Adams & Garth Blog

School Days: 4 Tips for Creating a Training Plan for Your Team

July 19th, 2016

In just another month, it’s back-to-school season for students. But what about education for your employees? Do you have a training program in place to help them learn, improve and develop?

As leading Staunton recruiters, Adams & Garth knows when it comes to training, efforts are typically focused on new hires or entry level workers. However, studies show that training for employees across all levels can yield big benefits in the form of improved performance and higher productivity. In addition, it can also boost retention efforts by demonstrating your company’s commitment to its employees.

To help you take advantage of these benefits, here are 4 tips to keep in mind when creating a training plan for your team:

Tip #1: Assess your needs.

Before you create a training program, you must first evaluate:

  • Your company’s strategic objectives, mission, vision, philosophy and weaknesses.
  • Your employees’ overall performance, along with strengths and weaknesses, including any skill gaps that can be addressed through training.
  • Your own observations about where employees feel confident and where they feel ill equipped.
  • Workplace regulations and changes your company needs to make to remain in compliance.

Tip #2: Know your audience.

Different people learn differently. So it’s important to address the diverse learning needs of your employees. Some may learn better via written instructions, videos and handouts; others will absorb more through online interactive assignments. Other employees, like tactile learners, will learn best through live demonstrations and practice scenarios. So it’s important to know who your audience is – and the most effective way to teach them.

Tip #3: Get buy-in.

Adults learn differently than children do. That’s why it’s important that you customize your training approach to the needs of your adult learners. For instance, get trainees involved in the curriculum by asking for their feedback and advice on topics to cover and approaches to take. In addition, it’s important to show employees how they’ll benefit from the training program and specifically, how it will help them improve performance.

Tip #4: Track efforts.

Make sure you establish metrics so you can track progress of the training program. Also, once the program is underway, solicit feedback from your employees so you can find out what they found most helpful and areas where the program can be improved, as well as topics to cover in the future.

Do you need more tips on how to hire and retain top talent for your team? Call the staffing experts at Adams & Garth. As leading Staunton recruiters, we can give you access to top candidates that will hit the ground running at your company – and help you train and retain them going forward. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

Handle With Care: How to Deliver Bad News to a Good Employee

July 5th, 2016

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows that giving bad news is hard. As a manager, though, it’s also a part of your job.

But what if you don’t agree with the news – for instance, a decision was made among the higher ups not to promote your top employee, or to turn down a raise request from one of your hardest workers? It can make an awkward situation all the more difficult.

Here are 5 tips for how you can best handle the situation:

Tip #1. Know before you go.

Clearly, you need to have a discussion with your employee. However, before you go to a meeting with them, make sure you have answers about the situation. For instance, who made the final decision and what was their rationale?

Your employee will undoubtedly ask these kinds of questions and it’s up to you to get answers ahead of time. You may also want to prepare and rehearse exactly what you’re going to say to your employee.

Tip #2. Be clear.

Even if you don’t agree with the final decision, you don’t want to give your employee mixed messages. Instead, explain the decision and why it was made. Be thoughtful and compassionate about how you deliver the message – but also very clear.

Also, be mindful of your body language during this conversation. For instance, make sure you look your employee in the eye and don’t fidget or try to evade questions.

Tip #3. Explain “the why” behind the decision.

It’s hard for an employee to accept an unfavorable decision or bad news if they don’t understand “the why” behind the decision. However, if you explain the rationale – and the decision-making process that was used, there’s a much better chance that they can accept the situation and move on.

Tip #4. Let your employee vent.

No doubt your employee will be upset about the decision. And it’s important for you to acknowledge their disappointment.

However, even if you disagree with the final decision, don’t share your misgivings with your employee. Instead, explain how this particular decision was made, and that you and the rest of the executive team are going to look at how these decisions are made going forward. Don’t get into a debate with them about whether or not the decision was a good one.

Tip #5. Talk next steps.

Give your employee a few days to process the decision. Once they have, meet again to discuss next steps going forward. For instance, if they were turned down for a promotion, have a conversation with them about what they need to do going forward to get promoted and how you plan to help them.

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows that giving bad news is never fun – especially when it’s to a really good employee. But by following the tips above, you can handle the situation with care, while still ensuring your staff member stays on track.

Need help hiring for your team? Let us know. With more than 15 years of staffing and recruiting experience right here in Charlottesville, we can help you source, hire and retain top employees for a variety of positions. Contact us today to learn more.

 

 

5 Traits Your Small Business Should Hire For

June 21st, 2016

As leading Staunton recruiters, Adams & Garth knows when you run a small business, every employee on staff can have a big impact on your bottom line. Not only are they the face of your company, but their successes and failures behind the scenes can dictate whether you flounder or flourish.

With that in mind, how can you hire the strongest people for your team? Here’s a look at 5 traits to be on the lookout for during the hiring process:

#1: A High Level of Enthusiasm.

The right technical skills don’t mean much if an employee isn’t enthusiastic about their job and eager to learn more. So ask candidates about why they want to work at your company and take note of answers that show a sense of excitement about your business.

Also, keep an eye out for those who have a love of learning, even though they’re industry veterans. Those are the people who will bring innovation and creativity to your company – along with a competitive advantage.

#2: Easy to Get Along With.

In a large company, you may not notice difficult employees as much. But in a smaller business, a poor dynamic can truly wreak havoc. That’s why it’s important to hire those people who seem easy to get along with, have a positive attitude, and can mesh well with your existing team.

#3: Great Multi-Taskers.

When you run a small business, you wear a lot of hats…and so do your employees. As a result, it’s important to look for people who are flexible, can switch gears quickly, and manage a variety of different projects simultaneously. When interviewing candidates, ask them to tell you about a time when they had to juggle multiple projects at once.

#4: Motivated to Succeed.

When you’re running a small business, you don’t have a lot of time to hold hands. You therefore need people who are internally driven and motivated to succeed.

These are the people who will look for ways to help you grow the company – without you having to ask – and will welcome new tasks and responsibilities. When screening resumes, look for candidates who have a strong record of achievement in their past positions.

#5: Strengths Different From Your Own

It’s easy to hire people just like you. But diverse teams lead to stronger companies.

As a result, it’s important to look for and hire those with a skill set, abilities and personality different from your own. They can help you overcome any blind spots and bring a fresh perspective to the table.

Do you need more help hiring for your small business? Call the experts at Adams & Garth. As leading Staunton recruiters, we can give you access to top candidates that will hit the ground running at your company. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

How to Let a Candidate Down in the Best Way Possible

June 7th, 2016

You’re in the process of hiring and have a clear front runner for the job. The problem? You just finished interviewing a candidate you really like and respect – but you know they’re not the best fit for this particular opportunity.

You don’t want to burn any bridges. After all, they could be an ideal match for a future position with your company. But let’s face it – it’s an awkward situation and the news you’re about to deliver won’t be welcome.

How do you let a candidate down in the best way possible?

Be responsive.

It’s understandable that you don’t want to have to let a good candidate down. However, it’s part of your job. And the faster you cut them loose so they can move onto other options, the better. Don’t drag your feet on this one. As soon as you know you’re not going to hire someone, you need to let them know too.

Keep in mind, if you keep the candidate in the dark for too long, they’re going to get upset and won’t want to apply to your company in the future. Overall, a lack of responsiveness also reflects poorly on your employer brand.

Offer feedback.

It’s not always wise to offer feedback to every candidate you don’t hire. However, if there was someone who was a close fit, just not quite right, let them know you think they’re terrific – just not the best match for this particular job. When you do, give them a specific reason why (i.e. avoid canned HR language here). For instance, let them know another candidate’s had three more years of project management experience.

Ask to stay in contact.

Job candidates are used to the “we’ll keep your resume on file for up to a year” response. So when you have a candidate who you’d really like to apply to future jobs, don’t just tell them you’ll hold onto their resume. Connect with them on LinkedIn, invite them to a networking event, and promise to keep your ears open about any future openings within the company.

It’s never fun to let a job candidate down…especially one who has great skills and experience. However, if you approach it the right way – and follow the tips above – you can let them down gently, stay in touch, and potentially bring them on board in the future.

Do you need more help finding great candidates for your job openings? Call the experts at Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in 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 quality candidates so we can find one that’s a great fit for you. Contact us today to learn more.

How to Get the Most from Your Summer Interns

May 17th, 2016

Summer is just around the corner. And with the season, college students and new graduates will beginning their internships. If you’ll be managing an intern this summer, are you prepared to offer a valuable experience, so you can get the most from them? To help you in the process, here are 5 tips to consider:

#1: Create a meaningful opportunity.

Sure, your intern might be making coffee and filing. But that shouldn’t be all they do. Ambitious interns will want an opportunity to learn new skills, gain insight and make a contribution.

Start with the basics with your intern, but increasingly give them more responsibility as the summer goes on so they feel a sense of accomplishment. Teach them the tools of the trade in terms of software, whether it’s Excel or Sharepoint, to make them more marketable once they are applying for a job. And point them to books, publications, blogs and other sources of information that would be useful for them to read.

#2: Set them up with a manager.

Make sure you pair your intern with a single manager they will report to. If they’re thrown into the job without a point of contact, specific goals set for them, and someone to hold them accountable, they’ll flounder. It’s important to choose someone on your team who will enjoy and be good at managing and helping an intern.

#3: Talk big picture.

Make sure your intern understands the big picture of what your company does and how they fit in. By sharing insight into the big picture, you can bridge any knowledge gaps and help your intern be more motivated to succeed.

#4: Assign a dedicated project.

Your intern might be working on a various tasks throughout the summer. However, be sure to assign them one dedicated project that they can tackle. When you do, it will keep them focused, help them obtain new skills more quickly, and provide a means for you to measure their success.

That said, don’t assign them a project and then check in a month later. Instead, have them complete regular drafts that you or their manager can review so you can ensure they’re on the right track.

#5: Check in often.

Meet once a week with your intern to check in. This can be a quick 10-minute coffee break together, or you can invite them to lunch. But just make sure you review objectives and check on progress, and also answer any questions your intern may have.

Do you need more help hiring for your team this summer? Call the experts at 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 for the summer – and all year long. Contact us today to learn more.

4 Tips for More Consistent Performance On Your Team

May 3rd, 2016

Does this sound familiar? You have some employees who are regular rock stars. Others who are putting in subpar performance every day. And still others who vacillate back and forth between excellence and mediocrity.

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows what you really need is a team of steady and reliable workers – who consistently deliver great results. Here’s how to get it:

Tip #1: Communicate clear goals.

Poor performance can often stem from a lack of understanding about goals. That’s why it’s so important for every person on your team needs to understand what they should be doing from the start. Meet with each staff member individually to set performance goals and monitor their progress with regular check-ins.

Tip #2: Invest in more training.

If you’re like most managers, you’re more than busy…you’re flooded with requests. So when a new person joins your team, you might not have the time or resources to ensure they’re trained properly. They’re on their own to figure things out. Sometimes, your new hire can get up and running quickly; most often, though, additional training is needed – especially if you want consistent results.

Why? Because thorough training can help ensure everyone in your department is following the same processes and procedures. It also ensures you customers are getting the same answers, regardless of whom they speak with. This all leads to more consistent performance and results

Tip #3: Get rid of obstacles.

When a goal or deadline goes unmet, don’t automatically point the finger of blame at your employees. Roadblocks – such as obsolete technology or unrealistic timelines – can often result in a lack of consistent performance. As the manager, it’s up to you to remove these roadblocks so your employees can perform at their best everyday.

Tip #4: Offer regular praise.

Besides regularly checking in with your team to keep them on track, you should be offering consistent praise, as well. And don’t play favorites and praise those employees you like best. Praise performance and results, not people.

Consistency starts with you. Consistently set realistic goals, invest in employee training, work to remove obstacles and offer praise – and you’ll get more consistent performance across your team.

Do you need help recruiting employees you can rely on to deliver? Call the team at Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in 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 dependable candidates that are a great fit for you. Contact us today to learn more.

Should I Rehire an Employee?

April 19th, 2016

You know hiring is a challenge. So when a former employee comes knocking at your door looking for a new job, should you rehire them?

As one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, Adams & Garth knows it depends on the situation. For instance, if this person was a problem employee with weak performance in the past, then that’s a no brainer. Politely turn them down.

However, what if it’s more complicated than that? Say, for example, they were a great employee but left for greener pastures. Maybe they didn’t feel like they were being offered enough opportunities for development. Or perhaps they wanted a more flexible schedule.

If an employee left over these issues in the past, then there’s a chance they will quit again in the future if the issue hasn’t been resolved. That’s why you need to ask specifically about it.

The last time they worked for you, the individual could have had small children that required a more flexible schedule. But now the kids are grown up, so your former employee doesn’t need that same schedule.

Whatever the case, just make sure the same issue that caused this person to leave in the first place won’t rear it’s ugly head a second time around.

If you’re still not sure what to do, here’s a look at some other reasons why former employees are at least good to consider:

  • The person is a known entity. You know their work ethic and their attitude. You know how effective and productive they are. And you know whether or not they work well with others. There’s no worry about this candidate looking one way on paper and then acting completely different once in the office.
  • They understand the culture. This can make the learning curve significantly shorter, which means they can get up and running faster. It also means they know the good, bad and ugly about the culture and office politics and still want to boomerang back.
  • They have an expanded skill set. The former employee may be applying for a management position that they weren’t previously qualified for when they worked at your company. Now they have the skills and experience to add more value. Even better, another company paid the price to train them.

Don’t have any boomerang employees knocking on your door? Need more help recruiting great workers for your job openings? Call the experts at Adams & Garth. As one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, we can take the hassle out of recruiting for you, so you can focus on other priorities. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

Is an Employee Underperforming – or Stretched Too Thin?

April 5th, 2016

You have an employee who isn’t getting their work done. They tell you their work load is too high and they are simply stretched too thin. How can you tell if they’re right on – or on the wrong track at work? Here are some tips to help you:

Look at your employee’s past performance.

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth can tell you that if you have an employee you know is a solid, dependable worker with extensive experience, then it’s important you take their concerns to heart and trust their judgment. However, if the employee is new, or has been a weak performer in the past, then it may be time for some additional training and support.

Look at the performance of other employees.

If you have other employees who perform similar work or are in a similar position, then look to them to see if they are also having trouble meeting deadlines or managing their workload. This will give you a better idea of whether or not your expectations for your employee are realistic. If everyone on your team is missing deadlines or in the same boat, then it’s time to readjust workloads.

Look at the employee’s job in depth.

In order to understand whether or not performance or workload is the issue, you need to understand what your employee’s day-to-day looks like. What projects are they working on? What are the deadlines for these? How much time is allotted to each task?

You may find you allocated a few hours to a task that is actually taking the employee days to complete. Or perhaps your employee is dependent upon a co-worker to complete their part of the project first and that person is moving too slowly. Whatever the case, it’s up to you to identify the roadblock and help your employee overcome it.

Look for shortcuts.

Work with your employee to help them streamline projects and tasks and find shortcuts for getting work done faster. Act as a problem solver and collaborate to find a solution, whether it’s delegating certain tasks or cutting them out of the process entirely. Keep in mind, in order to get the best results, you need to have a conversation with your employee…not put them on the defensive.

Once you’ve gone through the process above, you should have a better idea of whether your employee is underperforming…or truly stretched too thin.

Whether your issue is weak performance or understaffing, Adams & Garth can help. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, we can give you access to the high quality, dependable talent you need, whether on a full-time or temporary basis. Contact us today to learn more.

How Information Overload is Overwhelming Your Employees…& What to Do About It

March 15th, 2016

Information overload is defined as the exposure to or provision of too much information or data. According to Deloitte’s 2014 Global Human Trends Capital Report, it’s overwhelming your workers, harming productivity and lowering worker engagement.

In fact, 65% of executives in Deloitte’s survey rated the “overwhelmed employee” an “urgent” or “important” trend, while 44% said that they are “not ready” to deal with it. The report also estimates that information overload costs mid-size companies $10 million a year.

The good news is that HR and managers have the opportunity to lead efforts to manage the seemingly inescapable communication practices that are leading to overwhelmed employees.

According to the report, here’s how:

Get feedback.

In order to assess information overload at your company you need feedback from your employees on what’s troubling them the most. Ask them about frustrating or time wasting workplace practices and systems. Work to reduce the number of steps it takes to complete a task or process.

Change expectations.

As a manager, if you’re online day and night responding to emails, your employees will feel the need to do the same. So work to deliberately change these kinds of all-consuming expectations. If you can, avoid sending emails at night or on the weekends. When you do, you’ll be signaling to employees it’s ok to take time off and disconnect.

Embrace flexible schedules.

Implement a flex time policy and let employees work from home, even if it’s only occasionally. Send the message that it’s ok to miss a meeting if someone is in the midst of a massive project. These kinds of policies make it easy for employees to free themselves from less important tasks so they can focus on key projects or personal needs.

Keep meeting short.

Incorporate guiding principles at your company surrounding meetings, including keeping them short – to 30 minutes or less. This forces people to rapidly discuss issues, resolve problems, and get back to work. Keep them small too so that only the core team who really needs to be there is invited.

Delegate decision making.

Who on your team can call the shots? Are employees empowered to make decisions without consulting others? Enable your employees to make more decisions on their own and you’ll make everyone’s lives a whole lot easier.

Outsource non-core tasks.

If your company has a lot of repetitive, non-core tasks, consider outsourcing them to free up your team’s time and energy. Tasks can include anything from administrative to writing and publishing.

If you’re interested in learning more about how outsourcing can save your company time and money, call Adams & Garth. As one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you find and hire top talent for temporary and temporary-to-hire positions – so you and your core team can focus on other priorities.

Contact us today to learn more.

5 Questions the Best Job Candidates Will Ask You

March 1st, 2016

The smartest job candidates know a secret: Just as you are evaluating them, they need to be assessing your company as a potential employer. How do they do it? By asking great questions. That’s why, when it comes time for the “do you have any questions for me?” portion of the interview, you should listen very carefully.

What kinds of questions do smart candidates ask? Here’s a look at 5:

#1: What are your expectations for me within the first six months on the job?

As one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows strong candidates want to deliver great results. But they can’t do that unless they are crystal clear about your goals and expectations. While they might spend the first few weeks, and perhaps even months, getting to know the ins and outs of the company and the position, they also know that once they hit the six month mark, they want to be as productive as possible.

#2: What are some traits or strengths of your top employees?

The best candidates know it takes more than just technical skills to succeed in a new position…it also takes a fit between employer and employee. And asking about what strengths the most successful employees share gives them insight into whether they would fit in with your company, as well as whether they have what it takes to achieve success on the job.

#3: What goals are the highest priority at your company and how would my role fit in with achieving those?

Top candidates want to be contributors. They want to ensure the job opportunity they do accept has meaning and will make an impact. They’re not looking for any old job. They want a position with a purpose.

#4: What drives results in this position?

Sure, HR people handle HR tasks. But what they’re really doing is sourcing and recruiting top-notch people who will drive productivity and bottom line results. Likewise, smart candidates will want to know what drives results in the position they’re interviewing for.

#5: Do a lot of people at your company get hired through referrals?

When your employees love their jobs they’re going to refer others to their companies. So if you have a high percentage of employees hired through referrals, it sends the message that your organization is a great place to work.

Do you need more help sourcing, evaluating and hiring top candidates for your team? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Charlottesville, we have the knowledge and expert team in place to help you find and hire the best people, the first time.

Contact us today to learn more.