Adams & Garth Blog

Struggling With Information Overload? Here’s How to Deal

February 17th, 2015

As one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows too much information overloads our brains and causes us to become even more forgetful and uncertain. But in today’s day and age of constant texts, emails, dozens of passwords to keep track of, and other incoming data, it can seem unavoidable.

However, a new book called The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist and psychologist, offers some solutions. In it, he explores how high achieving individuals are able to overcome information overload and enjoy a more focused and less stressful life.

Here are a few key insights from his book:

Give everything a home. According to Levitin: “Place memory evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to keep track of things that didn’t move, such as fruit trees, wells, mountains, lakes.” That means we’re not necessarily wired to keep track of items that are constantly on the move, like car keys, wallets, reading glasses, and cell phones. As a result, we spend an ample amount of mental energy trying to find them. However, when these often-used item have a set home, then you don’t you have to waste time and energy – and get frustrated to boot – searching for them.

Focus instead of multi-tasking. Set times during the day when you don’t check your phone messages and email, or browse the Internet, and simply focus on the work at hand. Also, create a “to do” list of tasks for the day and prioritize them. Don’t let distractions get in the way of completing each task. Why? Because focusing on one task at a time actually takes less energy, according to Levitin. In fact, he writes:

“People who organize their time in a way that allows them to focus are not only going to get more done, but they’ll be less tired and less neurochemically depleted after doing it.”

Give yourself time. As a manager, you often spend your days in back-to-back meetings. While you think you’ll remember everything that occurred, you typically won’t. So instead of scheduling one-hour meetings, schedule 50 minute ones and give yourself 10 minutes in between to make notes on what transpired and any action items you need to take.

Don’t skimp on sleep. According to Levitin, “sleep has been shown to enhance the formation and understanding of abstract relations, so much so that people often wake having solved a problem that was unsolvable the night before.” So make getting a good night’s sleep a goal at the end of each day. For some, that might mean eight or nine solid hours, while for others it might be a good six hours and a power nap during the day. Make good sleep a priority – and you will get more done.

If part of your struggles are due to staffing issues at work, give Adams & Garth a call. 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.

To Promote or Not to Promote?

February 3rd, 2015

In an ideal world, an employee would excel and deliver great work consistently…and they’d eventually earn a promotion. In the real world, though, it’s not always that simple.

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows employees can make mistakes, deliver inconsistent results, and disappoint when you least expect it. So how can you tell when it’s really time to promote an employee – and when you should hold off? Consider these tips:

Evaluate their track record.

Everyone – even the best employees – will have blips on their track record. However, you’re looking for an overall trend of positive performance when deciding whether to promote someone. Some signs include:

  • They’re reliable, show up on time, and maintain a positive attitude.
  • They keep up with their work and achieve their performance goals.
  • They consistently get positive feedback from customers.

A spotty record, on the other hand, is not a good indication that someone is ready for a promotion.

Look at their personality.

If you’re thinking of promoting someone into management who regularly looks down on others, doesn’t collaborate well and is too aggressive, you may want to think again. Someone might have the right hard skills to perform a certain job, but if their personality isn’t a fit, then you’re asking for trouble. Before you make a decision, think about how their personality will translate in the new position. The last thing you want to do is set someone up for failure.

Think about the rest of the team.

How will your other employees react to news of a promotion? Will they think: “this person is great for the job,” or will they question your judgment? It’s important to take your team’s reaction into account before making a move.

Ask whether you can afford it.

Promoting someone undoubtedly means that person will get a raise in salary. The question is: can you afford it? Asking someone to take on more work and responsibility – and deal with the many challenges that come with a promotion – all without extra compensation – isn’t good for retention. So before you make an offer, ensure you have the funding you need to promote.

Promoting the wrong individual at the wrong time can cause serious damage. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to consider whether a promotion is the right step for an employee, well before making an offer.

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.

What to Do When an Employee Needs Hand Holding

January 20th, 2015

Imagine this scenario:

You have an employee who is always knocking on your door. They’re asking for feedback, direction and advice at every turn. You typically don’t mind offering input. But this particular employee seems to need to be told what to do all the time. What should you do?

As one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, Adams & Garth knows if an employee is constantly coming to you in need of help, then there are a few different scenarios that could be in play:

First, you’re not providing them with enough guidance and they’re simply in search of the answers they need to do their job. As a manager, an important part of your job is to offer clear direction and feedback. If you’re not comfortable in that role, then you need to get comfortable quickly, or else you won’t succeed as a manager.

Second, if you’ve already offered clear feedback and direction, and the employee is still floundering and coming to you non-stop, then they may be in a position ill-suited for them. If that’s the case, you need to re-assess their talents and re-align them with a job that matches their skills. When employees are in positions that are a match for them, they feel more engaged, competent and connected. Ideally, before a person is hired for a role, you’ll know their talents to ensure you’re hiring the right person for the job.

A third reason an employee may be constantly interrupting you for guidance is that they’re not confident and need re-assurance from you. It’s up to you, as their manager, to tell them clearly and directly they need to stop disturbing you so much and make decisions and solve more problems on their own. Explain to them about what you need to be updated about, what you don’t, and to determine for themselves what issues should be escalated to you.

In the beginning, you may also want to set up weekly progress meetings to discuss any issues or concerns they may have. Ask your employee to save discussion items for that meeting, unless something is truly urgent, so you’re not interrupted continuously throughout the week.

Keep in mind too, some employees need more guidance and direction than others. As their manager, it’s up to you to tailor your management approach to ensure every employee on your staff succeeds.

Need help hiring for your team? Call the staffing experts at 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 other priorities. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

Keep the Flu Out of Your Office This Winter

January 6th, 2015

The flu season is in full swing – and, as one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows it can wreak havoc on your workplace, not to mention productivity, if you don’t take a proactive approach. To help keep the flu in check and away from your staff this winter, follow these tips:

Tip #1: Encourage employees to stay home when sick.

Too many times, employees feel compelled to come into the office, even when they’re down and out with the flu. Don’t let them! Tell employees to stay home when they’re ill – and don’t punish them for using sick days. Make sure you set the example too by staying home when you’re sick. And finally, if an employee is clearly sick, don’t hesitate to send them home. The flu is highly contagious, after all, and the last thing you need is an entire staff battling it.

Tip #2: Make it easy for employees to get a flu shot.

Send out reminders about local flu-shot clinics. If your company is large enough, consider offering a flu clinic on-site, as well. Whatever you do, make is easy for employees who want to get vaccinated to do so.

Tip #3: Invest in hands-free appliances.

Moving toward hands-free appliances, like automatic soap and paper towel dispensers, can certainly pay off in the form of fewer sick days used by employees.

Tip #4: Keep it clean.

Doorknobs, railings, faucets, conference tables, copy machines, community office products, and any equipment people touch should be disinfected daily. Also, encourage employees to clean their desks and keyboards regularly. Provide hand sanitizer, wipes, disinfecting sprays and towels for them to use.

Tip #5: Promote hand washing.

According to studies, hand washing is still one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of the flu. While you don’t want to sound like a nagging parent, encourage employees to wash their hands regularly. Post signs in restrooms, break rooms and lunch rooms.

Tip #5: Prepare for more sick days.

Plan for the flu ahead of time by having options in place for employees to work from home. That way, if they feel up to it, they can still get work done without coming into the office and potentially spreading the virus.

From lost productivity to missed deadlines, the flu can cause a host of challenges. Overcome them by encouraging and educating workers about how they can fight back. When you do, you can reduce sick time, maintain productivity, and operate a healthier workplace.

If you have employees out on extended sick leave and need extra help as a result, 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.

 

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.