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Exact Staff News

  • Feeling Overwhelmed? These Tips Will Help Change That

    02/23/18 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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    Feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone:

    • A Families and Work Institute study cited in this ABC News article showed that more than half of U.S. employees feel overworked or overwhelmed at least some of the time.
    • Research compiled by The American Institute of Stress show that job stress has escalated progressively over the past few decades – contributing to increased rates of heart attack, hypertension and other disorders.

    And we pay a big price for that stress – over $300 billion annually for U.S. businesses – due to accidents, absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity, workers’ compensation awards and more.

    As a nation, we’re stressed out. Burned out. And feeling generally overwhelmed by the lives we lead.

    Where did things go so wrong? And more importantly, what can you do to alleviate that awful feeling that you’re being crushed by the weight of your work?

    There’s no “quick fix,” but small changes can have a big impact on your ability to relax, focus and cope more effectively. Here are a few ideas to try:

    Don’t Believe the Hype

    “I’m soooo busy.” “I’m buried.” “I have too many plates spinning.” You probably hear phrases like this all the time at work, right? Have you ever considered why? As a society, we’ve been programmed to associate busyness with success. In a weird way, stress has become a status symbol: If you’re busy (or present yourself as such), people assume you’re smart, competent and worthy of admiration.

    Don’t buy into it! Change your self-talk, as well as how you speak to others about your workload. Unless you relinquish the notion that overwhelmed = successful, you’ll never be able to make the changes you need.

    Record and Prioritize

    Get all your to-do’s out of your head – and onto some form of list, whether you choose a cloud-based organization tool or a low-tech notebook. Writing down everything that’s on your mind instantly reduces your worry and is the first step in getting organized.

    Then, get ruthless. Accept the fact that you probably won’t accomplish everything on that list, today, without help. Decide what’s most important, what can wait and what you need to delegate. Resolve to tackle your highest priority items first.

    Adopt Better Productivity Habits

    Boosting productivity is essential to achieving work goals. And when you check more things off your list, you’ll be less overwhelmed (no surprise there, right?). In this post, our team shares 5 productivity hacks that will give you a little more breathing room each day.

    Improve the Way You Start and End Each Work Day

    If your office looks like a bomb hit it when you leave in the evening, guess what? You’re going to walk into that same whirling vortex of entropy the next morning. If you’re looking for tips to make your day more sane and productive, bookend it with the habits we share in this earlier post, “How Successful People Begin and End Their Workdays.”

    Make Time for Yourself

    One of the best ways to combat feeling overwhelmed is by carving out time to do things that you truly enjoy – whatever those may be. And when you schedule time for yourself, make it non-negotiable. Do what you must to feed your spirit and take care of yourself.

    Are you or your staff members overwhelmed at work?

    Adequate staffing levels can alleviate feelings of being overwhelmed, improving focus, productivity and engagement throughout your organization.

    Whether it’s a single temporary for a day or an entire project team, Exact Staff delivers exceptional talent to meet your local or national requirements. What can we do for you? Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.

How Filler Words and Tiny Pauses Keep Conversations from Going off the Rails

02/16/18 3:21 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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Umm…

So…

Mmhmmm

In this earlier post, “Words and Phrases Smart People Never Use in Conversation,” we explained why filler words like these can make you sound less intelligent than you really are.

But hold on a second (well, 200 milliseconds, to be exact). According to N.J. Enfield, a professor of linguistics at the University of Sydney, filler words and tiny conversational pauses are actually important communication tools.

Yep, you read that right.

When interviewed by The Atlantic’s Julie Beck, Enfield elaborated on how little words and short silences act as “traffic signals” to keep dialogues from going off the rails. Here are a few interesting takeaways from the interview:

  • When one person asks another a question, it takes approximately 200 milliseconds for them to respond – which is faster than the half-second it takes the human brain to retrieve the words needed to respond! In other words, humans put the conversational cart before the horse, relying on contextual cues (e.g., tone, content of speech) to anticipate when it’s their turn to talk next.
  • Conversational minutiae – things like filler words and pauses longer than 200 milliseconds – are indispensable tools that keep the wheels of the “conversation machine” greased and steer communications in the direction people want them to go.
  • If there’s more than a 200-millisecond delay from when one person stops speaking and the other responds, it’s a sign that the person responding either:
    • is having trouble finding the right words to say – typically because the question posed is difficult;
    • is delaying their response, because it’s likely not what the speaker wants to hear.
  • Words like “mmhmmm” and “uh-huh” can greatly smooth the operation of the conversation machine. One study showed that distracting listeners from using these words appropriately caused the speaker to circle back more and repeat themselves when telling a story. In essence, offering a reassuring “mmhmmm” to a speaker makes them a more proficient, fluid storyteller.

Should you eliminate words like “uh” and “well” from your vocabulary?

Unless you habitually rely on them to introduce or bridge ideas, probably not. Instead, pay attention to how you use filler words, or ask someone you trust for their candid feedback. If you find that your speech is riddled with “ums,” for example, try mixing things up a bit – or opting for the occasional pause to keep your conversations on track.

Need temporary employees or new hires who are articulate and professional?

Exact Staff moves 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.

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Three Important Things Great Leaders Do Every Day

02/9/18 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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At Exact Staff, we’re continually searching for ways to improve the effectiveness of our organization’s leaders. And when we find great new ideas, we share them here!

Over the years, we’ve written dozens of posts to help you grow as a leader by:

In today’s leadership wisdom post, we’re sharing three more fundamentals from Mary Ann McLaughlin, Managing Partner with Butler Street.

After being flooded with advice and information while attending a three-day leadership conference, McLaughlin had an epiphany. While each of the speakers in the presentations she attended had a slightly different approach and message, she realized that leadership success boiled down to these three basic elements.

Clear, Written Goals

The most effective leaders use SMART goals to keep their sights on the future and aligned with their organization’s big picture. In this post, we review how you can create Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based goals to achieve more.

Action Plans

Leadership success is the direct result of intentional decisions, choices and actions. Those who are most effective at leading others make every move in support of their overarching goals. They make plans, they follow through on their commitments, and they make adjustments – not excuses – when they miss the mark.

Disciplined Habits

What separates great leaders from wannabes? Disciplined leadership habits, even in the face of distractions, crises or triumphs. Successes and failures come and go. Opportunities and threats continually evolve. Markets, industries and economic conditions can change on a dime. Great leaders are consistent and disciplined in how they conduct themselves, no matter what the world throws their way.

Every leader has a unique approach, and each takes a different path to success. Regardless of their personality, background or management style, however, all leaders can become more successful with the right goals, action plans and habits.

Want to be a better leader – or hire better leaders for your team?

 Choose the Right Staffing Partner

A national staffing and recruiting partner like Exact Staff can improve your leadership effectiveness by delivering the exact staffing solutions you need – exactly when you need them. Ready to get started? Contact your local Exact Staff office today.

These Phrases Make You Sound Clueless at Work

01/26/18 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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The language you use at work can inspire, inform, persuade and instill trust – or make you sound utterly clueless.

Which side of the communication fence do you stand on?

The truth is, all of us are occasionally undisciplined in our word choices. But if you’re habitually using any of the following words or phrases, you could be making yourself sound less intelligent than you are, and even undermining your career success:

Profanity.

You know that colleague who just received a promotion for incessant cursing? No, you don’t – because that person doesn’t exist. Vulgar language does more than dumb you down; it also offends others. Just don’t do it.

Um…Whatever!

Words like “whatever,” “like,” and “totally” were cool for about five minutes in the 1980s. Like the mullet, they have not come back in style – nor do they make you sound intelligent.

Overuse of Jargon

Appropriately using industry terminology is one thing; littering your vocabulary with meaningless business jargon is another. Eliminate these cringeworthy phrases from your lexis – and instantly boost your perceived IQ:

  • Deep dive
  • Maximizing ROI
  • Drill down
  • Value added
  • Close the loop
  • Secret sauce

“Can’t” and “Don’t”

While you can’t eliminate these words from your vocabulary (see what we did there?), you should minimize their use, especially when describing your commitments to others. Besides being negative, these words subtly imply inability or unwillingness to do something.

For example, instead of telling someone, “I can’t get that report to you until next Tuesday,” say, “I will have that report to you by next Tuesday.” The messages are subtly different, and the latter makes you sound more responsible, confident and capable.

Texting Acronyms

OMG save them for your smartphone.

Verbal Redundancies

When you piggyback two words with overlapping meanings, it indicates that you don’t really understand their meaning. Here are a few examples you should drop from your vocabulary:

  • Close proximity
  • Estimated at about
  • Past experience
  • Very unique
  • Whether or not

Need Intelligent, Articulate Candidates?

Exact Staff’s experts carefully screen candidates to identify smart professionals who will thrive in your organization. Whether your requirements are local or national, temporary or direct we’ll deliver the exact talent and solutions you need.

 

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Productive Mornings Start with Great Nighttime Rituals

01/22/18 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Ever have one of those mornings when you’re feeling positive, full of energy, focused and ready to tackle whatever work throws your way?

We think you need more of those.

Sure, it helps to have a solid morning routine. But if you want to make dramatic improvements in your happiness and productivity in the a.m., change what you do the night before.

What, exactly, should you do differently at the end of your workday to set yourself up for morning success? Here are a few suggestions:

Disconnect

Tempted to check work email right before bed? Don’t. The last thing you need is to be lying in your bed, planning your response to a client or worrying about a message your boss sent. And honestly, you shouldn’t just unplug from work, you should unplug from EVERYTHING. As you may know, the blue light emitted by monitors and phone screens disrupts your circadian rhythm – making it harder to fall asleep.

Establish a time buffer between when you disconnect and when you lay your head on the pillow. You’ll fall asleep faster and with a clearer mind.

Put More Weekend in Your Weeknight

Weekends are great for a reason: We spend more time with our family and friends, doing things we love. So, if all you do is nightly couch-surfing Sunday through Thursday, change your routine. You don’t have to go out to extravagant dinners seven nights a week. Simply making mid-week plans to spend two hours with someone you love will make you happier at bedtime – and in the morning, too.

Skip the Tube Time

Watching a few hours of TV at night may numb your mind, but it doesn’t do much to help your brain recover or make you feel better about yourself. Research, however, shows that actively engaging in a hobby – doing things you’re good at, and trying to become better at them – significantly increases happiness and success.

Reflect on Your Day

Start a (paper) gratitude journal. At the end of the day, write down three things for which you’re thankful. No matter how small they are, habitually recalling these positive experiences will help you escape the mental torture of reliving negative things that occurred during your day. Over time, you will rewire your brain to become more optimistic at day’s end. That good feeling will set you up for better sleep and set the stage for a better morning.

Looking for Other Ways to Boost Productivity?

Exact Staff is here to support you. Whether your team is up against a deadline, planning your next big project, or ready to grow, our national employment agency provides a full complement of staffing and placement services to help you get more done (which makes everyone happier).

 

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Secrets to Writing Clear and Effective Emails

01/19/18 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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Email. Whether you love it or abhor it, two things are true:

It’s an indispensable part of business.

And it isn’t going by the wayside anytime soon.

Yet, as ubiquitous a form of communication email is, many professionals are bad at using it – sending dense blocks of text, spamming inboxes with unnecessary “Reply All” emails, leaving out essential pieces of information…you get the picture.

If you know someone whose email communication skills could use a little polishing, share these secrets to writing clearer, more effective messages:

Have a Singular Purpose

The best emails have one goal or ask one question. Instead of sending someone your stream of consciousness, organize your thoughts first. Choose an overarching purpose for your communication, and distill your message into one salient point. If you struggle to do this, it’s a sign that you may need to have a real-time conversation with the person you’re messaging.

Be Brief

Do you relish reading five long paragraphs of text in an email? Neither do your recipients. Keep your message as short as possible and get to the point – quickly.

Front-Load Essentials

Have an important question to ask or critical piece of information to share? Put it at the beginning of your email or even in the subject line.

Use Formatting Tools

Most email clients have robust features (e.g., numbered lists, highlighter tools, font families) you can use to organize your information and call attention to important details. Remember, recipients may only scan your email – make it easy for them to find what they need.

Write in Active Voice

Clarity is essential in email. Active voice (i.e., when the subject of the sentence performs the action described by the verb) leads to more concise, effective and confident communications.

Respect Conversation Participants

Before you automatically hit “Reply All,” consider whether everyone truly needs to read your response. Likewise, be sure to CC or BCC individuals who need to be kept looped into conversations. A few moments’ thought can go a long way toward improving the flow of information.

Don’t Include Sensitive Information

What would happen if a co-worker forwarded the content of your email without reading it carefully? In situations where you must email confidential or otherwise sensitive information, clearly mark it as such.

The moral of today’s post? Think before you type. A little mental discipline – and application of these email tips – can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your emails.

What Can Exact Staff Do For You?

Whether you want to improve focus, save time and money, relieve administrative burdens or grow your core team, our national employment agency is here to help. Drop us an email or give us a call today.

Surprising Things Incredibly Productive People Do

01/16/18 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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Daydreaming? Ignoring emails? Staring at pictures of puppies?

They may sound like a recipe for disaster at work – but they can boost your performance.

Over the years, we’ve been programmed to equate success with working relentlessly at breakneck speed. In reality? High performance comes from working smarter, not harder.

So, before you automatically discount these unusual productivity hacks, hear us out:

Daydream

Conventional wisdom dictates that you must stay “focused” and “on-task” to be productive. But recent research has shown that occasionally allowing yourself to zone out, goof off and daydream can actually boost performance.

Daydreaming engages the brain, freeing your mind from “tunnel vision” that prevents you from fully accessing your memory and tapping into your creativity. And research shows that brief mental vacations provide a needed boost your focus, attention and productivity. Want to learn more? Check out this earlier post we published on the value of daydreaming.

Take a “Cuteness Break”

Looking at pictures of adorable baby animals may sound like a complete waste of time, but a study conducted at Japan’s Hiroshima University found that this simple practice can help your mind to focus better. In fact, the effect is so dramatic that this increased ability to focus lingers even after you move on to less “adorable” activities.

Ignore Your Email

Email is an essential communication tool, but incessant notifications can really interrupt your thinking and derail your productivity. Instead of dropping everything the instant an email arrives, process it in batches at pre-determined intervals throughout the day. And if quick response is critical for certain people, setup alerts for those senders – so you’re only interrupted when you must be.

Get into a “Vegetative” State

Plants and other types of greenery provide a micro-restorative burst according to psychologists Steve and Rachel Kaplan’s (University of Michigan) “attention restoration theory.” The pair has shown how the presence of plants increases our ability to recall greater quantities of information. Plants also enhance productivity. A study cited in this Entrepreneur.com article concluded that an office ornamented with plants can increase employee productivity by 15 percent.

Eat Frogs First

The metaphorical kind, mind you. When you have something tough or unpleasant to do, tackle it first. The logic makes sense: When you reach one of your toughest goals in the morning, it creates momentum, a positive mindset and more time to do things that excite and inspire you.

These unconventional ideas can be great productivity boosters, but sometimes they’re just not enough to help you accomplish everything you need to do. If you could use an extra hand, Exact Staff is ready to lend one!

As a leading national employment agency, we provide a range of staffing and placement services to save time. Increase focus. Eliminate busywork. And relieve administrative burdens. Give us a call to find out what we can do for you.

 

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Common Career Mistakes to Avoid at All Cost

12/22/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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You were passed over for that promotion.

You were never called in for that interview.

You thought that, by this point, you’d be much further along in your career.

Where did things go wrong?

It’s natural to be disheartened, frustrated, even a little confused when your career feels like it’s off the rails – especially when you don’t understand why. Could it be something you’ve done – or that you aren’t doing?

Time for a little detective work.

Make sure you’re not committing any of these fundamental career mistakes:

Not believing in yourself.

“Imposter syndrome” – the idea that your success is undeserved or happened by accident – is common among professionals. And left unaddressed, it can hold you back from achieving your full potential in your career. If you struggle with feelings of inadequacy:

  • Monitor your self-talk. When a negative thought pops up, ask yourself: “Am I being reasonable?” Focus on your strengths to get your mindset back on track, repeating positive affirmations about your skills, experience and accomplishments.
  • Leave your failures where they belong. In the past! We all make mistakes at work. Learn what you can from them, but don’t let them paralyze you.
  • Talk about imposter syndrome with someone you trust outside of work. An objective “outsider” can shed impartial light on the reasons your fears are irrational.

Ignoring the modern job-search players and process.

As organizations, recruiting technology and work itself becomes more complex, so does the hiring “ecosystem.” Whether you’re aiming for a promotion or a job with a new company, make sure you get to know these key decision-makers in the process:

  • the HR manager;
  • the hiring manager or department head;
  • the headhunter, external recruiter or internal recruiter.

Then, take decisive action. Instead of waiting for an interview to come to you, market yourself! Use your “marketing toolkit” (i.e., resume, portfolio or other work examples, LinkedIn recommendations and professional network) and relationships you’ve established with the contacts above to proactively make the case for your candidacy.

Acting entitled.

Doing your job adequately is seldom enough to merit advancement or land a better opportunity. If you want to advance your career, don’t behave as if you’ve already “paid your dues.” Go above and beyond by:

  • volunteering for stretch assignments;
  • tackling jobs nobody else wants to do;
  • continually searching for solutions to business problems.

And have a great attitude when you do it! There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance; acting like “you’ve got this one in the bag” may irritate decision makers who can accelerate your career growth. Characteristics such as humility, a solid work ethic, and a focus on growth, however, are a winning combination if you want to level up in your career.

Ready to take your career or your organization to new levels of success?

Across the country, Exact Staff’s experts connect talented, career-minded professionals with the right opportunities in leading organization to drive productivity, performance and success.

What can the Exact Family of Companies do for you?

Contact our national employment agency today.

7 Striking Differences Between Amateurs and Professionals

12/21/17 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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Amateur or professional?

Regardless of industry, functional discipline or role, most of us prefer to be thought of as the latter. But what, exactly, sets true professionals apart – and how can you make that transformative leap from “wannabe” to “the real deal”?

The first step is to understand these stark differences between amateurs and professionals:

Continual Improvement

While amateurs may rest on their laurels when they achieve something, professionals never reach the finish line. They realize that any achievement is just a stepping stone on their path of continual improvement.

Process

Amateurs and professionals both have goals, but pros don’t stop there. They create processes and adopt habits that ensure they stay on track in pursuit a goal.

Consistency

Amateurs do their best work when they’re motivated. Professionals show up every day, stick to a schedule, and do their best work even when they don’t feel like it. Most of us are inconsistent when it comes to pursuing our goals, letting life get in the way; professionals know what’s important to them and work toward it with purpose.

Action

Amateurs wait for clarity (of purpose and of what they are); pros take action. True professionals know that clarity often only comes through action, and that they must sometimes perform their way to professionalism.

Tolerance for failure

Amateurs fear failure, while professional crave it. Pros see failures for what they are: temporary setbacks, from which they can learn and grow. And unlike amateurs, professionals don’t internalize failure. They realize that mistakes are a necessary, valuable byproduct of pushing the limits of their abilities and taking calculated risks.

Accountability

Amateurs prefer committees and group decision-making, so blame won’t fall on them when something goes wrong. Professionals feel comfortable making decisions as individuals, and they hold themselves accountable for delivering results.

Usefulness of Conflict

Amateurs view disagreements as threats, while professionals know that constructive conflict provides important opportunities to learn and make smarter business decisions. Rather than shying away from conflict, professionals embrace it, explore it and work through uncomfortable situations respectfully.

No matter where you are in your career journey, there is always room to grow as a professional. Take the time to consider these important distinctions, and you’ll discover ways to make great strides in your professional development.

One Important Step to Take?

Work with True Staffing Professionals.

Exact Staff’s national staffing and placement services can help you – and your entire organization – operate more productively, effectively and professionally. Contact your local Exact Staff office today.

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People Judge You Based on These Little Things

12/18/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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The way you interact with a waitress.

Your shoes.

Using conversational crutches like “so” or “anyway.”

What do little things like these tell the world about you?

A lot, apparently! Right or wrong, our brains are hardwired to make sense out of situations. As a result, we make all kinds of snap judgments about strangers – ranging from political affiliation to emotional stability – based on seemingly insignificant things.

Oh yes, people are judging you every day. If you want those appraisals to be favorable, pay attention to these details:

The Way You Treat Waitresses, Receptionists and Other Service Personnel

If you meet someone new for lunch, they’ll obviously judge you based on how you treat them. But make no mistake: If you’re rude to the person who takes your order, it’ll quickly erase any goodwill you’ve built with your new acquaintance. How you interact with support staff is surprisingly indicative of your personality, because it gives others a sense for how you treat people in general. So be nice and polite to everyone you encounter.

How Long It Takes You to Ask a Question

Ever come away from a conversation with someone you just met knowing a TON about them – and then realize that they know absolutely nothing about you? More than likely, it’s because they spent the entire time talking about themselves.

People who prattle on endlessly about themselves tend to be self-absorbed and loud. Not interested in making that kind of first impression? Then strike a healthy balance of give-and-take when meeting someone new. You’ll come across as an interesting person who’s attentive and a good conversationalist.

Your Shoes

In a University of Kansas study, researchers found that people were able to correctly judge a stranger’s age, income, political affiliation and more all by looking at the type and quality of their shoes. While it’s unsurprising that study participants accurately guessed gender and age based on shoes, it’s worth noting that they also made accurate assessments about attachment anxiety, agreeableness and political leanings based on footwear. Shoes – who knew?

The Way You Converse

Undisciplined language and seemingly innocuous comments can easily be misinterpreted – and forever impact another’s perception of you. Want to keep your foot out of your mouth? Check out this earlier post, “Words and Phrases Smart People Never Use in Conversation,” which includes tips for preventing misunderstandings, demonstrating your EQ and making a great first impression.

Snap Judgements and Hunches May Be Inevitable, but They Won’t Help You Hire Effectively.

What will?

A proven, disciplined and comprehensive assessment process – which happens to be our strong suit! Whether your requirements are local or national, temporary or direct-hire, we’re here to deliver the exact talent solution you need. How can we help you? Contact the Exact Family of Companies today.

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