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Positive Leaders Support Their Employees’ Mental Health

 

Having to navigate through the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on employees’ mental health. As a result, an increasing number of employees are experiencing anxiety, depression, and burnout. These mental health experiences differ according to race, economic opportunity, job type, parenting and caregiving responsibilities, and other variables.

As a manager, you need to support your employees as they face new stressors, safety concerns, and economic upheaval. The following strategies can help.

Implement these three tips to provide support for your employees’ mental health.


1. Share Your Mental Health Experiences

Because almost everyone experiences mental health concerns, openly discussing personal experiences helps to destigmatize getting help when needed. This is especially helpful when leaders share their mental health concerns and how they manage them.

Talk with your team about how you manage stress at work. If you go to a therapist, take medication, or receive professional help in another manner, let your team know. This helps normalize the discussion of mental health concerns. It also encourages your employees to get help when needed.

If you work from home, let your team know whether your kids have interrupted your video meetings or your coworkers have seen glimpses of your home. Sharing your challenges helps you appear human, relatable, and brave. This type of authentic leadership cultivates trust among your team. It also promotes employee engagement and performance.

2. Model Healthy Behaviors

Show your team that the prioritization of self-care is important. This includes setting and enforcing boundaries.

Let your employees know what you are doing to maintain your well-being. This may include taking a walk after lunch, engaging in a therapy appointment, or enjoying a staycation.

Emphasize that taking care of yourself helps prevent you from burning out. Your employees are likely to follow your example.

3. Provide Flexibility

Your needs and your employees’ needs will change as circumstances continue to change. Be sure to check in regularly with your employees. This is especially important during transitions.

Talk with your employees about any issues that come up. This may involve stressors such as finding childcare or feeling the need to work at all hours. Help problem-solve when needed.

Reiterate the norms and practices that support mental health. They include setting and enforcing boundaries and work hours.

You may want to include examples of how you modified your own work schedule to accommodate your personal needs. This might include changing your work hours to fit in childcare responsibilities.

Need to Add to Your Team?

When you need help hiring IT employees, turn to RightStone. Learn more today.


Helping Employees Who Are Burned-Out

 

Employee burnout is on the rise. More employees than ever before are experiencing feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion. This leads to increasingly negative feelings toward their jobs. It also reduces engagement and productivity.

Many burned-out employees feel taken for granted. The lack of rewards for their hard work and results leads to feelings of not being in control at work. These employees tend not to feel a sense of teamwork toward a unified goal. Some may believe they are working harder than others or are being unfairly treated.

The amount of work and the emotions surrounding the work are what lead to burnout. As a manager, you need to do what you can to help alleviate these feelings in your employees.

Implement these tips to help your employees who are experiencing burnout.


Openly Discuss Mental Health

Talk with your team about the importance of mental health. Point out that most employees struggle with mental health concerns at some point. If you feel comfortable, mention some of your own mental health challenges and how you effectively manage them. This may include meditation, yoga, therapy, or medication.

Keep all discussions and information confidential. Your employees need to know they can trust you and each other in order to open up.

Use an Emotion-Rating System

If you or your employees do not feel comfortable talking about their specific feelings, use an anonymous rating system instead. Give each of your employees a piece of paper and a pen. Then, ask your employees to rate their mental health on a scale of 1-10. Next, collect and look over the answers. Finally, use the results to talk with your team about their overall emotional state.

Ask whether there are specific issues your team would like to discuss. Provide as much support as possible. This may include mentioning the resources available through HR or the health insurance benefits.

Look for Mental Health Concerns

Participate in training to spot potential mental health concerns in your employees. This often involves an employee acting out of character. For instance, a top employee may begin to put in less effort, reduce communication with teammates, and miss deadlines.

Privately talk with an employee who appears to be struggling. Let them know you are available to talk and provide support however you can.

Offer a Leave of Absence

You may want to offer a leave of absence so an employee can get help to resolve the issues they are experiencing. If so, RightStone can provide temporary IT workers to fill in. Find out more today.


How to Combat Work Stress

 

Stress at work can have a number of sources. Some of the most common include increased workloads, the pressure to perform well, longer work hours, downsizing, and issues with coworkers. Increased stress levels can lead to disengagement, reduced productivity, and greater absences. Bigger issues include sickness, depression, and problems at home. As a result, you want to monitor your stress level each day and take steps to combat potential issues before they get out of hand.

Use any of the following methods to decrease your stress level at work.


Time Management

Make a list of the personal and professional tasks you want to accomplish for the day or week. Your goal is to create a balance between work and family time and social and solo activities each day. Then, distinguish between the activities you need to do and the activities you should do. Place your required activities at the start of each day and the activities you should do later in the day. Allow enough time to finish one activity before beginning another. Also, schedule 10- to 15-minute breaks throughout each day and an hour for lunch. You need time to get up from your desk, take a walk, eat healthy foods, and clear your head.

Daily Exercise

Engage in aerobic activity every day. Increasing your heart rate for at least 30 minutes helps elevate your mood, energy level, and focus. Your body and mind are better able to relax then. Breaking up your exercise into three 10-minute intervals can be just as effective as exercising for a half hour all at once.

Healthy Eating

Consume just enough food and beverages to provide the energy needed to stay productive. If you eat too little and experience low blood sugar, you may become anxious and irritable. Or, if you eat too much, you may feel lethargic. Instead, try consuming small meals throughout the day. This can even out your blood sugar level, maintain energy, and keep you focused.

Adequate Sleep

Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. This reduces your vulnerability to anxiety and insomnia. You are better able to maintain emotional balance when you are well-rested. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day can promote rest at night. Disengaging from mobile devices an hour before bedtime can help as well.

Looking for a New Job?

RightStone can set you up with opportunities to advance your IT career. See which jobs interest you today.


4 Work Goals You Can Accomplish This Year

 

Like many employees, you may be used to going to work, finishing your tasks, going home, and repeating the process the next day. Of course, putting in your best effort and fulfilling your responsibilities is important. However, you also should be focused on moving forward in your career. Taking steps each day to reach your professional goals helps you accomplish more of what you set out to do. The greater your achievements, the higher you can set your future goals.

The following are four professional goals you may want to achieve in 2022.


1. Improve Your Time Management

The better you manage your time, the more you can accomplish each day. As you begin to be more productive each week, you can take on more responsibilities that can result in a leadership position.

You may want to try time blocking. Make a list of each task you want to accomplish throughout the day or week. Then, schedule a time to complete each activity. You should plan your most complex tasks during the times when you are most productive, such as early in the morning or right after lunch. Be sure to allow flexibility for unexpected events that may alter your plans. If you do not accomplish a task, add it to the next day’s schedule.

2. Participate in a Course

Take part in an online course to promote your career advancement. This may include developing your coding skills through an online coding boot camp. Or, you might want to learn a new programming language through Codecademy. Make sure the course is the right fit for you and that the instructor/organizer has valuable information to share. Also, celebrate as you successfully complete each assignment and when you finish the course.

3. Increase Your Network

Make it a point to meet more professionals in your company and industry. This may occur in the breakroom, at a conference, or through a professional organization. The more connections you add to your network, the more opportunities you have to advance in your career path. The members of your network can alert you to job openings, introduce you to hiring managers and other IT professionals in their company, or serve as referrals or references during your job search. Be sure you offer to help your connections as well.

4. Find a New Job

Secure a better IT role with a different employer. You can meet more professionals and develop new skills that keep you engaged in your work. You also can gain more experience and increase your qualifications to take on higher leadership positions within the organization. This increases your career options both now and in the future.

Partner with a Staffing Firm

Work with a recruiter from RightStone to find your next IT role. Visit our job board today.


How to Focus on Diversity & Inclusion in Your Recruiting Efforts

 

The more diverse and inclusive your company is, the more competitive it is. The blending of team members from different cultures, genders, and backgrounds provides greater innovation, problem-solving, and goal attainment than working with more homogenous team members. Your diverse team is better equipped to provide different viewpoints and develop unique ideas than a homogenous team. This elevates collaboration, engagement, morale, and retention. These are reasons why diversity and inclusion need to be priorities within your organization.

Implement these tips to make your recruitment process more diverse and inclusive.


Focus on Your Leadership Demographics

Analyze the leaders occupying the top roles in your organization. Determine whether they reflect the demographics of the communities you serve. Include what your leaders’ succession planning pipeline looks like. Think about whether this involves women and people of color. You want to hire and promote employees in these two groups to line roles and executive positions as much as possible.

The more women and people of color you have in revenue-generating and decision-making roles, the more your company will attract and retain diverse candidates. Offering employee resource programs and other sources of support for these groups increases your level of inclusivity.

Reduce Unconscious Biases

Train everyone involved in your hiring process to uncover and modify their hidden aversions to specific types of candidates. These biases mostly are shaped by individual experiences and typically result in wrong assumptions.

For instance, use gender-neutral language in your job descriptions. This includes the omission of words such as “supportive” or “aggressive.” The former tends to attract more female candidates, whereas the latter tends to attract more male candidates. Avoiding gendered words typically attracts a more balanced number of female and male applicants to your job openings.

Include in your job description only the necessary skills and qualifications for the role. Whereas women typically apply for a position they feel 100% qualified for, men typically apply for a job they feel 70% qualified for. Listing only the most important skills and qualifications increases the balance of female and male applicants for your position.

Eliminate the names, schools attended, and other personally identifying information on the resumes you receive. This causes your hiring team to focus on the skills, experience, and qualifications of your applicants when deciding who to interview. Women and people of color are more likely to be contacted and potentially hired by your organization, which increases diversity.

Emphasize Your Employee Resource Groups

Include throughout your recruitment process information about the resources you provide to support your employees. Details about your employee resource groups (ERGs) and other inclusivity programs show you care about your team members from all backgrounds. Knowing that all employees are valued members of your organization helps attract and retain diverse talent.

Want More Diverse IT Candidates?

RightStone has IT professionals of different backgrounds ready to fill your business needs. Contact us today.


Easy Ways to Boost Motivation in the Workplace

 

Like anyone else, your employees will have days where they lack the motivation to complete their tasks. Although this is completely normal, it can become a problem if they consistently become disengaged. You need your team to remain as productive as possible to continue to reach company goals. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to encourage your team members to remain engaged and continue to perform their best.

Implement these simple tips to maintain motivation and productivity among your team.


Maintain a Positive Work Environment

It is easier for your team members to stay productive when they feel happy. Maintaining a positive work environment promotes a better work experience and stronger relationships. These are significant factors in employee motivation, engagement, productivity, and success.

Create Employee Goals

Work with your team members to establish short-term goals. Include attainable objectives and clear measurements for success. This helps your employees stay on track, see the progress they make, and understand how their efforts impact the company. Be sure to celebrate each team member’s achievements along the way.

Recognize Employee Contributions

Your team members need to know their efforts and results are being noticed. This encourages them to continue to perform their best. Recognition also improves employee engagement, job satisfaction, and retention. Be sure you publicly and privately point out specific actions each employee took, what they accomplished, and how it benefitted the organization. Also, provide bonuses, raises, or promotions when appropriate.

Encourage Regular Breaks

Your team members need time to rest throughout the workday. Remind them to step away from their desks to stretch, meditate, or talk with coworkers who are on break. Also, emphasize the importance of taking a full hour for lunch. Promote healthy eating, walking, reading, and other relaxing habits. Taking time to disengage increases focus, concentration, and engagement in tasks. This helps your employees come back refreshed and ready to produce.

Promote Paid Time Off

Remind your team members how important it is to use all of their vacation days every year. Spending time away from the office promotes physical and mental wellness. Your employees need to create memories by engaging in enjoyable activities with their families and friends. The more time your employees take for rest and relaxation, the less likely they are to experience burnout.

Enforce Staying Home When Ill

Encourage your team members to stay home when they are sick. Your employees cannot perform their best when they do not feel well. Also, coming to the office and spreading germs is not beneficial for anyone. Ask that your team members finish the tasks they can from home while getting plenty of rest. The sooner they fully recover, the sooner they can return to the office and resume their duties.

In Need of IT Talent?

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Warning Signs Your Top Candidate Isn’t All They Say They Are

 

Like many employers, you may be having difficulty hiring the best talent. As a result, you might feel inclined to hire your top candidate after reading their resume and scheduling an interview. However, you need to take the time to make sure the candidate is exactly as good as they say they are. Although they may seem like a great match on the surface, you need to uncover additional information to validate their claims.

Discover some steps you can take to determine whether your best candidate truly is the right one to add to your team.


Not Sharing Specific Contributions

Your top candidate should give concrete examples of their individual contributions and those of their team members to complete projects. You need this type of information to learn more about the candidate’s role in a project and how it fits with the team dynamics.

The candidate also should talk about other details relating to their current job or the job they want. Otherwise, they may lack the skills and qualifications needed to complete the work. Think twice about hiring this candidate.

Hesitation to Provide Work Samples

Your top candidate should be happy to show you examples of what they accomplished in previous roles. This demonstrates the value they can provide for your own organization.

If the candidate hesitates to participate in a technical interview, it may be because they lack the core skills necessary to carry out the job responsibilities. The candidate may not want to admit that they cannot complete a skills test within the allotted time. This likely is not the right candidate to hire.

Lack of Interest in Learning

Your top candidate should be eager to participate in ongoing learning and development opportunities. This lets them develop new skills and qualify for additional opportunities for career advancement.

A candidate who believes they already know all that they need to likely will be stagnant in a role. Disinterest in improving their abilities means a lack of growth for your organization. This is not a candidate you want to add to your team.

Not Asking Questions

Your top candidate should be asking questions throughout the interview. This shows they are engaged in the conversation and curious to know more about the position and company.  The more information the candidate receives, the better they can determine whether the job is a good match for them.

Not asking questions signals disinterest in the discussion, job, and organization. Since it is unlikely that every topic was covered during the interview, the candidate should want to know more about at least one issue that came up during the talk. You likely should not hire this candidate.

Want Help with Interviewing?

Work with RightStone to fill your hiring needs. Contact us today.


Happy Employees Are More Productive

 

As a manager, are you aware of the link between your employees’ happiness and their productivity levels? Studies show that happy employees work harder, collaborate better, and accomplish more in less time than unhappy employees. As a result, you should do what you can to encourage high levels of happiness among your team.

Learn how employee happiness levels impact productivity and what you can do to increase both.


Elevated Performance

The University of Warwick conducted a study where participants were given either 10-minute comedy videos to watch or drinks and snacks to consume to help them feel happy. The control group received nothing. The participants then were given tasks to complete.

The results of the study showed that the happier participants were 12% more productive than the control group. The participants who increased their happiness levels before completing the tasks performed at a higher, more accurate level than the participants who did not.

These results demonstrate that having a positive frame of mind elevates work performance. Happier employees are more likely to show up each day and give their best efforts. They also are less likely to experience high levels of stress or burnout.

Increased Efficiency

The University of Oxford conducted a study that tracked call-to-sale conversions, attendance, and customer satisfaction for call center employees at a British multinational telecommunications firm over a 6-month period. The employees self-reported their level of happiness each week.

The results showed that the happy employees were proven to be 13% more productive than the unhappy employees. The happy employees worked faster, made more call-to-sale conversions per hour worked, and more closely adhered to their workflow schedule than the unhappy employees.

These results demonstrate that employees with a positive emotional state can finish more work in the same amount of time than employees with a negative emotional state. This means you should do what you can to promote happiness among your employees.

Steps to Increase Happiness

You can take action to increase the levels of happiness among your team members. For instance, model professional behavior at all times. The more you interact with others in a respectful manner, the more likely your team members are to follow your example. Also, provide fair compensation. Your team members deserve to be rewarded for their contributions and results. Additionally, give constructive feedback in real-time. Your team members need to know what they are doing well, which areas they need to do better in, and specific ways to improve their performance. Plus, acknowledge your team members’ accomplishments with bonuses, raises, and promotions. This motivates them to continue to perform their best and accomplish business goals.

Need to Increase Your Team’s Productivity?

Talk with RightStone about adding a member to your team. Get in touch today.


6 Ways to Attract Quality Applicants

 

Like many employers, you may have open positions with few applicants. Or, the applicants you have may not be qualified for the roles. Because you cannot have these jobs remain open, you need to alter your approach to the recruitment process to get better results.

Implement these six tips to attract higher-quality candidates to your job openings.


1. Build Your Employer Brand

Enhance your company’s reputation as a great place to work. For instance, use your careers page to show your mission, vision, and values. Include employee photos, videos, stories, and testimonials. Also, include information about your benefits and opportunities for growth. Additionally, encourage your team members to share their stories on employer review sites. Showing what it is like to work for you can increase interest in applying with your company.

2. Encourage Employee Referrals

Emphasize the importance of your team members referring people they know to your organization. The referrals are likely to fit with company culture, stay productive, and remain long-term with your company. Be sure you reward your employees whose referrals stay for a set time.

3. Recruit from Customized Job Boards

Post your openings on job boards other than the usual ones. You should get more qualified candidates that convert to hires at a higher rate. These sources may include industry-specific job boards, local or community message boards, university job boards, and Craigslist.

4. Increase Your Salaries

Candidates want to receive competitive compensation for their time and talents. This is why offering salaries on the higher end of the range is important. Include the job title, years of experience, skills, qualifications, geographic location, and other relevant information when researching an appropriate salary to offer.

5. Optimize Your Application Process

Your application process needs to be fast and transparent. This includes easy submission of cover letters and resumes through your company website, ongoing notifications of application status, and details of what the next step is. It also involves email reminders of job interviews, chatbots to answer questions, and quick responses to candidate messages.

6. Make Fast Hiring Decisions

Your hiring decisions need to be made as quickly as possible. Because the best talent typically is off the market within 10 days, you must let them know soon after an interview whether they are chosen to advance in the process or receive a job offer. As a result, you need to talk with your hiring team to gather feedback and compare candidates to determine which should advance or be asked to join your team.

Need Help Filling Your IT Roles?

Work with a recruiter from RightStone to source and hire for your hard-to-fill IT positions. Reach out to us today.


Set Your Team Up for Success in 2022

 

Setting team goals helps your employees feel more invested in reaching company objectives. Because your team members play a part in creating the goals, they are able to develop their skills as they work toward common objectives. Collaborating along the way, refining the action plan, attaining the goals, and celebrating successes promote engagement and a sense of accomplishment throughout the process.

Use the following guidelines to help your IT team set goals for 2022.

Tie Team Goals to Company Objectives

Meet with your supervisor to discuss what the business priorities and performance expectations are for your team. Use this information to align your team goals with what leadership wants to see happen over the next 12 months. This will serve as a foundation for the action plan your team creates.

Use the SMART Format

Create team goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-driven (SMART). The more specific your goals, the more focused your team’s efforts will be. This helps measure your progress and create actionable plans to increase the likelihood of success. Be sure you divide the bigger goals into smaller, more manageable milestones that your team can monitor. Also, provide the necessary resources, skill training, and deadlines to reach the milestones. This helps with productivity, efficiency, and time management.

Help Your Team as Needed

Consistently check-in to ensure your team members are fulfilling their responsibilities and meeting their milestones. This may involve scheduling regular one-on-one meetings to discuss the goals and address any questions or concerns. Be sure to find out where your team members are in reaching their milestones. Also, provide feedback, advice, and individual training as needed. Encourage your team members to hold themselves and each other accountable for getting everything done on time. Their actions affect the individual and collective success of the team.

Follow Up

When a deadline passes, talk with your team about whether they achieved their milestone or goal. If they did, point out how their individual efforts contributed to the success of the company. Also, talk about what worked well, what did not, and how it could be improved for next time. Celebrate your team’s successes through recognition during a meeting, a gift from the company, or a team lunch. Or, if your employees still are working to reach a goal, help them update the action plan, milestones, and deadlines. Encourage your team to continue moving forward in the process.

Plan Your IT Staffing Needs for 2022

Meet with a recruiter from RightStone to begin planning your IT staffing needs for the new year. Talk with us today.


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