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  • Deliver Criticism So That It’s Constructive – Not Demoralizing

    04/24/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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    Ever been criticized at work?

    Was the feedback delivered in a constructive way, or did you feel like you were being personally attacked? The answer probably has a lot to do with how that criticism was delivered.

    Providing constructive feedback is an integral part of successful employee management. When the feedback is positive, it’s a pleasure to offer. But when it’s critical, how can you deliver feedback effectively, without making the recipient so defensive that they completely ignore your advice?

    Below, our team shares some practical tips to make your employees receptive to feedback, even when it’s critical:

    Stay Away from Absolutes

    “You always.” “You never.” Begin your feedback with either of these two phrases, and you might as well shout into a vacuum – because your employees won’t listen to a word you say afterward. A more productive tactic? Stick to facts. Use specific examples. And try leading with a phrase like, “I’ve noticed that [X behavior] is occurring more frequently…” A softer approach will keep your employees from tuning out your feedback.

    Move Beyond Generalities

    Don’t leave employees guessing what remedies you expect; engage them in specific solutions. Instead of providing general guidelines like, “I’d like to see you be more proactive,” ask recipients to help you brainstorm and agree to specific actions they’ll take. When employees are involved in creating solutions, they’re more likely to follow through by changing their behaviors.

    Stay Neutral

    If you want employees to be receptive, hold your emotions in check. Keep your demeanor calm, your mind open and your behavior professional. Withhold judgment and interpretation until after you get employees’ input. And most importantly, don’t tell your employees that they’re being defensive – it’ll only make them more defensive!

    Tie the Criticism to Something Important to Employees

    Before you speak with them, consider what matters most to your employees. Are they driven by respect from peers? Money? Landing a promotion? Find out what’s important to them, and then frame your criticism in a way that relates to those values.

    Balance the Negative with Positives

    Employees will be much more open and responsive to criticism if they regularly hear praise from you – so recognize your employees’ accomplishments (both large and small) frequently. Giving a well-deserved “pat on the back” isn’t just a nice thing to do; it builds a more positive culture that supports growth, drives engagement and reinforces company values.

    For more practical tips, read this earlier post on how to get employees to accept feedback.

    Have Some Feedback for Us?

    As a national staffing service, Exact Staff understands and appreciates the value of constructive feedback in maintaining a productive business relationship. So, tell us what you think! Please contact our national staffing service with your comments, questions or suggestions.

Helpful Tips to Have the Most Productive Q2 Ever

04/21/17 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Your organization had a great Q1 – congratulations!

Now do it all over again.

No pressure there, right?

Creating short bursts of high productivity is relatively simple to accomplish: offer a cash bonus or some other type of highly desirable, tangible reward, and employees will typically boost their efforts.


But how do you sustain high productivity quarter after quarter – without burning out employees or eroding your bottom line? Today, Exact Staff shares four tips for having the most productive Q2 ever (which you can also use in Q3, Q4 and beyond!):

Encourage employees to use downtime.

Findings from a recent survey show that 59% of millennials feel a sense of shame for taking or planning a vacation, and that 40% of employees left five or more vacation days unused the previous year. What’s wrong with this picture?

Time away from work is essential for employees to recharge, refocus and renew their enthusiasm for their job – and not surprisingly, that translates into higher, sustainable productivity. Make sure your organization:

  • Communicates that taking time away from work is condoned.
  • Explains the benefits of time away from work, including the ways it reduces work stress and heads-off job burnout.
  • Provides adequate support to “fill in the gaps” vacationing employees leave.
  • Sets a good example (i.e., that leaders take time off, too.

Even if employees don’t take a vacation during Q2, encourage them to plan one. Just having a break on the horizon can be enough to motivate an individual.

Stop the nagging.

Endlessly repeating “motivational messages” isn’t the best way to get peak performance from your employees. In fact, they’ll just wind up tuning you out. To truly motivate your workforce to crush deadlines, use the tips offered up in this earlier post.

Teach employees to build better to-do lists.

Effective list-making habits can keep employees on task and focused on their top priorities – but only if they use them correctly. Here are a few tips for success to share with your team:

  • Write your list at the end of the day (so it’s ready to go the following morning).
  • Prioritize your list, so you’re sure to accomplish your most important task each day.
  • Keep your list focused on what you can realistically finish in a day.
  • Break down larger to-dos into smaller tasks, and include time estimates for each (so you’re not overwhelmed by the items on your list and can better plan what you can accomplish each day).
  • Use the right tool. Whether it’s an app, a leather-bound planner or a good-old-fashioned notepad, use what works best for you.

Promote health and wellness at work.

Effective wellness programs have been shown to decrease absenteeism, increase engagement and improve job performance. In this post, “Promoting Health and Wellness at Work to Improve Overall Productivity,” we share tips to increase employees’ effectiveness by focusing on wellness.

Another great way to have a productive quarter?

Provide extra support when your employees need it most. When deadlines are tight and the stakes are high, Exact Staff can quickly deliver talented people to help you get your work done. Bring in our temporary employees to increase your capacity or perform non-core activities. We’ll keep your team focused and productive so you can have the most productive Q2 ever.


Habits to Dramatically Improve Your Life

04/19/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Small changes can have a dramatic impact.

Take the quality of your life, for example. You don’t have to give up all your worldly possessions, permanently drop off the grid, or become an environmental vegan to be happier. In fact, drastic changes can increase your stress levels – and they’re usually not sustainable.

If you want to dramatically improve your life, think small. Start by adopting just one of the habits outlined below:

Practice Positive Thinking

This is the foundation upon which many other productive habits are based. Why? Because thoughts, mental images and internal dialogue all influence your actions. If you discipline yourself to view failures as temporary, forgive yourself for mistakes, picture positive outcomes and look for the best in situations, the way you act will be more intentional and productive.


Multitasking doesn’t work. When it comes to the brain’s ability to pay attention, it focuses on concepts sequentially, not on two things at once. So, work with your brain – not against it. By dedicating your full attention to one high-focus task at a time, you’ll be less stressed, more productive and happier throughout your day.

Eliminate Technology in the Bedroom

The blue light screens emit has been proven to interfere with sleep quality, because it halts production of melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone). And honestly, do you really want work emails or random Facebook notifications dancing around in your head while you’re trying to unwind for the night?

Be Kinder

To make kindness a lasting habit, make a goal to do one kind thing for someone each day. Be mindful in your daily interactions, looking for opportunities to soften your language, offer help or just be friendlier. It’s easy, it’s free and it creates good karma.

Which of these suggestions sounds the most appealing to you? Choose one, and focus on adopting that single habit. Once you’ve made one improvement, move onto another. By making small, serial changes, you’ll quickly gain momentum, improving your happiness and overall quality of life.

Looking for more ways to increase your life and job satisfaction?

Adopt the habits of happy people. In this earlier post, we shared the following habits to make your life more positive and satisfying:

  1. Be kinder to yourself.
  2. Surround yourself with optimistic people.
  3. Get your Zzzzs.
  4. Make your social feeds more positive.

Read the full post to learn more about any of these habits.

Related Post: Prevent Negativity from Creeping into Your Workplace

Want to dramatically improve the quality of employees’ work life?

Provide the support they need. As a national employment agency, Exact Staff can:

  • Offload non-core activities that distract you and your staff;
  • Alleviate overwork and the burnout it causes;
  • Improve your team’s focus, productivity and effectiveness;
  • Allow you to confidently tackle new or pressing projects.

What can we do for you? Contact your local Exact Staff office today.



Words and Phrases Smart People Never Use in Conversation

04/12/17 12:22 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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You’re intelligent. Savvy. And an expert in your field.

But could the words and phrases you use in everyday work conversations make you sound like Lloyd Christmas?

Right or wrong, people judge you based on the way you converse, and a seemingly innocuous comment can easily be misinterpreted (and forever impact a co-worker’s perception of you). Think before you speak! Keep your foot out of your mouth by avoiding these things smart people never say:

Potentially insensitive phrases:

Articulate, emotionally sensitive professionals choose their words carefully. Prevent misunderstandings and demonstrate your EQ by thinking through the way others may interpret what you say. Start by eliminating these phrases from your conversations:

  • “As I said before…” This phrase subtly implies that the person you’re addressing has forgotten something. It may well be true, but using language like this reflects negatively on you – by making you sound insecure or hinting that you think you’re superior to the “forgetter.”
  • “You look tired.” An observation like this isn’t compassionate; it’s insulting. Choose a sentence like, “Is everything okay?” This is a more neutral, sensitive way to show your concern for a co-worker.
  • “You always…/You never…” Rarely does someone ALWAYS or NEVER do something, so don’t reduce their actions to absolutes. If you want to be taken seriously, stick to the facts, especially when it comes to the frequency of another’s behavior. Try a phrase like, “It seems as though you do this often,” to point out something someone else does which bothers you.

Throwaway words:

These words have little or no value. And in a business context, they’re not just worthless – they make you sound less intelligent than you are. If you’re in the habit of using any of these words, work to eradicate them from your vocabulary:

  • Whatever
  • Totally
  • Like
  • OMG

Conversational crutches:

Crutch words help fill awkward silences and give your brain a chance to catch up with your mouth when you’re speaking. If you rely on them to introduce or bridge ideas, resolve to change your ways.

There’s nothing wrong with an occasional pause during a conversation or presentation. In fact, a moment of silence is vastly preferable to listening to someone use crutches like these over and over:

  • So
  • Um/uh
  • Look
  • Basically
  • Anyway
  • Well
  • Like I was saying

Unnecessary prepositions/prepositional phrases:

Elevate your speaking by finding more concise ways to express yourself. Eliminating extraneous prepositions and prepositional phrases is a simple, effective way to sound as intelligent as you truly are. Here are a few examples of unnecessary prepositions:

  • Where are you at
  • I’m going off of
  • I’m about two seconds away from
  • In the process of (try using “while” or “as”)
  • At the present time (you can typically eliminate this phrase entirely without changing your meaning)

Verbal redundancies:

Show that you really understand the meaning of the words you choose by dropping verbal redundancies like these from your speech:

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

Searching for articulate temporary employees or new hires?

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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