Our Blog

Building Strong Company Teams

March 7th, 2017

In a recent blog, we discussed the traits of team players, but that’s only half of the picture. Management carries responsibility too – in creating a workplace environment that encourages healthy teams and happy players. So . . . what are the key components that lead to a productive team atmosphere?

Communication
• Ensure that everyone has all the information they need to not only complete their task but also to understand how those tasks fit into the big picture.
• Keep everyone abreast of project schedules and progress.
• Provide regular feedback to individuals and groups working together.
• Listen to your people. Address issues. Respond to needs. Seek their input.
• Encourage consistent communication between team members.

Nurture Relationships
• Offer team-building activities.
• Be interested – respect privacy, of course, but take the time to know your employees’ personal side.
• Set the pace for building trust among the team.

Create a Positive Environment
• Make recognition a part of your style.
• Express appreciation to individuals and the team.
• Reward their work.
• Provide coffee and healthy snacks. If a project requires a late night, provide supper.
• Take breaks and encourage the occasional “fun times.”

Encourage Healthy Lifestyles
• Healthy employees make better employees – provide encouragement and opportunity for them to invest in their health.
• Sponsor walk-a-thons, a company sports team, etc.
• Offer healthy choices in the break room and cafeteria.
• Offer flexibility to enhance work-life balance.
• Insist on vacations.

Provide Opportunities for Career Growth
• Offer workshops and mini training seminars.
• Reward participation in webinars or conferences.
• Pay a portion – or all – of pertinent continuing education classes.
• Challenge employees with responsibilities that stretch them.
• Don’t micromanage.
• Encourage innovation and reward effort, even when an idea flops.

Build a Give-Back Company Brand
• Give your employees a reason to be proud of where they work.
• Give back to your community.
• Provide ways that employees can be involved in the giving. For example, food drives, coaching a Little League team that the company sponsors, participating as a company in Habitat for Humanity, or supporting a local community event.

Creating an atmosphere that fosters teamwork, encourages team players, and builds community connections reaps a high ROI in both productivity and talent retention. Take the time – it’s worth it!

Springborn Staffing was built on teamwork. We get it. That’s why we are committed to connecting team players with Bangor and Portland companies that inspire teamwork. Connect with us today and discover the benefits of working with Maine’s leading staffing firm.

Earning Respect as a Leader

February 28th, 2017

Being a leader/manager/supervisor doesn’t guarantee respect. While your employees may show respect for your title/position, it doesn’t mean that they respect you as a professional. Authentic respect, as well as trust and loyalty, is always earned. We’re not talking perfection – a level no one can attain – but we are talking excellence. In behavior, attitude, work ethic, example . . . your words and actions define your character. Cultivate the following earmarks of a leader who has earned respect.

1. Respect your employees
Treating your employees – or coworkers under your supervision with respect is essential to gaining respect back. This includes:
• Getting to know them.
• Inviting, listening to, and responding to their feedback.
• Recognizing their work – and validating them to others.
• Encouraging their growth.

2. Set an admirable standard
Does your leadership establish a high standard within the company culture?
• Ensure that your actions give the same message as your words give.
• Be consistent and reliable in both what you deliver and what you expect from your employees/coworkers.
• Be punctual and honor deadlines.
• Own up to your mistakes.
• Acknowledge wrong decisions and take responsibility.

3. Create a positive presence
Your attitude and personal presence leave an impact when you enter a group . . . and when you leave one.
• Have you earned titles like approachable, genuine, authentic?
• Do you build warm, personable, and amicable relationships with your staff and coworkers?
• Do you forgive easily when mistakes happen and help those under you to correct the issue?

4. Be a risk taker and encourager
We’re not talking rushing into the fray blindfolded, but as a leader, it’s your responsibility to lead with boldness and encourage your employees to follow suit.
• If you never fail, you haven’t accomplished anything either.
• Encourage your staff to be innovative by removing the fear of reprisal.
• Set an example of experimentation and taking mitigated risks, including how to bounce back when it doesn’t go as planned.

5. Communicate
In our hi-tech world, we have multiple forms of communication – some would say too many.
• Choose the best set of methods for your work environment.
• Keep everyone on the same page.
• Share pertinent details with all the pertinent people – don’t rely on word-of-mouth.
• Ensure that your staff/employees know how to communicate with you.
• Respond promptly.

Earning respect as a leader takes time, and consistent action, but the dividends are beyond measure. Here at Springborn Staffing, we are committed to true leadership and true leaders. We specialize in matching talented leaders with top companies in Bangor and Portland, Maine. Whether you’re a leader looking for employees or a leader looking for that dream position, contact us today.

Networking your Way to A New Job

February 21st, 2017

You’re in the market for a new job – or maybe even a career change, but where do you start. With your network, of course. But don’t make a haphazard go-for-broke network blitz – give it your best shot. It’s as simple as A.B.C.

Assess Your Network
Evaluate your current network – it’s probably much more extensive than you realize. Everyone you know, personally and professionally is a part of your network. Take the time to write down a list of those key people you know from professional groups to social groups – yes, even the people you see at the gym every Thursday can be part of your network.

Build Relationships
Remember, networking isn’t about being pushy, arrogant, or a people user. It’s about building relationships, serving as much as receiving. It’s about being authentic in both sharing yourself and getting to know others. It’s a place to share from pertinent information to the humor that equalizes the day-to-day stresses of life. Implementing a networking lifestyle; connecting with and reaching out to others when things are great and again when they’re not so great builds the kind of relationships that make a difference in your job search.

Choose Wisely
Your network is broad. If you announce your job search to your entire network, you’re just another fish in the sea. Choose the key connections – you know, the people you would want to be your mentor, list as your reference, or seek for specific advice about your search. Look for network connections that have extended connections in your industry. These are the people with whom you want to share your career goals/ideals.

Don’t Ask for A Job
Yes, you heard us right – don’t ask for a job. Let them know you are looking for a change and seek their advice, insight, information. If they know of someone, they will share. If they have an opening in their organization and want to consider you, they will. The point is not to dump on pressure, but to open a door.

Evaluate Your Communication Skills
Your networking, and therefore your job search is only as effective as your communication skills. When sharing, be clear concise, and pay attention to your word choices, voice tone, and nonverbal skills. Facial expressions, eye contact, body movement, and gestures say as much, if not more than your words.
When listening, give the speaker your focused attention, show interest, and never interrupt. Your response will quickly indicate whether you listened.

Finding a new position or knowing where to begin a career change can be overwhelming. Add Springborn Staffing to your network. We have the industry knowledge, marketplace intelligence, and longstanding relationships to help you network yourself to that dream position. Contact us today.

Mental Engagement – Mindfulness Breed Success

February 14th, 2017

Mental engagement, the ability to focus on a task, accomplishing it efficiently and effectively, is an important key to career success. Creating a work environment that encourages mental engagement is an important key to a company’s ability to retain talent and build the bottom line. Research on mental engagement or mindfulness consistently reveals that not only can mindfulness be learned, but it also has a profound effect both our professional and personal lives. In their paper, Mindfulness at Work: A New Approach to Improving Individual and Organizational Performance, Patrick K. Hyland, R. Andrew Lee, and Maura J. Mills share documentation for the following:

Employee engagement is linked to
• Greater employee satisfaction
• Lower turnover intention
• Increased organizational citizenship behaviors
Mindfulness is linked to
• Increased employee engagement
• Increased performance
• Increases in mood, positive affect, and satisfaction
• Decreased emotional exhaustion
• Decreased turnover intent
• Decreased symptoms of burnout

So what can both the employee and the employer do to increase mental engagement/mindfulness in the workplace?

Employer

• Place a higher value on mental health

• Follow the example of Aetna, Google, Adobe, General Mills, and Target and utilize mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) or similar programs to help employees develop increased mindfulness. After attending just one program session, many employees experienced a significant reduction in stress and gained more than an hour of productivity per week – which is a big plus to both the general environment and the bottom line.

• Take specific steps to increase employee engagement. For example, show greater empathy for employees, seek their feedback, recognize their strengths, offer opportunities for growth, and take the time to show appreciation.

• Prevent too much multi-tasking on the one hand, and on the other hand, help employees to develop active mindfulness when a task requires little mental alertness.

Employee

• Train your mind to pay attention to changes in your internal and external worlds as they happen at the moment. This can be as simple as paying attention to the sound of your footsteps as you walk to your office or paying attention to the motions you go through when washing your hands. Stay in the present. Consider the temperature, texture, and everything else that you would normally ignore because you are too busy thinking about something else.

• According to Ellen Langer, an early mindfulness researcher, says that “mindfulness is the essence of engagement, helping employees focus on the present, on new perspectives, and new ways of being productive. It helps improve engagement with the task at hand.”

• Consider the perspective of Jason Fitzgerald. He’s talking about running, but the same principles apply to your work tasks.
“Not all races will have challenging terrain, but if you’re on a winding, hilly course then this is something that needs your attention. Always run the tangents, or direct lines in between turns, to ensure you’re not racing longer than the distance of the race … maintain the same effort on the uphills, which will be slightly slower, and focus on quick turnover and staying in control on the downhills.
This is an effective racing strategy, and it also keeps the brain alert and present. The mind games of racing often include using the mile markers (or half-mile, maybe even laps) as benchmarks during the race; don’t worry about making it all the way to the end, but rather, just get your body through to the next mile and worry about the next as it comes.”

Whether you’re taking simple steps to mindfulness or running a marathon; whether you’re the employee or the employer; learning to focus on the present will improve your mental engagement and productivity. It will help build a successful career/company.

Springborn Staffing puts mindfulness to work every day as we focus on matching the best talent to each open position in Bangor and Portland, Maine. Contact us today – we find jobs for talent and talent for jobs.

Landing Your Dream IT Position

February 7th, 2017

Information Technology – the industry field that plays a role in every industry field. From manufacturing to medical, hospitality to legal, sales to financing, every industry uses technology. Software, hardware, cloud services, etc. each play their role inter-related role in the big picture. The demand for technical skills and experienced, laced with soft skills and business acumen grows daily. So how do you, as an IT job seeker connect with the best positions?

Specialize
Like we said, every industry has an IT aspect. Choose the industry that pushes your “I love my job” buttons. Build your industry knowledge and technical experience in that field. Seek the certifications that connect to your chosen industry.

Business Acumen
Regardless of your chosen industry, build your business skills. Develop a keen knowledge of the business aspect. Your IT skills become much more in-demand when you understand how their role intertwines with the bottom-line.

Soft Skills
Ok – let’s face it; while stereotyping is unfair, it comes from consistent patterns. Break the mold of the tech guy/gal who knows everything about computers/ programs/hardware – but nothing about relating to people. Don’t just be a problem-solver, be the problem solver who not only accurately communicates the problem to coworkers but also draws them into participating in the solution.

Design your Resume
Attract and engage HR by customizing it to the position you are seeking.
• Objective: Include keywords and phrases from the job description to show how your “objective” is a perfect fit.
• Skills/Experience: Share your specific skills and experience which correlate to the job description. Demonstrate – again through keywords and phrases – how those skills and experiences are relevant to the open position.
• Accomplishments: Include significant professional accomplishments that tie to the position. Share challenges, processes you used in response, and solutions achieved. Document your claims. If you have testimonials – include them. If you can drop a name, do so – just not excessively.
• IT Education/Certification: Include any certifications, conferences attended, and webinar participations, which are directly connected to the position.
• Professional Organizations: Include networking groups, forums, or discussion which you consistently participate in. Include links to any written work – published online or in hard copy – that pertain to your industry, especially the IT angle.

Prepare for the Interview
Have your answers ready – but not canned.
• Tell us about yourself. Don’t summarize your whole career – share the highlights, weaving in your personality, ideals, and goals. Keep answers interesting and concise, but be ready to answer questions that come as result of your answer.
• Why do you want this job? Keep it simple and specific. Cover the challenges, as well as opportunities you are seeking and why you think your specific skills and experience make you the perfect solution to their needs.
• Strength and weaknesses. Skip the clichés and bravado. Specific answers shared in confidence – not arrogance – win every time. Don’t be afraid to be honest about a weakness, but share how you are using it to grow professionally.
• What are your professional goals?This is perhaps your biggest test. It requires a balance between confirming that you want to be hired for the current position, rather than using it a foot in the door; but also show that you are motivated to grow professionally.

Finally, connect with a staffing firm, such as Springborn Staffing. We specialize in connecting talent in multiple fields, including IT, with top companies in Bangor and Portland, Maine. Our staffing consultants are uniquely qualified to help you find the right opportunity. Contact us today and discover how our industry knowledge, marketplace intelligence, and longstanding relationships can help you land your dream position now.

Pasword Security and Your Employees

January 31st, 2017

Technology, the fuel that keeps your company fires burning, can also often be your worst enemy. One the one hand, technology advances allows instant access to infinite data, organizes and manages every department from finance to maintenance, keeps everyone in the communication, and enables remote monitoring, offices, etc. On the other hand, this instant information at everyone’s fingertips brings with the blessing a bane – the constant demanding need for hyper-vigilant security. It’s not enough to implement top-of-the-line security tools and practices. It requires commitment from every employee. Unfortunately, a simple breach of a password can create a tsunami effect on your cybersecurity, and bring with it economic devastation.
Take the time to ensure that every employee follows each of these do’s and don’ts.

Employee Must Do’s

Create passwords which include:
• 12-16 characters
• Uppercase letters
• Lowercase letters
• Numbers
• Symbols

Utilize these safety gauges – yes, this can be a bit annoying, but it can prevent a breach:
• Two-step authentification
• Quarterly password changes
• Veto password sharing among staff – including immediate team members
• Demand privacy when entering passwords
• Be vigilant – take care not to upload passwords into the cloud or inadvertently share when using online paste and screen-capture tools

Keep the gate closed:
• Lock all devices when leaving them in your office – during lunch, breaks, restroom visits, etc.
• Protect all devices with anti-virus/anti-malware software and use nothing else for professional work
• Change password immediately at the tiniest sign of possible compromise.
• Report any and all suspicious activity, or lost/stolen devices immediately!

Employee Absolute Don’ts’

Password protection – do not:
• Use the same or similar password for multiple accounts/documents
• Send login ID’s or passwords that must be shared via unencrypted email
• Use family names, house numbers, birth or anniversary dates, or any other personal info when creating passwords.
• Share your login ID

Password storage – do not store:
• On a piece of paper, card file, in a notebook, etc.
• On a web browser
• On an easily accessible document

Building a protective hedge – do not:
• Leave any device containing professional info unattended in public places
• Install unauthorized programs on work devices or work programs on unauthorized personal devices
• Open email from unknown sources
• Log in to principle accounts when utilizing public wi-fi

Your Turn
Ensure your company’s and your customers’ cybersecurity. Insist that your employees follow the above password guidelines and lead by example. In addition, implement the following.
• Eliminate any user account as soon as it becomes unnecessary. For example, when a project reaches completion, a client moves one, or a user leaves the company.
• Allow access appropriate to each employee’s position and responsibilities, but keep it within that realm. Don’t provide access that goes beyond the level required for the task.

Springborn Staffing cares about the details that ensure your company’s success. That’s why we share pertinent information. It’s also why we give nothing short of excellence when you need additional staff. From temp and temp-hire to direct placement, we listen to your needs and provide top quality talent. Contact us today and discover the advantage of working with Maines leading staffing firm – independent and locally owned.

Team Players

January 24th, 2017

While Dion Lewis, Tom Brady, and Chris Hogan are each “stand alone” NFL heroes for the New England Patriots, they worked together as essential parts of a powerful team. In this crucial play (one of many) their collaboration scores one of the touchdowns that culminated in the 2017 AFC Championship. Likewise, collaboration in the workplace melds talented players into a powerful professional team. It’s the road to creativity, innovation, and project success. It’s not surprising then, to find “team player” listed as a sought after skill in an ideal candidate, regardless of the position.
When it comes to the New England Patriots, we know what a “team player” looks like. But what are the attributes of a team player in the workplace? What traits will help you stand out in a crowd and become the player every company seeks.

Team Players Are Reliable, Delivering:
• On time, every time, making – or beating – the deadline
• Their fair share of the work + a little
• Quality work
• Excellent organization, performance, and follow-through

Team Players Are Active Participators, who:
• Fully engage in the work
• Come prepared and ready for action
• Take the initiative, contributing to the “whole.”
• Volunteer for the extra tasks that pop up

Team Players Are Honest and Upfront. They:
• Skip the wishy-washy. You know exactly where they stand
• Share their thoughts and opinions, but also listen to others
• Speak and listen with tact and respect
• Keep their word

Team Players Are Flexible, quickly:
• Adjusting to the bumps and tweaks that arise
• Responding to problems with appropriate answers
• Turning issues into opportunities
• Rolling with the punches and compromising when appropriate

Team Players Are Committed, offering
• 110% passion to the project
• Quality work, believing doing it right costs less than doing it again
• Solid effort, regardless of the task

Team Players Are Communicators, Sharing:
• Pertinent information with everyone involved
• Their thoughts and ideas, clearly and with respect
• Feedback – both positive and necessary constructive criticism
• The floor with others, by focused listening

Team Players Are Team Players. They:
• Treat others with respect and courtesy
• Show support
• Refuse to backstab or gossip about other teammates
• Conduct themselves professionally, yet relaxed
• Encourage a positive culture

Your unique package of skills, experience, and education only gets better when blended with a team player spirit and attitude. Becoming a team player will boost your career in every way – bringing you both personal and professional satisfaction, as well as making a difference in the company.

Want to put those team playing skills to work? Connect with Springborn Staffing. We help New England players connect with companies in Bangor and Portland, Maine. We care about your professional passions and your career. We are cheering you on . . . touchdown by touchdown. Contact us today.

Job Hopping 101 – Part II

January 17th, 2017

Last week we laid the groundwork for job-hopping – a discussion of the pros and cons. But now that you have a good understanding of why and why not, how does that apply specifically to you? Maybe you don’t feel in sync anymore – the excitement has fizzled, your voice isn’t being heard, and your future outlook isn’t all that rosy. It’s time for the tough questions. Before you start, commit yourself to being honest with your answers.

1. Why do you want to move – what are your specific reason for switching jobs?
• Are you in conflict with your co-workers or boss?
• Have you lost interest in your tasks?
• Have you reached the top level for this position in this company?
• Do you need more challenge?
• Are you ready to make a career change, rather than the same job in a different company?
• Are you seeking a different culture?

2. Knowing why you want to change is important. Now that you have established the why, would changing make the right difference?
• Is the conflict rooted in my attitude? What part am I playing? Moving to a different job with the same personal issues won’t change anything except location.
• Why have you lost interest? Is it time for additional training or new certification or are there underlying physical issues that need your focus?
• Have you reached the top level at this company or in your field? Again, is it time to consider additional training and education?
• Is it time to take your experience and skills and turn them another direction?

3. What are your long-term career goals?

• Will a new job be a positive step forward in the long-term prognosis?
• What type of change would be best?
• Have I gained the skills and experience I need to move upward?
• Can I reach these goals best by leaving or by staying, but making changes in my present position and responsibilities?

4. What are the current hiring and opportunity trends in my industry?
• What direction is the best choice for my present experience/skills, as well as my future goals?
• What positions are “hot” and will stay in-demand?
• Am I ready to market myself?
• Does my resume reflect what companies are seeking?
• What changes are needed? How and when should I make them?

Choosing to do the job-hop dance is a personal decision – a big decision. Taking the time to sort through the issues, instead of rashly leaving will pay off in the end. Once you make the decision to move on, however, don’t waver in the wind. Don’t be paralyzed by indecision, fear, etc. Go for it. Tackle your resume. Research your markets. Be strong and confident in your interviews. You get the picture.

Connecting with a quality staffing firm like Springborn Staffing will help you be a winner. Here at Springborn, our consultants will help you make those important career decisions. We’ll help you discover when it’s time to move on and what position is ideal for your skills, experience, lifestyle, interests, etc. We specialize in making those perfect matches between talent and companies in Bangor and Portland, Maine. Contact us today.

Job Hopping 101

January 10th, 2017

Gone are the days of staying with a company for 30-40 years. In fact, many would say staying with a company for life is a sign of lethargy, rather than a sign of loyalty. But is the constant hop a better career builder? Many potential employers consider too many hops on your resume a red flag. So where is the line? When does moving around help your career to move forward? How do you know it’s time to hop? When should you ride the wave?

For clarity, let’s begin with the pros and cons of job-hopping

Pros

Self-discovery: Walking away from college with a degree in hand is rarely an indication that you know exactly what you want to do. There are usually multiple directions to take said degree. Working in various positions not only gains skills and experience, but it also helps you decipher what defines the best job for you.

Experience Builder: Job-hopping can often be a surefire route to expand your repertoire of experience.

Increased Responsibility/Authority: Job-hopping often results in increased responsibilities and positions of authority.

Financial gain: Most job-hopping includes a higher salary and who can complain about that.

Variety: The spice of life. Not only in responsibilities but your understanding of industries/businesses.

Wider Networking: The truth is, you meet more people, and increase your connections – which could be very beneficial in the future.

Cons

Self- discovery: Sometimes job-hopping hinders your opportunity to fully experience and position and learn what makes you tick, leaving you in that situation where you know what you want – after you left it behind.

Shallow Experience: A wide variety of experience can be beneficial, but when you hop too much, your experience is shallow. Face it; some skills take time to master. In those cases, less is more and employers know that.

Lack of Promotion: Promotions are awarded to people who have earned them. Hopping may give you an increase of responsibility, but a climb to the next level usually requires being there long enough to earn it.

Loss of long-term financial advantage: While hopping may result in a pay raise, it takes staying with a company to build a 401K. When employers are adding to employee funds, it usually takes several years to become vested. Hence, a hop before then means losing out on what the employer gave to your 401K.

Losing Opportunities: Employers seek commitment in upper-level positions. If you have too many hops on your resume, you may get passed over for an opportunity for which you are well-qualified. The potential employer may recognize your qualifications, but they don’t want to invest in hiring someone who will move on in a couple of years, leaving them needing to begin the extensive and expensive hiring process all over again.

Lack of relationships: A variety of jobs can widen your network, but leave little opportunity to deepen it. Building relationships within your network is an essential. Often it’s not the number of people you know, but rather how well you know them, that makes a difference.

Balancing the pros and cons begins with understanding and evaluating them regarding your career climb. Once you have a clear understanding, you are ready to make a wiser decision on leaving or staying. You are ready to ask all the right questions.

What are those questions? Check in with us next week for part II.

Springborn Staffing is here to help you make those important career decisions. We’ll help you discover when it’s time to move on and what position is ideal for your skills, experience, lifestyle, interests, etc. We specialize in making those perfect matches between talent and companies in Bangor and Portland, Maine. Contact us today.

Do your Critical Thinking Muscles Get a Daily Workout?

January 4th, 2017

Keeping your critical thinking muscle in prime condition may take diligence and consistent effort, but it’s time well spent – reaping a high ROI for your career.

So what exactly defines critical thinking?
Critical thinking goes beyond learning new information. It’s how you learn it and what you do with it. Remember, just because someone wrote it or said it – even if they are considered the expert – doesn’t automatically earn it a “real, truthful, objective” stamp. Being a critical thinker means you dig deeper, asking questions as you go. In other words:
• Learn to question things – withholding your judgment until you have evaluated the validity of a theory, proposition, course of action, etc.
• Listen to differing points of view – consider multiple perspectives, the reasoning behind each one, and the probable implications or consequences that will result when a particular viewpoint is applied to a situation.
• Ask questions that inspire more than a yes or no answer – dig for the Who? What? When? Why? How? and What if?
• Allow enough time to comprehend the information – defined by reasonable evidence – and make an educated conclusion.
• Examine the current situation, of course, but also consider the “big picture.” How will each option or point of view align with what’s practical and effective?

How can you develop your critical thinking muscles?
• Spend “brain time” each day. Consider a problem. It can be something from your own work or simply an issue from a local organization, your community, the government, etc. is facing. Look at it from different angles. Determine what you would view as viable options. Try to discern which options you would choose and why.
• Consider your “go to” perspectives on life issues. Do you need to redefine some areas? Do you need to reshape your intellectual standards? Who and what are influencing your life philosophies? (Note – these influences may be persuading your decision making) Keep a journal of your thoughts.
• Lose your ego. The greatest critical thinkers are focused on discerning truth, discovering effective solutions, resolving situations efficiently, rather than always being right. If someone has a better answer, they embrace it and learn.

Building strong critical thinking muscles empowers your career. Springborn Staffing recognizes the value of critical thinking. It’s one of the traits we watch for in candidates. If you’re looking for a new position that utilizes your critical thinking skills, contact us today. We will connect you with a Bangor or Portland, Maine company that values your talent – a place where you can grow professionally.