local or national, temp or direct-hire, we’ll deliver the exact talent solution you need.