Swoon - Best in Staffing

Swooner of the Quarter – Q1

posted by Abby Glenn |

Introducing our Q1 – Swooner of the Quarter, Miranda Sullivan!

Swooner of the Quarter recognizes one of our team members for going above and beyond. Everyone in the company submits a nomination describing how they made the most impact.

Miranda Sullivan

Title: Human Resources Manager

Location: Chicago

Why She Was Nominated: Miranda was nominated by numerous individuals for Swooner of the Quarter – Q1 and rightfully so. She is constantly upbeat and is always willing to go the extra mile to help whoever needs it. She really goes above and beyond every day and wears a ton of hats. We are so lucky to have her at Swoon!

Quote from nomination: “I know she gets shout outs all the time, but they are always so well-deserved. When I think of someone who really goes above and beyond to get the job done, I immediately think of her. She is proactive and thorough in everything that she does, and if she doesn’t know the answer to something, she will go the extra mile to figure it out. She is someone I have consistently relied on – for a wide variety of things – and she always pulls through. She is a true asset.”

Onboarding New Remote Hires

posted by Abby Glenn |

Companies are still hiring but are now faced with a new challenge – onboarding new hires remotely. As employers, it’s important to set the groundwork for bonding, culture and expectations in order to be successful. Being that many of our clients are facing similar challenges, we wanted to share a few best practices that will set you new team members up for success.

Integrating New Hires

Starting your onboarding process before their start date ensures that your new hire will have everything that they need to hit the ground running. Some suggestions on items to send before their first day include:

  • Welcome email and team introduction
  • HR/company documents
  • All proper equipment/technology
  • The information they should know before their first day
  • Their onboarding schedule—this way they can be prepared for what their first week will entail
  • Company swag to feel a part of the team and get excited for their new role

Tech Should Be First Priority

Let’s take a minute and put ourselves in the position of the new hire. Starting a new job can be stressful enough without adding in the issue of not knowing how the various software platforms and communication channels work. We find that sending new hires their equipment and online tutorials/manuals before their first day helps them to feel prepared and eases any unnecessary stress. You’ll want to make sure that you have a follow up IT training scheduled for the first or second day. That way, any questions that your new hires have after watching the tutorials or reading the manual can be answered right away.

Things to cover during your IT training could include:

  • Company email
  • Group messaging tool
  • Video communication software
  • File-sharing applications (Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, etc.)
  • Computer and email security applications

Demonstrating Culture

We know this can be a challenging thing to do through an online platform. But, taking the time to show your company’s culture can really add value to the new hire’s first week. Through video calls, you can accurately demonstrate your company’s culture while offering a way for everyone to feel included in their first week. It also allows you to introduce them to higher-level executives, either through a video conference call or a prerecorded video. Some video topic ideas to show your company culture can include:

  • Welcome video or video call from your CEO or President and other team members
  • Your culture, organizational values and mission, the history of the organization, etc.
  • Inspirational messages from a member of your leadership team
  • Retreat, event, volunteering, etc. footage from before everyone was social distancing

Setting Expectations

When working remotely and bringing on new employees, managers should be prepared to set specific goals and expectations early on. You don’t want them to have to wait for their manager or team lead to get online to learn what their next tasks are for that day. This wastes time and may cause unnecessary stress. You’ll want to make sure that your hiring managers:

  • Develop and share a task calendar with their new hires after their training and onboarding sessions are complete
  • Define short-term and long-term goals
  • Schedule weekly one-on-one meetings to discuss upcoming projects, progress, resolve any issues they are facing, and overall just check in with how things are going

Introducing Team Members and Key Employees

We all know that starting a remote role can leave some feeling isolated and even left out from the team. They haven’t had the chance to connect with the team and doing so online can prove to be very challenging. But, building relationships is well worth the effort! Set up one-on-one meetings and/or a group call so employees can meet the people they will be working with. Not only does this open a path for communication, but it also allows them to feel included within their team. Try having the manager set up bi-weekly team meetings, virtual happy hours or an open chat channel to give everyone on their team time to talk with their new coworker.

Arrange Trainings

Now we know that this is probably self-explanatory, but make sure you set aside time for the new hires to sit down with a hiring manager or a team member to train them on their role. This can be very similar to how you train in the office; however, you will need to adapt to be virtual. Screen sharing is a great way to keep things simple. We find that this is the easiest way to adapt, and it allows the new hire to ask questions in real-time, something that might be more difficult if you were to only do a prerecorded training.  

Improving Your Process

Continue to improve your onboarding process to find what bests works for your team and your culture. Ask for feedback and don’t be afraid to be creative in tackling these new challenges. We predict remote hiring will become even more common, so this is a great time to build onto an ongoing process.

Need some more help with your remote onboarding process? We would love to talk you through what has worked for us in the past and answer any questions that you have!

Best Advice for Job Seekers in Today’s Market

posted by Abby Glenn |

Times are tough, but so are you! Don’t let your fear of the unknown cause you to decrease your efforts in finding a job. There are still companies hiring and lots of them. You need to refocus your efforts, and eventually, you will land an opportunity!

Take a look at our best advice suggestions for job seekers for more information on how to refocus your efforts!

Learn New Skills

Now is the perfect time to dig into learning that new skill you’ve been putting off because of time limitations. This could help you stand out from other candidates that are also going after the same positions that you are.

There are many resources available to help you learn new skills such as metadata design, Salesforce integration, and AI for professionals in the Tech field. Take a look at sites such as Lynda.com, YouTube, and LinkedIn Learning, to name a few. These sites have an abundance of video courses in pretty much every field for professionals to boost up your skill sets.

Pro Tip: Make sure you are continually updating your resume and LinkedIn profile!

Strengthen Your Mindset

Listen to podcasts, take an online course; just make sure that you’re strengthening your mindset.

Strengthening your mindset also means taking breaks when you need them. Make sure you’re staying positive and motivated throughout the day. Go for a walk outside, play catch with your dog, or play a game with your kids! Do something that makes you happy and will take your mind completely away from job searching for at least 30 minutes to an hour!

Leverage LinkedIn

We’re sure that you already know the importance of utilizing your LinkedIn profile when applying for jobs, but do you know how to make your profile stand out?

Well, first things first, let’s cover the basics. Make sure your profile is 100% up to date. Your previous job is listed and goes into detail about what you achieved during your time at the company. Your most important skills are listed – don’t just put the maximum amount of skills that LinkedIn allows. You’ll want to make sure that you’re able to back up the skills you list with achievable results and items you accomplished to achieve those skills. Employers are looking at your skills, and anything on your LinkedIn profile is fair game for them to ask about, so make sure you keep this in mind!

Next, update your profile picture, banner, header, and your about section to stand out. Show your personality (while still being professional) and make sure you don’t just copy and paste from your experience section! It’s also vital that you have a professional profile picture and banner. We know that LinkedIn isn’t everyone’s forte, so reach out to us if you would like some help! We’re always here to provide feedback or give you suggestions!

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Referrals

Utilize your network to see who might be hiring. You might have success by reaching out to the decision-makers at a company that you want to work at. Utilize a soft opening when reaching out to these people. Open the conversation with, “I am looking for a job in X, do you know of anything or anyone hiring at this time?” Even if that company isn’t hiring, sometimes getting advice and relationship building will open doors for you. It’s also a good idea to go to virtual networking events. This will allow you to talk to different people who might know of a possible opening for you to look at. 

Get Clear on Your Value

Companies are seeing high volumes of resumes. What are the top three reasons someone should hire you? What’s one thing that makes you stand out from the rest? Be sure that you have this down before jumping into an interview.

How would you go about figuring this out? Well, think about your accomplishments within your previous position. Success stories are really impactful and help you stand out from the rest of the candidates. Hiring managers want to see how you and your skill sets can add value to their company. Giving them results about what you’ve already accomplished for other companies is the best way to do that. How do you go about writing your success story?

Step 1: You’ll Want to Choose and Format Your Success Story

Make sure the story is relevant to the role you’re applying for. You don’t want to just include a success story to have one. You want to make sure that it will ‘wow’ the person reading your resume and make them want to learn more about what you can do for their company.

You want to be able to explain the success story in a way that other people will understand it. One way we recommend doing this is to split up your success stories into the following categories:

  • Fixed: You were able to identify a problem and correct it. Make sure you explain how you went about solving the problem and the results that you had after you settled it.
  • Improved: You were able to take an existing situation, challenge, service, or product that worked before and made it better. Something that you can talk about would be ways that you were able to save your company money.
  • Created: You were able to build a new process, service, or product entirely from scratch.

Step 2: Leave Out Any Tactics

Make sure you start with a draft of the success story

  • Explain the initial situation, your actions and the results or impact that you had.
  • Since you want this to be in a bullet format, start with the model, SAR (situation, action and result). You want a significant impact with few words. Leave out any tactics as they add too much detail. Save tactics for the interview.

Step 3: Include the Right Metrics

You want to make sure that the metric increases clarity and impact and really shows the employer what you have done in the past and can do for them!

Utilize the following metric categories to set up the metrics and how you include them in your resume:

  • Time: How much time did your success story save? Think about months, days, or hours that this saved you or your team.
  • Volume: Think about the units made, number of tasks/projects, or hiring and growing a team – “I improved quality control, resulting in 50% fewer product returns.”
  • Money: Take into account the money you made your previous employer as well as the money you saved them.

The best tips to keep in mind when it comes to the metrics on your resume are:

  • You can always combine metrics to increase the power of your success story.
  • Most of the time, it’s beneficial to include a unit of volume after a time or money metric.

Define Your Job Search Process

Determine the companies that you might want to work for.

Decide how many hours you’re going to work each day and stick to it! Another way that you could manage your time is to choose several jobs to apply to in a day. Make sure that you’re staying positive and don’t give up. It’s going to take a little longer for you to get interviews right now, but you will eventually get some with persistence.

Pro Tip: You should your resume for each job! This not only provides them with the keywords they’re looking for but also shows your determination! Make sure that you’re only applying to the jobs that you’re really excited about. Hiring managers want to know candidates are passionate about the position. You want to show your passion for the job that they have open – don’t just copy and paste your resume to send to them. They receive hundreds of resumes in a day. You want to stand out, offer value and make sure that your skill sets align to the job description that they posted.

Test Your Technology

You landed the interview, now what? Companies are doing off-site, online interviews. You must test your network connection before your interview. This way, you know how the software works, and that your interview will go as smooth as possible with limited issues.

Technology isn’t fail proof, and things happen, don’t stress if something isn’t working right. Just contact the person who set up your interview and let them know as soon as possible.

The Interviewing Process – It Might Take Longer Than Normal

You might not realize it, but this is tough for employers, too! Employers want to get to know their candidates and decide who is the right fit—not just in qualifications but in personality.

Just remember, it’s going to take a while to get through all of the interviews. It’s also going to take time to compile the data from these interviews. They may want to wait to hire you until they can meet you in person, or they may even want to do several video calls before making their final decision. Above all, be patient and stay positive!

Looking for Your Next Opportunity?

We want to help you! During every step of the process, from interviews to debriefs, we’re here to be your guide. Interested? Take a look at our job board and reach out to us for the next steps!

A Guide to Managing Your Newly Remote Teams

posted by Abby Glenn |

Many companies in recent weeks have transitioned to working 100% remote with very little preparation.  This can lead to confusion, stress, and feelings of isolation—not only for yourself but for your employees as well. Don’t worry—we have tips to make this transition easier and to help you effectively lead your team remotely!

Remain Positive

As a leader, you are needed more than ever. Many employees are feeling uneasy and even though you may also feel this way, it’s important to provide stability, positivity, empathy, and understanding. Have your teams focus on the aspects they can control by establishing clear, actionable items. In turn, they will be more productive and motivated.

Provide Information and Structure

Before, your employees could easily get information needed for deliverables by stopping at a team member’s desk or jumping into an impromptu meeting. Now, getting information has become a difficult task as employees are faced with a new working environment, new workloads and potentially new hours working at home with children. This can be easily combated by setting up intentional methods of communication.

  • Establishing a time frame to respond to internal emails allowing employees to get access to information quickly.
  • Creating an accountability structure in order to understand what projects they are currently working on and what priorities are.
  • Sharing calendars so that team members can better coordinate.
  • Have a set check-in time for touching base so you are informed about their workflow and can check how things are going.

Setting up these expectations can keep your teams aligned and working efficiently. 

Encourage Social Interaction and Engagement

A lack of face-to-face communication can result in employees experiencing social isolation and lack of engagement. According to Gallup, 70% of an individual’s engagement is driven by their manager.

Here are some suggestions to drive social interaction and keep engagement high:

  • Have regular one-on-one meetings over video chat with each one of your team members to show interest in their personal progress – we recommend video check-ins at least once a week, if possible.
  • Schedule virtual happy hours with your teams on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. A virtual happy hour can be a get together with no set schedule or it could be a short 15-minute call. This gives team members the opportunity to sit back with their favorite drink and have a laid-back discussion with those on the team! For more information, check out our Virtual Happy Hour blog post!
  • Have your team meetings over video chat – we know, most of the time when you’re working from home, you don’t want to be on video. However, having this face-to-face contact with the whole team is a great way to make sure everyone feels included in the discussion.
  • Set up a simple chat room for everyone on your team to use when they need a short break or, even, a good laugh. Create subgroups about recently binged TV shows, work from home tips or at home workouts!
  • Add in a short 5-10-minute discussion to the beginning of your meetings to just share personal news or ask how everyone has been doing.

Be Flexible

Kids are home from school, and many employees are trying to figure out how to work from home for the first time. Take this time to really show your employees that you care by being patient with them and this new work environment!

When it comes to measuring productivity, try using results rather than logged time. What does that mean? Instead of having set hours that everyone needs to work during the day (like 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM), try setting goals of when certain tasks need to be completed by. This way, parents can work at whatever time they think will work best for them and their families!

Offer Your Support

We bet you’re wondering how you can support your employees during the transition from office life to working from home. Well, there isn’t a simple fix for everyone, but here are some ideas to try

  • Provide several different communication channels for employees to reach you
  • Offer encouragement and emotional support as needed to your employees
  • Above all, just be a resource for your employees

Even though this is a new environment, it is completely manageable! You just need to find solutions that work best for you and your team. Don’t be afraid to be creative in how you connect with your team.

If you have any questions or want some more resources on how to manage your remote team, reach out to us! We’re always here to help and we are more than happy to share our experiences with you!

Virtual Happy Hour

posted by Abby Glenn |

Grab your drink of choice, cuddle up next to your pet and get ready for your next happy hour!

Right now, since everyone is in sort of a long-distance relationship, virtual happy hours are more important than ever to keep up with social interaction, have some laughs and figure out different ways to connect with each other.

There are many ways that we’ve found to keep our employees engaged and feel involved while working remote and we want to share those with you!

Have Fun!

One way that we’ve found to keep these virtual happy hours fun and really learn more about each other is to incorporate remote team building! Not only does this allow your employees to know each other, but they are also a great stress-reliever.

Introducing Pets/Kids!

Coworkers hear stories about everyone’s kids or pets either when they were in the office or over chat. Give them the opportunity to meet them on camera.

Play Some Icebreaker Games

Okay, we know what you’re thinking, “…but these are so cheesy!” Yes, we know they’re cheesy, but they’re also amazing at allowing your employees to talk and get to know each other better. Being remote can get extremely lonely and you want to offer time for employees to unwind. Here are some of our favorites!

1. What’s Your Favorite Thing?

This is a great game to play when you aren’t sure how people will respond to playing an icebreaker game during a happy hour.

2. In Common

Is your team having trouble coming up with new ideas or communicating effectively while being remote? This could be your solution! This game allows your employees to get back on track and work as a team to achieve the end goal in a non-stressful environment!

3. A Picture into Your Life

This game will allow your team to have fun and put their creativity to the test!

4. Take A Guess

Here is another game that allows your employees to utilize their creativity skills and learn about their coworkers in a fun way!

5. Chat Channels

Create fun, dedicated chat channels and announce them during your virtual happy hour. Do you know that your employees won’t respond well to a team building exercise? This could be the way that you get your employees to connect in a remote environment!

Keep It Simple!

You don’t need to always do something outside the box. Sometimes, the best way to get your employees to feel included is to just set up a time and space for them to talk and see one another. Having them add in their drink of choice allows the environment to feel a little more comfortable and laid back.

Need Help?

We would love to help you and your team navigate this new work from home environment! No matter if that’s through finding the best virtual happy hour solution or just the best work from home solution for you and your team. We’ve been doing this for a little over a year, so we would love to provide you with our insight! Feel free to send us a message!