Tag Archives: holidays

Question of the Month: Holidays in the Workplace—What Stresses You Out the Most During this Festive Season?

It’s November, which means the holiday season is about to begin. Odds are you’ve already seen commercials and advertisements full of happy families joyfully carving turkey, co-workers chatting while wearing festive hats, and children politely opening presents.

Unfortunately, real life is often a whole lot more hectic than that. While Thanksgiving and Christmas can be delightful and full of happy memories, getting there can be a struggle, especially at work. You have to worry about requesting time-off, schedule changes when co-workers go on storybook vacations, buying gifts for work pals, and, of course, the frequently awkward company holiday party.

We want to know what stresses you out the most at work during the holiday season. Let us know by voting in our poll!

Share more: What’s your craziest holiday story?

Workplace Gift-Giving Guide

The do’s and don’ts of workplace present exchange

Who doesn’t love the holidays? Delicious eggnog, shimmering trees, and, of course, presents bound in cheerful wrapping paper. This time of year provides a wonderful opportunity to bond with your coworkers. Exchanging gifts that are a bit more personal enhances your workplace relationships

But not too personal. A happy occasion can be ruined by an inappropriate or strange gift.

DO: Office Supplies

Unique and fun office supplies make great gifts. If you have a friend who loves bulldogs, spring for a dog-shaped eraser, pen, or calendar. If someone’s a writer, maybe they would appreciate a typewriter-shaped pencil cup or a calligraphy pen. The gifts don’t have to be particularly quirky. If you want to get April from accounting something but aren’t sure what she wants, you really can’t go wrong with a numeric keypad!

DON’T: Anything Offensive or Inappropriate

Stay away from anything that includes swear words or lewd images. Even if you have an inside joke with your buddy Bob, giving him an inappropriate gag gift in front of the entire office is a bad idea. It makes you look unprofessional, and could even put Bob in a bad spot when he has to figure out what to do with your gift. Also, take care your gift won’t be offensive due to an individual’s religious or personal beliefs.

This is all still true even if the actual gift exchange isn’t happening at the office. People talk, and your boss is sure to hear about it one way or another.

DO: Personalized Items

It’s inexpensive to order customized items online these days. You can get a coffee cup made with an inside (and safe-for-work) joke plastered on the side for a few dollars, or a few pens monogrammed with someone’s initials for a similar price. Some Etsy sellers even create custom keychains or stickers for under $10. Search online and use your creative flair to design something memorable.

DON’T: Jewelry, Perfume, Flowers, Cologne, Etc.

Steer clear of any gift that could be romantic. Although your intentions might be entirely platonic, you have no idea how your coworker might feel upon receiving such a gift. Not to mention the gossip that could start because of it.

And personal items like perfume and cologne are a bad idea anyway. You don’t really know a person’s scent preferences, and could end up giving them something they don’t like or are even allergic to.

DO: Gift Cards

Although gift cards can be a bit impersonal, they are by far the safest workplace gift idea. It’s hard to get offended by a gift card to your favorite restaurant or retailer. Just ask around beforehand to make sure they don’t have a vendetta against any one chain or supermarket. A fun holiday card can add a personal touch.

DON’T: Alcohol

Although there’s nothing wrong with bringing a nice wine to a dinner party, it is usually frowned upon to bring such libations into the workplace. It might be alright if your gift exchange is happening at a restaurant or coworker’s home, but consider your company culture before deciding.

Looking for more workplace gift ideas? Let us know in the comments below!

Holiday Job Tips

Sleigh bells are ringing—what are you waiting for?

Whether you’re unemployed and looking for work or employed but looking for a change, the holidays can be a great time to jump start your job search.

Seasonal jobs, for instance, can be both a way to pay the bills and stepping stones on the way to full-time employment. And with Black Friday looming on the horizon, businesses are rushing to fill their job openings. Although many holiday jobs were filled in October, there are still plenty of opportunities for work out there. The challenge is finding those opportunities and getting an interview.

The following are a few ways to enhance your holiday job search and get one step ahead of the competition.

Apply Everywhere

If what you need is a job, any job, don’t narrow your job search to one type of business. Although retail is hiring in spades, other businesses are just as busy. More people shopping means more people stopping by coffee shops for a latte or the gas station to refill their tank. Warehouses also need more employees to keep up with the huge amount of gifts being shipped back and forth. After a long day of deal-hunting, shoppers will flock to restaurants in droves, which means a need for more wait staff.

Drive around your area and see which restaurants or stores are hiring. Then go online and use job search websites like Indeed.com or Monster.com to find openings in your area. You can go to the specific business website as well.

You can also send your resume to local staffing companies (like Express Employment Professionals) so they can connect you with opportunities you wouldn’t hear of otherwise. With you and the staffing agency both job searching, you get two times the job search power without paying a dime.

Network

The holiday season is a time of celebration and coming together. Networking events and volunteer projects are plentiful. Use these events to connect with others in your industry. Just make sure to be tactful. For instance, don’t beg for a job at a Christmas party or desperately follow someone to every one of their volunteer projects. Be yourself and show that you’re a person worth knowing.

Once you’ve made these contacts, search on LinkedIn and connect with them. After that, feel free to send a positive letter thanking them for connecting with you and let them know that you’re looking for work. Also, be sure to mention how you’ve been productive during time without work. These connections could lead to seasonal work or even a full-time job in the future!

Make a List—and Check It Twice

What do you really want in a job? It’s fine if you’re just looking for something to pay the bills right now, but do you have a long-term career strategy? What do you enjoy? What do you hate? What kind of boss and business culture do you need to thrive? Answering questions like these can make your job search much clearer, paving the way for the New Year.

Looking for more holiday job search tips? Ask us your questions in the comments below!

 

Poll- How Do You Wish Your Company Showed Appreciation?

MOV_POLL-ICONWhy wait for Employee Appreciation Day or a generic pat on the back with a scripted, unenthusiastic ‘great job’ one-liner?  The truth is employees enjoy being appreciated year-round. In fact, those who are recognized for their work feel valued and part of the company.

Some companies have gone above and beyond the norm to recognize and reward their top performers and overall staff. Consequentially, they gain employees who have a personal interest in the success of the company. These companies understand a few basic ideologies concerning employee retention and motivation, and recognize the extra effort that people voluntarily invest in work—simply by saying, thank you.

The Business Daily News recently asked owners for their best tips on how to show appreciation to employees. Their advice ranged from small gifts, group outings, giving employees more responsibility, and allowing their input on company decisions.

Whether a company has displayed gratitude to an individual or the entire staff for exceptional work, we want to know what you’ve personally experienced or witnessed when a company has shown employee appreciation. Let us know by voting in our poll.

How Do You Wish Your Company Showed Appreciation? (Select all that apply.)

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Celebrate Grandparents Day With Lessons From the Wise

grandparents_day_webIn the United States, National Grandparents Day is Sunday, Sept. 11. It’s a day designated to honor grandparents for their love and sacrifice. Grandparents are often associated with wisdom due to their years of experience and adventure. There have been countless wise leaders in the history of the world, and we want to share lessons from some of the most famous as we celebrate the wisdom of our elders.

Wisdom About Teamwork
Mother Teresa was a nun and missionary who founded the Missionaries of Charity, a worldwide religious congregation that runs hospices and homes for those in need. In 1979, she won a Nobel Peace Prize for her work. Mother Teresa lived to be 87 years old, and was admired by many for her charitable works. She once said:

“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot, together we can do great things.”

Mother Teresa’s wise words are a reminder of the value of teamwork. While being your personal best is important, so is working well with those on your team. Most likely, there’s someone in your workplace who has a skill you don’t have. Likewise, you may know how to do something your co-workers do not. By working together and helping each other use your talents, you can create something you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. Take the time to get to know your co-workers and find out what skills and talents they have so you can be better prepared to take on team projects.

Wisdom About Pride
Known for his spiritual wisdom and teachings, Mahatma Gandhi was the leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Gandhi became famous for his non-violent movements and lived to be 78 years old. Gandhi once said:

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

There is a great lesson to be taken from Gandhi’s words of wisdom. You have power over your emotions, and only you can decide how you let yourself feel. If a supervisor, customer, or co-worker says something that is hurtful, you can control how you let it affect you. While it’s true that some criticism can be constructive, not all of it is meant to help you grow. Decide for yourself what you will listen to, and remember that you are in control of your reactions.

Wisdom About Goals
Writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is often referred to as the most intelligent man in history. According to Business Insider, Albert Einstein himself is said to have called Goethe “the last man in the world to know everything.” When it comes to wisdom, there’s no doubt Goethe had it. He founded the science of human chemistry and developed one of the earliest known theories of evolution. His estimated IQ score ranged from 210 to 225, on a scale where genius intelligence is measured at 145. Goethe once said:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

Those wise words serve as a reminder that you can’t accomplish your goals if you don’t try first. Whatever your goal is—whether it’s to land your dream job, get an interview, or receive a promotion—it’s time to start on your path. There’s no better day than today to dust off your resume, submit an application for the job you want, or take on a new project. If you don’t start, you can’t reach the finish line.

What wise words do you live by? Share yours in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Happy Labor Day!

Monday, Sept. 5, is Labor Day in the United States and Canada, and we want to thank all of our Express associates for their hard work and dedication. At Express, we know how much of an impact a job can have on someone’s life. We take pride in helping our associates find great jobs, and you’re helping us reach our long-term goal of putting a million people to work annually. We hope you have a great holiday!

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Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Why Customer Service Matters in Any Role

customer_service_matters_webNo company is too big or too small to avoid the effects of customer interaction with current, new, or potential customers. If a company has good customer service, people will assume they also have good products.

And since customers will remember if they have a bad experience with you or your employer, it’s extremely important to maintain a positive attitude and provide excellent customer service every day. To help you put your best foot forward, take a look at these reasons why customer service is important. Then, check out a few quick tips to remember when you interact with customers.

Positive customer service can help your career path.
Employers keep a close eye on their employees to ensure they are doing great work. This means you have a perfect opportunity to stand out and shine in your role. Show up to work on time, maintain a positive attitude, answer customers’ questions quickly, be helpful, and go the extra mile when you can. It may seem like a lot of work, but when your employer notices how important customer service is to you, it may lead to promotions, raises, bonuses, or other rewards. And if you’re on a temporary assignment, great customer service can even lead to a permanent job.

Good experiences lead to return customers.
Customers who have positive interactions with employees and experience a high level of service will likely return to the business. If you went to a restaurant that had poor service, would you return? Most likely, the answer is no. Likewise, if you went to a restaurant with exceptional service and a positive atmosphere, chances are good that you’ll return. The same goes for customers who visit your workplace. In fact, a study by InfoQuest found that a totally satisfied customer contributes 14 times as much revenue as a somewhat dissatisfied customer.

Customer service can separate you from the competition.
Companies must compete for business, and customer satisfaction can be the one thing that sets them apart. If there are two businesses that sell similar products, but one has a poor customer service record, which business will likely receive the most customers? The one with the better service, of course. Today, reviewing companies and receiving recommendations for businesses is easier than ever. Even one poor customer service interaction can lead to a negative review, which could lead to lost customers.

Happy customers can lead to a happy work environment.
When a company keeps its customers happy, it usually creates a trickle effect on employees. According to Forbes, positive customer interaction leads to great work, which “leads to greater productivity, less absenteeism and turnover, and reduced retention costs.” If your supervisors and co-workers are as determined as you are to be great every day, your work environment is sure to improve. As Forbes states, “Often, doing things for your customers also works better for you.”

Now that you know how important customer service is, how do you make sure you’re doing your best?

Evaluate your own customer service experiences.
When it comes to how people interact with your company, it’s about more than products. People are interacting with you, and they expect to have a positive experience. Taking the time to be courteous and respectful goes a long way. Think about your own experiences and the businesses that left you either smiling or steaming. Consider adopting the positive elements from those experiences so you can help your customers enjoy the interactions they have with you.

Be positive from the start.
Excellent customer service begins with the first word you say. Whether it’s a greeting as customers walk in the door, an exchange over the phone, or the opening line in an email, you set the tone for your customer interaction. Remember to smile, offer assistance, and speak clearly in all communications.

Lend an ear.
It isn’t always easy to be on the receiving end of customers’ frustrations, especially when you are not to blame. But, attentive listening can be a catalyst for breaking down barriers and creating a fix for the situation. When you listen politely to a customer, you help them feel valued and may be able to solve their complaint more effectively. Remember to ask for assistance from your supervisor if a complaint is out of your control or you cannot remedy the situation.

Follow up in a timely manner.
When a customer has a question, always be as helpful and quick as you can. If you don’t know the answer, let the customer know that you will find out as soon as possible and follow up with the answer they need. If a customer has a complaint you can’t resolve, let your supervisor handle the situation, but be sure to follow up with the customer to ensure they received the help they needed.

Exceed expectations.
Whenever you can, go above and beyond. Anticipate your customers’ needs by offering assistance, making suggestions, or following up with them. Impress your supervisor by exceeding quotas, asking if you can help with additional tasks, or offering to stay late if the workload is overwhelming. When you go above and beyond, customers will notice and may even tell your supervisor. As much as a positive review can help a business, it can also help your career.

How do you maintain excellent customer service? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.