Employee Mental Health

By Christy Pashkovskiy, Director of Marketing

Mental health and wellbeing are at the forefront of workplace trends in 2023. After the instability we all faced during the global pandemic, stress remains at an all-time high – both at home and in the workplace. According to Gallup’s Global Workplace 2022 Report, “employees have never been more stressed,” with 60% of workers surveyed reported feeling ‘emotionally detached’ while at work. This is obviously harmful to individuals, as well as businesses. As the spotlight remains on mental health, it is important for employers to adapt and create an environment where employee wellbeing is a high priority. Below are 7 suggestions for improving employee mental health.

  • Listen. Each and every employee is facing different challenges both at work and at home. As an employer, it is important to keep your door open when it comes to your employees’ mental health. Conduct surveys throughout the year to take a pulse on stress levels and be open to conversations to learn what types of challenges workers are facing and what types of solutions they think may help alleviate stress. Consistent check-ins and communication are extremely helpful.
  • Ensure the leadership team is equipped to provide support and guidance for employee wellbeing. It is important for senior leaders to develop positive relationships with their team and to treat everyone fairly, with empathy. If possible, employers should incorporate mental health and wellbeing training for leaders into their overall strategy towards a happy, healthy workplace.
  • Provide flexibility. Employers who acknowledge work life balance and give employees the autonomy to make decisions surrounding their schedule, see drastic benefits in employee wellbeing. As employees are all navigating diverse experiences, it can be advantageous to emphasize results versus measuring time spent at the office.
  • Provide benefits. Look into helpful, affordable benefits that employees can use to improve their mental health. Examples are free or low-cost therapy, mental health apps or employee resource groups. In addition, a wellness program initiative that encourages healthy living in a variety of ways can be motivating and instrumental in employees achieving their wellness goals.
  • Encourage conversations. Reduce the stigma surrounding mental health so that employees know they’re not alone. Hosting workshops, or creating open forums to talk about health and wellbeing can be helpful for employees to participate in.
  • Focus on physical health as well. Physical health plays a large role in overall wellbeing. Look into offering certain testing for physical conditions, provide dietary assistance, sleep habit guidance as well as exercise benefits.
  • Recognize and reward. Creating a culture where employees are recognized for their accomplishments is an important step towards great employee wellbeing. A simple ‘thank-you’ or shoutout can boost employee morale and build a positive, thriving culture.

As stress is something we all deal with, it is crucial for organizations to pay attention to their employees’ needs, wellbeing and mental health so that as a whole, everyone can take steps to improve.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” - Albert Einstein

5 Soft Skills to Look for in Prospective Employees

Top performing professionals in today’s business world possess a mix of soft skills and relevant hard skills in their respective roles. As employers make hiring decisions, they should be keeping an eye out for these traits in the talent they interview. 

Skills in a workplace setting can be broken down into two categories: hard skills and soft skills. A soft skill is described as a personality-driven trait, often related to emotional intelligence, which is a person’s ability to recognize their emotions and others’ emotions to guide thinking and behavior. In contrast, a hard skill is one that is more measurable and can be learned in school, or training. For example, graphic design, computer programming, data analysis, and math are hard skills. A common notion is that it is the hard skills that will get a person an interview, but the soft skills that will get a person a job. While hard skills tend to be developed and practiced in schooling, soft skills are less taught and can be what sets professionals apart in the workplace.   

Here are five soft skills that employers and hiring managers should seek in candidates to help identify leading talent. 

Effective Communication 

Being able to effectively communicate with others in different ways is essential. No matter what channel of communication; e-mail, phone calls, in-person meetings, presentations, social media and webinars, all require interpersonal skills to successfully convey messages to others. Exchanging information not only relies on the message itself, but also that the message is received the way it was intended. Therefore, another important part of communication is listening actively and attentively. The ability to interact with others in a professional and effective way is one of the first skills an employer should look at in prospective employees.   


The longer a professional is with a company, the more changes they will experience. Flexibility becomes very important for employees especially as they age and are further removed from their education of newer technologies and company systems. Some may be resistant to changes made within the organization, however, the ability to consistently learn new things, adapt to new technologies, and grow within their position is essential to thrive. Not only should professionals be flexible to new methods at work, but also flexible in job responsibilities and schedule by performing tasks outside of their comfort zones that don’t necessarily line up with their job title. Additionally, the willingness to move their schedule or manage scheduling conflicts is a great attribute for professionals in today’s fast-paced, constantly changing workplace environments.    


While some jobs are primarily based on individual work and projects, most positions will require professionals to work as a team at some point. Getting along well with others, being able to lead, while also having the capability to be a follower are all parts of a team setting. These traits should be desirable to employers because they show cooperation, openness, and relationship skills necessary for cohesion in the workplace. Working effectively as a team includes successfully making a plan, achieving goals together, hitting deadlines, all while creating and maintaining relationships.   

Problem solving/Decision making 

Whether in the workplace, or outside of it, it is necessary to be able to react appropriately and find a solution when faced with a difficult situation. Often, professionals will be faced with resolving conflict or making big decisions that affect others at work. It is important to avoid being indecisive or making quick decisions before weighing out the consequences. These skills are acquired through experience, trial and error and should be highly sought after by hiring managers. 

Time management 

Often at work, there are multiple projects, tasks, and meetings happening all at the same time. Being able to juggle all of these at once by managing time and prioritizing tasks, while hitting the necessary deadlines is an important soft skill to have. Organization of calendars and responsibilities is key to mastering time management. 

While hard skills are obviously important, certain soft skills are the underlying talents that can be the basis of career growth and help employers build a well-rounded team. As employers work to hire top employees, having a team with high emotional intelligence and strong soft skills listed above can be a key differentiator in being the most successful team possible. 

#EmbraceEquity: International Women’s Day 2023

By Celeste Gable, Marketing Coordinator

March 8th, 2023 marks the 48th celebration of International Women’s Day. Established by the United Nations in 1977, March 8th is observed as an official holiday honoring women’s rights and world peace. The theme for 2023 is #EmbraceEquity. According to the International Women’s Day website, “the theme is to get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren't enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.” 

The words equity and equality are often used interchangeably but the difference between them is paramount for an inclusive future. Equality is defined as everyone being given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and distributes the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. Through equality, everyone receives the exact same thing, expecting people to be equal, but that assumes that everyone started out in the same place. With equity, we are able to recognize that people don’t begin life in the same place and situations can make it more difficult for people to achieve the same goals.  

Inequity affects many people but historically marginalized communities such as women, people of color, disabled people, the economically disadvantaged, and the LGBTQ+ community feel the effects most deeply. The goal of equity is to change systematic and structural barriers that prohibit people’s ability to succeed. By establishing equity-based solutions, we can create a process for addressing imbalanced social systems.  

Gender is intersectional and women as a group are truly diverse. Polices that benefit white women may not benefit women of color due to historical or current inequalities. A shift from gender equality to gender equity is essential for meaningful progress. Below are 3 ways to promote a more equitable workplace.  

Prioritize wage equality! 

  • Despite progress over the years, racial and gender-based pay gaps still exist. Women earn only $0.82 for every $1.00 earned by a man. The disparity is even greater for women of color with African American women earning $0.60 and Latina women earning only $0.55 compared to their white, male counterparts. A good first step to tackling this gap in your workplace is to remove any stigma around discussing salary in the workplace. Employees should be able to share and compare salaries to others in similar roles to ensure everyone is being paid fairly.  

Focus on equitable representation among the workforces. 

  • An organization that is serious about improving workplace equity should review the makeup of their workforce. A company-wide survey on workforce representation could be a helpful tool in gathering direct feedback on diversity at the employee level. Another way to address inequity is to note whether employees of color or women are receiving as many promotions or raises as their white, male coworkers.  

Establish a DEIB council. 

  • Building an equitable workplace takes a lot of work. By appointing a group of employees to form a diversity or equity council can help keep progress organized. The group could also serve as an outlet for employees to share their thoughts on the way the organization can improve their equity efforts. Having an open and safe space for employees to share their thoughts on company culture and practices is an important part of the process of developing the employee experience and creating a truly equitable workplace.  

4 Traits Needed to be a Great Industry Leader

By Christy Pashkovskiy, Marketing Director

Day by day, the global workforce evolves due to economical, technological, and societal changes. With the constant workforce transformation, there is a constant need for leaders to strive for quality management tactics. Common important traits for a leader to have are confidence, transparency, and innovation, among others. However, 2023 is a new year, with new challenges, and business leaders should take note of these 4 key traits and skills that will make them successful and benefit their employees this year.


On a regular basis, leaders are put into situations where they are expected to make tough decisions that can impact the entire company. In addition, they are responsible for communicating their decisions to employees and others. To be successful, a great leader is able to make quick decisions by balancing emotions and logic. When it comes to information processing and decision making, leaders are able to use both sides of the brain; left being the logic center responsible for reasoning and analysis, and right being the emotional center responsible for creativity and intuition. With the fast pace of the construction industry, leaders and top executives have to implement balanced decision making without hesitation and without wasting time.


In 2023, technology continues to expand and grow at a fast rate with AI, big data, cybersecurity, and IoT being at the forefront of not only the tech industries, but manufacturing, healthcare, banking, and more. With this growth, leaders need to be able to adapt to changes, but also know their core business and stick to it. Changes and challenges can cause leaders and executives to lose focus and lose sight of their mission which can ultimately result in a loss of profits. It is important for leaders to stay organized and stay on track with established strategies, plans, and goals, while also keeping employees and other leaders in the company focused for the business to be successful no matter what changes the industry could be experiencing.

Communication Skills

Having exceptional communication skills is common for leaders, but especially important in today’s day and age. There are four different generations with a prominent presence in the workforce currently. Furthermore, today’s leaders fall into many of these generational categories. This makes it so important for leaders to be able to clearly communicate strategy and goals, give and receive feedback, and motivate employees no matter if they are dealing with Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials or Gen Z. While many of these generations have stereotypes stamped onto them that may or may not be true, it is extremely important for leaders to pay attention to what communication methods are the clearest and most concise for employees and the team.

Insightfulness and Innovation

The current workforce has been highlighting the importance of employee wellbeing in a job. A 2022 study by Indeed shows that 86% believe work can provide more than just a paycheck, concluding that companies should focus on happiness, purpose, satisfaction and stress in their employees. As leaders, it is extremely important to be insightful and innovative in creating a great company culture. Top executives can improve the quality of their workplace environment and culture by simply having a clear understanding of what employees want, and creatively finding solutions to drive employee wellbeing. This will help to not only retain current employees but attract new talent as well.

Effective leadership takes time and experience, but with practice, leaders can polish these traits and benefit themselves, and their employees. What other leadership traits do you think are crucial for top executives to have in 2023?

Improving Workforce Strategies in an Unpredictable Labor Market

By Christy Pashkovskiy, Marketing Director

As we look back on 2022, we reflect on the challenges several industries faced like rising costs, supply chain issues and labor shortages. With looming concerns that the obstacles of the past year will continue into 2023 along with forecasts of an economic slowdown, companies should focus on organizational practices they can control to have the best business outcomes possible. Below we have outlined 3 areas for leadership to improve upon in the current unpredictable market. 

Focus on Retention  

The Great Resignation was a term coined after the pandemic, when a record number of employees left their jobs. The pressure doesn’t stop there; According to LinkedIn, recession fears won’t stop the ‘big quit’ either. This puts an even greater obligation to focus in on retention more than ever before. Through a mix of strategic initiatives, employers must make sure they approach their top-performing employees with the goal of finding out what will make them stay. Consider the following at your organization to entice employees to stay: 

  • Professional development opportunities and training 
  • A formalized review system between managers and employees for valuable, consistent feedback 
  • An audit on your onboarding processes and procedures to identify gaps or where improvements should be made 
  • Reviewing your compensation and benefits to ensure you are offering reasonable packages to your current employees 

Embrace Flexibility  

It’s no secret that the hybrid and remote workforce is here to stay. In order to make sure employees are happy, be sure that you are offering flexibility in your workforce model and allowing them to have autonomy over their schedules as much as possible. Before, this sentiment largely affected desk-workers; now, employers are looking for ways to provide flexibility for frontline workers as well. According to a 2022 Gartner survey of 405 frontline worker managers, 58% of organizations that employ frontline workers have invested in improving their employee experience in the past year; about one-third of those who haven’t said they intend to do so in the next 12 months. Flexibility in the workforce includes looking at things like paid leave, work-life balance, work hours, flexible schedules and more.  

Employee Engagement 

In 2023 and beyond, businesses aren’t just changing how and where employees work—they’re finally realizing that employee engagement plays an increasingly important role in the success of the business and digital transformation overall. When it comes down to it, engagement is all about employee empowerment—helping employees not just be satisfied in their work but feeling like a valued member of the team. Below are a few best practices for engaging your employees- regardless of location.   

  • Recognize Employees and Share their Successes  
  • Foster Collaboration  
  • Keep Communication Open  

The labor market is constantly changing and forcing employers to adapt to factors driving the workforce. Focusing on retention, flexibility and engagement during uncertain times will ensure that organizations are fostering a great work environment and happy, engaged employees.    

Reflecting on 40 Years of Business: Dan Charney, President & CEO

As Direct Recruiters proudly celebrates 40 years in business, Dan Charney, President & CEO reflected on his tenure at DRI, and the challenges and triumphs along the way. 

How has DRI grown in the past 40 years?

Dan Charney: The reason I joined the company 25 years ago, is because I loved the niche market approach to recruiting. There was one niche market, and the thought process was that we were going to be the best recruiting firm for this specific area.  In 1983, Shel Myeroff, our Founder, had a vision for Direct Recruiters that has led to our success today. The company has grown because we duplicated his model over and over again. We simplified the process and made sure that we were on the cutting edge of technology as it relates to recruiting. Our goal has been and will continue to be early adopters and leaders within this industry.

What was the biggest challenge for DRI in the beginning? Now?

Dan Charney: In the beginning, the biggest challenge was scaling the business. Within the industry, traditionally, firms do not scale very often so breaking that mold was paramount to our success. We wanted to grow our firm of 10 people to 100 people but maintain that boutique mindset coupled with a great culture. We face the same challenge today. We keep growing and we keep the mentality of ‘never satisfied,’ even though in a bigger picture our accomplishments are numerous. We have to build a new model that will allow us to scale for the next 40 years. Through our partnership with Starfish, we now have the team in place to do that.

What has changed about DRI? In turn, what has stayed the same?

Through the years, we have hired some really great people and that is in part due to the implementation of our Core Values. About 10 years ago, we created and implemented 4 Core Values; respectfully tenacious (passionately focused), team player that acts for the greater good, positively impacts others (accountable to clients, candidates & co-workers) and solutions oriented (results oriented, takes initiative, problem solver). These values have been the foundation for recruiting, acquiring, and retaining our internal talent teams. At the time, it seemed silly to hire based on how well candidates align with our values, but they have proved to be an instrumental tool in ensuring our employees all share the same “company-first” mindset. This mindset has contributed to our success.

Even as we grow and adapt, the basis of our culture has always been rooted in fun. We’ve never taken ourselves too seriously. We work hard, but we play hard too. Staying humble has also been a steadfast pillar of our culture, so even while we celebrate our accomplishments, we know that there is always more work to be done. Shel Myeroff’s advice to me was always to “fly under the radar” and that’s exactly what we’ve done.

What are you most exited for in DRI’s future?

Dan Charney: Looking forward, I am excited about the team that we’ve assembled with Starfish and the amount of support we have now to be able to achieve our goals. We’re actively working within markets that have positively impacted society and partnering with clients and candidates that work to make the world a better place. We’re at the forefront of innovative technology and tools that help us to do our jobs better. Our team is committed to training and getting better at their jobs, and I am so excited to work with this newer generation of employees.

Quiet Hiring: Employers are Flipping the Script

By Celeste Gable, Marketing Coordinator

A new year, a new buzzword. Make way for 2023’s newest trend: quiet hiring. The term coined by Emily Rose McRae, Senior Director of Research at Gartner, refers to when an organization acquires new skills without actually hiring new full-time employees. This could mean hiring short-term contractors, but in many cases, it means persuading current employees to temporarily move into new roles within the company. Quiet hiring follows the highly popularized concept of quiet quitting in 2022, denoted by employees not actually quitting but shunning the hustle culture that causes burnout. Today’s organizations are facing an increasingly competitive hiring landscape, an economic slowdown, and internal pressure to lower costs. All of this combined with ambitious hiring goals requires a unique solution. By utilizing quiet hiring, businesses can optimize their workforce for maximum productivity without having to incur extra costs.

For employers, quiet hiring provides an efficient, cost-effective way to fill gaps within the organization without hiring additional full-time workers. Companies can leverage internal talent rather than go through a lengthy and expensive external hiring process to solve an immediate issue. In addition, upskilling employees can increase retention, engagement, and productivity. With that in mind, an effective quiet hiring process lies in how it’s outlined to employees. Companies should present assignments as learning opportunities with the potential for promotion or a salary increase. With proper communication and awareness, you can guarantee that employees are satisfied and motivated to do their best work, even amongst change.

While quiet hiring sounds like it only benefits employers, employees should use this as an opportunity for promotions. If you’re taking on extra responsibilities, then it’s fair to expect a pay increase. If that’s not an option, try negotiating for other benefits like a bonus, flexible hours, or additional time off. A major advantage of quiet hiring is the ability to expand your skillset which can directly contribute to your professional development. Employees can also utilize quiet hiring as an opportunity to discuss long-term career goals within the organization.

A word to the wise, quiet hiring should not be used as a long-term solution. However, if managed correctly, quiet hiring can become an important tool that allows businesses to tackle short-term needs swiftly and efficiently while achieving maximum productivity by using their existing talent pool. By understanding how quiet hiring works and building an effective strategy, businesses can benefit from this approach as a way to bring in new skills and maintain a competitive edge in the future.

Construction Industry Executive Search and Recruiters

A Renewed Focus on Employee Engagement

By Celeste Gable, Marketing Coordinator

In the past, fun perks like happy hours and food trucks were the basis of attracting and retaining talent. But now with 17.9% of employees working remotely, those office perks aren’t much help for recruiters. Candidates aren’t going to choose your company for your nap pods — they care about your culture and how they will fit in whether they are in office or remote. Right now, many companies are having a difficult time attracting and retaining talent. They are currently understaffed, overburdened, and burned out – leading to tremendous amounts of turnover.  

However, there are some companies out there that aren’t having any trouble filling open positions, because they’ve cracked the code on employee engagement. Employee engagement is defined as the level to which employees are motivated by, passionate about and invested in their work. Engagement also indicates the individual’s commitment to the company and their emotional connection to their coworkers. Highly engaged employees are almost 90% less likely to leave their companies than their disengaged counterparts.   

In 2023 and beyond, businesses aren’t just changing how and where employees work—they’re finally realizing that employee engagement plays an increasingly important role in the success of the business and digital transformation overall. When it comes down to it, engagement is all about employee empowerment—helping employees not just be satisfied in their work but feeling like a valued member of the team. Below are a few best practices for engaging your employees- regardless of location.  

  • Recognize Employees and Share their Successes 
  • By recognizing employees and sharing their successes, you can create engagement and comradery among your team.  Recognize personal and professional growth like long-tenure, promotions, engagements, or marriages. Consider creating a process for employees to recognize their peers for accomplishments both large and small in a public format.  
  • Foster Collaboration 
  • Whether you are managing a virtual, in-person, or hybrid team, fostering collaboration between your team is important in keeping them engaged. In addition, creating opportunities to receive input from employees on potential workplace changes empowers them to have a voice in shaping their environment—whether virtual or in-person. 
  • Keep Communication Open 
  • The more means for interaction your company offers (both formal and informal), the better off you will be. Utilize internal newsletters, discussion boards, regular virtual team meetings, or town hall webinars. Frequent team and one-on-one meetings provide employees with opportunities to engage in conversations that fix issues in real time to ensure future success.  

Goal Setting and Planning

By Christy Pashkovskiy, Marketing Director

As we enter the new year, businesses are reflecting on their successes, accomplishments, and maybe even failures of the past year. These observations help to shape planning and goal setting for the year ahead, which is important for not only businesses, but as individuals too. If you are reviewing strategic business plans, or you are looking to personally forge ahead into a successful 2023, remember the following tips for sustainable, start-of-year planning.

Celebrate Success and Acknowledge Failure 

It is important to look back on 2022 and celebrate the great accomplishments of the year. Recognize the achievements of your team and build on that success to motivate and strengthen your company. On the other hand, it is equally crucial to examine your shortcomings and consider what you learned from them, but avoid dwelling on them.

Review processes and procedures 

As you begin to plan, make sure you are auditing your current processes and procedures. What processes need to be changed? What processes can be automated? Are there tools you have that no longer serve your business, or you, as an individual? Review the resources you have and determine what could be changed, where you could save money, what could enhance productivity and most importantly, what’s working well.

Gather and Give Feedback 

Send out surveys, talk to peers, and generally gather feedback on the year behind us and the year ahead. Feedback is a valuable way to guide improvement, planning and goal setting. Ask others about things you are considering yourself as it pertains to your strategic plan; processes, procedures, company culture, productivity, and more.

Set SMART Goals 

When you get to the point where you are actually putting goals down on paper, be sure to use SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. These goals will help you to focus your efforts and productively achieve what you want as a business, as a professional or personally. Strategically, it is also beneficial to set high level goals, and break them down into smaller goals. Focusing on monthly, quarterly, annual and long-term goals can be a great way to structure your plans.

Create Clear and Concise Outlines 

Document your goals and planning. Be sure to have a clear, outlined, documented strategy that can be easily shareable and communicated to others in your organization.


As you reflect and plan, use this time to brainstorm new ideas. Keep a list of thoughts that come up as you are planning that could potentially turn into business strategies. Invite others to join you in brainstorming sessions to share ideas and cultivate open ideation.

Set up Ways to Measure 

Be sure that you have clear KPIs and ways to track success with each goal. As mentioned above, a SMART goal needs to be measurable and time-bound. This enables you to stay on track, and accomplish tasks supporting your goals.

The time and effort you put into your business now will pay dividends in the year ahead. What other planning tactics do you use to strategically position your organization, or yourself for success in 2023?