Protecting New Workers

Protecting worker safety should be a top priority, and if you’re an experienced manager or business owner, you understand how small investments in worker protection can pay off in big ways. Even something as simple as a handrail installation can let employees know that you care about their well- being, and can yield big increases in worker loyalty, commitment, productivity, and retention, not to mention countless savings on injury claims and expensive lawsuits.

But while you value the safety of your entire workforce, keep in mind that new recruits and inexperienced employees represent your most vulnerable population. These are the workers who are most prone to mistakes, misunderstandings, and avoidable mishaps. So these workers require closer managerial attention and stronger protections. Keep these tips in mind.

Supervision Matters

Even if your newer employees know exactly what they’re doing and they’ve performed a certain operation a thousand times during their careers, don’t let them work alone immediately after they’re hired. There may be dangerous aspects of the job that seasoned employees and managers take for granted, and your newer employees may not be prepared to handle these dangers without the presence of watchful eyes. Threats can include improper use of protective gear, neglecting standard cleaning and sanitization methods, and entering dangerous or injury-prone areas without recognizing threats (like overhead equipment, sudden temperature changes, or unexpected loud noises).

Use the Buddy System

Even if they don’t need direct training or managerial supervision, pair new employees with seasoned workers during every task they face throughout the day. Short-term partnerships can provide new employees with protection and mentoring, and current employees with opportunities to practice their leadership and training skills.

Don’t Just Hand Them a Manual

Of course new hires will require a printed (and online accessible) version of an employee handbook, a copy of all company policies that are relevant to their job description. This manual can and should include safety information that can protect new employees from dangerous equipment and workplace areas. But don’t assume that every piece of information in the handbook or manual will be read and memorized. Take responsibility for delivering this information in other formats, especially if it deals directly with issues related to safety. “Didn’t you read the manual?” isn’t a helpful question after a new employee has accidentally placed himself/herself or others in danger.

Make Use of All Teachable Moments

If a new employee makes a small mistake, don’t just forgive and ignore the error assuming that the employee meant well or didn’t know any better. The first few weeks on the job are critical in terms of early training and initiation, and now is the time to point out errors and correct them before they become dangerous habits.

For more on how to protect new workers (and protect others from their potential mistakes), reach out to the hiring, staffing and training experts at Lift Temp.

How to Dress for a Skilled Trade Interview

Here at Lift Temp, we often hear similar questions from job seekers and candidates for both professional and skilled trade positions. Candidates often turn to our experts for resume support, leads, and – of course – questions about the interview process. Here’s one we hear almost every day:

“I’ve been invited to interview for a skilled trade position (carpentry, metalwork, HVAC, auto repair, etc), and I have no idea what to wear. Should I dress formally? Or ready for work? A three-piece suit seems out of place, but it also feels wrong to wear jeans to a job interview. Help!”

Of course the answer will vary slightly according to the position level, industry, and workplace culture, but here are a few general rules that can keep skilled trade candidates on track.

Stay Tour Ready

Chances are, you won’t be asked to step onto the shop floor and perform dirty or potentially dangerous tasks as part of the interview process, so you don’t need to prepare for a day on the job. But there’s a strong chance you may be taken on a tour of the shop floor, garage, factory, or work area. Be prepared to shake hands with your future co-workers, meet your future manager, and walk through areas in which work-related activity may be taking place.

Neatness Above All

As you choose clothes that seem appropriate for a first impression and safe for a tour of the work area, reject all shirts, trousers, and shoes that are worn or stained. Your clothes should look neat enough to pass for brand new. If your very best attire (including shoes) just can’t make the cut, have it professionally cleaned.

Jeans, Skirt, or Dress Pants

Below the waist, wear neutral colors with modest coverage. No shorts, no skirts that rise above the knee, no sweats, and no distressed jeans. Neat, pressed khaki pants or slacks are a perfectly fine choice for both women and men.

Above the Belt

Above the waist, choose a blouse or pressed button-down shirt with long sleeves. Suit jackets and blazers are perfectly acceptable for the interview setting, but are by no means required. Ties are also perfectly acceptable, but you won’t hurt your chances if you leave the tie at home. Women can’t usually go wrong with cardigans or shrugs that feel professional, neat, and new.

Above all, create an impression that suggests cleanliness, order, good repair, and attention to detail. Take the same pride in your appearance that you intend to take in your work. Before you step out the door, take a final look at yourself in a full-length mirror and make sure you’ve taken care of every loose thread, tiny stain, and missing button. Contact the experts at Lift Temp for additional help and job search tips.

CNC Machine Tooling and Wire Bending

Computer assisted machine tooling, or CNC machining and machine tooling, involves the use of computer programs to automate a procedure or process that bends, cuts or shapes metal in the form of sheets, die, or wires. CNC programming and CNC machining are promising fields of employment for a variety of reasons, though some experts predict that a current spike in demand for these positions won’t last beyond the next decade. While open positions are rapidly increasing in this area, salaries are holding steady and vary widely according to the geographic locations of employers. If employees are willing to relocate to pursue these open positions, their prospects and salaries can improve. Job seekers also face better prospects if they continue to expand their knowledge base and keep their skill sets broad and flexible.

What’s New in CNC Machining?

Metal fabrication technology is currently moving through a state of rapid evolution. CNC wire bending machines, for example, have dramatically decreased in size and increased in versatility and capability during the past decade. At this point, highly sophisticated bending machines can receive input from a USB or desktop computer, allowing the machinist to control the bending process from a desk and requiring minimal interaction with the wire. Complex designs consisting of a set of vector lines can be applied to a wire feed, and a system of rollers can twist and shape the wire into a two-dimensional or three-dimensional set of bends and circular curves.

CNC Machining Job Outlook

Knowledgeable employees who can program and operate wire bending devices and wire feeds using CNC platforms are sought after by a growing population of employers with very specific needs. Salaries for these positions average between 40,000 and 41,000 dollars per year, or 19 to 20 dollars per hour. Many hiring managers for these roles don’t require applicants to hold a college degree, but becoming a certified CNC machinist will require job-specific training. This training can sometimes be gained on the job, depending on the nature of the company and the position.

Contact the staffing team at Lift Temp to learn more about apprenticeship programs, vocational training opportunities, and job openings in the this field.

The Impact of Turnover on Manufacturing Costs

Are your turnover rates affecting your bottom line more than you realize? Before you dismiss turnover as a standard cost of business or a natural and unavoidable aspect of the manufacturing industry, think twice. A few small changes to your workplace or your management style can keep employees on the team for longer tenures, and turning short term relationships into long-term partnerships can dramatically cut costs and bolster your stability. Here’s how.

Longer Tenures Mean Higher Levels of Institutional Knowledge

If you look around your manufacturing workplace and see mostly new faces, you probably see enthusiasm, high energy levels, a general sense of ambition, and an eagerness to please and impress managers and supervisors. But here’s what you don’t see: ingrained positive habits, an in-depth understanding of company goals, respect for the status quo, lower error rates, and a willingness to teach and lead as well as learn and follow. To move from the first to the second, you’ll need to raise the average tenure on your shop floor.

Longer Tenures Boost Your Reputation

If your employees enjoy working here and are happy to stay, this positivity will have a ripple effect that extends beyond the walls of the company. Your brand and your reputation will extend to friends, family, and wide social and professional networks. As a result, you’ll hear from more and better applicants when you post an open position.

Short Tenures Mean High Risk and Training Investments

If an employee comes on board and stays for less than one calendar year, you may see this as a benefit – especially if the employee seems mistake-prone or has a minor attitude problem. But look closer. If the hiring cost for the position approaches or exceeds the employee’s annual salary, this practice isn’t sustainable. Consider coaching and working with an imperfect employee instead of letting them walk out the door … taking your training investment with them.

Minor Changes Improve Employee Satisfaction

A few small changes that make your workplace feel safer, cleaner, more respectful, or more positive can encourage burned-out or ambitious employees to stay, instead of seeking work elsewhere. When you compare the cost of these improvements with the cost of hiring and staffing during the same year, the difference may surprise you. Even if these improvements include regular salary increases or expanded benefits, the numbers are likely to work in your favor.

For more information on how to improve your workplace, boost your reputation, improve your management style and reduce your overall turnover, contact the expert staffing pros at Lift Temp.

Fired from a Manufacturing Job? How to Explain it in an Interview

You’re looking for a position in manufacturing, and you have almost everything it takes to land the jobs that fall within your sights: you have the right set of skills and all the experience, ambition, and determination you need to get where you’re headed. You only have one problem: you were fired from your last manufacturing position, and you’re afraid this incident may haunt you. How can you address this minor blight on your record if you’re asked about it during your interview? Here are a few simple moves that can help.

If you were laid off, don’t worry.

Losing a job through no fault of your own is simply a rite of passage in our modern working world. There’s nothing about a layoff that needs to be spun, reframed, or hidden from potential employers. If your interviewer believes that a company restructuring or plant shut-down somehow reflects poorly on your personal record, the problem lies with that person, not with you.

Know why your employer may be concerned.

On the other hand, if you were fired due to a behavior or discipline problem or a performance issue, that’s another story. In this case, your employer has a right to be concerned about a possible repeat of the incident, and it’s in your best interests to allay these concerns. If you’re asked about the reason for your dismissal, keep your answer short, clear, and positive. Simply tell your side of the story and then stop talking.

Don’t bring up the subject unless you’re asked.

If you aren’t asked to provide the reason why you left your last job, by all means, don’t volunteer this information. You have no legal or ethical obligation to do so, and jumping in front of this potential problem can cause more harm than good. No matter you how long your employer chooses to dwell on the issue, always be ready to redirect the conversation away from this subject and back toward all the reasons why you’re right for this job. Focus on your skills and talents, not on a single damaging incident from your past.

If you’re asked, explain what you learned from the experience.

How did this incident help you grow as a potential employee and as a person? What did you learn about your abilities and your limits? What did you learn about the kinds of conditions under which you do and don’t excel? Are there any mistakes you made that you’ve learned to avoid from now on? If your interviewer decides to press the point, be ready to discuss what you gained from the moment and how it helped you reach a better place.

For more on how to stay in control of your application and interview process, reach out to the job search team at Lift Temp.

Protecting Your Employees from Workplace Violence

When most people hear the term “workplace violence,” they envision a physical attack or altercation between a boss and a direct report, or between two co-workers, possibly resulting from a workplace conflict or misunderstanding. But this is just one example of a wide range of behaviors that fall under this category, all of which can and should be prevented by proactive measures on the part of a responsible employer.

Workplace violence can include a variety of situations including, but not limited to: written or verbal threats, harassment, intimidation, bullying, pranks, retaliation, or aggression on the part of customers or members of the public. Violence can be subtle or blatant, and can be enacted through invisible means, such as written, email, or text messages, voice messages, rumors, or property destruction. Behavior that demeans, alarms or embarrasses can also fall into the category of workplace violence.

Situations that Increase the Likelihood of Violence

There are several situations that appear to statistically escalate the possibility of violence in the workplace, including those listed below. Employers should increase vigilance and preventive measures during these occasions.

Interactions between employees and the public.

Any transactions that involve the exchange of money or prescriptions drugs.

Transactions involving inspection or rule enforcement on the part of government employees or superiors.

Situations in which employees are working alone or in small groups in isolated, low-traffic areas (for example, workplace vehicles or buildings disconnected from the central workplace).

Certain time periods also correspond with higher incidents of workplace violence, including the following: Early and late hours of the morning and evening, pay days, periods of intense organizational change, performance evaluations, and holidays.

Protecting Your Workplace from Violence

In order to protect your workplace from violence, you’ll need to begin by assessing your level of risk. First, review your history of documented violent incidents and search this history for specific patterns. Then conduct research evaluating the history of violence in similar workplaces and similar industries.

Once you’ve estimated your level of general risk, you can begin drafting a policy that clearly defines “workplace violence” for your purposes and describes all categories of unacceptable behavior. The policy should clearly state the consequences for these behaviors, and whether or not a no-tolerance rule will or won’t be applied.

Be sure to include representatives from both the employee side and the management side of the table as you draft this policy, and include buy-in from vendors, contractors, and all other parties who conduct business in your workplace.

For more information on how to prevent violence and abuse in your workplace, reach out to the staffing and management team at Lift Temp.

Getting Started in a Skilled Trade: Three Tips

You’re about to embark on a career that involves working with your hands, and you’re gathering the skills, knowledge, and experience you need to carve out a place for yourself in your trade. You may be studying plumbing, carpentry, auto repair, aircraft maintenance, beauty and aesthetics, HVAC repair, or any other field with eternal demand and a requirement for vocational training. But when you’ve completed your certification and gained your license, you’ll still need to overcome a major hurdle: getting started. Heading out on your own can be a challenge, but these three moves can make the process easier.

Align yourself with a guild or trade group.

Your education program should provide you with information that can connect you with a local guild, and the guild can help you establish an apprenticeship. If you can work while learning and learn while working, especially under the guidance of experienced pros, you’ll find a faster path to your goals. As you form a relationship with your mentor or mentors, keep an open mind and stay flexible. Reach out for opportunities to take risks and grow. You may never again work within this combination of freedom and security; the freedom to take risks and try new things, and the security of having knowledgeable support on hand if things go wrong.

Research developments in the industry.

New materials, state-of-the-art equipment, and new methods and processes may be appearing in your field without your knowledge. Even if you can’t get your hands on this equipment or predict its impact on the future of your field, you should be aware of its existence. To do this, stay connected with industry-focused communities, both online and off. Review trade publications, visit forums, and attend industry group meetings. Stay active and in touch with events taking place that may affect you, your employers, and your customers.

Build a network and keep it strong.

Connect with others in your industry, don’t just compete with them. Remember names and faces, and when you establish a new partnership or personal connection with a client, vendor, or friend of a friend, value the connection and recognize what it can do for you. Much of your future business may be based on referrals, which are often based on trust and personal contact. Your reputation will have a powerful impact on your success, so start building it now.

For more on how to establish a strong foothold in your specific skilled trade, reach out to the staffing and career development experts at Lift Temp.

The Importance of Work-Life Balance: Avoiding Fatigue

If you’re like most employees in the full-time workplace, you may sometimes feel that your employers are asking more from you than you’re able to give. In other words, you can’t meet the demands placed upon you without taking something away from the other aspects of your life. In order to please your boss and satisfy your implied job description, for example, you have no choice but to compromise your health or the time you spend with your loved ones. There are only so many hours in a day, and most of us have a finite amount of energy to spend during those hours. So what can you do when your job threatens to take over and diminish the quality of your life? Here are a few moves that can help you avoid fatigue and maintain control over your destiny.

Stand up for yourself.

Ask what’s in it for you. We’ve been taught to believe that this move is selfish and immoral, but when it comes to work, it’s sometimes necessary. Remember that business is business…it isn’t personal. If you’re asked to come in on a weekend or take an unexpected two-week trip, make sure your sacrifices are acknowledged and your time and investments are compensated. Imagine yourself as the CEO of You, Inc. Will your company make money if you give your product away for free? Of course not.

Physical and mental health are connected.

Before you assume that your post-lunch exhaustion or your fragile emotions during a 6:30 meeting are simply the product of your circumstances, think again. Your mind and body are linked, and the decisions you make and the care you invest in your physical health will pay off in the quality of your work and your overall happiness. Get at least six hours of sleep every night. Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Eat a complete breakfast of whole grains, fruit, and lean protein. Don’t go to sleep at 2:00 a.m. and then eat cake for breakfast and expect to have a good day.

Choose the right employer in the first place.

Despite an avalanche of studies proving that well-treated, respected, and trusted employees produce better work, some employers simply disregard this information and continue to treat their employees as commodities. If your employer thinks less of you because you leave work to attend to a sick child, or actually use your allotted and earned PTO days, it might be time to look for a new employer. Your frustration may result from misaligned values, and finding a better match may be easier than you think.

For more on how to make important adjustments to your work-life balance, contact the staffing and career development team at Lift Temp.

Four In-Demand Skills for Lift Truck Operators

When most employers review a stack of resumes and schedule interviews for potential lift truck operators, they look for the answer to one (fairly obvious) question: Has this candidate ever operated a lift truck? How much experience has he or she had behind the controls? But as it happens, this isn’t the only question that matters. In fact, it may not even make the top five. Plenty of excellent, highly productive employees originally stepped into their interviews with no lift truck experience whatsoever. So if experience isn’t the only signature sign of a great candidate, what other qualities should managers watch out for?

Interest

Keep an eye on the candidates who sit up straight, walk with purpose, and show a strong interest in learning things they don’t already know. A candidate who really wants to excel will excel, even if she’s never operated a lift truck in her entire life. Look for evidence that the candidate cares deeply about what will become of him and what will become of the company that employs him. If your candidate wants to learn, is willing to accept that he doesn’t know everything, and is prepared to make each day on the job more productive and error-free then the last, keep that candidate in the running.

Intelligence

This quality falls below interest, since intelligence alone doesn’t always indicate the ability to gain and perfect a new skill set. But it does matter. If your candidate gets into a difficult predicament or finds herself with a puzzle to solve (mechanical, social, or otherwise) will she be able to figure it out? Will he be able to stay calm and stay in motion? Will he ask for help if necessary? Will she remember the training she’s received?

Flexibility

If your candidate has years of experience in the materials handling industry, then she’s already demonstrated this quality, for sure. But if he’s new to the business, make sure he knows what he’s getting into. Materials handling can be boring and monotonous one day, and utterly unpredictable the next. This work can be dirty, loud, and sometimes thankless. Some days can be very long, and sometimes work dries up without warning. Is your candidate ready for the unexpected?

Social Adaptability

Can your candidate take orders and criticism gracefully? Can she give orders that are clear and direct? Can she follow through on both? Can he get along with others and work well as a member of a team?

For more on how to identify and hire the most reliable candidates, contact the lift truck staffing experts at Lift Temp.

– See more at: http://blog.lifttemp.com/2015/07/four-in-demand-skills-for-lift-truck-operators/#sthash.i4m84WAt.dpuf

Onboarding New Manufacturing Employees

Start your relationship with your new manufacturing employee on the right foot, and make a great impression beginning on their first day. You already know that they’ll be doing the same for you; they’ll be bringing their A-game and stepping into the workplace with the best possible attitude and intentions…So make sure you respond in kind. Demonstrate respect for both the new employee and the position they’re about to take over.

Have Their Workspace and Paperwork Prepared

When your employee arrives at the site, make sure your HR team and their supervisors are ready. Don’t leave themstanding idly for an hour while they wait for a formal welcome and sign-in procedure. Make sure HR, payroll, IT, and of course their own manger all know when they will arrive. Ideally, they should be shown to their work area and be ready to start learning and contributing within a just a few minutes.

Provide Trainers with Clear Instructions

Your new employee may need to be paired with mentors, supervisors, or guides who can walk them through the process and provide a tour of the facility in which they’ll be working. These trainers should know exactly who they are, and they should be well prepared for this task. Don’t just pull someone randomly away from his or her workstation and ask this person to take on the task at the last minute. In most workplaces, this is a very important job with a lasting impact on the new employee’s performance and tenure. Make sure your trainers are carefully chosen and ready for this responsibility.

Provide Accommodations Immediately

If the new employee will require specific data access, passwords, specialized tools, or protective gear in the proper size, take care of this right away. Again, don’t leave the employee performing at half-capacity for hours or days while these basic requirements are being taken care of.

Make the Employee Feel Welcome

The team that will be working with your new employee should know about her arrival well in advance. They should already know their name and role and they should be prepared to welcome them warmly. Encourage your team to provide heartfelt greetings and go the extra mile to speed the acclimation process and help the new employee fit in.

Provide Clear Resources

Most new manufacturing employees will have plenty of questions about their tasks and responsibilities within their first few days and weeks on the job. Make sure your new employee knows exactly where to turn when this happens.

For more on how to train and acclimate new workers on your manufacturing team, reach out to the management experts at Lift Temp.