Part 1: A Menu of Five Scenarios with Tips to Avoid Workplace Meltdowns

The GourMelt Grilled Cheese Truck is coming to The Applied Companies, September 8 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Please stop by, purchase lunch and visit with our staff. Those yummy melts of warm comfort makes a body feel good, an obvious contrast to emotional meltdowns that cause suffering, illness, and loss of joy and productivity. This week’s blog is the first part of a two part series:  A Menu of Five Scenarios with Tips to Avoid Meltdowns:

The Computer Failure
  Served with a side of fresh deadlines, a nonresponsive server and fried nerves.

Employee:  Take a deep breath. Ask yourself “When I’m 92 will this moment matter?” A few minutes reflection stops the cycling emotions and exasperation when circumstances are working against you. Share challenges with your manager and I.T. personnel. If the problem is central to your computer, are other computers or laptops available in the office? Can you work from a home computer until the issue is resolved?

Manager:  Empathize. Let employees know to get done what they can and that you understand their frustration. Help them determine priorities. Approach other managers on the employee’s behalf if needed. Pinpoint computer problem areas; is it an isolated one or does the whole system need an overhaul or update? Investigate how to alleviate reoccurring problems.

An Intelligence Transfer  (Commonly referred to as “Upgrade!”)
 Flambé medley of grilled conversions and toasted websites with software over-hard.
 Additional add-ons extra.

Employee:  Stay calm. It is common to have a little anxiety, as your usual work production will slow when habits are interrupted by changes. Have confidence in your ability to learn. Approach what you know with assurance and gather what you don’t know. Make a list of questions and ask the right resources for the answers. Offer to take classes to learn new software or how to operate a new website. Take copious notes and refer to them often while you create a new routine.

Manager:  Lead by example; stay calm. Ensure training is offered in advance of any conversion, including guidance on how to deal with annoyed clients. Help your talent focus on “learning mode” not on panic mode. Make sure the workload is spread out. Operate as a team. Know your team – their strengths and weaknesses – in order to target assignments appropriately. Reassure them; while you want them up to speed quickly, you understand there may be delays.

Burst in Business Bonanza
  A full plate of seasonal production piled high and dished up open-faced.

Employee: Approach increased work demands or seasonal industry fluctuations with a “can do” attitude. Ask questions. Learn. Keep yourself informed. Participate in company discussions. When appropriate, offer solutions for balancing workloads. Be committed to being part of the company’s success. Manage stress and take care of your health.

Manager: Keep your team posted on approximate influx dates. Have a plan in place to staff up using resources applicable to your needs. Can you utilize family, friends, interns, temporaries? Look into cloud computing for occasional spikes in website traffic. Surprise the team with random fun activities and healthy snack and/or lunch breaks.

“May a GourMelt grilled cheese sandwich be the only meltdown you experience.”  TAC Authors   See you next week for Part 2!

Written by Tom Miller, Director, Staffing & Recruiting Solutions and Susan Fix, Community Liaison Partner. Tom has over 30 years human resource, management and recruiting experience. Susan has 15 years staffing experience with a dash of social media.  

Jim Annis: Disaster Planning for Home and Workplace

Click here to view Jim Annis’ RGJ article: Disaster Planning for Home and Workplace

Jim Annis: Effectively Communicate Employees’ Total Compensation Packages

Click here to view Jim Annis’ RGJ article “Effectively Communicate Employees’ Total Compensation Packages”

Improve Your Chances of Staying Employed

There is a plethora of advice on how to find a job. How to put together a great résumé, perform a killer interview, and network properly. What if you are employed and concerned about keeping your job when so many have been laid off? Every employer is different; however, there are some common rules of conduct that companies across the nation appreciate.  Applied Staffing Solutions ( offers you the following guidelines to Improve Your Chances of Staying Employed:



            Never say “That’s not my job.”

                      Companies are operating with less people doing more work. Your ability to adapt to the

                      company’s needs in a timely manner will provide an invaluable service to your employer.   

Be cautious about turning down new assignments.

            Accommodate your employer’s requests. If your “plate is full” ask for a meeting to prioritize the

           work. Your manager may help you reorganize your schedule or pass low priority items to

           a coworker who is looking for an opportunity to grow.



            You are hired to perform a job.

                        Refuse to list excuses when you can’t deliver results. Admit it and take responsibility when you

                        fall short of goals. Exert yourself to succeed with the plan you and your manager design to 

                        correct deficiencies. Neglecting your responsibilities is carelessness – repeatedly not doing or not

                        completing your job can be seen as laziness.

            Be cautious about using the refrain “I’m doing the best I can.”

                        Like the boy who cried wolf, that line only goes so far. Eventually you have to step up to the

                        plate and perform well. Follow through and avoid recurring mistakes.



            Generate results.

                        Meet and exceed the expectations of your job. Anticipate employer’s needs and provide the

                        information they need before being asked. Pitch in when your team is shorthanded due to illness

                        or vacations. Be a “go to person” that smiles and goes the extra mile. 

            Be cautious about inferior behavior.

                        Too many absences, being late, texting or making personal phone calls on the job, and requiring

                        constant positive reinforcement to be productive can try the patience of any employer. A lack of

                        initiative and an inability to learn or adapt to working conditions creates inefficiency.



            Ask questions.

                        Make sure you understand your job thoroughly by asking questions – you are gathering

                        information to do your work properly. Listen carefully and take notes. At a later date, if you must

                        seek clarification, prepare a written list of questions to keep the interface on topic and brief.

                        Know your employer’s communication style – do they like a lot of information with constant

                        updates or do they prefer concise reports only as needed. 

            Be cautious about how and what you communicate.

                        Always emailing/texting information or updates to coworkers and your employer breaks down

                        personal connections. Much of the time face-to-face interaction can solve problems quicker than

                        relying on technology. Negative comments regarding your company or coworkers exhibits

                        disloyalty, is an on-the-job time waster, and creates an unhealthy work environment.

Staffing “Flexing” It’s Muscles in the Marketplace

Employment professionals know that the staffing industry is a primary indicator of economic turnaround.  As a leading local staffing provider in northern Nevada, we are getting a solid workout! Many employers are seeing a noticeable increase in business. After the 2009 reduction in force, they no longer have the staff to meet demands, yet they are hesitant to bring on full-time staff. Flexibility is a strong motivator to partner with a staffing service.

According to the American Staffing Association there were more new temporary jobs in December than in any comparable period in the past 20 years. The latest job numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that temporary help employment increased by 2.5%, seasonally adjusted, from November to December. Although other sectors continued to lose jobs at a slower pace than before, temporary help services was one of few industries that continued to add jobs.

Employers – Temporary staffing is a great way to “flex” your workforce and satisfy any increased demand your company may be experiencing for its product or services, without the cost of hiring permanent employees plus their benefits.  Applied Staffing Solutions has a large pool of qualified candidates with all skill sets and skill levels ready to meet your needs. We offer rigorous testing of employees to make sure you get the right fit, each and every time. We can also do a complete workforce assessment to determine if there are other services, including payroll processing, that may save you time and money while you are ramping up sales. For more information on our employer services visit Applied Staffing Solutions

Job Seekers – Temporary work is a great place to start exercising your job search proficiency. We’ll help you with interview techniques, résumé writing, and test your skills to find out your strengths and opportunities for growth. Apply online at Applied Staffing and visit our website for job seeking resources under “Resources.”

In order not to strain your current workforce or your resources, choose a staffing service that helps you flex “your” muscles in the marketplace.

Pay It Forward – The Corporate Challenge

Jim Annis, CEO and President, of The Applied Companies hosts Corporate Pay It Forward Event.

Jim Annis, CEO and President, of The Applied Companies hosts Corporate Pay It Forward Event.

Once upon a time we were encouraged to “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” Inspired by the concept, Catherine Ryan Hyde wrote a book called Pay It Forward. The movie Pay It Forward (2000) is based on the book, as is the Pay It Forward Foundation. By bringing the author’s vision to classrooms internationally, the Foundation educates and inspires students to change the world. Students and teachers formulate their own ideas of how they can pay it forward. Hyde did not copyright the phrase “pay it forward” – the idea is in the public domain for everyone to promote the concept. 


Reno residents, Robert and Lesslie Bauer, bypassed “random” and created a targeted, deliberate act of kindness and brought it to the business world. Pay It Forward (PIF) Parties partners with local companies and the Food Bank of Northern Nevada to increase donations to feed those in need. Knowing how difficult it is for people to work full-time – take care of family and home – and find time to volunteer – the Bauer’s came up with a plan to combine charity work with the workplace.


PIF gives businesses an opportunity to assist the Food Bank with its Back-Pack Kids Program. Relying entirely on donations (with no government funding) the program provides bags of food on Fridays to about 700 children in Washoe County that would otherwise go hungry over the weekend. The children are living in motels, cars and completely homeless.


Where better to kick off the first Corporate Pay It Forward Event than at The Applied Companies? Jim Annis is a dedicated and committed supporter of the community.  Approximately 20 employees packed 200 bags in less than ten minutes. After lunch, the employees went back to work stimulated, energized, and ready to follow the example of the book/movie – challenging three of their clients (local businesses) to accept the invite to launch their own company Pay It Forward luncheon.


“The benefits of this activity are enormous.” Jim said. “There’s team-building, community service, fun, and helping children. We understand the balance of life is important and giving back to the community is part of the balance of life.”


Details of how to host an event is on the Pay It Forward (PIF) Parties website.