Ring in 2017 with Improved Employee Satisfaction Part 2 of 2

Employee satisfaction is one of the most profitable endeavors a company can pursue. It helps increase workflow, creates a positive environment and helps to retain good employees.

Our last article discussed the importance of giving employees more control over their environments, as well as offering flexible schedules. The second part of this article delves deeper into how you can boost and maintain employee satisfaction.

Increasing Efficiency

Deadlines are a major source of stress for employees. Employers can help ease this burden by not wasting time in meetings, keeping them on point and making them shorter. Some employers recommend not having chairs in meeting spaces, as this will naturally keep meetings on point and on time. Some companies are turning to conference calls instead of physical meetings, as this helps reduce the need for small talk and people are more likely to keep to an agenda.

To help keep employees on target and not wasting time, make sure that copy rooms are neat and orderly. Organized offices and system procedures make it easier for employees to focus on their jobs and not menial time-consuming tasks.

Good Health

Most companies do not realize that as many as 90-percent of doctor visits are for stress-related illnesses. Employees that are under constant stress may have lower immune systems, fatigue, experience weight gain and have an increased risk of disease. This translates to more time off, which is costly for employers.

Many employers are instituting educational programs to help employees understand different health topics. Providing a kitchen that has a microwave and refrigerator can help encourage employees to make healthier meals. Small breaks that include a little exercise throughout the day are also healthy. Consider offering discounts to local gyms, which will help encourage employees to get out and exercise.

Social Connections

People are social beings and interacting with one another helps produce good endorphins. Instead of isolating cubicles so employees cannot see one another, consider facing them in directions where open communication is easy.

Celebrating birthdays and holidays are great ways for employees to get to know one another better. If employers do not have the additional resources for these events, consider asking employees to bring side dishes and pitch in.

Some employers are also instituting volunteer programs, which gives employees a chance to give back to the community outside of work hours.

Acknowledging Growth

Surveys show that employee satisfaction closely relates to feeling appreciated by employers and peers.

Employers should strive to create an atmosphere that encourages growth by offering additional training, celebrating employee’s accomplishments and acknowledging benchmarks throughout the year.

Ninja Gig understands that managing a Human Resources department can be challenging, especially with the abundance of paperwork. Take the hassle out of traditional job applications by switching to an online job application service. Ninja Gig offers employers the ability to post jobs online, which allows potential applicants to complete job applications on their phone, tablet or computer.  Ready to take your hiring to the next level?  Sign up today for your free trial to see how our software can make your life easier!

Ring in 2017 with Improved Employee Satisfaction Part 1 of 2

Happy employees can dramatically boost company morale, which in turn has an impact on profits. Employees that are satisfied with their jobs and the companies they work for help promote their companies by representing them in a positive manner in public.

Employee satisfaction does not directly link to compensation. Of course, money and benefits are important to employees, but what keeps employees sticking around has become the source of books and lectures across the world.

Give Employees Control

Employees want to feel happy and in control over their lives. They don’t want to feel as though work is their life and they have to sacrifice being happy in their personal lives. Give employees more control. This does not mean give them full control. However, you can offer them flexible schedules that involve telecommuting or flextime. Employees will appreciate a boss that understands they have a life outside of work with personal obligations to fulfill.

If an employee can customize his/her workstation, he/she will also report higher levels of job satisfaction. Decorating with certain colors or personal decor can help improve overall happiness, which increases employee performance.

Employers can also institute employee-driven competitions, which are perfect for sales departments. Employees can set their individual goals. Once they achieve these goals, it leads to feelings of accomplishments, which is more positive than obligations.

Untraditional Work Weeks

One of the biggest sources of stress for employees is commuting. To help decrease this stress, employers may consider instituting flex hours, which gives employees the opportunity to commute to work during non-peak traffic hours. Additionally, some employers are offering more telecommuting options, which are found to help reduce employer’s overhead costs.

Please continue following us for the second part of our article.

Ninja Gig specializes in offering job applications online. Human Resources professionals can direct potential job applicants to this online job application, which greatly improves office efficiency and makes it easy to find the right candidate for companies.  Sign up today for your 30-day free trial!

Ninja Gig Predicts What a Trump Presidency Means for HR

Over the last one-and-a-half years, we have done a lot of research on the presidential candidates and their impact on human resources. Now that our country is going to have a Trump presidency starting January 20, 2017, we have gathered a list of what HR items we think President-elect Trump will tackle his first 100 days in office.

  • Overtime – The Department of Labor (DOL) changed the overtime exemption rule. This new rule could increase the exempt salary threshold to $47,476 per year. However, we believe that the Trump Administration will decide not to offer federal funding to defend this position, which means this new rule, will simply die. However, employers should work towards compliance because one never knows how Trump’s Administration will handle the enforcement of this new rule.
  • Affordable Care Act – While Trump has promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, this likely will not happen overnight. Chances are repealing everything and not offering an alternative would shift the healthcare industry immediately into chaos. The Trump Administration will likely offer a slow phase-out of the original Obamacare plan, simply offering reforms and replacement options. Employers must still abide by current laws, as Trump’s Administration cannot make these changes overnight.
  • Leave and Wages – Expanding the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and sick leave requirements for employers were not at the top of Trump’s campaign list. If he does address these issues, chances are it will be late in his first term. However, employers should check with state and local laws for additional sick or medical leave issues that passed in November 2016.
  • Labor Movement – President Obama was a pro-union president. President-elect Trump will likely appoint members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that are more employer-friendly. This goes along with Trump’s ideologies about rebuilding businesses and the economy.
  • Immigrant Workers – Trump will mandate that E-Verify is regularly used by employers to check the employment status of every person working in the U.S. We anticipate there will be an increase in raids conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) agency and more I-9 audits. Make sure that all company-related documents are in order. Also, remember that there is a new I-9 form, which all employers are required to start using effective January 22, 2017.

These are simply the predictions of Ninja Gig and only President-elect Trump’s first 100 days in office will confirm if these come to fruition. Ninja Gig allows employers to easily accept job applications online, helping increase productivity and workflow within human resources’ departments.

New State Minimum Wage Changes

Beginning January 1, 2017, state minimum wages will increase across several states. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not preside over state or local laws. This means that if a state’s minimum wage requirements are higher than federal wages, employers must pay the higher amount to employees.

Effective January 1, 2017, the following states have a minimum wage increase:

  • Alaska - $9.80 per hour
  • Arizona – $10.00 per hour and this amount will increase to $10.50 per hour on January 1, 2018
  • Arkansas – $8.50 per hour
  • California – $10.50 per hour and this amount will increase to $11.00 per hour on January 1, 2018
  • Colorado - $9.30 per hour and this amount will increase to $10.20 per hour on January 1, 2018
  • Connecticut – $10.10 per hour
  • Florida – $8.10 per hour
  • Hawaii – $9.25 per hour and this amount will increase to $10.10 per hour on January 1, 2018
  • Maine – $9.00 per hour and this amount will increase to $10.00 per hour on January 1, 2018
  • Massachusetts – $11.00 per hour
  • Michigan – $8.90 per hour and this amount will increase to $9.25 per hour on January 1, 2018
  • Missouri – $7.70 per hour
  • Montana – $8.15 per hour
  • New Jersey – $8.44 per hour
  • New York – $970 per hour for Greater New York; $10.00 per hour for Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties; $10.50 for New York City small employers and $11.00 for New York City large employers
  • Ohio – $8.15 per hour for companies that have gross receipts of $297,000 or more and $7.25 per hour for companies that have gross receipts under $297,000
  • South Dakota – $8.65 per hour
  • Vermont – $10.00 per hour and this amount will increase to $10.50 per hour on January 1, 2018
  • Washington – $11.00 per hour and this amount will increase to $11.50 per hour on January 1, 2018

 

Effective July 1, 2017, the following states have a minimum wage increase:

  • Washington D.C. – $12.50 per hour and this amount will increase to $13.25 per hour on July 1, 2018
  • Maryland – $9.25 per hour and this amount will increase to $10.10 per hour on July 1, 2018
  • Oregon - $10.25 per hour and the Portland metro area’s rate will increase to $11.25 per hour, while nonurban counties will increase to $10.00 per hour. The minimum wage will also increase to $10.75 per hour on July 1, 2018, the Portland metro area to $12.00 per hour and nonurban counties to $10.50 per hour.

Make sure your company is in compliance by researching detailed state laws.

Ninja Gig offers employers the ability to accept job applications online, which makes it simple for human resources professionals to manage these types of employment applications.  Sign up today for your no-obligation, 30-day free trial.

Top HR Trends for 2017

Human Resources saw significant growth in 2016 and experts agree that it is posed for even more growth in 2017. HR departments will continue evolving, becoming even more dependent on technology, especially as more Millennials enter the workforce.

  • Big Data – Big data has become a dominant analytic tool. Information is easy to filter, which will make it easier for HR to create detailed job descriptions. Big data will play one of the most important roles in recruiting talent into companies.
  • Integrating Work and Life – Past trends have focused on having employees create a good work and life balance. In fact, with today’s social media advancements, employees can talk, chat or video chat their family or friends during their breaks, which in turn makes them feel more connected to their personal lives. Happier employees are more productive. Having a good work-life balance is very important for Generation Z and Millennials.
  • Employee Engagement – Studies show that underperforming companies have one thing in common: employee disengagement. This year, employee engagement is one thing that mid-size companies can no longer ignore.
  • Employee Skills – Older generations will need to be trained to keep up-to-date with Millennials in the job market. Managers will need to organize company-wide technology training sessions. Larger companies may wish to hire off-site trainers to complete this training. If employee skills are there, it is cost-effective for companies to simply expand their training efforts.
  • Freelancing – The past several years has seen a significant increase in freelancing. Many people enjoy the freedom that freelancing offers, including the ability to better balance their home and work lives. Freelancers bring fresh, new and exciting ideas to projects, which means this field cannot be overlooked this upcoming New Year. The latest employment data shows that nearly 15-percent of people in the workforce are freelancers.
  • Cloud to Mobile – Cloud technologies will remain a steady force in the work environment, but this upcoming year will see mobile dominant apps. For example, employees can use their mobile devices to clock in and out of work, check their employee benefits and better manage their time.
  • Employee Flexibility – Retaining good employees is essential, as turnover costs companies approximately 20% in salaries. This amount increases approximately 200% for executive positions. Companies can consider implementing supplements for annual reviews, offering more performance feedback throughout the year. Regular and ongoing feedback helps produce better employees that provide higher quality work performance.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) – This upcoming year will see an increase in HR departments incorporating AI into their everyday routines. For example, AI can review job applicants’ resumes, analyze application forms, institute tests and even analyze applicants’ personal attributes. Video interviewing with AI is also posed to be very promising.

Ninja Gig offers online job applications, which makes it simple and easy for potential job applicants to apply for open positions. You can then take the information contained in the online employment application and filter it, making it easy to find qualified candidates for the position.  Sign up today for your free trial and see how great going digital can be!

Tips for End of Year Reviews

It is that time of year again and the dreaded end of year performance reviews is right around the corner. However, this time of year does not have to be painful. Ninja Gig has put together a helpful guide to making your end of year reviews more positive.

One way to make reviews less stressful is to make them into a discussion instead of an interrogation. For example, instead of approaching an employee about performance issues, make this into a time where you both openly discuss challenges he/she can overcome. By approaching it this way, it makes it more positive than expressing weaknesses in an employee’s work style.

The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) recommends using the review to help employees’ become better at their jobs. This means open conversation while discussing, planning and reviewing employee performance on a one-on-one basis.

Human Resources professionals can help do reviews better by instituting the following:

 

  • Help employees to define and understand their job-related responsibilities;
  • Provide clear and straightforward criteria for how performance is evaluated;
  • Identify all employees that have the potential to advance within the company;
  • Offer employees suggestions to help them improve their day-to-day work performance;
  • Develop a fair way for employees to receive compensation based on their merit; and
  • Work with managers to develop, achieve and distribute department goals.

 

Always focus on facilitating a two-way conversation during an end of year review instead of just pointing out criticisms. It is important to point out both the employee’s achievements and weaknesses in a positive manner.

 

A review should engage employees into a question and answer session, instead of managers dominating the entire conversation. It is also important for managers to address areas that need work because a review is useless unless both parties understand their goals.

 

Each team or department within the company should have goals. This allows each employee within the team to be held to certain objectives. Having measurable goals will make annual reviews easier and less subjective. Always conclude reviews with written goals, as this will make it easier for employees to know where they need to boost performance.

 

Balancing both the positive and negative during a review leads to employees that are happier and want to grow with a company long-term.

 

Let Ninja Gig help you this year! We offer the ease of online job applications. Potential employees can apply online, and you can use different filters to capture the right applicant for your company.  Sign up now for a free trial!

Where Companies Fail: The Most Common Employee Lawsuits

Surveys show that most companies think they follow the law. The reality is that many businesses are unknowingly breaking state and federal laws, which can result in expensive and time-consuming lawsuits and litigation.

Ninja Gig compiles a list of the most common types of employee lawsuits and how you can prevent them.

Discrimination

Discrimination is the most common employee lawsuit. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 89,385 charges in 2015. During that same year, they secured settlements of more than $356 million for victims that experienced employee discrimination. The EEOC focuses on protected categories, including nationality, race, sex, sexual preference, religion, disability and age. They also tackle cases related to discriminatory discharge, which is when someone’s employment terminates for falling into a protected class or category.

Retaliation

Retaliation and whistleblower claims are a huge expense. Retaliation can occur when someone files a complaint that relates to discrimination, and he/she then receives a layoff notice. Companies cannot fire employees that help participate in discrimination claims. Additionally, companies cannot ask employees to lie about discrimination claims and then fire them if they are not willing to be dishonest.

Harassment

We have all seen headlines that relate to harassment – Bill Clinton, Clarence Thomas, the Navy Tailhook Scandal and Senator Bob Packwood, to name a few. Harassment lawsuits lead to messy litigation and expensive settlements.

 

Harassment encompasses a wide variety of offensive behavior, including offensive objects, jokes or pictures, physical assaults, name-calling and threats. If this type of conduct creates a hostile work environment, an employee may have a harassment case.

How can employers avoid lawsuits?

It may be difficult to prevent all lawsuits, as some employees may only be looking to cash in on settlements. However, businesses can help to avoid lawsuits by practicing state and federal employment laws.

 

Federal employment laws include the following:

 

  • Equal Pay Act – It is against the law to discriminate between women and men that perform the same job and same duties.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – You may not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. This section also extends to include the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Employers may not discriminate based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act – You may not discriminate against employees’ age 40 and older. Please note that some states expand this and decrease the age to 18.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act – You cannot discriminate against parents and pregnant women. This also includes prohibiting discrimination against employees with serious health conditions.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act – You may not discriminate against qualified employees due to a disability.
  • Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act – Employers may not discriminate against employees based on their genetic information. This includes prohibiting health insurance companies from discriminating against genetic information obtained through tests.

 

The best way to avoid lawsuits is to educate employees to create a healthy, positive work environment. Businesses need to practice harassment prevention by establishing complaint and grievance procedures. Always take action when employees complain about harassment. Most importantly, companies always need to stay apprised of the latest employment law changes.

 

Ninja Gig allows companies to accept employment applications online. Employers can easily include a non-discrimination notice during this application process, which can include a nondiscrimination statement.

What a Trump Presidency Means for Businesses

Americans collectively agree they are happy this presidential election is finally over. Whether you agree or disagree with the outcome of the election, one fact remains: Donald Trump’s policies will impact businesses.

The stock market’s initial reaction to a Trump presidency was plummeting, largely due to the shock that all the pollsters were wrong about calling this election. Once the market re-opened and the initial surprise wore off, stocks rallied and finished up.

Trump’s business plan includes cutting taxes, which will make America more attractive to big businesses. He wants to focus on eliminating regulations, which would greatly help U.S. energy resource efforts. Trump has attacked current trade deals; he wants to overhaul how the U.S. currently trades with other countries. Trump’s team estimates that by working on these three areas of business that the U.S. economy could grow at a 4-percent clip. Currently, the annual rate is approximately 2-percent.

Companies are anticipated to see a big tax reduction, as he wants to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35-percent to 15-percent. He believes this will help to retain businesses on U.S. soil. In the past, many companies have fled to foreign countries to conduct their businesses, as tax rates are substantially less.

Election results gave way to Republican sweeps in the House, Senate and the presidency. Since 1945, there has only been 12 times when a party has held all three of these crucial positions. Out of the last 12 times, only two have been Republican reigns.

Eliminating and/or changing the Affordable Care Act is a high probability with a Republican Congress and president. Trump’s reasoning behind eliminating and implementing a new affordable healthcare plan is because insurance premiums have increased by as much as 25-percent.

Trump’s plan to help eliminate illegal immigrants that take jobs away from Americans, is to have an H-1B visa program, which will allow a set number of immigrants to work in the U.S. Many large companies, such as Google and Facebook, use skilled foreign workers. Trump is looking for a solution that is similar to what Canada has instituted – U.S. companies would need to hire skilled American workers before using for a visa and immigration program.

 

While Trump ran on these platforms, it is yet to be seen how many of his ideas will be met with open minds by Congress.

 

Trump does not advocate increasing the federal minimum wage, but companies should note that many states increased minimum wage requirements in this 2016 election. Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington voted to increase the state minimum wage to a minimum of at least $12 per hour by 2020. Human resources professionals should check with each state for exact amounts and more information.

 

Ninja Gig focuses on creating online job applications. These applications make it easy for employers to ask specific questions, including if employees are authorized to work in the U.S.  Sign up today for a 30-day free trial of this awesome software that allows you to accept job applications online and fill all your employment needs.

The 2016 Presidential Election and Its Impact on Human Resources

No one can escape this year’s election. It’s on every channel, Saturday Night Live skit and in all magazines. As a Human Resources professional, you’re probably wondering how this upcoming election will impact your career. Ninja Gig has the scoop.

Equal Pay
According to President Obama, women still earn less money than their male counterparts do. In fact, studies show that women earn approximately 78 cents for every dollar that men earn.

Hillary Clinton supports equal pay for both genders. She supported the failed Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014.

Republicans voted down the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 because they said it would make it too easy for employees to sue corporations or businesses. Additionally, they said that the 1963 Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act provided the necessary protection for women.

Despite the negative press, Donald Trump has repeatedly said that he supports equal pay for equal work. Trump was quoted in an interview as saying, “You can have a woman that’s much better than a man; you can have a woman that’s not as good as a man. If you start to say everybody gets equal pay, you get away from the whole American Dream.”

Minimum Wage
Many states are increasing their minimum wage, but the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Democratic lawmakers advocate increasing the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020.

Hillary Clinton supports the $15 per hour minimum wage for New York City’s fast food restaurants’ employees. She also believes that minimum wage for other fast food workers in different states should also be that high. She also supports raising the minimum wage to $12 per hour.

Instead of increasing the minimum wage, Donald Trump supports allowing families to deduct child-care expenses on their federal taxes. In the past, when this childcare credit increased, more single mothers could afford to find long-term employment. Mr. Trump advocates a maximum supplement that equals one-half the amount of an employee’s payroll taxes, which includes Medicare and FICA. The maximum amount for married couples is based on the lower-earning spouse’s income.

Bottom Line: Increasing the minimum wage or reenacting the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 could influence businesses.

Ninja Gig offers online employment applications, which helps simplify record-keeping while streamlining the applications process. Start accepting job applications online today with a 30-day free trial.  Sign up now!

When do you need to fire a bad employee?

A bad employee grows like cancer within a company, infiltrating every cell and creating a negative work environment. Many employers have a hard time firing bad employees, but the problem with keeping them employed is that they will soon turn your entire workforce against you. This hostility can lead to a decrease in profits. The bottom line is that bad employees hurt your company more than you know.

So, what constitutes a bad employee?

  •  Poor Attitude – If a subordinate employee has a poor attitude and likes to think she’s in charge, it’s time for a reboot. Do not let this behavior continue and if it does, fire her. Trust us; you’ll be much better off in the long run.
  • Blames Others – If an employee is constantly blaming others for his actions and cannot take any responsibility for his mistakes, all signs point towards firing.
  • Misses Deadlines – If an employee is regularly missing agreed-upon deadlines or simply isn’t producing work, the chances are he’s dead weight.
  • Poor Quality – If her work is not to par and you are constantly correcting mistakes, it’s time to be concerned.
  • Frequently Gone – If your employee regularly takes time off, shows up late, takes long breaks or leaves early – neglecting to make up this lost time – it’s time to start looking for a replacement.
  • Wrong Priorities – If an employee cannot multi-task and spends time on unimportant tasks, this is a sign that the job may be over his head.
  • Poor Attendance – Team members should regularly make meetings and go the extra mile to ensure that other co-workers help meet their deadlines. If this isn’t happening, signs point towards an individual that doesn’t want the team to succeed.
  • Mistreats Others – If you have a bully at work, this behavior needs immediate correction. If not, your company could be facing hostile work environment or harassment claims.
  • Improper Language – Using language that is demeaning, insulting or foul is just bad work behavior. Improper language can also open you up to sexual harassment claims.
  • Threatens Employees – This goes back to bullying – just get rid of the employee and the remaining staff will be happier and more productive.

A good manager needs to establish measurable and clear boundaries with employees. Managers need to state their expectations for the employee and the job. This way, if a problem arises, managers can help employees identify unacceptable behavior, hopefully working towards a solution.

Managers need to understand that being an employee’s best friend is not advisable. This will put you in a bad position, should you need to discuss any of the above issues with an employee. It is best to maintain a friendly, yet distinct line. This will make your position as manager much easier.

Ninja Gig offers online job applications, which makes it easy for employers to advertise and hire qualified employees. One of the best features is that you can customize the application to ask “find-out” questions to help determine if the potential employee’s personality fits your environment and management style.  Start today with a free 30-day trial of our online employment application software.