Exact Staff News
Tags: Build Leading Workforce, Build Perfect Team, Build Top Workforce, Building the Perfect Team, Creating Optimal Workforce, Creating Perfect Team
Ever wondered why some work teams soar and accomplish amazing things – while others stagnate and fail?
That’s what Google set out to determine over four years ago. In their quest to build the perfect team, Google’s People Operations department launched Project Aristotle, investing millions of dollars and thousands of man hours to measure nearly every aspect of their employees’ lives, managers’ behavior and more. Their experts:
Reviewed a half-century’s worth of academic studies on team dynamics and performance.
Analyzed team composition, including members’ gender, interests, education and motivations, to identify patterns which influenced group success.
Even scrutinized employees’ lunchroom eating behavior, to see if and how social networks related to team performance.
Did they uncover some “magic formula” for creating a high-functioning team? Nope. But, they did determine a fundamental (and somewhat common-sense) component to successful team-building: psychological safety.
In plain English, “psychological safety” enables team members to feel comfortable opening up to other group members and taking reasonable risks – without fear of embarrassment, rejection or punishment.
Makes sense, right? When team members feel secure with one another, they’re more likely to work well together.
Take advantage of Google’s team-building revelation. As a leader, here are five things you can do to increase psychological safety – and create better teams:
Encourage Team Members to Think
Permit employees to express their opinions, offer new suggestions, challenge one another’s thinking, and even disagree with you. Welcome their involvement. Listen to their input. Take their suggestions seriously – and test out their best ideas.
Be Willing to Give Up Control
Work with your team to establish clear priorities, guidelines, measurable objectives and accountability. Then be willing to let go, allowing the team to direct their own activities (both individually and as a group). Empowering your team increases cohesion and ultimately supports success.
Share the Big Picture
Make sure your team understands how their work fits into and impacts other departments, your organization, your community and beyond. When employees know how and why their work matters, they feel inspired to do great things.
Encourage team members to talk openly with one another. Establish guidelines and routines for professional, friendly and detailed communication, regardless of the medium used. Do what you can to enhance the flow of dialogue among members and with you. The fewer communication “silos” you have, the more tight-knit your team will be.
Make Failure Acceptable
To foster great teams, build a culture in which acceptable risk-taking and failure are tolerated. As a leader, it’s up to you to create a “psychological safety zone” in which employees know they can try and fail – without being punished or fired. And when employees do make mistakes, use those missteps as opportunities to learn (experience is often the best teacher!).
To Build Better Teams, Start by Choosing the Right Staffing Partner
With a national presence, and a full complement of staffing and placement services, Exact Staff can rapidly deliver exceptional people to build your core team. Improve productivity. And seamlessly flex your workforce to match changing demands.
What can we do for you?
Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.
Is your workplace a hive of harmonious activity – or does it feel more like an episode of Hell’s Kitchen?
Whether they begin with policy disagreements, personality clashes or simple misunderstandings, workplace disagreements can quickly escalate into full-blown battles without proper management. And the results can be disastrous, including:
Lowered productivity and morale;
Even costly legal action which can sabotage profitability and your company’s reputation.
In all fairness, not every workplace conflict leads to such dire consequences. Often, squabbles and disagreements are short-lived, and a certain amount of conflict is healthy and normal.
Still, it’s better to be prepared to effectively resolve arguments you find yourself in – instead of allowing your loud and aggressive conversation devolve into something more dangerous. Here are a few actions to help you halt, or even turn around, a serious argument at work:
Acknowledge Your Role
It takes two to fight; if you find yourself embroiled in something more than a heated professional discussion, stop in your tracks. Take a deep breath. And authentically take responsibility for your role in the conversation’s derailment. Even if you’re not the one who provoked the argument, be the bigger person and apologize for compromising your work values.
State Your Intentions
Make it clear that you don’t want to argue, but that you’d like to find a mutually beneficial solution – even if you don’t know what that is at the moment. Demonstrating a sincere desire to resolve the conflict will instantly relieve the tension in the air and shift momentum in the right direction.
Define Rules of Engagement for Moving Forward
Once you’ve both regained your composure, set ground rules for civil discussion (even if you continue to disagree):
Use “I” instead of “you” statements to keep the discussion from turning back into an argument Avoid pointing fingers or placing blame.
Focus on work behaviors; skip personal attacks.
Use a professional, calm tone when speaking. Yelling, sarcasm or even disrespectful body language (e.g., eye rolling, defensively crossing arms) should not be tolerated.
Take periodic time-outs, if needed, to stay calm and in control of your behavior.
Focus on Agreement
Naturally, people who argue fixate on what they disagree about. You can profoundly transform a negative conversation, however, simply by shifting the focus to areas of common ground. Take a moment to calmly and sincerely list your points of agreement. Then, use those as the foundation for resolving your differences. The road to resolution may still be bumpy, but civility and a sincere desire to work things out will keep you on track.
Need Level-Headed Team Players for Your Organization?
Contact your local Exact Staff office. As a national employment agency, we deliver hard-working, professional individuals who will mesh with your culture, focus on results, and work well with the other members on your team.
What do BuzzFeed, Facebook and CVS Health all have in common?
They were named as the top 3 most innovative companies for 2016 by Fast Company.
How did they do it?
They looked fear right in the eye.
Sound intimidating? It is! And that’s kind of the point. Innovation IS a scary thing – if you’re doing it right. Innovation requires you to:
Confront your (and your team’s) boredom, safety and complacency at work;
Disregard tried-and-true business practices in favor of uncertainty;
Question how and what your business does – to the point where you threaten the status quo;
Risk being rejected, ignored, isolated or being labeled a heretic by your peers and employees.
Sure, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, it means relinquishing control and certainty. But unless you push yourself to the point where you’re afraid, you’re probably not really innovating.
Honestly, fear is what prevents most companies from being more innovative. Rather than pushing boundaries or risking rejection and failure, leaders continue to do things the same way, year after year. That may be easy and comfortable, but it also puts them at prime risk for becoming irrelevant, outdated or obsolete (which is even scarier than innovating!).
Moving Past Your Fear of Innovation
In this earlier post, we shared a few tips for fostering a culture that fuels innovation by:
Giving employees the freedom they need;
Challenging the status quo;
Making it okay to fail;
Fostering a more positive work environment;
Elevating employees’ thinking.
In addition to building the right culture, use these tips to push past the fear that may be holding you and your company back:
Build Diverse Work Teams
Hire people with a varying backgrounds, values and points of view. Doing so encourages respectful “bumping of heads” that challenges traditional ways of thinking in positive ways.
Cover Your Team’s Back.
Build employee relationships based on trust, mutual support and shared confidence. Make it clear that you welcome your team’s ideas (even if they’re controversial) and that employees won’t be punished or ridiculed for making unpopular suggestions that threaten your company’s status quo.
Inspire Your Employees to Embrace Fear
Lead by example! Share your experience with facing fear for the sake of innovation. Talk about your successes, your failures and what you learned in the process. When your team sees the benefit of pushing boundaries and asking tough questions, they’re more likely to try it (in appropriate ways) themselves.
Fuel Innovation with a Smart Staffing Strategy
As a leading national staffing agency, Exact Staff can provide the talented people and intelligent staffing solutions that will turn your great 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.
There’s no “I” in groupthink.
Okay, there IS – which is ironic, because the term, coined in a 1952 article by William H. Whyte, refers to the process of achieving group consensus by minimizing conflict (where’s the “I” in that?). But often, that consensus and “group harmony” comes at a high price for organizations. Here are two of the dangers of groupthink in business teams:
- Innovation is suppressed. When contrary opinions and individual thinking are thwarted, innovation’s spark is effectively snuffed out. Group members self-censor their ideas and opinions in favor of unanimity.
- Critical questions go unasked. Groupthink often pressures dissenters to conform to majority opinion. As a result, members miss out on critical evaluation of alternatives. Important “what if” questions may never be asked, nor the ramifications considered – leaving organizations at greater risk for strategic missteps and missed opportunities.
Not exactly a recipe for business success, right?
Obviously, completing projects and achieving goals requires team work. How can you balance the levels of connection and esprit de corps your teams need to function at their peak, without compromising the “I” (i.e., the individual insights, creativity and, yes, contrary perspectives needed to keep your organization competitive)?
Renowned leadership expert and author Kevin Eikenberry proposed a solution in a recent blog post: teamthink. If you’ve never heard of the concept, here’s a quick overview and a few practical benefits this organizational mindset can deliver:
What is “Teamthink”?
According to Eikenberry, “Teamthink is the collaborative thinking that comes from people who care about each other and their goal enough to listen carefully, consider options and make the best decision for themselves and those they serve.”
In simpler terms, it’s a healthier alternative to group decision-making that achieves results without stifling individuals’ input. If groupthink is pervasive in your organization, move toward teamthink by:
- Galvanizing the goal. As with all team efforts, all members must understand and buy into a goal or purpose that’s greater than themselves.
- Building relationships. To ensure that individuals aren’t systematically overruled, ignored or discounted, make deliberate efforts to solidify work relationships. This doesn’t mean that all group members have to be friends (or even like one another); it means that they must respect one another professionally and commit to working well together, despite their differences.
- Creating trust. Self-censoring and rushing to agreement often occurs because individuals don’t feel safe sharing ideas which may be considered unpopular or controversial. Can you blame them? If you want to guard against groupthink, you need to increase trust among team members. Only when you give employees a safe place to listen, brainstorm and exchange ideas without being judged can new opinions and ideas get due consideration.
Need innovators? Independent thinkers? Team players?
Exact Staff can deliver the high performers you seek. With a national presence, and a full complement of staffing and placement services, the talent you need is just a phone call away.
What can we do for you? Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.
You know how important effective time management is to your personal and organizational success. Obviously, it determines your overall productivity. But, it also has a psychological impact as well. If you’re great at managing time, you experience less stress, are more resilient and can be a motivating force for your entire team.
Given how critical effective time management is, it’s high time to start managing it better. Here are four fresh ideas from Exact Staff to help you get more done in less time:
Get off to a great start.
By making a few small changes to your routine, you can greatly improve the way you manage your time. End each work day by creating a clear plan for what you need to accomplish the next morning. When you lay out your top priorities in advance, you begin your day focused and proactive.
Block your time.
The way you schedule your time each morning dramatically impacts your productivity throughout the day:
- Tackle your highest priority and/or least favorite (but important) activities first. Setting aside time for the tough things you absolutely need to do creates a “no excuses” operating environment that yields greater efficiency.
- Make appointments with yourself. Meetings and calls aren’t the only things you should block off time for. Schedule time for any activity that requires your full focus.
- Set time limits for predictable tasks. Reasonable time limits naturally motivate you to work harder. Furthermore, when you allot a certain amount of time for discrete aspects of your work, you’ll minimize time wasted on deciding what to do next.
Be a “serial focuser.”
Multitasking has been much-hyped, but research has proven that it doesn’t work. Instead of paying attention to multiple things at once, your brain actually focuses on concepts sequentially – continually switching from one activity to another.
So give your brain a break (and your time management a boost) by becoming a “serial focuser.” By giving one task your undivided attention, you allow your brain to reach a depth of focus that simply isn’t possible with multitasking – ultimately helping you to stay organized and accomplish more.
Remove yourself from distractions.
It’s pretty logical: the higher your focus, the more you’ll accomplish in any given period of time. While it may be impossible to completely eliminate interruptions at work, finding ways to control them will greatly boost your efficiency. In this earlier post, we cover these four ways to minimize distractions – and get more done:
- Planning for interruptions
- Controlling your physical environment
- Scheduling distractions
- Improving meeting productivity
Want more free time? Get help from Exact Staff.
With a national presence and a full complement of staffing and placement solutions, we can free up more of your time by:
- Providing temporary support to “offload” low-priority or repetitive tasks.
- Taking a proactive approach to staffing and recruiting. The better you plan your needs, the more effectively we can help you meet them (saving you time and frustration!).
- Assuming the time-consuming aspects of hiring including managing job postings, screening resumes and conducting initial interviews.
The result? An optimally staffed organization. Exceptional hires. And more productive hours to focus on your business. If you’re ready to learn more, give Exact Staff a call.
IR-2016-34, March 1, 2016
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued an alert to payroll and human resources professionals to beware of an emerging phishing email scheme that purports to be from company executives and requests personal information on employees.
The IRS has learned this scheme — part of the surge in phishing emails seen this year — already has claimed several victims as payroll and human resources offices mistakenly email payroll data including Forms W-2 that contain Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information to cybercriminals posing as company executives.
“This is a new twist on an old scheme using the cover of the tax season and W-2 filings to try tricking people into sharing personal data. Now the criminals are focusing their schemes on company payroll departments,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “If your CEO appears to be emailing you for a list of company employees, check it out before you respond. Everyone has a responsibility to remain diligent about confirming the identity of people requesting personal information about employees.”
IRS Criminal Investigation already is reviewing several cases in which people have been tricked into sharing SSNs with what turned out to be cybercriminals. Criminals using personal information stolen elsewhere seek to monetize data, including by filing fraudulent tax returns for refunds.
This phishing variation is known as a “spoofing” email. It will contain, for example, the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In this variation, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office employee and requests a list of employees and information including SSNs.
The following are some of the details contained in the e-mails:
· Kindly send me the individual 2015 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 of our company staff for a quick review.
· Can you send me the updated list of employees with full details (Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Home Address, Salary).
· I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employees wage and tax statement for 2015, I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me asap.
The IRS recently renewed a wider consumer alert for e-mail schemes after seeing an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far this tax season and other reports of scams targeting others in a wider tax community.
The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. E-mails can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.
The IRS, state tax agencies and tax industry are engaged in a public awareness campaign — Taxes. Security. Together. — to encourage everyone to do more to protect personal, financial and tax data. See IRS.gov/taxessecuritytogether or Publication 4524 for additional steps you can take to protect yourself.
This article was originally published at www.irs.gov
Want a way to build a better workplace that’s fast, foolproof and free?
Foster greater trust among your employees.
Trust creates a strong foundation upon which you can build a great culture, enhance performance and keep your business competitive. In an earlier post, we touched on the business benefits of fostering trust among managers and employees, including:
Less bureaucracy – and higher productivity.
When people in your company know that they can rely on each another to do what they promise, it reduces the need to peer over one another’s shoulders. Without all that checking, reviewing and other organizational “red tape,” unnecessary stalls and bottlenecks are eliminated. Increase trust, and you’ll boost your team’s efficiency dramatically!
Trust is a crucible for innovation. When you give employees a safe place to listen, brainstorm and exchange ideas which may be unpopular or controversial – without being judged – you set the stage for sparking ideas, products or services which can move your business ahead.
When everyone in your organizations honors their commitments and delivers consistently exceptional service to internal customers, it naturally creates a more positive work environment.
Employees who trust one another feel more connected to the group, more loyal to your organization and more motivated to stay and perform their best (even when things get tough).
So, here’s the million-dollar question:
How can you build – and maintain – trust in the workplace? Glad you asked. Below are three essential tips you can implement, which don’t cost a dime:
Treat employees as equal partners.
Establishing trust starts with making everyone – from your newest rookies and entry-level employees up through senior managers – feel like valuable, important members of the team. Get out and meet the people who work with you. Find out their names and why they work for your organization. Seek out their opinions and ideas (and give them due credit). And treat every employee, regardless of their rank or tenure, with genuine respect.
When things are going well for your business, it’s easy to be honest. But when mistakes happen, finances are tight, or crises occur, it’s much tougher. The way you act in difficult times is the greatest measure of your integrity, so resist the urge to sweep bad stuff under the rug. Be open when problems occur. Don’t sugarcoat anything. When you’re honest, accountable and solution-oriented, you’ll go a long way in preserving employees’ trust.
In everything you do, make sure your words match your behaviors. Honor your commitments, both small and large. And if you find that you can’t keep a promise, for whatever reason, be honest about the reason why. Even if you can’t live up to what you initially pledged, being forthright in your communication will help you preserve the trust you’ve built.
Build a better workplace with Exact Staff.
With a full complement of national staffing and placement solutions, Exact Staff provides precisely what your organization needs to increase trust – and performance. To find out how we can strengthen your workplace, schedule a free consultation today.
Do more. Do it faster. And accomplish it all with fewer resources.
Like it or not, this is the business credo of our post-recession economy. And the pressure is taking its toll. Everywhere you look, teams’ limits are being pushed – leading to burnout, turnover, critical mistakes and internal discord. Instead of functioning as high-performing units, strained teams are falling apart at the seams.
Around the world, software developers are taking note – and taking the productivity bull by the horns. In recent years, cloud-based apps and powerful project management software have been developed specifically to support your teams’ changing needs and super-charge their productivity.
Are you taking advantage of the right tools? Indiscriminate use of software applications won’t yield the productivity improvement you seek; in fact, it may have the opposite effect. Instead of coordinating efforts and maximizing team resources, the wrong software can increase communication channels and unnecessarily complicate tasks.
As a manager, it’s your responsibility to help your employees work smarter, not harder. The right software can smooth operations, facilitate teamwork and improve effectiveness. Here’s how to choose the best options for your business:
- Understand your current needs. Study your environment and work processes, taking into account the hardware and software you already use. Make a list of the biggest challenges your teams currently face (e.g., process bottlenecks; work that’s still accomplished manually or on paper; business intelligence gaps; work coordination impediments; etc.), as well as the goals they need to meet, to determine where software could be of benefit.
- Analyze your future needs. Beyond considering what your business needs now, you must also predict what it will require one to five years down the road. To choose the right software, you must factor in its ability to evolve with your teams’ changing needs.
- Investigate your options. The range of choices available today is truly dizzying. Here are a few factors to consider when evaluating your software options:
- SaaS solutions. Web-based software is popular among small businesses looking for greater efficiency and mobile access. How and where will people use the software?
- Hosted, on-site enterprise solutions. These typically come with a higher price tag, but they offer greater security and customization. Consider where and how your data should be housed, as well as how much tailoring you will require for a platform to be effective.
- Features. What basic and advanced features does your team need?
- Compatibility. How well will the software integrate with your existing systems? Will it reduce or eliminate the need for other software and/or communication channels?
- Cost. How much money do you have to spend? Would a higher initial investment yield greater long-term benefits?
- Adequately evaluate a number of vendors. Due diligence ensures you will choose a partner who’s invested in your success and has the resources to deliver on its promises.
Looking to improve the effectiveness of your work teams?
Exact Staff is here to support you. Providing a full complement of staffing and placement services, we can help your teams accomplish more:
- Offload low-priority and administrative activities to free up more time for key priorities.
- Supplement your core teams with temporary and contract staff, flexing your workforce to respond to changing demands.
- Prevent burnout and overwork, both of which can undermine team productivity.
He’s a four-time NBA MVP. Two-time NBA championship winner. 12-time NBA All-Star. And now that he’s returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers, his team is leading the Eastern Conference and poised for yet another championship run this year.
Whether you love him or hate him, there’s no denying that LeBron James is an amazing athlete – and an exceptional leader.
What are the keys to his success?
Though it may seem a bit surprising, many of the same attributes that have served LeBron well in the sports arena are equally important to business success. So today, Exact Staff shares the leadership secrets of LeBron James, in the hopes that one will inspire you to become an even better leader yourself.
He Acknowledges His Failures
LeBron left Cleveland to play for the highly anticipated “Dream Team.” But when Miami fell short that first year, LeBron took the heat – acknowledging that he had not performed up to his normal standards and resolving to improve.
Just 30 years old, James has already logged more minutes in his career than Larry Bird or Magic Johnson. But it’s not enough. Instead of “pacing himself” or limiting minutes to save his joints, he’s always pushing. Playing every game. Skipping 4th quarter respites. Completing grueling workouts to rebound from injury and improve his conditioning. He does all this to accomplish what he considers the most important thing in his life: winning a championship in Cleveland.
He’s Honest About Expectations
In LeBron’s famous “Essay” for Sports Illustrated, he wrote: “I’m not promising a championship…I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010.” James wasn’t shying away from his ultimate goal, however; he was merely setting realistic expectations for his team and his fans. Since publishing the essay, James led the Cavs to the 2015 finals – and has them set on the same course this year.
He Brings Out the Best in His Teammates
Much as a smart business leader adapts his management style to match each employee’s personality, LeBron adjusts his approach to building spirit and performance. In a recent interview, Kevin Love said of James, “Some guys you have to get on, and some guys you have to put your arm around and slap on the a–. You have to understand people and how to deal with them. LeBron is incredibly smart. He knows how to get the best out of us.”
Ready to Build a Team You Can Lead to Greatness?
Exact Staff is here for you. With offices nationwide and a full complement of staffing and placement services, we can rapidly deliver exceptional people to build your core team. Improve performance. And accomplish great things in 2016.
What Can We Do For You?
Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.