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Self-Directed Learning in the Workplace

Getting employees to participate in training seminars (let alone actually pay attention to them) can be like pulling teeth.  No matter how important or relevant the training, there will be people who think it doesn’t apply to them, people who show up then sit in the corner and doodle, people who leave after lunch, and so on, which can create the impression that you’ve just wasted a lot of money trying to get people to learn a new skill or process that could help them perform their job more effectively.  One way to combat this is to implement a self-directed learning program that allows employees to pursue their own education, expand their skill sets, and improve performance on their own schedule.  Below, we’ve provided some insight into why self-directed learning can be of value and how to implement a program of your own.

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How to Retain Top Talent

After putting the time and effort into finding the best suited candidates for an open position, you will want to ensure that these candidates stay and continue to contribute to the current and future success of your company. Employers are always looking to understand what keeps top talent happy. Here at Potomac Recruiting we suggest utilizing the following tips to ensure that you retain your best employees. Job satisfaction is vital to increasing your retention rate. Failing to recognize what is important to employees will lead to lower productivity, and in turn a lower retention rate. While a competitive salary and good benefits are very important to your employees, there are many additional factors that your employees will value as much or even more, such as developing and maintaining a culture of open communication, ensuring that employees feel valued and understand the goals of the company and the expectations for...
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Building an Effective Team Part One: What Not to Do

Much of a manager’s time is spent making sure their team or department is performing well and functioning as smoothly as possible, so we’ve decided to devote the next couple of weeks to our two-part series on how to build an effective team.  In Part One we’ll take a look at some common mistakes managers make – usually with the best intentions – in an effort to show you what not to do when trying to foster team development.  Then next week we’ll turn around and look at things to do, and provide some advice on techniques you can implement to help build trust and create a high-performing team. One: Don’t Provide Empty Praise As we’ve mentioned numerous times, recognizing achievement and publically praising employees who have gone above and beyond in their efforts or successfully completed a major project is an excellent way to boost morale and create a...
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Reducing Employee Turnover

It’s no industry secret that employee turnover and “job hopping” are on the rise, with fewer people choosing to stay with the same company for the entire length of their careers, as was once common.  This does have some benefits, as employees are gaining a wider variety of experiences and skills which they can apply to each new workplace, but can hinder company growth – especially for small companies.  With that in mind, we asked our HR experts to come up with some tips for reducing employee turnover and improving long-term retention rates.  Tip 1: Review compensation and benefit packages regularly Higher salaries and more attractive benefit packages are regularly cited by job hoppers as some of the top reasons they accepted a new position, so employers can cut down on this motivation by regularly reviewing compensation packages.  Review industry trends to make sure that your employees are being paid...
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Creating a High Performance Culture

As a manager, you are responsible for setting the tone in the office.  Naturally, not every manager will have the same style: some may prefer to hold weekly staff meetings and provide structured feedback, for example, while others would rather hold staff meetings as necessary and provide feedback on a more ad hoc basis.  Whatever your managerial style, though, almost everyone can agree that it’s best to have a high performance culture where all employees strive to provide the best possible work product.  With that in mind, we’ve put together some tips to help you build a just such a culture in the workplace. Tip 1: Increase Transparency It’s hard for anyone to perform well if they don’t understand how the work product they produce will be used and how it contributes to the overall goals of the company.  When assigning new tasks, make sure everyone involved knows exactly what...
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Tips for Being an Effective Mentor

We have written several articles that briefly touched on the importance of providing mentorship programs to keep your employees engaged with the company and satisfied with their jobs, but we have never discussed the specifics of how to be an effective mentor.  So, we asked our human resources experts to compile a list of some of their favorite tips for becoming a good mentor who guides his or her employees to success! 1)       Be Willing and Able to Clearly Explain what you Know If you want to be a solid mentor, you’re going to have to put yourself in the shoes of your mentee and figure out how to impart your knowledge without using jargon, specialized acronyms, or buzzwords that might be confusing to someone without your level of expertise.  Remember, this person approached you because they want to learn from your experience and one day reach your level,...
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How to Offer Hiring Perks on a Budget

We touched last week on the topic of offering non-monetary or low-cost bonuses to improve employee engagement , so this week it seems natural to discuss how to offer hiring perks on a tight budget. We’ve all heard about some of the massive packages new hires at large corporations like Google and Facebook receive: large monetary bonuses, gym memberships, company cars, relocation bonuses, and so on.  If you’re a small business or feeling the crunch of the economic downturn, you may be worried that you’re losing out on talent because you can’t afford to offer lucrative deals to attract top employees.  Don’t get discouraged—there are plenty of low-cost perks you can offer that will appeal to everyone!  We’ve put together a list of 10 simple perks that will help you attract new employees—and keep your existing employees happy and productive! Offer Flexible Hours: Letting potential new hires know that they...
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Building Employee Engagement

In today’s world of budget cuts and economic uncertainty, it’s no surprise that employee engagement is dropping.  Companies are being forced to do more with less, and often that means demanding more of employees without being able to provide bonuses or raises.  This, in turn, is making many employees feel overwhelmed and overworked, and this stress can lead to disengagement and loss of passion at the office.  With this in mind, Potomac Recruiting has come up with some simple tips every manager can incorporate to boost engagement without breaking the bank! Tip 1: Give Out Positive Feedback Whenever Possible Make sure your employees know when they’ve done a good job on a task, even if it’s something small—you’d be surprised how far a public pat on the back can go towards improving morale!  Additionally, encourage employees to give positive feedback to each other whenever appropriate, and to share in accomplishments...
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About Us

Potomac Recruiting consultants are specialists in talent. Our experienced consultants are passionate about finding the right people for your business—that’s the Potomac Recruiting advantage. We specialize in finding the people who will help your business exceed its goals, and our success is measurable: in today’s fast-moving world Potomac Recruiting is proud that our retention rate is 93%.  

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