5 Strategies To Improve Your Quality Of Work

It’s no secret that the quality of your work opens up new doors in your career, whether it be a promotion, raise, or even a new opportunity at a different organization. But if you feel that your work isn’t at a level of quality that can propel you to those new opportunities, how do you go about fixing that and bringing your quality of work to a whole new level? Here are five strategies that will help you improve the quality of your work.


Have a Plan

It is very important to have a plan to improve your quality. You can go into work one day telling yourself that today is the day your going to improve the quality of your work, but make very few improvements at all. You may be a little more focused on your work and you may try to work faster, but those little things will not do very much to improve the overall quality of your work. You have to have a plan coming in, you have to know not just what you want to do but how you’re going to do it. Do you have a lot of paperwork to get through? Plan out what to do first, and what will take the most time. Do you have a stressful meeting today? Make a plan as to what you’re going to say and do in that meeting. Planning ahead will help increase the quality of any work you’re doing, which will start to open more doors to future career opportunities.


Set Goals

How do you know where your quality of work should be if you don’t set any goals to work towards? Goals set a standard to work towards, a destination to reach. Goals are the ocean on the horizon that you are traveling towards, but you aren’t just going to get there just with little effort. If you do, it isn’t much of a goal. The goal should be one that you have to work towards, one that takes effort and change and maybe even a little hardship. Goals should have a positive impact if their met. And even if they aren’t met, you should still be better off than when you weren’t working towards that goal. For example, a salesman may set a very high goal of sales numbers that he would like to meet for the year. If he meets those numbers, that is wonderful for him and the organization. If he doesn’t he will most likely still have more sales than he thought he would have for the month.


Seek Help

A problem that a lot of employees run into when working is that many of them are too embarrassed or too proud to ask others for help with their work. Even when they are struggling, many employees will just try to figure things out or even skip whatever it is they are struggling with all together. This of course has a very negative impact on the quality of your work and can lead to serious issues if you never seek out help. In fact, some of the best workers that you find in a company are the ones that are in constant communication with both co-workers and superiors. These people are not afraid to ask for help and share that they are struggling with a situation in their job. And it shows in the quality of their work as their work continually outshines that of their less communicative co-workers. If you have a number of co-workers and superiors that are more than willing to help you out with their combined wealth of knowledge, why would you not take advantage of that? Put the embarrassment or pride aside and seek out the help of those around you. They will most likely be more than happy to help you, and the quality of your work will skyrocket compared to when you were trying to go at it alone.


Strive For Improvement

This point goes hand in hand with our past point on goals. What do you do when you have accomplished your goals? Do you take time to relax and let your work slide a little because you just reached those lofty goals you have set? This is very tempting, but can lead to a decrease in your quality of work over time. Instead, try creating new goals for yourself based off of your performance. Did you meet your goals faster than you expected? Set goals that will be harder to reach. Were your results the 3rd best in the company for the quarter? Strive for 1st in the next quarter. There are always ways to improve your work, and you should always be looking for ways to make those improvements. Even the 30 year veteran at a Fortune 500 company who seems like he can do no wrong can always improve in some aspect of their work. When you look to always improve your work, you won’t reach perfection, but you’ll get a lot closer than when you weren’t trying.



Wait a minute, didn’t you just tell us to not relax in the last section? Yes, I did, but I’m talking about relaxing in a different context here. When I said don’t relax before, I was talking about not putting your work on cruise control just because you had recently accomplished a goal or two. That is dangerous and is a slippery slope to lazy and low quality work. In this context however, I am talking about keeping yourself from becoming over-stressed and overworked. All of my past points take a lot of effort and more dedication to your work. But you don’t want work to take over your life and add extra stress and exhaustion. You need to take moments to relax so that you don’t get burned out at work. One of the best ways to do this is to keep your work life separate from your home life. Let your home life be a place for family, friends, and faith, and don’t let your work life interfere with these parts of your life. Another great way to relax is to take vacations. There are a lot of workers who don’t use all of the vacation days that are provided to them, and it has an affect. Workers become worn out, tired, and their quality of work actually decreases simply because they are not taking the time to relax and rejuvenate. Take some time off, keep work separate from home, and your quality of work will increase respectively.


Following these points will definitely help you increase the quality of your work, but more importantly you simply need to have the drive to want to improve and succeed. No tips or tricks will help you if you’re not motivated to give it your all and provide the highest quality of work possible in your position. Motivate yourself to work hard hard and give it your all, and everything else will fall into place.

The Best Qualities To Look For In New Recruits

Trying to fill a new position is always tough, especially if your company is fairly new and doesn’t have much hiring experience. You may know the specifics of what you’re looking for in a job, but what other qualities should you be looking for? What qualities make somebody a good employee in general? There are a lot of different qualities that are up for debate as to whether or not they can determine a good employee, but here are a few that are mostly agreed upon that can determine if someone is a good employee or not.


Commitment To The Organization


You would not want to hire an employee only to have him leave the company a few months later. There is more cost associated with this than returns that you are getting out of the employee. You would have the cost of training, the cost of salary, the cost of resources that the employee would use, and many other costs that would come out of hiring a new employee. And before that employee would be able to even make you a decent return on your investment in them, they’d be gone.This is not what any business wants, and the best way to keep this from happening is to look at the new recruit’s work history with past companies. Did they stay at each company very long? Or is there a lot of job hopping? It’s okay for employees to switch companies every once and a while, but for an employee to be switching jobs every few months or even every few years should raise a red flag that they are not committed to any company that they worked with.




While the position that you are hiring for may not be a leadership position, it is always good to look for leadership qualities in a new candidate. Leadership qualities show that a candidate can work well with others, has a good understanding of the job that they are assigned, and will be able to lead in the future if called upon. These are all very important skills to have, and these skills will be beneficial to the business as the employee continues to grow and excel in their position at the business. The employee has better potential for promotion if they can demonstrate leadership in the past, and if the position they are being hired for is one that involves a lot of work with other employees, then leadership is an excellent quality that will help the employee to not only work with other employees, but lead them if needed.


Quality Work


Another factor to look at when considering a new candidate is the quality of their past work. You want to have an employee who will give you the highest quality work possible, an employee that will give you the best return on your investment. So how do you make sure an employee will give you the best work possible? The simplest way is to look at their past work. This may be hard to do since their work was most likely with a different company, but there may be a way to see the outcome of their work. You can try to see how their work had an impact publicly on either the business or the community. For example, if you are recruiting a marketer from a publicly traded company, you can at least see if their marketing efforts had any helpful impact on the finances of the company. If you cannot find a public impact of their work, the next best thing to do is have them give you a demonstration of their work. You can do this by having them work in a simulation setting for a little bit. If we look back to our marketer, we can ask him to write up a quick marketing plan for a product in 20 minutes. This is a very effective way of determining the quality of someone’s work and if their work will be suitable for your company.




Communication is a factor that can make or break a potential employee. It is very important that an employee can talk to both their co-workers and higher ups about anything from issues to achievements. Without communication, an employee becomes isolated from others, which can lead to a decrease in performance. At the same time, lack of communication also keeps the employee from sharing what could be important information with other people in the company. This negative trait has a tendency to disrupt the flow of business and cause a decrease in performance not only of the employee, but of the entire business. So how can you tell if a potential employee struggles with communication? The simplest way is to talk to people at their previous place of employment. These people will most likely be more than happy to discuss with you whether or not the candidate has had trouble communicating in the past, especially considering that the lack of communication most likely resulted in negative performance for the company. Otherwise, you can also attempt to catch the candidate in a lie during the recruiting process. Lying is a large sign of bad communication, and catching someone in a lie is a very good way to tell if they are bad at communication or not. If it is found out that they are bad at communication, this isn’t an automatic disqualifier for the candidate, but it is definitely a large factor to keep in mind.


The Verdict…


None of these factors should be automatic dis-qualifiers on their own. But they should each be taken into account when making the final decision on whether or not to hire a candidate (if all of these factors are negative, that might actually be a dis-qualifier). There are many more factors to look at beyond these, and just because a candidate may not have very good leadership or communication skills might not mean that they wouldn’t be a great fit for the position. It is up to the hiring company to determine what is and isn’t important and to decide of the candidate can excel at their position.

How To Climb Your Way To The Top

Your first day at a new business is an exciting time! There’s so much to learn, so much to do, and so much to look forward to. But too many employees soon fall into a dull pattern of lackluster effort towards their work. These employees stay stuck in lower level positions with little to no hope of moving up in the business. Is this the fault of the business? Usually not. It is usually a result of giving up, of losing hope, of becoming comfortable with the limited responsibility that you are given. And this may work for some people; we need employees in the lower level positions. But if your goal is to move up, to get promoted, to climb the corporate ladder, then you need to possess the mindset to get ahead.


What is the mindset of one who gets ahead? Part of the mindset is taking pride in your work. No matter what kind of work you are doing or how much your work impacts the business, you should take pride in your work knowing that you are a part of propelling the business to new heights. If you can take pride in even the smallest tasks, how much more that will help you when you take pride in the biggest tasks. When you take pride in your work at the top of a business, you can impact the business in ways that you never imagined. But that pride in your work starts when your at the bottom, when you think your work has little to no impact on the business. That is where character is formed, character that shines when your at the top.


A trait that keeps many at the bottom is the unwillingness to take advantage of new opportunities. New opportunities can be anything from new projects to new responsibilities, from opportunities to learn to even opportunities for promotion. When people become comfortable with their current position, they see new opportunities as threats to their comfortable work life. So why would you take advantage of an opportunity that may require a little more commitment from you, an opportunity that may require a little more intellectual work? These are the questions employees ask themselves, and those that stay at the bottom simply see no reason to burden themselves with anything outside of their comfort zone. But those who rise to the top see these opportunities as ways to add value to the business and make themselves known as ones who aren’t afraid of a new challenge.


One of the biggest traits that upper level managers and executives look at when looking to promote is reliability. Has the employee consistently performed their work with exceptional quality? Can they rely on the employee to be able to accomplish the larger tasks that will be in store for them in the higher position? While it may be obvious that an organization is looking for a person in a higher position to be reliable, reliability goes beyond simply accomplishing the task at hand. It includes being reliable to perform a task with quality, to always be available if ever needed from the organization, and to be able to be a leader when called upon. Simply put, being reliable means you can be counted on by the organization to accomplish whatever they ask of you. You can demonstrate your reliability in a lower position simply by accomplishing the tasks that are handed to you, and accomplishing them with as high of quality as possible. Help others that need help show your organization that you can be counted on to be a leader. Those higher up will notice your reliability and will take note of it for the future.


Finally, a wonderful trait that managers love to see in an employee with potential is leadership. Now there are many positions that do not offer many opportunities for leadership, especially among lower level positions. The most leadership you may get in a starting position is leading the intern through his 8 week program. While a lack of access to leadership can be frustrating, do not let that frustration lead to a lack of action. Whatever leadership that is available to you, take advantage of that. Lead that intern to the best of your ability, show leadership in that project you’re in, help your fellow new workers with what they’re struggling with. You’ll soon find that your responsibility in leadership will begin to grow, and you’ll take on even more leadership. Managers will notice these traits, and continue to trust you with more leadership. And many times, with more leadership comes a higher role in the company.


I have covered a lot of points that will help you work your way to the top, but the most important point is to simply work hard. Put in the effort, don’t hold back, don’t become lazy, and you’ll go beyond what you thought you could in the organization.

5 Ways To Encourage Your Employees

Think about your ideal workplace. What is the atmosphere like? Most likely, people are working towards a common goal in an enthusiastic manner. There is a buzz around, people are talking and communicating, and a lot of work is getting done. Unfortunately, a lot of workspaces do not have this kind of atmosphere. Instead, you can usually find a couple of employees goofing off and wasting time. You can find many employees stressed and worried about their work. You can even find some employees considering a career change because they feel that their current position is dragging.


As a manager and leader, is there a way to fix this situation? Is there a way to create that buzz, to change the atmosphere? I believe that there is, and here are 5 ways to encourage your employees to change that atmosphere:



One of the best ways to encourage employees is to encourage competition. Many people love competition, to know that they’re coming out ahead. Many of us played sports and games when we were younger, and that competitive side of us hasn’t completely left us yet.


So how do you create competition in the workplace? One of the simplest ways is to create a leaderboard based on individual accomplishments within the organization. Do you manage a sales department? Create a leaderboard displaying who has the most sales for the month. Most departments and careers have a variable that can be measured in order to create competition among employees. Employees will find that they enjoy the competition, even if the end result is simply bragging rights.



Incentives are a huge tool when it comes to encouraging employees. Employees love to see their work being rewarded, especially when they’re putting in long hours and generating exceptional results. So what kind of incentives can you provide that will get keep your employees encouraged?


The most widely used incentive is easily a monetary incentive. But it is the most widely used for a reason. Employees respond to monetary incentives more than most other incentives. Are you offering a large bonus to any employees who can reach a certain goal this year? You better be prepared to give out a lot of those bonuses. Are you offering a pay raise based on performance evaluations? Get ready to see a spike in performance soon. Employees are always looking to increase their income, so using that as an incentive will get them to perform.


There are, however, other means of incentives besides monetary incentives. Some other incentives include gift cards, extra vacation days, and even a week with the company car. Employees respond wonderfully to these as well, and they will definitely be encouraged to work a little harder to achieve whatever the prize is.



Compliments are those little things that you don’t think about very often, but that have a huge affect on employees. Many employees get few compliments each and every day, which can make work seem like a drag and discourage the employee. What if employees received just one compliment every day? The atmosphere would change, employees would feel more encouraged, and work would become more productive.


So what kind of compliments can you give to your employees to keep them encouraged? Simply praising their performance whenever you can is a huge start. Did your employee just close a big deal? Tell them how awesome that is! Was your employee able to work things out with that customer that no one else had luck with? Tell them how much you appreciate them! It really isn’t that hard to find a few things to compliment each employee on. And those compliments will go a long way; employees will have their spirits raised and be encouraged to give it their all at work.


More Responsibility

One of the large reasons that employees get discouraged in the workplace is because they are simply bored. More specifically, employees feel that they have little responsibility in their job and that their actions do not contribute very much to the organization. While this may be a larger issue in large corporations than in small businesses where most employees have more responsibilities outside of their department, it is still an issue in almost every major business. So how do we encourage employees that are relatively bored with their position?


The answer is simply more responsibility. When employees are given more responsibility, they will feel like they are contributing more to the organization. When they are given more responsibility, employees will feel like their position matters more in the organization. Employees will be encouraged when they feel like their position matters more and thus in turn will be encouraged to work harder in order to succeed in their position, ultimately helping the organization to succeed.


One variable to be careful of is burdening the employee with too much responsibility. While employees can become encouraged that they have more responsibility to the organization, they can in fact become discouraged if they have so much responsibility that it stresses them to the max. There is a good balance of responsibility and stress that has to be met in order to successfully encourage employees.


Leadership Involvement

Every business and every department in a business has leadership. There are one or more people that have the responsibility to lead their employees to succeed for the business, and many employees look to their leaders to help encourage them to succeed. So how can leaders themselves use their position to encourage employees to give it their all in the work space?


The best way is to get involved in the operations of your employees. By this I definitely do not mean micromanaging, but that leaders should help out their employees with operations. If there is a large situation that is causing an employee to become stressed out and discouraged, the leader should step in and try to help the employee out by taking a portion of the burden on to themselves. For example, if there is a sales employee that is becoming discouraged with a large order that they are working with, the leader should step in and offer a helping hand in some areas, such as creating quotes or taking a few turns talking with the customer.


When leaders get involved in lending a helping hand to their employees, this will encourage employees to press on with their task that is a little more manageable. Employees will appreciate the helping hand, and will even be encouraged by the fact that they have a partner to help them tackle this task and succeed in scaling the impossible mountain.

Resume Review

Did you know the average resume is only reviewed in a matter of seconds? Before you send your resume to a recruiter, HR Director or upload it to any site, make sure it is completely ready (This is for a traditional resume, there are some exceptions where more creative or lengthy resumes may be appropriate)!


10 Mistakes We See on Resumes


  • Make sure it looks nice - Your resume should look clean and organized (Ex: Bullets line up, appropriate spacing, etc.).

  • Spelling/Grammar - Run Spell Check at the very least before sending a resume!

  • Watch where the page splits - Is it an awkward place to change pages? If so, change the margins so it flows better.

  • Keep it simple and clean - Make sure there are no more than two font styles.

  • All black font - There are exceptions to this, but it is much easier to read when it is written in one dark color.

  • Temporary/Contract roles - If you've worked a short assignment as a contractor be sure that it is stated (Ex: (Contract) 12/2016-12/2017), otherwise this can appear as "job-hopping".

  • Keywords - Your resume should reflect the job you are applying for.  Ex: If account management is required, does your experience jump off the page? Tip: Search your resume for all the keywords you are required to have.

  • Keep it short - Again, there are exceptions to this rule, but your resume should rarely be more than two pages long. Bullet descriptions under jobs read much cleaner than paragraphs.

  • Dates - Make sure you list the months on your resume, which especially applies to jobs during the past 10-15 years.

  • Past tense vs. Present tense  - When listing responsibilities under your current position, make sure to use present tense (Ex: Communicate daily with clients); in previous roles, responsibilities should be in past tense (Ex: Communicated daily with clients).

- Brittney

Should I Pursue A Career In A New Industry?

Many people come to a point in their career where they begin to consider a shift in their career. For some people, that is a promotion. For others, that is retirement. But there are many who begin to consider a change in industries. Bankers will become realtors, managers will become police officers, and chefs will become chauffeurs. For some, the choice to switch industries is easy. But for others, it is a long and difficult decision that requires in depth thought and analysis. So what exactly are some points that should be considered when thinking about switching industries?


Assuming that you have already determined that this is an industry you would enjoy working in, the first point to consider is the status of your new job. Depending on what your position was in your former industry, most likely you will have to take a cut in both pay and ranking. For example, a police chief who decides to go into banking may have to start out as a teller. A manager at a department store will have to start out as a laborer if they are looking to get into the construction industry. This cut in job status is entirely due to a lack of knowledge and experience in the industry. Thankfully, these are qualities that can be built up over time with an organization in your desired industry. If you’re willing to stick it out for a few years in a lesser role, you will most likely move up in both status and compensation in your desired industry.


A second point to consider when thinking about getting into a new industry is how much you actually know about that industry. A lot of people think it’d be awesome to be a pilot until they figure out how much pressure and stress is associated with position. A lot of people would love to become a professional football player but could not fathom the amount of training and dedication that goes into accomplishing this goal, not to mention the impact on your body as a result of football. If there is an industry that you think would be amazing to work in, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. It is almost always the case that the industry you dream about is not all roses, and there may even be some negative factors that deter you from desiring a position in that industry.


An excellent point that is often overlooked is asking yourself a very simple question: why do I want to get out of the industry that I’m in? Do I hate my current job? Am I seeing no chances for promotion? Am I struggling to perform in my current industry? A lot of times, people will realize that the reason that they want to leave their industry is actually rather small and easily fixable. It should also be noted that this isn’t always the case, and a lot of people actually have a legitimate reason to leave their industry that can not be easily fixed. If you are considering changing industries, just make sure to ask yourself that simple question of why? You’ll discover that the reason you want to leave is either easily fixable or bad enough to confirm your decision to switch industries.


The final point that I believe you should consider when switching industries are your loved ones. More specifically, how this change is going to affect not only you but your family and friends. If you have a wife and kids, taking a job in an industry that requires you to travel for half of the year may not be the best move. In that same situation, taking a job in an industry that does pay well will have an effect on your finances for your family. Perhaps the industry you want to get into has positions available only in California, but you’re from Michigan and don’t know anybody out in California. Do you really want to leave all of your friends and everybody you know to move to the other side of the country for what you believe is a desired position? Some people are perfectly fine with this scenario and would be more than happy to take the job across the country. Many others though are not as pleased with this situation and should take the time to consider whether or not it’s worth it to leave everyone they know. So as you consider that move to a new industry, consider what impact it will have on your family and friends and if that impact is worth it to work in your desired industry.


All of these points that I have presented may sound like they have a negative tone to them, but they are far from that. They are simply points to consider, and in fact can be seen as confirmations that this new industry is the industry for you. If you can consider all of these points and still confirm that you want a position in this new industry, then there’s nothing that can stop you!

When a recruiting firm is the right choice for your hiring process

Let’s face it, the hiring process is a daunting and stressful task for any organization. Trying to find the perfect candidate that will excel in their position seems like a nearly impossible feat and can sometimes take months for an organization to complete. The more responsibility a position holds, the harder it is to find qualified candidates, let alone candidates that you believe will excel. Thankfully, recruiting firms can come into play to help relieve a lot of the pressure of the hiring process. The question is, when should you make the decision to hire a recruiting firm?


The best indicator of whether or not to hire a recruiting firm is if the position is specialized. What I mean by this is if the position requires qualifications that only a small percentage of the population hold. Some examples include public accountants, commercial lenders, heart surgeons and marketing managers. Since such a small percentage of the population qualify for these positions, it makes the task of finding qualified candidates very difficult for the organization. This is where a recruiting firm can step in. Most recruiting firms are specialized in certain industries such as banking and the medical field, and thus have connections within these industries. They know the ins and outs of the industry and who to talk to to find not only a qualified candidate, but a candidate that will go above and beyond for the organization.


To go along with a specialized position, organizations should also consider whether or not the position is a highly paid position. There is a lot of risk in paying an employee a high salary, only to receive lackluster effort and dismal returns. The organization is not receiving the proper returns on this investment and is actually losing money, the complete opposite of what you want your investment to do for you. To go along with a failed investment, the employee will most likely have to be fired and the hiring process will have to start all over again. Thankfully, a recruiting firm can help you avoid this issue. Recruiting firms specialize in not only finding candidates, but finding the right candidates. Recruiters do there homework and make sure that they are finding their clients the best candidates around; candidates that will succeed and excel at their position and prove their worth as a proper investment. In fact, hear for yourself what a recruiting firm can do for an organization through some Harrison Gray client testimonials by clicking here.


Perhaps you’ve been trying to recruit on your own for your own business, but with no luck. It’s been a few weeks, perhaps even a few months, and you just can’t find that right candidate. Time is precious, and that unfilled position could be losing you money by the minute. Would you want to take the risk of continuing to recruit on your own with the possibility of not finding the right candidate? Or perhaps a better idea is to quicken this process and bring in some professionals. Combining large networks and the resources to heavily recruit, recruiting firms not only deliver high quality candidates, but they deliver them with speed. When an unfulfilled position is losing you money, speed is what you need. Many recruiting firms have been known to find the right candidate just days after signing to recruit for a new client. This is just a few of the many luxuries you receive when you hire a recruiting firm; speed and efficiency.


The final point I would like to discuss when considering whether you should hire a recruiting firm is risk. More appropriately, risk in choosing the wrong candidate on your own. While I touched on risk when I mentioned the specialization of the position, there is a lot more that comes into play when discussing the risk of hiring the wrong candidate. For example, there is the risk that the candidate is known for job hopping and could easily leave their position within the first year. There’s the risk that the candidate has had improper training in areas of their profession that could be detrimental to their performance. There is even the risk that the candidate has had disciplinary issues in the past. Unfortunately, most businesses that are not recruiting firms do not have the time or resources to dig deep and uncover some of these negative traits. This is where a recruiting firm comes into play. Possessing both time and resources along with expertise, recruiting firms have the ability to figure out the good and the bad that comes along with a candidate and if there is a trait that makes them too risky. This not only saves the client time from conducting this analysis on a candidate, but also increases the quality of the candidates that the recruiting firm actually does submit to the client.


While these points are very important when considering whether you should hire a recruiting firm, they are only a few drops in a pool of points you should consider. Whatever decision you may come to, always remember the benefits and luxuries that come with hiring a recruiting firm. Do you think your organization is ready to work with a recruiting firm? Fill out our form here to get started with Harrison Gray.