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Exact Staff News

  • Work/Life Balance is Starting to Blend Together – and that might be alright

    02/21/17 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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    “Balance” is out. “Blend” is in.

    In recent years, technology has virtually erased the boundaries separating home and work. The same tools which have allowed employers to enhance workplace flexibility – things like email, mobile tech, videoconferencing and the Cloud – have also allowed employees’ work life to spill over into home life.

    Instead of completely disconnecting from work at days’ end, employees are remaining available to employers, clients and customers. In fact, this national, workplace-flexibility survey of 1,087 professionals by WorkplaceTrends and CareerArc shows that:

    • Roughly 20% employees spend an average of 20+ hours per week working outside the office on personal time.
    • 64% of HR professionals expect employees to be reachable outside the office on their personal time.

    The reality? The boundary between home and work life is dissolving. It’s time to stop helping employees strive for “balance” – and facilitate a healthy “blend,” instead. Here’s how:

    Encourage a new mindset.

    Give employees a broader range of what’s considered acceptable each day, as long as their overall goals are achieved:

    • Focus on target “ranges” instead of target “points.”
      Determine the ultimate goal, and then allow a little latitude to accommodate the realities of employees’ workflow. For example, if an employee is supposed to spend 10 hours per week on sales activities, permit them to break those 10 hours up as they see fit – instead of requiring two hours per day.
    • Take a longer-term view of progress.
      While it’s still imperative to track results daily, measure employees’ performance over a longer term to determine if targets are achieved. Giving employees just a bit of wiggle room alleviates persistent stress, accommodates natural swings of time and energy, and produces better long-term results.

    Permit “homing at work.”

    Research cited in this Inc. post shows that allowing employees to do personal chores (e.g., scheduling appointments, shopping online) at work actually boost productivity and reduces work/life stress.

    Be proactive about hiring needs.

    Candidate shortages are at critical levels in many industries and job functions, which is dramatically increasing time-to-hire. When positions often go unfilled, existing employees bear the extra burden until hires are made.

    To promote a sustainable work/life blend, proactively manage talent acquisition. Partner with a national employment agency like Exact Staff to develop a plan that stays ahead of hiring needs. You’ll help employees preserve a healthy work/life mix that ultimately promotes happiness, high performance and loyalty.

    Final Thoughts

    No matter how progressive your culture is, or how blurred the line between home and work becomes, all employees need time off. Make sure your business is prepared to handle short- and long-term absences with support from Exact Staff. Whether you require a single temporary for a day or an entire project team for a month, we provide a range of staffing and placement services to increase productivity, promote a healthy work/life blend and create a healthier bottom line.

     

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4 Obstacles to Organizational Agility

02/17/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Would you describe your business as nimble? Innovative? Flexible?

Or stuck in the mud?

Organizational agility helps your business adapt to its changing environment, by deftly executing initiatives in support of your overall strategy. It’s what allows your business to:

  • respond quickly and effectively to urgent issues and risks;
  • stay profitable in turbulent markets;
  • identify and capitalize on emerging opportunities – before your competitors do.

Stagnancy is death in business. So if your business is slow to adapt or respond, it’s time to get unstuck – by identifying and removing the following obstacles:

Fear

Willingness to change is critical to agility. Yet despite working in a volatile, uncertain environment, many leaders refuse to let employees test new ideas. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure and especially fear of financial setback prevent them from giving their teams the freedom to experiment. The result? Zero innovation. Leaders in agile organizations empower their employees to take calculated risks and systematically test new concepts – and they have their employees’ backs when they fail.

Silos

Too often, employees are so focused on meeting their own department’s objectives that they have little communication with, or appreciation for, other departments. Over time, a lack of cross-functional communication leads to silos that bog-down processes and make change extremely difficult. Agile companies thrive on sharing information and ideas. By effectively managing knowledge organization-wide, these organizations capture, share and use information better than their competitors.

Rigid Hierarchies

Processes and channels are important (especially in larger organizations, but excessive bureaucracy and structure delays decision-making and slows reaction time. Agile businesses understand the need to plan AND execute simultaneously when speed is essential. Does this lead to mistakes on occasion? Sure. But breaking work into small segments – and assembling cross-functional teams to execute it – allows agile companies to fail fast and quickly make changes.

Lack of Work/Life Balance

Too many businesses are stuck in an “all work, no play” mentality, still buying into the fallacy that more hours worked = better results. Agile employers like Google and Apple, however, realize that people are their most focused, creative and productive when they have adequate time to lead a fulfilling life. Instead of focusing on running a tight ship, these organizations focus on amplifying the human element of their employees – and the results speak for themselves.

Want to make your business more agile in 2017?
Start with a flexible staffing strategy.

The right staffing strategy can make your organization more responsive, resilient and innovative. With a national presence and a full complement of talent solutions, Exact Staff is the ideal partner to help you become more agile – and successful – this year.

Give us a call to discuss your goals – we’ll help you achieve them.

 

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Does Scarcity Reduce Your Decision-Making Capabilities?

02/15/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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When your employees have the knowledge, resources, time and tools to do their job well, productivity soars. Innovation abounds. And your business runs like a well-oiled machine.

But if even one of these factors is in short supply?

A “scarcity mindset” can creep in – causing mistakes that bring business to a screeching halt.

As this Deloitte University Press article illustrates, even top performers can make poor decisions when forced to operate under conditions of scarcity. Whether it’s a lack of time, focus, money, collaboration or any other valuable resource, scarcity can undermine decision-making by depleting one’s finite capacities for self-control and intelligence.

As a manager, what can you do to combat the harmful effects of scarcity in the workplace? Here are a few helpful takeaways from the Deloitte article:

Guard against the fundamental attribution error.

It’s easy to attribute poor decision-making to a “character flaw” in an individual. He misses deadlines because he’s a procrastinator. She made the mistake on that report because she is lazy and doesn’t check her work. In reality, however, poor decisions often are the result of situational factors. Make sure that you really understand the root cause when someone makes a poor decision (i.e., is it due to an internal characteristic or scarcity of an external resource?). Only by identifying the real culprit can you effectively resolve decision-making problems.

Understand how scarcity exhausts the mind – and impacts decision-making.

When resource scarcity exists, individuals are continually forced to deal with urgent, unmet needs. Over time, this mindset:

  • Depletes mental reserves and leads to “decision fatigue” (i.e., the inability to make smart, careful choices).
  • Can lead to an irrational discounting of future consequences (i.e., instead of making rational decisions, individuals are susceptible to taking lower payoffs now instead of waiting for a much larger reward in the future).
  • Makes individuals prone to “planning fallacy” (i.e., convincing oneself that a task will take much less time in the future than it will now).

Build in adequate “slack time.”

While conventional wisdom holds that “slack time” is just wasted time, emerging research suggests that today’s knowledge economy can’t operate successfully without it. Why? Think-time allows individuals and organizations to grow, adapt and change – all of which are essential to creating long-term competitive advantage.

To find the right amount of “slack time” for your organization, identify the situations which most frequently lead to decision fatigue – and the negative cascade of effects it creates. Then, use simple strategies like effective prioritization, scheduled focus-work time, frequent breaks and meditation to build in the slack your team needs to make better decisions.

Make sure your most important resource – talent – is never in short supply.

Keep your business humming by taking a proactive, strategic approach to staffing – with help from the experts at Exact Staff. Our national staffing agency provides a full complement of staffing and placement services to help you:

  • Analyze talent supply, considering composition (i.e., demographics) and capabilities (i.e., competencies);
  • Consider your demand, giving priority to positions that are the toughest to fill – and most critical to your organization’s success;
  • Create a comprehensive workforce strategy to close the gaps and prevent a scarcity of talent from jeopardizing your business’ success.

Schedule your free workforce consultation today.

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5 Customer Service Lessons to Help You Provide Better Customer Service

02/8/17 1:17 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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“You will not BELIEVE this car I just bought. It’s kinda non-descript-looking, the handling is alright, and the fuel economy is mediocre!”

Not amazed?

Neither are your customers if you’re delivering “so-so” service. In a hyper-connected, hyper-competitive business world, customer service provides critical opportunities for differentiation and competitive advantage.

But only if you consistently go above-and-beyond for customers.

So how can you take your service from “meh.” to “WOW!”? Learn from these five lessons:

Understand what “great service” really means.

In other words, know what matters most to your customers. Is it speed? Personalization? Options for self-service? If you’re unsure, just ask! Conduct an anonymous survey to encourage candid feedback.

But regardless of your industry or company size, customers typically look for the following service fundamentals:

  • 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 excellence. Everyone in your organization should take great pride and care in serving all customers’ needs (both internal and external).

Surprise your customers.

Ever receive an unexpected gift? How did it make you feel? The truth is, even small tokens of appreciation go a long way with customers – especially when they’re not expecting anything.

Find little ways to surprise your customers, and make those unexpected surprises part of your regular service process. And remember: it’s not the monetary value of the gesture that’s important, it’s the fact that you thought of your customer, and then went out of your way to do something nice, that makes the experience memorable.

Use technology to improve the service experience.

Often, a real human is the best choice for addressing a customer’s service issue. After all, people do business with people. But as tools improve and our population’s adoption of technology increases, self-service is dramatically on the rise. Consider ways that mobile apps, social media, chatbots, user communities or other technology could allow you to deliver a quicker, more seamless service experience.

But don’t let that technology fragment the customer experience.

The same technology that’s designed to simplify service can actually erode it. Unfortunately, if your approach to managing service interactions across multiple communication channels (like the ones mentioned above) isn’t fully integrated, you have no way of ensuring excellence. To prevent problems:

  • Assemble a cross-functional team to monitor sites and communication channels vigilantly.
  • Create sound, consistent processes for ensuring all incoming service issues (regardless of the communication channel used) are addressed in a timely fashion, and then re-routed or escalated when necessary.

Respond authentically.

Customers today are more savvy and demanding than ever – and most see through traditional sales pitches. So train your entire team to be genuine in the way you communicate with customers. Skip the canned responses and corporate-speak, opting for honesty and transparency instead (especially when you’ve made a service mistake!). More authentic communication lends itself to stronger emotional connections and better service experiences across channels.

Need a staffing partner as committed to service excellence as you are?

Contact Exact Staff, providing national staffing solutions, today.  With a full complement of staffing and HR management solutions – and award-winning customer satisfaction – we’re the ideal partner for your human capital management needs.

 

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