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The Value of On-boarding

Did you know that the right onboarding team can help a company retain top talent? Yes, it’s true – and especially so in today’s remote work culture. 

No one wants to start a new job and then hear, “Oh, I didn’t realize you were starting today. I’m not sure how to get you set up.” When someone starts a new job, they’re pumped up, ready to tackle new challenges and feel a renewed, refreshed spirit to bring value to the company. If they encounter obstacles getting set up during the onboarding process, this can quickly take the wind out of their sails and leave them with a bad first impression.

Whether your current onboarding process involves lost paperwork, not getting technology set up or notifying current employees of a new hire, the onboarding process directly relates to a company’s culture.

Boost New Hire Satisfaction

According to Gartner, nearly 33% of new hires immediately become discouraged with their jobs if they run into a poor onboarding and training process. Furthermore, they will begin looking for new employment within six months. Additionally, for employees who stay, it takes nearly eight months for their productivity to reach acceptable levels. 

New hires learn about the company through the onboarding process. They learn the ins and outs, the office lingo, about important clients, the company’s organization and whom to contact if they have questions – all of which set new hires up for success. 

Provide a Team

Instead of giving new hires a single point of contact, give them an entire onboarding team, which also helps reduce friction if a new employee and mentor lack compatibility and have different working styles. 

Some companies, such as Zappos, have a month-long onboarding process, while Pinterest focuses on a week-long orientation that includes leadership talks, IT setup and more. 

By taking these steps, you can help ensure that all the effort you put into finding good new hires goes a long way, ultimately resulting in higher job satisfaction rates.


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Preventing Discrimination in the Workplace

In our previous article, we discussed what workplace discrimination is. But what can leadership and management do to help prevent workplace discrimination from occurring in companies?

Establishing a plan to help prevent workplace discrimination from happening is vital to a company’s success to help facilitate a positive culture and employee morale. 

Develop Policies

Developing a clearly-written anti-discrimination policy is essential. This information is part of the employee handbook. Every employee handbook should have a clear policy about discrimination, and upon hire, employees should receive a copy and sign an acknowledgment form. The policy should be broad, covering a range of potential discrimination types, outlining how discrimination complaints are filed, submitted, handled and resolved.

The Discrimination policy should clearly state:

  • Discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity or pregnancy) disability, age or genetic information is strictly illegal. There is a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination. Provide examples and definitions of prohibited conduct. 
  • Provide reasonable accommodations to employees or applicants that require religious or medical exemptions, as required by law.
  • Clearly state how employees can report discrimination.
  • The policy should say that employees will not be punished for reporting or participating in discrimination claims.
  • Protect the identity of employees that report discrimination, to the extent possible.
  • Provide employees with prompt, thorough and impartial complaint investigations. 
  • Describe the consequences for employees that violate the non-discrimination policy. 
  • Research all federal, state and local discrimination laws to ensure these are all covered in companies’ handbook policies.

Consistent Processes to Resolve Complaints

If complaints arise, it’s vital to resolve them quickly and effectively. Workplace discrimination can lead to legal issues and cause employees to lose trust in their employers. Consistently address and resolve issues, highlighting that the company expects everyone to receive fair and equal treatment. Establish a process that fits your company’s size, resources and overall structure to make sure that you can successfully resolve complaints.

Educate Employees

Merely giving employees copies of a handbook and going through the onboarding process doesn’t constitute educating them about discrimination. In fact, some states require that companies regularly provide anti-discrimination training programs. Whether or not you’re required to do so by law, it’s best that companies are proactive in educating employees about discrimination. Employees need to be aware of the policies and procedures in place, how to report allegations and what falls into the zero-tolerance category for discrimination. 

Companies should also conduct separate training for management and supervisory personnel to quickly identify potential discrimination claims and fight to address them immediately. 


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Incorporating Transparency in Leadership

More people are looking for transparency in leadership in all walks of life, whether in politics or the workplace. Employees want to know who, what, when, where and why, primarily when decisions affect them. They want to trust that those making decisions are looking at the big picture and taking their interests into account. 

While the push for more transparency may cause leaders to feel stressed, they don’t need to vet or check every decision, as that is virtually impossible. 

Some decisions can be made with relatively little to no input, while other more important decisions may require extensive research, analysis, discussion and consideration. It’s also the areas in between that can draw even more criticism and create problems, so leaders should practice transparency to help maintain employees’ trust.

Leadership Transparency: Quick Case Study

With COVID-19, a lot of businesses are reducing hours or closing their doors. If executive leadership in a company determines the best financial course of action is to reduce employee work hours, this needs transparent implementation. 

What Happens with Top-Down Decisions That Lack Transparency

No matter how executives communicate their decision, it will be unpopular with employees. One person in a leadership position usually clearly communicates the decision to all employees, fending any questions that may arise, such as:

  • What was the decision involved in reducing hours?
  • How did leadership come to this decision?
  • Who was involved in deciding to reduce hours?

Do not blindside managers with public announcements. It damages the respect between managers and their employees. In turn, managers resent leadership for making quick decisions without receiving any input from them. It makes managers feel set up to fail because their teams stop having faith in them and lose all trust. All too soon, employee morale tanks and leadership is left wondering why. It’s simple: because the decision blindsided everyone.

Implementing Transparency

There’s a better way to deliver bad news to managers and employees to avoid these issues. A strong, positive culture that revolves around leadership and having effective communication is a necessary foundation for growing and maintaining a company. 

Here are the top two ways to successfully implement transparency at work.

  1. Frequent Sharing – The right frequency of sharing sensitive information to ensure that employees are aware of any ongoing issues and any emerging issues. It doesn’t mean notifying employees about every single decision, but it’s best to avoid blindsiding them with major decisions that they didn’t foresee possibly coming. Keeping people in the loop can make a huge difference in how employees react to the news.
  2. Feedback – Simply sharing a one-way street, also doesn’t make employees feel better about decisions, so it’s vital to collect and listen to employees to gain more clarity and understanding. Constructive feedback and discussion can often highlight new perspectives or even reveal alternative options that might work better for the company in the short and long-term. Few things in the workplace destroy employee morale more than not considering their feedback. 

Having a good company culture that revolves around transparency can help benefit companies in our current COVID-19 world and post-pandemic. Use this opportunity to create a healthy workplace culture where employees feel valued.


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Are Work-From-Home Positions The Future?

While Americans still wait to return to normalcy while practicing social distancing, many companies are reevaluating traditional onsite culture and propose a permanent shift to remote work.

For example, major employers such as Nationwide, Mondelez and Barclays are discussing reducing physical office space in favor of more remote work. Many companies are seeing the advantage of decreasing physical real estate space, which would save considerable overhead on expenses. 

More companies are seeing proof that employee productivity doesn’t suffer in a remote environment. Companies may not need their full staff to physically return to offices to accomplish their workloads. If the US is facing a global economic slump post-COVID, remote work can help many companies significantly cut costs to survive the difficult times that may lie ahead.

Nationwide Insurance announced a permanent transition to a hybrid-style work model. They will continue to operate their four corporate offices in Ohio, Des Moines, Scottsdale and San Antonio. The majority of their other locations around the US will have their employees continue working from home.

While this outcome could be detrimental for the commercial real estate industry, we could also see more expensive renovations to comply with social distancing. Property management firms are already anticipating having open layouts and new seating arrangements, which will be costly for renovation teams.


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How to Take a Kinder Approach to Firing Employees

As an HR professional, if you’ve ever had to fire someone, you know this is one of the hardest parts of the job. However, every good business leader knows that sometimes the best decision for a company is to dismiss an employee. In fact, according to a Harris poll, nearly 40 percent of Americans have lost their job before. 

Employees report that being treated with respect is something they need and want from their employer. In fact, employees say that appreciation and recognition, as well as the opportunity for development, learning and growth, are less important than their need for respect. 

Even if an employee isn’t working out, it’s essential to treat them with respect. Here are some tips for terminating an employee with integrity and compassion.

Opportunities for Improvement

Companies should have two different types of employee termination: attitude-based and performance-based. If an employee is failing to meet clear job criteria, management and HR must set employees up for success. Employees need to be aware of any performance issues, and management needs to help set expectations for a solution. 

Employees need a clear timeline to improve performance – between 30 to 90 days – and management should regularly check-in to gauge their performance. Break down goals into more manageable milestones. However, if an employee has shown no improvement by the end of the probationary period, it’s acceptable to have a hard termination conversation. 

If an employee has a poor attitude, this can quickly evolve into a toxic workplace for other employees. One bad employee that has a negative attitude can soon corrupt and poison an entire team. Management can still be respectful and say, “Is there something going on? When you act this way, your attitude impacts our entire company and your coworkers.” 

Consider Alternatives

If someone is unhappy, see if they would be happier somewhere else in the company. Sometimes an employee is burned out and would prefer a new career. If an employee has a strong skill set, this might be an excellent option. 

No matter what happens, HR and managers must document everything to ensure they are complying with termination laws. You may also have to prove later that employees weren’t working out, and other steps were taken before terminating their employment. Teach management to take detailed notes about problem employees, listing specific attitude or performance issues in writing. Remember to document all behavior and performance issues, as these are needed to help minimize potential legal risks.

Ensure Termination is Handled Correctly 

Before management fires an employee, make sure they consult with HR. A termination plan must be in place to help ensure that the company is following all procedures and legal requirements when terminating an employee. 

Be Transparent

If a company exhausts all their options, and they need to let an employee go, it’s best to be detailed and precise. Explain when they will receive their final paycheck, severance pay, returning company property and how benefits will be terminated. Stand firm and don’t give them the impression you may change your mind. Transparency is a critical component when it comes to terminating an employee.


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Culture Pivot: Building a Remote Workforce

In today’s modern world, it’s becoming more and more common for companies to have remote workforces. Post-pandemic, more companies than ever will restructure their current operations model to allow employees to work from home. If your company is considering having a telecommuting workforce, consider these helpful suggestions.

Hiring Good Talent

Hiring talented employees helps make companies successful. Build a team that is passionate about their dreams, goals and jobs, and motivated by more than just their paychecks. Hardworking and ambitious virtual employees that maintain positive mindsets are essential to having a remote workforce.

Set Clear Expectations

Before hiring remote employees, set clear expectations about the delivery of work, available hours for scheduling and job-specific expectations. If you’re transparent upfront, you’ll be able to identify the correct applicants for the job quickly. 

Key Performance Indicators

Instituting key performance indicators (KPI) can help companies monitor and analyze the progress of their remote workforce. KPIs should align with companies’ quarterly and yearly goals, which helps easily track progress over time. Management should monitor their own KPIs, holding themselves to the same standards as their employees.

Focus on Communication

To replace a traditional workplace with a remote workforce, companies need to have effective communication. If all employees are onsite, it’s easy to walk to someone’s desk to get an answer, but having the proper digital tools in place to facilitate communication can significantly help. Software applications, such as Zoom and Slack, are great for remote employees. They can easily schedule appointments, share files, send instant messages, discuss tasks and even participate in video conferences.

Organized Task Hub

Employees need to be set up for success, not failure. Keeping track of tasks can be tedious and challenging, and things can be easily overlooked. It’s essential to create a central, organized hub that highlights all tasks, information and due dates. Popular project-management software platforms include Basecamp, Asana, Trello and Monday

Getting Started

While the idea of hiring a remote workforce and implementing these changes may seem overwhelming, more and more companies are beginning to make this switch. As more companies embrace a remote culture, look to successful organizations as guidance for how their remote business models work. Additionally, more employees view working remotely as an excellent job perk, helping them avoid sitting in traffic for hours each day. Productive employees are far more valuable than those that are overworked and overstressed.

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Uncovering the Root Cause of Workplace Stress

According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress is the primary source of stress for American adults, and it is progressively getting worse over the last several decades.

Long-term, increased stress can lead to all types of health conditions, including hypertension, heart attack, anxiety and sleep disorders. 

Americans are working longer and harder than ever before. A government report found that the number of hours worked increased by eight-percent in one generation by the late 1990s, which means that Americans went from working an average of 40 hours to 47 hours a week. Globally, Americans are different from other countries. While in 1995, workers in Japan worked more than Americans, now Americans put in an extra month more of work than the Japanese and an astounding three months more than those working in Germany. 

The Health Effects of Stress

Occupational stress can cause a variety of physical ailments, including:

  • 30 percent suffer from back pain
  • 28 percent complain of stress
  • 20 percent report feeling tired 
  • 13 percent suffer from headaches

Job Stress is Costly

According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress costs U.S. businesses more than $300 billion annually, which is primarily due to:

  • Absenteeism
  • Accidents
  • Employee turnover
  • Medical, legal and insurance-related costs
  • Poor productivity
  • Workers’ compensation claims

Common Causes of Workplace Stress

There are many reasons that workplace stress exists and occur on the job, such as:

  • Lack of clarity; unclear objectives
  • Insufficient employee support
  • Poor cohesion amongst teams and employees
  • Employees have little control over their work or experience micromanaging
  • Difficult or inflexible work hours
  • Psychological harassment
  • Poor management and lack of communication policies
  • Poor health and safety policies

Human resources departments should work to help companies minimize stressful environments, which can significantly boost employee satisfaction and retention rates.


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Four Workplace Trends That Positively Change Performance

Workplace performance can be influenced by external factors and even society’s changing ideologies. Gallup’s State of the American Workforce report shows that when employees are positively engaged at work, their profitability increased by 21 percent; however, only 51 percent of employees report being actually engaged at work. The following workplace tech trends will help positively change employees’ work environments, thus increasing their overall performance and profitability.

Prioritizing Workplace Safety

The #metoo movement has helped to address the issues of workplace safety and harassment. Employees that witness harassment are more likely to begin searching for new employment. How well a company responds to misconduct, including harassment and discrimination, is essential, which is why employers need to facilitate more open lines of communication.

Collaboration

Open employment engagement is important, especially as more jobs focus on computer work and being behind a desk. Whether it’s using Google Docs or Slack, incorporating collaborative techniques can help boost employee productivity dramatically. 

Work-Life Balance

Studies show that three out of four employees have a difficult time balancing their family work and other personal obligations. Furthermore, more employers are offering flexible working schedules and arrangements to help employees better balance and manage their time. Employees that can have more flexible work arrangements are more satisfied with their overall work culture. 

Technology to Support Inclusion and Diversity

By building a work environment that embraces inclusion and diversity, you can help encourage employees to produce new, innovative ideas. Different experiences and backgrounds unique shape us, which helps create a multi-talented team.


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Three Best Practices HR Managers Should Implement into a Family Business

Working for a family business can have its shares of challenges. While it may be successful and maintain a solid reputation on the outside, it may not have the traditional structure, policies, or work environment as other corporations on the inside. 

Changing the ways of a corporation since “the father or grandfather” founded the business more than 40 years ago will not happen overnight, but it’s not entirely impossible – especially if it will benefit the company in the long term and resonates successfully to the “corporate family members or board.” Here are three key best practices to suggest if you land a HR management role at a family-run business.

  • Set a Professional Foundation.

According to jobstreet.com, certain family members – such as a son, daughter, or sister – may feel entitled to a more senior position within the company or some owners may expect that family members work twice as hard as regular employees. Both situations can potentially be unfavorable and have a negative impact on exit plans, so you need to ensure there’s a structured platform of professionalism. You should also try to prevent unprofessional behavior, tardiness or even favoritism, which can all be common. The result could be a positive one without any distinction between family members and non-family members, which can result in more objective and sound decision making. 

  • Implement Training Sessions

Jobstreet.com also suggests that you implement succession planning, talent management plus regular training among employees to not only grow but to ensure the company successfully moves forward. After all, it’s not uncommon for many family members to “grow up” within the family business and also have long-term, loyal employees. While they may be knowledgeable of operations, the industry and company structure, it’s vital for any company to change with trends and always implement best business practices.

  • Increase Retention Practices 

Walking into a family business may sometimes seem like stepping back in time. Its company policies may be redundant and expectations from employees may be old school. For instance, according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), it’s not uncommon for company leaders of a family business to expect employees to work as hard and as long as they did earlier in their careers. So, it’s important to make them to realize that employees’ expectations have changed. Millennials even Generation Xers now seek a better work-life balance, comfortable work environments, career development, plus rewards and recognition for their work. Implementing benefits, holiday hours, vacation time, and bonus structures, to name a few incentives, will not only increase moral, but attract better talent and increase overall retention. 

There are countless of family businesses that are successful. While some have different policies and structures than other corporations, these are just a few of the best practices that HR managers should implement or strengthen to ensure company growth and a strong future. By signing up with Ninja Gig, companies easily promote openings using job applications online. Job posting sites make it easy for qualified applicants to apply. Sign up now for your free trial and get your online job applications in front of potential candidates now with our proven applicant tracking system and job posting software.

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Is Your Employee Telling the Truth?

Managing a work environment is no simple task for HR employees. It’s a good assumption that most seasoned HR professionals and managers have heard every complaint, dispute, personal problem, sickness, theft and quite possibly more from employees.

While these are all sensitive issues in a work environment, how can you tell if an employee is in fact not telling the truth to reap inner-office sympathy, a day or two off work, or some of a company’s policy benefits? Short of being a mind reader, there are ways to detect that an employee is lying. An article published at www.experityhealth.com, reveled some unique indicators that just may end up revealing the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  

  • Reading Body Language

This is an interesting one. When a “suspected” employee is questioned about a certain situation, they may exhibit certain defensive or protective body language. This could include covering their mouth with their hands, avoiding eye contact, excessive fidgeting, or “shifting their body away from the questioner.”

  • Understanding Timelines

Resorting to a timeline of events is an effective method. While it all depends on the situation, many issues or concerns may include some sort of timeline. Guilty employees can get confused and lured into the truth if they explain times and dates out of order, are evasive about key details, or just have “a blank look” when asked about certain moments.

  • Change of Voice

Lying can be stressful even among the best of them. The fact that stress can cause the vocal cords to constrict, a lying employee’s voice may crack, have a higher or lower pitch, or they may start clearing their throat. 

Although, HR professionals are not expected to have the training of an interrogator for the FBI, they don’t need to. Yet, it’s important not to be naive and clearly understanding some of these signs. In the end, by setting an example and implementing the consequences will only provide for a more secure and honest work environment. 

By signing up with Ninja Gig, companies easily promote openings using job applications online. Online job application software and an applicant tracking system makes it easy for qualified applicants to apply. Sign up now for your free trial and get your job applications online in front of potential candidates now.