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Managing the Office Know-It-All

Managing the Office Know-It-AllOf all of the annoying people in your office, the know-it-all may be the person you’d like to yell at the most. Unfortunately, yelling at your co-workers is generally never good practice and it’s more frowned upon when you’re the boss. So how do should you respond when you find yourself managing a person who thinks they know everything about everything, and are quick to display their vast knowledge to everybody in their presence?

Take the High Road

When your employee is guilty of correcting you for every little detail (even when they’re wrong), your first instinct is to shut them down. While this is necessary at times, you also need to take the high road. Practice empathy and understand that a confidence issue is probably at the heart of their behaviour. As such, pick your battles. Decide which situations can be brushed off and which ones need to be addressed.

Be Prepared

Even if they’re annoying and sometimes wrong, nine times out of ten, the know-it-all is usually quite smart and skilled at arguing. If you want to begin to “put them in their place” then you’re going to have to be prepared yourself. Identify situations where you know they are going thrive and organize before-hand, arming yourself with facts about the subject. As they start to correct you, ask probing questions. Either they will back down or, if you’re willing to be open-minded, you will learn something from them.

Know How It’s Affecting Your Team

As a manager, your job is to lead your entire team, ensuring they’re doing the best work they can do. When you identify the know-it-all, also identify who they’re aggravating. In some cases, it may just be you, especially if they’re vying for your job and only care about undermining you. In other situations, and more commonly, this person has no limits. They correct whoever they can in hopes of feeling superior. When your entire team is being affected, and a negative atmosphere is being created, fixing the problem immediately becomes a higher priority.

Deal with the Behaviour

As alluded to earlier, know-it-alls are smart and you do need to keep an open mind to ensure you’re not turning away innovative thinking that can move your team forward. As a leader, you also need to deal with behaviour that may be bringing down the team. Schedule a time to meet with your know-it-all and provide constructive feedback. Explain that you value their input but they need to consider their delivery. As with all constructive feedback, bring up specific examples of inappropriate behaviour and explain how they affected the team’s performance.

By understanding and addressing a know-it-all’s behaviours, you can bring out much value in an employee that has potential to be a strong asset to your team. Unfortunately, some people are lost causes. They are too stuck in their ways and genuinely believe that they are smarter than everyone else, and that they are a gift of knowledge to your office. This toxic attitude will be disastrous to your team and may cause top employees to leave. As such, your only solution will be to terminate the person’s employment at your company.

How have you dealt with know-it-alls in your company? Do you have any success stories of turning them into functioning team members, or does your experience point to having to fire them each time? Share your experience and advice with our readers in the comments below!

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Managers Need to Understand Remote Workers

If your office still doesn’t offer employees a “work-from-home” program of some sort, you’re behind the times. There are obvious exceptions (security, equipment) when a job needs to be done on location, but advancements in technology allow most office employees to do a large amount of their tasks remotely. Some companies take this a step further and embrace the trend of 100% remote employees, where a person’s primary workspace is their home office.

Remote work comes with a number of benefits for both employers and employees. Just the mention of it in a job description is sure to attract a few new applicants when posting jobs. But you can’t offer the perk and stop there. As the infographic below from TimeDoctor shows, remote workers have different motivations and managing them comes with new challenges. The infographic is compiled based on results of a study completed by employee engagement company, TINYpulse, and provides insight into remote workers’ motivation, demographics and unique struggles they have on the job.

Are Remote Workers Happier Than Office Employees? (Infographic)

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How to Use Google Drive to Track Candidates

How to Use Google Drive to Track CandidatesApplicant tracking systems (ATSs) are great tools for recruiters. The right ATS provides capability to easily accept resumes from candidates, sort and screen through those resumes, and organize them so qualified candidates can be contacted for future opportunities. Unfortunately, small companies rarely have the resources for a dedicated in-house recruiter, let alone technology such as a sophisticated applicant tracking system. However, in today’s world of free technologies and cloud storage, there are still opportunities to create a makeshift ATS with similar capabilities, albeit missing some bells and whistles. Enter Google Drive!

If you’re not familiar with Google Drive and are interested in exploring it to create an ATS, here are a few quick tips to get you started:

  1. Create a Google Account. The days of needing a Gmail address to have a Google Account are long over. Anybody can create a Google account, using any email address, which will give you access to the hundreds of Google’s available services. For the sake of this post, Google Drive is the only service you need to worry about.
  2. Start Creating Folders. Just like Windows Explorer, where you may already store most of your documents, Google Drive lets you create folders and sub-folders. To organize it like an ATS, you may want to create folders for each department in your company, and then common positions within each department. From there, you can create a folder for individual candidates where you can store notes and resume versions.
  3. Share Folders. As long as your co-workers also have created a Google Account, you can give them access to all or specific folders so they can also browse resumes. If at any point they receive a resume that they think would be helpful for you in the future, they can save it into one of your folders for when you need to hire.
  4. Verify Folder Ownership. Creating folders and sharing documents can start to get out of control as different people become owners of different folders. For security purposes, consider organizing your structure so only one person in the organization (ideally somebody who will never leave) is the owner of all folders. This will simplify things down the road should a folder owner leave your company. You might also consider creating a generic account for the company that is not associated with a specific person and, therefore, is never closed.
  5. Start Searching. As you know, Google is pretty awesome when it comes to search capabilities, and they bring this knowledge into Google Drive. When you’re searching for a candidate, type your criteria in the search bar and see which resumes pop-up.
  6. Upgrade Your Google Drive. As noted, one person at the company is going to “own” all of the folders. This doesn’t mean they physically own anything, but it means their Google Account is the official home for all files. It won’t be long before the free space Google provides to that account is used up. Given the very low monthly costs of an upgrade (around $3/month) this would be a good move.

That’s it! Google Drive does not replace the amazing capabilities of a regular applicant tracking system, and will not come without its flaws; however, if you’re a small company looking for an applicant tracking solution, Google Drive is a great place to start. How do you organize your resumes without an ATS?

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How to Write a Job Description (Video)

A proper job description is helpful when posting jobs during the recruiting process, but their usefulness goes beyond hiring. A perfect and detailed job description will ensure all employees are completing their tasks and allow for accountability if something falls apart.

Writing job descriptions can be daunting, especially when you’re starting from scratch or dealing with extremely outdated files. If you’re working in HR, or any sort of management, and find yourself in this position, have a look at this short video from HRCloud. Not only is it entertaining, but it gives some quick pointers on the basic elements of a job description.

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Getting to Know Your New Employees

Getting to Know Your New EmployeesAs a leader, having a good relationship with your team is a key to success. A way to start building this relationship is by getting to know and understand each individual team member — what they are like as professionals and what makes them tick as a person. This, of course, needs to be done without moving into inappropriate areas of their personal life.

Whether you’re a manager who just hired a new team member or new manager joining a team, you’re in a situation where you must get to know people. With all of the work already piling up, how can you possibly make time to get to know your employees, aside from sending them a long, intrusive survey?

First, don’t waste any time. Although it may seem awkward learning about people, imagine how awkward it is when you still have no idea about who they are after they’ve been working under you for a year. With that in mind, spread out the “getting to know you” questions to avoid bombarding a new employee.  This will also make it easier for you to remember the information. Finally, when a person tells you about themselves, always listen, show interest and understand what their saying. This will help you recall it later.

As a manager, you want to get to know your new employees on two different levels – professionally and, to a lesser degree, personally. Professionally, learn about a person’s strengths and weaknesses, their experiences, their goals and their work habits. It’s much easier to lead somebody when you know how they learn and organize themselves. Never pry into an employee’s personal information but if they offer it, understand what motivates them, as well as what they may be dealing with outside of the office.

So how do you go about gathering all of this information? Here are a few simple tips and strategies:

  • Ask other managers. Especially if you’re new or if your employee came from another department, one of your colleagues may be able to provide input. This isn’t limited internally, as you know from the hiring process, references can provide valuable insight.
  • Schedule one-on-ones. Regular meetings are an opportunity to ask what would make things more interesting for them and how things can improve around the office. Their responses will teach you some of their motivations, priorities, and values.
  • Work on a project. Rather than always being a “manager”, join a project and work with your team at the same level. They will become more comfortable with you and share more as a result.
  • Be open to conversation. An open door policy and a commitment to a few minutes of casual chit-chat each day can go a long way in getting to know somebody.
  • Some (most?) people dread them, but when time permits, the right setting with the right icebreaker can help you get to know somebody and be a phenomenal team builder.
  • Team socials. After work, get together for activities. It can be a pub night, exercise, or celebrate birthdays and achievements.
  • Bring treats. It is possible to buy love, at least when it’s with food. Bringing in baked goods or having a bowl of candy on your desk can start great conversation.
  • Work on conflicts together. Adversity and conflict resolution can strengthen a relationship. People often expose a different side of themselves when working through a tough situation.
  • Ask interesting questions. There are plenty of resources on the web with questions to ask to get to know somebody professionally, or quirky questions to see their softer side.

It would be unrealistic to expect an employee to open up right away, but with some time, effort, and a smile, it won’t be long before you know more about an employee than just what’s on their resume. What steps have you taken to get to know a new employee?

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How to Reap the Benefits of Your Multi-Generational Team (Infographic)

Today’s labour force is primarily comprised of three generations — Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers — and each make up roughly 30% of the workforce. While authors love bashing Millennials’ work ethic, Gen-X’s negativity, and Baby Boomers’ resistance to change, successful leaders understand that a combination of all groups will result in a high-performing team. In the same manner that each group has its perceived downsides, they also contribute unique skills.

Ghergich & Co. teamed up with AkkenCloud to create an infographic that describes the unique skills each generation brings to the workforce. It includes the three segments referenced above, as well as the “Silent Generation” which, although less prevalent, continues to make up part of Canada’s workforce. As a leader, take a look for tips and pointers on how you can make your age-diverse team work together harmoniously.

Unique Skills in Each Generation That Employers Need

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Your Cold Office Will Destroy Your Team

Your Cold Office Will Destroy Your TeamOffices in all climates have had the debate among co-workers at some point — the office is too cold… or too hot! For some, it’s because the building manager is too cheap to spend money on heating or air conditioning. In other cases, the manager is too generous and shows it by blasting the furnace or cool air.

As a leader responsible for a bottom line, happy team, and a positive culture, the debate of temperature should be a concern.  Failing to take it seriously can completely break up your team and cause serious issues. In the end, you will lose your job, all because you failed to care about the climate inside the office.

Don’t believe us? Just check out some of the nasty effects cold temperatures in an office can have:

  • Lower productivity. As reported in this article from the Association for Psychological Science, it’s been proven in various studies that when an office is too cold, productivity drops. The article suggests that 25C is the ideal temperature, but other sources will tell you that it should stay at 21-23. Regardless, one thing is true: frozen people do no work, and shivering people can’t produce much quality either. You may find them increasingly getting up from their desk every 5 minutes for a hot beverage (or to thaw out the one they didn’t get to finish).
  • Negative atmosphere. Additional studies have shown that when people are uncomfortable due to temperature, they become more negative. At that point, it’s just a matter of time before relationships and teams are hurt due to negative communication and hurtful comments.
  • Now that your freezing cold office has destroyed your culture and has torn everyone apart, it’s a matter of time before they realize they’re dissatisfied with their job and up and leave, for better work and warmer conditions.
  • You can salvage some cold employees by giving them a raise, or maybe they’re too untalented to find another job, but now they’re going to get sick. This article backs up the fact that cold offices can also impact your employees’ health. And before you go turning up the heat too much, there’s also such a thing as heat stress.
  • Won’t somebody think of the money?? Perhaps your office is perfectly fine in the winter, and the freezing cold temperatures appear in the summer, when it’s hot and people want air conditioning. Sure, you’re making the office more “comfortable” by blasting the AC, but do you know how much you’re spending? (not to mention the environmental implications).

Perhaps these explanations are excessive and over dramatic, but keeping an office too cold will, to some degree, lower productivity, create a negative atmosphere, cause dissatisfaction, lead to illness, and cost money. Your challenge is that everybody in your office has a different view of “too cold”. It could be based off a number of factors and backgrounds, and typically variables like age, weight and gender do make a difference.

You may not always have control over your building’s temperature, but be sure to talk to your staff and ensure their comfort while they work. For example, provide individuals with blankets, sweaters or space heaters.

Does your office have battles over temperature? How do you deal with it?

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Why Your Employees Aren’t Engaged & How You Can Help (Infographic)

Are your employees working to their potential right now? If you said “yes” there’s only a 30% chance you’re right. 7 in every 10 employees are disengaged from their work—meaning they’re distracted or, worse, just pretending to work while they secretly watch cat videos.

If you want to take back your workplace, you have to look beyond what employee engagement is costing you (a reported $350 billion for U.S. companies each year), and dig deeper. You need to know why employees are unfocused.

That’s where the team at Company Folders comes in. They’ve done the research and discovered what employees are really doing at work, why it’s happening, and—most importantly—how you can motivate them to do better.

Have more ideas for motivating employees? Tell us in the comments below.

Why Your Employees Aren't Engaged & How You Can Help (Infographic)

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How to Easily Pick the Best Candidate Based on the Resume

How to Easily Pick the Best Candidate Based on a Resume You have an important role that you need filled ASAP, or you’ve had a nagging job opening for the last month and half and don’t know where to start with that pile of resumes on your desk.  You know one thing, there’s no way you have time to interview them all, so how do you know which resumes are the best?  Is there a way to, quickly and effectively, spot the best candidate just by scanning their resumes?

Follow our foolproof 6 step process to save hours of interviews, background checks and reference calls wasted on candidates that were never going to be Mr. or Mrs. Right anyways, and streamline your hiring process by learning the best way to rank candidates just by looking at their resumes:

  1. List all of your requirements for the job, necessary skillsets, education or certifications, and minimum experience. Once you’ve got the full list, categorize them into mandatories, desirables, and bonus qualifications.  Set a minimum score or tally that you want, either for each section or for all of the mandatories, desirables and bonus qualifications in total.
  2. Without looking at any names, personal profiles or pictures, scan through the resumes and tally how each resume stacks up against the above requirements.
  3. Eliminate the resumes that don’t meet your standards from Step 1. Unless one of those resumes grows legs and walks back into your new pile, you’re done with that candidate.
  4. So now you’ve got a new stack, but how do you break ties or close ranks? Within your new, whittled down pile, look for measurable results listed in the resumes.  Search for achievements like awards, goals met, dollar value of projects, or number of people managed. This will give you a tangible view of the candidate’s past instead of waiting until the interview or reference check process to find out your Project Manager has only managed a 1 person, $1 project that was 1 month behind schedule.
  5. This next step is the personality/culture fit.  Every office has its own vibe; what types of personalities click in your office? Similar, to step 1, list some personality traits that you think would be beneficial to someone joining your office.
  6. Scan the profile/hobbies section or any other personal information section on the resumes. Sometimes the personal profile section can be a bit of a gloss-over section, but if you know what works in your corporate culture, don’t be shy to look for it.  For example, if your office is very green, look to see if anyone has noted any environmental volunteering on their resumes, or if you’re in an ultra-competitive company, see if anyone has marked down sports accomplishments.

By the time that you’ve run through this process you should have your own quick, clear ranking of your candidates, based on experience, results and personality fit, prior to interviewing them. We still recommend you go through the interview and reference check process, but this should help you get to that process faster and with a better view of what candidates to seriously consider!

Next time you’ve got an open position, try this process out and let us know how it worked!

 

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How to Attract Top Tech Talent (Infographic)

Finding IT professionals who meet the minimum requirements to fit your team and technology projects is challenging enough. Being able to attract the best talent so they want to work at your company is a complete other level. Sure, there are the standard perks that make anybody want to work at your company, but techies are different. The best ones are in high demand and you’re competing against organizations who are willing to pay big bucks for that talent.

We shared a post this past summer that provided tips for recruiting IT professionals and it received great feedback. So, when we came across this infographic from TalentPuzzle, even though it’s a few years old, we had to share it with our readers. Enjoy!

How to Attract Top Tech Talent (Infographic)