How to not fall behind at work during the holiday season

November 22nd, 2013

Today kicks off the Thanksgiving holiday season.  By tomorrow, the workplace will resemble a ghost town of empty cubicles and locked office doors.  Here are some tips to help you and your employees keep up with productivity and avoid falling behind during the Thanksgiving holiday break.

Get a jump on the day. If possible, arrive an hour earlier or stay an hour later each day.  This ensures less distractions and allows you to catch up on your work a little at a time instead of cramming everything into one very long day.

Prioritize. Decide what is more of a pressing matter and make a list based on when each project should be completed.

Pitch in when needed.  After all, this is the season of giving.  If you have time, help a co-worker finish a pressing project.  This will help promote teamwork and breeds goodwill among employees.

Respect your co-workers. Remember, not everyone will celebrate the holiday season with the same vigor as you.

Relax and enjoy.  It’s easy to get frazzled over the holiday season. Remember to take it easy, and enjoy this special time of year.  Exercise is a great and healthy way to relieve stress.  You can also try breathing exercises to help you keep your cool.

Office etiquette during the holidays

November 1st, 2013

During the holiday season proper holiday etiquette questions continue to swirl in the workplace.  Here are some tips to help you keep from damaging important relationships in your professional life.

Gift buying for the office. In most cases, gifts are given from the top down.  Typically, most subordinates are gift recipients and are not required to reciprocate.  However, if you do decide to get in the giving spirit avoid buying anything of a personal nature.  Items such as a nose hair trimmer or undergarments is a big “no no.”

Client holiday cards and gift giving. This is a great time to strengthen your relationship with your customers and thank them for their business.  Remember to keep in mind cultural and religious differences.  Not everyone celebrates Christmas. Choose a happy holidays themed card that is a strong card stock.  Be sure to also include a handwritten note and avoid a laser printed message.  Consult a marketing and promotions company to help you select the right gift that sends the right message.

Holiday parties. Whether your holiday party is at or outside of the office, remember to be on your best behavior.  If the affair is black tie event wear a black suit, tuxedo or a conservative dress.  Avoid plunging necklines or a hem line that is too revealing.  If the party is after work, be sure to wear business attire.  It’s always a good idea to bring a bottle of wine or something edible for the host if the party is off site at someone’s home.  Keep an eye on your alcohol consumption.  This is not the time to “let loose” and let it all hang out.  Limit your alcohol to a minimum of two drinks.  Converse with other party attendants that you don’t know and be sure to also bring others into your conversation.  This means avoiding talking only about work.

I Love My Employer! 4 Steps to Building Loyalty Among Workers

September 18th, 2013

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Do you often wish that your employees loved you  – I mean really honestly loved you as an employer?

Wanting happy workers who actually love to come to work is somewhat of a lost art. Too few companies have this key element of success anymore. It’s probably because there are too many business owners who lose sight of this value and end up becoming aloof and hard to like by their employees. Company leaders can easily start to distance themselves from the very people who are their life-blood, and before it’s discovered, they are feared instead of revered by their staff. No one wants to work for a company like that, but it’s a sad truth in many cubicle farms.

Here’s how to break this cycle and build loyalty among workers for a more harmonious and productive workplace.

Change Employees’ View of Upper Management

At most companies, there is a general belief that employees at the very bottom of the corporate ladder are merely “peons” in compared to upper management. Those who are in lower level positions just assume they are not valued or appreciated. While these workers toil away all day, dealing with difficult clients and situations, the execs are out playing golf games and enjoying life as rich Lords. Your company does not have to be an ant colony! Instead, how about making your upper management get their hands dirty once in a while, but demonstrating an actual personal involvement in day-to-day activities in the workplace? This can help raise employee morale significantly and shows employees that they matter to you. Thus, the feeling will become mutual.

Respect and Honor the Abilities of Your Employees

Chances are, you hired the people in your office because they have certain qualities and skills that are desirable for the benefit of your corporate objectives, right? It’s very possible that within the walls of your corporate environment there are some rising stars who would like to get to know you. Take the time to visit with each department and talk with supervisors about employees who could use some more development. Provide mentorship opportunities and start to groom all employees through additional training and brainstorming sessions. When people are valued by their employer, they are less likely to leave the company and more likely to use their skills on the job.

Promote Employees from Within the Organization

Nothing burns existing employees up more than being overlooked for important assignments and promotions. When new opportunities present themselves, again talk with department leaders to find out who from within the organization may show an aptitude for new responsibilities, before searching outside the organization. Do an inventory of employees who possess specific skill sets and keep this handy for when a new role needs to be developed. Employees who know they may have a real chance to succeed at work are more often loyal to their current employer.

Discover the Power of Employee Recognition

Before you go getting all mooshy on me here, think corporate reward and recognition programs. At every opportunity, give positive feedback to your employees in the form of verbal praise and recognition in front of peers for a job well done. Hold contests and allow employees to excel at projects and then reward them with fun gift cards, and paid time off. Have an annual corporate event during which time you honor employees for their years of service to the company. In order to be loved by your employees, you must give praise as much as you can and as often as possible.

Want more tips for a better workplace and happier employees? Read the large listing of helpful articles found here, and please visit Rick Rice Report often!



Is Your Retention Strategy Working: What Are You Doing To Keep Your Employees ?

September 1st, 2013

Employee turnover can be a costly aspect of doing business. Money and time is spent in recruiting and training new employees. Employees can easily take what they learned from a company with them when they leave. Positions that are not filled add more work to employees left behind. There is lost productivity even in cases where new hires are made. Experienced employees that build a network of strong business relations may cause those vendors uncertainty if an employee leaves.

The loss of high-quality employees can have a ripple effect in costs to companies. It is important to develop effective strategies to maintain employees. What are you doing to maintain your best employees?

Successful employee retention can occur in two critical areas.

The first can be maintaining comfortable physical aspects of the work environment itself. This includes a proper office environment, a safe and ergonomic workplace, as well as properly maintained equipment on the work site. The second way to retain employees is to promote the development of workers, providing them the means to develop, learn, and improve skills as capable employees.

Abraham Maslow was a professor of psychology who presented his ‘hierarchy of needs’ showing what people required in their lives in order to be happy. The most basic levels showed what people required to meet their physical and security needs. In many ways, the same concept applies to employee satisfaction. A work environment that promotes satisfaction and productivity can do much to help morale. Workers need the proper equipment and tools to do their job. Having a safe place to park the car and to work in may seem superficial, but are important to employees. Comprehensive health benefits for workers and their families also go a long way in creating a happier workplace. Taking care of basic needs can go far with morale.

Another way to retain key employees is to offer programs to help them grow and develop. Training and education programs help improve the skills of workers.  This can range from tuition reimbursement programs to company leadership seminars.  Policies that encourage professional development help employees grow professionally. Workers may wish to transition these skills for the benefit of their employer.

Succession planning is another good way of retaining employees. A policy of hiring from within means employees know there are opportunities for advancement. Identifying key people to fill future roles helps continuity of policies and procedures of the company. Baby boomers are retiring in greater numbers. As more people in leadership positions retire, filling key roles will become more important.

Developing a framework for feedback from employees can help with a retention policy. Feeling part of the overall function can empower employees to have a feeling of involvement. Brainstorm meetings can be conducted with managers and employees. Cultivating responses from employees through consistent employee reviews can help with job satisfaction.

Come back soon for more Retention tips at The Rick Rice Report!

4 Tips to Make Your Team Meetings More Productive

July 15th, 2013

Productivity is a must in any business. Yet, for most business, the one thing that’s designed to help improve productivity and ensure that everyone knows his or her job to do within the business—the business meeting—seems to be some sort of black hole where productive people go to be…unproductive.

Whether you’re a fan of employee or team meetings or you loathe them with a vengeance, the truth is that they are effective tools for boosting morale and planning for success. However if your team meetings have been more “bust” than “boom” for your spirits lately, there are a few things you can do that will help you and the people attending your meetings, give more bang for your buck.

1)   Trim the fat from your meetings. Believe it or not, this will enhance productivity overall. Skip the items on your meeting agenda that could be handled with a team email or even a weekly “newsletter” and dive right into the meat and potatoes portion of the meeting. You can get more accomplished in less time if you’re not rehashing the highlights and only covering the pertinent points.

2)   Send out an agenda for the meeting ahead of time. This lets everyone know what the meeting is going to address, gives team members time to prepare any points they need to make (or progress reports that need to be provided). This is much more beneficial so that people aren’t spending the first half of the meeting reading over the agenda rather than participating in the discussion.

3)   Have fewer meetings. There is some truth to the statement that “less is more” especially when it comes to meetings. If you have too many meetings then it becomes a lesson in frustration for some employees. More importantly, they lose their value as motivational tools. Meetings become boring and uninspired and that’s the last thing you want employees to feel about meetings. Some people need a certain rhythm and flow in order to be productive and frequent meetings destroy that head space for them.

4)   Go for a change of scenery. Rather than adjourning to the same conference room, sitting around the same table, and ordering from the same takeout menus for each meeting, how about going for a change of scenery? Take your next meeting to a local restaurant or hotel conference room. If possible consider having an outdoor meeting/lunch at a state park or some other outdoor venue. It’s a chance to get out of the office while still taking care of business and this may be more welcomed by your staff than you expect.

Meetings do not have to be status quo in order to be productive. In fact, the most productive meetings are generally the ones that operate a little bit outside the box.

For more helpful tips on building a successful business, come back to The Rick Rice Report often for business updates and advice. Feel free to leave your comments below and follow us on Twitter!

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The Right Way to Hire: The Different Recruiting Approaches for a Salaried Position vs an Hourly Position

June 15th, 2013

Recruiting for a salaried position is far different from recruiting for an hourly position. In short, you are looking for two different types of people. In many instances, a business will determine if a position is hourly or salary long before the actual recruitment begins. However, whom you plan to hire plays a role in how you go about finding the ideal professional for the position. In both cases, you need someone that is going to do the job properly. There is more to think about from the other side of the coin, though.

Knowing the Advantages

In both situations, it is important to recruit professionals based on the features and benefits the position will hold for the employee. For example, with an hourly employee, your goals are going to be to show why this person should put in the hours. Consider recruiting based on the benefits of the job.

  • Flexible shifts
  • Potential for overtime (if this is the case)
  • Good schedules for those working secondary jobs.

On the other hand, when hiring for a salaried position, you may have additional benefits to offer that hourly employees do not get. More so, you may have more demands for these professionals since you are putting a big stake in them by hiring them for a full time, long term position.

  • Benefits such as retirement plans, health care plans, profit sharing
  • Outline the goal of hiring for the long term
  • Include information about additional compensation options such as bonuses or vehicles to drive

In short, you need to show the potential applicant what he or she is going to get for taking on the position you offer. Even if your hourly position is full time, because it is hourly, it is easy to see how their hours could be trimmed back down the road.

Know Who You Are Hiring

It is also important to consider the type of person you need to have in the position. If you need someone to work in the sales office, the importance of that position needs to be thought about. For example, if that professional will be one on one with employees, he or she needs to be compensated as such. Recruiting for these professionals needs to focus on delivering the best possible customer service. On the other hand, if this person will be a receptionist that you may need to send home to cut costs from time to time, the hourly position may be less vital and therefore you may want to hire someone with less experience and train them.

Know whom you are hiring and what you need them to do. Expect salaried positions to require more information, better benefits and a longer interviewing process. After all, you are investing more time and money into these people. Hourly employees, though, should be considered carefully. Look for these professionals on job boards whereas you will network and develop a larger net for most salaried positions. In all cases, you need to know what you can offer the employee and you need to present your opportunity clearly. That way, there is no confusion about whom you are hiring.

For more timely information on modern recruiting topics and career advice, come back to The Rick Rice Report or follow us on Twitter! We also welcome  your comments below.

Hiring and Retaining Top Performers

May 31st, 2013

Your 15 Minute Guide to Hiring and Retaining IT Talent in 2012 Not everyone can operate at the same performance levels. Studies show that top performing IT professionals are at least 20% more productive than their middle-of-the-road peers.

Learn how to hire and retain the talent that will help you improve productivity, increase employee retention and positively impact your bottom line.

It’s not too late to start planning, download this easy to read ebook here.

Private Benjamin’s for Hire: Companies Looking for Military Veterans for Job Opportunities

May 15th, 2013

Our military veterans have sacrificed a lot to serve our country. There are a many companies that want to show their appreciation for the sacrifices you have made by offering job opportunities exclusively for you.  They realize that you have unique skills, talents, and an overall integrity that they want in their organizations. In fact, the numbers are fairly significant with about 20 percent of employers planning to specifically recruit military veterans in the coming year.

The problem for veterans is that this still leaves a great deal of competition for a limited number of positions (if you’re only counting the positions that are specifically reserved or set aside as jobs for service men and women). Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to make your military experience translate into the average workplace.

Think about the jobs you’re applying for (customer service and sales are among the most widely available positions for military veterans) and find skills and experiences you have that will apply to these positions.

Don’t focus on your limitations or even inexperience. Instead, list all of the skills you learned, and used regularly, during your military service. You’ll be surprised at how similar many of the skills are to those you’ll use in customer service and sales.

Believe it or not, you have some of the most important traits employers look for in new hires in spades. The ability to work effectively in a team setting – critical in military service – is one of the most highly sought characteristics in employees today. Over 65 percent of hiring managers seek this kind of experience in employees. Discipline, ability to work under pressure, excellent communication skills, leadership, and problem solving skills are also skills that employers are looking for when hiring military veterans.

Never forget to point out specialized skills and talents you learned while serving your country. Advanced technology experience, computer training, construction experience, and countless other small and large duties you took for granted as part of your daily life in the military can make a huge difference in your attractiveness to potential employers.

Don’t forget that while you are a military veteran you’re also a “whole person” outside of your military skills and experience. You have skills, talents, and interests that have nothing at all to do with the military. Be sure to list these in order to present your “human” side to potential employers as well. They have certain expectations about your military abilities and mind set but it’s also great to stand out by presenting other aspects of your personality that will make you a good fit for the company culture too.

The transition from active duty military to average working “Joe” can be a little unsettling – especially if it’s been a while since you’ve had to deal with things like resumes and job applications in the past. However, when you include important details such as these, you’ll be an attractive proposition for most US employers.

Be sure to come back often to The Rick Rice Report for great career tips and guidance from expert Rick Rice. or follow us on Twitter! We also welcome  your comments below.

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Cracking the Personality Code – Tips for Assessing Your Candidates’ Personality

April 30th, 2013

Many companies are beginning to hire full-time employees once again after a rather lengthy hiring drought. The problem is that the world has evolved over the last five years and hiring practices must change along with it in order to get the right candidate for your staffing needs.

Use a Personality Assessment Test

One important thing employers are relying on more and more often in the hiring process is the personality assessment. A proper personality profile or code can tell you a lot about the people who are seeking employment within your organization. It can help you select the candidate that is most likely to stick around for the long haul and who is best suited for the corporate culture that is present in your company.

These tests will help you determine what kind of work environment a candidate is best suited for. It will help you identify strengths and weaknesses in the candidate’s character. It can also let you know how likely the candidate is to last behind a few initial months. All this information can be used to help you determine whether the candidate in question would be a good fit for the way you do business. It will also help you determine just how happy, and for how long, the candidate is likely to be working with your business structure.

Find out What the Candidate’s Ideal Employer Would be Like

Of course, you have to know your own business quite well in order to get anything of real value from this question. At the same time, if you do understand the culture within your organization is will provide great insight into whether you’re a match made in heaven or if the match may bring more misery to both the candidate and the company in the long run.

You must be able to get through to the real heart of what’s important to the candidate though in order to get a good picture of the type of work atmosphere he or she thrives in best and where he or she will be happiest. While you can’t guarantee that anyone you hire is going to retire from the company 30 years down the road, you can generally tell if he or she is likely to last the six-month probation period most companies have.

Find Out if the Candidate can do the Job

This is one that’s often missed by companies that have a dedicated HR staff that does all the hiring. They know their job. They handle the hiring and paperwork that goes along with it. They even know a few critical highlights or buzz words to look for in the interview.

The problem is that they aren’t generally technical people. This means that the technical intricacies of the job go over their heads to some degree. You need to have each candidate interviewed by someone who actually understands the technical aspects and requirements of the job. At least have this person sit in on the interview in order to help with the hiring decision.

Assessing the personalities of job candidates is about so much more than finding out if they have people skills or serious mental instabilities. It’s about determining how well the candidate is likely to thrive in the corporate culture so he or she can continue meeting the needs of the company (and remain happy while doing so) for many years to come.

For more helpful tips on recruiting the best candidates, come back to The Rick Rice Report often for business updates and advice. Feel free to leave your comments below and follow us on Twitter!

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Avoid Discrimination! How Recruiters are Combating the Problem of Discrimination Against Unemployed Candidates

March 30th, 2013

There are growing levels of discrimination for the unemployed. The agency, SmartRecruiters, published a survey noting that 82 percent of recruiters, human resources and hiring managers reported some level of discrimination against the unemployed. About half of them reported having to deal with it personally. Some stated they felt pressured to make decisions based on the candidate’s unemployment status.

CEO Jerome Tenynck of SmartRecruiters notes, “There is an unwritten rule that unemployed candidates just aren’t qualified. Our survey revealed that 55 percent of recruiters and HR managers have personally experienced resistance when presenting qualified yet unemployed candidates to clients or colleagues. Not only is this bad business, it’s also unfair and needs stop right now!”

What Can Be Done?

SmartRecruiters is trying to make a difference. To do so, it launched a campaign to raise awareness of the issue and to help end the discrimination. The Facebook campaign is titled, “Unemployed Please Apply.” Some recent ads indicate that those who are unemployed need not apply for the position. This is not illegal since unemployment is not a federally protected status like other factors such as religion and race. The US Department of Labor, though, is working to better understand this type of discrimination.

The United States Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis noted this response to the type of discrimination during an announcement about the agency working with Facebook’s Social Jobs Partnership. She noted, “I am very disturbed when I hear that employers don’t want to even look at resumes of people that have been out of work for six months or just are unemployed.” She continues, “It’s as though people have created this problem themselves, and that’s just not true.”

Why Is It Happening?

Why would employers no longer wish to hire those who have been out of work? There is some type of stigma attached to being unemployed that is so strong and yet it is completely unfounded. Many of those out of work are unemployed through no fault of their own. Rather, many have lost jobs due to downsizing or the shuttering of the business. This means they are often highly qualified professionals left without a job and, with this level of discrimination in place; it is even more difficult for these individuals to find the work they need.

SmartRecruiters is asking businesses to visit the Facebook page entitled, “Zero Unemployment Movement” in order to take part. The goal of the problem is to make a pledge to interview at least one unemployed candidate for every job opening they have. The goal is to help show that the unemployed are not necessarily unemployed without skill or the ability to do the job. It’s critical to understand that HR managers do have the ability to interview and empower these individuals to do get back on the job.

Be sure to come back often to The Rick Rice Report for great job search and career development tips and guidance from expert Rick Rice. or follow Rick on Twitter! We also welcome  your comments and questions below.

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