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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.

 


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.


You Can’t Find the Right Candidate, Now What?

You’ve been on the hunt for the right person to fill a desperately needed role for months or even a year. Is the right person out there? If they are, why haven’t you found them yet? 

When you can’t find your next hire, you may wonder what to do next. Should you settle for someone competent but not quite right? Review all the candidates you passed on already? 

As HR experts, we know how difficult finding the perfect candidate can be. So, we’re here with some expert hiring advice. 

Take a Second Look at Your Job Posting 

You have been through all your applicants twice and still no luck. There’s a chance that the right candidate is out there, but they aren’t applying because your job description doesn’t speak to them. Or maybe, your list of requirements scares them off. 

If you can’t find anyone after a few months, it’s time to reevaluate your job posting. Do you have a certification that’s hard to find and nice to have but not required to do the job? Is there something in there you could provide to the right candidate once they come on board? 

What about the job description itself? Is it long, difficult to read, and full of unnecessary details? Again, you could be scaring them away. 

Talk to your leadership, HR, and your recruiters to figure out what can change to help you attract the right candidate. 

Evaluate the Competition 

The IT skills shortage is now almost a way of life, but there are some companies that seem to win the right candidates every time. If you’re not one of them, it’s time to ask why because the answer isn’t always about money. 

If you have an in-demand position, figure out what your competition offers. You don’t always need to match it or beat it, but it will show you how to make your post stand out to the candidate’s recruiters are fighting over. 

Tip: Millennial and Gen Z candidates are more concerned about culture than salary. Many employers make their companies look like great places to work in their job listings. Does your post make your company an attractive place to work?  

Consider Upskilling Your Current Staff 

Why go through the hiring process every time you need a new skill when you could develop value within your existing team? If you need hard skills but can’t seem to find a cultural fit, then this is a great time to pick out and develop a qualified internal candidate. 

Finding the right candidate is never easy, but the IT skills shortage and the deep pockets of the competition can make it that much harder. That’s why it’s important to have great allies. Get in touch to learn how RightStone can help you find your next best employee. 


Upskill Your Workforce and Bridge the Skills Gap

Finding new candidates who have highly sought after skills is challenging. Competing for them is even tougher. But you don’t need to join the pile and wrestle your competition for every single new candidate. Instead, you can bridge the skills gap by upskilling your employees. 

 Upskilling allows you to train your current team in these in-demand skills while keeping them in the same role. 

You Can’t Hire Your Way Out of the Skills Gap 

One reason upskilling (and reskilling) is so important is because it’s physically impossible to hire your way out of the skills shortage. The problem is too vast, and in-demand skills change too rapidly to ever keep up. One statistic says only 20% of today’s workforce has the skills needed for 60% of the jobs that will arrive over the next five to ten years. 

What’s more, hiring for technical skills won’t necessarily work. You can teach or pay for upskilling in cybersecurity or engineering.  But finding those candidates doesn’t mean that they’ll also offer essential soft skills, like communication and creative thinking. And those things can be much harder to teach. 

Upskilling Contributes to Professional Development 

Surveys suggest that employees are already upskilling, but they’re doing it on their own time and without support from their employer. You might think that’s good news, but it’s not. 

Employers who don’t offer the kind of professional development that keeps teams learning, growing, and preparing for the future find themselves with unengaged employees.  

Employee engagement is critical for your business’ success, but as many as 70% of employees aren’t engaged at work. Disengaged employees are less likely to be invested in their work, and when they do upskill, they’re more likely to take all their handy new skills to your competitor. 

By actively pursuing upskilling programs, you’re making your current employees more valuable to your company and you’re making them feel more valuable. You’ll see that value quickly: companies with engaged employees have revenues that are 2.5x those companies with low engagement levels. 

The Best Time to Upskill is Now 

Upskilling your employees will help you bridge the technology skill shortage and make you more competitive. Not only does the practice address the root of the problem, but it’s also a valuable investment in your company’s biggest assets: your workers. 

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start thinking about your plan for upskilling to complement your hiring practices. 

Are you looking for the right expertise for your team? Ready to add new skills? Want to know how we find and place skilled candidates with the clients who need them? Get in touch to learn how our RightStone 360 program can help you do all of the above. 

 


5 Recruiting Tactics That Will Help Attract Top Talent

The rapid pace of development currently being experienced within the IT industry means there is more competition than ever — not only to innovate more advanced tech, but also to recruit the most talented engineers. In order to remain ahead of the curve, it’s crucial that IT companies implement the most effective and up-to-date tactics into their recruitment methods. The pace of change within the industry, however, can make it difficult to stay updated on the current best practices for finding talented candidates.

We’re here to help by providing you with five recruiting tactics that are sure to help your company attract top-talent IT professionals:

1. Be Clear About Mission Statements and Goals: It’s important for applicants to have a sense of the guiding purpose(s) that are driving your company, and how they would specifically fit within that scheme. Increase the chances of having talented candidates apply for open positions in your company by being clear in job descriptions about the mission statement that would define their role, and how that would fit into the larger context of their department and the organization.

2. Let Them Know About All Perks and Benefits: The more perks you’re able to offer, and the more clearly, you’re able to describe them in job posts and during the interview process, the more likely you’ll be to attract talented IT professionals.

3. Sell Your Company’s Scalability: Talented IT job candidates will seek employers who are able to offer opportunities for growth and advancement. When setting out to find new talent for an open position, it’s important to communicate to applicants exactly how they’ll be able to climb the ladder of success within the company. These details will vary from role to role, so it will be necessary to speak with team leaders before you advertise these opportunities in job posts.

4. Streamline Your Recruitment Process: Talented engineers in today’s IT industry are highly valued commodities, so the sooner you can secure a new hire, the better. This means it’s important to streamline each step of the recruitment process as much as possible — including establishing communication, reviewing their background, interviewing, and eventually hiring them.

5. Incentivize Employees to Help With Sourcing: When it comes to finding talented engineers, your existing employees could be one of your strongest assets. By offering incentives (either financial or benefits-based) for employees to connect your recruiting team with talented job candidates, you’ll be ensuring that your team helps to provide you with IT professionals that are in their network and looking for new roles.

Do You Want to Find Top Talent?

At RightStone, we’re working with IT candidates and top employers to make connections that last. To learn more about how to get connected with top talent, we’re here to help.


5 Tech Trends That Are Helping HR

 

New technologies are reshaping every dimension of IT, and the industry’s recruitment practices are no exception. In 2019 and beyond, emerging digital tools like social media and predictive analytics are revolutionizing the ways in which HR departments are being connected to top-talent engineers.

Here are the five technology trends to be on the lookout for that are improving HR tactics in IT:

1. Social Media: Though social media platforms are nothing new to society at large, HR has been adopting novel uses for them that are changing the recruitment process. With the enormous reliance on social media demonstrated by younger employees entering into the workforce, more and more employers are advertising jobs and using these platforms to get connected with talented candidates.

2. Online Staffing Firms: Staffing firms are companies that specialize in connecting job candidates with employers in any industry. In the case of IT, staffing firms are an especially powerful asset to utilize during the recruitment process, because they have the skills and resources to dig deep through the candidate-pool to find talented engineers that would be easily overlooked by traditional HR methods.

3. Predictive Analytics: HR departments throughout the IT industry are implementing data analytics software into the recruitment process in order to quickly analyze candidates’ experience, qualifications, and the chances of their long-term success in a particular role.

4. Mobile Apps: There is a skyrocketing reliance on smartphones for candidates who are searching for jobs and submitting applications. In response to this, an increasing number of companies are developing their own mobile apps which candidates can use to more easily submit applications and receive a personalized response from HR.

5. Cloud Tracking Systems: The sheer number of applications and employee data is often too much for any single HR department to keep organized. Thankfully, cloud-based applicant tracking systems are a powerful tool for recruiters to keep large quantities of applicant data digitally organized, accessible, and updated.

Ready to Staff Up?

At RightStone, we’re implementing these new and exciting technological tools in order to help companies reshape their recruitment practices. If you’re ready to begin modernizing your tactics for connecting with top talent, drop us a line.


Offering Remote Work Opportunities Could Allow You to Hire Better Talent

 

Employees often have several deciding factors when weighing their decision about accepting a new position – salary, benefits and commute all rank pretty high on most candidate’s list of priorities. Another factor that’s rising in the ranks of important perks is flexibility. Employees are now more than ever attached to their phones and laptops outside of the office, meaning the boundaries between work and personal lives are often blurred. Having a work-life balance that supports the ability to take time off when needed or work outside the office can be seen as big benefits to potential employees.

Remote work has grown exponentially over the last decade, and more employees are expecting some work-from-home opportunities or flextime in their positions. Offering the option to work remotely either part or all the time is an attractive benefit that could draw in more candidates. This kind of flexibility is also linked to higher productivity and greater employee loyalty. Employers often think they need to have employees in the office to get the most work done or they risk employees slacking off; however, many people thrive when given autonomy, and the tools of today’s workforce mean collaboration is still possible even when teams are geographically dispersed.

Allowing remote workers also means that you grow your talent pool by removing geographic boundaries – if you allow people to work from anywhere, you won’t be limited to only the best talent in your area, but you’ll be open to the best talent from anywhere.

The beauty of the tech industry is the infrastructure and programs exist to help support a remote workforce. Help desk employees can work off-site and use technology that allows them to access a server or desktop remotely, programmers can code at home and cloud-based technology allows many employees – IT or otherwise – to manage their files and workload from places other than at a desk full time.

Hire The Top Talent Today!

If you’re looking to hire the best talent for your company – in-office or remote – contact us today.


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