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Hiring can sometimes be a nightmare. You need someone to fill a position quickly, but you’re not sure where to look, or you don’t have time to take care of it on top of all the other things you have to do. There are lots of companies dedicated to servicing this issue, but weeding out the good ones from the bad can be almost as confusing as actually hiring for the job you’re looking for. This week, we’re here to help you make the distinction a little more painlessly. Here are four qualities of a successful staffing agency:


A Good Curated Network

A good recruiter knows that their strength only extends as far as their contact list will allow it to. Any respectable staffing agency will place the highest emphasis on making sure their candidate pool stays “free of leaves” and will screen their candidates extensively before adding them to their database. Bear in mind that a great network only stays “great” if it’s updated constantly. Look for companies that maintain a strong presence within the professional community and seemed to be as engaged now as they were 5-10 years ago. Otherwise, you may end up with a list of people who were fantastic prospects – a decade ago.


Regional Knowledge

Before you get too excited about the size of a company’s database, make sure that they actually have a strongly established network for the region you’re hiring in. If they claim to hire all across Canada, press them about the areas that they say they have the strongest presence in. If yours is one that they’re still “developing”, then it might be best to find another agency.


Industry Know-How

So the agency has a solid network in your area and a strong commitment to keeping it that way. Seems like a great time to jump on board with them, right? Well, not so fast. Before you decide whether a company is right for you, make sure that they’ve actually got experience hiring for the field and the type of position you need. A recruiting organization dedicated to helping young professionals might not be the best place to find new senior management; likewise, a staffing firm with a history of helping marketing/sales professionals probably isn’t going to have the right structure to help you find a new mobile app developer. Do some research on the companies you’re considering and observe whether they’ve hired successfully for the areas you need. Meet with them and ask them questions about the industry and see how comfortable they are with the subject matter.


They Communicate & Ask Questions

When sitting in a meeting with a representative from the agency, there should be plenty of questions being asked from both parties. If you’re the only one who seems curious, then that should be a big red flag. Hiring can be a complicated process, and every company has very different ideas about what the ideal employee will be. A good recruiting organization will maintain a constant dialogue with you to make sure that they know exactly what you’re looking for. This an on-going process, since new questions can come up on almost a daily basis. For example, if someone has a great personality and all the skills required but only has 4 years of experience instead of 5, should they be considered for the role? Regular follow-up is key in ensuring that stellar candidates don’t slip through the cracks in those kinds of situations.

Staffing is already hard enough without creating another headache by wrestling with ineffective recruitment agencies. Bad hiring can cost an organization thousands in a very short amount of time, so focus on finding the one with the right connections, location, knowledge and engagement before you fork over any of your hard earned cash.


L. Wang | Contributing Writer

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“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” One can understand the importance of teamwork from the above quote by Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company. Without proper teamwork and cooperation between individuals, it is difficult for organizations to succeed in their business ventures. Let us have a closer look at more components of working in teams.


Business Goals


Organizations must achieve their targets and generate revenues so employees have to finish their tasks within the desired timeline. By working together as a team employees can share their ideas and finish the required work efficiently and quickly. In addition, individuals can help one another and correct each others’ mistakes instantly through teamwork.


Competitiveness


When working as a team, there is always fierce competition among employees to outperform each other. This is mutually beneficial for employees and the organization. Moreover, teamwork brings in a sense of urgency to complete tasks.


Improving Cooperation


Employees can understand their strengths and weaknesses better and improve their cooperation levels by working together. Having better relations increases the bonding between employees and that makes them perform their work diligently. Every member in the team can support other and it brings out the best in everyone.


Scope for Specialization


Exhibiting strong teamwork at the workplace enables managers to delegate job responsibilities more easily. The quality of work increases by dividing tasks among staff members with specialized skills and interests. Hence, organizations can accomplish their set goals and make more profits.


Positive Corporate Culture


Working in teams motivates employees to work harder and smarter in order to get the respect of others. It develops positive workplace culture and earns brand recognition from customers and the public.


Skill Development


Individuals can learn new things and develop themselves through teamwork. Seeing other members with different skill-sets can improve everyone on the team to acquire the same skills.  It results in the overall well-being of the organization and personal development of all.


Sharing Workload


Forming teams and working towards a common goal is a good way to share the workload among employees. It builds a strong support network within the organization. Delegation of responsibilities to the right people will ensure it’s of high-quality.


Great Learning Experience


It is always fascinating to know about new things and teamwork provides the perfect opportunity for that. Working together with people from different skills and backgrounds is a great learning experience for staff members.


Hence, organizations should encourage teamwork at the workplace as it strengthens bonding between workers. Employees will feel motivated to finish their tasks and contribute to the overall success of the organization.


Magesh | Contributing Writer

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If you ask someone in the workforce what job satisfaction means to them, you’ll often hear it defined by a variety of factors, including culture, pay, vacation time, and room for growth; in this instance, we will be focusing on the latter.  Nobody wants to feel like they aren’t able to move up in an organization.  It makes you feel unappreciated and can quickly result in you becoming disgruntled and disengaged.  What many don’t understand is that advancement has to do with a lot more than just being good at your job and that opportunities often exist but you have to proactively seek them out.  Today, we outline some of the best ways for you to seize the opportunities available in your company.


Define your own expertise


The type of work you take on, and the way in which you present yourself, will decide how others see you and your role.  Take some time to reflect on areas where you have the most passion/knowledge for and learn to see yourself as a professional with respect to that particular expertise.  If you grow to see yourself as a marketing expert, for example, and constantly describe yourself and take on work in that capacity, then others will grow to view you in that light as well.


Don’t allow yourself to flounder in a role where you are merely performing up to standard.  Find ways to acquire work or assignments that allow you to take full advantage of your greatest strengths and really allow you to showcase your unique value as an employee.


Seek high profile projects that allow management to notice your strengths


A good work ethic is a useful characteristic to have, but it won’t do much for your career if it isn’t directed towards something that the company is paying attention to.  Talk to management and co-workers about important projects coming up, and express your interest in contributing; however, to build the necessary trust between you and the company, you will first need to…


Study your workplace culture


Not all success can be attributed to the quality of your work or the depth of your expertise.  Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of whether people like working with you or not.  Keep an eye on common informal practices and expectations outside of your regular duties.


Network within the company


Very rarely do we accomplish anything completely on our own.  At some point, we all need someone to help open a door for us to walk through, and with that in mind, it is important to cultivate a list of allies at your workplace.  These are individuals who will go to bat for you when it counts and who will vouch for your ability to perform and support your desire to be given more important tasks.  They can also be people to whom you can express a desire to take on new roles.  Your allies will inevitably be a diverse set, running the gamut from co-workers to superiors.


Acquire additional training


Working on more important assignments may require you to learn new skills or expand your current knowledge set.  Take time to acquire new certifications that are relevant to your desired role and inquire about training programs offered by the company.


Landing your dream role or moving into a desirable management/executive position is all about being active.  Promotion tends not to happen if you wait around passively for someone to recognize your hard work.  By actively seeking out ways to make yourself visible to the higher-ups, you create opportunities for your career to keep growing and evolving.


Lance | Contributing Writer

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Is the traditional 9-to-5 workday obsolete? Many would say so. There seems to be a consensus among both employers and employees that a shift needs to be made in how the traditional workday is structured. The present-day model doesn’t really promote a healthy work-life balance or stimulate productivity. Too much of a routine can be dangerous. Longer, more rigid hours don’t always equal more work being done. Employees may be coming in for 40-hour weeks, but if they aren’t using that time wisely, then businesses actually lose out in the long run.


The History of the 9-to-5 Workday 

The idea of working from 9 to 5 is a product of socialism during the 19th century. It wasn’t until 1890 that the U.S. government started to track workers’ hours. Up until that point, employees could work up to 100 hours a week and there were no laws protecting children. In 1926, Ford Motors was one of the first companies to adapt the 9-to-5 model and helped to make it more mainstream. In 1938, the U.S. congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which made the workweek 44 hours. In 1940, it was readjusted to the five-day, 40-hour workweek that remains the basic standard today.


The Mindset of Millennials and Entrepreneurs

A 9-to-5 simply isn’t for everyone. If you feel trapped easily, especially sitting in a cubicle, dislike routine and/or mundane tasks, and have a problem with authority, then maybe a job in a more creative setting, or of an entrepreneurial nature, would suit you better. At the top of the list, millennials seem to feel the most dissatisfied with the traditional workday structure, placing greater importance on factors like flexibility, impactful or purposeful labour, and economic security. They’re also more willing to seek employment on their own terms and work freelance.


Structured Benefits

The 9-to-5 model does, however, have some major benefits. While some find the routine repetitive, others may find the predictability comforting. Stability and financial security are two of the main reasons many people in years past stayed at the same job for decades. A 9-to-5 job gives people a set schedule they can plan around, as opposed to shift work, where employees don’t always know what their upcoming schedule will look like from one week to the next.


The Possibility of a 4-Day Workweek

One alternative suggestion that’s been gathering support in recent years is for a “compressed” four-day workweek. Employees would work four 10-hour shifts instead of five eight-hour shifts, with Friday becoming a third day of the weekend. Experts have argued for and against it; some say that it would motivate employees to work harder, doesn’t disturb workflow, cuts down on time-consuming commutes (which in turn reduces workers’ spending on gas or transit), eases burnout risks, and promotes other activities. The counterarguments to the new working pattern are that longer standard workdays would be more draining and stressful, and a revamped workweek would potentially affect working parents, who have to deal with things like daycare services.


Our lives are much more than just our jobs. “Work to live, don’t live to work” is a common mantra. The 9-to-5 model may have worked in decades past, but times are changing. Our world is constantly evolving, and so is society. Thanks to recent advances in technology, many businesses can run from a home or out of a remote location. The traditional ways that most workplaces have run are quickly becoming a thing of the past, as the workweek becomes increasingly fluid.


At the end of the day, however, work schedules hardly matter if you have purpose in your life. Regardless of the time of day or week, the hours will fly by if you’re doing something you enjoy.


Rhea Braganza | Contributing Writer

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Have you ever questioned the fairness of your management practices? An obvious gauge of how you’re doing is your relationship with your staff and how often you’re the subject of HR interventions. But some bosses get away with unfairness without a word, often because employees are intimidated or fear for their jobs. For all those in a managerial role, here are some unfair practices that you need to identify and cease (listed in order of severity).


Illegal practices


That’s right, illegal practices – because discrimination, harassment and the denial of employees’ rights are against workplace fairness and equity legislation.


Have you ever limited, segregated, classified or deprived staff of opportunities “based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and pardoned conviction”? Have you been directing any intentionally offensive and improper conduct toward an employee? Have you withheld from your workers any of their legal entitlements including a fair wage and public holiday pay?


If you’ve engaged in any of these unfair practices, you may have broken the law. You’ll be required to give an account when one of your employees takes union or legal action.


Unprofessional practices


A tier below criminally unfair managerial behaviours are those that are unprofessional and inappropriate. Managers can be unfair in the way that they display nepotism or favouritism. Getting along with some staff better than others is only natural, but a line is crossed when managers recruit, promote or give preference to less qualified employees based on the fact that they are related, have a personal friendship or share a common affinity.


Other inappropriate practices include taking credit for an employee’s work, unjustified exclusion from important projects or meetings, and denying well-deserved promotions or raises without explanation. Managers can also demoralize employees by publicly shaming or teasing them. All of these damaging behaviours can lead to staff lodging grievances to your organization.


Unhelpful practices


The third category of unfair behaviours includes those that are simply unhelpful and unpleasant. Each person has different personality traits and cultural influences, as well as insecurities, sensitivities and varying levels of social/emotional intelligence. People can rub each other the wrong way and have different ideas of what behaviour is acceptable in the workplace.


A manager can think that it’s okay, even motivating, to treat employees with excessive criticism, sarcasm, ostracism or (subtle) aggression. Other managers can unintentionally exhibit hostility or unreasonableness under the pressure of job stress or dramas in their personal life, though this isn’t an excuse. If you’ve knowingly or unknowingly treated your employees to these kinds of behaviours, cut it out, up your professional game and resolve to be a fairer manager.


J. Paik | Contributing Writer

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How you finance your business can become the difference between profit and loss. In a recession-plagued environment, it makes sense to tap into different funding sources for your business. This may sound like a hassle, but such a strategy will greatly reduce the company’s cost of capital and save it from bankruptcy. Here are some sound methods through which a business can raise capital:


Think About Factoring. Raise quick money by selling your receivables at a discount. The invoices can be for anything, right from manufactured goods to medical services. Some banks have factoring divisions. You can also Google search private factoring firms. However, this is an expensive way of raising money as factoring firms typically charge a fee that’s a percentage of the total loan amount.


Apply For Bank Loans. Though lending standards are more strict now, bank loans are the safest and most secure way to raise funds. On the other end of the spectrum are credit card loans. The writer agrees this is a dangerous route as a default would pull the curtains on the business. However, it’s quick money and when managed properly, can help the business tide over an immediate cash crunch.


Use Microloans. If you don’t have a credit history or collateral, apply for a microloan. This is a small business loan ranging from $500 to $35,000. Micro lenders also require less documentation than banks and often apply a more flexible underwriting criteria. The only hitch is they usually charge higher interest rates than traditional banks.


Launch Crowdfunding. In recent years, crowdfunding has become an effective way to raise finances at a low cost. You set a target amount to be raised over a period of time, then your friends, family, and even strangers pledge money for your cause. Crowdfunding is, however, not meant for the long-term. People who use crowdfunding websites, like Kickstarter or GoFundMe, usually aim to raise money for one-off projects.


Seek Out Angel Investors. When pitching to angel investors, follow these rules: Avoid jargon, present a sound business plan, have an exit strategy, hire experienced people, and display your expertise in the field. Angel investors usually invest at the early stage of the company in exchange for a 20-25% return. Many prominent companies like Google and Costco had angel investors. Even if you don’t hear back from a potential investor, fret not. Keep in touch as they may become interested at a later stage.


File For A Grant. Research-based businesses may apply for government or private grants. The winners are expected to meet the government’s R&D goals and also have huge potential for commercialization.


Raise Money From Kith & Kin. When starting a new enterprise, it’s natural to approach your family and friends for small loans. Ensure to supply them with a formal financial projection and when your loved ones can hope to receive their money back. Remember to make the terms (equity investment or a loan) clear. Most important, emphasize the risk involved so that your family members can make informed decisions.


Nithya | Contributing Writer

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There is a lot of competition in the workforce, not just in finding a job but also for attaining a higher position or raise. Being a good worker is not enough, as most employees in a company are. Great employees possess special characteristics that differentiate them from the rest. They do things differently and take advantage of opportunities that are presented to them. The following are some of the traits a great employee should have:


Takes action. Waiting for instructions and only doing what is require is what an average worker does. A great employee will go further, even if it is risky. They go the extra mile to make a difference and they are the ones who take on the tough tasks others are not willing to do.


Passion. They love their job and are enthusiastic about it. They go to work not just for a pay check or promotion, but for the satisfaction of what they do.


Ambition. Career success is one of their main goals. Employee’s ambition is what helps a company succeed. They create new ideas and are always looking for new ways to make procedures more effective and efficient.


Autonomy. The ability to work without supervision is key for effectiveness. A manager needs to work with people that will not require too much hand-holding or supervision. Employees who understand instructions quickly and are able to help others do so are an asset for any company.


Energy. People with good energy and a positive attitude are not just more productive, they also help make the work environment more enjoyable. Having someone on the team that is always positive and enthusiastic helps others do their job better and contributes to a better workday.


Reliability. This is one of the most important aspects, as having someone you can trust and depend on is key for success. It’s imperative for a great employee to be dependable. Supervisors will be able to trust that any job given to this particular employee will be done on time and accurately. This is a person anyone can trust, and a true asset to the business.


Knowledge. They know their job and the company well. They know how to excel and understand how to best meet company goals. Understanding the company’s mission is important for them and knowing their supervisor or manager’s leadership and work style is key to their success.


Being a great employee takes time and dedication. Feeling appreciated and recognized also helps motivate workers to keep doing their best. If you are a company owner or manager, make sure to focus on these characteristics in your employees because even if they like their job, feeling undervalued will shadow all of their efforts and negatively affect their performance.


Viviana | Contributing Writer

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Finding the right employee can be difficult in even the best of circumstances. Poorly thought out search criteria can make the job that much harder by making it difficult to determine who the best available candidate is. Whenever you’re looking to fill a position, consider the following before you make a hiring decision.


DEFINE JOB REQUIREMENTS OR QUALIFICATIONS


Be careful that your job requirements aren’t exclusionary or discriminatory towards other cultures or religions. For example, a rule that your employees must be clean-shaven. This would prevent you from hiring someone from the Sikh community even if you did not intend for it to do so.


To avoid issues with discrimination, be proactive about designing job requirements in such a way that only the absolute essentials are included: things that are required to do the job. This will ensure that your requirements fall under “bona fide” or government approved territory, and will protect you from lawsuits and unflattering publicity.


PREPARE A DETAILED JOB DESCRIPTION


A good job description will communicate the role’s responsibilities as clearly as possible to job seekers. It also allows them to get a better understanding of what their most important duties will be, and how they will be asked to prioritize. Ideally, the job description should also establish how the goals of the position contribute to the overall mission of the company.


A clear, detailed, well-written job description is not only useful for discouraging applications from less qualified applicants, but it can also help hiring managers better identify who has the most desirable characteristics for the job. For example, companies can learn more about where an employee might need more training by gauging their attributes against the job requirements.


TAILOR YOUR INTERVIEW QUESTIONS


Avoid using the same tired old questions and instead draft specific questions based on the most important criteria outlined in your job description. You want to leave the interview with a good idea about how well the candidate will perform in the role and whether they will be a good cultural fit for your organization. You want to avoid using generic questions, so that they don’t just end up giving you the answers you want to hear.


ESTABLISH EMPLOYMENT TESTS


Thorough background checks will protect you and your company from litigation over negligent hiring or a “failure to warn” if the employee ends up doing something violent or controversial. You have a duty of care to your employees, which means you can be held accountable if you hire someone who harms or threatens them. Aside from running the standard criminal background checks, it’s always a good idea to conduct a Google search for their LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter accounts. By doing so, you may get some insight into what type of personality the candidates have and the kinds of associations they maintain. Some firms also utilize credit checks to better gauge how stable a person is in making important decisions.


Strong search criteria will allow you to quickly identify who has the most desirable traits by providing you with a system where the most important attributes are properly emphasized and the vetting process naturally requires the candidate to showcase the knowledge you need them to have. As your criteria becomes more and more well defined, the hiring process will become proportionately easier as well. Save yourself some work later by putting in the effort to develop the right criteria early.


Salman Allidina | Contributing Writer

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Known as an employee motivation strategy developed by psychologist Frederick Herzwig, job enrichment has been utilized by employers all over the world. It taps into people’s natural desire to succeed by helping them take advantage of their workflow. Its main focus is creating jobs with meaningful tasks, a range of diverse challenges and consistent feedback and communication between workers and supervisors. While it isn’t suitable for every businesses or every role, it can be a huge boon if used properly with the right people. Below, we outline some of the reasons why you might want to adopt a job enrichment process for your next role and why job enrichment matters.


Reduce boredom and increase engagement


Let’s face it, no matter how interesting it might be initially, performing the same duties day in and day out gets tiresome. Job enrichment allows a single role to take on extra dimensions and become less rote and mind numbing. Engaging work has a tendency to keep people interested, and a more focused workplace is always a plus.


Personal growth


Having a wider variety of responsibilities naturally requires the employee to expand their skill set. This is not only beneficial for the company, but for the individual as well, since it will give them real-world experience performing all sorts of tasks that they might not otherwise have been exposed to. These skills can be key to helping them advance their careers in the future. They will also feel more valued by a company that invests effort into developing in this way. This is especially true when they are offered constant feedback, so that they are constantly aware of what their strengths and weaknesses are. By allowing them to monitor their own progress, they will naturally take a greater interest in where their development is headed.


Increased autonomy


Micro management is bad for business, and job enrichment is a great way to allow workers to slowly develop their role into a more autonomous one. Employees function better when they’re given real responsibility and the freedom to overcome challenges in their own way. Likewise, companies can breathe easier knowing that their employees can handle multiple facets of the business without constant supervision. This enables them to focus their attention on the bigger picture rather than having to supervise every little action.


Be careful not to confuse job enrichment with increased workload. The idea is to attach more depth to a role by allowing the individual to develop on their own. That doesn’t necessarily mean just piling on extra things for someone to do. Also, keep in mind, there is no “one size fits all” with job enrichment. Some jobs and employees just aren’t built for it. There has to be a real desire to stretch the boundaries of a role on the part of both employer and employee for it work. It should never been forced on anyone – especially if the role is already particularly demanding. As long as you keep this in mind, job enrichment can do wonders for both the company and your next hire.


L. Wang | DBPC Blog

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There are many benefits to working from home or working remotely. You can worry less about commuting, conveniently make time for personal obligations and work within your own comfort zone. But, when distracted by this ideal, we tend to become unproductive. Working at home or working remotely requires commitment. Here are some tips to help you:


1. Get Dressed
No one has ever been excited to commute to their office in the morning, thus it’s a great feeling to think you can get out of bed, stay in your pj’s and work! But, this will make you feel lazy! Getting dressed greatly influences your mood. You do not have to go out of your way and put on a suit or some heels, but stay casual. Dress like you are ready to get work done.


2. Tune out Distractions
Being able to have a movie on in the background, browse social media or online shop are all tempting distractions you may indulge in, but set this aside for a break. Whether you’re in the office or not, maintain your work habits just as if it were a normal work day. Work as if an employer or employee were watching you.


3. Schedule Your Day
Have an outline for everything you need to get done. This is a form of self-discipline. Not everyone is suitable for an at home work day or remote job because they are not capable of working independently, but use this as a chance to be your own boss. Nonetheless, do not lose valuable work time.


4. Stay Connected with Your Team
This isn’t your opportunity to avoid your boss, difficult coworkers or colleagues. Remember that having a job and maintaining your career is all about how well you are able to work with others. Take the initiative to remain easily accessible with those you work with. You also do not want to miss out on any important updates or events that may affect your work. Have your email open and phone ready to answer.


5. Maintain Consistent Office Hours
Be determined to work a set amount of hours for each particular day. This way, you do not find yourself working too much or working too little. For instance, you could maintain your usual 9-5 work hours to help you do so. Keeping family and colleagues/clients informed about your work hours is also a good strategy to keep your work life and personal life separate.


L. Shabudin | DBPC Blog

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