Adams & Garth Blog

Conducting Employee Reviews With Underperformers

December 16th, 2014

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Staunton – and Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows whether you’re the boss or an employee, you likely view the performance review process as a painful one. But it can seem even more excruciating when you have to conduct an evaluation with an employee who is underperforming.

How can you approach the awkward conversation and make it as effective as possible? Here are some tips to help you get your less-than-stellar team member back on track:

Determine the Root Cause of the Problems

It’s never a good idea to go into a performance review and just wing it. But this is especially true with an underperforming employee. You need to take the time to think about what’s causing the problem so you can work with your employee to address it. Ask yourself:

  • Is this person a bad fit for the job?
  • Do they lack the required skills?
  • Are they being given enough training and support?
  • Am I giving them enough feedback throughout the year?
  • Do they understand what’s expected of them?
  • Do they have clear performance goals and objectives?

What you might find out is that you are contributing in some way to the poor performance. So don’t simply concentrate on what a problem employee is doing wrong; you may need to make some changes, as well.

Get Feedback From Others

Before your performance reviews, ask other employees and managers for their input on the situation. You may want to conduct a 360 review, or connect with the individual’s past boss at the company and ask for their advice on the matter. When you have conversations like these, handle them with care and keep them confidential.

Have a Conversation With the Underperformer

Though it can be tempting, don’t lecture an employee on everything they’re doing wrong. To engage the employee in the process, it’s important to have a conversation. Explain to them what you’re seeing and how it’s affecting the team. Make it clear you want to help them and ask them for their take on the situation. Work together to brainstorm solutions. Keep in mind, your employee may need some time to digest the information you’re presenting, so don’t expect an immediate resolution.

Create a Plan of Action

Work with your employee to create a plan to get them back on track. Talk about what you’re each going to do differently and settle on goals and measurable actions that you can use to monitor progress. Make sure part of the conversation involves the resources your employee will have access to in order to accomplish the goals and expectations you’ve set forth. The last thing you want to do is set them up for failure.

Monitor Progress

Make sure you follow up. Check in with your employee regularly and set up formal touchpoint meetings to talk about progress, challenges and successes.

And whatever you do, don’t ignore issues with problem employees. Though they can be uncomfortable to talk about, it’s a must if you don’t want them to fester and affect the morale on your team.

Need help hiring top performers? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Staunton – and Central Virginia, our trained specialists can take the hassle out of hiring, so you get the skilled, hard-working employees you need. Contact us today to learn more.

Celebrating the Holidays at Work

December 2nd, 2014

It’s that time of year and employees want to celebrate. What are the benefits of embracing the holiday spirit – and in what ways can your company do so?

The Benefits of Holiday Celebrations:

  • Allows employees to relax and recharge.
  • Boosts morale, which in turn increases employee motivation and productivity. When employees are motivated, they deliver greater organizational success.
  • Enhances loyalty, thereby reducing the attrition rates of the organization.
  • Fosters an environment of caring and respect, enhancing the bond among employees.
  • Reaffirms a company’s desire to create a “family-like” atmosphere and reflects how much an employer cares for employees. Also sends a positive message that you value and respect your team.

Tips for Celebrating the Holidays at Your Company

Create a Planning Committee

The group should include those from across the company who will plan and implement holiday events.

Give Back

Make a donation on behalf of your employees for a cause that aligns with the beliefs and values of your company. Make sure to communicate the impact of the contribution with employees. Also, get employees involved in selecting the cause to support.

Recognize Top Performers

However you do celebrate, make sure to announce employee successes over the past year by recognizing both individuals, as well as teams. For instance, you can present service or performance awards to show appreciation to staff while they’re among their peers and business leaders.

Don’t Forget About Diversity

Not everyone celebrates the holidays, so be respectful of different religious views. Pay attention to the diverse customs and needs of your entire workforce so everyone feels included.

Reinforce Company Policies

Instances of inappropriate behavior, like sexual harassment, are higher during this time of year. That’s why it’s important for companies to remind employees that policies are still applicable during company events.

Have a Good Time

Regardless of how you celebrate the holiday season, what employees will remember most is how the event made them feel. So whatever your company does, just make sure it’s appropriate for your unique workplace and culture and that people have fun and feel appreciated.

Understaffed during the holidays? The holidays are a busy time of year for many companies. If yours is one of them, call Adams & Garth. As leading Staunton recruiters, we can give you access to top candidates throughout Central Virginia that will hit the ground running at your firm. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

Warning: Be Wary of This Candidate

November 18th, 2014

As one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows making a bad hire is expensive. Worse, it also means you likely missed out on hiring someone great. So how can filter out those candidates who perform well during the hiring process, but will fall apart once on the job? Here’s a look at a few traits to be on the lookout for:

They’re too vague.

In the business world, generalizations simply don’t cut it. It’s important for you to know facts, figures and details when it comes to hiring the right person for the job. If you continually probe a candidate for these specifics – and come up empty handed – then move onto another candidate with a proven track record they can talk about.

They ramble.

Sure, rambling might be a sign of nervousness in an interview. But it’s also a sign that a candidate might not really understand what you’re asking them. Not being able to provide a concise answer could also mean they’re ill-prepared or have weak communication skills.

They’re too casual.

Whether they show up to the job interview dressed inappropriately, or they seem to have a lack of regard for you or your staff, then it’s a sign of what’s to come if you hire this person. Ditto if they seem overly tense and stressed out.

They don’t know much about your company.

Once you start asking questions, it quickly becomes clear a candidate knows next to nothing about your company. The best candidates will not only know the basics, but also the unique value they can offer you. If a candidate isn’t going to spend any time learning about your company before the interview, then it shows a lack of attention to detail and professionalism.

They’re negative.

A candidate who is critical or openly bashes a former boss, co-worker or employer may carry that resentment over to their new position. In addition, making negative comments shows a lack of tact, as well as poor judgment.

They don’t ask questions. 

Candidates can’t find out if they’re a good fit for you if they don’t ask questions. So be wary of those who don’t. It’s an indication they’re unenthusiastic about the job, not prepared, or lazy.

They focus on the perks.

An initial interview should be about a candidate learning more about the company, the role and your needs. If it seems like they’re asking too many questions about vacation time and salary, then it’s a sign “the perks” are the priority, not the work.

When a candidate shows the signs above, then filter them out of the running and move onto other, stronger individuals. And if you need help with the candidate sourcing process, call Adams & Garth. As one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, we have the knowledge and expert team in place to help you find and hire top talent, the first time.

Contact us today to learn more.

The ABC’s of Your Company’s Career Pages

November 4th, 2014

It’s been a while since job seekers turned to the likes of newspapers to find out about potential job opportunities. Today’s candidates, instead, turn first to the Internet, scouring social media sites and job boards for positions.

But, as leading Virginia recruiters, Adams & Garth knows it’s not enough to simply post openings on these websites. It’s important, too, for your company to have a designated career website or careers web pages on your corporate website. So what should be on them?

Besides job postings, effective careers pages will offer the job seeker a clear sense of who you are as a company, what kinds of people work there, and why a candidate should would want to work there too. These pages should not only represent the personality of the company, but they should also appeal to the type of talent you’re trying to attract.

To help you build effective career pages, here are a few tips to follow:

Publish strong content that showcases your company’s personality.

When it comes to your career pages, your goal is put a face on your company. To do so, you need to regularly publish engaging and interesting content that gives job seekers a glimpse of the company’s mission, vision, values and brand. You can do so in a variety of ways, including:

  • Publishing a blog with articles authored by employees;
  • Uploading snapshots that showcase your office environment; and
  • Posting videos that enable employees to share what they like most about working at the company.

Build a simple application process.

Remember, you’re not using your application process to make a hiring decision. You’re simply trying to hone in on good candidates and filter out weak ones. That being said, many companies make the mistake of including a long, convoluted application process on their websites. The end result is frustrated and disengaged job seekers who give up before submitting anything.

Instead, keep it simple with your application process. Keep in mind, you should be using the phone screening and interviewing process (not the application process) to meaningful questions that reveal a candidate’s true nature.

Focus on the candidate.

Your career pages shouldn’t be all about you; instead, they should be about what you, as an employer, can offer to potential employees. With that in mind, avoid promoting your company products and services on you career pages. Instead, focus on educating job seekers about why they should want to work at your organization.

Promote your career pages.

Use your social media profiles, job board accounts and email signature to promote your career pages and drive candidates to them. After all, if you spend ample time and effort in building these pages, you want to ensure your target audience knows about them and is viewing them.

If you’d like more help recruiting top talent for your company, call Adams & Garth.  We can not only give you access to top candidates, but also help you ensure they will hit the ground running at your firm. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.


Do You Have A “Healthy” Office?

October 21st, 2014

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Culpeper – and Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows that in today’s culture, health and a person’s well-being are important to workers. Is your workplace set to help with that? If not, here are a few tips for improving your office:

Tip #1: Add Plants to Your Office Space.

There are plenty of benefits to adding some green to your indoor space, including the fact that indoor plants have been proven to reduce stress and many actually clean pollutants out of the air. That said, unless you want to spend a lot of time tending to said plants, look for varieties that are hardy and require minimal care.

Tip #2: Use Natural Lighting.

According to studies, natural light reduces stress and fatigue. It’s also ideal for improving mood and enhancing productivity. So try to minimize the use of overhead fluorescents and take advantage of windows and skylights instead. If you can, hold meetings and brainstorming sessions outdoors.

Tip #3: Make Sure Everyone Has Comfortable Seating.

Ensure all your staff members have ergonomically correct chairs with adjustable heights and arms. This kind of seating has been manufactured after years of research into body movements, skeletal stress and postures that lead to pain and ache. The end result is maximum comfort, improved health and higher productivity.

Tip #4: Encourage Breaks

Everyone needs a break during the day. But some office cultures seem to reward those who work around the clock. While this might offer short-term gains, in the long run, it will lead to burned out employees.

That’s why it’s so important to encourage your staff to take breaks throughout the day. Whether it’s getting up to stretch and grab a beverage, or going for a 10-minute walk outside, your employees will have a chance to decompress, clear their minds and renew their energy. In addition, stepping away from work can actually provide some much-needed clarity about a challenging problem or project.

Tip #5: Offer Healthy Snacks

Keep snacks on hand for staff members to munch on during busy days and long-running meetings. Think nuts, dried and fresh fruit and trail mix. Not only are these delicious and nutritious, but they also help your employees keep their energy levels up.

Your employees spend most of their time at work. The environment they operate in is therefore critically important and can impact their overall success on the job. To benefit the health of your employees – and your company – be sure to develop a culture that is conducive to good health and well being.

Need help hiring for your company? Contact Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Culpeper – and Central Virginia, we’ll work with you to learn about your company, your culture, and your key staffing pains. We’ll then get to work sourcing, screening and interviewing candidates so we can find the ones who are a great fit for you.


How to Spot Resume Lies

October 7th, 2014

The unemployment rate is still high and, as one of the leading staffing agencies in Virginia, we know that some job seekers are getting desperate and feeling enormous pressure to get noticed by employers. As a result, they’ll do almost anything to land a position – including creating a resume sprinkled with lies. Whether it’s a phony degree or an exaggerated job title, the bottom line is that the job candidate is being less-than-honest.

So how can you spot half-truths and outright deception? Here are some tips to help you:

Be on the lookout for resumes that lack specifics.

It can be challenging to spot resume lies. However, one warning sign is a resume that is vague and doesn’t offer specific information, from fuzzy employment dates to unclear job duties to the inability to back up the claims made on the resume in a job interview.

Know the red flags.

If a candidate has unexplained employment gaps, doesn’t want to explain the reason for leaving their last job, and has unusual periods of self-employment, then they could be conjuring up a fake employment history.

Scrutinize unlikely job jumps.

For instance, if a candidate went from an entry-level position to a management one within a couple of years, ask yourself: is this realistic? If you bring the candidate in for a job interview, be sure to question them as to how they made so much career progress in such a short amount of time.

Use LinkedIn as an investigative tool.

Beyond networking, sites like LinkedIn can help you dig a little deeper into the background of a candidate, as well as check for inconsistencies on their resume. If you get a feeling an individual isn’t being truthful, then see if they have a LinkedIn profile and compare employment titles and dates.

Test for skills.

For example, if a candidate is a strong contender for the job, don’t just take their word for it that they’re literate in a certain computer program. Test for it.

Conduct a background check.

Make it a point to conduct a check on your top-pick candidates. This will help you verify the information they’re providing you. Checks should include evaluating the authenticity of degrees and colleges and making sure previous employers actually exist. For a relatively small price, you can avoid the hefty cost of hiring a dishonest employee.

Hiring is already hard enough, even when candidates are being completely honest. If you’d like some professional help with the process – including conducting background checks – call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Virginia, we can give you access to talented individuals who can increase productivity and deliver the solutions you need. Contact us today to learn more.

5 Signs of a Potential Hiring Mistake

September 16th, 2014

Face it. A bad hire can cost you a lot more than just time lost on recruiting. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows it can also kill morale, productivity and your overall bottom line. The best approach is to try and avoid potential bad hires in the first place. So if you interview candidates displaying the following kinds of behaviors, run – don’t walk – the other way:

Sign #1: They give vague answers.

You ask a question. Instead of a direct response, the candidate gives you the runaround. They ramble, are short on details and don’t answer anything you’ve clearly asked about. Regardless of the position you’re hiring for, good communication skills are probably an important component of it. If a candidate displays poor ones, don’t ignore it. This is the kind of communication you can expect from them once on the job.

Sign #2: They offer you a family member as a reference.

When a candidate gives you references – and it quickly becomes clear they’re either family members or co-workers, not managers – it should give you cause for concern. If a potential hire doesn’t want you to talk to their former bosses, there’s a reason why.

Sign #3: They behave unprofessionally.

There are many different behaviors that fall under the “unprofessional” category during a job interview – dressing sloppily, showing up late without a good reason, treating the receptionist with disrespect, or coming across as arrogant, to name a few. If a candidate showcases any of these – or any kind of conduct you find inappropriate – you can thank your lucky stars they showed you their true colors in the interview…not once on the job.

Sign #4: They bad mouth former employers or bosses.

Not speaking out against a former boss, employer, or colleague is interviewing 101. When a candidate makes disparaging remarks, it’s a sign that a) they lack tact and loyalty and b) they lack good judgment. After all, they have know idea whether you know the person in question.

Sign #5: They don’t have a clear record of success.

You need someone who can deliver results. If a candidate can’t offer you a track record of their accomplishments or successes, then don’t expect them to produce great results once on the job. You should be on the lookout for candidates who can succinctly and effectively explain the value they bring to the table – in the form of real achievements, not hypotheticals.

It is possible to spot a bad candidate before you make the mistake of hiring one. Just follow the tips above – and if your gut is telling you that someone isn’t right for the job, listen to it. You’re better off continuing your search then hiring the wrong person.

Need help hiring for your company? Contact Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, we know hiring can be a hassle. But we’ve got the knowledge, experience, and proven processes in place to assist you. Next time you need to hire, contact Adams & Garth. We can help.

How to Build a Better Wellness Program

September 2nd, 2014

A recent RAND Corporation study found that over 85% of U.S. businesses employing 1,000 people or more offer some sort of workplace wellness program. That’s great. Until you consider the fact that only 60% of employees are aware that their employers offer a wellness program – and only 40% of those who are aware actually participate in it, according to Gallup research.

As one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, Adams & Garth knows wellness programs can be expensive. However, when done right, they can help offset the rising cost of health insurance while boosting employee morale and productivity.

So if your company has a wellness program with lackluster results, here are a few ideas that can help you improve it:

Create a Communications Plan

Support your wellness program with a strong communications plan. According to a white paper – “Well on the Way: Engaging Employees in Workplace Wellness” by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Co. – barriers to engagement can oftentimes be overcome through championship of the program by the CEO and co-workers who are identified as health ambassadors by their enthusiastic participation in wellness initiatives.

In addition, the paper also points out that enhancing communication via one-on-one benefits counseling can also help drive participation in a company’s wellness program, as well as improve understanding and appreciation of the entire benefits package.

Invest in Incentives

Employee incentive programs provide rewards – financial or otherwise – for those team members who engage in healthy behavior. A growing trend is to cover an additional percentage of a worker’s health insurance premiums for achieving certain health goals, such as lowering blood pressure or losing weight.

Go Beyond the Physical

According to Gallup and Healthways, which have developed a comprehensive source of well-being measurement, the five essential elements of well-being are:

  • Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community: liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community
  • Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

When employees are thriving in several of the above elements, it becomes simpler for them to achieve things that are in their own best interest, such as maintaining good physical health. For instance, if an employee has strong financial well being, they are less likely to be stressed out and fall into bad habits (such as overeating and smoking) that undermine physical health.

Many businesses simply focus their wellness programs on physical well-being. However, by focusing wellness programs on all five elements above, companies can enhance their bottom line.

Other tips for strengthening your workplace wellness program include:

  • Find out what the top drivers of healthcare costs are for your employees and create incentives for wellness initiatives to help deal with those risks.
  • Incentives should be determined based on the demographics of your team members. For instance, what appeals to a workforce that skews older may not be as effective for a company with a younger workforce.
  • Make sure that the incentives are attainable by your employees. They won’t participate if criteria for earning incentives are unrealistic.
  • Make the incentives and what the employee has to do to earn them easy to understand and easy to communicate. 
Communicate early and often about what participants need to complete to earn the incentives.

Need more help recruiting and retaining top employees? Contact Adams & Garth. As one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, we can take the hassle out of hiring for you, so you can focus on managing your team. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

Does Your Job Ad Sound Like Everyone Else’s?

August 19th, 2014

You’re looking for “passionate employees,” offer “competitive compensation” and provide “tremendous opportunities for growth.”

Guess what?

So does every other company out there. In fact, as one of the leading staffing agencies in Culpeper – and Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows if you’re including these kinds of statements in your job ads, then the top talent out there won’t be able to tell you apart from your competition. In addition, when you write generic job ads, you attract generic job candidates.

How can you write better job ads – ones that don’t sound like everyone else’s? Here are some tips to help you:

Ask Yourself These Questions

Too often, job postings focus on a laundry list of duties and responsibilities. But if you’re hiring an administrative assistant, for instance, then qualified candidates already know what an administrative assistant does. Don’t focus solely on duties. Instead, before you begin writing the job posting, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What business problem will the right candidate help us solve?
  • How will we measure their success?
  • Why would someone want this job?

Answer these questions – and craft your job posting around your responses and it will be much easier to attract ideal candidates.

Be Precise in Your Language

You don’t want to get bombarded with resumes from people who simply aren’t qualified for the job. Otherwise, you’ll spend hours wading through candidates who aren’t a good fit.

To avoid this, you need to be as precise as possible in your language. If you need a financial planner with a CFP designation and experience working with teachers, then don’t simply state you need someone who “knows financial planning.” Precision takes a little more work on the front end, but the final result is you’ll cut down on the number of applications you get from unqualified candidates.

Focus on Attitude

A candidate can have strong skills and extensive experience, but if they don’t have the right attitude for your culture, they’re not going to be successful. So think about the hard and soft skills your top performers share. Are they independent thinkers or highly collaborative? Do they love risk taking and adventure, or focus more on certainty and security? Do they seek recognition for their work, or do they like to avoid the limelight?

For instance, if you need to hire a new manager, rather than saying you’re looking for “candidates with management experience,” instead consider: “We’re looking for a candidate with an educator’s heart, one that can not only manage their team members, but coach and mentor them as well.”

If that doesn’t sound good to a candidate, then they won’t apply. For you, that means less time focused on the wrong people and more time to find high performers that are a fit for your culture.

Need more help attracting high quality candidates? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Culpeper – and Central Virginia, we can connect you with top talent in and around the area. Contact us today to learn more.

How to Prep Your Core Staff for Temporary Workers

August 5th, 2014

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth can tell you that using temporary staffing lets you take advantage of many great benefits. But your employees may not see it that way. They may view temp workers you bring on board to help out as a threat to their own jobs. With talks of layoffs, downsizing and outsourcing still going on at many companies across the country, it’s no wonder.

As the boss, though, it’s up to you to get your team to buy-in to temporary staffing so both your core staff and temp help can work together harmoniously. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Talk Up the Benefits. Does temporary staffing help you save time, save money, take on more projects, or get more done? Whatever benefits it offers to your company, communicate those to your staff. They’re thinking about job security, not strategy. So if you explain the bigger picture to them in terms of how the company benefits, then they will be more open to the idea of temporary staffing.
  • Explain the Temp’s Role. Whether you’re using one temporary worker or 20, explain to your team the role they will be playing at the company. The purpose of this is to ease any threatening feelings an employee may have toward a temp. Also, if you expect one of your employees to share office space with a temp, don’t spring it on them at the last minute. You may get a hostile response if you do.
  • Let Your Employees Ask Questions. Your team will likely have questions about the situation, so answer them as thoroughly as you can. The more comfortable your staff members are with temporary staffing, the more productive both your core team and temporary workers will be. Let your employees know, too, to come to you with any issues or concerns. The hope is that you will nip any awkward or tense situations in the bud before they escalate.
  • Give Your Temporary Worker a Buddy. Assign one of your core staff members to your temporary worker to answer questions and help get them acclimated. The person you choose should be someone who is patient and a good communicator. The more comfortable your temporary workers are, the better they will perform.

Need temporary help for a new project or an uptick in demand? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, we’ll learn about your company, your culture, and your key staffing pains. We’ll then get to work providing you with access to the people you need, where and when you need them. Contact us today to learn more.