A Guide to Rewarding Employees

Cash is a short-time employee motivator. Don’t get us wrong; it’s still important to show your employees you value their performance by paying them a competitive salary and offering benefits, but there are other ways to appreciate your employees throughout the year.

We have compiled a list of our favorite ways to reward employees and best of all, they’re not expensive.

  • Flexible Hours – More employees report that working flexible hours is worth more to them than extra money. This is because many people can save their valuable time and money by not commuting during peak traffic hours, arranging alternative child care services, etc.
  • Day Off Pass – Let each employee select his or her special holiday every year. You simply give them a day off with pay.
  • Thank You Notes – In an electronic era, the value of handwritten thank you notes is underestimated. Bosses can write a thank you card to employees. Managers can be selective, yet authentic when writing these notes, which will let employees know they are valued.
  • Parking – Consider offering top employees excellent parking. Not only is this motivation for other employees, but also it makes good employees shine at work.
  • Cake and Pizza Parties – Offer office parties to reward employees. Whether it’s for birthdays, milestones or achievements, small and short gatherings help increase employee morale.
  • Gourmet Coffee – Instead of the run of the mill burnt coffee, consider upgrading the coffee station with a gourmet makeover. Small attention to details can make a significant difference at work.
  • Tours – If your business works with many vendors or suppliers, consider asking those companies if you can schedule a tour for your employees. This can help employees become better acquainted with products and services, while also giving them a fun field trip out of the office.
  • Adult Education – Consider paying for one adult education class per quarter or year. Let employees choose the class that interests them, whether it’s crafting, cooking, woodworking or even yoga.
  • New Chairs – Employees sit at their desk for an average of eight hours a day. Consider allowing them to pick out a new, comfortable and ergonomic chair to help make their days a little easier.
  • Pets – More businesses are recognizing the importance of pets in the workplace. Consider allowing your employees to bring their pets to work with them, provided they also bring a crate or cage, so pets don’t disturb others.
  • Employee of the Month – Reward an employee of the month with a special parking space, longer lunch or flexible hours.
  • Special Causes – Have a designated area where employees can post cards, forms, flyers or photos about special causes or groups they support.

Ninja Gig allows employers to accept job applications online. This helps keep HR departments organized, giving them the ability to archive applications for future reference.  Ready to make your life easier?  Sign up now for your 30-day free trial!

The Telltale Warning Signs of Violent Employee Behavior

Workplace violence rarely occurs without warning. People rarely wake up one day and suddenly have the desire to become violent. Experts agree that people display warning signs before acting out. The key to avoiding workplace violence is to recognize the signs of “pre-violence” and assist employees.

The following may be early warning signs and indicators of violent behavior.

  • Weapons – If an employee has a distinct fascination with weapons, this may be a sign of potentially violent behavior. Please note that weapon ownership is very different from someone being obsessed by weapons.
  • Violent History – Once people have explored crossing the ethical or moral barrier of violence, they are more apt to reoffend.
  • Substance Abuse – Studies show there is a significant correlation between substance abuse and violence.
  • Decreased Productivity – Employees that demonstrate or have a higher tendency towards violence display a harder time maintaining consistent productivity.
  • Severe Stress – People that display signs of violence use severe stress as an excuse for their behavior.
  • Poor Hygiene – Poor personal hygiene may be a sign that an employee doesn’t care anymore, which can be a trigger for workplace violence.
  • Poor Relationships – Experts agree that loners or people that have poor peer relationships are more likely to display signs of violence. This is largely in part because they do not have the social resources to talk to people and work out their problems.
  • Personality Changes – If someone drastically changes from being super outgoing to very shy, this can be a sign of a personality disorder, manic depression or someone who has a tendency to display violent behavior.

Ninja Gig allows employers the convenience of accepting job applications online. As an added benefit, you can request information for a background check, which may help decrease the chances of hiring an applicant with a violent history.  Sign up today for your 30-day free trial!

Prevent Workplace Violence NOW

Experts believe that these tough economic times could be responsible for an increase in workplace violence. As a Human Resources Manager, you can help detour workplace violence by implementing these important elements in your prevention plan.

  1. Screen Applicants – A company’s single best way to avoid workplace violence is to heavily screen applicants. Require applicants to provide both professional and personal references. Always interview applicants face-to-face to help gauge temperament. When calling references, always ask about their impressions of the applicant. Prevention is the key to avoiding workplace violence.
  2. Create an Anti-Violence Policy – Develop a tough policy that doesn’t blend in with other section of the employee handbook. Make sure employees know that you have zero tolerance for workplace violence.
  3. Train Employees – Train employees to take threats seriously and to bring them to management’s attention. Usually, coworkers will see that someone is becoming violent before a situation occurs. By training employees to spot violence and report it, you could be saving lives.
  4. Crisis Management Team – Consider having six to eight employees take crisis management coaching. This can include members of HR, security personnel, legal staff and at least one senior management official. This team acts as coaches, helping to detour violence.
  5. Publicize, Publicize, Publicize – Use email, meetings and newsletters as opportunities to spread that your organization has a zero-tolerance workplace violence policy. Make sure employees know how to contact members of the crisis management team or when they should call 911.

Ninja Gig offers employers the ability to accept online job applications. Employers can also include sections for background reports, which can help detour people with violent histories from being inadvertently hired by companies. While background checks may not be the definitive source for spotting violent behavior, they can give employers a glimpse into applicants’ pasts.  Sign up today!

10 Tips for Avoiding Workplace Negativity in 2017

We have all experienced the impacts of a negative employee. They can be pessimistic, uncooperative or even hostile at times. It is important to make sure negativity does not spread within a workplace, as this can be as harmful as a contagious disease taking over and spreading.

To help prevent negativity from taking roots in a workplace, follow these helpful tips.

  1. Setting Standards – While you can’t please everyone with company policies, if an employee doesn’t follow the rules, you can discipline him/her for insubordination. Make sure that company standards are very clear. This can include gossiping about policies, which can influence employee’s morale.
  2. Avoiding the Negative Mindset – Some employees are just negative. You can listen to their points, but don’t let this affect your optimism.
  3. Asking Questions – Ask employees what specifically is making them feel negative towards something. Often, communication is the key to establishing an emotional base.
  4. Avoiding Arguments – Unfortunately, negative people thrive on negative energy, which is why many of them love to argue. Avoid getting into arguments and maintain poise under pressure.
  5. Role-Playing – Try putting the shoe on the other foot. Ask the employee to pretend he/she can resolve the problem that is bothering him/her. Involving the employee may help create positive feelings towards the outcome of a solution.
  6. Listen – Always use active listening techniques to make sure you understand what the employee is saying. This also helps the employee feel as though he/she is being heard, which can also create positive feelings.
  7. Empowering Employees – Employees need to take responsibility for both the good and bad. This reinforces positive behavior so they can try to replicate these events in the future. Bad behavior needs to be pointed out, so it doesn’t reoccur.
  8. Do Not Lower Expectations – If you have a problem employee, remember that a negative attitude doesn’t equate to poor performance.
  9. Feedback – Consider asking employees for their opinions about how major decisions may affect them. By taking an active listening approach to employees’ concerns, studies show negativity decreases.
  10. Hiring Good Employees – Try to identify negative employees during the hiring process. Consider asking the following questions to identify problem employees: “Do you feel you have been treated unfairly in the past?” and “If you were the manager at your last job, what would you change?” Also, consider asking, “What management problems did your last job face?”

Ninja Gig works with employers to create online job applications. These employment applications make it easy for HR Managers to weed through a variety of resumes and applicants, potentially flagging problem employees.  Ready to simplify your hiring process?  Sign up now for your no-obligation, 30-day free trial.

401(k) Contribution Limits for 2017

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced in late 2016 that several key 401(k) limitations would remain unchanged going into 2017.

The lack of changes is due to the cost-of-living index, which did not increase because many of the required thresholds to justify a change were simply not met.

The most significant limitations that remain unchanged are as follows:

  • Employees that are over 50 years old can still play “catch-up” in their 401(k) contributions. Their limit is $6,000.
  • The contribution limit for employees remains at $18,000 per year. This limit also applies to most 457 plans, 403(b) plans and the Thrift Savings Plan.
  • The annual contribution limit for Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) is $5,500. Employees over the age of 50 can contribute an additional $1,000.

Employers should provide employees with information every year about contribution limits. Studies have shown that employees often do not understand limits and are ill-informed about how much they can contribute to their retirement accounts on an annual basis. Consider having a professional financial advisor from the company that manages retirement plans come in to meet with employees in a large group. If employees have specific questions, they can set up one-on-one meetings with advisors. This helps ensure that employees are receiving information from qualified advisors that can answer their questions.

The IRS updated its Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) charts for specific retirement plan contribution limits. It is recommended that employers check this information out on their website. They also provide a detailed chart comparing differences from 2015, 2016 and 2017. The chart also explains IRAs, IRA, AGI Deduction Phase-Out, SEP, SIMPLE Plans, 401(k), 403(b), Profit Sharing and other types of retirement plans.

Ninja Gig specializes in offering online applications. This allows human resources’ departments to streamline their workflow, as they can organize information received on online job applications, which can help them find the most experienced candidates.  Sign up now for your 30-day free trial and see how at least this function of your job can be made easier!

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!