End of Year Staffing and Grandparent Humor

By Scot Feldmeyer – BarryStaff of Cincinnati Newsletter 11/28/11

Have you been to a store or mall lately?   Yep, the Christmas trees are up, the toys are on display, even in the grocery store, and holiday tunes are blaring away on the speaker systems.   Like it or not, the holidays are approaching.   And that means busy times for everybody.

This is especially true in the staffing industry.   Many of our clients are trying to get projects wrapped up and shipments out the door and we are helping them to get the right people in place to get the job done.   This is also a time for planning ahead for next year’s needs. So in addition to pickers, and packers, and assemblers, and warehousemen, we are placing engineers and designers, managers, and administrative people.   We know some very good people and we can recruit them for YOU!

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE…..I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my wife and I had a new grandson.   That makes 5 grandchildren for us with the oldest being only 4-years-old.   Holidays are going to be crazy at our house for years, but we are looking forward to it.   Along that line here are some quotes about being a grandparent that I thought you might enjoy.
– “An hour with your grandchildren can make you feel young again. Anything longer than that, and you start to age quickly.” – Gene Perret
– “If becoming a grandmother was only a matter of choice, I should advise every one of you straight away to become one. There is no fun for old people like it!” – Hanna Whithall Smith
– “My grandkids believe I’m the oldest thing in the world. And after two or three hours with them, I believe it, too.” – Gene Perret
– “Grandchildren don’t stay young forever, which is good because Grandfathers have only so many horsey rides in them.” – Gene Perret
– “Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old.” – Mary H. Waldrip
– “The best baby-sitters, or course, are the baby’s grandparents. You feel completely comfortable entrusting your baby to them for long periods, which is why most grandparents flee to Florida.” – Dave Barry
– “I wish I had the energy that my grandchildren have – if only for self-defense.” – Gene Perret
– “Grandchildren don’t make a man feel old; it’s the knowledge that he’s married to a grandmother.” – G. Norman Collie

Please keep us in mind for all of those end-of-year staffing needs. – Scot

Thank Goodness for Thanksgiving

By Scot Feldmeyer – BarryStaff of Cincinnati weekly newsletter 11/22/11

Wow! Thanksgiving is upon us already.   This weekend signals the start of the holiday season and that means most of us are going to be really busy.   If your company is caught in a year-end crunch, it’s not too late to get the help you need from BarryStaff.   We know you have a lot of work to do at your business and that often means you don’t need the hassle of interviewing, reference checking, testing and evaluating employee candidates.    So why not leave that to the pros?   At BarryStaff we can take the time to find the right people for you.   It’s what we do and we are good at it.   You go ahead and do your thing while we spend our time in finding you the help you need.   Don’t just take my word for it.   Check out what some of our customers have to say at www.barrystaff.com.

THANKSGIVING TRIVIA: While we’re on the subject, check out these fun Thanksgiving facts.
– On December 11, 1620 the Pilgrims, or “Puritans” landed at Plymouth Rock.
– By the fall of 1621 only half of the Pilgrims, who had sailed on the Mayflower, survived.   The survivors, thankful to be alive, decided to have a feast of thanksgiving.
– The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians to the feast.   It was these friendly Indians that had taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land.   About 90 of them including Chief Massasoit came to the party.   Massachusetts is named after this chief.
– The Pilgrims brought their favorite drink, beer, with them on the Mayflower.   I’m guessing it was Bud Light.
– The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted for 3 days.   Probably when the beer ran out.
– George Washington made the first Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in 1789. Up until 1863 Presidents would declare every year which day would be clebrated as Thanksgiving.
– In 1863 Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving.   In 1939 Franklin D. Roosevelt liked Lincoln’s idea about the last Thursday in November for the holiday and declared this as the day for Thanksgiving in order to prolong the Christmas shopping season and stimulate the economy. Congress made November’s last Thursday official as a national holiday in 1941.
– The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade began in the 1920’s.
– We eat turkey at Thanksgiving because it was a big part of the first Thanksgiving feast.   They had venison, too but wild turkeys used to be plentiful in the area.
– Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the U.S. but Thomas Jefferson insisted on the bald eagle. It is believed that Franklin first started the practice of calling a male turkey, “Tom” to spite Jefferson.

In a way I’m glad that the turkey is not the national bird.  I don’t think that a national bird is supposed to be delicious.

How to Turn Candidate Bloopers and Blunders into Big Wins

At its height in the early ’90s, America’s Funniest Home Videos received more than 2,000 VHS tapes a day. Our country fell in love with these real people making real blunders, mistakes, and bad decisions. It was exciting to know that you could turn one of your most embarrassing moments from tragedy into triumph just by catching it on film. Accidentally knock the mayor into a lake during a civic awards ceremony or fall off the roof while pretending to be Santa for the kids, and you and the whole family could win a trip to Hollywood, a chance to wave to viewers across the land, and a $10,000 check.

As staffing and recruiting professionals, the bloopers our applicants and candidates make don’t seem nearly as funny as the candid capers and outrageous antics on America’s Funniest Home Videos. We risk losing a $10,000 placement fee or thousands of dollars in gross margins. According to a survey by Robert Half International, 32% of 1,400 hiring executives polled say job seekers stumble most often in interviews. Twenty-one percent said job applicants make the most mistakes on resumes, another 9% said cover letters are a major source of errors, and 9% cited reference checks as candidates’ greatest downfall.

Is it possible to turn your candidates’ bloopers into big wins? Consider these real-life job interview gaffes:

After meeting the interviewer and exchanging introductions, the receptionist handed me a note reading, ‘Your trousers are undone.’

It was cold outside and warm during the interview. My nose started running, then one of the interviewers said something which made me laugh. I blew an enormous nose-bubble, which burst onto my glasses!

I had to stay overnight at a hotel to get to an early morning interview, so I packed my overnight things in my briefcase. After the interview, when I got up to leave, my briefcase opened and spilled everything – yesterday’s boxers and socks, toiletries, and my half-eaten lunch – all over the floor.
Does it surprise you to learn that all three candidates were offered jobs after these very interviews? Often job seekers (and we as the professionals who advise them) lose sight of the fact that there are ways to salvage bloopers during an interview or application process. We all make mistakes; it is how we respond or react to them that ultimately decides our fate.

Employers aren’t looking to hire flawless individuals; they want to hire people who know how to remedy mistakes and recover quickly from missteps or embarrassing situations. No need to get those cameras rolling and count on Bob Saget to make your next $10,000; just remember to use these Blooper-Fixing Tips:

Prevention Eliminates Tension
The best way to fix placement process mishaps is to avoid them in the first place. Ensure that your candidates are as prepared as possible to minimize the need to back pedal. Do they know the company and its culture, do they understand the job, and are they ready for the style of interview the client will use (behavioral interview, stress interview, group interview, etc.)? Make a list of common interview foibles (i.e., running late, getting stumped by a question, interviewer notices a typo). Then follow each scenario with your recommendations for overcoming these sometimes inevitable, but always awkward moments. Email this list to your candidates to review a few days before an interview.

Teach Candidates to “Fess Up or Hush Up If You Can’t Speak Up”
Motivational speaker Craig Harrison tells a great story about one of his own embarrassing interviewing moments:

In an interview with a publisher of outdoor books and guides, I was asked if I could read maps. I said yes, upon which the interviewer unfolded a map unlike any I’d ever seen. Buttes, bluffs and trails abounded. He pointed to a winding river and asked me which way it was flowing. Knowing I had a 50-50 chance of being right, I mustered the confidence to voice my guess with bluster. “Correct!” the interviewer said. But then he asked, “How did you determine which way the river was flowing?” Stunned, I stammered a feeble answer that revealed my complete ignorance of map reading.

Job applicants don’t want to appear uninformed, so they’ll often guess at answers (like Craig) or ramble in response to questions that trip them up. Remind your candidates that it’s better to say something like, “I don’t know, but I’d be happy to learn” or “I’m really not sure; but I could research that and get back to you” than to fake their way through a tough question. Teach them that it is not only acceptable, but often effective to politely ask for clarification on a question they don’t understand. Asking for clarification can make a molehill out of a mountain.

People Remember Follow-Up Longer Than Falling Down
Prat falls may be a staple on blooper shows, but they are never the most memorable laughs. Likewise, one stumble in an interview doesn’t mean that a candidate should give up on the entire process. There’s no stigma attached to coming back with information after the interview as long as it is presented appropriately. Explain to candidates how writing a good thank you letter can take the edge off of a faux pas by demonstrating professional manners and reiterating interest. A client’s initial lukewarm reaction to a candidate can transform into one of enthusiasm and appreciation when supplemental information, clarification, or a show of strong interest is provided.

Mistakes during the interview process are like mistakes in business. They should be addressed swiftly and succinctly — not dwelled on or over-dramatized. Encourage candidates to maintain a professional posture following an interview mistake, no matter how flagrant it was. Revisiting any error is a judgment call that depends on the nature of the blunder. Contacting a client regarding an interview misstep might only make it stand out in the client’s mind. Always determine whether a blooper deserves further attention or if it’s wiser not to mention it again before taking action.

Learn From the Bloopers
We can all hope that the people featured on America’s Funniest Home Videos learned that it is unwise to wave to the camera while waterskiing or teach your children how to play baseball in front of the living room picture window, and that they did not repeat these mistakes again. Make a post-interview analysis part of your regular routine. Ask candidates what they thought went well, and what didn’t. Find out what they plan to handle differently in the next interview. Having candidates reflect and examine any missteps will prevent them from committing the same errors again in other interviews (and teach you a lot about your candidates and clients, too!).

By its very nature, the placement process is challenging, awkward, and stressful. Mistakes will happen. Gaffes will occur. Assure candidates that if they come prepared, remain confident, and stay positive and true to themselves, they are more likely to succeed. Above all, remember that it is important to maintain perspective and a sense of humor when candidate errors do occur. By creating contingency plans for candidates when errors happen and preparing for hiccups in the placement process, that next $10,000 check could be yours!

Congratulations to Sulzer

Sulzer takes top honors at Business of the Year
Dayton Business Journal
Date: Friday, November 18, 2011, 7:14am EST

The Dayton Business has named the winners for the 2011 Business of the Year awards. The annual awards program recognizes the best in business across the Miami Valley. Sulzer Friction won the top honor as Business of the Year.

The full list of honorees was selected from an impressive number of entries this year and includes 17 different companies that have achieved success during the past several years.
The event took place Thursday evening at the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton.

The Five Drivers For Happiness On The Job

By Jessica Pryce-Jones for the Wall Street Journal

I am in a wood-paneled boardroom of a large multinational waiting to make a pitch. My stomach lurches as I anticipate having to use the “H” word to the CEO. It just feels too “new-agey” to associate with the hard-numbered world of business.

“We’re here to talk about happiness. Happiness at work.” The words sound so flaky; “happy clappy” and “happy hippy” ping into my mind even though the numbers tell their own story.

We’ve all had to face and deal with a very different working world, especially since the financial crisis and ensuing recession.

Data which we’ve gathered since 2006, shows that people everywhere feel less confidence, motivation, loyalty, resilience, commitment and engagement.

And whether your local economy is in a state of boom or bust, employees are experiencing similar pressures and bosses can only squeeze until the pips squeak for so long.

But imagine a mindset which enables action to maximize performance and achieve potential in these tough times. At the iOpener Institute for People and Performance, we understand that this is another way of describing happiness at work.

Our empirical research, involving 9,000 people from around the world, reveals some astonishing findings. Employees who report being happiest at work:

Stay twice as long in their jobs as their least happy colleagues
Spend double their time at work focused on what they are paid to do
Take ten times less sick leave
Believe they are achieving their potential twice as much
And the “science of happiness at work” has big benefits for individuals too. If you’re really happy at work, you’ll solve problems faster, be more creative, adapt fastest to change, receive better feedback, get promoted quicker and earn more over the long-term.

So how can you get to grips with what it’s all about?

Our research shows that there are five important drivers that underpin the science of happiness at work.

1. Contribution.

This is about what you do, so it’s made up of some of the core activities which happen at work. Like having clear goals, moving positively towards them, talking about issues that might prevent you meeting your objectives and feeling heard when you do so.

You’ll do all this best when you feel appreciated and valued by your boss and your colleagues. So it’s not just about delivering: it’s about doing that within collaborative working relationships too.

Here’s what Daniel Walsh, executive vice president at one of the world’s leading transport and logistics organizations, Chep, said about his insight into the value of his colleagues’ contributions:

“I was very task-focused and goal-oriented early in my career and I delivered significant deals. But afterwards it would take a few weeks to mop up the wreckage because I was more gung-ho than I needed to be. I had a meeting with my mentor who said, “look this has got to stop. You’re delivering fantastic results but you’ve got to take people with you.

“Now I try to create an environment where people feel their opinions or views matter and I appreciate what they bring to the table. I can’t do my job on my own.”

2. Conviction.

This is the short-term motivation both in good times and bad. That’s the key point: keeping going even when things get tough, so that you maintain your energy, motivation and resources which pull you through.

Key to doing this is feeling that you’re resilient, efficient and effective. In fact, our data clearly shows that we’re much more resilient than we are aware but we’re much less aware of how variable our motivation is and how to manage it.

Actively deciding to do this can make a huge difference.

As Adam Parr, CEO of Williams F1 said, “a driver who gets out of a car when it’s spun off or he’s been hit and it’s all gone horribly wrong and reminds himself that he’s privileged to do the work and there’s a job to be done—that takes him to another level.”

3. Culture.

Performance and happiness at work are really high when employees feel they fit within their organizational culture. Not fitting in a job is like wearing the wrong clothes to a party—all the time.

It’s hugely draining and de-energizing.

If you’re in the wrong job, you’ll find that the values mean little to you, the ethos feels unfair or political and you don’t have much in common with your colleagues. What’s interesting about our data is that employees like their organizational cultures a lot less than they did in pre-recession times: in particular “generation Y-ers” or “millennial” workers really don’t seem to like what they’re experiencing at work.

So any business which wants to attract and retain top young talent and find the leaders of tomorrow, needs to start addressing this issue today.

4. Commitment.

Commitment matters because it taps into the macro reasons of why you do the work you do. Some of the underlying elements of commitment are perceiving you’re doing something worthwhile, having strong intrinsic interest in your job and feeling that the vision of your organization resonates with your purpose.

We’ve seen commitment decline for the majority of employees post-recession as leaders and organizations think that tuning into this soft stuff is a waste of time.

It isn’t.

It’s how you enable your employees to understand why they should make a greater discretionary effort for you. What is important is to recognize that the five factors work as an ecosystem.

That means if one of the five drivers isn’t functioning well, the others will be affected. For example if you don’t feel high levels of commitment, it’s likely that your contribution will be affected. When contribution goes down, conviction, especially the motivation part of it, tends to go down with it. And that obviously has an effect on your confidence too.

5. Confidence.

Confidence is the gateway to the other four drivers. Too little confidence and nothing happens: too much leads to arrogance and particularly poor decisions. Without greater levels of self-belief, the backbone of confidence, there will be few people who’ll take a risk or try anything new. And you can’t have confident organizations without confident individuals inside them.

Here’s what Dr Rafi Yoeli, founder of Urban Aeronautics, the leading Israeli fancraft aviation entrepreneur said:

“We’ve built a flying machine that’s half way between a Harrier jump jet and a helicopter. We work very differently here, it’s organic engineering. You need a high level of curiosity and of expertise if you’re going to make something extraordinary. And you need an even higher level of confidence to put it together.”

And finally, understanding what makes you happy at work and how that affects your performance offers a whole new way of managing yourself, your career and your opportunities.

BarryStaff Salutes Our Veterans

By Scot Feldmeyer – BarryStaff of Cincinnati Newsletter 11/7/11.

BarryStaff would like to take this opportunity to point out that Friday, November 11th is Veterans Day. We salute all those living and passed who served in any branch of the armed forces and made personal sacrifices to help insure our freedom. While not everybody served, the families of our service members also should be saluted for their sacrifices as well. With that in mind we give a heartfelt THANK YOU!

Here are some little known facts about Veterans Day:
– The correct spelling is not Veteran’s Day but Veterans Day. Note that the lack of an apostrophe means that it is a day for Veterans (plural) rather than a day belonging to Veterans (possessive).
– Veterans Day is always celebrated on the 11th day of the 11th month and official celebrations in Washington DC start at Arlington Cemetery at 11:00. Since this is also 2011, Veterans Day this year will officially start at 11:00 on 11/11/11.
– The date and time symbolize the hour and date that Germany signed the armistice to end World War I. It was the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The holiday was originally known as Armistice Day and was declared as a day “dedicated to the cause of world peace,” by Calvin Coolidge.
– Armistice Day became Veterans Day when President Dwight Eisenhower signed it into law in 1954. It was to become a holiday to honor all veterans living and dead.
– The traditional meal on Veterans Day is ravioli (who knew?). This tradition dates back to the ending days of World War I when President Woodrow Wilson, aware that the returning soldiers would be longing for home cooked meals, invited 2,000 soldiers to the White House and helped his staff chefs cook them ravioli, which had just become a mainstay in mainstream American kitchens due to commercial canning.
– It is a state law in Iowa that all businesses give the day off to employees who are veterans if they would ordinarily have to work that day.
– Banks, the Post Office and other “non-essential” federal workers get the day off as well. Federal workers who are required to work on Veterans Day get holiday pay in addition to the regular pay for the day.

Once again we thank all of our Veterans for their service with their special day this Friday.

Making a Fresh Start in Your Current Job

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. AristotleWhen we start a new job we are often filled with good intentions; we might promise ourselves that we will get to work in plenty of time, really give 100% and make the best of the role we are in. It feels good to do our best and we look forward to the clean slate and opportunity to start afresh. However, as time goes by in a job, it can be easy to slip into bad habits. Bad habits can erode our sense of self esteem and even our enjoyment of our work and the worst thing about them, is that often we don’t realise we are doing them! Whether you workcleaning jobs or accountancy jobs, here are some ways to blank the slate and help yourself to grow and reach your potential at work. Assess YourselfTake the time to do an honest assessment of yourself at work; your strengths and weaknesses and your positive andnegative habits. What are you good at? What do you struggle with? What habits support you and your work and what habits drain you or stop you enjoying or achieving as much as you would like to in your work? Get FeedbackIt can be difficult to see ourselves and our behaviors objectively and if this is the case it is worth asking for feedback from someone you trust at work. You could ask a colleague or supervisor that you feel comfortable sharing with to give you feedback. If this is done as part of an appraisal you could use the appraisal system to support you in changing your habits by setting goals for yourself for the next meeting.Beginners MindDo you find yourself thinking some things at work cannot be changed (including yourself and your own behaviors)? If this is the case, catch yourself and remind yourself that you are creating a new start and fresh perspective around your work. Have you ever noticed that newer colleagues often brings ideas to the table that longer serving colleagues have given up on? Catch cynical thoughts as they arise and recommit to a new perspective. Refuse to be drawn into cynicism or gossip about “things never changing”.Acknowledge Your AchievementsAcknowledge yourself!Most people struggle with this to some degree but it is a habit that is worth cultivating. Don’t take yourself and anything you do for granted. Appreciate yourself and your contribution. If you find this difficult, you could set yourself the task of writing down five achievements at the end of every work day. It is amazing what a

It is worth walking through an ‘average’ day in your job and seeing where you spend your time and how you really feel about the things you do and how you do them. If you have been in your role for a long time, much of what you do at work may be done on autopilot. Take a step back and look objectively at how you work and see if there are any changes you could make that would make a difference to your experience of work or how you perform.

For example, if you are consistently rushing and feeling stressed about getting to work on time, what could you do to change that habit? Could you get up ten minutes earlier? Prepare everything for work the night before? Breaking bad habits is about making life

easier and more efficient. What would your work day be like if you starting arriving prepared and relaxed? A small change can make a big difference.

Decide what works for you and what doesn’t. Everyone is different. For one person, not having a break could be their bad habit whereas for another person, the bad habit may be that they are constantly taking breaks, which interrupts the flow of their work. Be honest about what works and doesn’t work for you.

What could make the most difference to our performance at work isn’t always immediately obvious to us. Most people do the things that they know will work, but a good mentor or coach can be instrumental in helping you reach the next level. Often a small change in behavior or outlook can make a big difference.

difference focussing on the positive can do for your motivation and self esteem and it really can change the day to day experience of your job!