Meditation: Productivity Miracle or Muck?

Does mindfulness ramp up your team’s speed, quality, and motivation – or is it just a waste of time?

With all the “magic bullets” being marketed these days, it’s difficult to tell what’s effective and what’s nothing more than an expensive placebo or clickbait. Workplace productivity “cures” are no exception, bringing us to contemplate if techniques such as mindfulness and meditation actually improve job performance, or if they’ll leave us with little more than wasted hours.

Luckily, unlike most “magic” weight loss pills, meditation’s link to productivity has been thoroughly studied. So, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of mindfulness – so you can decide for yourself if such tools are right for your team.

Pros – Meditation’s link to workplace productivity

  • Meditation can make employees less prone to making mistakes – According to a study run by Michigan State University, different forms of meditation have different effects on neurocognitive function, including the neural signals that occur half a second after someone has made a mental error. The study suggests that open-monitoring meditation – a form of meditation that allows participants to let thoughts flow through their mind instead of shutting them out – increases the strength of a person’s conscious error recognition if practiced regularly.
  • Self-discipline is strengthened through regular meditation – The practice of regular meditation, even just a few minutes per day, can do more than bring about a cultivated sense of peace; it can strengthen a person’s self-discipline. The act of taking time out of your day to sit quietly and prevent one’s thoughts from running around like a rampant toddler provides ample practice in the development of discipline.
  • With discipline comes focus – Focus is tied to self-discipline, so it makes sense that developing one would develop the other. During meditation, a person focuses on their breath, body, or specific visualization while avoiding the distractions of everyday life. In the same way, a productive employee must focus on their work tasks while avoiding the distractions of the office. Less focus on chatter, ringing phones, and the clock ticking away the seconds between lunch and the frustration of rush hour traffic means more focus on work-related tasks.
  • Meditation increases patience – No employer expects any employee who wants to keep their job to sit patiently throughout the workday, and that’s not the type of patience we’re talking about. Meditation increases the kind of patience that allows a person to slow down mentally and become more detail-oriented by giving them the tools used to step away from the emotional rush of time constraints, such as deadlines or quotas.
  • A decrease in stress that boosts morale – Morale has a heavy hand in productivity, and meditation increases morale by giving employees a chance to relax their bodies, clear their minds, and recharge their mental batteries.

Cons – Meditation might not be as helpful as we thought

  • Meditation may lower a person’s motivation – A recent study suggests that meditation, while increasing focus and discipline, may actually lower an individual’s motivation to complete a given task. The study separated participants into a mindfulness group and a distracted group before having them complete simulated office tasks, and the mindful group reported less motivation to complete tasks than the distracted group, even after being offered a financial incentive.
  • Mindfulness shifts focus from the future to the present – It’s important to live in the present, but it’s also important to plan and strive for future goals. Mindfulness meditation shifts a person’s perspective away from future rewards and advancement (major motivational factors in any workplace) and places it on the here-and-now. Whereas focusing on the present sounds great in theory, most people probably wouldn’t work as hard if they had no future goals.
  • Meditation shows no net gain in productivity – In the same study that suggested lowered motivation in mindful individuals, participant performance was measured and showed that meditation provided no benefit to (or detraction from) the quality of work performed.

Overall, meditation seems to increase focus, discipline and morale without increasing individual productivity. But whether you decide to implement a meditation program or not, staffing and recruiting firms can deliver focused, motivated and productive candidates both quickly and cost effectively.

Do You Know These 4 Safety Musts?

Worksites are dangerous places. There are power tools and heavy machinery in use. There may be debris falling from a height. It’s why so many construction sites are fenced off from public access. Of course, as an employee, you also face dangers on the site. That’s why you need to know these four safety musts.  

Use the Right Tool 

Job sites can come under intense pressure to get things done now if a project falls behind. This can lead to on-site shortcuts like using whatever tool comes to hand rather than getting the right tool. Using the wrong tool for a job is a very good way to end up with an unnecessary injury or to damage something on the worksite. Plus, as often as not, you end spending more time trying to get the wrong tool to work than you would have spent getting the right tool.  

Don’t Overwork Yourself 

Experienced workers know how dangerous it can be to show up to work exhausted. Power tools and heavy machinery do not mix well with sleep deprivation. Too little sleep not only makes you dangerous to yourself, but it also makes you dangerous to your coworkers. Being overtired diminishes your reflexes. It also impairs your judgment almost as much as drinking a couple of beers before work. Do your best to set up your schedule so you can get enough sleep before work. 

Use the Safety Gear Your Company Provides 

Companies don’t provide safety gear on a whim. They do it because safety gear prevents injuries. They also do it in some cases because the law requires them to do it. If the state or federal government passed a law about it, you have to know some pretty bad things happened first. You should make a point of learning wear the safety gear is stored, as well as any first aid equipment. That empowers you to get your gear as soon as you arrive and to offer first aid help quickly in the event that someone is injured.  

Don’t Accept Tasks You Aren’t Qualified to Do 

It can be tough to say no when your supervisor or manager asks you to do something. It can also be extremely dangerous to say yes if you aren’t trained for the task. You need to know your own skillset so you can explain why you shouldn’t be given a task, but say that you’re willing to learn if someone knowledgeable will show you.  

Be Safety-Minded 

The best way for you to stay safe is to be safety-minded. Understand the limits of your skills. Say no when someone asks to work beyond them. Use your safety gear, even if you think it’s foolish. Retrieve the right tool for the job. Get enough sleep. Taken as a group, all of these actions will help you get home unhurt.  

How To Be Assertive During Your Interview

Interviews are stressful events. Unless you’re in the enviable position of job shopping, you’ve got a lot riding on the outcome of any interview at a company you want to work. The pitfall of all that stress is that it can make you question things you usually take for granted, like your competence and likability. This, in turn, can undermine your confidence and assertiveness during the interview itself. If you’ve been down this road before, keep reading for tips on how to remain assertive during your interview.  

Body Language 

It’s very hard to oversell the role of body language in selling yourself to a hiring manager. The problem is that body language generally happens without a lot of input from your conscious mind. That means you need to pay attention to what your body is doing during the interview. Make sure you maintain good posture with your back straight. Stand up and initiate the handshake with your interviewer. Keep your posture open when sitting. No matter how nervous you feel, don’t fidget. Of course, maintain solid eye contact.  

Ask Questions 

Don’t let the interview end without asking several meaningful questions; a willingness to quiz the interviewer signals that you believe in yourself. Make sure that the questions are relevant to you and your position. For example, you can ask what goals the company is looking to achieve by hiring you. You can also ask more generally what goals the company has for the department or unit you’d be joining. Consider culture-based questions, such as what management style the company prefers or what makes someone a good personality fit. If all else fails, you can ask what you could expect to work on during a normal day.  

Ask for the Position 

It might seem counter-intuitive since you’re there interviewing for the job, but you should still ask for the position. A lot of people walk out of an interview knowing they don’t want the job and won’t take it if offered. Asking for the position at the end of the interview does two things for you. It tells the interviewer that you’re very likely to take the job if it’s offered. It reaffirms your confidence in yourself and your ability to do the job.  

Assertiveness Is a Learned Trait 

Assertiveness comes naturally to some people, but most people must learn to do it. It might feel like you’re faking it during the interview, but think of it as practice for the workplace and the future. The good news is that, like most learned behaviors, assertiveness becomes more comfortable with practice.  

Tired? Use These Tips To Avoid Fatigue

Fatigue is the often unacknowledged enemy of adults everywhere. It’s easy to fall into a lifestyle that encourages fatigue. You take overtime whenever it’s offered. You end up messing with your phone until well after you should be asleep. Fatigue, however, isn’t a joke. It can compromise your decisions and reduce reaction time. That combination can end up getting you or a coworker injured. So, here are some tips to help you avoid fatigue. 

Eat Right 

Nobody is saying never to eat fast food. Sometimes it’s your only option when your lunch break gets cut short or you just need something easy to eat for dinner before collapsing into bed. On the whole, though, you do need a balanced diet.  

That means you get regular servings of fruits and vegetables. You keep your carb intake to a reasonable level. You eat appropriately sized portions for your height and frame. This combination provides your body with essential nutrients that support energy production. You also need to get enough water. Dehydration can leave you feeling groggy. 

Exercise 

Believe it or not, getting regular exercise can help you stave off feelings of fatigue. The exercise helps you condition your muscles, which makes you more resilient. Exercise also provides you with a nice cocktail of mood-enhancing neurochemicals that can limit feelings of fatigue.  

You can double down on exercise and make it a social activity by joining a team or setting up a pickup basketball game. This lets you exercise and socialize. Socializing also has a positive effect on your overall mood and sense of well-being, which can help prevent fatigue.  

Get Serious About Sleep 

Americans tend to view sleep as the enemy. It’s something we put up with because we have no other choice. Yet, we often limit it too much. We drink caffeine in the evening. We stay up late watching TV or playing video games. We take our phone to bed and answer emails until 2 in the morning.  

You need a certain amount of sleep to function. Even more importantly, your body needs sleep to heal and rejuvenate itself. Depriving yourself of sleep makes you more likely to get sick or get hurt. Commit to getting at least seven hours a night or eight if you can manage it. It might not cure your fatigue, but it will likely help a lot.  

Fatigue Is a Fixable Problem 

Unless you have an underlying medical condition that causes it, fatigue is a fixable problem. Getting the right kinds of foods in the right proportions, along with enough water, supports your body’s energy production. Regular exercise gives you a chance to condition your muscles and even get social. Regular sleep gives your body a chance to heal and rejuvenate. Put all of that together and you’ve got a good shot at resolving your fatigue.  

9 Questions to Ask Yourself about Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is a haunting fear for employees and employers alike. It’s not a casual concern either. The BLS reports that nearly 19000 people were traumatized or killed by workplace violence in 2017 alone. If you want to provide your employees with a safe work environment, here are nine questions you should ask yourself. 

Do You Maintain a Workplace Violence Policy? 

While violence against another person is illegal in general, most workplaces set out a formal policy as well. These policies generally take the form of automatic dismissal for any act of violence. The threat of losing one’s job may just stay someone’s hand if they’re made aware early on.  

Do You Offer Employee Assistance Programs or Could You? 

Workplace violence often stems from pressures outside of the job, either financial or emotional. Do you offer financial assistance programs? Counseling? If not, consider staring such programs. 

Do You Encourage Emotional/Mental Health Activities? 

Many workplaces encourage emotional/mental health activities by sponsoring them. A simple example is offering flexible scheduling. This lets people better manage their home life.  

Do Managers Have the Right Training to Spot Warning Behavior? 

Managers are often best placed to spot an employee in trouble. They still need the proper training to identify troubled employees before things escalate. 

Do You Maintain a Process for Ending Employment? 

A formal process for ending someone’s employment sets out procedures that help control that person’s exit. The process can prevent physical altercations by, for example, having security present.  

Do You Maintain a Formal Process for Reporting Threats? 

If you don’t have a formal process for reporting threats, consider setting one up. This can allow more timid employees to make reports without having to confess to a trauma publicly.  

Do You Maintain Basic Security at Entry Points? 

Security at entry points for your business can make the difference between an ex-employee or disgruntled spouse getting inside or not. Keycards or barcoded badges are a simple solution. 

Can You Use Technology to Limit Potential Violence? 

Security companies and computer scientists have developed programs that can assess historical data and offer predictions of future behaviors. Do you employ technology like this to analyze complaints and reprimands for your employees? If you employ a large number of employees, it may prove invaluable in protecting everyone. 

Do You Provide Ongoing Training for Emergency Situations? 

The average person isn’t prepared for an emergency situation. They need the training to make smart choices. If you aren’t offering emergency training, such as active shooter training, it’s time to make that happen. 

You Can Do a Lot to Prevent Workplace Violence 

Employers can take a lot of steps to minimize workplace violence. You can offer assistance programs, training, and encourage emotional wellness. You can also create processes for termination, threat reporting, and install security at entry points. As with most safety issues, preparation can dramatically improve your outcomes. 

5 Ways A Healthy Lifestyle Helps You Handle The Night Shift

Few people find working the night shift an easy prospect. For most, it takes a progressive toll that only grows worse over time. Weight gain is a common side effect. An ever-increasing sleep deficit is another common side effect. While you’d be hard-pressed to find a night shift routine that can substitute for a regular day-night schedule, a healthy lifestyle can help you handle the night shift better. Here are five ways a healthy lifestyle will do that for you.

Healthier Immune System

People who work the night shift tend to get sick more often. That is because the body needs certain things to maintain a healthy immune system. It needs enough rest, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. If you make a habit of getting enough sleep, minimizing unhealthy food choices, and getting at least some exercise, you’ll get sick far less often than your coworkers.

Better Sense of Well-Being

Anyone working the night shift gets less sunlight exposure than people who work a day shift. They also get to socialize less often with friends and family. Anyone getting insufficient sleep also struggles more with emotional control. This combination can cause a steady decline in your sense of well-being. Regular exercise, good nutrition, and sound sleep all help you preserve a healthy sense of well-being.

Weight Control

Poor sleep, poor nutrition, and minimal exercise are the trifecta of gaining weight. That means that working the night shift puts you at far greater risk for obesity than your day shift counterparts. Regular exercise and a healthy diet help you combat the calorie-based side of weight gain. As a bonus, exercise and healthy food help support restful sleep.

Faster Recovery time

It’s a fundamental truth that unhealthy people recover from injury and illness more slowly than healthier people. A healthy lifestyle makes you more physically, emotionally, and mentally resilient. You bounce back faster from illness. You’re less likely to become depressed about an illness or injury and more likely to see it as a challenge. In short, you’re better prepared to get well.

Helps You Avoid Problematic Chemicals

Night shift workers often find themselves stuck in an ugly cycle of chemical use. They don’t get enough healthy sleep, so they chug coffee and energy drinks all night. They get home tired but stuck with caffeine wakefulness. They have a beer or a glass of wine to help them drop off, which causes poor sleep. Begin the cycle again. A healthy lifestyle lets you stay awake and fall asleep without relying on chemicals to help.

You Need a Healthy Lifestyle

In many ways, night shift workers need a healthy lifestyle even more than people on day shifts. You have more challenges. A healthy food, exercise, and sleep regimen make you more resilient, less prone to illness or injury, and psychologically healthier. All of which makes coping with the night shift easier.

Are you a seasoned night shift pro looking for a new workplace? Let Gallman Consulting help you find that new night shift position.

6 Ways To Make Reference Checking More Efficient For You & Your Company

Reference checking often proves one of those tasks in the hiring process that soaks up far more time and energy than expected. You play phone tag with candidates’ old supervisors. The references get very tight-lipped because of decrees from their HR department. The information you get isn’t actionable. If this sounds like your experience, keep reading for six ways you can make the reference checking process more efficient and useful.

1. Ask for a Specific Number

You can’t always predict how many references someone will provide. A highly outgoing candidate might provide a half-dozen. A more reserved candidate might only provide a few. Specifying a set number of references helps you manage the total time the reference checks take.

2. Forget Personal References

Personal references add almost no value to the process. Anyone adding personal references will only select people with a good opinion of them. Asking for personal references also puts the shy or introverted into a tough position without learning anything about their ability to do the job.

3. Use Standardized Questions for All Candidates

A former supervisor who loved a candidate may go on at length about non-critical information. Their positive opinion can skew your perception without the candidate necessarily being the best choice. Develop a standard list of questions you ask all references. This makes the information you gather more relevant. It also gives you a more reliable method of comparing candidates.

4. Make Sure You Speak with a Direct Supervisor

No matter how well-intentioned a manager might be, they often have little direct contact with many of their subordinates. That means they can usually only talk in general statements. The candidate was never in trouble. They got good performance reviews. A direct supervisor can provide you with more concrete information about the candidate’s actual work, even if it’s only through tone and subtext.

5. Leave Reference Checks for Last

Reference checks take time. You need to coordinate with previous supervisors and block out time. Then there is the actual time you spend on the phone. After that, you must compare notes about each candidate’s references. The fewer of these checks you must do, the faster and more efficient the process becomes. Leaving it until you’ve narrowed down the pool to a few candidates makes the process much faster.

6. Work with a Staffing Agency

While this doesn’t streamline the reference checking process itself, it does streamline the process for you. The staffing agency will check the references in advance and weed out the problematic candidates. That means you only need to check a short list of references before you offer to hire someone.

Always Aim for Maximum Value

When making your reference checking process more efficient, always look for what will give you maximum value. That means talking with direct supervisors, asking the same questions, and waiting until you only have a few candidates left.

What Not To Do When Working With A Recruiter

Working with a recruiter has upsides. They can connect you with positions that may not be public knowledge yet or smooth over concerns that might otherwise cost you an interview. With that said, here are some things to avoid doing when working with a recruiter.

Don’t Act Unprofessionally

The recruiter is the person who will present you and your skills to potential employers. You need to present them with the exact persona you’d present to an employer. That means dressing professionally, responding promptly to calls or emails, and showing up on time.

Don’t Provide Financial Information

It’s easy to think of the recruiter as your friend since they’re trying to help you find a job. In the end, though, they work for someone else. More importantly, they’ve got a profit motive for getting you placed quickly. Don’t share that you’ll work for less than your target salary. If they know that, they may present you to companies offering lower salaries if it will get you hired faster.

Don’t Divulge Future Plans

You may know that you’re maximum shelf-life at a new job is two years because you’ll be opening a small business then. Your recruiter doesn’t need to know those plans. Employers don’t like hiring people they know will leave in the near future. Recruiters know it. Some recruiters will steer you away from better employers to preserve their relationship with that company.

Don’t Be Too Flexible

If you’re months into a job search with no results, you may think that you need to expand your horizons. Don’t tell your recruiter that you’re open to any job, anywhere. That doesn’t make the process easier or faster. A focused search in a specific city or area will go much faster and smoother.

Don’t Ignore Their Feedback

If you’ve been on a few job interviews and didn’t get offers, there is a good chance those employers touched base with your recruiter. Your recruiter’s feedback will come out of those conversations. Ignoring that advice only hurts your chances of getting future offers from potential employers.

Don’t Complain

Have you ever dealt with a coworker who complains all the time? It’s tedious and makes you want to avoid that person whenever possible. If all you do is complain to your recruiter, they’ll feel the same way about you.

Treat Recruiters Like Potential Employers

The safest bet when working with a recruiter is to treat that person like you would a potential employer. Focus on behaving professionally but keep sensitive information private. You’d never tell a potential employer you’d work for less or plan on quitting in two years, so don’t tell your recruiter. By approaching your recruiter this way, you arm them to present you to employers in the right light.

Are you tired of tackling the job search process by yourself? Let Gallman Consulting guide you into the right interview with the right company.

Interviewing During the Coronavirus Outbreak

As a recruiter for the past 20 years I have experienced some interesting challenges – COVID 19, being the latest.  We are being bombarded with news (some fake news) and some very serious concerns are being raised.  For Gallman Consulting – The safety and well-being of our Staff is paramount to us.  Therefore, we have advised them how to take care of themselves, protect others, and monitor the latest developments per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But….    WE ARE WORKING!!!    We are staying in touch with clients and continuing to provide our expert services.  

For clients who are especially concerned about face to face / onsite interviews, we recommend the following:

  • Do a more in-depth phone interview before bringing potential candidates into your facility / offices
  • Consider a Skype / Zoom or any number of virtual interview systems that are available.   

If a face to face interview becomes necessary, we will check with the candidates to find out if the following applies to them:

  • Traveled outside of the US in the last month.
  • Had contact with someone else who has traveled outside of the US in the last month.
  • Had contact with someone who has the coronavirus.

You can ask these same questions when a candidate arrives for an interview, and even have them sign a form to verify the above.  Of course – it is a good idea to have hand sanitizer available on the premises. We can also ask the candidate if they are willing to wear a face mask if you prefer.

Gallman Consulting is ready to assist you in navigating this public health challenge and furthering the well-being of all employees.  We remain available to service your needs.  Our contingency plans ensure our internal processes will continue without interruption and you will have the candidates you need to fill your open positions.

We are in this together!

Best Regards,

Georgette
TE BU0901

Georgette Sandifer
Senior Director of Placement
Phone: 803-744-3304
gsandifer@gpsjobs.net
www.gallman-consulting.com

Common Resume Mistakes You Need To Avoid

Your resume is the first and often the last thing a hiring manager sees about you. That means you must do everything in your power to avoid getting screened out at the resume review stage of the process. To that end, here are five of the most common resume mistakes you should avoid at all costs.

1. Typos and Grammar Errors

Typos and grammar errors are one of the easiest mistakes to fix. That’s the reason why leaving any on your resume is one of the fastest ways to get cut from consideration. Take advantage of spellcheck and grammar checking features in word processing programs to catch obvious errors. Next, print out a copy and read it out loud to yourself. Seeing it on paper and hearing it can help you spot any lingering mistakes. After that, get someone you trust to read it over and look for errors.

2. Not Customizing Your Resume

Many companies and staffing services use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to identify good candidates for a job. One of the things an ATS does is look for matching keywords. That means it looks on your resume for phrases that appear in the job listing. Let’s say a job listing mentions:

  • Prepare bill of lading
  • Operate lift truck and pallet jacks
  • Oversee shipping activity

Those three phrases should appear on your resume. It kicks your resume to the top of the candidate pile.

3. Oversharing

A good resume is 1-2 pages. If your resume goes beyond two pages, it means you’re sharing too much information about each job. Remember, you’re sharing highlights about the position and your accomplishments. Maybe you picked up an award or certification at a job. Maybe one of your ideas saved the company a lot of money. Share that kind of information, rather than mundane details.

4. Get Specific

Get specific about what you did, rather than make general statements. Let’s say your last job was in fast food. A bad description looks like this:

“I handled customer service and worked in the grill.”

That description doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything. A good description looks more like this:

“Served as a shift manager, handling customer concerns about their orders, supervising 3-6 workers every shift, as well as operating the cash register and preparing food as needed.”

That description gives specific information about your responsibilities and skills.

5. Contact Information

A shocking number of job applicants get so focused on the jobs and structure of their resume that they neglect their contact information. Some people leave old contact information, and others forget to add it altogether. Make sure your contact information is at the top of the resume and correct.

Mind the Details

Crafting a good resume means that you mind the details. Is all the information correct? Is it free of typos and grammar errors? Does it include key phrases from the job description? Is it specific and concise? By focusing on these issues first, you avoid common resume mistakes and improve your odds of landing an interview.