Staffing, Employment News and Tips

The Staffing View On business, the workplace and employee relations December 2008Manage Your Staffing: Think Twice Before Applying a Hiring Freeze When the economy heads into a recession, particularly one that’s forecast to be historic, some companies take the conservative step of instituting a hiring freeze. But for a number of reasons that’s not always the best course. Certainly it makes sense to save money through budget tightening and cost cutting. Yet forward thinking businesses continue to hire where it makes sense, adjusting their staffing with the goal of becoming stronger in the long run.Recessions can be opportunities. Are there areas within your business in which you can gain market share during the recession? If so, then it may make sense to bolster the appropriate departments within your company with new qualified people or to shift personnel over from stagnant areas. Now that you’re redeployed, go get that business.All-stars become free agents. Ordering a hiring freeze means you’re not interested in adding a high performer to that growing segment of your business. Layoffs are occurring by the thousands, swelling the available labor pool. By continuing to recruit top talent you can maximize perceived market opportunities. Eventually the business cycle will turn up and you’ll have the players in place to grow your business.Get the best bang for your buck. Review your staffing situation and prioritize your positions by their impact. Are the most critical slots filled? Just as assuring that every process in a company is running at maximum efficiency, so too is it important to be certain that employment positions that will have the greatest revenue or operations impact are staffed with high performers.Add talent according to your markets. While the current recession is broad and many say global, it’s not evenly distributed. The U.S. housing market is worse in Nevada than it is in Massachusetts, for example. Think regionally. If your company is national or international, it may be that you need to hire to leverage business opportunities in select locations.Protect your best. The worst recession in decades might not appear to be a time when employees would leave by choice. But companies that have needs and the resources to fill them can still offer incentive packages that will be attractive to recruits. Uncertainty prevails in the current economy. If one company can provide more security than another, a smart employee will go for it. Make sure that’s not your all-star.Help Your Employer Realize Your Value Career counselors regularly advise people to take new courses, keep their skills sharp and adapt to industry changes. It’s great long-term guidance. But what you have or haven’t done in the past to protect your job is less important than what you’ll do in the present. It’s time to show the boss that you’re indispensable, especially when the economy is struggling. Ramp up the effort, stay positive and make some allies.o Be part of the solution. The recession is sweeping and it affects different companies in different ways. What’s happening to your firm? Figure it out and then work back from the problem towards your own job. If you’re the CEO, your role is obvious. But if you’re a department head, how is the recession specifically impacting your group and what are you doing about it? If you’re a staffer in that group, find out how your boss sees the situation and figure out how you can work with him by doing your job better.o Stay upbeat. It’s not a secret that the economy is in a recession and the stock market has plunged, but there’s no point in dwelling on it. If you want to motivate yourself and your co-workers, be positive. Stop complaining about the coffee machine. If you are given extra responsibilities, asked to work some extra hours or if some close colleagues have left the firm, handle it professionally. Volunteer for new assignments. Hopefully your boss will notice the team spirit.o Network in-house. If you’re concerned about job safety then start making some friends among your bosses. Expand your contact circle so they’ll know more about you, understand what you do and appreciate your value to the company. You don’t need to be the mayor of office politics, just someone who isn’t afraid to do some campaigning.o Invest yourself in your company. If your job depends on the success of your company then you need to act that way. Think like an owner. What are the challenges facing your firm and what are the solutions. By putting some urgency in your own mind you’ll become more creative in your work and more entrepreneurial in your approach.Networking Tips for Those Who Hate Networking Networking is a great way to find a job, providing you have a network. But not everyone has kept in touch with the guys from their dorm or friends from their first company. If your network isn’t broad, you’ll give yourself a better chance at new career opportunities by proactively trying to meet new people.That’s not easy for everyone. The networking world is divided into extroverts and introverts – those who are perfectly comfortable introducing themselves to strangers at a social or networking event and those who dread the challenge. The thought of making small talk or telling someone they’ve just met about themselves is what’s often intimidating for networking introverts. The remedy is to be a good listener.Take the pressure off yourself by listening more and speaking less. Expanding your network means creating relationships. Ask questions and then listen closely for things you have in common with whomever you’re speaking. As you learn about someone else’s background, you can more naturally reveal your own skills and work experience.Of course you can’t have a conversation until you introduce yourself to someone. Imagine you’re attending a reception at an industry trade show. You don’t know a soul there. Look around the room. When you see someone else standing alone move in. There are other people equally reticent as you to meet new people – but they too know it’s important. By introducing yourself you’ll be doing them a favor and gaining yourself a new contact.Finally, once you begin speaking with someone make sure you are sending the right message with your body language. It’s human nature to be on guard when speaking with a stranger. Fight the impulse and be open. Smile, make good eye contact and don’t use defensive body language such as crossing your arms on your chest. And be interested. Even if the other person is uncomfortable as he or she speaks, you never know what might emerge.The Holiday Office Party 2008 Style The holiday office party is a year-end tradition in the business world. But with a recession settling in, even companies that are doing well are scaling back the celebrations. In a survey of 100 companies by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the outplacement firm, 23 percent of companies said they would not host a holiday party this year, compared with only 10 percent in 2007. The consulting firm Towers Perrin conducted an even broader study in which 58 percent of 1,200 executives said their organizations are somewhat or very likely to scale back this year’s bash to save money.So ice sculptures and open bars are out, but many companies are still recognizing the season in other low-key ways. The Lauder Family and The Estee Lauder Companies, for example, canceled their usual party and said it would make charitable donations in the names of its would-be guests instead. Others are finding ways to celebrate the season with a tight budget.o Pot luck lunches and dessert parties.
o BYOB after-hours party in the office.
o Secret Santa parties.
o Company outings at a local sporting event.
o Open gatherings at a local pub.
o Less expensive “New Year’s Party” in January.

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