Adam Hoffarber

Adam Hoffarber
A founding owner of SkyWater, Adam brings over a decade of exceptional executive recruitment and proven leadership experience to the SkyWater Search Partners leadership team. Adam has been featured in a number of local and national publications including the Star Tribune, WCCO Radio, Pioneer Press, PC World, and Computerworld Magazine addressing employment & labor news in the Minnesota market. He also contributes to an “Ask the Expert” column in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
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Recent Posts

5 Steps to a Healthy, Safe Return to the Office

Posted by Adam Hoffarber on 4/13/21 9:48 AM

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Hint: Vaccinations are only Step 1

Why the concept of “Radical Self-Care” is the real key to healthy work re-entry.

As vaccinations become more widely available in MN, offices that have been operating with most, or all employees working remotely, are making plans to re-open their doors. In many ways, a return to a routine of leaving the house each morning for work is welcomed. However for many of us, working from home presented an opportunity for greater self-care. 

As many of us prepare to re-enter the daily grind, how can we take what we've learned from our time at home with us back into the re-opening world?

What is Radical Self-Care and Why Do We All Need to Start Practicing Now?

Recently, I listened to an eye-opening interview by Minnesota Public Radio’s Angela Davis. Her guest, St. Paul-based Dr. Joi Lewis, brought a powerful – and practical – perspective on the purpose and urgency of what she calls the Radical Act of Self-Care, especially after trauma. Her take: beyond the obvious reason fact that, when we take care of ourselves, we feel and function better, there is a higher truth at work. When we fail to take care of our basic needs, we deplete ourselves, we decrease our ability to support each other and, as a result, we undermine and harm ourselves, our families, and our communities. My take: the logistics of creating a physically safe and healthy office space for our employees’ return to the office will be the easy part. The tougher part: creating a work environment that helps keep all team members emotionally healthy and supports their post-pandemic healing.

The more I have looked into this concept, the more clearly I see that the sooner we make self-care a priority, the sooner we can be fully productive, functional, and healthy at work. Fortunately, there are 5 specific things each of us can do, starting right now, to foster a truly healthy, safe return to work.

Your Vaccination Goes A Long Way

Sign up for your vaccination here. As soon as you’re eligible, get it. But do more. Turn your vaccination into a communication and teaching opportunity. Prior to receiving it, start sharing the news with your team, voicing your excitement and optimism. Link this event to the larger concept of caring for self and community. If you’re comfortable sharing a selfie with your sleeve rolled up, even better. If you’re not, no problem. But do what you can.

Eat Healthy Foods and Drink Lots Of Water

Some of us have used this past year to experiment with healthy cooking. For others of us, though, it has been one long stretch of stress eating, boredom eating, and reaching for quick comfort from the very foods that, ultimately, only make us feel worse, weakened, sluggish, and yes, overweight. For many an uninspired cook who has spent the last year sinking deep into poor nutritional habits, the idea of returning to work and becoming fully, 3D-visible to coworkers can be painful to the point of anxiety. Worse, there is no way for you to know how many on your team are struggling with this. The best way you can help them is to shift the focus away from the narrative around the “quarantine 15” and toward to the notion of “food as good medicine.” In other words, don’t engage in conversation around physical appearances or weight loss goals. After a year of sacrifice and loss, the idea of giving up anything else – including the junk food – might seem impossible to achieve for many employees. A better approach is to begin slowly. Add simple, healthy foods to your shopping list, your pantry, and your fridge. If you have fresh fruits within arm’s reach, your chances of reaching for that instead of the chocolate chip cookie are greatly increased. Look for – and celebrate – the little improvements in your energy level and attitude as you build or rebuild your own nutritious eating and hydrating practices.

Honor the Need for Sleep

A while back, I wrote about one of the many lessons this pandemic has taught me: the need to rethink some old, unhealthy ideas about what it takes to be perceived as hardworking and committed to your career.  The example I used then referred to the misguided idea that, if you’re truly committed to your work, you drag yourself into the office, no matter how unwell you feel. But here’s another, related myth in need of busting: that our willingness to sacrifice our sleep for a work success is something to be applauded. It’s not. The truth is, all human bodies have an absolute need for sufficient whole-body rest. When you pull an all-nighter hunched over your desk, only to suit up at sunrise and get back to the grind, you are harming yourself.  Not just for that one day. Not just physically. But over the long haul, physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. You become less capable of accessing your optimism, collaborative skills, and sheer fortitude. Think about it. That kind of damage is actually incompatible with long-term high performance or contribution. It’s time to start seeing and talking about sleep deprivation more like a chronic but curable illness. Schedule your sleep with the same level of commitment you’d give to taking life-saving medicine.

Move Your Body

For just about everyone who used to work “at the office,” the abrupt switch to officing at home has been a major shock to the system. Yes, in theory, WFH made it easier to fit more exercise into each day. In real life, that hasn’t been the case for everyone. But our bodies need certain (surprisingly minimal, actually) level of movement every day to keep us well and capable. Exercise doesn’t have to mean hard core workout. Again, don’t set goals that are so lofty that they feel unattainable. Start small. Here’s a fact: just 20 minutes of uninterrupted brisk movement each day (like seriously, even just walking through your neighborhood) is enough to deliver enormous benefits to your physical health and mental well-being.

Take Mental Health Breaks – and Normalize Them

Some days, you might be right in the middle of a task when you realize you need to step away from the desk, take a short walk, or even just stare out the window for a few minutes. That might be all it takes to get you back in the groove. Other times, you might sail through the week, crushing it on every to-do you tackle when all of a sudden, you’re deeply physically and mentally exhausted or debilitatingly preoccupied by a million worries. If this is new to you since the start of the pandemic, you may fear that you’ve lost your touch or you’re letting others down. Don’t go there. You, along with everyone else, have just survived this past year. Expect to need more mental health breaks. Plan for them. Instead of waiting until you hit the wall, build in mini step-aways during the day that help you clear your head and catch your breath and allow yourself to take mental health days off work when you need them.

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International Women's Day 2021

Posted by Adam Hoffarber on 3/8/21 10:45 AM

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How will you help forge equality in the workplace?

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This Valentines Day, Here are 5 Ways to Make Candidates Fall in Love With You

Posted by Adam Hoffarber on 2/14/21 8:00 AM

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Recruiting is a lot like dating and, like so many relationships, it’s complicated. In today’s super competitive labor market, every successful hire depends on your ability to find that right person, then woo them, get to know them, turn cartwheels to impress them, and simultaneously pluck up the courage to share the truth about your own shortcomings. And that’s before you try to make it official...

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Recent Additions to SkyWater

Posted by Adam Hoffarber on 1/21/21 8:00 AM

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It goes without saying that 2020 was tremendously unique year. Through it all, we've done our best to broadcast the industry trends that we have been able to observe through our access to the job market in the industries we serve. Recently, we shared the single biggest hiring mistake we've seen in 2020, which speaks to a trend we saw of companies freezing their hiring of key leadership roles out of caution. 

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Meet Lauren Swartout and Our Newly Expanded Legal Practice Area

Posted by Adam Hoffarber on 1/19/21 9:30 AM

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In the eight years since SkyWater Search Partners first opened our doors, we have partnered with law firms and corporate legal departments to match highly talented attorneys with exceptional career opportunities throughout the Twin Cities and Upper Midwest. In response to growing client demand, we recently made a strategic decision to expand our legal practice and bring in a leader with the experience and insights to oversee that growth.

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Stuck in a Joyless Job?

Posted by Adam Hoffarber on 12/9/20 8:15 AM

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“Don’t quit your job until you’ve lined up a new one.”

How many times have you heard that little chestnut? (In full disclosure, it’s advice I routinely dispense, myself.) But like all good rules, this one has some important exceptions. When you’re trapped in a toxic job, the path to “something better” can be a steep, rocky, exhausting – and increasingly treacherous – climb.

If you’re stuck there now, you simply may not have the luxury, mental energy, or emotional wherewithal to launch a winning job search. More importantly, though is this little fact that’s too often overlooked in the heat of the moment: you might not be in the best head space to really know what your next job should be. Figuring th

at out requires time, introspection, and ideally, a little healthy distance.

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Spooky! 4 Headhunters Who Should Scare You

Posted by Adam Hoffarber on 10/28/20 8:45 AM

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If you encounter one of these frightful executive recruiters, don’t be tricked!

Are you ready for Halloween? At SkyWater we've fed our pet bats, dry cleaned our very best capes, and changed the sheets in our coffins. Just kidding. If you've worked with SkyWater before, you know we're not the vampires that some make recruiters out to be. But stories of truly terrible recruiters aren't always completely unwarranted. In celebration of Halloween, I thought I’d give you a peek at some of the most horrifying characters in my own profession, executive recruiting, in hopes that you can recognize the very best recruiters, and stick with the good guys.

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4 Reasons to Survey Your At-Home Team Now

Posted by Adam Hoffarber on 8/10/20 9:30 AM

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It’s been a long year. For the large majority of us, even with experience telecommuting, working from home has never gone like this before. As an executive recruiter, I’ve always believed that employee experience is the single greatest predictor of employee success and retention. I also believe that the key to understanding employee experience is communicating. Ask good questions, listen intentionally, follow up, role model, observe. But lately, I think that most managers whose employees were abruptly thrust out of the office and into instant telecommuting, it’s growing increasingly difficult to have a good sense of how each individual is really doing.

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5 Early Warning Signs of Employee Disengagement

Posted by Adam Hoffarber on 7/20/20 11:09 AM

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In my last blog post, I talked about employee engagement and how some of the most successful organizations have been able to boost employee engagement, even during uncertain times of change.  Your organization may be experiencing a healthy level of employee engagement, but you also may have a few bright stars who have begun to become disengaged. If that is the case, how do you recognize the signs, and what can be done?

Even when we do notice an employee beginning to disengage, we’re often tempted to bury our heads in the sand, hoping it’s just a bumpy phase that will smooth itself out.

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6 Steps To Employee Engagement

Posted by Adam Hoffarber on 7/15/20 10:59 AM

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A recent survey conducted by Gallup on employee engagement across the country shows that even as Americans' wellbeing has dropped to a 12-year low in the past month amid the coronavirus outbreak, the engagement of the working population has hit a new high. Despite new working conditions such as work from home or sparse office layouts designed to promote social distancing and slow the spread of the virus, companies are making it work. This begs the question: how is your employee engagement holding up? And if you're feeling like your business may be experiencing a rise in employee disengagement, what can you implement to turn this around?

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