5 Tips to Prevent Employee Vacation Scheduling Headaches

4th Flipflops

The 4th of July typically ushers in vacation season, when many employees choose take days or even weeks off. As supportive as you are of your team taking time off and enjoying work-life balance, one thing you cannot afford is to have most of your employees want the same week off.

Handling employee vacation scheduling and leave conflicts can be a huge challenge. Fortunately, most of the headaches can be minimized by laying clear policies and doing some advanced planning. Below are ways you can keep the challenges to a minimum, both for employees planning vacations as well as those who will be covering for them during their  absence:

  1. Set a deadline for submitting vacation requests. This gives you enough time to project how employee absences might affect deadlines and delivery dates, and just as importantly, resolve any conflicts. Depending on your business, this could be anywhere from a month to a year in advance.
  2. Cover the topic of employee vacation policy during the hiring and orientation process and provide new employees with written vacation policies and procedures. Make sure to discuss peak work periods when vacations may be restricted. If there are any conflicts with major holidays or prior commitments, discuss them at that time to prevent surprises later on.
  3. Prepare for the absences. If colleagues will cover vacationers’ jobs, make sure those taking time off provide key contact information, a summary of work in progress, access to needed work files, and other pertinent information to meet crucial deadlines. Provide a checklist of items needed so that those going on vacations can be organized and focus on what they need to set up.
  4. Divide vacationing employees’ duties among several colleagues rather than overwhelming one employee with the vacationing employee’s full workload.
  5. Have employees with similar skills, tasks and responsibilities to trade off vacation dates among themselves, so long as it won’t affect deadlines and output quality.

Do you need some Temporary help to cover for vacationing employees? AppleOne has you covered.

JBH Diversity TN

ACT•1 Group Founder and CEO Shares the ABCs of Business with Over 700 Business Leaders

On June 24th, Janice Bryant Howroyd took the stage in Chattanooga, TN, to share some truly empowering insights and inspiration with over 700 entrepreneurs and executives. As the special guest speaker for the Chattanooga Chamber’s Diversity 2015 event, ACT•1 Group’s Founder and CEO spoke about the her journey as an entrepreneur, going global, and finding and maximizing opportunities. Janice, whose conglomerate includes industry leaders AppleOne, Agile•1 and A-Check Global, also offered her own ‘ABCs of Business’

Janice was also featured in the Chattanooga local evening news. “Being here, and being in the middle of so many entrepreneurs, makes it a welcoming experience,” she said. “I really believe that many businesses have an opportunity to thrive here who don’t even know what’s going on here yet.”


Turning Your “Greatest Weakness” into Your Greatest Strength

When preparing for a job interview, you need to be ready for questions the hiring manager is likely to ask you. While some job interviews will contain questions that seem to come out of left field (“If you were asked to unload a 747 full of jelly beans, what would you do?” is a real question that has been asked), others are questions you can expect and prepare for. “What is your greatest weakness?” is a common question for which you should prepare an answer.

Understand What the Question Means

When an interviewer asks about your biggest weakness, they aren’t checking to see if you can list a weakness that is really a strength. The cliché answer that you are “a perfectionist,” is not what the interviewer is looking to hear. They are trying to determine how self-aware you are, and that you are actively looking to self-correct problems.

Sound Proactive

Instead of attempting to make up a weakness, pick something that you are actually working on improving. Don’t just tell them what your greatest weakness is, tell them how you are going to fix it with action. For instance:

“I have a tendency to get too focused on the task I’m working on to the exclusion of other tasks I need to accomplish. I find that by using a combination of To Do lists and effective prioritizing, I’m able to get everything done and be very productive.”

Be Careful with Your Focus

While there really isn’t a right answer to this question, there are plenty of wrong ones. You shouldn’t list a weakness that is actually going to be detrimental to your job prospects. Don’t say that you are “lazy” or that you have a tendency to disappear for two hours during lunch. Instead, look for something that focuses on the hard work that you do and that can be easily fixed.

Keep your answer short, concise and honest and you’ll instantly set yourself apart from all of the “perfectionists” that didn’t prepare a great answer in advance.


3 Ways To Make The Most Of A Networking Event

Networking is a vital part of any job search. Of course, going to something like a networking event can be a bit overwhelming, especially if it is your first time. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make sure you get the most out of the event, even if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed when you get there. CAREEREALISM gives you three bits of advice that can help you at http://bit.ly/1j2evLQ.

JBH AZ Bio Pic Jul2014

Global Entrepreneur Janice Bryant Howroyd To Give Keynote Speech At Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s Diversify 2015

ACT•1 Group Founder and CEO Janice Bryant Howroyd is set to give the keynote speech in Tennessee at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s Diversify 2015. As AppleOne’s parent company, the ACT•1 Group serves more than 13,000 clients globally and ranks second on the Black Enterprise Magazine BE 100 List.

Mrs. Bryant Howroyd will be sharing her journey to success, which includes driving ACT•1 Group’s strategic global expansion, during a luncheon on Wednesday, June 24th at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

“Entrepreneur Janice Bryant Howroyd, the first African-American female to direct a billion-dollar enterprise, gives our keynote speech and we know people will want to hear her inspirational story,” said Maria Noel, Director of African American Business Development at the Chattanooga Chamber said about the event. “We’ve got a global population that’s growing. We’ve got people who are coming from other cities, young entrepreneurs.” Noel and the event organizers are expecting more than 700 attendees.


The Right Outfit for Your Interview

Worried about being over- or underdressed an interview? The way that you dress can affect the way that you are perceived in an interview. Instead of taking a guess on what you should wear, there are ways to get a good idea of what the company culture is like before you go in. The Muse gives you advice on how to use Social Media to figure out company culture so you don’t have to guess how to dress at http://muse.cm/1Fbg5Up.


Three Important Things to Do Before an Interview

You’ve printed five copies of your resume, dry-cleaned your best interview outfit and even drove by the location to make sure you wouldn’t get lost on your way. While you feel like you are ready to take on the world, there are a few more items that you need to take care of before you leave for your interview.

Do Some Research on the Company

Research the winning factors for the position such as the job requirements, goals, pain points and culture aspects of the staff. Match yourself to their needs: narrow their needs down to the 3-5 most important winning factors. Research what the company does, and what they are seeking in the open position. Seek to understand the company Mission Statement and values. The Mission Statement and values contains their lingo, which you can adopt to demonstrate you are like one of the team.

Perfect That Elevator Speech

If they ask you to tell them about yourself, they don’t want your life story, and they don’t want to know about your hobbies or your pets. They want you to provide a broad and concise overview of your professional experience before they start to get into specifics.

Your answer should be about one minute and it should summarize where you are in your career based on an extended version of your WIFM Commercial Script. Don’t know what a WIFM Commercial Script is? Ask your AppleOne Hiring Advisor to point you to our Navigating the Hiring Process workbook.

Prepare Some Questions

At some point the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions. You must be prepared for this with some great questions that will set you apart from others they interviewed. Employers have noticed that too many candidates do not have tangible questions and simply state the deal killer, “I don’t have any questions – you were very thorough.” The interview wants to see that you’re trying to figure out if you can do the job, so come prepared with thoughtful job/boss/department/goal related questions, and you can instantly set yourself above other applicants.