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

Working through Difficult Contracts

As a contract worker, there are a few things that can make a position tough. The key is the ability to perceive, communicate, learn from the experience, and move on to something better. The mistake is to give up, get frustrated, or quit.

For the temporary workforce, there are certain expectations. As you come into a new workplace, you must know how to do the job. Others may not be amenable to you or your temporary status. That does not mean you should at take abuse physically or verbally. If any such instances occur, they should be reported.

Aside from a toxic work environment, which is inherently harmful, a person under contract should not quit. You have made a commitment, and people are depending on you. When you quit, you jeopardize your relationship with the recruiter and manager of the company that hired you. People talk and information is shared, which can ruin your reputation in the industry.

Working through the contract also means communicating. If there are things you don’t agree with, you should speak with your manager. Allowing them to make changes will have an immediate impact on the work environment. By working diligently through difficult issues, you set a positive example and validate why you were hired.

Temporary workers don’t have to play office politics; instead, they should focus on the work at hand. While long-term workers need to be concerned about the future of their roles within the organization, temporary workers can focus solely on their projects. That focus can empower the workforce to do a better job and help customers. There are no profits, jobs, or companies without customers.

Contract work is a challenge; it is lucrative and cause the temporary worker to be a professional in the work environment – something not always easy to do. Quitting is never a good option; communication always works best.

Why Some Companies Aren’t Struggling to Hire

A Friday night bad habit had my tastebuds struggling to fight the urge for a cheeseburger, animal fries, and large strawberry shake. So, I dodged the drive-through line and decided to order at the counter of my local In and Out. I was sitting on a bench, waiting for them to call out my number when I took the machine operation. From ordering to cooking, the production process was tremendous; I could not believe how many people worked there. Aren’t we in work shortage, I thought? Especially in the food and beverage industry, there have been great staffing shortages because of the pandemic. But this In and Out was buzzing with people and atmosphere.

In and Out is known for paying workers on a higher pay scale, specifically their management. They are among the highest paid in the fast food industry and the best benefits. Pay matters! For someone in high school, a dollar or two more makes a big difference. For someone supporting a family, it is stressful to work a job, where you are not well compensated.

This enterprise has a winning environment. Have you ever been to a place where the staff is yelling at each other. Well, it is the last place you want to be. A positive work environment is key to success, one where people are always having fun, and customers want to stay and come back. This is an essential but sometimes forgotten element of customer service.

Always Hiring is the sign on the door.  As I came into and exited the place, I saw that both had “Now Hiring” signs for $$ per hour. It was a direct advertisement for people in the neighborhood looking for work. As a recruiter, I cannot imagine that a high-volume establishment like this has heavy turnover. Sure, most restaurants do, yet you don’t always see signs encouraging people to come in and apply. Marketing is key.

Staffing starts with people; that’s why they have a department called human resources. The people dealing every day with customers should be compensated fairly. The environment they work in should be filled with positive energy. we should always be looking to add good people to the organization.

Dane Flanigan CEO

ultraHealth Agency

Seniority or Performance Reevaluating Pay Inequity

Photo by Alex Starnes

Some corporate salary programs are rewarded for experience and not based on performance. How we measure success is sometimes shown to those who have been in their positions and not for how well they have performed. It creates and fosters a culture that is not conducive to a positive work environment.  

For Example, Judy has been servicing the same facility for 10 years. She is a run-of-the-mill manager; and based on her last three years of progress reports, she has been adequate. Her pay is $150,000 per year based on seniority.

Mary has been with the same organization managing a different facility for the past three years. Her performance as seen in her reviews has been excellent. Her salary is $120,000 based on seniority.  

Neither employee is compensated for their performance.

Too often we reward people for being average. We keep them with the company because it makes a stable work environment and as long as it is not bad, it is okay. There is also an understanding that employees (people) are providing for their families and well-being; they may be a friend or simply a colleague we enjoy working with. 

So, who cares if Judy is average? Mary does. She is doing the same job – only better while being paid less.

We need to work on changing the system.  Paying someone based on performance is an objective measurable. If we attach the objectives to data and spread them over other sustainable variables, then we create a system that rewards employees on doing a great job. We can still compensate employees for their tenure with the company, but we are also rewarding a culture values excellence.