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A Well Oiled Machine

The term human resources was coined because that is exactly what your staff are: valuable resources that make your business work. Without people, most businesses would be filing for bankruptcy in no time. Effectively managing staff is one of the most important parts of any business model. Taking some tips on managing staff and personalities is a great way to improve your business with little or no financial investment.

Tips for Managing Staff

Your staff is comprised of different people, with different personalities who all share a goal when they come to work. The goal is to make your business as profitable as it can possibly be. By giving your employees the right tools, direction, and encouragement, you can make sure that you staff focuses as a team on the things that are important to your business.

  • Be clear: Staff members need to know exactly what is expected of them when they come to work. They need to know “big picture” things like the overall goal of your business, any short-term goals or schedules, and more individualized information such as a well defined job description. Be straightforward and specific in your communications, so that individuals know what is expected of them and how they fit into the bigger picture.
  • Be open: When a problem arises, it is usually a member of the staff, not the management team, who finds out about it first. An open communication policy will make it easier for your staff to report the issue so it can be solved. It will also make it easier for employees to voice complaints that might improve the atmosphere and company culture or suggestions that can save time and money. The ability to take criticism constructively and to work through trouble with a level head are vital to an open communication policy. If your staff do not feel that they can talk to you, they probably won’t.
  • Allow autonomy: Certainly you will have policies and structures that everyone on your staff must follow in order for business to be done smoothly. It does not matter if you need staff for a construction project or a catering company, this fact holds true. But whenever possible, it is best to let staff take control of their work and choose ways to do it that best suit their preferences. For instance, every dish washer must follow sanitation standards, but if you micromanage to the point that you are telling them which angle to spray the dishes from, you are too involved. Let people have some freedom in their efforts, and it will pay off.
  • Point out the positive: Do not hesitate to tell a staff member who has done well that you are pleased with his work. People need to know that they are appreciated; this is just as true for management as it is for labor. Remember that people work for you, not just nameless employees, and that people respond well to encouragement.
  • Train, train, train: Training can be expensive and seem like a waste of time, but it is vital. Without proper training, staff will not be aware of the nuances of your business. This will become glaringly obvious when you review negative customer feedback–and it will be no one’s fault but your own.

Managing staff is one of those things that sounds easier than it is. You have clearly defined business needs, taken in combination with different personalities and personal values. All of these things must work together towards the highest possible profit margin you can achieve. We practice what we preach here at Labor Systems and are open, honest and encouraging with our administrative staff as well as our temps. We would be happy to go over the options you have at your disposal when it comes to temporary staffing in Arizona. We have offices throughout the state, making one stop shopping possible for your staffing needs in Phoenix, Bullhead City, and Apache Junction, among our other locations.

Sources:

10 Ways to Manage Creative Personalities; Bright Hub

8 Tips for Managing Staff Through Hard Times; Inc.com

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Getting the Low Down: Employee Background Checks

Before you bring on a new staff member, you want to know as much as possible about the candidate. Past experiences, not solely work experiences, have a profound effect on who prospects are and how they will perform their role in your business. An interview or two can give you a good idea of who a candidate is, but many employers want to know a little more. Are there any important details that the applicant might have left out of the interview or their resume? A background check can be a great way to find out and verify that the person you are considering is on the up and up. You don’t necessarily have to eliminate candidates based upon what you find, but you do want to know as much as possible before you offer them a position.

What to Look For

You can use an independent supplier to collect background information on your candidates and supply you with a total picture, or you can look for individual pieces of information on your own. Deciding what you want to know in advance will help you decide whether to look yourself or hire a company to conduct your background checks.

  • Credit scores: Some employers do in fact look up the credit scores of the applicants. This can tell you a little about their ability to handle finances and let you see what they have been up to. If you collect this data, you must have the applicants’ written permission in advance. Also keep in mind that if you use your findings to make a hiring decision, you must share the report with the applicant and explain how it led you to your decision.
  • Criminal background checks: This is the most popular form of background check for employers. You may still hire someone with a criminal record, but for the integrity of your hiring process and the safety of your staff you want to know whether an applicant has been into trouble with the law and to what extent. Criminal history is generally a public record. Here in Arizona, employers and candidates can request both a background check and a fingerprint clearance card (for positions that require considerable security) from the Arizona Department of Public Safety. This includes only crimes committed in Arizona, so be sure to have a national criminal background check performed if you want a full picture.
  • Medical records: You might be tempted to look into these, but be advised that federal regulations state that you can ask only whether a candidate can reasonably perform required job functions and cannot ask for medical records. In general it is best to avoid the potential liability—yes you can be sued by someone you do not hire—that is associated with asking for this type of information.
  • Military or school records: If an applicant says he went to a particular university or has military experience, this might set the applicant apart from the pack. You will want to find out for sure, but know in advance that you will need to request transcripts from the applicants themselves. Let them know why you want the information and consider having them sign a document that states in legal terms how the information will be used and that they consent to your having it. Most often you cannot get much more information than name, rank/major and other general pieces of information from the military or a particular school. If you want information on GPA, commendations, or anything like that you will need your applicant to provide it.

With any and all information you collect via a background check you must consider privacy issues This is sensitive information and if it is leaked, even internally, you as the employer can end up in hot water. Make sure that background check information is limited to “need to know” personnel and never the subject of conversation outside of these circles. Background checks are common parts of the hiring process. They can be time consuming and usually have little to do with your core business functions. If you want to save time and alleviate the trouble associated with background checks or other compliance issues pertinent to hiring, we would be happy to help. Labor Systems Job Center can supply employees on a part time, temporary or direct hire basis and as always you can try out a staff member before making a firm decision.

Sources:

Business.gov

Arizona Department of Public Safety

CV Tips.com

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Making Emergencies Easy

Running or managing a business can be a very rewarding experience, especially if you are the type of person who thrives on change. Management can provide opportunities to showcase your flexibility and ability to think on your feet. While overcoming obstacles can be very rewarding, sometimes business presents us with opportunities that are double-edged swords. Yes, they might be an opportunity to grow and develop, but they might also be coupled with hurdles that must be bested in order to take advantage of the opportunity.

In many cases staffing is a hurdle that must be jumped. Think about what can happen to your staffing situation, literally overnight, if:

  • You suddenly gain a large customer or an existing customer suddenly places a huge order
  • You are presented with a time sensitive opportunity
  • A large number of staff defect to a competitor simultaneously

In any and all of these cases a reliable staffing agency is your best means of fixing the situation. They will allow you to remedy your staffing problem in a very short amount of time, usually the amount of time it takes to make a phone call. Staffing agencies pre-screen candidates and have a list of capable employees who can work on short notice. This is their whole business model. If they could not sufficiently supply this service then they would not be in business; it is as simple as that.

What to Look For in a Staffing Agency

It is understandable that you might be a little apprehensive about bringing in temporary workers for certain assignments. If you ask around, colleagues who have used temporary labor to their advantage will likely be able to tell you about the benefits and assuage your fears about trusting a temporary agency. Be sure to ask them to recommend a company that has:

  • A solid history in the staffing industry
  • A variety of temporary workers that will allow you a little more flexibility in choosing your new staff members
  • The ability to send staff over the very next day if needed. Even if this isn’t what you need, it shows that you are choosing a company that has superior customer service and is prepared to fill any overnight gaps that might arise in the future
  • Will allow you trade out workers hassle free if you feel that a different temp might be a better fit for you
  • Enough reach to help you at all of your geographic locations. If you have offices in Phoenix and Scottsdale, it is beneficial to select a temporary service that can help you in both cities.

Tips for Using a Staffing Agency

Now that you are comfortable using a temporary service to fill your emergency staffing needs, take a couple of tips that will help you to effectively work with a staffing agency and use their services.

  • Know what you are looking for. The staffing agency will be far more likely to set you up with the right workers if you can be specific about what you need from the standpoint of workload to be accomplished and skill set necessary to do the work.
  • Build a relationship early. Emergencies develop very quickly and it will be helpful to have a relationship with an agency that you like. Maybe start out by using an agency to cover a vacation or to send over a couple of temps to help you decide whether hiring on full-timers is worthwhile.
  • Expand your relationship. Talk to your representative at your staffing agency about your current and prospective needs. They will be able to help you to determine what it will take to cover your temporary staffing needs and get a better idea of which temps will work out best for you.

Sources:

Entrepreneur

New York Times

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