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Michelle Fish Featured in Mecklenburg Times

Nov 03, 2009 On November 3, 2009 Michelle Fish was featured in two sections of the Mecklenburg Times. As a panelist for the monthly Business 101 series, she had the following to say about staffing and management issues...

1. An employee just had an outburst in front of everyone. How should I handle it?

An outburst is something that needs to be addressed immediately; this is something you cannot discuss in a review several months later. You need to find the source of the outburst and why the person chose this emotional release as opposed to handling things in a less disruptive manner.

2. When interviewing for management positions, what can I do to ensure I get the right personality fit for the company?

I’ve always said people hire for skill and fire for fit (culture and temperament). Anytime you are hiring for any position, I firmly believe you have to include temperament assessments. For example, you can have a sales manager that may be a fabulous interviewer with fantastic experience and you can’t wait to get them on board, only to realize this person is letting the sales people run them! A temperament assessment administered before hiring would reveal if the person had the correct temperament to lead, develop, and manage. These assessments also reveal if the person is emotionally intelligent enough to have the right behaviors for success. Emotional intelligence is much more valued than IQ in terms of producing successful outcomes. As a certified trainer for temperament assessments, anytime I’ve gone against what the assessment has told me, I’ve been wrong!

3. If an employee has been labeled as “difficult,” how do you determine if there is simply a personality conflict or if there is actually a corporate definition?

“Difficult” is one’s perception and as in any HR or management position, you need to “peel back the onion” and find out (1) where this assumption came from and (2) did the person who made this assumption have anything to gain or lose by brining this so-called information to light. Before you focus on the “label”, focus on who did the labeling and why, then work through a systematic approach with the “labeled” employee to find out their perception of what is causing “conflict.” You may be surprised; sometimes individuals are not as self-aware or do not have high levels of emotional intelligence. They may not even realize the “perfect storm” that is brewing around them. I always think it is important to do temperament assessments from the get-go so employees can understand themselves, their behaviors and each other.

4. As a manager, how should you address an employee that you believe is sowing dissension among the ranks?

I consider sowing dissension as “poison” and personally fell that this type of behavior cannot be tolerated or left to “work itself out.” I think the person that is believe to be doing this should have the opportunity to address their view of what is going on. The individual needs to be reminded that there is a no-tolerance policy for this behavior. Then have them suggest what steps need to take place for the “dissension” perception (or reality) to go away)!

She was also featured in an article titled "Staffing Agencies See Slow but Steady Growth"...

Michelle Fish is CEO at Integra Staffing & Search and its sister company Bankston Partners. She said the two companies have added 14 clients since mid-September, for a total of 38 positions. Most of the new clients are using Bankston Partners, which serves the banking, finance, and property management industries.

“We’re seeing a lot of project managers and IT positions, and these are usually highly compensated contract positions,” she said.

Integra Staffing & Search provides temporary, contract and direct-hire workers in customer service, administration, manufacturing and human resources.

“On the Integra side, we’re seeing a lot of companies that cut too deeply when a year ago everything started going downhill,” Fish said. “Now they’re trying to do too much with too little, and they’re starting to bring people back on.” Most of these are contract-to-hire positions, which indicates a more cautious approach by employers, she said. “This means they want to make sure they have all their ducks in a row before they hire the person.”

Fish said she expects to see a modest, gradual continuation of the increased hiring activity. “Companies are getting smarter and trying to get the best of the best,” she said. “But I don’t think the economy is ever going to be where it was. I think this is the new norm.”

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