How Does Santa Do It?

When we think about how Santa accomplishes all that he needs to, there is only one true answer: it’s his wife. Somebody has to run the place while he’s gallivanting around the world. Therefore, we decided to have some fun and create a parable in the form of a poem about how Santa – the CEO of the North Pole – is like today’s CEO in business. Enjoy as this takes the rhythm of “T’was the Night Before Christmas.”

T’was the Night Before Christmas and the CEO said,
“I can’t get these bright shiny objects out of my head.”
“I know my task for tonight is terribly clear,”
“But I’ve jumped ahead visioning about next year!”

 Mrs. Claus jumped right in and said, “Now focus Santa.”
“You’ve presents to deliver from Shanghai to Atlanta.”
“Work on those new initiatives when you return,”
“Because we’ve got your back here and we’re willing to learn.”

“Remember,” she said, “our roles are clearly defined.”
“You’re not pulling that sleigh by yourself, I’ll remind.”
“If you’re going to get off the ground and fly so high,”
“The team should work together, equal in the sky.”

 “It’s true,” said Santa. “We’ve all done very good work.”
“From the elves to the reindeer, no one is a shirk.”
“Let’s reward everyone with a great bonus plan,”
“And recognize success all year ‘cuz we can.”

“I know we finally have the right people in place,”
“Last year’s productivity was down. Failure we faced.”
“It took us a while to resolve all the mis-fits,”
“But now I would not change it, not one little bit,”

 “Santa,” she said, “you’re the networker of all time,”
“No one’s list rivals yours, and your CRM divine,”
“Who else would know everyone’s true greatest wishes?”
“From soft teddy bears to ornate Christmas dishes.”

 “I’m optimistic about our operation.”
“I’m thinking about an extended vacation!”
“New technology helps us to hit the mark,”
“This spiffy GPS is a cinch in the dark.”

“All should sleep well with our crisis action plan.”
“It will save us confusion just like Rudolph can.”
“Our clients and staff will be even safer.”
“No matter what type of fog we may face later.”

 “Dear wife,” said Santa, “those sweet sleigh bells are ringing.”
“Like the Polar Express book when I hear them dinging.”
“Saddens me kids grow up, can’t hear, stop believing,”
“I lead by example, giving not receiving.”

“Beliefs drive behaviors, my inner strategist screams.”
“To do the right thing daily and not just in dreams.”
“So I’ll shout from the rooftop, each house I alight,”
“Believe, hear the bells, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!

Written by Jim Annis President/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Johnson, Tom Miller, and Suzanne Chennault, Applied’s division directors, contributed to this article.

Holiday Parties and the Workplace

Nothing makes an HR director bristle like the words “holiday party.” Google “Holiday Party Liability Prevention Checklist” and you'll see a list that goes on forever! Holiday parties don’t have to result in lawsuits, social media scandals, or cost a lot of money.

How to have fun and stay out of trouble

It all comes down to self-respect. Management is on stage all the time. Being in control is being a leader. We’ve all heard the horror stories. The CEO with the lampshade dancing can go viral in seconds. Lawyers have a field day with that kind of thing. For several years, our company hosted a client thank you and community give back holiday party with over 300 people attending. As host, I never drank during our parties. I felt an obligation to be 100 percent on top of my game. I am proud to say that we never had an employee that was tipsy (can’t say that for some of our guests!). Things start at the top.

Today, we have a staff holiday luncheon, mostly out of respect for people’s time. A Friday or Saturday night party tends to make people feel obligated to “show up” after spending money on new clothes, etc. Our celebration focuses on fun, activities, and food. Our dollar store decorations include fake antler headbands that people wear while telling their favorite holiday story. During our potlucks we share recipes, never discuss business and we don’t serve alcohol.

Communicate clear expectations to everyone 

Consider the big picture – company culture, expense, and liability. Tight budget? Establish that spouses/significant others are not welcome (and leave those darling kids at home with a sitter!). Other ideas include issuing drink coupons or setting bottles of wine on the table with no restocking. If staff attendance is mandatory, remind them that you will pay them until the “official” end of the party. 

Simple reminders

At intervals, send out reminders about the key points, from who-what-where-why-when to dress code.

Potential legal liabilities

If you offer alcoholic beverages, you’re on the hook regardless of where the party is held, even if you pay someone else to serve. Repeat after me…

If you are hosting a party with liquor, hire and pay for taxis for everyone.

If you are hosting a party with liquor, hire and pay for taxis for everyone.

If you are hosting a party with liquor, hire and pay for taxis for everyone.

There’s a time and place for everything. Don’t let your holiday party be the time and place for a tragedy – legal or lethal.

Written by Jim Annis President/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Johnson, Tom Miller, and Suzanne Chennault, Applied’s division directors, contributed to this article.

In-N-Out Burger Surprise – A Thanksgiving Story

In-N-Out_Burger_sml.jpg2013 Thanksgiving Day may be over, however at Applied Staffing Solutions we try to count our blessings every day of the year. Working with job seekers day in and day out, we see and hear the challenges of people from all walks of life trying to make ends meet. It would be very easy to focus on the negative and allow the stories to color our world bitter grey which would spill over onto our personalities.

This autumn it was business as usual when in walks – let’s call him Ed - who answered an ad for one of our open positions. Ed was having a tough time of it and badly wanted to work. The last thing he needed was “attitude.” Jaimie, our Director of First Impressions, made him feel welcome with her ever-present cheerful grin and willingness to answer questions about our paperwork. Joyce interviewed Ed and offered him immediate temporary employment while waiting for results on the background check that was required for the position he desired.  

From in the door to out the door Ed was so thankful for the staff’s kindness and effort to put him to work that he and his wife drove over to In-N-Out Burger and returned with lunch. Everyone was treated to burgers, fries and drinks. The gesture deeply touched the hearts (and bellies) of the staff.

Joyce summed it up for all of us when she said, “It really means a lot to all of us when we can help someone find employment. To see Ed so happy just makes me want to work even harder to put people to work. I never expected a candidate to buy us burgers, but it sure was nice and certainly made my day!” 

Written by Susan Fix, The Applied Companies Community Liaison Partner. Fix has worked 16 years in staffing services performing outside sales, recruiting, permanent and temporary placement coordination, career counseling, customer service and social media/business.