Blog

Stepping Up for the Challenge – How to Ask for More Responsibility at Work

You have a set of responsibilities associated with your role. They may ebb and flow throughout the year, but you know them well and find you can achieve them comfortably.

Getting too comfortable can lead to boredom and complacency. But you don’t need a new job to avoid feeling stuck. You can ask for more responsibility to create new challenges.

How do you ask your boss for more responsibility at work? Keep reading for a short guide.

Look for Opportunities

“I’d like more responsibility around here.” It’s what you’re thinking, but that statement won’t win you any favors. Managers aren’t in a rush to delegate new tasks because delegation takes work, especially training.

So rather than asking for more work or opportunities generally, identify those opportunities for yourself and ask for them. Can you see things within your wheelhouse that your manager is stuck doing? Even better, are there action points that you could take ownership of that would add value to current projects or even the business?

There’s almost always room to scale. Once you find the opportunities that could grow your career, it’s time to figure out how you’ll do them.

Create a Plan

Before you present your chosen option to your boss, you’ll need to flesh out the idea.

How will you get the extra work done? Where will you pick up the skills? How much will it cost? What value will it add? Where will the spare time come from?

You’ll also need to demonstrate the stability of your current workload. No one is going to give you extra tasks if you can’t manage what you have already.

Pitch It the Right Way

With your goals identified and a plan in place, it’s time to pitch.

As with anything, context is key, and timing is everything. Don’t pick a particularly stressful time to make the ask — even if it might add value.

When you pitch, help them envision what the goal will do for them. Share the impact of the results’ impact and provide them with milestones and performance measurements to track them.

If they can see the value off the bat, they’re more likely to tell you to run with it.

Use Responsibilities to Create New Opportunities

You don’t need to feel stuck in your role. If you’re ready for more, all you need to do is ask — just make sure you have a plan before you do it.

Are you looking for a new role with new responsibilities? RightStone is placing qualified IT candidates in challenging positions right now. Find the list of currently available jobs on our website.

 


Political Divisiveness in the Workplace – How to Set the Right Tone for Your Team

Politics is everywhere right now. It’s on yard signs, billboards, and it dominates every form of media. There’s no doubt that tensions are high and likely will remain so even after the election ends. Denying it is impossible. So, what do you do at work?

Talking politics at work is a bad idea. HR says, “Don’t do it.” Leadership says, “Steer clear.” But do the old rules still apply?

It’s impossible to avoid politics altogether. Rather than stamping it out, you need to learn how to manage it.

First, Set Ground Rules for Everyone

If you aren’t aware of your company’s rules around political statements, refer to the HR handbook. If you don’t have any rules, now is an excellent time to set them. The key is to make sure the restrictions apply to everyone equally.

An essential ground rule is to ban political paraphernalia in the workplace. That means no candidate or political party t-shirts or hats or even laptop stickers — not even the ‘funny’ or ‘jokey’ ones. Everyone can have their political views, but they can save their physical expression for nights and weekends.

Keeping these out of the workplace will help prevent colleagues from sitting across the office and seething, which will prevent feelings from bubbling over at the water cooler.

A second rule required for these divided times is the rules governing when to walk away. If a discussion or question becomes a debate or confrontation, then all employees must walk away — no exceptions.

Keep Protections for Labor Speech

Remember that while you can end political debates during work hours, there is legally protected speech as defined by the National Labor Relations Act.

Employees can discuss wages, working conditions, and unions. You can get in trouble for putting the kibosh on these discussions, so make sure everyone knows what’s appropriate and what isn’t.

Remind Everyone of the Policies on Harassment

You can create a culture that avoids confrontation and encourages respect. However, you should also make sure you share resources if some employees can’t meet those standards.

Remind everyone of the rules on harassment, intimidation, and bullying — both online and offline. Create an open-door policy for anyone experiencing any of the above and make it clear to the entire team. 

No one has the right to harass or bully anyone else due to their political beliefs, so it’s vital that everyone knows what your behavioral expectations are and that they have support if it does happen.

Political Speech Happens, But You Can Still Control It

The year 2020 is not a time when employers can ban political speech and call it a job well done. People will talk about politics at work. Your role is to ensure that you create an environment that avoids confrontations, sets behavioral expectations, and upholds the right to protected speech.

These may be unprecedented times, but life and business go on. If you’re looking to add quality IT professionals to your team, RightStone can help. Get in touch to learn about the RightStone 360 process.

 


Facing the New Normal of Virtual Onboarding

Living during a respiratory pandemic means making strategic decisions about the number of people you’ll meet every day. Experts say that fewer social contacts translate to a lower infection rate, so it’s no surprise that almost everything, from concerts to interviews, is currently happening via Zoom.

Employee onboarding is one of the many, many activities now taking place virtually. While the tech makes it possible, the process remains far from perfect. Here’s what companies like yours can do to improve the virtual onboarding experience. 

Create a New Hire Schedule of Activities

You wouldn’t onboard a new employee in a single hour in ‘normal’ times, so there’s no reason to do so just because you can send them links to all your documentation.

Every new employee should get a schedule of activities for their first week so they know what to expect. Include events like:

  • Going over the employee handbook
  • Completing paperwork with HR
  • Discussing company culture and expectations
  • Setting up technology with IT
  • Meetings with direct supervisors and other key stakeholders

Don’t forget to build time in for a conversation. Your goal isn’t just to inform but to build a relationship with your new employee. 

A few other good ideas include adding a ‘new hire social’ to the calendar. Set up a Zoom call for all new hires and their teammates to mix socially and chat. If you want to go the extra mile, you can set up a guided discussion or even a game to play during the session!

Go Further with Weekly and Monthly Check-ins

Don’t limit your program to the first week of work. Think of it like school: if your teacher never checked in after your first week in school, you could easily fall behind and you’d both be bewildered by the end of the term.

Schedule in sessions for check-ins, with supervisors, and with HR. Supervisor check-ins should be weekly, and company check-ins should be monthly. These give your new employees a chance to ask questions, clarify issues, and bring up any problems or roadblocks they face.

Use Starter Packs to Make Their New Job Tangible

For many people, a new job doesn’t come with much change. The only physical difference they see is in their direct deposit. You can make your culture and brand feel more real with some simple touches – like swag packs.

Send over a company polo, travel mug, laptop case, or whatever else makes sense for your group.

It’s a small touch, but it is a physical reminder that they’re part of the team.

Use Virtual Onboarding to Welcome New Employees

Virtual onboarding is here, and it could become the new normal for years. Companies can use it successfully, but you can’t rely on a single video call to do all the heavy lifting. You also need to find appropriate and on-brand ways to make employees feel welcome and engaged.

Did you know? Employee engagement starts at the interview stage. Get in touch to learn how RightStone recruits and interviews the perfect fit for every client.


Delivering a Negative Performance Review – 4 Ways to Turn It Around

No one wants to critique an employee’s negative performance. And no one wants to get a negative performance review. But if an employee is slipping and hasn’t self-corrected, there is no way around it. 

Performance reviews boost productivity and drive engagement. A negative performance review can do that, too, if you frame it correctly.

Here are four ways to deal with an employee who is missing the mark without sending them into a downward spiral.

Start with a Self-Assessment

The worst part of a negative performance review tends to be the surprise with which it is met. If the employee thinks things are still going okay or if they’re trying so hard to tread water that they don’t see their performance, then hitting them with criticism can do lasting damage.

One way to ease into the process is to give your employee a chance to take a lead. A self-assessment gives you both a clear, honest idea of where they think they are and how they perceive their work.

Then, you can find places to naturally start a conversation. Plus, it allows you to see if their performance has less to do with failure and more to do with a difference in expectations.

Identify and Develop Strengths

No one is good at everything. Everyone learns and grows differently. These two principles are important to keep in mind during your performance review.

So rather than focusing solely on what’s going wrong, look for the reasons why, and start asking whether it’s an issue of you prioritizing your employee’s strengths.

Remember: you can’t ask a marathoner to sprint or vice versa without seeing a drop in performance. It doesn’t mean their not a good employee. It just requires realigning roles and expectations.

Use Your Emotional Intelligence

Your ability to deliver bad news has less to do with the message and more to do with your delivery. You’ll rely heavily on your emotional intelligence as you navigate the review.

One of the most difficult things you’ll learn to do is manage your own expectations when your employee doesn’t just have bad habits — they’re also a problem employee.

It’s important to stay calm and collected regardless of what way the talk goes. You don’t want to inflame the situation because no one wins.

Frame It as a Chance to Succeed

The only thing worse than getting a poor performance review is knowing that you’ve been doing something wrong for weeks — or even months — and no one told you.

So rather than framing a negative performance review as something ‘bad,’ reframe the whole experience as a chance to succeed. If you can reframe it in your mind, you will not only be able to better deliver the news, but you’ll dread it less and won’t feel as drained afterward.

Negative Performance Reviews Can Be Positive Opportunites

No one becomes a leader so they can dole out criticism all day. Unfortunately, it’s part of the territory. However, you can deliver these reviews in a way that creates an opportunity for growth for both the employee and the whole team.

Are you looking for IT professionals to join your team and execution your vision? RightStone is placing quality IT consultants right now. Get in touch to learn more about the RightStone 360 process.


Managing a Remote Workforce- Leading at a Distance

In 2019 and early 2020, articles about remote work were still in the ‘what if’ phase. Back then, 55% of businesses worldwide allowed for remote work in some shape or form — and only 4.7 million people were already working at home. 

If you find yourself leading from a distance, or are looking for a new leadership role in this climate, use these tips to help settle in and support your team as you all adjust to this new style of work.

Express Yourself Visually

What says “good job” more effectively? A short email that simply says, “good work” or a funny GIF or emoji? Very often, animations communicate feedback better than text because they pick up on the non-verbal communication you miss out on when you work remotely.

So, use emoji replies on Slack, send GIFs in an email, and do it consistently.

And don’t forget to reiterate your praise on video calls. It means more than you think.

Build in Time for Conversation

When you’re all at home, it seems prudent to hop on a call, talk about what needs to happen, and then get back to what you were doing. Running a meeting or call this way makes it very transactional, and that’s not good for your team.

You need to build relationships with your team members as people, so build time for chatting into your meetings. It will help you get to know your team, build rapport, and indicate what issues your team are having before they become problems.

Trust Your Team

If you don’t trust a member of your team, then you shouldn’t have hired them. But since they’re here, you should know you can rely on them.

You don’t need to rely on blind trust. Instead, set your expectations early and make them clear. Then, everyone is on the same page, and no one is left waiting for a deliverable.

Focus on Goals Rather Than Activity

A big problem managers face when leading remote teams is their emphasis on activity. They think: what if they aren’t working for eight hours? How can I tell?

The truth is that your on-site employees aren’t engaging in work activity for every minute they’re at the office either. The only difference is that you can drop in on them.

Rather than getting hung up on minutes worked, focus on goals. Is the work getting done? Is it on time? Is it of the quality you outlined in your expectations? If the answer to those questions is yes, then you have a productive team.

Get Ready to Lead Remotely

Today, everyone who can is by-and-large working from home, and leaders are leading from home. Learning to manage a remote workforce is very different from getting to grips with telecommuting tools. You need a whole new style that accounts for the lack of literal facetime.

Are you looking for your next leader, or needing to hire for a remote team? Get in touch to learn about our fine-tuned process for placing skilled IT professionals.


How Long Should I Wait to Follow Up After an Interview?

You walked out of the interview feeling optimistic but naturally hesitant. What happens next? 

The anxiety of waiting by the phone (or constantly thinking you feel it vibrate in your pocket) is part of the interview process. However, you don’t need to sit and wait for the phone to ring for weeks on end. A follow-up call is in order, and it can help you prepare for what comes next.

So how long should you wait to follow up after the interview? Use this guide to help you plan your post-interview timeline.

Follow the Timeline Given by Your Interviewer

In today’s world, good practice dictates that HR will let you know a timeline at the end of the interview. It lets everyone know what to expect and puts everyone on even footing.

Whether you’re successful or not, you’ll know by the date given.

If HR or the hiring manager gives you a date, stick to that date before you think about a follow-up. If you don’t hear back by the date given, give them an extra two business days to get back to you, particularly in today’s climate where businesses have to manage changes at a rapid pace.

Tip: if you had a great interview and want a few extra bonus points, send a quick email simply thanking the team for their time and the opportunity.

What If You Have Other Interviews Lined Up?

Hiring managers will assume you’re actively job hunting, so there’s no pressing need to let them know about other interviews and deadlines at the interview or when you follow up.

The only time you might let the team know you’re being actively considered for another role is if you have another offer in hand and you want to use it to negotiate a better deal.

Otherwise, Wait One Week to Follow Up

If they don’t give you a timeline, and you haven’t heard anything after 4-5 business days, then you are free to follow up. If your interview is on Monday, wait until the following Monday before you call.

Usually, a rejection or confirmation comes quickly after you follow up.

Remember that HR doesn’t always have answers. They can only push the decision-makers so much. So, if things are slow at the top, then it will trickle down.

Use the Follow Up as a Chance to Reaffirm Your Interest

The waiting game is part of job hunting, but you don’t need to wait around forever. If you don’t hear anything for a week (or within the timeline), give HR a call and ask them when you might expect to have a decision. Calling will reaffirm your interest, and it will help you plan your next steps.

Are you looking for your next role? RighStone is placing IT professionals with quality jobs now. Get in touch to learn more about what roles are available.

 


Back in the Game – Relaunch Your IT Career in a COVID-19 World

Whether you’re employed or looking to get back in the game, the current job landscape is full of uncertainty. Everything from where to how we work has been impacted by the last six months. But the uncertainty doesn’t mean that it’s not a good time to relaunch your career.

Here are a few tips for getting back in the game in a COVID-19 (and hopefully the soon-to-be-post-COVID-19 world).

Use Self-Analysis to Start

Everything around you has changed, and if you’re like most, some of your circumstances changed, too. So, now is a good time to check-in and re-establish what you’re looking for.

  • Are you able to return to your past roles?
  • Do you want to return to past roles?
  • What do you value from work now?
  • Do you need a flexible part-time option?
  • What would you compromise to get the right working conditions?
  • What supports do you need to transition back to full-time work? Do you have them?
  • Are you looking to transition to a new role or career?

Keep Networking

Who you know is going to be just as important as what you know when you re-enter the job market. But networking isn’t just about getting your foot in the door of a new opportunity. It’s also a chance to strategize.

By keeping up with the people in your network, you’ll know what’s happening in IT. You’ll hear more about the better places to work, what to expect from salary negotiations — and of course, about vacant positions.

Networking also includes reading. So, dive into industry and trade media to keep up with dier trends. Then, when you walk into your first interview back, it will sound a lot more like you never left.

Tailor Your Application and Transferable Skills

Today is not the time to send out 100 copies of the same resume. There’s a combination of huge pools of talent and far fewer opportunities to stand out in the process thanks to virtual recruiting.

As you apply for jobs that interest you, take the time to tailor your application to the role. Don’t worry if you aren’t a carbon copy of the job description. You can use transferable skills to make your application stand out.

Take the time to think about your skills and strengths and wield them to show recruiters what a strong candidate you are.

Consider Contract Freelance in the Meantime

Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t re-skill and up-skill. Freelancing and remote learning are a great way to get this done. You can not only pick up new skills but put them to practice.

Plus, both options give you a chance to practice the skills needed for remote contract work, which was already growing before the pandemic.

 

Are you ready to get back out there and wondering if this is a good time to re-enter IT? RightStone is placing candidates like you right now. Get in touch to learn more about our current listings and how we pair the right client and candidate.


5 Soft Skills Essential for a Successful IT Career

The IT industry wants technical skills and in-demand certifications. What candidates often forget, however, is the bonus presented by soft skills. 

Soft skills previously took a back seat to your professional expertise, especially if you offered a particularly hard-to-find qualification. Today, they’re not the core skills that get you hired. 

What are the most useful soft skills for a successful IT career? Here’s what RightStone’s top clients look for in a new hire. 

Communication 

We still think of IT roles as being highly technical. Part of your ability to do the job depends on your ability to communicate. From emails to proposals to leadership, your ability to communicate project parameters is at the heart of your success. 

Collaboration 

Twenty years ago, the right lone wolf developer could have the pick of any job. Today, employers look for developers who have both technical and collaboration skills. 

Being able to work with others is a core skill, particularly when you work remotely. Remote working requires you to work cohesively and allow room for creative thinking from all team members. 

If you can collaborate, you can get your product to market faster — and that’s what employers look for. 

Creativity 

Although learning in IT can be rote, you have the freedom to run once you get beyond the basics. Here, creativity can flourish, and employers look for creative problem-solving skills. After all, it’s not just your ability to create solutions that matter. You need to solve problems in a way that makes the most sense for your unique end users. 

Negotiation 

Your negotiation skills is a soft skill that not only helps you move up the career ladder but have practical day-to-day uses. You can negotiate with clients to coax them into solutions that make the most sense for their business. You can also negotiate with team members to help them make a deadline. 

And of course, you can negotiate your salary, project budget, and duties to help you win the job you want. Employers see your negotiation skills from the beginning, so don’t be afraid to show them off. 

Empathy 

Empathy is a skill that you need in any position if you want to work for, with, or in service of other people. Empathy not only allows you to work more closely with a team, but it can be your superpower by enabling you to take responsibility for yourself and your work. 

If you have empathy, more people want to work with you. 

Do You Have the Soft Skills Employers Want? 

Employers want to know about your experience, portfolio, and certifications. However, an impressive resume isn’t the only thing you need in a competitive job market. You also need the soft skills that employers want. 

After all, technical skills get a project started, but skills collaboration, communication, and empathy get the job done. 

Do you have what employers are looking for? Let us know. Click here to view RightStone’s jobs board


Promoted Over Your Peers? How to Lead a Team of Co-workers

You got the promotion. It comes with new responsibilities and new benefits. However, it also comes with a unique challenge. As the victor, you now need to navigate a new landscape of leading your coworkers, including a few who wanted the job you got. 

The transition from peer to leader all depends on your first few weeks. Here are our best tips to manage your teammates. 

Get Reacquainted as  Leader 

You didn’t get tapped to lead the team because of a fluke. It was your skills combined with the vision that helped you get started. However, your coworkers may not have seen what your boss did. 

Rather than force a transition, ease into it by meeting with your team members and getting reacquainted. Let them know what you see for the seem and ask them for their input. 

Don’t forget to get and reaffirm your co-worker’s pain points. Now that you have the power to make changes, hearing their concerns and suggestions again may give you a new perspective. 

Earn Your Influence 

You were one of the team on Friday, and now it’s Monday, and you’re the team leader. Your team won’t follow your influence just because you had a title change. 

You won the role because your boss believed you would be a good leader. Now is the time to start showing everyone what you can do. Work hard, listen more than you talk, and start working on earning your influence. It will make the smoothest transition into management. 

Set Clear Expectations 

As a team member, you could go to Happy Hours, laugh at the water cooler, and commiserate with your colleagues. While there’s no ‘us’ and ‘them’ when you become a leader, you need to set clear expectations if you want to lead. 

You now need to figure out how to be approachable and friendly without compromising your impartiality. One of the best ways to do this is to be as clear about your work. Be honest about what you’re looking for, and give useful feedback. 

Being open and transparent will transform your colleagues into a team that emulates your influence. 

Be the Leader Your Boss Knew You Could Be 

Managing your coworkers can be awkward, but there was a reason you got the promotion. Your superiors believe in your ability to lead. And that’s just what you need to do. 

While some things do need to change, you just need to keep being you and be as willing to work for your coworkers’ respect as you were willing to work for the promotion. 

Are you looking for your next leadership role?

RightStone is placing highly-skilled candidates into IT leadership roles right now. Get in touch to learn how you could find your next position. 


4 Reasons Why You Should Consider Hiring Temp Workers

Many hiring managers think they know the value temp workers provide. Some believe that temps are a thing of the past. In reality, temp workers are a core part of the U.S. workforce that may even be underutilized. 

Temp workers offer valuable skills, almost on-demand, and they do so without slowing down your business. The story of temp workers in the U.S. is a long one, and these essential employees have shaped the American workforce for the better in surprising ways. Do you need to scale your team? Here’s why you should consider hiring temp workers.  

Scale Up During Your Busy Season 

Whether you’re a ‘seasonal business’ or not, your industry likely goes through predictable peak periods where your teams are run off their feet. 

Hiring temporary workers helps you meet your needs during peak periods without worrying about paying the bills during your slower months. 

For example, you might choose to scale up before the holidays as clients prepare their sites for the season’s traffic. 

Get the Talent You Need During Short-Term Projects 

Do you have new or occasional clients who have unique needs? Taking on specialty projects requires an employee who offers those skills. But few can afford to hire these team members as permanent employees. 

Using temporary or contract workers means you can get the skills you need when you need them without worrying about finding something for them to do 365 days a year. 

Introduce Employees to Your Company on a Trial Basis 

More and more employers hire based on culture and personality rather than skills. Screening for culture isn’t easy. Moreover, even if you think the candidate is a great fit, they may decide the job isn’t for them a few months down the line. All of a sudden, you need to start the process over. 

Choosing the temp-to-hire route allows you to bring on new team members to experience the culture for themselves. The contract gives both of you an out at the end of the working relationship, which saves you from re-hiring a few weeks or months down the road. 

Save Money on Hiring 

Hiring a new employee is expensive. Back in 2015, Deloitte said the average company spent $3,500 on hiring a new employee. Given the talent shortage in IT and other industries and increase costs, you can expect it to be higher in 2020-2021. 

Working with contract employees saves your team from spending resources and productivity on finding one employee and gets you the talent you need faster. 

Ready to expand your team?

At RightStone, we know how vital temporary employees are in IT. We’ve helped change the game. Get in touch to learn more about how we place candidates with the skills and personality to help your business succeed. 


  • 4975 Preston Park Blvd #550, Plano, TX 75093
  • 972-895-2555
Military Spouse Employment Partnership Forbes America's Best Temporary Staffing Firms 2020