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3 Reasons to Hire a Contract Worker to Join Your IT Team

The way we work requires agility, particularly in the world of  IT. If your response doesn’t match the market reality, you put your whole organization at risk.

IT agility is your IT system’s ability to respond to external changes, and part of your agility comes from your people. That’s what IT contractors continue to be an increasingly popular choice for businesses.

Here are three reasons why hiring a contract worker is the right move for your IT team.

You Need Specialist Skills for a One-Off Project

You already have a few IT generalists and maybe even a security specialist. But your existing team may not have the skills and tools needed to complete a vital project.

If you need help with rolling out a cloud computing campaign, setting up an ERP, application development, or data center management, a contractor might be the best option. These projects usually occur over a set timeframe, which means you can hire a contractor for the project’s duration without worrying about finding work for them when you’re done.

You Need to Hire Quickly

Do you need to roll a project out in the next few weeks or months? Have you been given a hard ‘go live’ date by company leadership?

Hiring a full-time employee takes weeks or even months, depending on the skills you need. Contractors take less time to bring on board because they are a once-off investment. Plus, many of today’s top IT talent prefer to work as contractors, so you aren’t limited to candidates currently looking for a new job or getting ready to leave their current post.

The hiring process is more nimble, which means you can complete your projects on time.

You Need an Extra Set of Hands without the Expense

Hiring a new employee costs more than a salary: they have benefits, spend weeks going through onboarding, and can come with huge hiring expenses.

A contractor comes with a fixed fee, no need to pay benefits, and strict end date. So you can remain in control of your human capital costs.

Hiring a contractor makes sense for many companies, particularly when you have project-based work and a strict deadline. But just because you choose the contractor route doesn’t mean you can’t afford to find the right candidate.

 

Are you looking for an IT contractor? At RightStone, we place the right IT consultants with the right clients using our RightStone 360 process. Get in touch to learn more about how we match technical requirements and personalities.


Can Taking a Break During Work Actually Make You More Productive?

How often do you sit down at the computer and not look up again until it gets dark?

It happens to everyone, and even if you feel focused, you may not be as productive as you think you were.

The human brain needs a break every once in a while, and if you don’t actively provide it, then, your brain will do it for you. Taking a break isn’t a sign of weakness: it’s the best way to stay productive.

Here’s why you should take more breaks — both long and short.

Reduce Stress Levels

You can feel stress even at a job you enjoy. Finding yourself facing an intractable problem, feeling frustrated about a lack of resources, or even waking up on the wrong side of the bed can leave you with hunched shoulders.

Breaks are one way to deal with a high workload without sending stress hormones flying through your body. A clinical study found that even five-minute breaks every half hour can help surgeons significantly reduce psychological stress.

Imagine what it can do for those of us whose daily tasks don’t involve surgery!

Increase Your Attention Span

Are you struggling to concentrate? Finding yourself easily distracted? There’s a temptation to push through and try harder. But sometimes what your brain really needs is a good old-fashioned break.

In a study of assembly workers, workers who enjoyed a short break were able to increase their attention span significantly in the period after their break.

The lesson: if you can’t concentrate, stop trying. Get up, walk away, and return to your desk when you’re ready. You’ll not only be able to focus but you will have an improved focus.

Feel More Engaged

Taking breaks can improve your overall job performance and increase your chances for a promotion. Why? Because workers who take breaks are more engaged than those who don’t.

Research found that daily micro-breaks leave employees feeling rejuvenated, even in work they didn’t enjoy. However, you have to take a proper break and relax: a quick break for a snack won’t do the trick. Take five to ten minutes and do something else or just switch off. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it works.

Looking for more great career advice? Visit our blog or get in touch to learn more about our RightStone 360 service for placing consultants like you with their dream clients.


Start Standing Out: 3 Tips to Help You Get Promoted

Today, career experts say the best way to get promoted is to find a new job. But you don’t need to start job hunting to get the recognition you deserve. And you shouldn’t need to, especially if you love where you work right now.

Even still, working hard won’t win you the promotion all on its own. Your coworkers also work hard. You also need to find a way to stand out.

What does that look like? Here are three of our expert’s best tips.

1. Get a Mentor

We don’t get anywhere in life on our own. The same is true in career advancement: you can choose to fight hard or you can choose to work together with a mentor. The impact of mentorship is huge: you actively work with someone who is where you want to go, and then you learn from them second hand.

2. Be Open About Your Career Goals

Often, people find themselves passed over for a promotion they wanted and work for and wonder: why not me? In reality, their leadership team had no idea they wanted the promotion in the first place.

Having open lines with communication and sharing your career goals means your boss will know what you want to work towards. It also means that you will know early on if your goal isn’t available at your current organization. In other words, you will have a better indication of whether to move up or move on.

3. Take Ownership of Projects

You need to be a team player, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take ownership of your projects. Demonstrating that you can take a project from ideation through to completion — and uplift others along the way — makes you indispensable to your company.

Indispensable people are the people who tend to find themselves first in line for that big promotion.

Take Control and Win Your Next Promotion Sooner

Working hard is no longer enough to earn you a promotion, but you don’t necessarily need to go searching for greener pastures. When you take concerted steps outside of your daily work to prepare yourself for more responsibility and make your intentions clear, you are more likely to find yourself at the top of the list of those earning a promotion.

Are you looking for the next stepping stone in your career? We’re here to help. We help place qualified candidates with the right clients, which makes getting that promotion easier. Visit our job board or get in touch to learn more about the RightStone 360 process.


3 Ways to Ensuring You are Immigration Compliant When Bringing On a New Hire

There’s a whole world of talent out there. And with remote work becoming increasingly acceptable, there’s nothing stopping you from sourcing talent elsewhere.

However, hiring a non-citizen isn’t straightforward. With your hire, you take on new responsibilities.

The work process is tricky, but you can use these three tips to streamline your immigration compliance process.

Use Processes for I-9 Completion

I-9 compliance is perhaps the most laborious part of immigration compliance. Having I-9 processes set up, and or using an I-9 specialist or trained HR team member, will ensure you don’t miss a step.

Ideally, your I-9 compliance processes should:

  • Centralize I-9 procedures for completion and retention (including copy retention)
  • Ensure only trained staff complete the processes
  • Provide measures for dealing with issues (such as expired documents)
  • Include regular self-audits of both documentation and the systems

Ensure Re-Verification Takes Place

Even when you hire in a compliant manner, your efforts can be thwarted if you don’t have a stringent re-verification program. Re-verification programs keep track of immigration statutes to ensure both the company and the foreign employee take the right steps at the right time.

Legally, you only need to reverify when the employment authorization document expires. However, it is always best to schedule reverification before the actual expiration date and to perform the process regularly

Have a Formal Plan for Foreign Employees

If you intend to bring on any foreign employees, you will benefit from a formal immigration compliance plan. The plan should cover everything from recruiting to hiring to re-verification as well as the Labor Certification process. 

The legal and compliance benefits of a formal plan are reason enough to get to work. The clarification the plan provides also offers additional benefits. Your foreign employee recruitment plan can and should also help inform your job advertisements: you want to attract people most likely to succeed with a visa so as to avoid a prolonged recruitment process.

Are you looking to expand and enjoy a global talent pool?

RightStone offers reporting, documentation, and immigration compliance services. Get in touch to learn more about our unique IT staffing service offering.


How to Help Your IT Team to Remain Focused During Long Projects

Any team will look at a deadline that’s six, nine, or 12 months away and see it as a distant problem. These kinds of deadlines always feel like plenty of time to complete a project. 

Yet, those months can disappear quickly. And it’s your job to ensure that your team doesn’t find themselves two weeks away from a six-month deadline with six months of work left to do.

How do you keep your IT on task even on a long project? Use these tips to help stay on track and deliver better results.

Break It Down into Milestones or Sprints

Achieving a goal always sparks motivation. But what do you do if the overall goal is a year or even more away?

While the work completed today will contribute to the end goal, your team need to see results sooner to stay focused. That’s why “chunking” work into milestones (or sprints, if you want to dabble in Agile) wins the day.

When you set milestones, you mark the passing of time in a tangible way. Reaching those milestones equates to an accomplishment and thus boosts morale. Even better, smaller segments of work simplify planning, so you can get the project off the ground faster.

Reiterate the “Why” as You Work

Why are you completing this project? And why does this milestone fit into the end goal?

If you want to keep teams focused and motivated, then you need focus as much on the “why” question as on the task at hand. When team members know why they need to accomplish a task or even why the deadline is what it is, then they will be more likely to see the value, which will stop their attention from drifting to other work.

Give Frequent Feedback

Milestones also make it easier to provide regular feedback to all team members. Feedback offers emotional motivation by boosting our sense of self-esteem. When teams get good feedback regularly, they want to keep repeating the actions that earned those feelings.

Are you looking for the next valuable member of your project team — or even your team lead? Learn more about the RighStone 360 process and find out how we make IT project execution a success.

 


Are You the New Kid on Zoom? Tips for Meeting Co-Workers as a New Remote Worker

Common aspects of everyday life came to a standstill in 2020. But after a period of uncertainty in the spring, employers began hiring again.

If you started a new job or are about to change careers, you will meet your co-workers online. First impressions matter more than ever, so it’s helpful to be thoughtful about those interactions. Use these tips to make those first few meetings more productive — and a little bit less awkward.

Ask New Questions

“Hi, how are you?” It’s the most straightforward conversation starter there is. However, you can do better for those first interactions. Skip the “how are you doing” during the first meeting. You don’t have a baseline to work from; you don’t know what ‘good’ means to them. It’s also a hard question to answer right now.

Instead, keep it positive and ask a question with a concrete answer. Instead, you might ask:

  • What did you do this week that you loved?
  • What’s been the highlight of the week?
  • What are you working on right now?

These are casual questions that help you get to know each other, keep it professional, and avoid perfunctory answers.

Choose a Fun Background

Zoom backgrounds are a fun way to express yourself and show off a bit of your personality. They’re free, and there’s no shortage of them available.

However, do remember to keep it professional. You might use a background photo of your current city or home town, the backdrop of your favorite sports team, or even a generic backdrop that expresses your interests. For example, you might put yourself in a beautiful library if you love to read.

Remember Your Body Language

One of the tricky things about Zoom is the over-reliance on verbal language. Even with video, delays, low-quality cameras, and the concept of video in general means it’s harder to communicate.

Be sure to keep an eye on your body language. It’s perceptible even on Zoom. Be sure to position your camera so that it captures your upper body when sitting up straight. When on the call, sit back from the camera so your co-workers can see your gestures. And as always, when in doubt, smile and nod.

Ease into a New Role with These Zoom Tips

Zoom is imperfect, but it’s a valuable tool that most companies now use to conduct everything from onboarding to essential business. You can make those first interactions meaningful by remembering Zoom’s limitations and working to overcome them by communicating as effectively as possible. Remember, these tips aren’t just great for daily meetings. They’re also helpful interview tips.

Are you looking for a new role in 2021?

RightStone can help! Visit our jobs board to look for your next move.


The Importance of Screening: 3 Ways to Ensure You Find the Best IT Candidates

Keeping your talent pipeline full and moving is a core part of business operations. Creating an effective screening process is a significant part of the process.

Screening applicants ensures you only move the candidates best-suited for the job forward. It also saves you a significant amount of time both in the initial review and later in the hiring process.

Applicant screening can include a wide range of processes. Here are a few of the best techniques for hiring the best IT candidates.

Skills Testing Technology

You know what skills are mandatory and what ones are nice to have. Most of your applicants come to you with those skills in some form, so if you want to screen them successfully, use skills testing.

Technical skills screening is simple to administer and delivers precise results. By employing this technique, you’ll cut the wheat from the chaff and narrow your candidate pool without adding more to your plate.

Paid Trials/Short Contracts

Often, a hiring decision is a close call between two or three highly-qualified people. But those qualifications may not mean the new hires work out. Trial periods can dramatically reduce employee turnover, dropouts before the start date and ensure you also get the right candidate for your culture.

Paid trial periods or projects give you both a chance to see their performance on the team without a commitment. It’s low risk for both parties, and when it works out, you have a better employee who is also prepared for the demands of the job.

Outsource the Initial Screening

Do you find yourself sorting through dozens or even hundreds of resumes? It’s not uncommon to have only 30 seconds to dedicate to each application received. While technology can do this job for you, many companies, particularly SMEs, still prefer to have the human touch.

Why not use a staffing firm to go through the big pile of applications? They can use your goals and their experience and resources to pull out the best from the pack. The process gifts you a smaller pool to make the final decision, so you can focus your energy and resources where it matters most.

Screen for Success

Screening your applications will produce better employees and shores up your hiring process. There are many ways to go out about the screening process, which means you can ensure it matches your business and talent pipeline needs.

Are you looking for new IT consultants who come pre-screened and match your organization’s needs? Get in touch to learn more about the RightStone 360 process.


3 Reasons IT Professionals Should Consider Switching to Contract Work

In 2018, one in five U.S. jobs was a contract job, and the number continues to grow. By 2030, half of all workers could work on temporary contracts rather than a permanent basis.

An increasing number of IT jobs also fall in this category, and if you’re currently in a full-time role or looking for one, you might wonder if a contract job might suit you better.

Here’s when and why you should consider switching to contract work.

You Want a Pay Raise

The best way to get a pay raise in today’s economy is to get a new job. And one of the surefire ways to make sure the salary bump is more than negligible is to take on a contract.

Contract jobs pay roughly 20% more than full-time employment for two reasons. First, a contractor won’t get the same benefits. Though benefits vary by agency and contract, and we’ll come back to that later. Second, paying contractors looks different on a balance sheet than paying employees. Unlike employees, contractors aren’t a “fixed cost,” so clients are more willing to spend more even if they keep the contractor around as long as an employee.

You Are Returning to the Job Market

Getting your foot in the door for a permanent position can be tough if you have a gap in your employment history. Whether you are a new grad or returning to work after several years, employers still tend to overlook you for candidates already in a similar role.

Contract roles come with no strings attached, which makes it easier to step into them if your employment history works against you, in part because employers (and investors) see investing in contractors differently than a permanent employee, who costs more in the long run.

You Want to Specialize

It’s not uncommon to see a permanent IT post come with the responsibilities of an entire IT department in one role. Hiring managers want to get the most bang for their buck for permanent staff. If that expectation doesn’t appeal to you, then a contract job may suit you well.

Employers tend to bring on contractors for specific and often specialist roles. If you want to increase your knowledge and experience in areas like cybersecurity, data center management, or ERP, you may find you have more opportunities as a contractor.

Becoming a consultant can open up a whole new world of work for many IT professionals.

Are you looking for your next role?

Visit our jobs board and get in touch to learn more about how we place IT consultants with the perfect client.


3 Tips to Keep Remote Employees Productive without Micromanaging

Many businesses didn’t choose to go remote in 2020: it became the only suitable option overnight. As a result, there was no time to prepare a remote management plan or brush up on new skills.

If you have micromanaging tendencies, then you may have found them stretched during the past year. But micromanaging is just as counterproductive out of the office as it is when you’re co-located. Micromanaging leads to poor morale, a lack of confidence, and stress, which all contribute to lower productivity and higher turnover.

How do you make sure employees remain productive without getting in your own way? Use these tips for remote management inspiration.

Use Team Management Software

Clear, measurable goals are the ticket to productivity. When you have a good team and a crystal clear deliverable, you can almost count on it getting done.

To help you avoid micromanaging a project — even one with a defined goal — use goal tracking systems, like team management software. The right software enables you to see where your team is at a glance, which cuts down on wondering, emails, and unnecessary Zoom calls. 

Software also makes teamwork more transparent, so members of each team can see where their colleagues are and collaborate easier. There are plenty of options out there, from enterprise systems to freemiums like Asana. Just be sure to choose the right one for your team’s needs and get them onboarded so they can hit the ground running.

Provide a Daily or Weekly Focus

If you find yourself wondering what your team is up to, then your team may not have a focus. Make life simpler for everyone by pulling out a daily or weekly focus for each goal and communicate it with the whole group. Make the focus clear and ensure it ties into the overarching effort.

Using this method not only helps you stay on top of what’s happening in the short-term, but it helps keep employees on track even when other projects may be calling their name.

Tip: Weekly focuses tend to work best for longer projects or sprints. If there’s a pressing project or need, you might use a daily goal.

Build Relationships Based on Trust

No system or method can save you from micromanaging if trust isn’t the foundation of your working relationships. You have to earn trust, and it takes hard work. However, it is the best way to avoid relying on harmful management tools and boost productivity overall.

Remember: you set the standard for behavior. So if you want to earn trust, you need to give it. Check out this research from the Kellog School of Management on what it means to build trust and build a stronger remote organization.

Is the missing piece of your productivity puzzle a new employee?

RightStone can help you build the remote team you need to exceed your goals in 2021. Get in touch to learn more about the RightStone360 process.


How to Avoid Distractions When Working Remotely

The option for remote working promised us more freedom and greater productivity. Yet, what many didn’t realize is that working from home (or elsewhere outside the office) requires new ways of working.

While there are many distractions at the office, there is also an equal number outside it. And there’s no one to catch you staring at your phone, browsing the internet, or giving in to other distractions.

Do you find yourself fighting an uphill distraction battle? Use these tips to avoid distractions wherever you work now.

Four Ways To Focus When Working Remotely

Use Background Noise

Many of us long to work in a quiet space when in a busy office, but working in a quiet room can make you hyper-aware of distractions.

You may find it easier to focus by using background noise to simulate the outside world or increase your focus. Music or the radio can do the trick for some, but you may also find it smart to try options like Brain.FM, which drives your brain to focus on the task at hand. 

Even background noise like a video of coffee shop background noise on YouTube or from Coffivity could get the creative juices flowing.

Find a Rhythm for New Modes of Work

Whether you now work from home, a co-working space, or your car while running errands, your workflow will differ compared to the office. For many people, sitting down for three solid hours of uninterrupted work is not a possibility outside the confines of HQ. If that’s you, don’t try to force it.

If you have the flexibility, try a new rhythm for work. You might change the hours you work during the day, break the day up into chunks, or even reduce your daily hours and spread them over the whole week.

Play around and find what works for you.

Stand Up and Take Breaks

You stare at your screen blankly and then give up and divert yourself away from the task at hand in favor of reading the news, responding to messages, or online shopping. All of a sudden, six hours have passed, and you still can’t get back to work.

In 2020, a study found that 95% of employees no longer take as many breaks, despite having more freedom when working from home.

Make it a point to stand up and take a short break. Set a timer or use a method like the Pomodoro technique. Taking more breaks leaves you feeling refreshed and helps you avoid distractions.

Turn on Anti-Distraction Mode on Your Phone

Do you ever pick up your phone and find 20 minutes passed without you noticing? Without anyone to stop you, it’s easy to find yourself scrolling through Twitter for hours on end.

Anti-distraction mode helps protect you from notifications, and for most, it’s built right into your phone. If you need an extra hand, try an app like Freedom or RescueTime to lock you out of the biggest time-sucks on your phone.

Remote work is here to stay, but you may need to find new productivity hacks that reflect your new environment.

Trouble Finding Work Remotely? RightStone can help!

Are you looking for your next remote role? Get in touch to learn more about the jobs coming up in 2021.


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