Human Resources Management: Top Essential Skills

Human resources professionals are always interviewing candidates and assessing qualifications and skills. But what does it take to be successful in human resources management? Let us take a closer look.

  • Multitasking – Human resources professionals have to be able to multitask and deal with a wide variety of duties, ranging from FMLA leave questions, employees’ personal issues, developing recruitment strategies, advertising jobs on social media, keeping employees engaged, retaining employees and much more.
  • Organization – Successful human resources managers have to maintain well- organized files and have very strong time management skills. It is important to be able to have excellent files and documentation in place before disciplining or firing employees.
  • Negotiation – Human resources managers need to be able to negotiate, or at least be able to objectively look at two or more opposing viewpoints. It is important for human resources to remain as the middle ground during negotiations.
  • Communication – HR professionals need to communicate with management, potential employees, managers and employees. Whether it is in writing or in-person, it is important that HR managers be caring, believable and convincing.
  • Grey Issues – Sometimes personnel issues are not simple or straightforward. For example, is something considered harassment or discrimination? What is the definition of a “reasonable accommodation?” What is the appropriate way to handle intermittent leave? It is also important that HR professionals realize when a legal issue is beyond their scope and know when to contact an expert or attorney.
  • Dual Focus – While it is important that HR advocates for their specific concerns and issues, it is also necessary to enforce management’s policies. Sometimes it can feel like human resources departments are balancing different tasks, which also includes prioritizing the protection of the organization. Dealing with difficult tasks is part of the job. Employees can misunderstand human resources managers, but in an attempt to explain their actions, they could be compromising confidential data and information.
  • Confidentiality – HR professionals are required to maintain confidentiality for both management and keep track of employees to make sure that regulations and policies are followed. Human resources departments are required to maintain order and be firm. This is not an easy responsible.
  • Problem Solving – Human resources managers have to be able to problem solve and aid in conflict management. People have to work together in a civil manner, and sometimes HR gets involved in employee or manager conflicts. Having excellent problem-solving skills help HR professionals.
  • Roll with Change –Human Resources has to be able to handle states of change, whether it is hiring large groups of employees or managing a major layoff.

Human Resources professionals that can handle these types of tasks will be able to flourish in their careers. It is not a profession for the faint of heart, as there are times when they have to be the bad person and enforce rules and order.

Ninja Gig specializes in online job applications. This enables human resources departments to stay organized, distribute more job notices online and keep track of qualified applicants.  Sign up today for a 30-day free trial to start accepting job applications online.  It’s easy!

Follow this Basic Checklist for an Awesome Job Posting

Social media and online job postings are the new way to attract talented candidates. Human Resources professionals need to have the right points covered in these postings to make a powerful impact.

Incorporate the following key points into every job posting:

  • Company – Describe the company and their brand. Based on this opening introduction, applicants will decide if they want to apply for a job.
  • Benefits – Highlight the benefits that the company offers, including vacation, insurance packages and retirement. Benefits are very important to employees. This is also a good place to highlight unique perks that the company may offer, such as flex-time, working from home, etc.
  • Location – The location of the company is also important. Always include the city and state. The Internet is a powerful resource and people can be searching for jobs worldwide.
  • Job Title – The job title should be clear and concise, so anyone outside the company can clearly understand the position.
  • Job Duties – Provide a description of the day-to-day job duties. It is important to sell the position or companies will not receive qualified candidates’ applications. Highlight long-term benefits, chances for advancement and include detailed descriptions.
  • Skills – List the specific skills required for the position, as this will help human resources departments weed out unqualified candidates.
  • Training and Experience – If a certain type of training, a level of education or work experience is required, include this in the advertisement.
  • Pay Range – The position should clearly highlight a salary range. Studies show that job listings that do not include salary information will result in two-thirds of qualified applicants not applying.
  • Call to Action – Make it very clear what the interested applicant is to do next – whether it’s filled out an online job application, dropping off a resume, emailing human resources, visiting the website, etc.
  • Keywords – Today’s online job searches are directed by keywords, so it is important to include them the job title, job description and skills listings. This can help optimize a company’s search engine marketing.
  • Formatting – Make the job description clear and easy to read. Include bullet points and make a call to action item stand out.
  • Grammar – Always make sure there are no misspellings, excess jargon and that grammar is good.

Follow these basic tips and use Ninja Gig to accept online job applications. We specialize in helping human resources departments simplify job applications, while targeting qualified candidates.  Sign up today for a 30-day, no obligation, free trial!

DOL to Address Overtime Rule by May 1

The federal appeals court decided on February 22 to grant the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) another extension to take a position on overtime regulations.

The original rules were scheduled to go into effect December 1, 2016. These would have required that any employees that earn less than $913 per week (or $47,476 annually) receive overtime pay.

Businesses and states joined to challenge this rule in court. Just days before the overtime rule was to take effect, a federal district court judge granted a preliminary injunction, which temporarily halted this rule.

President Obama’s administration appealed the injunction order to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Once President Trump took office, his administration was able to obtain a 30-day extension, which has now turned into 60 additional days, ultimately having a deadline of May 1.

The federal district court judge that granted the original injunction could still issue a permanent injunction. He also has the right to rule on a pending summary judgment motion. The current DOL has requested that the judge halts his proceedings while the Fifth Circuit reviews everything. So far, he has declined, stating that the DOL will likely not succeed in its argument that he erred in issuing the injunction.

If the DOL drops their defense of this new regulation, groups of labor organizations are poised to take it over. The DOL has been representing the group’s interests to date; however, they have stated that is unlikely to continue moving forward.

Regarding this issue, the labor organizations released a statement: “With the recent presidential election, and particularly as more information becomes available regarding the incoming Administration’s plans, policy, and appointments, the Texas AFL-CIO (The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) has grave concerns as to whether its interests in the Final Rule will be represented by the DOL.”

The plaintiffs for the case argue that the labor organizations’ speculation about Trump’s administration’s views do not justify granting the motion. Urging the court to deny their request, they said: “AFL-CIO proffers no legal basis warranting intervention now, solely based on speculation or concerns about whether the party that is adequately representing its interests now might change its position at some point in the future.”

Ninja Gig will continue following this story. 

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Understanding Pay-Docking Rules for Exempt Employees

The new pay-docking rules set out by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are difficult to understand.

FLSA does not generally permit deductions from exempt employees’ salaries. State regulations specify that the amount of salaried pay an employee earns cannot be dependent or a reflection of the number of hours or days he/she works. Deductions also cannot be based on the quality or quantity of work an employee produces.

If there is a deduction in error, payroll can correct this. However, if there are many incidents and repeat violations, companies can find themselves paying entire departments of salaried employees overtime.

There are several different types of exemptions for salaried employees’ pay, which includes:

 

  • If they do not work for a week, you do not owe them pay.
  • Partial-day absences cannot be deducted, but if an exempt employee is gone for a day or more due to personal reasons not associated with an accident or sickness, pay can be docked.
  • If an employee is subject to penalties associated with violating safety rules, he/she can receive reduced pay.
  • If an employee is gone for a day or more due to disability or sickness and the company provides compensation for loss of salary caused by these types of issues, an employee can be forced to use his/her “bank” of leave.
  • If an employee is subject to jury duty, military pay or witness fees and the employee receives amounts to offset these costs, his/her pay may be deducted just for those amounts. However, any deductions beyond this are not permitted.
  • If an employee breaks workplace conduct rules, employer’s can offer unpaid disciplinary suspensions.
  • If an employee quits mid-week, employers cannot only pay for the actual days worked.
  • If an employee’s absence falls under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an employer can convert the salaried employee into an hourly employee only during the time he/she is on leave without eliminating the employee’s exempt status. This is only possible under certain circumstances, so it is best to contact your local Labor board.

Ninja Gig does not give legal advice; so if you have any questions, consider contacting legal counsel or your state for additional information. Ninja Gig offers employers the ability to easily accept job applications online.

2017 Buzzwords You Need to Know NOW

We’re all familiar with industry slang and buzzwords. It’s how “synergy,” “think outside the box” and “value-added” became part of our everyday conversations. This year we’ve tapped into some new buzzwords that will be making their way into businesses nationwide. If you want to stay on top of industry trends, you need to learn these buzzwords NOW.

  • Push Tolerance – The definition of this word is testing the capacity of an idea, strategy or theory to endure and survive resistance. It is formed by combining two phrases: “pushback,” which means an unfavorable or negative response and “fault tolerance,” which means the ability to survive failure.
  • Amplify – Instead of saying, “improve,” the new word this year is “amplify.” Get it right and learn to use your “Find and Replace” feature in Word.
  • Kill Chain – Instead of saying “strategy,” the latest word phrase is “kill chain,” which highlights the “Four F’s” of attack – Find, Fix, Fight and Finish. Kill Chain isn’t used to describe a corporate strategy, but what it takes to achieve a specific goal.
  • Return on Relationship (ROR) – Everyone in business knows the term Return on Investment (ROI), but this year’s focus is on nurturing and harvesting relationships from loyal customers, hence Return on Relationship.
  • Storytelling – Whether it’s on social media or blogs, storytelling is HOT this year. It’s the most popular way for a company to convey their values and ideologies. Storytelling is also one of the best ways to motivate employees and teams to achieve success. This year will focus on visualizing stories and feeling the emotions behind messages.
  • Intrapreneur – This word defines company leaders that change a company with a stand-alone project.

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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!