How to keep your team on track during the holidays

Between holidays, family vacations, and parties it is difficult to stay on track during the last two months of the year. It’s even harder to lead a team full of distracted employees, complete those end of the year projects, and set up for the new year. The following are five ways you can help ensure your end of the year is as productive as it can be.

Create “must-do” lists

Some things are going to slide this month, make sure the very important things don’t. Ensure every department knows the things that absolutely have to be done. Setting clear expectations will keep the details from getting blurred or left out.

Set ambitious goals

There’s nothing like a new challenge to get a group of people moving quickly. Pick a goal that seems too hard to reach and name a specific and thrilling prize for completing it. Make the Christmas party drinks on the house or give everyone an extra PTO day. Finding new ways to motivate your team is the fastest way to inject new energy in the group.

Celebrate with your employees

This may seem counter-intuitive but give your team the space to be excited and to celebrate. Don’t be overly harsh in saying “get back to to work” and not allowing the fun attitudes of the season play out in the office. Allow for the potluck lunch and gift exchange, maybe even a few fun intentional distractions. Frame the fun as celebrating all the hard work everyone has done throughout the year. Your team will be thankful of the acknowledgement, they’ll get the celebrating out of their system, and be ready to focus on work.

Recognize the successful year

The end of the year is a time that your team expects to be recognized for their work throughout the year. Hold an end of the year dinner, give out bonuses, or buy everyone a turkey for their Christmas dinner. Whatever you decide to do, make a point to acknowledge every team member’s contribution to the company’s success.

Lead by example

This may seem obvious, but it’s important. If you’re seen being sidetracked, how can your team be expected to not follow suit? Strong leadership earns the respect of their team by expecting more of themselves than anyone else.

why should I hire a staffing agency?

Last week, we examined the pros and cons from an employee standpoint: this week, we will discuss the pros and cons of hiring a staffing agency from the employer perspective.

Staffing is expensive! Why should I use a staffing agency to help me find employees?

Locating Talent:

It happens every time; you post a high-skill level job for a mechanical maintenance tech, for example, and within hours, you are flooded with resumes of people who have absolutely no mechanical maintenance experience.  Yet, you still must dig through the haystack if you are going to find the needle, that one-in-a-million candidate will typically be buried under a bunch of candidates with no discernable experience listed on their resumes.  

Once you have narrowed the field a bit, there are some telltale signs that recruiters look for on resumes that can be indicators of problems or success down the road, and those might not be evident to HR staff who are tasked with handling multiple other aspects of employee management and don’t necessarily focus on resume analysis.  For a Staffing Agency, however; that’s precisely what we do all day!  Our recruiters are trained to know what to look for before we even pick up the phone or start typing out an email, and this allows us to be laser-focused on our mission, which is finding the right person for the right job.  Missing potential red flags up front can mean hours spent interviewing and processing a candidate who won’t stay very long, and missing sheer potential up front can mean that your company misses out on a stellar employee that could have positively impacted your bottom line.

It is our ability to analyze things like wording, formatting, content, and a person’s basic ability to follow initial instructions that can spare you from spending an exponential amount of time chasing after the wrong type of candidate for your business, and time is one of your most precious commodities.

Here are some great hiring tips from Forbes, and the author brings up a great point: don’t forget about interns, because with so many schools and colleges in the Greater Tulsa area, this can be a great tool to incorporate into your overall hiring plan for bringing new talent into your organization.

The New Hire Process:

Anyone in HR knows that there are not enough hours in a day, but what we don’t tend to accurately assess is just how many of those hours are spent on the new hire process.  Once you have spent hours weeding through the resumes you receive to narrow down a final candidate pool, you will then spend hours, not only of your time, but of other managers’ and employees’ time interviewing, assessing, meeting and discussing potential candidates.  Then you will spend more time performing background checks, perhaps coordinating drug screens, setting up files and data records, payroll, benefits, etc.  

If the employee you bring onboard stays around for a long time, this process will thankfully be over for that position, however, if you have filled the position with an employee that doesn’t stick around long, get ready to go through this entire process again.  All of those hours spent bringing a new employee on board represent a fair amount of money, and nobody likes to lose money!

Our process is simple and can enable your team to focus more on production and profitability; you can learn more about it here.


At first glance, payroll may not seem like such a big deal; collecting hours, figuring out deductions, calculating taxes, and cutting checks.  Until there are mistakes that need to be corrected, checks to be recut, onerous Health Care reporting regulations with which to comply, and benefits administration.  Just one employee change of address can take up an hour of your time depending on how many various places and ways you have to communicate the new information.  For smaller companies that may not have dedicated HR staff, or their HR staff must juggle multiple hats, it can save a great deal of hassle and working hours to have a staffing company handle your payroll instead.  Compound the year-end payroll duties with other accounting or financial year-end activities you might contend with, and the stress level shoots through the roof!

Barracuda Staffing, Inc. has been recognized by Inc as one of the 5000 fastest growing companies in the US!  We do this by living our core values every day:

One: We aggressively pursue the perfect fit for all

Something truly special happens when the ideal candidate is matched up with just the right company. So, we aggressively hunt for the best fit for clients and candidates alike. Make no mistake, this is matchmaking, and we always look relentlessly to create the best partnership.

Two: We are highly adaptive to market changes

The only constant is change, and it’s only accelerating in the highly dynamic 21st-century marketplace. That’s why we constantly adapt our methods and services accordingly, not merely to stay up to speed, but always stay one step ahead.

Three: We never stop looking for new opportunities

Innovation rarely just shows up at your door, which is why we approach every day with hyper-vigilance toward new ways of doing things. We carefully monitor and study cultural and economic trends to capitalize upon them in the best ways possible.

Four: We pledge to be the best value in the industry

An ambitious promise, yes, but one we are absolutely committed to. We stress operational efficiency across every department and discipline within our company, delivering the highest level of services at the best value possible.

Five: We want our clients to absolutely love working with us

We love what we do, the lives we help change, and the companies we help grow. We want our passion and appreciation to be contagious. In an era when work-life balance and job satisfaction are more important to everyone than ever, we want working with us to be as great a pleasure as possible. Spread the love. Feel the joy. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.

One of the most compelling reasons to seek out the help of a trusted staffing agency is if you have empty, idle workstations, and not enough time to get those positions filled.  This represents lost sales for your business, and potential loss in productivity for the existing workers that may feel overwhelmed and frustrated while they try to pick up the slack.  Contracting with a staffing agency is almost like having your own dedicated Hiring Manager working directly for you, except you don’t need to provide that Hiring Manager with an office, vacation time, or a Keurig machine; we’ve got it covered!

Barracuda Staffing, Inc. cares about your success: check back next week for more tips on increasing your satisfaction in the workplace, and remember that one of the best qualities to display in your career is one of Continuous Improvement!  If you are looking for a new place to spread your wings and grow into a leader in your department, we invite you to browse our current openings in Tulsa and surrounding areas, call to talk to a Recruiter, or simply Submit your resume online today!

Whether you are just starting your job search, or you need to start tomorrowApply Now and let us help you find your new job!

We’ve got jobs, inspiration, information, and we’re even good for a laugh! Check us out on FacebookLinkedInInstagram, or Twitter!

why work with staffing agency

This week, we will discuss the pros and cons of working with a staffing agency from an Employee perspective; next week, we will discuss the pros and cons from an Employer standpoint.

Why should I use a staffing agency to help me find a job?

Most people who have used a staffing agency to find work have had an unpleasant experience at some point – I’ve had several of them myself!  Many of the problems a person can have with a staffing agency boil down to uncommunicated expectations, so let’s review some potential problems to avoid and then explore the many benefits of working with a trusted staffing agency.

“I’ll take anything, I just need a job…”  This is a phrase we dread hearing, because it means people are not communicating their future needs to us, and we are never going to make them happy in the long term because they are so desperate to start “anything”.  I recently spoke with a young woman who called up to see if we had any temporary event jobs because she just wanted “anything” and was desperate for a paycheck; when I asked her what she really wanted to be doing 2 years down the road, I found out she had been certified for medical coding and had paralegal training and I exclaimed, “Why didn’t you say so?” When you are so desperate for a paycheck that you put yourself into a job you will hate, you ensure that you will leave that job soon, which keeps you in a perpetual job search, earning very little, and looking like a job-hopper on your resume, which in turn prevents you from getting a good job.  See how that spiral of stagnation works?  Job-hopping keeps you job-hopping.  We want to place you in the right job, a job you’ll want to stay with to develop your skills and sense of self-worth.  Don’t just communicate your current situation to a recruiter, let them know what you want to be doing in two years, and what you need to feel successful…then, be as patient as possible!

Additionally, people desperate to take “anything” might initially take a job that doesn’t pay enough for their needs, or is too far of a commute, or is a new shift to which they just cannot adjust.  First, don’t take a job that puts you at a disadvantage simply because you expect to get a raise in the future; tomorrow is never given, so set yourself up for success today rather than ensuring you will be leaving in a few months looking for better pay, continuing the “stagnating spiral”.  You may indeed get a raise if you bring your A-game to the table every day, but that should be the icing on the cake that builds forward momentum in your career.  At Barracuda Staffing, we take rate of pay, commute distance, and several other factors into account before we make an offer to place you at a new company, because everybody loses when we place people in the wrong situation.

Above all, understand that once you do get a position, the amount of effort you put in from there makes all the difference for your career.  If you truly want to earn more and become a long-term team member at a great company, you must bring a positive attitude and willingness to learn to work every day.  Just listen to Hoang Phan’s story – he started out job-hopping, ended up loading beverage trucks, but thanks to a paid apprenticeship program look where he is now!  Find out more about various government training programs here and remember that learning is the most important way to secure a strong future.

“Staffing companies take advantage of workers and don’t pay them what they are worth”

This is a common objection I hear, and it is the result of both a misunderstanding of how some staffing agencies work, and uncommunicated expectations.  Let’s look at both issues below:

If a company needs to hire a machinist, they know they need to offer a starting salary that will attract the kind of employee they need, and this is the salary that we promote to the potential employee, or “contractor”.  The contractor gets paid the offered wage, and we charge the company a fee in addition to the wage earned.  Nothing is taken from the Contractor’s earnings, however, it is not uncommon for companies to evaluate employees during an introductory period by offering a “starting wage” that will later be adjusted once the company has determined the true level of the employee’s expertise.  This practice can sometimes be misconstrued as a staffing agency paying a contractor less than normal, when really what is occurring is a company is offering a reduced rate of pay during an introductory evaluation period.  This should all be clearly communicated to you by your recruiter before you accept the position.

While other staffing agencies may operate differently from Barracuda Staffing, Howstuffworks offers a comprehensive article about How Employment Agencies Work.

Some companies may have a longer evaluation period than 90 days, and in rare cases, some companies may never hire people on permanently because they have contracted the staffing agency to handle the payroll and benefits administration, rather than hiring additional staff to do so themselves.  Again, this should all be clearly communicated to you, and likewise, you should clearly communicate your expectations up front in terms of how long you are willing to be evaluated and remain on a staffing agency’s payroll.

Now that we’ve addressed some of the potential pitfalls, let’s talk about the benefits!

  • We know the company culture; if you need a fast-paced job so you don’t get bored, or you need a slow-paced job so you don’t get overwhelmed, we know where you will be a good fit.  This kind of information is not always evident in a company’s job posting.
  • We know what else is available; if you see a job online and think you would be a perfect fit, chances are good we know of three to five other jobs that might be even better for you!
  • We can give you tips and pointers that will make all the difference in your career; many companies get flooded with resumes when they hire on their own.  They don’t have the time to give you feedback, they are simply looking to eliminate people from consideration to narrow down the candidate pool to a manageable amount of people to contact.  Additionally, they only know what their particular company is looking for in a candidate.  We know what multiple companies are looking for, and what would make you a fit at one company vs. another, and since all we do is look at resumes and interview candidates, we can give you vital feedback that others may not have the time or expertise to provide.
  • We have the connections; many people say, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, and sometimes getting a job simply takes making the right connections and being in the right place at the right time.  
  • We have a proven track record; check out our Google Reviews or our Facebook Reviews to see why people like to work with us!

Barracuda Staffing, Inc. cares about your success: check back next week for more tips on increasing your satisfaction in the workplace, and remember that one of the best qualities to display in your career is one of Continuous Improvement!  If you are looking for a new place to spread your wings and grow into a leader in your department, we invite you to browse our current openings in Tulsa and surrounding areas, call to talk to a Recruiter, or simply Submit your resume online today!

Whether you are just starting your job search, or you need to start tomorrowApply Now and let us help you find your new job!
We’ve got jobs, inspiration, information, and we’re even good for a laugh! Check us out on FacebookLinkedInInstagram, or Twitter!

ISO 9001 Shop

What does it take to be successful working for an ISO 9001 Certified Manufacturer?   There are many reasons that certain rules make their way down the chain of command; often by the time the rule is broadcast on the floor, it can be perceived as inconvenient or with no discernable purpose other than to make people mad.  If you are the type of employee that likes to look at the big picture and keep learning about your industry, it will be to your credit (and can put you on the path to future leadership) if you become familiar with ISO Quality standards.  The official page is here, where you can find a convenient introductory brochure located on this page called “Quality Management Principles.”

What’s the Point of ISO Standards Anyway?

The Independent International Organisation for Certification published a study titled, “Comparison between manufacturing companies that are ISO certified and those that are not certified using performance measurement model”, and here were the conclusions:

“The conclusion was ‘the comparison results show that the ISO-certified companies demonstrate significantly higher performance than companies without ISO certification in all perspectives of performance…

…Specifically, the report highlights that ‘acquiring ISO certification will reinforce the operation efficiencies and product quality, improve standardised procedures, reinforce corporate image, increase customer satisfaction, expand market share and enhance the overall performance of a company.’

To fully illustrate the point of ISO standards, let’s imagine that you are not a production employee or manager, let’s instead say you run a company that builds Airplanes and you need a machined component for your Landing Gear assembly.  Landing Gear is a critical piece of an Aircraft, and yours needs to work properly without failure, because people’s lives are on the line. Therefore, you need to know what kind of quality process goes into the manufacture of the parts for this assembly, and whether issues and problems are handled effectively once identified.  Out of a list of potential part manufacturers, you narrow it down to only a few companies that are ISO-9001 Certified, because you are unsure of the quality and complaint resolution process for the other companies.  Another reason you might be selective about the parts could be that the buyer of your airplane has stipulated that only ISO-Certified parts can be used for this assembly.

So right there, the first point is that a company with an ISO Certification can potentially win out business over non-ISO Certified companies.  This impacts your bottom line as an employee, because it could mean your shop stays busy enough to keep you on board vs. having to go through layoffs.

Now let’s say you, the Airplane manufacturer, have decided to source that part from two different companies to maintain your production deadlines; you decide to buy the part from one company that is ISO-Certified, and to save a little money, you also buy parts from another company that is not ISO-Certified.  You end up having a problem with parts from both companies, because of a design change in your assembly.  After meetings with the ISO company, you were confident a clear path for correction of the issue had been discovered, and in a short time you were getting compliant parts from them.  After meetings with the Non-ISO company, there was a considerable amount of confusion, back-and-forth, and you were still getting noncompliant parts a few months later, so you stopped using that vendor completely.

So the second point of Certification is that the processes built into the Quality Management System of the ISO program helps to ensure clarity and customer satisfaction, and the quickest possible resolution when a problem arises.  From an employee standpoint, if your company’s existing customers aren’t satisfied, then they will take their business elsewhere, which once again means you and your co-workers could be facing cutbacks on the shop floor.

Finally, having a standard quality process implemented at your shop is ultimately supposed to reduce waste (in terms of fewer scrapped parts and reducing lost production time), improve overall shop efficiency, and save the company money.  If this is not also your goal as an employee, you could be indirectly contributing to your own downfall: for one, by decreasing customer satisfaction and the company’s quality standing or reputation, customers could be lost and a potential slowdown may occur.  Second, by decreasing the company’s satisfaction with your own work, you are potentially putting yourself on the list of employees who could suffer cutbacks because they aren’t trying to move the needle toward on continuous improvement.

The Seven Quality Management Principles of the ISO program are:

  1. Customer Focus (understanding and meeting customer needs)
  2. Leadership (presents a unified sense of purpose in serving the customer)
  3. Engagement of People (your company cannot function without you, and when you are not able to perform your best, neither is your company)
  4. Process Approach (making sure everyone understands the process and follows it)
  5. Improvement (making sure the process is as efficient and free of waste as possible)
  6. Evidence-based decision making (using facts and data to inspire changes rather than opinions)
  7. Relationship Management (a system for addressing customer issues and keeping the lines of communication open)

Customer Satisfaction = More Business = Job Stability!

It’s important to understand that a Machinist or Production worker is a critical component within a supply chain: if your parts are failing, it’s not just a hassle to you and your company, it is likely that your customer is now missing their deadlines to deliver their products as well.  Cutting corners typically does not lead to any measurable savings; on the contrary, the problems it creates can end up costing your company money and business.  Your understanding of, and whole-hearted support for your company’s ISO process can mean all the difference in winning new business and retaining existing customers versus the slow, downward spiral of inferior quality and lack of communication that causes companies to lose business and leads to layoffs, shutdowns, or buy-outs.

Read this Blog from Lenox about why ISO is beneficial but has to be an all-hands-on-deck effort.

Furthermore, your adoption of all required quality processes will establish you as a critical thinker and a leader in your department.  If you have heard your coworkers respond to Quality Management Processes by saying things like “I don’t get paid enough for this”, or, “It’s not in my job description”, chances are they will still be making the same wage or less years from now because they don’t see the big picture.  Over time, your reputation for quality and ability to follow necessary procedures will build value your “brand” and increase your earning potential, whereas a generally defensive and non-cooperative attitude may keep you looking for work and stagnate your earning potential over the years.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, ask for additional training, or ask for suggestions on ways to improve; this does not make you look bad, it makes you look dedicated.  If you can improve efficiency or save the company money, speak up!  Realize that there may be other factors involved that need to be taken into consideration and that not all suggestions can reasonably be implemented, but don’t let that stop you from creative thinking and continuous improvement!

Barracuda Staffing, Inc. cares about your success: check back next week for more tips on increasing your satisfaction in the workplace, and remember that one of the best qualities to display in your career is one of Continuous Improvement!  If you are looking for a new place to spread your wings and grow into a leader in your department, we invite you to browse our current openings in Tulsa and surrounding areas, call to talk to a Recruiter, or simply Submit your resume online today!

Whether you are just starting your job search, or you need to start tomorrowApply Now and let us help you find your new job!
We’ve got jobs, inspiration, information, and we’re even good for a laugh! Check us out on FacebookLinkedInInstagram, or Twitter!

what motivates you and the people around you

A 2016 Gallup Poll on the State of the American Workforce indicated that 51% of the workforce is either looking for new jobs or watching for openings.  Whether you are an Employer or an Employee, this statistic affects you, and so does turnover at your organization.  If you are an Employer trying to retain talent, it’s helpful to understand what truly motivates your Employees.  If you are an Employee feeling underpaid and unsatisfied, it pays to get clear on what truly motivates you, and where you need to go from here.  In both cases, money or benefits are typically not the silver bullet that will make people happy enough to stay.

Let’s look at a few different perspectives and then compile some takeaways from it all

Ed Muzio, President of Group Harmonics, posts some very informative videos to YouTube; to summarize his video, “Six Hidden Factors of Motivation”, He believes that there are six major motivating factors, and when you understand which factor best represents you as well as the people with which you work, you will be better able to speak to their motivating language:

  • Truth: need for learning and getting to the bottom of things
  • Results: ROI, bottom line, numbers, metrics
  • Power: a person’s role or title, or ability to shape events
  • Assistance: helping others
  • Form: harmony, aesthetics, work environment
  • Structure: stability and concrete processes

With this perspective, if you are an employee who craves Structure and you are in an environment where there are few processes and things change from day to day, you might feel very unsettled and de-motivated because you constantly feel like the rug is being pulled out from under your feet and you don’t know what to do next.  With this realization in mind, you could approach your supervisor in a positive manner, explaining you want to be free to give 100% to your job, but you tend to feel unsettled by constant change, and you can ask if there are any job duty alternatives that might bring a more structured process to your day.

Supervisors and upper management tend to be Results driven by necessity, and they tend to think that everyone working for them is or should be results driven as well.  In truth, it takes all kinds to make the world go ‘round, and taking an honest stock of where your employees fall on this spectrum might inform you that by trying to push a square peg into a round hole (and expecting everyone to care as much about metrics as you do), you might inadvertently be de-motivating your staff.  You could take multiple approaches to change this around, and two suggestions would be to modify the job when possible, or to modify your message.  When modifying your message, for example, without using actual metrics terminology, you can highlight how an employee is assisting others, becoming more powerful, or creating a better work environment by doing what they are doing.  Encouraging the productivity levels you desire by focusing on the goals that drive them can show that you care enough to speak directly to their needs.


Why do we Fail?

Tony Robbins is a popular speaker, and I’m not going to link directly to his TED talk on You-Tube because he has a potty-mouth and I don’t want to offend anyone, but in his talk on “Why we do what we do”, he breaks down a simple switch in thinking that can help you or your team move from frustration to the fast track.  He begins by asking the simple question, “Why do we fail?”, and to him the answer is that people choose to focus on a Lack of Resources, rather than adopting a state of Resourcefulness.

His basic point is that when you want to do something, you find a way.  When you don’t want to do something, you find an excuse, so to counter the statement, “I Failed Because I didn’t have enough”:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Contacts
  • Experience
  • Management

Tony suggests flipping the script and instead saying:

  • What I lack in Time I will make up for in Creativity
  • What I lack in Money I will make up for in Determination
  • What I lack in Contacts/Network, I’ll make up for in Curiosity
  • What I lack in Experience, I’ll make up for in Passion
  • What I lack in support from Management, I’ll make up for with Resolve.

Tony says that “Emotion is the force of life”, so in order to move from the idea of Lack of Resources to a mode of Resourcefulness, he suggests you ask three important questions;

  1. What am I going to FOCUS on? (Past, present, or future actions that affected you)
  2. What does it MEAN to me? (this creates an emotion i.e. do you think you are being punished or rewarded by the situation)
  3. What am I going to DO about it? (this creates action because either you give up or move forward)

In this sense, your Focus generates emotion inside of you; if you focus on a Lack of Resources, the emotion generated is helplessness and hopelessness, and the likely action is that you will give up. If you focus on becoming more Resourceful, creative, and passionate, you generate enough emotional force to power through whatever obstacle is in your path, and the likely outcome is that you succeed.

Here are some great personal stories about motivation and overcoming adversity here.

Above all, remember that the place where the rubber meets the road in motivation at an organization is Communication, and we must all take the equal weight of responsibility and accountability for communicating; first and foremost to ourselves by being as painfully frank and honest as we can in assessing our situation.  Once we have completed some serious introspection, then it’s important to clearly communicate your reality to those around you in the most positive way possible, which can be difficult, especially when you are feeling frustrated and de-motivated.

You can Google a thousand articles about improving communication in the workplace, but here is a good introductory start provided by (who recently named us one of the Fastest-Growing 5000 companies in 2017 in case you missed it!)

Barracuda Staffing, Inc. cares about your success: check back next week for more tips on increasing your satisfaction in the workplace, and remember that one of the best things to have on your resume is Job Stability; however, if you are looking for a new place to spread your wings and grow into a leader in your department, we invite you to browse our current openings in Tulsa and surrounding areas, call to talk to a Recruiter, or simply Submit your resume online today!