Adams & Garth Blog

How to Stop Meetings From Being Huge Time Wasters

September 20th, 2016

As a manager, meetings are an important part of your day. You solve problems, build consensus and get status updates on big projects.

But, as one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, Adams & Garth knows that sometimes they can be a giant time suck, as well. Everyone is talking in circles…and nothing gets done.

And in fact, unproductive meetings do more than just waste time. The cost a lot of money, too.

According to the National Statistics Council, 37% of employee time is spent in meetings. And according to a study by Bain & Company, one organization wasted $15 million with a single weekly meeting of mid-level managers.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should cut out meetings entirely. It does mean, though, that you need to take a more productive approach. Here’s how:

Prepare a meeting agenda and send it out in advance.

Your agenda serves many purposes. It gives people the opportunity to prepare for the meeting. It define the meeting’s goal. For instance, are you trying to get an update on various tasks? Or do you want to make a decision during the meeting? It should also provide structure for the meeting – i.e. which topic is to be covered first, second, etc.

Only invite people to the meeting who really need to be there.

Too many people in a meeting lead to unproductive results. So what’s the optimal size? The book Decide & Deliver: 5 Steps to Breakthrough Performance in Your Organization says it’s seven. More than seven people will reduce decision effectiveness by 10%, according to the authors.

Ask people to leave their phones at their desks.

Your team should be giving you their undivided attention during a meeting. Having their phones can detract from that. Also, when people aren’t constantly checking texts and emails on their phone, they can focus more and the meeting can move along faster.

Cut out early if possible.

If your meeting is scheduled to run until 11 a.m. and you’re done covering the agenda by 10:45, then end the meeting. Don’t be tempted to start discussing another problem or project point.

Likewise, if during the meeting, side issues come up and start taking over, steer the discussions back to the topic at hand. It’s up to you to keep meetings productive and on target.

Have too many meetings – and not getting enough work done – because you’re understaffed? 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 and still find exceptional employees. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

What to Do When Two Employees Just Can’t Get Along

September 6th, 2016

You know how important collaboration and teamwork are to business success. So what should you do when two employees can’t seem to get along? They bicker often, they’re rude to each other and actively sabotage one another without batting an eyelash. Here are 5 tips to help you handle the situation:

Tip #1. You can’t make them like each other, but…

Your employees are clearly never going to be best friends. But as one of Harrisonburg’s leading recruiters, Adams & Garth knows it’s up to you to demand that they figure it out – so they can work together productively. These are two grown adults, after all, and they should be able to solve this problem on their own without you acting as a referee.

Tip #2: Offer a little guidance, if necessary.

When it comes to confrontation, some people will avoid it at all costs. So if your employees are having a hard time ‘talking it out,’ then step in and facilitate a conversation between them.

If two employees are having trouble getting along, then chances are, they may have some communication and problem solving issues anyway. Talk to them about how to diffuse the situation and express themselves in non-threatening ways. Once the talks get going, you can step aside and let them resolve the issue on their own.

Tip #3: Step in if the situation escalates.

Sometimes, these issues don’t resolve very easily. When the problem doesn’t get taken care of or escalates despite conversations, then it’s time for you to get involved in a more formal manner.

  • Talk to both employees separately or together to try and get to the root of the problem. Listen objectively to both sides of the story.
  • Keep your employees focused on the facts, not emotions.
  • Ask them both to offer solutions and ideas on how they each can come to an agreement and resolve the situation.

You may need to reorganize your team or give these feuding co-workers time apart on projects. But if you don’t step in at this point, the issue will fester and foster a toxic work environment, damaging productivity further.

Tip #4: Look to your employee handbook.

Your company handbook likely lays out expectations and rules for each employee. So if they’re not able to follow these clearly outlined policies, then talk about next steps and consequences. If the disagreement is bordering on harassment, discrimination, or in a similar vein, then it’s important to follow company protocol on handling the situation.

Tip #5: Document your actions.

Every step of the way, make sure you’re documenting your actions, and your employees’ actions and responses. Keep a copy in each employee’s file. This will help as you monitor their behavior and the situation, and also protect your business should you need to terminate one or both of the employees.

Having a hard time building a team that works well together? Call the recruiting experts at Adams & Garth. As Harrisonburg’s leading recruiters, we know where to look to find the high quality, dependable, and hard-working professionals you need to make a positive impact on your company’s bottom line.

Learn more today.

4 Ways to Improve Hiring at Your Company

August 16th, 2016

As a manager, one of your most important tasks is hiring. But, as one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows it’s certainly not always easy. Not only is it time consuming and costly, but the stakes are high when you consider the consequences of a hiring mistake.

If you’ve had hiring issues in the past, or are looking to avoid mistakes in the future, here are 4 ways you can improve your company’s hiring process now:

#1: Post candidate-centric job descriptions.

Finding the right candidate starts with posting great job descriptions. If you’re not careful and precise, you could end up attracting weak candidates, or ones who are a poor fit for your company. So how can you make your job postings better?

It’s important to give candidates a clear picture about what the job entails – think “a day in the life of”. But just as important, you must demonstrate what your company can do for potential employees. In other words, why should they want to work for you?

#2: Leverage technology.

The vast majority of top talent wants to work for companies that are digitally sophisticated. That’s why you have to go beyond the job boards – and leverage the power of social media in your recruitment efforts.

These days most candidates search for jobs on their smart phones or tablets. It’s therefore also important to ensure your website is mobile friendly.

In addition, when you have a few strong candidates on your radar, check out their social media profiles – especially on LinkedIn and other social media sites geared towards professionals – to find out key information that can tell you whether they’d be a good fit for your job.

#3: Look for the right soft skills.

When hiring, you have to go beyond technical skills and look for candidates with the right mix of soft skills. Skills like interpersonal, problem solving, communication and emotional intelligence are crucial for success on the job, regardless of the field you’re hiring for.

It’s also important to assess personality too. For instance, when you’re hiring a front desk receptionist, they should be an outgoing, friendly person who enjoys dealing with people. On the flip side, if you’re looking to hire someone for data entry, look for those who are more comfortable behind the scenes and who like to focus on speed and precision.

#4: Strengthen your interview process.

Oftentimes, hiring mistakes are caused by a weak interview process. Whether interviewers aren’t trained in best practices or are pressed for time, it can result in poor hiring decisions.

To avoid this, it’s important to make sure interviewers are trained on interviewing techniques and given the time and resources to thoroughly vet each candidate. It’s also important that interviewers ask the right questions. Otherwise, they won’t effectively get behind the candidate mask to assess each job contender.

Hiring is hard work. But when you invest the time and resources – especially in ensuring interviewers are well trained – it will pay off in the form of top quality new hires.

Do you need more help with your hiring process? 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, the first time.

Contact us today to learn more.

6 Tips for Creating a Culture of Learning at Your Company

August 2nd, 2016

As experienced recruiters in Harrisonburg, Adams & Garth knows that to stay a step ahead of the competition, it’s important for your employees to always be learning. Not only will it lead to company-wide innovations, but a culture of learning also:

  • Increases efficiency
  • Enhances employee satisfaction and decreases turnover
  • Develops a sense of ownership and pride among staff
  • Creates a culture of curiosity, inquiry and sharing
  • Enables employees to adapt quickly to change

If you’d like to create a culture of learning at your company, here are 6 tips to follow:

Tip #1: Set the tone.

No one will want to serve as a mentor, or take up the opportunity to be mentored, if you’re not leading by example. It’s important that your team sees you coaching and developing employees yourself.

Tip #2: Create a formal training and development plan.

If you want learning to become ingrained in your culture, it’s important to create a formal training and development plan and mandate it for all individuals. If it’s not required for everyone, then it runs the risk of falling by the wayside.

Tip #3: Communicate the benefits.

Getting your people to buy into a culture of learning requires that you communicate what they’ll get out of it. Give specific examples of how learning initiatives have helped with your own career success. Also talk specifically about the benefits each employee will enjoy through participating and how it can positively impact their careers and the company as a whole.

Tip #4: Create dynamic learning opportunities.

Don’t just require employees to watch a dry training video. If, for instance, you’re trying to teach them about the benefits of social media in marketing your company, invite a dynamic social media speaker in for a lunch-and-learn. If a manager is struggling with running meetings efficiently, pair them with another experienced manager who’s great at leading meetings so they can share tips and advice.

Tip #5: Give recognition.

When employees successfully learn new skills, recognize them for it. Praise and positive feedback will not only serve to motivate them, but also encourage other employees to follow suit.

Tip #6: Monitor, measure, and modify.

To truly create a culture of learning, you need to regularly monitor and measure your efforts – and then make modifications where needed. One way to do that is through garnering feedback about each training session from employees, so you can learn about what’s working and what needs to be improved.

Creating a culture of learning doesn’t happen overnight. But it’s an investment that can pay off in the long run in the form of more engaged, knowledgeable and productive employees – and higher rates of retention.

Need help hiring engaged, knowledgeable, productive people for your team? Call Adams & Garth. As leading recruiters in Harrisonburg, we know that attracting the right candidates can be hard work. But we’ve got the skills, experience, and proven processes in place to assist you.

Next time you need to hire, contact Adams & Garth. We can help.

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.