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  • Power Up Your Workforce

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

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

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

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

    Increase psychological ownership.

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

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

    To give your employees psychological ownership over their performance:

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

    Use “AMP” motivational levers.

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

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

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

    Want to get more out of your employees?

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

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Controlling and Avoiding Workplace Violence

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

Think again.

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

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

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

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

Institute Sound Policies

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

Know the Warning Signs

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

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

Prevent Situations from Escalating

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay compliant – and hire smart – with Exact Staff.

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

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

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

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3 Ways to Improve Your Overall Workplace Productivity

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

Overwhelmed by continual interruptions?

Struggling to focus?

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

Turn “can’t” into “can.”

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

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

Put time constraints on daily tasks.

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

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

Access others who can help you.

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

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

Looking to improve overall productivity in your workplace?

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

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