How to Avoid Year-End Burnout

The final quarter of the year is here, and you’ve still got deadlines to meet, stuffed calendars, financial targets to achieve and team strategies to align for the next year. Even the holiday season can’t seem to make up for work-related exhaustion, stress, and anxiety. Long work hours and ever-growing to-do lists can take a toll and cause burnout for even the most hardworking and consistent employees.

Here are some tips to avoid year-end burnout, so you can peacefully enjoy the holiday season:

1. Prepare a “Priority List” – There will be several tasks to complete before the year-end but focus your attention and time on the essentials. Prepare a comprehensive “Priority list” that pushes you to complete tasks based on urgency. It’s important to understand what is crucial and time-sensitive before the year-end and what you can hold back until the new year.


2. Use Your Vacation Days – Spend time with friends and family and unplug completely on your days off. Breaks are important to energize your mind and boost productivity. A change of environment enhances creativity and sparks new energy into your work.

3. Schedule Me Time – Recharge your mind and body with a focused work out. Indulge in outdoor activities to fuel enthusiasm and build motivation. Bike rides, walks, yoga, and meditation are great stress busters. Additionally, schedule free time on your calendar and stick to it. It’s crucial to take some time out for yourself, even if it’s just 30 minutes a day.

4. It’s okay to say “NO” – Don’t take on more work than you can handle. It’s easy to say “YES” to everything and wanting to be that person to help others. Set clear boundaries on the things you can and cannot do. If you can’t physically and mentally spearhead another project, it’s better to say “NO” early on than feeling guilty for not meeting expectations.

Year-end burnout is real, but avoidable. Remember that you’re not alone. Confide in a colleague or manager. Be aware of your breaking point and take proactive measures to ensure that you don’t stretch yourself too thin.

In Demand Soft Skills of 2020

When hiring managers assess candidates for fit, they focus on soft skills, behaviours and aptitudes that show them how well you’ll mesh with others at the company. Qualities such as being a good communicator or having a strong work ethic are obvious requirements and often what candidates aim to prove when interviewing for a job. But what other qualities are important to employers in 2020?

We did some digging (and asking) and here are the top 3 in-demand soft skills of the year:

Creativity

Both LinkedIn and the World Economic Forum cited creativity in their findings of top qualities that employers seek in ideal candidates. This is something we hear a lot from our clients too: they want professionals who can contribute innovative ideas and are not afraid to think outside of the box. Creative employees often seek new ways of performing tasks, they are curious, open to learning, and help companies push the boundaries in a very competitive business landscape.

Recruiter Tip!
A good way to showcase your creativity in the finance and accounting industry is to describe a problem or challenge that you’ve solved creatively, using critical thinking and analysis to determine a new, more effective way of achieving the end result.

Collaboration

Well here you have it: teamwork was essential to workplaces 20 years ago and it continues to be important today. Teams can accomplish way more than any individual and so employers want to hire professionals who can effectively and respectfully collaborate with diverse types of people. Roles have become more specialized and according to a researcher at Kellog School of Management companies, to remain successful, are creating bigger working groups with more specializations and encouraging sharing of information within workplaces.

Recruiter Tip!
Show that you are a collaborator by describing a project that you worked on as part of a team. Highlight ways in which you learned from others, how you navigated differences of opinion, and what you find most enjoyable about collaborating with others.

Adaptability

A common challenge our clients experience with hiring finance and accounting professionals is rigidity in habits and expectations. 2020 has taught us that the business world is unpredictable and changes in methods, technology, and processes can happen on a dime. Which is why we chose adaptability as the third important soft skill of 2020. Employees who embrace change and are willing to get out of their comfort zone are more valuable to companies especially now that many organizations are pivoting in new directions to stay in business.

Recruiter Tip!
During an interview, describe how you have adapted to working differently under COVID19 restrictions and what new skills you have gained as a result. Outline any learning and professional development that you’ve engaged it to keep up with new trends.

With the rise of AI and automation of tasks, soft skills are more important than ever. In fact 92% of recruitment professionals and hiring managers polled by LinkedIn agree that strong soft skills are essential to the workplace and bad hires generally have poor soft skills.

For more information and tips on how to highlight your soft skills during an interview, contact one of our recruiters at info@ptcrecruiting.com

Remote Onboarding: How to Better Integrate New Hires

When we bring on a new employee, we go the extra mile to make them feel welcomed. We like to leave a special note on their desk with a motivational message. There are lots of introductions and friendly handshakes. Maybe a special lunch event organized. But alas, not anymore. Remote onboarding has proven to be a totally different experience.

While it’s hard to recreate the enthusiasm that you get from a physical in-person introduction to a group of people in an office, making new employees feel appreciated and welcomed should not be deprioritized during this time. Companies can simply make some adaptations to their regular on-boarding routines and make use of technology in order to continue to make a great impression on new hires.

For this article, we spoke with Mark Nishikawa of HIRE Technologies and Lindsay Carson of ProVision Staffing, both of whom had to be introduced into our work family remotely. They shared tips and experiences to help us craft a guide for a more successful onboarding of remote workers:

Digitize on-boarding documents

On-boarding employees usually involves a lot of paperwork, from signing deposit and tax forms to integrating the new hire into a company-wide benefits plan. Digitizing these documents can translate into meaningful time and cost savings for the employer and employee. HR software such as BambooHR, WorkBright, ClearCompany, Zenefits & ProProfs Knowledge Base automate the on-boarding process. For example, ProProfs Knowledge Base helps managers create a virtual employee handbook to familiarize new hires with company policies, vision, mission etc. “Digitizing the onboarding process frees managers from manual paperwork and allows them to shift their focus on optimizing new hire engagement,” Mark suggested.

Setting up a work-from-home station

Cloud-based technologies make it easy for new employees to hit the ground running even from home. Offer assistance in setting those up and make sure to assign appropriate user permissions to avoid frustrations. “It’s helpful to get an overview of what applications and tools are required for the job and to have the login credentials noted in one place,” Lindsay suggested. Be sure to also ship any required hardware (such as laptops) in advance of the start date, preferably all set up and ready to go.

Communication is key

Good, widespread communication is always important but especially so when everyone is working remotely. Announce the addition of a new employee with a company-wide email briefly outlining their role. Include a short profile with their interests and hobbies to help start conversations among the team. “It helps to feel welcome when your manager reaches out consistently and tries to answer your questions,” Lindsay pointed out.

Use Video Conferencing

Face-to-face interactions through video calls are vital to the success of remote onboarding. “A group call to introduce the members of the company is helpful because you can put a face to a name,” Mark mentioned. Organize regular group video calls, even if brief, for the benefit of helping the new employee interact with their coworkers, rebuild office banter, and help keep your company culture alive.

One-on-one meetings

Don’t forget that new employees need a little bit more attention. You want them to last, you want them to be engaged, and you want them to succeed, after all. In an office it is easy to see when someone is struggling or finding something to be a challenge. But remotely not so much. One-on-one virtual meetings or calls between the new employee and their manager are a good way to provide support, identify struggle points, and nurture a professional relationship.

5 Tips for Successful Business Continuity During COVID19

By our sister company, ProVision Staffing

Even under these unprecedented circumstances, some businesses are continuing to operate smoothly. What’s their secret? They acknowledge the challenges and also focus on the opportunities to make their company more resilient.

We offer 5 important strategies for businesses on a mission to stay alive, stay relevant, and come out of this pandemic less harmed:

1. Invest in remote work setups – Since 2010, the amount of people that work remotely once a week has grown by 400%. (Hubspot Research) Prior to the global pandemic, only 41% of global businesses offered remote work flexibility (flexjobs.com). Now is the time to increase your company’s investments in videoconferencing tools and collaboration software, many of which do not require a huge budget.

2. Consider contract employment – Contract employment gives businesses the freedom to “hire talent on-demand”. The flexibility and scalability of contract staffing allows businesses to achieve their long-term and short-term growth targets, which makes this staffing solution ideal for challenging economic times.

3. Keep communicating with & supporting your employees – It becomes extremely crucial to calm and reassure your workforce during such uncertain times. Employers must encourage upskilling, boost morale with special incentives and schedule regular video calls etc to maintain your teams momentum.

4. Plan for the future – Use this decrease in pace to re-evaluate and identify new business opportunities. Start building new connections, growing your social media presence and developing a strong comprehensive plan for COVID19 recovery.

5. Support your client base – Show your clients that you are here for them, and that you care about them. Avoid pushing for sales and take the time to listen to their concerns. Strengthen existing relationships by providing solutions that will appeal to them and that are relevant under existing circumstances. It is important to be recognize and plan that your customers’ requirements might change post COVID19.

It’s important for businesses to be adaptable and open to change. Post COVID-19 the world will likely be a different place, at least for the next little while, and businesses that are set up to adapt to the “new normal” will have the competitive advantage.

Recruiting in the Time of Social Distancing

By Elizabeth Connelly, Vice President

The challenging reality of COVID19 in Canada continues to unfold daily, leaving many businesses in a scramble to deal with its effects.  Hiring, as a result, may have slid down your priority list yet it’s important to keep your grasp on top finance and accounting talent, particularly in preparation for a different economic landscape to come.  But how should you proceed with recruiting in a new time of social distancing and isolation?  Here are some tips to keep you engaged with top talent and continue to build a strong relationship without in-person meetings:

Keep the Line of Communication Strong

While we remain in isolation mode and shift gears to crisis management, it shouldn’t mean that communication with candidates of choice must cease.  Video conferencing, text messaging, email – these are all very obvious ways that you can use technology to stay in touch and get to know them further without having to meet in person.  Think of this as an opportunity to nurture that relationship and take it to the next level, beating your competition to the finish line when everything goes back to normal. 

Impress Through Marketing

Instead of inviting the candidate to your office to meet with the team, woo them by sending a customized, well-designed package, either digitally or by snail mail, that contains information about your company’s achievements, industry highlights, and company culture.  Include statistics, team bios, and even positive testimonials from other employees.  Show your company’s personality through branded graphics and office photos.  Candidates will appreciate the effort and it will help to sway their decision in your favour.  

Develop a Revised On-boarding Plan

Hiring during this time may require on-boarding the candidate while your office remains closed and everyone continues to work from home.  Adjust your company’s plans accordingly so that anyone joining your team will feel welcomed and appropriately supported despite not having too much face-to-face time.  Set up a group video call giving everyone an opportunity to introduce themselves, provide necessary training remotely, and adjust your expectations for roles that do not normally accommodate working from home, as the learning curve might be a bit steeper.  

Supporting each other is essential to navigating through the current, COVID19-imposed hiring challenges.  For companies this means adjusting their expectations and for candidates it means being flexible and patient.     

The Unforeseen Costs of a Bad Hire

Making the wrong hiring decision isn’t just frustrating and stressful – it can have a major impact on your bottom line. Bad hires, whether they don’t have the necessary skill sets to perform the job or simply lack the right attitude or work ethic, can have a widespread negative influence you may not necessarily realize until it’s too late. Learn more about the unforeseen costs of a bad hire – and what you can do to prevent it:

The high costs associated with bad hires are expansive, and include:

Replacement Expenses
From the cost of recruiting for a new employee (such as agency fees and advertising costs) to the actual training of the new employee once hired, the replacement expenses can add up due to a bad hire.

Morale
Even once a bad hire is gone, their negative influence may linger in the form of lowered morale for your current team. This can result in decreased job satisfaction and engagement and cause your company culture to take a hit.

Productivity
Bad hires can cause productivity to drop significantly, both during their employment and once they’re gone. Current employees having to clean up the bad hire’s mistakes, as well as the learning curve for their replacements to acclimate will cause the drop in productivity to take a while to improve.

Reputation
If bad hires give subpar customer or client service, it can damage your company’s reputation in the marketplace. The reputation hit may not be confined just to the company – a series of bad hires can also damage your reputation as a manager, making colleagues question your judgment.

What can you do to prevent bad hires?

Make the decision-making process more objective
Take measures to remove any subjective judgment calls during the hiring process when evaluating candidates. Avoid “going with your gut” and instead, develop a set of criteria against which to assess candidates.

Preview their performance without commitment
Often you only have a candidate’s resume and interview to go by when making your decision. What they say they can do, versus how they’ll actually perform, can be vastly different. Alleviate this issue by previewing their performance without commitment, such as by implementing pre-employment assessments or having them do a small trial task.

Get outsider perspectives
Bring in reinforcements to help you view candidates in a fresh light. Getting outsider perspectives from a third party (e.g., working with a staffing company), gives you the opportunity to see candidates in a different way. A staffing firm’s expertise may allow them to see red flags you may not have otherwise spotted.

 

Eliminate the Risk of Bad Hires
Feel more confident in your hiring decisions by teaming up with PTC’s team of recruiting experts for your hiring needs. For nearly 30 years, PTC Recruiting, a division of Bay Talent Group, has been collaborating with companies across sectors for their accounting, finance, and administrative staffing needs. Our industry expertise, combined with our deep passion for truly understanding and fulfilling our clients’ needs, has led to our record of success in placing the right candidates. Contact PTC today to discover how we can help you with your finance and accounting hiring needs.