Monthly Archives: March 2017

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.

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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.

 

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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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