Holiday Focus Factor

holiday-work-tipsStaying Focused at Work Amidst the Chaos of the Holidays

As the seasons change here in Utah, the anticipation for the holiday season makes itself very prominent all around us. As we walk into stores we see the displays changing to Thanksgiving and Christmas sometimes BEFORE Halloween has even arrived. As we walk the streets we see city workers hanging lights and garland. Ready or not, the holidays are upon us! For many of us, these are welcomed sights reminding us of many traditions past and family gatherings where memories will soon be made. For others, it can be the start of an anxiety attack that makes it hard for them to get out of bed every day and get to work.

Whether you’re eager to welcome the holiday season with open arms or considering moving to a deserted island until the holidays are over, here are a few helpful tips to help you stay focused while at work.

Holiday Work Tip #1: Time Management

With all the cooking, shopping, cleaning to prepare for guests, commuting to and from work and dealing with added traffic from travelers, driveways and walks to shovel and parties to attend, it’s important to plan accordingly. Don’t wait to do all your Thanksgiving grocery shopping until the day before! Don’t wait until the weekend before Christmas to go check off all the gifts on your list. Doing so will add stress to your life and life-stress spills into work and causes additional anxiety. Also, try taking a day or two off a couple weeks before the holiday to beat the rush in the stores and enjoy some time off before the hordes of people hit the streets and stores.

holiday focus work tipsHoliday Work Tip #2: Take a Lesson From The Scrooge

We’ve all seen or heard the story of Ebenezer Scrooge from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. If Scrooge can ultimately find happiness during the holidays, why can’t we? It just takes a little reflection and maybe even a little spin-selling to turn those negative thoughts into positive ones.

  • I, for one, do not like the snow during the holidays BUT my kids LOVE it and I enjoy watching them play in the snow. Therefore, taking them sledding brings happiness to my kids’ lives which in turn makes me happy. When I’m happy in my personal life it spills over into my work life. See how that works?
  • I’m not a huge fan of traffic and long lines at the stores BUT I do enjoy shopping online for cyber-deals and taking advantage of many retailers offering free shipping during the holidays which saves me from waiting in lines. Finding deals and saving on shipping takes away some of the financial stress during the holidays which doesn’t make me feel like I need to work extra hours to earn extra cash. Can I call this a win-win? Close enough.
  • Like most people, I’m always trying to watch my weight but the influx of food and treats around the holidays make it tough to stay in shape and not indulge in all our foodie desires BUT during the holidays there are plenty of football games on TV. (I know what you’re thinking, how is TV gonna help us watch our weight?) Well, I struggle staying entertained at the gym but you throw on some great football games and I could ride a bike for hours in front of that TV! As a bonus, hitting the gym increases my energy which helps me focus at work. Sneaky, right?!

To sum it up, it’s up to us to take control of our stress levels. Let’s work on our time management, be prepared, take a lesson from Scrooge and find ways to just sit back and enjoy the moment in hopes we don’t get overwhelmed and cause our work to suffer. Cheer up and make the most of the holidays!

Jarum Stone
Operations & Safety Manager
Your Employment Solutions
yes safety

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Safety Bloopers

Humorous (and Ineffective) Approaches to Safety

Safety can be a very serious topic but as with all things serious, you have to learn to have a sense of humor to maintain your sanity. The comedic pictures that follow are not to undermine the serious respect I take towards safety, rather shed some light on comical scenarios we all might sometimes find around us.

‘Jimmy-Rigging’ an Air Bag

workplace safetyWhoever thought this “Air Bag” was a good idea must have failed miserably in their Physics 101 class! However, if it’s filled with a dozen PB&J’s, there might be sufficient cushion to save you from a 10 MPH collision. Not to mention, save you from starvation if you crash off the side of the road!

With so many advances in safety, don’t try to make your own “short-cut” safety rigs. You may think it’ll save you time and effort from doing it the right way or save you from having to make another trip to the tool crib to get the right tools for the job, but if you stop to consider the consequences of making a mistake without proper safety protocol, you’ll realize it’s worth the extra time to track down the right tools!

A couple extra minutes out of your day is absolutely worth saving yourself from a life-altering injury. Have you ever smashed or cut a finger to the point that it takes a few days to heal? Remember how even basic daily tasks caused pain in that finger and how you may have even required assistance from others to complete minor tasks? Like buttoning your shirt with stitches in your thumb? Or opening a jar of peanut butter with a black & blue thumb from being hit with a hammer? Painful, right? Well, just imagine trying to do those tasks without a finger or thumb…

safety workWhile the air-bag above was an obvious joke and not a real attempt to keep the driver safe, the following picture appears to be an all-too-real attempt to provide some safety to the swimmer pictured…

How many of you would trust your life to a string wrapped around a few bottles of soda?! Lets hope not. Give the guy bonus points for ingenuity but talk about a lapse in judgement!

Pay Attention to Signs!

Yes, our world has been inundated with signs grabbing for our attention: Buy Here, Turn Here, Stop, & Go. While many signs we see out on the road are trying to sell us something, most signs we find at work are trying to save us from something: Caution, Warning, & so on. The signs have been designed to remind us of dangers that surround us at work but in true comedic fashion there are also signs that, well, speak for themselves…

caution

The small print on this sign says “Also, the bridge is out ahead.” Ha!

in case of fire

Or how about this sign reminding people that Social Media can wait when danger is eminent!

please be safe

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the consequences of our own actions. The sign below reminds us that keeping ourselves safe also keeps the animals from having a stomach ache! Makes sense, right?

Be Safe Out There!

While some of these images are exaggerations of safety violations and some are serious attempts at safety, hopefully they make you think before going to work each day to make sure you DON’T take a short-cut towards safety! Your family, your friends and YOUR FUTURE SELF will thank you!

Jarum Stone
Training & Safety Manager
Your Employment Solutions
yes safety

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Founded in Utah during 1995, Your Employment Solutions (YES) had a vision to re-create the traditional staffing and employment methods.
North Salt Lake City, UT

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WDD✔

Stick-to-itiveness Pays Dividends

One Cannot Underestimate the Long-Term Power of “Stick-to-itiveness”

stick-to-itivenessYes, stick-to-itiveness is a real word and to save you time from looking it up I’ll quote Dictionary.com:

Stick-to-itiveness. noun. dogged perseverance; resolute tenacity

I’m writing a blog on this topic, not because it’s the New Year and I’m trying to keep you all motivated to stick with your resolutions, rather as I realize I’m approaching 16 years with Your Employment Solutions (YES) I’m reflecting on what it took for me to reach this rare milestone.

I found some very interesting charts and graphs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding longevity on the job.

sticktoitiveness

The above chart show less than 1.4% of the U.S. workforce who started a new job between the ages of 18-24 held their job longer then 15 years. And additionally, based upon the chart, the Average-Joe my age would typically be in about his TENTH job by now! How do you measure-up with the trend?

Some professionals believe that job-hopping is a great way to become well rounded and gain new skills and experiences. Some go as far to say that keeping the same job for long periods of time is a bad thing and according to this blog “…after a while, your learning curve plateaus, your personal growth sputters, and then your passion dissipates.”

My experience with YES contradicts that statement. People really need to consider what their personal definition of “personal growth” and success is. For me, success is remaining gainfully employed, having financial stability (I’ve not missed a week of pay in 16 years!), supporting my family, gaining new skills and experiences, avoiding life’s “ruts” and enjoying my journey through life. Having worked in the same company for 16 years does not mean I’ve had the same “job” and have had no “personal growth” for 16 years. I’m proud to say I’ve experienced a wonderful life and career full of learning new things, experiencing new things and developing new passions.

Here’s my stick-to-itiveness story in a nutshell:

I started working as a temporary employee of YES and demonstrated enough work ethic that they offered me an opportunity to become a recruiter in-house as one of the then three-man operation. I then became a lead by default when we hired a fourth employee. I was trained to be a salesman in order to help the fledgling company grow. I was entrusted to manage one of the businesses largest expenses (Workers Compensation) and, in addition to other duties, became a safety manager. I have assisted in the opening and management of three branches. I have participated in the hiring and new-hire training of nearly all our staff members.

amigos of hondurasI had the opportunity to buy-out one of the business owners and become a partner in the business. I’ve even traveled to Honduras on two humanitarian trips with Amigos of Honduras which is a foundation started by one of our business owners. What more could I ask for after having dedicated 16 years to one company?

As for the next 16 years, there’s no telling what new skill or experiences I’ll have but one thing’s for sure, it’s up to me to ensure my passion and continued personal growth doesn’t dissipate.

Who would have thought that a 21-year-old kid, starting as an $8/hr temporary employee would someday become one of the owners of the business who collects dividends from the profit of the business he’s help to grow over those 16 years. Had I followed the Average-Joe’s career path of hopping jobs every couple years there’s no telling where I’d be or what my level of success would have been, but what I do know is that my stick-to-itiveness has paid dividends and I couldn’t be happier with my life.

My experience at YES may not lead to the same success and happiness for anyone working 16 years for one company, but it certainly is a beaming example of what’s possible. My advice for people entering the job market is: be reliable; work hard; don’t be afraid to try new things; continue your education; show dedication to employers who return the favor; be honest; don’t wait for your employer to pay you what you think your worth but work so hard that they will realize they can’t afford to lose you.

Hard Work EdisonWhile “job-hopping” may indeed be your pathway to success, one cannot underestimate the power of “stick-to-itiveness.”

Good luck!

Jarum Stone
Training & Safety Manager
Your Employment Solutions
yes safety

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Staffing & Safety: Risks & Rewards

The Risks & Rewards of Staffing & Safety

As one of Utah’s best staffing agencies, Your Employment Solutions [YES] places over 7,000 employees to work each year at nearly 200 different client locations. It takes an army just to coordinate the efforts of placing and paying all these employees, throw into the mix the task of managing safety, and you’ve really got your hands full. We take a large risk sending those thousands of employees to work in environments we don’t have direct control over. But here are a few tricks we use to turn those risks into rewards for our employees, our clients and our agency. Some might even call that a “Win-Win-Win!”

Now, you might be saying to yourself, people are smart enough to keep themselves safe so there’s no real need to do anything to keep them safe… Right? Wrong! When left to their own devices, people don’t always make the safest, or smartest, decisions while at work. Just take a look at some of these images:

 

workplace safety
workplace safety utah
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workplace safety salt lake city
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workplace safety ogden

Crazy, right?! So, what does YES do to develop a win-win-win?

Deliver the “Right” person

One of the best ways we can prevent work-related injuries is by sending the “right” person to the “right” job. At YES we’ve developed several skills/abilities tests that, in addition to typical previous employment experience analysis, helps us determine if the person applying for a specific job has the actual abilities to perform that job without hurting themselves.

Communication is Key

Our slogan at YES is: Say YES to Safety. In order to maintain a low injury rate we must form working partnerships with our clients with a big focus on safety. We establish a “Step-by-Step” procedure so our clients know what to do when one of our employees is injured at their facility. Regardless of how minor or severe the injury, it’s crucial our clients notify us so we can be involved in the proper handling of the injury, ensuring we get the employee the right treatment and back to work as quickly as possible. We have a unique approach for proper injury management but if we don’t hear about the injury until a few days after the incident occurs, we’d be left at a disadvantage.

Analyzing Trends

Working with nearly 200 different clients, we may not see any specific trends with one specific client; however, when we work with several clients in the same industry we are able to analyze trends in that industry. One of out clients may not have any work-related injuries but when a client in their same industry does, we are quick to share the information (Keeping specific client/employee information vague) we are able to help our clients stay ahead of the curve and implement preventative measures before the trend starts in their facility.

Recognition

Recognition is something we strongly believe motivates our clients to keep up safety track records. Each quarter we review our clients with outstanding safety records, or clients who’ve made the greatest improvement to their safety record, and we present them with a plaque and a little gift basket to thank them for keeping our employees safe and recognize them for their efforts to maintain a safe environment for the employees we send to work for them. Here are a couple pictures of presentations we’ve made recently, as well as a picture from when we were recognized as a top safety partner by one of our clients, Chevron.

Who doesn’t love getting awards and gifts?!

workplace safety recognition
workplace safety recognition
workplace safety recognition
workplace safety recognition

Reduction of Costs

Sure, the end-goal of safety is to keep people safe at work BUT a byproduct of a quality safety program is also a reduction of costs. Business 101 teaches us that by reducing costs, we increase profits! This increase in profits creates the “win-win-win:”

  1. The Agency: We will realize greater profits by reducing the frequency of claims, which result in reduced workers compensation premiums.
  2. The Client: If the agency is saving money on insurance premiums they won’t have to mark-up their services in order to cover for higher insurance premiums.
  3. The Employees: They are the big winners in this equation because preventing them from becoming injured helps them preserve their greatest source of income, their work. If they aren’t injured, they can continue to work full-time to support themselves and their families.

Say YES to Safety!

If your company is looking for an innovative approach to improving your safety and staffing performance, give us a call and we’ll come review your current processes and see how we can partner together and create that win-win-win!

Jarum Stone
Training & Safety Manager
Your Employment Solutions
yes safety

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3 Leadership Styles Learned at the Ballpark

leadership and baseball

Leadership Lessons Learned from Baseball

There’s something special about a night at the ballpark. The warm weather, the foot-long hotdogs, the peanut shells crackling under foot, the man-made wave surging thru the crowd and, probably best of all, the crack of a bat sending a ball over the fence!

As one sits and takes in all the sights and sounds of the ballpark, it’s interesting to ponder the roles of all the people involved in the game. There are many types of people who can be found at a ballpark: security officers, concession stand attendants, mascots, fans, players, sports casters, etc.

In reference to the ballpark, a leadership coach from Petrous Leadership once shared an analogy with me about three specific types of people we can draw some serious leadership traits from. I’d like to elaborate on that lesson learned.

Leadership Style #1: The Parent

A parent of the players sits in the stand and has unconditional love for their child. They are sad when they don’t perform well, they are ecstatic when their child does something special and the player is eager to perform to the best of their abilities because their parents are in the stands.

A “Parent Leader” is one who has great desire for their employees to perform to the best of their abilities. They are compassionate for their employees when they fail and encourage them to try again, reassuring the employee they’ll do better next time. Their employees appreciate the compassion of their leader and do their best to impress their leader.

 

parent leadership
coach leadership

Leadership Style #2: The Coach

The primary goal of a player’s coach is to develop talent and position players in a way to build the strongest team in order to win as many games a possible. They teach players new techniques, improve their performance thru drills and practices, reviews film of previous games and critiques errors. A coach is less compassionate than a parent. They will punish players for making mistakes by being more strict on them in practice, making them do more drills, make them run more laps and motivate them to improve in order to get the player to sharpen the skills that came up short in the game. They praise top performers with game balls and MVP honors.

A “Coach Leader” is one who teaches their employees how to perform to the best of their ability. They are not as compassionate as a “Parent Leader” if an employee makes a mistake, rather they discipline the employee, correct the error and may have to micro-manage the employee until they prove they are able to perform up to the “coach’s” standards. They are great motivators and encourage teamwork to achieve company goals and encourage employees to finish projects. They recognize top performers with praise, employee-of-the-month honors and sometimes bonuses.

Leadership Style #3: The Umpire

The umpire of the game is responsible to ensure the rules of the game are followed to exactness and must have an eye for the tiniest of details. They have to make tough calls if a player is out or safe, sometimes with split seconds to decide. They have zero compassion for who’s trying their best or who deserves to win the game. They have a black and white view of the way the game is played and they must enforce the rules.

An “Umpire Leader” is one who has no concern for the people they manage. They are very stringent about company policies and procedures. They are strict about employees being a minute late or not finishing their work on time. They have no sympathy for personal problems affecting the employees and they demand results and timelines. They don’t care if you tried your best and they are not concerned about your technique or helping you improve. They rule by the book and it’s their way or the highway.

umpire leadership

Managing The Triple Play

When we look at these three examples, it’s important as a leader that you find a balanced leadership style and learn to possess portions of each style. Having too much of one style will not allow you to be a successful leader. You’ll also find that you need to manage certain employees with a different balance of leadership styles than with another. Some employees and/or industries may require more structure, discipline and strict deadlines while other employees and/or industries require more compassion and caring. It’s important to know what balance works best for you and your team.

A day at the office can be just as fun and euphoric as a night at the ballpark. All you need is the right balance of leadership styles infused with passion and determination.

It wouldn’t hurt to also have a “Wacky-Wardrobe Wednesday”, a “Foot-Long Friday” or a “Seventh-Inning Stretch” from time to time! Heck, just take your team to the ballpark, enjoy the real-deal experience while teaching them these three leadership styles and write it all off as a “Leadership Training” expense. ;)

Jarum Stone
Training & Safety Manager
Your Employment Solutions
yes safety

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