How to Avoid Dressing Mistakes at Your Next Interview

How many chances do you get to make a good first impression? One. When it comes to making that first impression, you have a few seconds to give that "WOW!" factor. Someone usually gathers an impression of you in fewer than 20 seconds.

5 professionals in a line

As you begin preparing for your next job interview, you want to make sure you do everything you can to make an excellent first impression. While it is very important that you do your best during the interview, you also have to make an impression before the interview even starts. You have to look like you are showing up for an interview.

We want to help you make the best impression possible during your upcoming job interview. So to accomplish that, below are some dressing mistakes you should avoid:

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Hats

If you want to make a positive impression at a job interview, do not wear a hat. A hat does not give the professional look that you want to achieve. Even if you do not like the way your hair looks that day, do not place a hat on your head.

Hair

You want your hairstyle to give a professional vibe, but you also want your hairstyle to be trim and neat. Do not choose a hairstyle that will result in you constantly touching your hair. You do not have to use your hair to make an unbelievable impression. You want the person interviewing you to notice your skills and talents, not any outlandish hairstyle.

Business Suit or Dress Pants for men interviewing

Clothing for Men

You should avoid wearing a suit that has bright or bold colors, stripes, plaids, etc. If you are going to wear a suit jacket, you should make sure the jacket matches your pants. Do not wear jeans to your job interview.

It is important that you have your own interview attire because if you wear something that is too small or too big, it will be obvious that the clothing does not belong to you. Having the appropriate attire for a job interview is a priority, so be wise, and make this investment. It will be worth it.

professional female employee in suit pants and jacket

Clothing for Women

Avoid showing too much skin at your job interview. This means you should avoid showing too much of your arms, thighs, chest, stomach, etc.

If you walk into the interview with a very short skirt, you may not give the most professional impression. Make sure your skirt reaches the tops of your knees or goes below your knees. Choose tops and dresses that are neither low-cut nor sleeveless.

Makeup/Perfume

perfume amount for interviews

We understand you want to look and smell your best at an interview, but it is also important to know when too much is too much. Do not go overboard with the makeup. While we all like smelling our best, it is not wise to spray too much perfume on yourself. Many people are allergic to certain scents, and you do not want your interviewer to be overwhelmed by or have an allergic reaction to your perfume.

Jewelry (Men and Women)

jewelry.jpg

Avoid wearing jewelry that is too flashy or too big. When jewelry is oversized, it can make noises which may be distracting to both you and the interviewer. Both women and men should avoid wearing an excessive amount of jewelry. Men should limit themselves to wearing a watch and a maximum of two rings. 

When you are preparing for your next job interview, it is important that you keep these things in mind. Your next job interview can ultimately be the one that changes your life for the better. You want to dress for success and make an unforgettable impression at your next job interview. Are you ready?

For additional interview tips, check out other Brannon Professionals' blog posts related to interviewing. Simply contact us today.

 

How to Retain Employees and Increase Engagement - Part 2

To read Part 1 of this article, CLICK HERE.

After researching this topic of engagement and retention and reviewing the statistics, three avenues for resolving the issues stand out. They are the initial interview, the stay interview, and nontraditional benefits. When incorporated well into your hiring, benefit and retention methodologies, you should see improvements in both employee engagement and employee retention.

1) THE “INITIAL” HIRING INTERVIEW

Take a moment to consider the types of questions you ask employees before hiring them. Also ponder the questions you ask candidates' references, if you are in the habit of checking references. Finally, consider all the screening methods your business consistently practices when hiring a new employee.

Initial hiring interviews are extremely important, so I hope that you do conduct interviews and go through a proper screening process.

paperwork - person with pen in hand

However, along with the interview, there are a few additional methods of screening candidates which may or may not yet be a part of your company’s hiring process. They are processes which could directly affect your new employees’ engagement and retention rates.

The processes involve finding intelligent, energetic, and motivated people who are also individuals of integrity. Perhaps you agree and wonder, “Yes, but how do I do this?”

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

emotional intelligence - thinking figure head
  • ASSESSING INTELLIGENCE: How do you find an intelligent employee? Do you request a copy of the candidate’s college transcript? Of course not! That’s not the type of intelligence to which I am referring.

Rather, it’s an emotional intelligence. According to TTI Success Insights' website, their emotional quotient assessment accurately measures one's "ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power of overall emotional well-being to facilitate higher levels of collaboration and productivity."

However, if you wish to assess intelligence by testing a candidate's aptitude for learning and problem-solving, Brannon Professionals utilizes a tool that I like to call the "How well do you think on your feet?" test. Contact us for more information on either of these assessments.

  • ASSESSING BEHAVIOR: A high-energy employee is often deemed as the most preferable. Sometimes we label people as introverted (with supposedly low energy) and extroverted individuals as high energy. If this is your habit of labeling, you may want to reconsider, because this is absolutely wrong thinking when it comes to hiring successful employees.

I know extreme introverts who have learned skills which have made them top salespeople. I have also seen extroverts with so much energy that they had a difficult time focusing on tasks requiring great detail, yet were exceptionally skilled in building relationships with customers.

Having candidates and employees complete a personality or behavioral assessment, such as the DISC hiring and management tool created by TTI Success Insights, can remove our biases and offer definitive insights about potential candidates on both sides of the equation so that the right candidate can be hired from the get-go.

TTI target
  • As to motivated individuals, hiring managers should not blindly go after the spunky, energetic candidates who seem to really want the job and be motivated by the job description. Go deeper by discovering the candidate’s natural motivators and asking employees to take the TTI Success Insights’ 12 Driving Forces or PIAV assessment. It will reveal a candidate’s true motivations in life and in the workplace. You want the candidate's motivators to align well with the actual job for which they are a consideration. If their motivations are a good match, then it may be time for a job offer.

ethics morals respect and similar words poster
  • Finally, there is the matter of finding employees with integrity. This is a topic previously covered in a Brannon blog post. Integrity ranks high on the list of most desirable traits in a job candidate. Honesty, accountability, transparency, humility, trustworthiness, and responsibility are all important aspects of this noble yet sometimes uncommon character trait. People who do what they say they are going to do and those who willingly provide a reasonable account of "why" when they can’t keep their word are such a valuable asset to an organization! A candidate who attaches importance to these respected principles for living and has a reputation for practicing them in previous jobs, s/he is someone to rank high on your potential candidate list.

2) THE “STAY” INTERVIEW

I have often wondered why new owners and managers do not re-interview their employees, at least in the most basic fashion, especially when there isn’t an overabundance of employees. The point of doing this would be, of course, to get to know your people, their interests, skills, motivations, and aspirations. You want to know why they stay with the company and also understand any reasons which might cause them to leave.

trust - 2 men shaking hands in place of "U"

With this idea in mind, what about having owners and department managers conduct stay interviews? These would be conducted with all employees, regardless of how long they have been employed. The interviews would simply be modeled and toned differently from the initial hiring interviews.

Try to conduct stay interviews every 1 to 1 ½ years. Questioning should be focused on conversations which create insights regarding employee satisfaction with his or her job, coworkers, salary, management, workload and the company itself.

Your choice of the following potential stay interview questions may be shared with employees ahead of time:

man in suit and tie giving thumbs up
  • How would you rate your level of joy and satisfaction with the work related to your current position? With the relationships you have developed among your coworkers? With your supervisor(s)? With the company? (Note: Use a 1-10 rating scale.) When a low rating is noted, try to discover the basis for the low satisfaction. It may be something as simple as a bad odor or the temperature in the office or as complex as a moody coworker or being subjected to subtle biases.

  • Based on a definition of employee engagement, how would you rate your current level of engagement with the job?

  • What single aspect of your job brings you the most satisfaction?

stressed lady with head in hands at laptop
  • Bring up salary history and discuss possibilities for raises. Ask about needs and expectations, goals, and any pay increase limitations due to top-out pay, lack of education, etc.

  • Ask if the employee feels appreciated by his or her direct supervisor, the department manager and by the company?

  • If we could do one thing for you, what would it be?

  • What, if any, work-related task brings you the most stress after you leave the office?

  • Ask about a single challenge s/he is facing, and then discuss how management might help change the situation for the better. Occasionally, this might involve a delayed conversation.

  • Ask about the leadership role in which s/he is currently involved, if any. Are you satisfied with your current level of leadership opportunities? Are you hoping for advancement opportunities? If so, in what role? As a manager, be as prepared as you can be to discuss the possibilities, if any truly exist, and on what basis a potential promotion might occur.

new skills - man at laptop learning - in training
  • Do you have any new skills, educational goals, or company related interests that you would like to discuss?

  • Ask for suggestions about the person’s job, the department, work flow, office relations, company, and anything else which might be on the interviewee’s mind. Write these suggestions down and study them as sincere recommendations. Work to implement any suggestion you deem wise. Follow up with the employee and keep him or her informed of developments regarding the suggestions.

3) THE ADDITION OF NONTRADITIONAL BENEFITS

cartoon man with gold bag - 401K

Hopefully, your company already offers the most basic, traditional benefits. These include medical, dental, vision, and 401K offerings. If you do not offer these, they should become your top priority. Make them available and just as affordable and beneficial as possible for your employees.

However, other nontraditional benefits can be very effective in persuading new hires to jump on board and be a part of your business. Benefits which provide flexibility, reimbursement, life assistance or even fun will go over best with your employees. The goal is to be certain that your employees know how much they are valued and personally appreciated for their contributions to the company’s overall success.

$1 bills

Here are a few suggestions regarding the offering of nontraditional benefits:

  • For new parents, what if you offered a little extra cash in the form of a gift card to help offset the costs associated with having a newborn in the house?

  • Freebies like once-a-month meals, special event tickets, company paid lunches, out-of-office freedom on birthdays, or yummy treats for your department tend to go over extremely well with employees.

  • People love their pets, so perhaps company-provided pet insurance would be a perk.

  • Recent graduates tend to appreciate employer assistance in paying off student loans, and it's one way to help retain employees.

  • Employees seeking to further their education could do so more easily with tuition reimbursement options.

  • Who doesn’t enjoy a fun, company-wide outing or party?

party room - convention hall - balloons on floor
  • Built-in gyms (or free gym memberships) and on-site daycare are also popular perks.

  • Food and retail discounts, even 10% off ones, can be very beneficial to the pocketbooks of hourly employees especially. Why not pursue these in the form of a company discount card and share?

  • Begin offering cancer or critical illness insurance options.

time - hourglass.png
  • Offer a limited but flexible amount of paid time off (PTO) to complete volunteer work in the local community or in areas devastated by natural disaster.

  • Offer 4-5 hours of flex time per month for employees to leave early and attend kids’ activities and events OR ½ day of flex time to leave early on Friday once per month to enjoy the afternoon or to manage doctor’s appointments, etc.

  • Offer the flexibility of telecommuting. This can benefit the person as well as the company.

  • Have an employee-of-the-month and provide them with free, on-site car detail service.

  • Allow employees to earn vacation time in incremental measurements rather than requiring them to work an entire year without vacation time.

stressed verbiage - man running against time / clock

In summary, what happens when a business or an individual doesn't really have all that is needed to survive? Stress increases for the employee as well as for the company leaders. Yet stress can be relieved.

Discovering and incorporating new ways of meeting your employees' most practical needs can be a powerful tool in increasing both employee engagement and retention. Why not explore these options today? 

Contact Brannon Professionals today to learn more about our customized and cutting edge hiring tools. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Retain Employees & Increase Engagement - Part 1

happy employee working on laptop at desk

Do your employees love what they do? Are they fully engaged? If not, as a business owner or manager, have you yet determined the best and most practical ways to build engagement among your staff?

Furthermore, is retention a problem for your company? Do employees come and go way more often than management would prefer? Do you understand why employees are leaving your place of employment after working mere months or a year, maybe two?

These are engagement and retention questions all hiring managers need to be asking themselves and then seeking appropriate solutions - if any level of maintenance is needed.

As you ponder upgrades to your current engagement and retention strategies, consider the following regarding employee satisfaction, salary and benefits:

When is the last time you did any of the following with your employees?

Any suggestions? Write to us
  • Conducted an employee satisfaction survey?
  • Reviewed employee benefits to see what might be done differently?
  • Increased the benefits budget for your employees - to offer more perks rather than simply maintaining the status quo?
  • Spoken with each of your employees, whether employed for one year or ten, to review their position, job duties, aspirations, and level of satisfaction within the organization?

Please note the following 2017 statistics regarding both traditional and nontraditional benefits:

According to ICIMS, a software company, 92% of full-time employees believe that companies (which) offer nontraditional benefits are more likely to recruit top-tier talent.

Aflac learned that 96% of employees who are satisfied with their benefits are (also) satisfied with their jobs.

A Barclays survey revealed that 87% of employees from Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) and Generation Y (millennials born between 1977 and 2000) feel that their current benefits package is not sufficiently flexible to meet their personal and financial needs.

statistics - hand holding magnifying glass over people

Workforce 2020 conducted a survey to learn which benefits would increase engagement and loyalty among employees, and here are the prioritized results:

  • 40% - compensation
  • 36% - better benefits
  • 34% - career advancement opportunities
  • 31% - training/education
  • 18% - coworkers they like
  • 18% - corporate culture

Moreover, a CareerBuilder study suggested the following as the best ways to boost employee retention:

salary - cash in hand
  • 70% - increasing salaries
  • 58% - better benefits

Either way, it is obvious that compensation and benefits are of great importance to a majority of employees and potential new hires. That said, what is an employer to do?

Well, there’s a little bit of supply and demand logic that can be applied to this situation. You have employees who desire higher wages and better benefits. Perhaps the company has the money and cash flow to oblige these demands (a.k.a. felt needs) – perhaps not. However . . . 

Are you willing to reconsider ways in which you might “supply” the “demands” of your employees? Do the research. Survey your staff for their preferences and most pressing needs and concerns. Then (re)prioritize your company's budget and the effort to increase sales and profits so that you can meet real needs and share “more” with your employees.

Check out Part 2 of this article on Thursday, August 9.

Here's a preview of the introduction . . . 

After researching this topic of engagement and retention and reviewing the statistics, three avenues for resolving the issues stand out. They are the initial interview, the stay interview, and the inclusion of nontraditional benefits. When incorporated well into your hiring, benefit and retention methodologies, you should see improvements in both employee engagement and employee retention.

 

How a Staffing Agency Can Help You Get Hired

"Job hunting is hard! Take it from me!"

- Katie H.

Below is the story of one recent graduate's struggle to find a good, entry-level job . . .  

Below is the story of one recent graduate's struggle to find a good, entry-level job . . .  

I thought I did everything right. I completed my B.A. in four years, got a M.A. abroad, did multiple internships, and earned excellent references. Yet it still took me six months post-graduation to find a job.

Fortunately, a friend recommended that I apply with a local recruiting firm to see if they might have anything that I would be a good fit for. I did so, not quite understanding what I was signing up for, and they were able to help me find a job.

If you're having a difficult time catching employers’ attention by searching for a job using traditional methods, read on. Below are four reasons why you might want to give "recruiting firms in my area" a Google. 

1. Some recruitment firms will take the time to get to know you.

Many recruiters will take the time to really get acquainted with their job candidates. Unlike applying directly to an employer who will toss out your resume if they have any questions or hesitations about it, recruiters will want to explore your career goals and motivation, your employment history, and what valuable skills you might bring to the table.

interview figures - 2 sitting in chairs talking

Some staffing firms, including Brannon Professionals, may also ask you to take a personality or behavioral assessment. This will help the recruiters understand the kind of work environment in which you'll really thrive.

Remember, this is their business. It's as much to their benefit as yours for them to get to know you. You want them to be armed with as much insight about you as needed so they can effectively promote you to the companies and HR managers they serve.

2. You will have an advocate. 

How many times during your job search have you heard from a well-meaning aunt and or a fellow disenchanted job-seeker the words, "Well, it's all in who you know!" when it comes to finding your perfect position? I heard it a million times. And unfortunately, they’re not wrong. Having someone put in a good word for you makes you exponentially more likely to get hired. 

hired - happy woman with arms raised in joy

With a recruiting firm, you're making free connections with people who can go to bat for you. The recruiters want to place you in a job that's a good fit for both you and the company. So, when you and your skills are a match for an open position, they're going to do all they can to help the company understand why hiring you is the right choice. 

3. You might be considered for multiple jobs at once. 

2 figures discussing options

The whole point of a recruiting firm is that they're staffing for more than one job at a time, which is a huge benefit to you. If you're looking for a job as an administrative assistant and the firm has three admin positions that they're trying to fill, it's possible that they will promote you to all three companies. This means that your resume will be seen by more hiring managers. You will have more options AND a greater chance of success than if you were going it alone.  

4. You'll benefit from free coaching & advice. 

The goal for recruiters is to help their clients find the right person for the job. If you are a skilled and professional candidate, the recruiters will want to promote you to the companies for which they're staffing. Moreover, if they think your resume could use some brushing up or that you might benefit from some tips on making a good first impression during the interview process, they'll be more than happy to coach you if you're open to it (just ask). This is especially helpful for recent graduates or for those who don't have a lot of interviewing experience. Even if you don't get hired through the recruiting firm, you can hold onto this advice and use it in the future. Plus, it's completely free to you!

coaching trainer mentor diagram

We all know how tough it is for people to find work. With more qualified candidates than ever flooding the job market, you've really got to work to make yourself stand out. If you know you are a great candidate, but you're just having a hard time getting that edge, try working through a recruitment firm. They can help you find your perfect fit!

contact us by phone or email for questions

Contact Brannon Professionals today at 662-349-9194 or check out our available jobs at www.brannonprofessionals.com. You can also email a copy of your resume to staff@brannonprofessionals.com. We look forward to working with you and wish you the very best in your job search.

 

 

How to Hire People Who Will Match Your Organizational Values & Enhance the Workplace Culture

The Candidates We Love

positive candidate or employee - thumb's up

I have a friend who has been a part of my life for decades now. She is incredibly smart, innovative, bold, entertaining, supportive, and often extends kindness to some of the most mean-spirited people in her circle of influence. We get along great, but there are several jobs for which I would never hire her, primarily because she likes (even prefers and needs) to color outside the lines.

We like who we like and often want to hire these individuals. However, neither our preferences nor our biases should be the standard for hiring a candidate. Our sincere feelings about a person shouldn’t be the rule of thumb either although many times one's gut instinct is accurate. So, what is our best course of action for choosing a candidate who will be successful not only in the job but also within the ranks of the company itself?

Candidate Values Versus Organizational Values

employee standing in middle of positive values list

Yes, employers today must look for the best of humanity, the brightest individuals with the strongest work ethic and highest degree of integrity, while also embracing gender equality and racial diversity. However, in selecting the right person for a job, there remains something else of paramount importance: organizational values. Hiring managers need to be acutely aware of the values which are priorities for the company, its owner(s) and its managers, and they need to know how to screen candidates for these values.

Organizational values may be written down as policy, touted as part of the company’s branding, or merely perceived. Yet these values are directly connected to the organization’s daily action plan and its perspective regarding many issues. Company values are all about defining the culture of the workplace and the core beliefs underpinning its standard systems of operation.

Categories of Company Values

Interestingly, organizational values can take on myriad beliefs, practices, and virtues such as those listed below:

Category 1: Values Related to Virtues & Ideals

morals values ethics poster

Strong Work Ethic - Fairness - Courage Honesty - Integrity - Respect - Dignity Unselfishness - Listening - Caring - Serving Doing the Right Thing - Diligence - Trust Generosity - Excellence - Believing in People - Humility - Goodwill

Category 2: Values Requiring Relationship

Partnerships - Open Communication - Healthy Competition - Dedication to Others - Teamwork - Authenticity - Connections - Collaboration - Diversity - Customer / Client / Coworker Relationships - Community

    Category 3: Values Regarding Personal Effort

    Accountability - Self-Discipline - Self-Improvement - Engagement - Responsibility - Empathy - Follow Through - Restoration - Flexibility - Balance - Giving - Learning - Empowerment - Passion - Optimism - Leadership - Creating Opportunity - Discovery of Truth - Bold Approach

    Category 4: Goals & Values Reflecting Achievement

    results achieved

    Innovation - Results - The Bottom Line - Excellence - Continuous Improvement - Optimization - Impact - Product Quality & Reliability - Safety & Compliance - Job Satisfaction - Impact - Exceeding Expectations - Creating Lasting Value - Being the Change - Growing with Purpose - Dreaming Big

    I love making lists, and this one fascinates me. Did you find yourself immediately labeling your own goals, virtues and values as well as the company’s as you read through the various descriptors? If so, that’s because we know ourselves and the companies we work for rather well. In our minds we know and understand core values, whether the organizational values have been voiced aloud and promoted or not.

    However, companies are made up of employees with diverse backgrounds and opinions, and not everyone is looking out for the company’s best interests. Hopefully, as a hiring manager, you are an exception to that unfortunate reality.

    Hiring for the SPECIFIC Values Which Enhance YOUR Company Culture

    man completing assessment form

    If you want to build a stronger company culture, one that respects organizational values, start making wiser hiring decisions. Using assessments, we recommend that you evaluate your top job candidates' personal values to determine which individual would be the best fit with the organization's own values. Then, based on the results and all other important screening factors, try to hire those candidates who will fit naturally with the core values and principles of the company. Many times, certain managers may want to hire their own people, their own way, but as a matter of policy, insist that all future candidates be assessed and their values weighed carefully before moving forward with a job offer.

    Consider these words from the FastCompany.com article, "How To Find A Job That Aligns With Your Values". It is from the candidate's perspective but insightful nonetheless. 

    " . . . one of the keys to feeling engaged at work is aligning your own idiosyncratic values with those of your organization, your team, and your direct manager – when you’re all working together towards something you believe in. That makes for a virtuous circle: When people pick jobs that fulfill basic psychological needs, motives, and values, they immerse themselves more in their work, experience higher levels of job satisfaction, and their productivity rises."

    Suggested Method for Evaluation of Candidates’ Values

    At Brannon Professionals, we utilize the TTI Success Insights® assessments, one of which is the Personal Interests, Attitudes and Values assessment. It is effective in measuring the WHY behind an individual’s actions. The assessment will rank an individual’s interests, attitudes and values into 6 categories of motivation:

    motivation of the heart
    • Theoretically-motivated – refers to those who thrive on gaining knowledge and information
    • Utilitarian-motivated – these individuals strive to maximize both their time and resources
    • Aesthetically-motivated – people focused on seeking balance, harmony and personal development
    • Socially-motivated – people who love to help others and their causes
    • Individualistic – motivated by a desire to obtain authority and power
    • Traditional – individuals with this mindset are seeking a system for living

    The Value & Insight Assessments Provide

    We do business with a client who prefers to hire primarily those individuals whose traditional values rank first, second or third. Why? In part, it is because they have learned from experience that employees with traditional values tend to work well in an environment where tried and true approaches are commonly practiced and highly valued. This is directly related to a person respecting and valuing an established system versus someone who is flexible and inconsistent in their approach to decision making.  

    smiling customer service rep

    Another client works in the tourism industry. When they hire administrative and customer-service staff, the preferred candidates will typically be socially-motivated. Because these jobs / trips can be so exhausting, those who are naturally inclined to help meet the needs of others and find their satisfaction in doing so are the best types of people to hire - as long as they also meet the other qualifications which the job itself requires.

    If you would like our assistance in gaining access to these assessments and subsequent reports, please visit our website or contact us directly at 662-349-9194 or 901-759-9622.

    Dressing for Your Job Interview: 4 Tips to Consider

    what to wear to interview - ladies jackets

    Trying to decide what to wear for a job interview can be one of the most stressful parts of the interview process. You stand in front of your closet wondering whether that neckline is really too low or if those shoes are inappropriate for a work interview. If you've been struggling with the outfit choice for your next interview, you may want to consider these four tips.

     1. Sit down in your outfit. 

    Whether you're purchasing a new outfit or selecting one that's already in your closet, make sure that you don't just stand in front of the mirror to stare at it. Take the time to sit down in it!

    • Does that skirt ride up uncomfortably high when you're trying to sit, making it impossible for you to cross your legs in your preferred position?  
    • When you lean forward, do you display more cleavage than you intended?
    • What about the buttons on your shirt: do they gape in just the wrong place once you're no longer standing?
    • Are your pants or skirt too tight and no longer reasonably comfortable?
    • Are the pants too short?
    • Do your socks fit well or fall to your ankles? Do they match?
    • Is the suit jacket too snug, or can you move about easily?
    lady sitting in skirt and blouse and looking at cell phone

    Since the odds are great that you'll spend the majority of your interview sitting down, make sure that your outfit still fits well in that position. You want to appear neat, professional, and completely at ease in your chosen attire.

    2. Wear your outfit for a little while. 

    If you have the luxury of a little spare time before your interview, put on your outfit and wear it out. Consider the way it wears when you've had it on for a few hours. A neckline that looked just fine in the dressing room may dip uncomfortably low after a few hours while pants that look great when you first put them on may lose all of the creases and look wrinkled and unkempt by the time you manage the car ride to the interview.

    If you know the potential problems with your outfit, you can either avoid them or change the outfit. On the other hand, if you're wearing the outfit for the first time on the day of the interview, you could end up blindsided. 

    3. Don't go with the uncomfortable shoes. 

    dress code - men's shoes & belt

    Yes, you want to wear professional shoes that are appropriate with your outfit. However, you don't want to wear professional-looking shoes which are so uncomfortable that you can barely walk in them. Uncomfortable shoes will increase your discomfort, especially if you need to be escorted through a large office building or if you're invited to meet other members of the team following the interview. Instead, invest in a pair of shoes that are both comfortable and professional. Then, even if you end up on your feet, you'll still be ready to meet any challenge that comes your way. 

    4. Choose some color. 

    suit for man and colorful striped tie

    You don't need to come in dressed in the brightest outfit in your closet, but the color you add to your interview outfit can have a substantial impact on how your future employer views you. Add a pop of color in the form of a tie (for men) or choose a colored dress shirt (either gender). Colorful shoes or a lovely piece of jewelry can add the color a woman needs to increase her confidence and improve the vision employers have of her. Keep in mind, however, that you should keep all of your accessories understated and appropriate to an office environment.

    success depends on you quote on computer screen

    You want to walk into your job interview confident and ready to nail it. While your list of qualifications, work experience, and an optimistic attitude will go a long way toward determining whether you'll get the job, the outfit you choose for your interview has a huge impact on the first impression you'll make with your future employer. By following these tips, you can dress for success and improve your odds of landing the job of your dreams. Ready to put your name in for more of those jobs?  Contact BRANNON PROFESSIONALS today to learn how we can help.

     

     

    Is Employee Retention Really a Thing of the Past?

    Target Goals on dart board

    You read the title of this article correctly. Employee retention is, the experts say, no longer a priority goal for HR Managers. While no one wants to lose a recently-hired employee to another company after mere months, ensuring the long-term retention of employees isn’t necessarily an imperative anymore.

    Why?

    It has to do with the still-recent recession and the restructuring of companies. The advancements being made in artificial intelligence (AI) even play a role. It has to do with Gen Y (the Millennials), Gen Z (the Centennials), and their outlook on life. Lastly, to ensure the growth and success of the company, a strategic move for a good employee with potential is sometimes simply necessary.

    Allow me to address these four points individually . . . 

    What Downsizing Means to the Job Market

    competition for jobs - 2 figures pushing each other

    Companies are decreasing in size and looking to accomplish their goals with a much smaller staff. When the need arises for a specific skill-set, the company hires the person for a job on a “permanent” or contractual basis. And the competition for these jobs is fierce. However, many of the positions are not truly permanent. They are short-term permanent jobs intended to fulfill an exact set of goals ushered forth by management. Once the goals are met, the position is terminated.

    More and more companies are embracing the gig economy in which employees are hired as needed to fulfill the needs of the business. Therefore, hiring managers are seeing and will continue to see resumes that reveal many short-term jobs, rather than simply a few long-held positions. The reasons for all the jobs may vary, but know this without a doubt -- seasonal layoffs, downsizing and outright termination of positions are all part of the employee experience (and resume) now.

    The Future of the Workforce Alongside the Advances in Artificial Intelligence

    As we move towards 2020 and the AI possibilities rapidly increase, even more jobs will be eliminated as robots perform jobs which humans once performed. Employees may be hired or kept on the payroll for a transitional period, but after that, the individual will need to find a new job, perhaps even a new occupation in a different industry.

    multitasking business man

    That’s where the younger generations come in. Millennials and Centennials have been working with technology since they were youngsters. They multi-task better than any generation before them. Because of technology, their world is smaller. They think globally, travel internationally and are passionate about work being done (or not) all over this world. They dream of doing the work and plan for it, with or without a so-called permanent job. Side jobs, volunteer work and the entrepreneurial spirit are alive and well in Generations Y and Z.

    What Today’s Workers Want

    steps up ladder of success - ambition - skills - knowledge

    According to Dave Clark, who is a staff writer for TTI Success Insights, today’s employees are seeking job satisfaction and opportunities to utilize their strengths and capabilities. They want to experience the thrill of success more quickly than our parents and grandparents ever anticipated experiencing it in the workplace. Yes, money matters, but for our newest generations of employees, it is not the primary motivation.

    Even if it means working one to three years with a company and moving on, then so be it. Millennials and Z-ers want to seize every good opportunity which will keep them engaged, and they’ve got the skills, energy and passion to make it happen.

    Here’s a prime example:

    be the change - 3 figures in high five move

    We have a young couple with two children living in our small, growing Mississippi town. They moved there driving an old station wagon with plans to renovate a needy downtown store front piece of property. They did it a little at a time. The store they eventually opened was a success. So was the café that was added shortly thereafter. When they hired a top-notch chef, it did even better. They invested in the space next door and expanded the size of the store and café. A few years ago, the wife and chef wrote a wonderful cookbook together which continues to sell well around town and beyond.

    In the meantime, more renovations were completed down the street where the husband established a school. He teaches high-school students valuable technical skills and then sees that they find good jobs / internships upon completion of the program.

    Our little town was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal - thanks, in part, to the hard work and success of these two millennials. And I believe the old station wagon is still running its course.

    Strategic Moves by Your Employees (and YOU)

    What does a hiring manager do when an employee wants to grow and develop their skills, but there simply isn't a good opportunity to do that - for whatever reason? Do you make promises to the employee that you know you probably won't be able to follow up on - just to keep them on the payroll? Provide insufficient, small opportunities to grow? Offer an increase in salary?

    Do you ever dare to tell them it may be time to leave the company - knowing that you will have to refill the position and retrain someone else? What if leaving is what would benefit the employee and the company the most? Dissatisfied employees, especially those voicing their disappointments to other employees, can affect company culture in negative ways. And how "engaged" do you think a disgruntled employee really is? Their mind may be more "engaged" in finding a better opportunity rather than on the daily tasks presenting themselves.

    If the employee is exceptional but your hands are tied, why not encourage a healthy and strategic move wherein they might gain more "managerial" or "technical" expertise? Then let them know that they are more than welcome to reapply at a later time if they would like to do so. Give them your blessing. Don't boot them out the door. Don't burn your bridges. Assure them of your support and future recommendation - if they honestly have it. You are simply widening the company's talent acquisition pipeline. They might even be able to refer strong candidates your way. Ask!

    When an employee leaves on good terms and with a good attitude, it may be possible for them to train the person taking their place. Communication is key, but it can save a manager much time and stress - especially if the departing employee sees it as an opportunity to improve their reference from the company and add a new skill to his or her resume - that of training coach or mentor.

    How do we as hiring managers process this information? Moreover, how should HR managers, as employees, process and adapt to these new facts of life in 2018 and beyond?

    Micro-Careers

    resume sample for micro-careers

    These relatively short-term “permanent” positions are being termed micro-careers. Rather than working fewer than five jobs during your entire career, you may find yourself working double or triple that. Job hunters who have held multiple short-term positions may begin promoting themselves as experts with a vast array of experience across diverse industries, and it will be both true and impressive.

    Preferred Experience & Skills

    customer service cartoon lady

    Which customer service agent do you want to hire? The one who has 20 years of experience with a distribution company or the one with 10 years of experience with a distribution company, a service provider and a retail store?  The 20-year employee received training a few times over the course of her career; she perfected her customer service skills over time, and her performance was excellent. The employee with the micro-career types of positions has received training in modern day customer service techniques, has experience adapting those techniques as needed, excelled at all 3 jobs, and has both the certificates and the references to prove it. The latter was never dismissed from a job, simply laid off as the company saw fit.

    Job Hopper or Better Candidate?

    quality thumbs up

    Both of the workers mentioned above would probably make great candidates. But today, in your current way of thinking about candidates, would you ever actually call the 2nd candidate whose resume is a little “messy” and can leave a hiring manager wondering, “Why does she do so much job-hopping?” Based on the micro-career insight, the better response may be, “I bet there’s a good reason why companies keep hiring her!” Then do the footwork to discover why.

    Furthermore, let me pose this question, “How many HR managers do you know who have been replaced or terminated – not because of wrongdoing – but because the company downsized? I know a few HR professionals who prefer to work more as HR consultants than as HR managers. Perhaps that has something to do with companies needing HR advice but not wanting to invest in long-term/20-year salary commitments for that advice. Wrap your mind around it. One day, you may be the so-called “job-hopper”.

    So, who’s left to retain exactly? Is employee retention really a non-consideration?

    Ignore Retention Strategies?

    I don’t believe retention can be dismissed entirely, but candidates today are (or should be) interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. They don’t want a dead-end job. They want to embrace their newly acquired skills, utilize the latest technology, seek out opportunities to learn, grow and succeed, and then move on when they’ve topped out or met the company’s goals and objectives regarding their position. They want to be appreciated and respected for their achievements, regardless of age.

    words denoting strategy

    The Work of a Hiring Manager

    Many of your long-term employees may be content, but some are bound to get caught up in the dreams and aspirations of Generations Y and Z. So know your employees and the level of satisfaction they experience with their jobs. Seek out their input regarding job, salary, benefit and growth priorities. Interview them again. Reevaluate the status quo as you may need to adapt to these new generations of employees. According to the Governance Studies at Brookings report, “How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America,” Millennials will represent 75% of the workforce by 2025. 

    3 millennial employees

    As a hiring manager, you should be seeking the feedback of both your current staff as well as that of the candidates you are interviewing. You need to know and understand their new priorities and adjust your hiring (and retention) strategies accordingly. You want to be creating opportunities for your employees to explore new skills, excel in leadership roles, and feel excited about contributing to and achieving company goals. Every company and individual will vary in needs, but I believe a new pattern is being established in our workplaces – one that we would be wise to pay attention to.

    For additional hiring and management assistance, contact a Brannon Professionals’ recruiter or business consultant today.

    Why Emotional Intelligence in a Manager Is So Important

    What is your Senior and Mid-Management recruitment strategy?

    strategy
    • Does it involve poaching managers from your competition?
    • Do you recruit from within?
    • Perhaps you screen resumes for overall professional success?
    • Do you recruit college graduates with impressive intellects and cutting edge technical skills?
    • Do you go after candidates with the highest IQs or highest Wonderlic scores?
    • Maybe you simply hire by instinct the person you like the most and believe will perform best in the leadership role.
    • Does an individual’s emotional quotient ever influence your hiring decisions?

    Emotional Intelligence Defined

    In this article, we will explore the important role in which a person's emotional intelligence can and should play in the workplace.

    Emotional intelligence basically pertains to one’s personal and social competence – how successfully a person manages themselves and others through self and social awareness. According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist, author and science journalist who helped to popularize emotional intelligence, the five key elements to it are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

    Robert K. Cooper defines emotional intelligence as “the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection, and influence.”
    emotional intelligence - image of light bulb & brain in 2 heads

    For just a moment, consider your top employees. Who is the best? The most trusted and respected? The one with the most overall success? It will more than likely be the one who has a high emotional quotient, and it may be a woman rather than a man. Ladies tend to be extremely aware of their shortcomings and often try to control and correct them. Many women also convey empathy quite well, and these are just a few reasons why management teams need not only men but also women as leaders inside their companies.

    Do you measure your candidates’ emotional intelligence? If you are not currently in the habit of doing this, you may be out of the loop regarding what experts have to say about the potential regarding individuals with a high emotional quotient.

    What are the potential advantages of hiring managers with a high emotional quotient?

    happy and engaged employees
    • Leaders will have greater control over their emotions.
    • Employer/Employee relations will improve as managerial skills such as effective communication and empathy work their magic.
    • Leadership will see positive changes in both engagement and production among staff.
    • Employees will experience an emotionally healthier and more satisfying work experience.
    • The work culture will become more inspirational as employees work together successfully towards common goals.

    According to Laura Wilcox, the director of management programs at Harvard, emotional intelligence is much more than a “soft” skill. Having a high emotional quotient is kind of like a booster shot for an individual who already possesses the strong intellectual and impressive technical skills for which hiring managers are competing. 

    High EI enables men and women to become better managers. Daniel Goleman believes that 90% of the differences which exist between star and average candidates are related to the emotional quotient of the person.

    respect between employees - a handshake

    Emotionally intelligent leaders practice self-awareness and self-management. Furthermore, they practice social awareness and excel in relationship management. While emotional intelligence may be somewhat of a natural skill, it is also a skill which can be learned, honed and perfected.

    Managers such as these can help build the important foundation of trust, respect and positive attitudes among their staff. Employees want to be valued and respected, yet research conducted by TalentSmart revealed that 85% of business people do not “feel” that they are valued and respected by management. And according to an article from Harvard Business Review, this could be because most senior executives lack empathy.

    However, because of their social awareness, emotionally intelligent managers can pave the way for smoother, more comfortable and friendlier conversation with their team members. They will be successful in helping those employees “feel” that they are valued and respected. When an employee feels valued, they automatically become more engaged with the company’s goals and objectives.

    When true concern and respect are involved, the work employees do for the company and its managers becomes more personal. Both the relationships and the work matter – a lot – because the way in which the manager engaged with the worker was genuine.

    authenticity
    “Authenticity requires a certain measure of vulnerability, transparency, and integrity.”              – Janet Louise Stephenson

    According to Aubrey Daniels International, discretionary effort is the level of effort people could give if they wanted to, but above and beyond the minimum required. Do your current executives and managers inspire “discretionary effort”? If they do not, your business may possess as-yet untapped potential increases in engagement, production and company morale.

    As stated above, emotional intelligence is not a mere soft skill, it’s a game-changing skill for which you should be screening both your employees and best job candidates.

    Consider these quotes and statistics from Inc.com regarding emotional intelligence:

    emotional and irritated coworkers
    • 75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust. - Center for Creative Leadership
    • If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. - Daniel Goleman
    • In my 35 years in business, I have always trusted my emotions. I have always believed that by touching emotion you get the best people to work with you, the best clients to inspire you, the best partners and most devoted customers. - Kevin Roberts
    • Emotional intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80 percent of the "success" in our lives. - J. Freedman

    What steps should a hiring manager take next?

    ladder of success - learning, training, instruction, practice
    • Find a way to assess your employees’ and your job candidates’ emotional quotient. We use TTI Success Insights for all our behavioral assessments. Brannon Professionals also has its own Value-Added Associate on staff who is available to consult with hiring managers on the EQ assessments and follow-up reports.
    • Once you have a solid understanding of emotional intelligence and its effects in the workplace, begin training with your managers. Our consultant, Mark Brannon, may be available to provide this training.
    • Employees would also benefit from different aspects of EI training.
    • Incorporate EI practices into the company’s routines and strategies.
    • Measure increases and changes in engagement, productivity and morale.
    • Enjoy the success that EI will begin to usher into your business.

    If you have additional questions about emotional intelligence or TTI Success Insights’ EQ assessment, please contact Brannon Professionals at your convenience.

    How to Find a Quality and Trustworthy Staffing Partner

    business management rainbow colored sign

    Operating your own business is exhilarating; yet, it can be a demanding job as well. One of the more challenging tasks is finding suitable employees. Hiring the wrong person can devastate the company culture. Besides, it is never fun to fire someone. All the many hours that go into preparing the job listing, reviewing resumes, and conducting interviews seem wasted when you make the wrong choice.

    How can employers ensure they get the right employee the first time and avoid wasting time? Some business owners have discovered the value of a staffing partner in meeting their hiring needs. However, how can you be sure you partner with the right agency?

    Here are 7 things to look for in your search for a quality and trustworthy staffing partner:

    how to find quality - figure with magnifying glass

    1. Open communication

    One necessary criterion for beginning any relationship is having good communication. You want the agency to be interested in your business and your needs and not just be looking for another client. They should be asking you questions that delve deep into your business.

    3 question marks

    Potential questions may include:

    • What is the nature of your business?
    • What organizational values are most important to the company and its associates?
    • What quality do you value the most among your current employees?
    • What is the primary thing we can do to help alleviate the stress you are currently experiencing as hiring manager?

    You want to be open and willing to share what your priorities are whether it be customer service experience, strong problem-solving aptitude, excellent computer skills, quick turnaround, or simply overall quality employees with integrity and a solid work ethic. Any insight you are willing to share will be vitally important to the potential success of the partnership. 

    If you are looking for a strong staffing partner, consider  Brannon Professionals .

    If you are looking for a strong staffing partner, consider Brannon Professionals.

    2. Will be a partner to your business

    You do not just want to hire a business - you want a partner in business. There is a difference between the two. A partner will be looking out for the long-term relationship and therefore will encourage your trust. You will likely get to meet the owner of the business. The partner will be interested in your financial situation and willing to negotiate as needed.

    3. Works with a broad scope of job fields

    Some staffing agencies work with a limited number of industries and fields. This may work if you happen to be looking for someone in that field, but what if you need additional help in the future. You want a staffing agency that can fulfill a broad variety of job positions. 

    You can learn more about Brannon Professionals' value-added services by contacting us at 662-349-9194 or by visiting our  website .

    You can learn more about Brannon Professionals' value-added services by contacting us at 662-349-9194 or by visiting our website.

    4. Offers value-added services

    Find out whether the agency you are considering offers extra services. Finding you the best candidate may require more than simply looking in a database. For example, some staffing agencies provide background checks, behavioral assessments, skills testing, training, and more. These added services are like bonus extras without the price tag.

    5. Includes an Acceptable “Return Policy”

    100 percent satisfaction guaranteed

    It is important to know upfront what the agency’s policy is regarding employees who don’t work out. Does the agency offer any compensation or provide a satisfaction guarantee? Is the direct hire fee reimbursable under certain circumstances? What if the employee you hire through the agency moves after only being on the job a month? These are important questions to have answered before moving forward. 

    6. Has an impeccable reputation

    You want a company that has a superior reputation built on years of experience and good past relationships. Obviously, an agency without a good reputation is risky. As stated earlier, you are building a relationship with this new partner. You want a trustworthy agency, so here are a few ways to check out staffing companies and their reputations.

    social media on cell phone and laptop
    • Learn more about the owner/manager. Visit their social media accounts such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. 
    • Check out posts, blogs, comments and company reviews for further insights about the company.
    • Look at their website for awards and testimonials or ask for a business reference.
    • Ask around the community. Contact the local Chamber of Commerce or Economic Council.

    7. Locally owned

    Brannon Professionals has served North Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee, and the surrounding areas for over 20 years.

    Brannon Professionals has served North Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee, and the surrounding areas for over 20 years.

    While some companies may opt for more nationally-known agencies, there are advantages to conducting business with a locally owned and operated company. For one, community residents will likely know them. Also, sometimes privately owned agencies have more flexibility when negotiating fees. Next, you can visit the location if you ever have a problem, question or just want to stop by. Finally, investing in a locally-owned business is investing in your own community.

    At BRANNON PROFESSIONALS, we strive to develop partnerships with our clients that will last for decades, not mere months. If you are considering partnering with a staffing agency, please allow us the opportunity to serve you and your business.

    Leading with Compassion in the Workplace

    The Need for Compassion

    Is compassion needed in the world? In the workplace? In your home? In your relationships? 

    anxiety

    Yes, yes, yes, and yes! Financial worries, relationship issues, loss of any kind, stress – all these can lead to serious and detrimental results on the job, not to mention one's health. You know and understand that compassion is always needed. But one must ask, “What forms of compassion - in the workplace, specifically - are acceptable?”

    The question has been posed, so let’s attempt an answer to it - starting with a definition of compassion and why simple awareness of others' needs or struggles is so important.

    What Is Compassion?

    According to Jean Piaget (1896-1980), ‘Intelligence is not what one knows, but what one does when one does not know’.

    According to Jean Piaget (1896-1980), ‘Intelligence is not what one knows, but what one does when one does not know’.

    Merriam-Webster defines compassion as sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Google’s dictionary offers the following as synonyms for compassion: pity, sympathy, empathy, care, concern, sensitivity, warmth, love, tenderness, mercy, leniency, tolerance, and kindness.

    Awareness of Others

    When we are aware of others' distress, it reveals our emotional intelligence (EI), and a person with high EI should be able to work successfully with people facing stressful and difficult situations. Why? Because they tend to be somewhat intuitive about others' feelings or moods as well as both focused and effective in their responses. Not surprisingly, they are also known for tackling problems and pondering solutions rather than merely offering sympathy and concentrating only on the problem itself.

    Yet sometimes, it is in the mere acknowledgment of another person's feelings or obvious emotional turmoil whereby compassion is best expressed. In the workplace, we shouldn't cross the acceptable personal line of voiced concern for our coworkers to the private line of questioning unless there is a mutual trust and willingness to open up.

    The Practice of Compassion

    However, the question remains, "How should compassion play out in the workplace?" The simple answer is this: kindness and compassion toward others is a great thing. The complexity of the answer lies in this statement: kindness is always a great thing - yet the way it can play out is not always necessarily the desired outcome. Maybe the timing is wrong, maybe emotions are off the charts, maybe . . . any number of reasons.

    the beauty of kindness

    Need an example or two? While a listening ear and a compassionate word are usually well-received, that is not always the case.

    If I am on the verge of tears at work or in any public place, although it may be the thing I need, a kind word or hug could usher in a flood of tears and loud sobbing.

    My own daughter does not wish for blatant sympathy when she is dealing with certain unfortunate circumstances, no matter how honorable my intentions are in regard to empathizing with her. She simply prefers to move on with life, even if the sadness creeps in and takes over periodically. She sees no need to rehash the sadness aloud. If I insist on talking about "it", even as a mom, I've crossed a line in my expression of compassion (with her).

    We would also do well to remember that anger is one of the stages of grief. If a coworker is going through a great loss, we may be exposed not only to their sadness but also to their hostility and irritability. There is no easy cure for grief, and if it spirals out of control during office hours, it may be time to recommend a grief counselor. However, you never know how an employee will respond to that recommendation either, especially if they are already upset or angry at the world.

    As much as possible, be intuitive and sensitive rather than careless with your words and actions in the workplace. Asking if a person in crisis wants to talk about "it" is always a direct way of conveying your concern to a coworker. Letting them know your availability to talk when they are ready is another option. Whatever you say, keep it simple. Limit your words but not necessarily your sympathy. Allow the person to focus on work rather than on the crisis if it's not an appropriate time to talk. 

    The Extent of Compassion in the Office

    How far should you take compassion in the workplace? Honestly, my best answer is to take it as far as you must in order to meet the need. You’ve heard the stories of business owners who have gone to extreme lengths by providing cars or even homes for their employees who found themselves in dire situations.

    Perhaps you’re also acquainted with employees who have willingly shared some of their paid time off with fellow employees who were struggling with cancer or some other diagnosis requiring them to be out of the office for long periods of time.

    On the other hand, maybe you’ve been micromanaged by bosses who go strictly by the book and fail to show compassion no matter how difficult a situation an employee finds him/herself in.

    challenging & stressful work - lady feels pressure from every direction

    It’s true. Working in a corporate environment generally requires a strict accounting of hours worked, lunch hours and paid time off, but does that mean compassion cannot abound? Absolutely not, especially when employees find themselves in extraordinary circumstances.

    While disproportionate amounts of flexibility directed toward a few individual employees would most likely be called into question, typical acts of sincere kindness, generosity and flexibility should not be. Direct managers should be provided with company guidelines on how to handle such situations. 

    The What-Ifs That Stir Our Compassion

    disaster spelled with Scrabble tiles

    Literally, what if there is a natural disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake, tornado or fire that impacts your staff and they need an advance on their next paycheck? What if your employee has no means of transportation to a parent’s funeral? What if a close family member or a beloved pet dies, and the employee has no more PTO remaining? What if a judge requires one of your staff members to appear in court daily throughout an entire month?

    As a business owner or HR Manager, it is wise to have a contingency plan for responding to these what-if scenarios.

    The Look of Workplace Compassion

    Unfortunately, it is true that employees can push the envelope of expectation and entitlement, so we have these questions to consider: 

    • How much flexibility should you allow a struggling employee?
    • How much compassion in the form of "tangible help" should an employer offer, if any?
    • Is your Human Resource department one which promotes kindness, giving, flexibility, and loyalty toward its people, especially during stressful situations or natural disasters that company employees may find themselves a part of?

    Some may say that this is why their company provides vacation time and personal days for employees. Nevertheless, sometimes more is needed.

    help (in ALL CAPS)

    Below are a few ideas regarding compassion directed toward employees:

    • You can always express a word of sympathy and sincere concern for others’ losses and difficulties in life – and probably should in most cases.
    • If you have been through a similar situation, remember the reality of your struggle, and show empathy.
    • Sometimes employers don’t fully realize it, but showing compassion is not against the law -- favoritism is what you should be careful of. Showing sensitivity and a little flexibility is displaying kindness. However, all managers should respond similarly to any known struggle of their employees and understand both how and when it is appropriate (or not) to intervene.
    • Managers and co-workers must remember that outright pity is something which many people do not desire. It is also difficult for many people to accept "charity", so be mindful of others' feelings.
    • Should you ever sponsor a GoFundMe page for an employee or one of their family members? Maybe so.
    • Should you ever advance a paycheck or extra cash to your employees? Maybe so.
    • Should you ever grant an unpaid leave of absence? Perhaps. Maybe your company needs to develop a sabbatical type of program detailing the situations in which an employee might be granted unpaid leave.
    • In all expressions of compassion, exercise wisdom and caution in regard to both your words and actions.
    Here’s a good - though sometimes costly - rule of thumb: If it is in your power to do good, then you should.

    Here’s a good - though sometimes costly - rule of thumb: If it is in your power to do good, then you should.

    The good you do may take the form of a sympathy card, a plant, paid time off, a flexible schedule, and maybe even time off without pay. It may also be providing counseling, support in conquering a bad habit, accountability, the opportunity to make up for a mistake, or forgiveness. Kindness may involve a few employees showing up after hours to assist a struggling employee with some challenging task, simply taking the time to listen, or even donating to a worthy cause. Perhaps the employee just needs you to bear with them for a time, then re-evaluate the situation.

    A Story of Workplace Compassion

    I love this story from a now-retired HR Manager: There was a long-time employee causing his boss and coworkers lots of grief with his moody disposition, rude behavior, and negative attitude during the work day. In previous years, this man had been a great employee, but that was no longer the case. The HR manager had a heart-to-heart talk with the employee about his behavior. In turn, he chose to share some of his situation with her. However, the situation he was facing did not change the fact that he had to find a way to improve his attitude and behavior toward others. She was sympathetic (and wise), so instead of firing him, the HR manager told the man to take a few weeks off (paid!) so he could try to remember why he took the job to begin with and to reconsider all its benefits. He did take some time off, and when he returned, all was well once again and (to my knowledge) stayed that way.

    conversation between two professional figures

    What I appreciate most about this case scenario is that the HR Manager addressed the problem directly with the employee and didn’t skirt around the issue. He was going to lose his job if his attitude didn’t improve in a big way. She remembered that the costs associated with losing and hiring a new employee are just that . . . costly! Was her gamble with the employee (a.k.a. compassion) worth an extra $1,000 or $2,000? Absolutely! The company held on to a great employee who was simply going through a crisis and needed some time to refocus. She was happy with the outcome, and so was the employee. I can assure you that the “compassionate accountability” she required of him will never be forgotten.

    Leading With Compassion

    the trust factor in the workplace

    Walking with employees through the ups and downs of life can be costly, but worth every penny when you see them come through those valleys successfully. As far as building loyalty and trust among your employees - wow! There may not even be a need for fancy employee engagement or retention strategies when you practice kindness and moral support. So, invest in your people today and see what leading with a little compassion can do for employee engagement and retention at your place of business.

    For more information about Brannon Professionals and its staffing/consulting services, CLICK HERE.