Monthly Archives: July 2015

What I learned about being an employer from walking my dog

I have a 52-pound poodle that requires a ton of exercise to keep her happy and from destroying my backyard.  Walking is not enough for this 8-month old puppy, so we have to run.  But, I can’t run fast enough (or long enough) to give her the exercise she needs, so I ride my bike while she runs alongside me.  Here are some lessons (some painful) I have learned about being an employer while spending time exercising my dog.

1- Let her have some slack in the leash.  When we first started exercising together, me on my bike and my dog on a short leash, it was a constant struggle between master and pet (you figure out who is who) as to the right speed to go, where to go, where to ride to give the dog enough room, etc.  This quickly became a problem, so I bought a retractable leash to give us both room to maneuver, more easily adjust speed, etc.  This lesson is important as an employer because I need to remember that my employees can’t be held on a tight leash under tight controls.  Employees need to feel freedom to move around, adjust their speed as needed, etc.

2- Don’t break too hard or too fast.  Twice I have gone flying over my handle bars while running my dog.  Once, because I was going too fast, not paying attention, when my dog put on the “poo brakes”.  As I mentioned, she is a super-strong, 52-pound poodle.  The other time was my fault.  We were approaching an intersection and I got a little nervous and slammed my bike brakes, which sent me catapulting over the top of my bike.  As an employer, we can be our own worst enemy sometimes, stopping or changing things too quickly.  Sometimes it’s our employees fault, sometimes it’s our fault, but it can be avoided.  Paying attention, looking ahead, adjusting quickly without heavy braking, etc. are all important things to remember as an employer.

3- Trust the dog.  One of my favorite things to do is run in the mountains with my dog.  Not only is this great exercise for both of us, but my dog can run off-leash.  Sure, sometimes she gets distracted by smells, other runners, etc., but she always sticks with me, even if I get a little ahead (or behind) her.  I trust she will stay close.  Nothing is more important in an employer/employee relationship than trust.  If you can’t trust your employees, get rid of them.  Trust your employees to do what you ask, and then leave them to do it.  They might get distracted (“SQUIRREL!”), but if the relationship is one of trust, allow them the liberty to get their job done.

Ninja Gig was created with the employer in mind.  Being an employer is tough!  There are some areas of being an employer that will always be difficult, like managing others, so you need to make your life easier, where you can.  Ninja Gig can help make the hiring process simple with custom job applications and the ability to receive applications online, including automated notifications.  Give us a shot by signing up for a 30-day free trial.  We’re certain you will quickly find how much easier your life will be when you use our technology to simplify this Human Resources function.

Inside Out – The most important lesson I learned

Have you seen the new movie “Inside Out”?  No matter your age, this is a great movie for all ages.  I won’t ruin the movie for you or give away any spoilers, but there are many deep lessons in the movie that I walked away with.  However, one lesson sticks out in my mind as the most impactful, at least to me and my life.  And, it came from one of the most subtle parts of the movie.

“Inside Out” portrays the interaction of five emotions inside a little girl’s mind: 1- Joy, 2- Sadness, 3- Fear, 4- Anger, 5- Disgust.  The movie shows the girl aging and portrays how the different emotions have had an impact on her character as time has evolved.  One of the main plot lines of the movie centers around “core memories” that, at the beginning of the movie, are based solely on one of the five emotions.

Here is what I found interesting and very deep, to me personally.  At the end of the movie we see a change in the memories that are stored, including the core memories.  Instead of memories being portrayed as solely one emotion, memories are reflected as a combination of multiple emotions.  The movie only spends about 10 seconds on this change, but to me this was deep, and as I left the movie I was evaluating my own emotions and memories.  I realized, as I have spent time thinking about this, that it’s true: life experiences and memories are not solely happy, sad, frustrating, etc.  Life is a combination of emotions experienced simultaneously, and it is the combination of these emotions that defines our character and around which we shape our future.

Understanding this as an employer can make a difference as well.  Your employees are walking around with a combination of emotions, always in flux, and their past centers around core experiences that are also a combination of emotions.  Some happy, some sad, some fear, etc.  How can understanding this help you be a better employer?  Well, I bet you already have some ideas, but here are a couple I came up with.  First, understanding that your employees have a mix of emotions at all times can grant you empathy as you face difficult situations with an employee.  The struggling employee might be having difficulties outside of work that are impacting their job performance.  Second, understanding these emotions can help you better communicate with your employees.  As you communicate with them, understand that they are trying to balance fear, sadness, anger, joy, and disgust with anything you are telling them.

Finally, understanding these emotions can help you in the hiring process.  When interviewing, for example, realizing that candidates are probably fearful, disgusted, sad, angry, and happy, all at the same time, can help you sift through the interview and come to better understand the candidate.

Here at Ninja Gig, we can’t help you understand these emotions as you evaluate candidates, but at least we can make your life a little easier with great tools that make customizing and accepting job applications simple!  Feeling angry or disgusted over having to sort through paper applications?  Sign up for a free trial with Ninja Gig, setup your custom application, and start accepting employment applications immediately.  Your memory spheres will change from sadness to joy as you use our amazing technology to make you life easy.

The Heat is On

In many parts of the world, July is the hottest month of the year. While we can’t do much to control the weather outside, there are many things we can do to help control the environment in our own workspaces…and we’re not just talking about the temperature.

In any company, there are times of high stress and busyness. Stress is a natural part of life at times, but there are many things employers can do to help themselves and their employees get through these “hot” times of life.

In a recent article by the American Psychological Association, they outline five main stressors in the workplace that if addressed, can greatly minimize on the job stress.

  1. A Sense of Powerlessness. Many employees feel powerless and feel like they have no authority or little control over events. A smart employer will find ways to give each employee a “voice” in their job. Employees need to feel like they have a safe place to come to when they need to air grievances, offer suggestions or report a problem. Empower your employees by giving them ways to have authority over their position and help them feel personally responsible for their job.
  2. Lack of a Job Description. When employees don’t have a specific job description, they can feel a little aimless and unimportant. One employee received a promotion to a job that didn’t include a specific job description. With little training and no direct supervision, this employee literally didn’t know what she should be doing and spent a lot of the first weeks in her job just sitting in an office with not much to do. While this may sound good on paper, it was hugely stressful to the employee and she didn’t feel like she had a real purpose. Specific job descriptions are key to each position in a company and are a great measuring tool to ensure the employee is meeting expectations and doing what he or she was hired to do.
  3. Square Peg in a Round Hole. Sometimes employees just really don’t feel like they’re a good fit in the job they have, but they feel like they have to do for financial or other reasons. The quick answer to this stressor is to find another position that fits their wants and needs, but this can often be hard. Employers need to have open communication with their employees to help them feel challenged and happy in a position.
  4. Traumatic Events on the Job. Some jobs such as firefighters, criminal justice personnel, military and disaster teams often witness horrific events. Employers need to have a game plan in place to help these employees deal with traumatic stress on the job. Other traumatic events could include the loss of a coworker, natural disaster, robbery, car accident and a boss or client being physically threatening. Again, having tools in place to help out in these situations is crucial to the healthiness of the workplace.
  5. Work Setting. Sometimes just your work environment itself can really turn up the “heat” in employees. Simple things such as poor lighting, lack of privacy, poor temperature control or inadequate sanitary facilities can really make a huge difference in the happiness of your employees. If you like the temperature at a very cool setting, you may want to consider offering space heaters to your employees who have differing temperature needs. Employees can also go to The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) if they feel their work environment in dangerous to their health and safety from a physical standpoint.

The majority of these five stressors in the workplace can be easily addressed and remedied with not a lot of time or money. Smart employers will take a good look at what really “turns up the heat” in their workplace and implement strategies to overcome these things.

For more information on these workplace stressors, the full article from the APA can be read here: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/workplace-stress.aspx

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Unlimited Job Postings – Whether you have 1 or 100 job openings, you can post as many job openings as you want.

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Resume & Cover Letter Upload – Yes, we allow your applicants to attach a resume & cover letter to their application. You receive these via email along with the application.

E-mail Notifications – You are immediately sent an email when an application is completed with all the applicant’s info.

Admin Portal – A secure login to manage job openings, change your account settings, review/manage received applications, etc.