Saturday, November 8, 2014

How to find great customer service and call center staff!

Great customer service is something that can be hard to find now days. I do however believe there is a revival going on in this country brought on by the wonderful world of social media. Had it not been for sites likes Angie's List, Tripadvisor and even Facebook, where a person can in seconds share their experiences with anyone on the globe, companies may have let this slip. I am glad.

Now as a person who prefers to shop online, I do not really need customer service, unless there is a problem, so I expect if there is great service as I feel I save the company a lot of time and money just by taking care of my order myself, online and having it shipped.

If you have ever spent time at WalMart or Mcdonalds, you must likely have experienced anything but stellar customer service. I honestly do not know if its the pay, benefits, atmosphere, culture or what, but time and time again, you will not get good service. Go to a Starbucks or Panera and you will be warmly greeted, even forced into conversation with a real human being and they politely the worker will up-sell you on items. It has to be culture and training. As someone who worked at Mcdonald's as a teen, I recall they spend a lot of time training on products and procedures but not a lot on customer service. They should reconsider this policy. I often thought it was a good place to start, but now that my own teenage daughter is working there I think its a bad place to start. Why start off your career learning how NOT to give stellar service.

So what is great service and how do you give it? Well great service always starts with an attitude. If you do not like people or serving people, then you really should find another line of work. You are not going to be happy and you will give the company and products a bad name. When people are recruiting for call center and customer service associates, you really need to start with attitude. How do you know if a person really cares about helping people? Look at their resume, look at what they do with their spare time, find out if they volunteer or what activities they do on the weekends. A true service minded person will live it, you will find it with good questions. Second, seek a coachable person. If you get someone who has the heart but not the talent, you WIN. You can also train a good worker with a positive attitude.

Start with those two items and you will be in good shape. More to come...


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Millennials and why I think they Rock!

There has been a lot said about the Millennials or "Gen Y" and much of it is incorrect. This is a generation unlike any of the previous ones. They do not buy into the good old work hard and climb the ladder methods, or the work for one company for ever model either. And I say GOOD!

They can appear disengaged or as some call it "lazy" but really, because of the technological advancements, they just have more time than us. They can avoid long phone calls by shooting off a text, heck you can even talk to your phone while driving and it will send emails for you. You can be working on multiple projects at any time of the day or night with the use of a computer or tablet. They are mobile and always connected.

They can communicate with anyone on the planet, in seconds. They can accomplish tasks, learn new skills on Youtube and much more in 1/2 the time. They appreciate life, friends, collaboration and doing something that really makes a difference. What is wrong with this idea? I love it.

I guess time will be the judge but we need to prepare and adjust to the new way of getting things done! #klpotter2

Here are some interesting facts about the millennials:

references: Red Brick-2015millennialmajorityworkforce-141022132049-conversion-gate01.pdf

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Get out and Vote!

We are the land of the free so make sure you get out today and let your voice be heard! No matter what side you are on, let your voice be heard! #votetoday #karenpotter #klpotter2

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Book Review: How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

On a cold afternoon there is really nothing better than a hot cup of tea and a great book. How Google Works was a perfect read on this lazy afternoon. As someone who loves to use Google and not really terribly familiar with the companies origins or even its inner workings, I was not sure if this would be the book for me but I figured I would give it a shot!

As for me, I sometimes think how lucky we are to be alive during this technology renaissance. As some born on the very tail end of Gen X and with a much closer affinity to Gen Y, I like to think of myself as the best of both worlds. I have always openly embraced technology and the endless opportunities it brings to our world, the social connectivity, the knowledge and power at the fingertips of millions of people every day. But with a dash of Gen X in me, skepticism shines through as well. Cautiously optimist one may say. That said, this book is an amazing read for anyone, as it transcends all generations and opens the mind to the new age of business.

As a person who spent my 20's in college, reading books from Dale Carnage,  Lee Iaccoca, Jack Welch, John Maxwell, Trump, Who Moved My Cheese, Built to Last, Tribal Leadership, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Good to Great, pretty much anything I could get hands on so I could learn the "system", you know the way to move up in the world. One thing that always bothered me is the constraints and time it takes to get ahead. This theory of paying dues, with age comes wisdom and work your way up over time kind of annoyed me but I pressed on.

Then shortly behind me in the workforce came the Gen Y folks and their crazy ideas of graduating college and demanding corner offices or starting their own businesses. They were fearless with their requests  and maybe because they (and sometimes I consider myself in this pool) had seen 9-11 and the great recession Where in an instant the world changed for the worst and their older siblings lost it all in the housing and stock market crash, their parents who were just a year into retirement, now forced back into the low wage workforce. I think seeing the cruel world in this way, watching people fail so spectacularly and so publicly embolden these folks. I mean really, no matter what they try and even fail at, it could not be worse than Lehman Brothers or Government, I mean General Motors bailouts.

The generation who grew up with technology, social media is in their blood and perhaps because of all the bad they have seen, they are unfair to march ahead. Many feel they lack commitment, they are dreamers, maybe even lazy, some of those who think that are Gen X'ers who honestly fear them. Gen X lost over 10 years of progress in the workplace. When we should have been moving head in our careers, making progressively more money, going our 401K's, buying that next house-instead we were beat down. Many lost their homes and had to start over. Some lost all their money, lost their job and instead of reflecting on the last 10 years seeing progress, they have resentment and angry. Many lost the one thing that can truly set a person apart- Passion and Hope!

All of this said, leads me to my point as it relates to this book. Google does things differently, probably to the liking of those Gen Y. They do not run a business the way we all were taught in college, with business plans and hierarchies. They function in a collaborative, group think, academia minded way. It works and sometimes breaking away from the old gives life to the new. Personally I like the new, I am sick of the old.

I recall when I was first elected to office in my small little neck of the woods, the youngest elected official in our history and a woman, no problem there, hun? A arrogant man said to me, after I took my first political bashing for not falling in line with the rest, you know you would be wise to just keep quiet and learn the ropes for the first couple of years. Code for, listen newbie, sit down and shut up and let us older "wiser" men show you how its done. What a joke? No one who knows me or voted for me would ever think for one moment I would every sit back and fall in line with anyone, ever. The hierarchy and good old boys network was about to be introduced to a new generation of people. People, like me, who have watched the old way to running businesses and governments and have decided that is not how we are going to do things any more.

How does this all relate to the book you say?

Well the book talks about this revolution in the workplace and this new highly coveted worker. We learn the most coveted employees are called "smart creatives" they are the ones with traits such as "deep technical knowledge, analytical, understands that and how to use data, driven towards greatness, and business smart." They also mention the fact this person realizes work is not showing up from 9-5 each day, its about results as creative genius happens every where- they are full of new ideas and their perspective is different than the rest and best of all they can change their perspective as needed. Other traits are risk takers, not afraid to fail, self directed, charismatic, hands on, and do not stay with one thing for ever. (Schmidt, Eric & Rosenberg, Jonathan, 2014)

This an an exciting list of attributes and something I hope we are cultivating on our K-12 educational systems. 

In addition, the book talks about the importance of culture, something that has to be organic. Culture is something the younger workers are looking for and its not called Work-Life Balance anymore. Collaboration rules the day.

Where the book is it really starts to pick up steam for me is in the Talent-Hiring section. I have to say one of the best lines in this section is "Scouting is like shaving: If you don't do it ever day, it shows!" I agree completely. Hiring the right people for the right positions is not something that should be done casually or only when needed. It is something that requires consistent cultivation.

Many companies do not have the time or resources to adequately do that, hence the need for staffing and recruiting companies (a plug for my day job) where that is what they do, day in and day out. Another thing companies need to look for is what the book talks about as learning animals. People who are coachable and want to grow and learn. People who have skills and abilities but have something more important the ability and willingness to change, adapt and learn. You would think this is easy to find, but you are so very wrong. It is more important to have a smart and creative person who is willing to learn and grow then a egotistical super star who feels they already know it all.

As you learn more about the hiring process at Google, you begin to see why Google is a highly coveted place to work. If you get in, you really are the best and they will reward you handsomely for it. There are many companies out there that fall into this category and if you are in the job market, you should know who they are.
The sections on decision making, primordial ooze and communications are just as enticing to read. I found juicy nuggets through this short, day-long read and I would highly recommend the book to anyone wanting to get a better understanding of the worlds most interesting and sometimes frighteningly overly engaged in out lives company-Google.

Enjoy this great read and please share your comments!

#Google #EricSchmidt #jonathanrosenberg #business  

Buy the Book Today!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween- Where did this holiday come from anyways?

From the time we are born we are dressed up in outfits and sent out into the cold, dark night to fetch some delicious treats, but why? 

Most of us have no idea, and honestly I was not sure so I did a little research on the topic.

According to Britannica, "Halloween had its origins in the festival of Samhain among the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland". It was the day they consider the start of winter and their herds were to come back from pasture. In addition, dead souls we thought to visit their old stomping grounds and others would depart to the other world. (Britannica, 2014) People would do many of the things we do today, host bonfires, wear masks to scare away evil ghosts and other such traditions.

Well there it is. Have a Happy and Safe Halloween everyone!


#qualifiedstaffing #halloween 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The way we present ourselves matters, or does it?

The way we present ourselves matters, or does it?

A message I wish I could convey to students, job seekers and even my own children at times. I do not think you can judge a book by its cover, but I do think we are in charge of marketing ourselves, in person and online. What we post on social media, creates a image, what we say, creates an image, what we wear also creates that image. It it what it is.

Look, there a many folks who do not look the part and are super stars. We also have people who look the part and are not qualified to flip my hamburgers. But in general, I am a firm believer in marketing oneself in a professional manor.

Again, I realize we should not judge a book by its cover and in many creative corners of the world, dressing down is the new hip thing to do at work but call me old fashion, I believe you always put your best foot forward.

My family often teases me when I need to put on make-up for a quick run to the local grocery store but as an elected leader in my hometown and someone who works in sales and marketing, I really have to be "on" at all times. It has been my experience that the one time I go to the store with out the normal attire or make-up on is the time I run into all sorts of people. Now there is a case to be made for the natural beauty movement and I am not saying a person should be so vein that they worry about how they look at all times. I am not.

What I am saying is, especially when you are seeking employment or going to be in places where you could potentially run into someone of influence who might be able to help you on your journey, you should step it up a notch.

This great article talks more about the topic... what do you think?
#qualifiedstaffing #qualifiedstaff #klpotter2

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Grant Money for Businesses in Michigan Take a Look!

Always looking for ways to help out folks. In Michigan, there are grant dollars for improvements. 

See below: 
Grants for Safety and Health Improvement 

#qualifiedstaffing #grants #safetyandhealth

Going Back to the Old Way of Find Qualified Candidates- Thank Goodness!

Recruiting is changing and I say, thank heavens! This annoying model of posting a job and hundreds of either unqualified or irrelevant candidates apply, they we spend days and days weeding though the system to find a few to interview is madness!

How about from the perspective of the applicant...they apply for a job with a poorly written job description that is pages long, go through a super long online process which totally duplicates the resume they spent 8 hours developing. Then, after all of that, a great candidate will never make to the recruiters desk because of a robotic application system did not like their key words. What a nightmare!

I prefer the old "circle of influence" model, where you find the best candidates thought your networks, word of mouth and relationship building models. It appears we have come full circle and maybe now we can get back to what really works. 

This article talks about this process and how it relates to our younger generation of workers. 

Read the article NOW!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Social Media Questions Answered, sort of...

Ever wonder about social media marketing? This article has some good insight on the topic and some of those unanswered questions we all have about going viral, does social media help sales and more. Good read and great to share! 


Monday, October 27, 2014

We Want Critical Thinking Skills and All That Jazz

We hear it all the time from employers: job seekers today, especially the younger generations, lack soft skills, critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and 'EI". What we do not hear is who is to blame? Why are all these college graduates coming out of school with a lack of ability to "think"?

Being a Adjunct Professor, I see it. Example: An assignment is due on Saturday at 11:59 PM and is to be submitted electronically. Pretty clear, you have over a week to complete the task, plan accordingly. Why is every week, like clockwork I have students who miss the deadline, come to class the next week (still with out submitting the assignment) and ask what they should do? They tell me their Internet was down, their cat ran away, children were sick...yet with all of those excuses did it not every occur to submit the paper late, you know the better late than never?

When I say "why didn't you just submit it late"? They stare at me and say something like "well, I was not sure if you would except it late."

So, if you miss a credit card payment do you just never pay it because its late and you were not sure if they would accept it late? If you are going on a first date with someone and you are struck in traffic and late do you just not show up because you were not sure they would still go on a date with you because you are late? Makes no logical sense.

Now this is an age old problem, late homework, but why is this so hard for students to solve on their own. Its not a big deal, its college and its my duty to teach them, they don't know what they don't know so I look at these opportunities as teachable moments, and offer them advice for the future on how to address these problems as it relates to the workplace. That is my job as an instructor but does everyone do this, I am not sure.

This is simplistic example of the lack of problem solving skills students have today but is a window into a much bigger problem. I see it with my own children. They are given an assignment or task and if the the regular way or doing it is not available they deduct the task impossible to complete. Dishwasher full of clean dishes and your job is to load dirty, well clean dishes in the way hence can not complete task. Or lawn mower not starting, so cant mow the lawn. It never occurs to my children to try to fix the problem. Now they are teens so some of this is to be expected but I have to wonder, have I let my children down, do they suffer from this lack of critical thinking and problem solving deficit I see every day?

The youth of today are bright and technologically advanced, so many amazing skills and abilities at their disposal but with all their knowledge I wonder if we have departed wisdom. Knowing everything is different from being able to DO something and I worry that we are equipping them with tools but not showing them how to use them or letting them figure out how to use them. Employers like coach-able people, not people who know everything, but people who are willing to learn and DO things. I have heard it a million times, I would take a hard worker who is coach-able over a highly educated college graduate with a know it all mentally any day!

#collegegrads #highereducation #karenpotter

Article on the thoughts on what employers are seeking below:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Talent Pipeline- Where have all the good employees gone?

One of the most interested dynamics right now is the talent shortage. The best employees have jobs and are not actively looking for work. We can them passive job seekers. They are interested, but not aggressive.

Many smaller and mid-sized companies have small HR departments with numerous responsibilities. Hunting for candidates is not something they are able to do effectively. They simple post the job on the job boards and wait for the flood of applicants and hope for the best. After hours and hours of reading resumes, and sending emails, coordinating schedules, running background checks and trying to set up interviews, many HR professionals hope and pray it pans out. Many times is does not, so they start over again.

This is not the best way to find talent. Save your self time and money and let the professionals who do this day in and day out for a living hunt down that perfect candidate so you can focus on the many other tasks that demand your attention.

One thing we are always doing for our clients is recruiting the best talent and keeping our talent pipeline full.  It is essential to keep our competitive edge.

Read the article below for some additional tips on what you can do! Working on a limited budget, Qualified Staffing can help! Let us do the work so you can reap the rewards. @ #qualifiedstaffing #talent

Read more here!

Visit me on LinkedIn 

Friday, October 24, 2014

My Dog Ate My Homework and so much more!

As an adjunct  professor, I have heard a lot of interesting reasons for not accomplishing homework on time. As an employer we have heard even more but this funny article shares some wild excuses, I hope never to hear!

Check it out. 

#klpotter2 #employment #forbes

Sometimes NO is the best answer- Happy Friday!

In the staffing industry many people have the wrong motives for what they are doing. I believe what we do changes lives, everyday and it inspires me to do my personal best for every client. On this Friday, I thought I would share a story of how sometimes in life a NO can be the best thing that ever happened! Happy Friday readers!

This a story worth sharing from LinkedIn: (post originally by Malik JahangirAssistant Accountant)

A jobless man applied for the position of 'office boy' at Microsoft.

The HR manager interviewed him, then gave him a test: clean the floor. The man passed the test with flying colors.

"You are hired," HR manager informed the applicant, "give me your e-mail address, and I'll send you the application for employment, as well as the date you should report for work.

The man replied " I don't have a computer, or an email!"

"I'm sorry," said the HR manager. "If you don't have an email, that means you do not exist. And we cannot hire persons who do not exist."

The man was very disappointed.

He didn't know what to do. He only had $10 with him. Once that is spent, he won't have any money to buy any food.

He went to the supermarket and bought a crate of tomatoes with his $10.

He went from door to door and sold the tomatoes in less than two hours. He doubled his money.

He repeated the operation three times, and returned home with $60. He realized that he can survive
this way. He started to go everyday earlier, and return late.

He doubled or tripled his money every day. Soon, he bought a cart, then a truck. In a very short time, he had his own fleet of delivery vehicles.

Five years later, the man became one of the biggest food retailers in the U. S. He started to plan his family's future, and decided to have a life insurance.

He called an insurance broker, and chose a protection plan.

At the end of the conversation, the broker asked him for his email address.

The man replied: ' I don't have an email.'

The broker was dumbfounded. "You don't have an email, and yet have succeeded in building an empire. Can you imagine what you could have been if you had an email?," he exclaimed.

The man thought for a while, and replied, "an office boy at Microsoft!"

If you just lost your Job or Just failed an Interview Don't worry be Optimistic..... Good days are on the way and something better is reserved for you. -Malik Jahangir

Great story hun?  Love life people- you only get one!
#klpotter2 #jobseekers #staffing

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Affordable Care Act 2015 -Coming Soon!

Learn more about ACA in my newsletter. #klpotter2 #ACA #qualifiedstaffing

Check here!

Robots in the Workplace and the Displaced Worker

After reading the article by Andy Mukherjee about how robots may threaten many jobs currently held by humans, I had to chuckle. While teaching my Technology and Society course at Baker College just the other day, we had this very conversation. We talked about how my teenage daughter, who works at Mc Donald's, should be thankful Mc Donald's still offers jobs to humans. In all reality, her job, taking orders, surely could be handled by a touch screen computer or tablet, the fries could be made with a robotic arm and packed into bags on an assembly line and even the grill area could be managed with less human interface.

Will this happen someday, I would think it makes perfect sense, will this displace workers, yes, short term. However, technology is not a threat to society, and just as it displaces one group, it empowers another group. Society and more specifically humans, need to adapt to the coming age and being left behind is not going to be the fault of a robot.

In the age of Youtube where you can literally self educate yourself on just about anything, where you can sit in our Stanford University classes for free, where information sharing is in an instant, humans need to prepare for the coming age.

K-12 institutions must educate students in resourcefulness, critical thinking and get career and tech classes back into our schools- immediately! As someone whose career is build around educating people for new careers as an Adjunct Professor, and then helping people find those new careers in my role as Regional Sales and Marketing Director for Qualified Staffing, the skill shortage is frightening to say the least.

Not everyone should and can go to college- yes, I said it! College is right for many, but so are 2 year associates degrees or HS Career and Tech certification programs that allow students to graduate HS and enter the workforce in a skilled labor positions. Not sure if you heard the news, but there is a real shortage in skilled labor market which is the fault of legislatures and the Department of Education who dictate standards and testing. K-12 Systems who instead of equipping students for the future they are teaching to the "test" and pushing everyone toward 4 year college degree's and debt so they can be ranked highly effective is flawed. We judge our schools based on how many kids graduate, head to college, and by what their test scores say.

Wrong! How about we judge our schools based on how many students become productive members of society and measure that by standards of economic freedom, empowerment, the ability to find work and support themselves or their families in a meaningfully way.

Well, robots may end up taking many jobs away from people in the future but educators, and every day people can see the change on the horizon and need to work on equipping themselves now with new skills  to adapt to the changing world. We know this is coming so no more excuses, lets start getting people trained and ready.

To learn more about how you can prepare, contact me today for a free consultation. #klpotter2 #jobmarket #technologynews #andymukherjee70

Story on Robots:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ACA Changes Got Your Head Spinning?

We all know the deadline to deal with the ACA changes is close approaching. If you work in Human Resources keeping up with ACA can be over whelming. At Qualified Staffing we make it our mission to help our clients be prepared and educated them on the best practices. Not a client of Qualified Staffing? Contact me today to learn how I can help! #qualifiedstaffing #klpotter2

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