Who Are the Best Employees?

Often, we miss out or error in misclassifying good workers; sometimes we let them leave or fail to recognize their true value. Employee retention is a company’s secondary goal.

They like their work. If people like their work, they are comfortable in their environment and willing to perform the necessary tasks to get things done. If they love their work, they will excel and take on challenges to improve their skill set.

They are responsible. Dependability is the number one asset. A good employee is responsible for their work and when asked to get something done, rest assured those tasks are accomplished. One could be the best computer programmer or top-notch surgeon, but if they are late for deadlines or surgeries, they quickly become categorized as bad apples.

They believe in the company.  It is the teenager who takes a job at the local movie theatre, just because it is their favorite place to watch a film. They believe in the theatre, the seating, the popcorn and they become a part of helping the business run. They are also there to help patrons and provide a pleasant movie going experience as well.

They grow. They learn, they give back, making the organization better; they enjoy their time, and they are compensated for their work. Work is a part of the journey. Successful companies are on that journey, and they cultivate, help and compensate good employees on their adventure.

By Dane Flanigan

Workforce Shortage or Labor Movement

The industrial revolution was a movement from making goods by hand to making them by machine. Since  the early 2000’s, Asia has become a dominant player in manufacturing consumer based goods many of those jobs in the US have transitioned as we are moving to more robotic manufacturing.

As a recruiter for both contract and permanent positions, I see the workforce changing not only in healthcare but also in hospitality, entertainment, technology, and finance – even retail. The pandemic created a call to action to focus on our health, combat COVID-19, and change our lives.

The other day in Target one early morning, a number of shoppers were directed to the self-checkout counter. Even our favorite local restaurants require a wait, not for a table or section but so the servers have time to attend to their tables. They too are starting to implement self-serve ordering systems as many fast casual restaurants have always done. In 2019, several labor groups worked to limit self-checkout counters at grocery stores as there was the fear that they would displace the need for labor. Now there is a shortage of labor.

At the ultraHealth Agency, we see the clinical nurse who now wants to travel to different medical facilities. A friend or spouse may one day decide they hate their job – has always hated their job – and it’s time to leave. Then there is the co-worker who opted for the company with a remote position. In 2021,  2.4 million Americans retired early; the remaining US workforce is still active. So why is there a labor shortage?

Could it be that life is too short: maybe it this is the adage we need to do what we love. Could it be with the reduced workforce, employees saw opportunities with other companies or industries. Could it be about compensation?

For everyone it’s different: it could be the location and moving from urbanization to the suburbs or different states or even countries. It all makes a difference as to why the labor markets are being redefined. It’ not a shortage: it’s a change.

The workforce didn’t disappear; it has simply shifted much like it shifted in the late 1700’s. It is a shifting in the workforce  but not a shortage.

Start Hiring for Diversity

Photo by Andrew Harnik

Recruiting for the Best Candidates

There have been a lot of praises and eyebrow raises for President Biden stating that he wants to nominate a black woman for the Supreme Court corporate America should be mimicking his diversity.

When you examine President Biden’s selection of positions, he has done a terrific job at diversifying the staff in his administration. Organizations should look to copy the same attributes when finding a range of people to work within their companies.

At times, we hire people we are comfortable with. It’s not malicious, it can be and America’s inhuman history of colonization, slavery , segregation and racism, we cannot ignore the past. In order to shape the future with the best people, executive leadership must move outside the comfort zone, and that is not always easy. We tend to pick people who are like us, come from the same background, or share some of the same qualities. It does make it easier, but you don’t always get the best people.

A diversity hire is not just defined by race; diversity hiring goes beyond race it is religion, age, sex identification, geography, schooling, and physical abilities all make people unique, and these qualities allow for a more diversified employee workforce and a richer company culture.

Now is the time to change our hiring practices and start to look at individuals who can make our business better. With hybrid and remote work environments, we can relieve social pressures and focus on the work and how well the person performs in their role.

The more we allow ourselves to get away from the norm and our comfort zones, the truly better we become equipped at hiring the best person for the job.

By,

Dane Flanigan CEO

ultraHealth Agency

Walk the Talk = Leadership Style

There is a philosophy about the sergeant kick-ass leadership style of management. It goes like this: don’t question me, do as I say, you are grateful to have a job, while peering over your shoulder, hard and relentless – you know who I mean.

That attitude only lasts for so long and people get tired of the humdrum and nagging, so they quit. What you have in the interim is a tired, beleaguered workforce that does not like their manager. Therefore, they do not like their jobs and for them, work is about punching in and out to earn a paycheck. They handle co-workers like the manager treats them, and the customers are treated even worse.

For Christmas, my parents sent me a Chick-Fil-A gift card, not on my normal routine, but there is one in Pasadena. It is always busy with a drive-through line winding down the street. I did the unthinkable during those cold, COVID winters in Southern California: I got out of my car and went inside…

My expectation was to enter a busy maelstrom only to be greeted by a disheartened worker who wanted more than anything to get his fifteen-minute break and get away from sergeant kick-ass. While it was busy inside, the real traffic was in the drive through.

The first person who greeted me in front of the counter was the manager. He flashed a smile bigger than that of Magic Johnson as he asked, “How are you?”

Was this a joke? Where was the roaring confusion and yelling along with the sad people who hate their jobs? Why was this nice gentleman with a southern accent taking my order with a pleasant demeaner, disrupting my fast-food stereotype?

I thought I would trick him and send him back behind the counter. “I’m having a stressful day, and I’m too hungry to wait in the drive through…so I need a chicken salad.”

“Give me one minute,” he replied.

He quietly asked the worker behind him for a chicken salad; and in almost twenty seconds, there was a vibrant green, chicken salad. Was this salad pre-made for people like me on the go. What was going on? I knew this could not be possible since fast food restaurants do not have green salads. Taken aback, I ordered a chocolate shake.

The manager said this would take a few minutes as he had to have one prepared for me. While waiting, I had to ask about his accent, and he told me he was originally from Texas. Then I asked him if he ever had Blue Bell ice cream. He said that he loved and missed it, and from time to time would have a container shipped to the store for the employees to enjoy.

This was not the sergeant kick-ass philosophy at work; in fact, it was the direct opposite. It was the positive, lead by example, greet the customer with a smile, do business in front of a desk, ask politely for something and have the team prepare it, then reward the group leadership style. During stressful times, this is a lost art form.

Which one do you think works best?

Why Contract Workers can be a plus for Profitability

When a company hires an employee, immediate costs are involved from basic pay to several types of insurance – even benefits and a 401k. There are direct out-of-pocket expenses, and the new employee needs to take time to readjust and contribute. Although they have shown long-term viability with the company, the ramp up period is not immediate. With a contract worker, someone hired on a temporary or project basis can have an instant impact on the bottom line.

The contract worker and the organization have the same goal in mind: complete the immediate task at hand and be compensated for the job by the client. A full-time employee can have the same goals but at times, their thought process is often more directed to their position and the long-term company health. If a short-term employee fails to deliver one day or even one hour, they can be fired on the spot, so they are always thinking about putting their best foot forward and having the best work to show.

Companies tend to underestimate the ramp up period for employees. It takes time to adjust, get to know the work, the system, and the other people in the building to give a poignant opinion. A temporary worker is gauged by how quickly they are able to adjust and adapt to these surroundings or totally ignore them. They want to succeed because they have work experience in similar companies, often in the same high-pressure situations.

When the work is overflowing, contract workers maintain customer service and production. They can work odd hours – weekends and holidays – while preventing the burnout of full-time employees. Plus, when a company has a lot of work, it is hard to accept work from new customers such that they must find a solution. A busy period is a good fit for contract workers since the payroll may not be ideal for more year-round employment.

Contract workers may have a particular skill that is good for a certain client but not for the long term. Hiring specialty workers who are not good for all product lines can get expensive if you cannot use their skills every day. Adding someone temporary to fill a role will help you retain the client and build revenue.

In short, temporary workers do have an immediate impact on the bottom line. While they are not always a good solution long term, they are for certain instances such as company growth, niche clients, and relieving full-time employees.

By Dane Flanigan

ultraHealth Agency

Medical Staffing – Beyond Expectations