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Exact Staff News

  • Stop Hiring Clones!

    07/22/16 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Uncategorized | Leave a Comment
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    Want to make your business stronger? More agile? More resilient?

    Stop hiring clones!

    Scientific research provides support for the very real (and troubling) tendency managers have to select candidates who are similar to themselves in terms of leisure activities, social markers and personal tastes. Even when companies have high levels of demographic diversity, they still often have deep-seated homogeneity when it comes to the ways employees think and behave.

    Why? Because our brains prefer the familiar. And without a rigorous, objective set of criteria against which to judge a candidate’s merit, we tend to favor people like ourselves.

    While hiring people who mesh with your company’s culture and share similar interests is comfortable, it can also be dangerous. Over time, a company comprised of people who think and act in the same ways experiences less constructive conflict – and as a result, less innovation.

    So if you want to strengthen your organization, stop hiring people exactly like you – and do these things instead:

    Broaden your definition of diversity.

    Typically, employers think of diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, age, gender and/or sexual orientation. Take things a step further by also seeking out candidates who are diverse in terms of their skills, attitudes, interests, experiences, backgrounds and beliefs.

    Guard against “mirror bias.”

    As the name implies, this is the tendency of interviewers to favor candidates who remind them of themselves – regardless of those candidates’ skills and experience. Without proper training, interviewers often seek out evidence supporting their initial reactions to candidates while filtering out conflicting information.  As a result, perceptions turn into reality, and talented individuals are removed from consideration simply because they’re too different.

    Make sure that interviewers and hiring managers alike understand the negative hiring impact mirror bias can create. Teach them to guard against premature judgments, and to wait until all the evidence is in before making a decision about a candidate.

    Standardize hiring.

    Structured processes, standard questions and objective evaluation criteria all protect your organization from the negative effects of interviewing biases. To further enhance results, require interviewers to support their candidate evaluations with specific examples – as opposed to opinions or “gut feelings.”

    Choose 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: diverse, independent thinkers who mesh with your culture, but who also bring complementary experience and fresh perspectives to tackle your toughest challenges.

    What can we do for y-ou?

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

Want to Drive Innovation? Make Sure You Have the Right Keys

07/20/16 9:30 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Autonomous vehicles.

Wearable pain-relief technology.

Eye-tracking software that controls computers.

They’re all real. And for the smart risk-takers who have driven their success, they’re extremely profitable.

Why doesn’t every company develop game-changing products like these guys? Mostly because they don’t understand these keys to driving innovation:

Challenge the status quo.

Instead of shying away from threats or change, discuss your organization’s toughest problems with employees. Challenge your team each day to share new thoughts (even contrary, far-fetched or unpopular ideas), and teach them to disagree without being confrontational.

Don’t wait for 100% consensus.

Nothing thwarts innovation like waiting for everyone to agree before moving forward with a fresh idea. Make sure your team leaders have enough independence in decision-making to innovate. Foster a culture in which individuals are respected for creating – even when they don’t have full consensus on their methods.

Likewise, streamline innovators’ efforts by eliminating unnecessary interim rounds of approval and feedback during the development stage. When you trust employees to see their own work through to completion, you help them maintain critical confidence and momentum.

Increase tolerance for uncertainty.

Help employees get more comfortable with making decisions and taking action, even when information is incomplete. To push through indecisiveness, ask questions like: “How much to we really need to know before it’s acceptable to make a decision?”

Have your team’s back.

Build internal relationships based on respect, trust and shared confidence. Make it clear, through your words and actions, that you are an advocate for their best ideas. Most of all, make it okay to fail:

  • Outline acceptable parameters for taking calculated risks.
  • Do not demean or punish employees for trying something that does not work out.
  • When an employee fails, help your whole team learn from the mistake.

Nix whining, criticism and other innovation-killing behavior.

Not surprisingly, an oppressive culture stifles creativity. Instead of punishing mistakes as a way to promote success, celebrate employees who find solutions to problems. Encourage “can do” behaviors. Enlist your biggest critics and whiners in developing a more supportive environment that encourages new ways of thinking.

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 help you overcome whatever workforce or hiring challenges you face.

How to Prevent Negativity from Creeping into Your Corporate Culture

07/13/16 12:55 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Debbie Downers. Negative Nellys. Haters.

Most organizations have them. But whatever you call them, one thing is certain: workplace negativity is like a disease. Let it creep into your corporate culture, and it will rapidly fuel disengagement, distrust, turnover, diminished productivity – and sheer misery (who wants to work in an environment like that?).

Your bottom line will take a hit, too. According to this CCP Inc. study on workplace conflict, U.S. employees spent 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict and other negativity. This equates to approximately $359 billion in paid hours (based on average hourly earnings of $17.95), equal to 385 million working days.

Is there a cure for all the griping, hostility and backbiting? Absolutely. Follow Exact Staff’s “prescription” for preventing negativity from undermining the success of your team:

Encourage constructive conflict.

One of the best ways to eliminate negativity is by channeling it in a healthier way. When employees disagree and “lock horns,” train them to view the situation differently. Teach them how to understand the other’s viewpoint, appreciate differences and focus on solutions. Though discussions may become heated and contentious, they can lead to positive outcomes if managed properly.

Integrate positivity.

Want to really make positivity a permanent part of your corporate culture? Add it to your organization’s list of core values. Make it a hiring requirement. Share positive work stories in weekly business meetings. Have more fun at work. Do whatever you can to weave optimism into the fabric of your organization.

Keep your ear to the ground.

Banishing negativity isn’t a once-and-done event; it’s a continual process. To keep it at bay, check in with your employees several times each year. Discuss their observations and concerns about your corporate culture. If you learn about potential problems, take feedback seriously – and act decisively. Proactively combating negativity sends a clear message that you take corporate culture seriously – and truly care about your employees.

Hire smarter.

Sometimes you just have to cut bad apples loose. Make it a goal to release chronically negative employees and systematically replace them with staunch 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 people on your team?

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

You Treat Your Customers Well – But What about Your Employees?

07/6/16 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Time for a quick reality check: when a co-worker walks into your office with a request, do you treat him as well as you would like to be treated? Or as well as new client you’re trying to land?

Really?

If so, no need to read this post – you’re already treating employees as well as customers. But if you hesitated in your response (even for a fraction of a second), you need to read this.

When organizational leaders like you apply the “golden rule” to the way they treat employees, it’s more than polite or good etiquette. It’s great for business – improving motivation, productivity, loyalty and even your bottom line.

But while enhancing your employees’ work experience isn’t rocket science, it does require a focused approach to yield the results you want. Below, you’ll find four ways to apply the “golden rule” and improve your staff’s work experience (boosting your business in the process):

Understand what a great experience really means.

In other words, know what matters to your employees. Whether it’s a front-line worker or a mid-level manager, people typically look for the following essential elements at work:

  • Clear, honest, respectful communication in all forms (even when work becomes challenging).
  • On-time delivery. People in your organization should honor their commitments, doing what they say they will do, when they say they’ll do it.
  • A commitment to excellent internal customer service. Employees in your organization should take as much pride and care in serving one another as they do in serving the needs of your external customers.

If you’re unsure what matters most to employees, just ask them! Conduct an anonymous survey to encourage candid feedback. Make it clear how the information will be used, and provide employees with an overview of what you learn and plan to implement.

Build trust.

Trust creates a solid foundation upon which to build a great culture. Read this earlier post on fostering employee trust to drive innovation, efficiency and retention in your organization.

Find ways to make employees look good.

How would you feel if one of your peers went to your boss to tell him what a great job you’re doing? Pretty great, right? Not surprisingly, your employees would feel the same way. So be the start of something great in your organization. Find ways to: support your employees’ success; make their jobs easier; and make them look great (internally and externally).

Provide the support they need.

When your staff has adequate support, they’re free to do their best work. 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 motivation, improve productivity and create a healthier bottom line.

Do Your Best Employees Have One Foot Out the Door?

06/20/16 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers, News | Leave a Comment
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“Mentally Checked Out.”

“Headed to an Interview with a Competitor.”

“Just Got Off the Phone with a Recruiter.”

“One Foot Out the Door.”

Wouldn’t it be great if employees who are disengaged or actively seeking work elsewhere would walk around your office with signs around their necks?

Oh, to dream…

Most of the time, employees attempt to conceal their job-seeking behavior. Who can blame them? Until they have solid offers in hand, they need to maintain the status quo and not rouse any suspicions.

But while you’ll unlikely see anything as obvious as a sign around the neck, it pays to pay attention. Employees who are on the job hunt often display subtle differences in behavior which a trained eye can spot.

Could your top employees already have one foot out the door? Here are a few telltale signs:

Less time on Facebook; more activity on LinkedIn.

Noticed that a key employee recently uploaded a new headshot? Updated his professional accomplishments? Garnered several new recommendations? While this isn’t necessarily cause for concern from an avid LinkedIn user, any marked increase in activity could signal an employee is prepping his profile for a recruiter’s scrutiny.

Increased focus on the short-term.

Did that formerly ambitious team member fail to “step up to the plate” when creating 2017 plans? Has he neglected to ask about his annual bonus? Is he skipping the next company get-together? When an employee is planning to leave you, his thoughts and activities shift to the short-term. Keep an eye out for employees who have taken their eye off your company’s (and their position’s) long-term horizon.

They become ultra-efficient.

High performers typically do great work all the time, so this may be a tough sign to spot. However, if a good employee suddenly starts doing a really GREAT job – tying up loose ends, finishing key projects, and then gathering key metrics about them – put him on your radar. He may be prepping for a positive reference from you and want to leave on good terms.

Even if employees aren’t exhibiting any of these signs of disengagement, you should still be proactive in your retention activities. One of the best ways to keep top employees happy is by building a great workplace culture – and that starts with a smart staffing strategy.

Offering a full complement of staffing and recruiting solutions, Exact Staff is uniquely equipped to support your core team – and create a positive work environment:

  • Recognize a deserving employee’s accomplishments by treating him to a paid day off. We can provide a replacement worker for the day!
  • Bring in temporary workers during your busiest times, to alleviate the stress on your direct employees and keep them working at peak efficiency.
  • Offload low-priority tasks to qualified temporaries, freeing your best employees to learn, grow and further their careers within your organization.
  • Allow us to recruit exceptional full-time candidates whose work ethic and attitude complement your culture.

Ready to get started?

Contact Exact Staff today.How_Can_We_Help

Are You Overlooking this Key to Workplace Productivity?

06/17/16 9:30 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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“The art of communication is the language of leadership.”
–James Humes, author and former presidential speech-writer

Clear communication – speaking, listening, writing, understanding and resolving conflict – is essential to building and maintaining a successful business. When you communicate with your staff effectively, you:

  • Facilitate collaboration, teamwork and knowledge transfer
  • Prevent unnecessary mistakes and misunderstandings
  • Increase efficiency and productivity

Are you making great communication enough of a priority? As a leader in your organization, it’s up to you to keep your skills strong – and overcome areas of weakness. If it’s been awhile since you’ve examined your communication skills, take a quick inventory of your proficiency in the following areas:

Verbal Skills

The ability to clearly explain requests, instructions and ideas – as well as your underlying reasons for them – is critical to leading, motivating and orchestrating the activities of your employees. Polish your verbal communication skills by:

  • Organizing your thoughts first. While most daily verbal interactions are not scripted, give thought to planned conversations so you present your ideas in a logical way.
  • Checking understanding. Repeat and paraphrase what you say, and then ask questions to be sure that your message is understood.
  • Practicing frequently – whether it’s giving a quick summary at a meeting or presenting at an industry conference.

Written Skills

To make your reports, emails, memos and other forms of written communication more effective:

  • Choose your words carefully. Context, semantics and diction dramatically impact the meaning of what you write.
  • Choose the right format for your message.
  • Provide complete information the first time.
  • Review every word you write with a critical eye, to make sure it conveys exactly what you mean.

Non-Verbal Skills

Posture, eye contact, intonation and body language have as much impact on your communication as the words you use. When speaking with employees, make sure that your non-verbal cues support what you’re saying – otherwise, you run the risk of sending mixed messages which can easily be misinterpreted.

Listening Skills

The ability to understand others is just as important as saying the right thing. As a leader:

  • Listen as much as you speak.
  • Ask questions that elicit productive responses.
  • Encourage others to share their ideas – including dissenting opinions and criticisms.
  • Pay attention to what others don’t say – not just what they do say.

Adapting Your Message to the Audience

Should you speak to a client the same way you’d speak to an entry level employee? Obviously, it depends! In every communication, make sure that you consider your audience – their background, beliefs, expectations and level of sophistication – when crafting your message. Doing so ensures that your message will be understood and interpreted as you intended.

Looking for other ways to ramp-up productivity?

Exact Staff is here to support you. Whether you’re up against a deadline, tackling 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.

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Happiness: Your Career’s Secret Weapon

06/14/16 4:14 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers, News | Leave a Comment
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He seems to have it all – a great job (with an impressive title), and even better career growth prospects. And, not surprisingly, he wears a big old grin on his face, every day.

What’s his secret? How’d he get so happy? Does he have something you don’t?

If you find yourself looking around your workplace, proverbial nose pressed against the glass, you’re not doing yourself any favors. The fact is, you can’t become happier and more successful in your career by comparing yourself to others.

You have to harness happiness for yourself.

Happiness and a great attitude about your work create an amazing, self-reinforcing, upward spiral of growth. The happier you are, the more you’ll attract positive, career-building opportunities; the more opportunities you have to grow in your chosen career, the happier you’ll be.

How can you get started on the path to greater happiness in your career? Try these ideas:

Realize there’s no linear path to career success.

That guy you’re comparing yourself to (the one who seems to have it all)? To an outsider like you, his climb up the ladder may seem straight. But what you don’t see are all the mistakes, stalls, poor decisions and obstacles he likely dealt with along the way.

Be realistic about what success looks like from the inside. And then let yourself off the hook. Despite your diligence and best-laid plans, things will go wrong. Career plans will fall apart. Heck, you may even find yourself fired from a job through no fault of your own. But while you may not be able to control what happens to you, you can control how you respond. Resolve to be kinder to yourself, view setbacks as temporary, and correct your career course when you get off track.

Let go of irritations.

Frustrated that you got passed over for a promotion? Resentful of a team member who doesn’t pull his weight? Envious of another employee’s job title? Get past it! Harboring negative feelings undermines any chance you have of increasing your happiness at work. Change what you can about yourself and your work situation. Speak up and ask for what you deserve. Let go of petty frustrations which fuel a negative mindset – and make more room for positive thoughts.

Inventory what makes you happy in your career.

Beyond earning a paycheck, what motivates you to work hard? If you haven’t already, take some time away from work to consider what drives you from within. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Are you energized by working independently or as part of a group?
  • Do you enjoy creating things? Diagnosing problems? Fixing things? Using your hands or your mind?
  • Do you prefer to be the leader or a follower in work situations?
  • What are your favorite aspects of your job? What responsibilities do others have that you’d also like to have?

Understanding your motivations and preferences can give you tremendous insight as to the best path for your future career growth. Not surprisingly, sources of motivation also tend to be sources of happiness in your career.

Pursue what makes you happy at work.

Moving forward, seek opportunities that align with your natural motivators:

  • volunteer for projects and “stretch” assignments in your areas of interest;
  • inquire about cross-training to develop new skills which you find appealing;
  • ask to shadow someone with your dream job;
  • find a mentor to help you translate what drives you into tangible job responsibilities.

Want to be happier in your career?

Contact an Exact Staff Career Agent. We can help you identify your strengths, evaluate your career options, and find assignments and full-time positions that align with your goals – and make you truly happy on a professional and personal level. Search jobs here.

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Want to Succeed in Your Career? Plan to Fail!

06/7/16 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers, News | Leave a Comment
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Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying:

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

But when it comes to your career success, perhaps the better spin on this famous quote is:

“If you want to succeed, plan to fail!”

Huh?

Think about it for a minute. How many of us take an absolute linear path to success? The answer is “zero.” No matter what field you’re in, and no matter how talented you are, stuff happens:

  • Your company may reorganize, close down or change directions.
  • You may be unjustly passed over for a raise, promotion or new job.
  • Economic changes, employment conditions and even individuals can create obstacles to your career growth.

The truth?

Threats to your success are everywhere. Whether you’re trying to land a new job or advance within your current company, circumstances and events are frequently outside your control. But while you may not be able to control what happens to you, you can absolutely control how you respond to it.

And the better prepared you are, the more effectively you’ll respond.

So if you want to succeed in your career, prepare to fail. Here are three tips you can use to identify potential threats to your success, so you can respond in a constructive way:

Check Your Ego

When it comes to failure, your ego may be your own worst enemy. Defense mechanisms like denial and “mental editing” could keep you from viewing tough situations objectively – and from ultimately developing he best responses to failure.

Brainstorm the Ways You Could Fail

While a “doom and gloom” approach sounds unhealthy for your mindset and your career growth, a little “disaster scenario” planning is actually quite positive.

Imagine yourself pursuing your career goal (whatever that may be). What missteps could you make? What external forces could jeopardize your ability to attain your goal? What else stands between you and success? Create a list of scenarios that could throw you off course or prevent you from achieving important milestones along the way.

Create “If-Then” Response Plans

For each of the threats and obstacles you identify, detail options for course correction. In other words, create a response plan that addresses each of the ways you could fail to achieve your goal. Here’s an example:

Goal: find a job with target employer

Potential threat: receive no response to job application

If-then response: If no response is received after two weeks, then:

  • Call HR to find out about the job’s status.
  • If the job is still available, find out the name of the hiring decision maker.
  • Reach out via email to the decision maker, restating your qualifications and desire for the job. Request an in-person interview.

Planning for failure sets the stage for more effective response and course-correction – and ultimately, greater career success!

Plan to Succeed with Exact Staff

Whether you want to improve your work situation, explore a new career or land a job with your target employer, Exact Staff can help. Search jobs in your area or contact an Exact Staff recruiter to get started.

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3 Important Things Great Leaders Do Every Day

05/23/16 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers, News | Leave a Comment
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Want to get more done? Inspire your team to greatness? Build a stronger organization?

Oh, and do these things EVERY DAY?

Develop better leadership habits.

It makes sense. Great leaders are consistent and disciplined in their practices. They’ve acquired habits which improve their effectiveness and drive their success, every day.

Thankfully, nobody has a monopoly on great leadership habits. With sustained effort (and a focus on the right behaviors), you too can become an even better leader. Where should you start? We’re glad you asked. Below, Exact Staff shares three important things you should do every day to get more from your people – and deliver better results for your organization:

Over-Communicate

Communication breakdowns lead to confusion and conflict, yet they’re one of the biggest issues leaders face. The good news? Small tweaks to your current habits can yield big benefits for your entire team. Here are a few tips:

  • Ask for more feedback. Communication is a two-way street; you need honest input from your staff as to what’s working (and what’s not) to build trust and become better at your job.
  • Provide all the information employees need up front. And then some. You’ll prevent mistakes, stalls and frustration – while making your employees’ jobs much easier. By over-communicating, you’ll also minimize the amount of follow-up emails and calls you receive – which will free up more of your time and improve your focus.
  • Choose the right medium for the message. Consider the importance and level of complexity of your message when deciding how you’ll share it. Then err on the side of caution. Face-to-face conversations do take more time and effort, but sometimes it’s the best option for sensitive issues or discussing important information.

Bounce Back

The best leaders are resilient – they respond quite effectively to everyday disruptions and conflicts that derail more rigid managers. Rather than reacting to negative work situations with distress, fear or anger, resilient leaders are able to overcome problems and quickly bounce back by:

  • Managing their strong feelings and resisting impulses;
  • Making realistic plans they can effectively execute;
  • Focusing on solutions.

How can you make resilience a habit? If you’re like most leaders, you have opportunities to put it into practice every day. When problems (large or small) arise:

  • Prevent yourself from reacting. Anger and fear are natural reactions – but not the most effective ones for you as a leader. Practice restraint, check your emotions and act intentionally.
  • Be fully present. Work on improving your ability to face the facts, no matter how difficult or scary they feel. Be realistic about what you’re up against, but optimistic that you’ll be able to find a solution.

Delegate Effectively

If you’re like most professionals, you have more on your plate each day than you could ever realistically accomplish on your own. So don’t try! Great leaders start each day by examining their “to dos,” prioritizing their responsibilities, and then delegating non-critical activities.

Want to make delegation a habit, but don’t have the internal resources? Give Exact Staff a call. We’re here to help you get non-critical activities off your plate.

Want to be a Better Leader?

Choose the Right Staffing Partner.

The right staffing partner can improve your effectiveness, by rapidly delivering exceptional people to support your busy team. Take on pressing projects. Improve productivity. And flex your workforce in response to changing demands.

With a national presence, and a full complement of staffing and placement services, Exact Staff can design the ideal solution for your business. Ready to get started? Contact your local Exact Staff office today.

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Are You Showing Your Employees Enough Loyalty?

05/17/16 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers, News | Leave a Comment
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Are you as committed to your employees as you want them to be to you?

Consider how your team members would answer the following questions (if their responses would be kept anonymous):

Does your boss care about your happiness?

Is your boss committed to helping you achieve your career goals?

Does your boss recognize and appreciate your hard work?

Does your boss support your professional growth and development?

If you’re not certain that your employees would answer a resounding “Yes!” to each of the above, you may not be showing your employees enough loyalty.

Loyalty is a two-way street. To get it, you have to show it! Today, Exact Staff shares four ways you can prove your commitment to your staff – and get greater commitment, effort and loyalty in return:

Create Clear Career Plans

Hold periodic one-on-one meetings to determine employees’ long-term career goals. Help each individual to develop a three-to-five year career development plan that provides the challenge and clear direction he needs. Another way to show that you’re committed to helping employees achieve career goals is by implementing a formal mentoring program. Pairing talented staff members with mentors clearly conveys your commitment to their growth and professional fulfillment.

Invest in Employees’ Professional Development

Conferences, seminars, webinars and e-learning opportunities are valuable tools to accelerate employees’ professional development and improve loyalty to your organization. If funds are tight, consider one of these lower-cost training options:

  • Cross training
  • Brown-bag lunch seminar (where key managers give a one-hour training presentation during lunch)
  • Bartering training services with other companies

Hold Teambuilding Events

Teambuilding is a great way to strengthen the interpersonal connections that build trust and loyalty. If you’d like to plan your own event, here are a few tips to ensure its success:

  • Hold it offsite. The change of scenery will energize your staff and minimize distractions.
  • Promote the benefits. Encourage buy-in by using internal communication to generate enthusiasm and explain what employees stand to gain.
  • Mix it up. Break up the program into several short sessions. Include time for work, play, eating and socializing – and balance intense activities with more relaxing ones.
  • Allow time to process and reflect. During and after the event, discuss takeaways and benefits. Your team will get more out of the process if they understand the purpose and meaning behind the teambuilding activities.

Express Your Gratitude

Thank employees formally and informally, for things big and small. Frequently showing your appreciation sends a clear message that you value their contributions – and value them as both humans and professionals. It’s free. It’s easy. And it has a huge impact on loyalty!

Another great way to express gratitude for employees’ hard work?

Provide 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.