Why Employees Love Perks

Employees love job perks. I’m not talking about the traditional perks, such bonuses, vacation time, flex-time, etc. Of course, employees want those types of benefits. They’re pretty standard in today’s society. What I’m exploring are the fun, exciting and edgy perks that draw employees to companies.

When I was a Human Resources Manager in Seattle, I worked for a company that had season tickets to the Seahawks, Sonics (ouch … I’m showing my age) and the Mariners. We would rotate these tickets and give them out as “employee of the month” and birthday benefits. It was a fun way to boost employee morale and let them have a day or evening with friends or loved ones.

One company I worked for even held special events for Valentine’s Day and would purchase group tickets to hockey games. It was a great way for people at work to let loose, get to know one another and have fun.

Companies can even tap into other types of events for employees that are not interested in sports. Consider purchasing group tickets to Broadway plays, concerts, comedy shows or other touring talents that come to town.

Here are some other awesome perks that attract employees:

  • Free Food – Employees love anything that is free, but they especially love food because it curbs those annoying hangry pains. Businesses may want to consider having lunch catered every Friday. It can be simple, nothing more than sandwiches and platters of brownies, but consider how much fun it is for employees not to have to battle lunch crowds once a week. Did you know that employees that have access to free snacks and food report a higher rate of job satisfaction? It’s true! Job contentment rates increase by 11% when employers offer complimentary food.
  • Massages – Employers can combat stress on the job by hiring a massage therapist to come in bi-monthly. What benefits does massage have? It decreases absenteeism, boosts productivity, decreases health insurance claims and is proven to increase workplace morale.
  • Educational Events – Consider hosting a “Lunch and Learn” session that explores issues that are important to employees, such as their health, financial savings plans and fitness goals.
  • Childcare – If you’re a large employer, take a cue from Starbucks, Google and AOL and offer onsite discount daycare programs for employees only. Parents worry less about their children when they know they’re closer to them so help put their minds at ease. Another option is to consider hosting a quarterly “Parents Night Out,” where employees can drop off their kids, go out, enjoy themselves and pick them up after a few hours.
  • Pet Walking – Seattle is known for people bringing their pets to work, but how do employees accomplish their tasks with their pets by their side? It’s easy. Some companies hire a complimentary pet-walking service that takes pets to a local park twice daily. In fact, employers that are pet-friendly attract and retain more employees.

Ninja Gig makes it easy for companies to accept job applications online. These applications are customizable, which helps to simplify the hiring process.  Sign up now for your 30-day free trial today!

The High Cost of Sales Team Turnover

Even when the economy is down, top salespeople are in demand. Sales people have the ability to transition their skills from one sales job to another easily. This also means that companies are at a high risk of losing salespeople to more lucrative job opportunities.

Remarkably, the cost of hiring a new employee is approximately 200-percent of their annual salary. This includes paying off a former employee’s vacation accrual and severance pay, as well as wrapping in costs associated with job advertising, recruiting fees and staff time to spend on reviewing resumes, interviews, paperwork, recruiting, new hire orientation and training. This cost does not even account for poor employee morale during job-transition periods.

Let’s assume the average salary for your company is $75,000. If the turnover cost is approximately 200-percent, this would mean that the company pays $150,000 for every employee that leaves. If your company has 100 employees and the average employee turnover is 10-percent per year, the total annual cost of turnover is $1,500,000. That’s a staggering amount.

Now that we have your attention, there are four questions your company needs to consider:

  1. What is your average year-over-year turnover rate?
  2. Is your turnover rate similar to the competition?
  3. Can you correlate specific changes to the turnover rate to anything that occurred in the workplace?
  4. Are there specific times of the year when you experience higher turnover?

When human resources personnel conduct exit interviews, it is important for them to gain as much insight as they can into why employees leave. Instead of asking open-ended questions, consider having employees rate factors on a scale of 1 to 10. Ask the right questions so you can determine if your environment allows salespeople to thrive.

During the hiring process, managers have insight into employees’ preferences, weaknesses and strengths. However, most fail to act on this information, which is a valuable resource tool. Managers could use this information to develop and retain employees, making the job a good fit for each person’s skills.

Ninja Gig specializes in developing online job applications. This helps to simplify human resources’ tasks, as they can easily search and save resumes on their computers.  Sign up today for your 30-day free trial!

A grammar-less generation?

Are we facing a world-crisis? Are we parenting an entire generation that does not know how to spell or use proper grammar? A world without grammar leads to utter chaos. Can you image if punctuation did not exist? Consider this sentence with and without punctuation:

Let’s eat Grandma!
Let’s eat, Grandma!

The entire meaning of this sentence hinges on a comma. If you eliminate the comma, you are a barbaric cannibal eating your grandmother, and if you add the comma, you are dining with your grandma.

As a human resources manager, I have read a lot of resumes and cover letters. Over the years, I have noticed that society has strayed further from proper grammar and punctuation. Personally, I think grammar and spelling define the necessary details of a qualified candidate. If someone applying for a job cannot take the time to construct a well-written resume, will he/she take the time to pay attention to the details that the job requires?

Perhaps you think that grammar and punctuation are only necessary for writers and editors. That is partially true, but consider how your employees will represent your company if they cannot spell or use basic grammar. Is this the image you want your business to reflect? When do simple errors transition into unprofessionalism?

Recently, I saw a meme that said, “Spell-check yourself before you wreck yourself.” It got me thinking, why are grammatical and spelling errors so commonplace in today’s society? Let us explore a few possible reasons.

 

  • Education – Our education system is lackluster, class sizes are too big and most programs want to focus on teaching math and science because that is the focus of standardized test scores. Yes, it is good to focus on these areas of study, but we still need to concentrate on the most basic, fundamental element: written and oral communication. Understanding basic grammar and spelling are important for people in all occupations.
  • Technology – Spell check enabled an entire generation not to need dictionaries and look up words. Instead of reinforcing correct spelling, machines simply change words, and many people do not even know if the changed word is in the proper context. For example, “to,” “too” and “two” or “are” and “our.”
  • Laziness – Maybe it is easier for people to abbreviate everything nowadays, such as “UR” for “your.” Texting has created an explosion of abbreviations, which makes it easier to communicate with friends via messaging apps. However, some people do not know where to draw the line and are including abbreviations on professional job applications, in work emails, etc. This is creating, what I call “the all thumbs effect.”

 

I believe that spelling and grammar are still important elements when hiring employees. If someone is in a marketing field, he/she should know how to spell, use appropriate grammar and punctuation correctly. This includes my pet peeve of not including punctuation within the quotations. We live in America. Start using American-style punctuation.

 

While perfect spelling and grammar are not requirements for most jobs, I think the fundamental understanding of how to professionally communicate is necessary. I know that a well-written resume and cover letter earn a second glance from me. I think it is about time that society stepped up and starts putting their best foot forward.

 

Ninja Gig specializes in developing online job applications, which makes it easier for human resources departments to find and hire qualified candidates.  Start your 30-day free trial today!

Is President Trump good for business?

Whether you’re bleeding red or crying blue, President Trump holds the highest office in our nation for the next four years. Accepting this tangible fact is the first step in coming together as a nation.

The bottom line is that small businesses are suffering. The average small business owner spends approximately $12,000 per year addressing government regulations. Many cannot afford to navigate around these precarious rules. Nearly 14-percent of small business owners spend more than 20 hours a month addressing these time-consuming regulations. This translates into nearly half of all small business owners spending $83,000 or more to handle regulatory costs in their first year of operation.

As an added blow, once small businesses grow to 50 employees, they are required to abide by the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate. This states that businesses that have 50 or more full-time employees are responsible for providing health insurance to at least 95-percent of their full-time workforce and their dependents, up to age 26. This mandate alone stunted many small employers, striking growing-pain fears into their bottom line profits.

President Trump issued an executive order on January 30 aimed to help reduce small business regulations. Trump stated, “There will be regulation, there will be control, but it will be a normalized control.”

Amid a flurry of controversy, Trump’s presidency is first-page news. He’s checking off his campaign list with an ardent fervor of a businessman. He knows what he wants to accomplish and he’s aiming high. Trump’s promise to loosen regulations, repeal the Affordable Care Act and simplify the tax code is just a few of the subjects he’s tackling.

Trump’s team hopes that by helping small businesses, the U.S. economy will flourish and grow. However, only time will tell if a Trump presidency is a success or bust. I say we give the man a chance to change America. After all, he’s our president for four long years so we may as well make the best of it.

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.” – Dennis P. Kimbro

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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!