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Tips to Be an Effective Listener for Your Contract Employees

 

Do you want to develop better relationships and improve productivity among your contract employees? Would you like to reduce misunderstandings and conflicts as well?

One of the best ways to accomplish these objectives is by actively listening. This involves consciously understanding the words your contract employees use and the message they provide. It also includes checking your understanding before replying.

Actively listening during conversations builds trust and credibility between you and your contract employees. The more you learn from these conversations, the more you can show you want to understand and support your contract employees.

Contract employees who feel listened to and respected typically perform their best. They also are likely to want to return to your company for future opportunities after the end of their contracts.

Implement these tips to more effectively listen to your contract employees.


Give the Speaker Your Complete Attention

Focus entirely on what your contract employee is saying.

  • Look at the person who is talking.
  • Pay attention to the speaker’s body language to determine how they may feel.
  • Mentally repeat the words you are hearing.
  • Focus on the words and emotions being shared.
  • Ignore the distractions around you.
  • Wait until the speaker is done to reply.

Display Proper Body Language

Show you are engaged in what the contract employee is discussing.

  • Maintain an open, interested posture.
  • Smile and use other expressions.
  • Nod and gesture when appropriate.
  • Include “yes,” “uh huh”, and other verbal comments.

Clarify Your Understanding

Reflect on what you believe your contract employee is telling you.

  • Paraphrase with “It sounds like you are saying…” or “What I am hearing is…” to ensure you understand the message.
  • Periodically sum up the speaker’s comments.
  • Ask questions to gather additional information.
  • Remain non-judgmental and patient.
  • Manage your emotions.

Reply Appropriately

Be open, honest, and candid with your response.

  • Take a moment to think before you speak.
  • Stay open-minded and patient as you consider different aspects of the situation.
  • Remain clear, empathetic, and respectful.
  • Be open to further discussion.

Looking for Contract IT Employees?

Contact RightStone to fill your contract IT staffing needs. Reach out today.


3 Tips for Getting Yourself Out of a Work Rut

 

If you have been in your job a while, you may be feeling stuck. You might feel like you follow the same routine and do the same things every day.

You may begin to feel like your work is disengaging and unfulfilling. This can lead to feelings of meaninglessness and unhappiness.

When you lack creativity and inspiration, you have no motivation to perform. This may lead to letting your work pile up and not caring whether it gets done on time.

If you are feeling this way, you need to find the energy to begin improving your circumstances. The sooner you start, the sooner you can feel better about yourself.

Implement these three tips to help find your way out of a work rut.


1. Identify the Cause

Think about what may be keeping you down. Perhaps you no longer feel challenged by your work. Or, you might not be able to move up within the organization.

Consider whether the source of your unhappiness is temporary or beyond your control. Determine whether there are steps you can take to make things better.

Focus on the parts of your job that bring you joy and the parts that bring you stress. Think about whether you still are in the role because you want to be or think you should be.

Determine whether your work relationships provide meaning and fulfillment. Uncover whether you remain in your job because you do not want to waste the time and effort already invested.

2. Make Small Changes

Make a list of the changes you can make to improve your situation. This may include establishing different habits or behaviors to bring the results you desire.

Choose one or two small modifications you can begin making now. You are more likely to be successful by focusing on incremental changes rather than modifying everything at once.

Implementing small modifications is easier to maintain than big modifications. The process of change typically seems less overwhelming when you break it down into manageable steps. This helps you quickly see results.

The faster you see your hard work pay off, the more inclined you will be to continue to change your habits and behaviors. Over time, this can create significant results. It also encourages you to implement other changes when the time is right.

3. Focus on Your Goals

Consider whether your job is helping you achieve your career goals. If so, you can use this as motivation to continue to make progress toward your objectives.

Having something tangible to work toward helps increase engagement. This can elevate your productivity as you move forward on your professional path.

Is It Time to Find a New Job?

If finding a new IT job would help you get out of a work rut, include RightStone in your search. Visit our job board today.


How to Follow Up During Different Stages of the Hiring Process

 

Following up during each stage of the hiring process can help you land the role you want. This helps you stand out from other candidates. It also lets you have an open and honest conversation about the opportunity.

Follow-up is something you can control about your job search. This helps motivate you to continue moving forward.

Implement these tips to follow up throughout the stages of the hiring process.


After Resume Submission

Reach out to the hiring manager to learn more about their needs, expectations, and timeline for hiring. Show authentic interest in the role in a proactive manner.

You may want to reach out to the manager through LinkedIn, social media, or email. For instance, share that you submitted your resume and would like to learn more about the opportunity and company. Ask whether the manager would tell you more about their experience there.

This can help you decide whether it makes sense to move forward or look elsewhere. It also can provide more information about how you can help the manager reach business goals. This helps you frame your answers to interview questions.

After a Phone Screen or Interview

Email a note of gratitude to the person you had a conversation with. This helps create a positive impression of you as a potential employee.

Highlight how your skills and experience can help the hiring manager solve their problems. Also, express interest in moving to the next step in the process.

If you do not hear back within 5 days, call the person you had a conversation with. You may be able to pick up on nonverbal cues that suggest hesitancy or concerns you can address. Continuing to follow up shows motivation to land the job.

After a Final Interview

Call the hiring manager if you do not hear from them by the given date. Ask what else they need to see from you to make a decision. Or, send a 30-second video reminding the manager why you are best equipped for the position.

Keep in mind that the top candidate may not accept the job offer. This means you still could secure the role.

Work with a Recruiter

Working with a recruiter from RightStone provides fast follow-up during every stage of the hiring process. Visit our job board today.


How to Highlight Contract Work on Your Resume

 

The inclusion of contract work on your resume helps show you have the education, skills, and experience needed to be successful in a role. This can help you stand out among all the other candidates.

Engagement in contract work demonstrates your ability to quickly adapt to new environments and begin producing. It also helps eliminate potential gaps between full-time jobs.

Follow these guidelines to include contract work on your resume.


Use a Reverse-Chronological Order

Begin listing your work experience with your most recent position first. For your contract work, include the name of the staffing firm, its location, the name of the company you worked at, your position title, and the duration of the contract. For each full-time job, list the name of the company, its location, your job title, and the duration of your employment. Then, work backward for the past 10 years.

Listing each position helps provide a cohesive picture of your work experience. It also helps hiring managers understand what your background is like.

Another option is to list your contract work by industry. You can organize your work under one heading, such as a staffing firm, to ensure continuity. This helps show the relevance of each position to the job you want.

In either case, clarify the staffing firm you worked for, the companies you worked at, and the contract positions you held. This shows that the staffing firm was your employer and you held multiple contract positions through them. Including the names of the companies you worked at can increase your authority in the industry.

Emphasize Your Accomplishments

Include your achievements for each contract position or job. This shows the value you added to each organization.

Use numbers to quantify your benefits for each employer. Show how you helped each company make or save money or increase efficiency. This indicates how you can provide value for your next employer.

Highlight Your Skills

Point out the skills you gained from each contract position or job. Be sure to review the job posting to determine which keywords and requirements to focus on. Include your skills that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. This helps your resume get past an applicant tracking system (ATS) and to a hiring manager.

Get Help with Your Job Search

Partnering with a recruiter from RightStone provides you with resume and interview coaching and other job search assistance. Get started by visiting our job board today.


When Coworkers Leave, How Do You Handle a Heavier Workload?

 

The loss of a teammate often means an increased workload for you. This can be a significant source of stress.

You may be asked to take on additional tasks and responsibilities. Due to an already heavy workload, the additional activities can seem endless.

Figuring out where to start can feel intimidating. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to plan your work and accomplish everything by the deadline.

Here are some strategies to handle the increased workload caused by the loss of a teammate.


Plan Your Work

Make a list of the tasks you want to accomplish for the week. Then, break down the list into the tasks you want to finish each day.

You may want to focus on the purpose of each task, the deadline, the desired results, the key performance indicators, and the potential challenges to determine which tasks to complete at a certain time. This helps provide clarity for the tasks, deliverables, and desired results. It also helps you understand your priorities and timelines.

Block out on your schedule the required amount of time to complete each task. Be sure to include time to take breaks and to handle unexpected events.

Prioritize Your Tasks

Determine which of your tasks are priorities and which are not. You may want to use an Eisenhower Matrix to separate your tasks into four categories: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and neither urgent nor important.

Your urgent and important tasks should be scheduled for completion right away. Your important but not urgent tasks should be scheduled for later. Delegate your urgent but not important tasks to a teammate. Eliminate your tasks that are not urgent or important.

Take Breaks

Walk away from your desk at regular intervals. This gives your brain time to rest and recuperate. It also helps your body stay energized and your mind focused.

Take a walk, meditate, stretch, listen to music, or read a book during your breaks. Be sure to eat healthy foods during your lunch hour. This helps maintain engagement and productivity and reduces feelings of stress.

Consider Finding a New Job

If you regularly find yourself with an increased workload, it may be time to find a new IT job. Be sure to involve RightStone in your search. Here is a link to our job board.


What Does It Take to Manage with Transparency?

 

As a manager, employee engagement is among your top priorities. When your team members are engaged in their work, they remain productive. This increases the likelihood that your employees will reach their goals.

One of the most effective ways to increase engagement is by managing with transparency. Some of the benefits include clear expectations, better project management, and shared accountability.

When your employees understand each other’s roles in projects, they tend to help more because they understand the shared impact of their actions. Because your team members know what needs to be accomplished, they can provide solutions and take ownership of the process.

The following strategies can help you manage with transparency.


Outline Projects and Goals

Communicate your team projects and their objectives. This helps your employees understand what their role is and what they should accomplish. Based on the situation, you may want to cover the topics by an individual conversation, email, or team meeting.

Share Financial Data

Depending on the circumstances, you may want to share budgetary information about a project your employees are working on. This may include the translation of funds allotted into the project timeframe. Your employees can structure their daily tasks to stay on track and complete the project within or under budget.

Encourage Teamwork

Promote open communication among your employees as they collaborate on projects. This helps them understand the status of the project and the reasons for their next actions. Open communication also helps your employees identify and fix problems before they impact the course or cost of the project. Plus, it helps you and your employees understand the connection between tasks and the direction and progress of your team.

Provide Feedback

Let your employees know on a regular basis how they are performing. Include specific examples of what they are doing well and how they can improve. Provide the resources and support needed to implement the feedback. Your employees are likely to increase their efficiency and effectiveness when they receive honest input on their performance.

Get Help with Recruiting

Partner with RightStone to fill your IT recruitment needs. Get in touch today.


6 Ways to De-Stress at Work

 

Meetings, presentations, and deadlines are among the most common sources of stress at work. If left unchecked, your increasing stress level can lead to decreased engagement and productivity. This can result in anxiety, depression, and burnout.

These are reasons why you must learn to overcome stressful situations at work. The following strategies can help.

Choose among these six methods to decrease your stress level while at work.


1. Schedule Your Tasks

Take time each night to plan your tasks for the following day. Be sure to include your most challenging activities in the morning. You should feel rested and ready to produce during this time. Allow enough time between tasks for interruptions. Be sure to check off each task when it is completed. This helps you stay focused and complete what you need to do.

2. Organize Your Desk

Make sure everything on your desk is in its place. Keep out only what you are working on. Clear your workspace of everything else. Organize your files and documents so you can find the information you need when you need it. This saves time and reduces the stress of seeing everything else you need to work.

3. Listen to a Calming Sound

You may want to play soothing music or a quiet sound while you work. This might involve classical or instrumental music. Or, it might be the sound of waves, a campfire, or whales. Calming music or sounds help relieve tension.

4. Move Your Body

Establish a habit of walking and stretching throughout the day. This is especially important if your work involves a lot of sitting. Taking walks during your breaks and lunch hour helps clear your head and let the creativity flow. Stretching your arms and legs for 10 minutes three times a day helps you feel energized.

5. Eat at Regular Intervals

Consume healthy foods and drink water throughout the day. Your snacks may include a bowl of dry fruit, pretzels, or other non-perishable food. Regularly eating small amounts of food provides the fuel needed to work throughout the day. It also helps control your blood sugar level and mood.

6. Focus on Your Accomplishments

Pay attention to what you get done each day. This may include small steps toward the completion of a project or the attainment of a long-term goal. Emphasis on your achievements increases your confidence and helps you relax.

Find a New Job

If your efforts to de-stress do not work, it may be time to find a new IT job. Let RightStone help you find the one that best matches your goals and interests. Visit our job board today.


Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance

 

Work-life balance is your prioritization of the time and energy committed to your professional and personal responsibilities. How you divide your time depends on what best fits your needs on a given day.

Work-life balance typically does not mean an equal balance of your responsibilities. As your priorities change, how you balance your commitments typically changes as well.

Your ability to achieve the work-life balance that is right for you helps increase your motivation, engagement, and productivity. The better able you are to find a healthy balance between your professional and personal life, the happier and healthier you should be.

The maintenance of work-life balance is especially important if your work arrangement is remote or hybrid. It can be challenging to enforce set work hours when your teammates and manager are not present to encourage you not to work during the early morning or late-night hours. This is why you must enforce boundaries for your work hours. The rest of your time needs to be spent on yourself and your family members.

Implement these tips to better manage your work-life balance.


Limit Nonessential Activities

Maintain a schedule of your most productive tasks as much as possible. The prioritization of the tasks that need to be finished increases the odds that they get done when planned.

Spend a small amount of time on your less important activities. These typically include checking your personal email, browsing social media, and surfing the internet. You can make time for these activities during your non-work hours.

Learn to Say No

Turn down the projects and activities you do not have time for. This may include social requests such as coworker parties that you have little interest in.

If you agree to take on everything that is asked of you, you likely will begin to feel overwhelmed. Your increasing workload and social activities can take away time from your core responsibilities or the personal activities that mean the most. This can result in increased stress and decreased productivity.

When asked to take on additional work, check whether there is room for it in your schedule. If not, explain to your manager why you cannot help out. Be sure to thank them for considering you.

Manage Your Stress

Schedule time to participate in activities that reduce stress. This may include yoga, meditation, running, reading, or working out.

Participation in activities you enjoy helps take your mind off work. It also can improve your mood and health. The better you manage your stress, the more engaged and productive you likely will be.

Regularly eat healthy foods. This helps strengthen your immune system and reduce your blood pressure.

Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Your body needs time to mentally and physically rest. You should wake up energized and productive.

Find a New Job

If you need a new IT job that offers better work-life balance, let RightStone help with your search. Visit our job board 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.


Communication Strategies to Improve Team Collaboration

 

Effective communication and collaboration skills are important for your team. Your team members need to share, develop, and implement their ideas in order to solve problems and complete projects. This is why it is important for you to provide the appropriate tools and support to facilitate communication and collaboration among your team. The following examples can help reach this goal.

These four strategies can promote communication and collaboration among your IT team.


1. Provide an Agile Collaboration Tool

An agile collaboration tool facilitates team communication and incremental steps to finish projects. It lets your team members assign and prioritize tasks. This lets your team know what needs to done right away and what can wait. It also keeps them informed about individual and team objectives, due dates, and milestones. It also keeps your team on track and working toward the same goal.

Your team members can share information, see their progress, and determine whether there are any issues to resolve. They also can provide feedback and measure performance. Because the project is delivered in increments, there should be faster movement and more flexibility for planning and responding to change.

2. Use a Messaging Hub

A messaging hub collects your company’s digital messages and stores them in a cloud database. This includes emails, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone calls, Tweets, and more.

Your team can access the information from anywhere without having to streamline their operating systems or devices. They also can more easily navigate their emails to determine which messages to pay attention to and which messages can wait. Plus, your team can search for the information or files they need and determine whether multiple messages are related. This helps reduce information overload, especially when your team is remote or hybrid.

3. Encourage Instant Messaging

Your team can use instant messaging for casual conversations. This helps your team members get to know each other and find common interests. They can stay current on the latest events in others’ lives and share what is going on in their own life. These interactions promote trust, camaraderie, and cohesion. They also make it easier for your team to have serious or difficult conversations centered around work.

4. Set Limits for Your Meetings

Invite to your meetings only the team members who truly need to attend. Keep the number of topics on the agenda to a minimum as well. These actions help keep the conversation focused.

Encourage the attendees to collaborate on the agenda. This helps them understand their part in sharing relevant information or leading discussion topics. Hold the attendees accountable for delivering their materials or insights to keep the agenda moving forward. These actions help improve collaboration.

Want Help with Hiring?

RightStone can provide the skilled IT candidates you need to reach business goals. Find out more today.


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