Shy about Volunteering? Let Acts of Service show you events and organizations that need your help!

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As everyone knows, the stronger the community in which you live and/or work, the stronger your business can be.  Volunteering in our community is one of the core values for the employees at Specialized Staffing: 

Volunteer – our time, talent & resources 

Accountability – as we pursue our aspirations 

Legacy – to impact others’ lives 

Unbeatable – as we collaborate & compete 

Extraordinary – in all we do 

As busy as we all are, it’s not always easy to find opportunities that fit.  Realizing this gave rise to the idea for Acts of Service.  Jason Lippert challenged the employees of his eponymous company to go into their communities and complete an amazing 100,000 hours of community service.  Great idea!  However, where do you start?  There are so many worthy causes that need help.  How do you know if the causes benefit your local community? 

With these obstacles in mind, Jason and a dedicated team within Lippert Components created Acts of Service.  This group created a complete solution for identifying, scheduling and tracking service hours for Lippert employees and their families. 
You may be saying to yourself: “Great, but how does that benefit me and my employees?”  Well, Jason and his team decided that the tool that they created could benefit other organizations with similar volunteering goals.  In doing so, they created as a resource for volunteers to perform vetted community service hours for verified charitable organizations. The site also allows companies to track and approve employees’ hours and monitor company-wide goals. 

Not only reaching past the organization’s goal of 100,000 hours, Acts of Service tracked 117,000 hours of Lippert Employees community service in 2018.

Add their partner companies, and the site tracked over 200,000 hours of service last year!

Specialized Staffing has partnered with Acts of Service since they shared the platform.  It’s been a tremendous way for each staff member to advance towards to their individual goal of 40 hours of service in a year.   

“This entire experience of watching Acts of Service grow has been humbling,” said LCI’s Director of Philanthropic Relations & Acts of Service, Michilah Grimes. “Acts of Service is not about the hours, but about how the idea of connecting businesses and individuals with nonprofits has changed, not only corporate cultures, but also communities. This movement would not be possible without our committed nonprofit, corporate and individual partners.”

It’s still a manual process for a company to join.  But once the responsive tech team at sets up your company and your primary admin user, you can disseminate that information to your employees and let them set up and enter their own hours!  It’s a great way for individuals and teams to participate in worthy causes that benefit your community, your employees and your company. 

For more information, reach out to the team though or call 574-312-6816 

7 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence Is One Of The Fastest-Growing Job Skills

Emotional Intelligence Expert, Harvey Deutschendorf, looks into key factors why it will be a key factor in Employee Evaluation in the near future.

Emotional Intelligence Expert, Harvey Deutschendorf, looks into key factors why it will be a key factor in Employee Evaluation in the near future.

Here’s why hiring managers say they often value emotional intelligence more highly than IQ 

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills in 2020. 

The awareness that emotional intelligence is an important job skill, in some cases even surpassing technical ability, has been growing in recent years. In a 2011 Career Builder Survey of more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals, 71% stated they valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ; 75% said they were more likely to promote a highly emotionally intelligent worker; and 59% claimed they’d pass up a candidate with a high IQ but low emotional intelligence. 

The question, then, is why companies are putting such a high premium on emotional intelligence. Here are seven of the top reasons why highly emotionally intelligent candidates are so valuable. 


Dealing with workplace pressures and functioning well under stress demands an ability to manage our emotions. People with higher levels of emotional intelligence are more aware of their internal thermometer and therefore better able to manage their stress levels. They tend to have better-developed coping mechanisms and healthy support systems that keep working effectively even in tough situations. The increasing rate of change in the workplace is likely to increase work-related stress and boost the value of those who can manage it. 


People with highly developed emotional intelligence are less defensive and more open to feedback, especially when it involves areas of improvement. 

As teamwork becomes increasingly important in the workplace, people who are able to understand and get along with others will become ever more sought after. Highly emotionally intelligent people have well-developed people skills that let them build relationships with a diverse range of people across many cultures and backgrounds. That’s an asset in an increasingly globalized workplace. 


Everyone wants to be heard and understood. The ability to listen well and respond to others is crucial for developing strong working relationships. Many of us, though, aren’t as good as we could be at really listening to what others are saying. Because of their ability to understand others, highly emotionally intelligent people are in a better position to put their own emotions and desires aside and take others into account. Their ability to pick up on people’s emotions, through tone of voice and body language, come in handy in team settings. 


Open, timely, and honest feedback is essential to job performance–especially at a time when annual performance reviews are in decline. People with highly developed emotional intelligence are less defensive and more open to feedback, especially when it involves areas of improvement. Their high level of self-regard lets them look positively at areas where they can do better, rather than taking feedback personally. 


Highly emotionally intelligent people are in a better position to put their own emotions and desires aside and take others’ into account. 

Collaboration doesn’t just present logistical issues–it also comes down to responding to teammates’ feelings. People with high emotional intelligence are able to use their sensitivity to where others are coming from to build trust and cohesiveness. This allows teams to focus on the task at hand rather than become embroiled in internal bickering and politics. Their sensitivity to the needs of others acts as a lubricant that helps team members work together. 


Highly emotionally intelligent people don’t get easily flustered when things don’t go according to plan. And their knack for getting along with others makes it more likely that others will take note and try to emulate them. That’s why high emotional intelligence is a key to influencing people in an organization regardless of official title. An ability to rise above daily irritations earns people with high emotional intelligence the respect from those above them as well as from their colleagues. 


Because of their ability to see things clearly from another’s point of view, highly emotionally intelligent people are able to make better judgements about how their decisions will impact others. Not only does this result in better decision making overall, but it also helps manage damage control when certain decisions lead to negative consequences. Being able to judge the outcomes of their choices lets highly emotionally intelligent people behave more proactively. 

People who show an enhanced ability to adapt to change, manage their emotions, and work well with a diverse range of people are already valuable in most workplaces. But with the rates of change and pressures in the workplace rising, they’ll become even more sought after than ever. 

Stop asking ‘how are you?’ Harvard researchers say this is what successful people do when making small talk

Charge up your “Small Talk” game with tips from consultant Gary Burnison.

Charge up your “Small Talk” game with tips from consultant Gary Burnison.

“How are you?” These are the three most useless words in the world of communication. The person asking doesn’t really want to know, and the person responding doesn’t tell the truth. What follows is a lost opportunity and meaningless exchange with zero connection. 

But the key to making the most out of small talk, according to Harvard researchers, is to simply ask the other person follow-up questions. In a series of experiments, researchers analyzed more than 300 online conversations and found that those who were asked more meaningful follow-up questions (a.k.a. questions that aren’t “how are you?” or “what do you do?”), found the other person much more likable. 

“When people are instructed to ask more questions, they are perceived as higher in responsiveness, an interpersonal construct that captures listening, understanding, validation and care,” the researchers wrote. 

So how do you move from tongue-tied to being a charismatic and interesting person? It depends on the question you start with, and then you can focus on the stream of follow-up questions. 

Here are seven tactics to having a meaningful conversation: 

1. Use the A.C.T. trick to start a connection 

When was the last time you were in a meeting that didn’t start with small talk? It’s a natural way for people to connect. Start with a question that will build up to a conversation that meets the A.C.T. criteria: 

  • A - There’s authenticity 

  • C - There’s a connection 

  • T - There’s a topic that will give them taste of who you are 

Some of those questions might be: 

  •  “What’s your current state of mind?” 

  •  “What are you looking forward to this week?” 

  •  “You remind me of a celebrity, but I can’t remember which one — who’s someone you relate to?” 

2. Move beyond the “hourly update” 

The fallback for a lot of people is like the newscast “hourly update” — traffic, sports, weather and so on. 

Drill this into your head: It is a horrible icebreaker. There are a few exceptions, like if it’s a genuine interest of yours and your boss or colleague shares that passion. But try to move beyond those cliché topics to things that are more important and personal to you. 

3. Be in the moment and observe your surroundings 

Open your eyes before you open your mouth. Find something to focus on in your surroundings, like the piece of art on the wall, a quirky gadget or family picture on their desk, a race car helmet, scattered coins from various countries and so on. There’s bound to be something that will spark small talk and help lead the conversation into unique follow-up questions. 

Open your eyes before you open your mouth. 

Let’s say you’re talking to the CEO of a large, iconic company who is about to retire, and you noticed a row of empty boxes along the wall of the CEO’s office. You might start with the question, “How hard is it for you to leave this job?” This will lead to a much deeper and more emotionally revealing discussion, and it never would’ve happened had you not noticed those boxes. 

4. Share some news (that actually happened) 

If you have “news,” share it: “I adopted a pet over the weekend” or “My 6-year-old rode a bike for the first time yesterday!” Believe it or not, most people actually do want to know more about others, especially if they both work at the same company. 

If you’re new to a company and leading a team, for example, start your first meeting by going around the room and asking each person to say one interesting thing that recently happened in their lives. As a result of that momentary sharing, you’ve allowed everyone to feel more personally and genuinely connected with each other. 

The objective to is be genuine and not simply make something up. Otherwise, you run the risk of not knowing how to answer follow-up questions about something you have little or no experience with. 

5. Talk early 

Whether you’re meeting in person or dialing in for a conference call, talk early. 

If you wait, two things will probably happen: One, someone else will make the comment you wanted to make and, two, your more talkative colleagues will take over with their own follow-up questions. You’ll get lost in the cross-talk and miss your chance. 

6. It’s not just what you say 

No matter what or how much you say, your tone of voice, facial expression and eye contact will broadcast so much more. 

In person, look at the other person when you speak, not at the conference table or the wall. On the phone, smile — it will make your voice sound warmer. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it, that will help others connect with you. 

7. Make the pivot 

This is where small talk goes to the next level, as you segue from talking about something small to the issue at hand. 

If the conversation is already flowing, it will be easier than you think and ask follow-up questions. Your boss could be the one to make the first step, “So, tell me what’s going on with [X].” Thanks to the small talk, you’ll already be in sync. You can then pivot to a more meaningful discussion that showcases your knowledge, contribution and confidence. 

Just do it 

For introverts, small talk can be painful. But if you say nothing in those moments before a meeting starts or when you and your boss are in the elevator, you run the risk of becoming invisible. 

First, give yourself a break. Almost everyone is intimidated by others, especially those who outrank them. (I remember feeling self-conscious when I met with a four-star general at the Pentagon. And again feeling that way in a meeting with Britain’s then-Prime Minister David Cameron. But I took a deep breath and spoke up anyway.) 

It’s natural to defer to authority. You are who you are, and no one is expecting a soliloquy out of you. But when you make an effort to speak up, others will listen and connect with you. 

Gary Burnison is the CEO of Korn Ferry, a global consulting firm that helps companies select and hire the best talent. His latest book, a New York Times best-seller, ”Lose the Resume, Land the Job, ” shares the kind of straight talk that no one – not a spouse, partner, mentor or anyone else – will tell you. Follow him on LinkedIn here.