Category Archives: Working from Home

Double Check Yourself: Do your words detour female candidate?

Research shows that if companies use the wrong words in a job description, it may detour highly qualified female candidates from applying.

It’s important that companies write job descriptions and applications in a gender-neutral tone. For example, remove all feminine or masculine vocabulary to help increase the likelihood of qualified men and women applying for positions.

For example, studies show that male applicants prefer applications that use the word “exhaustive,” while female applicants respond better to the phrase “loves learning.” Additionally, men are more likely to apply with stereotypical phrases such as “competitive salary” or “best of the best.”

Additional words that may turn off female applicants include:

  • Ambitious
  • Analytical
  • Assertive
  • Autonomous
  • Boastful
  • Chairman
  • Dominate
  • Foosball
  • Ninja
  • Hierarchical
  • Rigid
  • Stock options
  • Strong
  • Takes risks
  • Workforce

While it’s acceptable to use some masculine-skewed terms in a job description, it’s important that companies balance these out with gender-neutral or feminine terms.

It’s not that one term can necessarily turn women off from applying to jobs. It’s when companies scatter several of these hot-button words and terms into a description that it may raise subconscious red flags to women not to apply.

On the flip side, these are words that may help attract more female applicants.

  • Adaptable
  • Choose
  • Collaborate
  • Creative
  • Curious
  • Excellent
  • Flexible schedule
  • Multitaking
  • Health
  • Imaginative
  • Intuitive
  • Plans for the future
  • Resilient
  • Self-aware
  • Socially responsible
  • Thoughtful
  • Trustworthy
  • Up-to-date
  • Wellness program

It’s important that companies use gender-neutral words when creating job descriptions. While solving the gender diversity puzzle is not straightforward or simple, this small step can help companies potentially attract better-qualified candidates.

Ninja Gig offers online job applications that are easy to customize so your organization can focus on gender-neutral wording.  Ready to start?  Sign up for your free trial now and see how easy our software is to use!

Human Resources Trends to Follow in 2018 Part 2 of 2

As a Human Resources professional, it is essential that you stay up-to-date on the latest trends. Having a company that is competitive and treats employees well means that you’ll attract more qualified candidates.

In our last article, we highlighted the importance of offering continuous feedback, digital training, unique benefits and wellness programs. Now, we’ll continue our list and highlight some other significant trends that will emerge in 2018.

Robots

Large companies that already use online job applications will begin using more bot commands to help manage their resumes and other important HR documents. Large companies could easily have thousands of resumes and paperwork on hand, which can be very time consuming to manage. More companies will start archiving these documents, which will make searching for past applicants and resumes much simpler.

Scientific Hiring

Corporations are beginning to explore hiring as a scientific process. Using both gamification and video interviews, outsourced companies rely on psychologists to deliver custom assessments about candidates’ qualifications. While the price point isn’t practical for hourly candidates, it can be exceptionally helpful when hiring management.

So how does this process work? Companies work to create a specific set of questions that elicit responses that predict job success. This helps them to find candidates that exhibit the right behaviors. Candidates are then scored based on a model that has an ideal response. In theory, this should predict job success.

Flexible Working Arrangements

In our last article, we briefly touched on unique benefits. Companies that offer flexible working arrangements, such as letting employees work from home or choose a location that is closer to home, have more productive employees. Flexible working arrangements boost employee morale, engagement and loyalty. If it isn’t practical to have virtual employees, consider letting them choose their work location one day a week or offer flexible working hours to help offset long commutes.

Let Students Take the Reigns

More companies realize that the younger generation will lead the tech industry. For tech companies, the trend will be to have college students in their organization as it helps teach them the latest trends and stay up-to-date with the newest technology. If your company isn’t near a college, consider setting up a virtual or remote location that is near a college. As a bonus, you can increase your pool of qualified applicants when students graduate from college.

Ninja Gig can help simplify your online job application process. We allow you to customize your job applications, which make it easier to attract qualified applicants, sort through potential applicants’ qualifications and skill sets and hire the right person for your organization.  Sign up today for a 30-day free trial of our awesome applicant tracking system (ATS) and start accepting employment applications online immediately.

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!

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!

Ring in 2017 with Improved Employee Satisfaction Part 1 of 2

Happy employees can dramatically boost company morale, which in turn has an impact on profits. Employees that are satisfied with their jobs and the companies they work for help promote their companies by representing them in a positive manner in public.

Employee satisfaction does not directly link to compensation. Of course, money and benefits are important to employees, but what keeps employees sticking around has become the source of books and lectures across the world.

Give Employees Control

Employees want to feel happy and in control over their lives. They don’t want to feel as though work is their life and they have to sacrifice being happy in their personal lives. Give employees more control. This does not mean give them full control. However, you can offer them flexible schedules that involve telecommuting or flextime. Employees will appreciate a boss that understands they have a life outside of work with personal obligations to fulfill.

If an employee can customize his/her workstation, he/she will also report higher levels of job satisfaction. Decorating with certain colors or personal decor can help improve overall happiness, which increases employee performance.

Employers can also institute employee-driven competitions, which are perfect for sales departments. Employees can set their individual goals. Once they achieve these goals, it leads to feelings of accomplishments, which is more positive than obligations.

Untraditional Work Weeks

One of the biggest sources of stress for employees is commuting. To help decrease this stress, employers may consider instituting flex hours, which gives employees the opportunity to commute to work during non-peak traffic hours. Additionally, some employers are offering more telecommuting options, which are found to help reduce employer’s overhead costs.

Please continue following us for the second part of our article.

Ninja Gig specializes in offering job applications online. Human Resources professionals can direct potential job applicants to this online job application, which greatly improves office efficiency and makes it easy to find the right candidate for companies.  Sign up today for your 30-day free trial!

The Latest Hiring Trends

Ninja Gig is seeing new hiring trends that are grabbing companies’ attentions nationwide. Businesses should take note of these trends, as competitive packages can mean the difference between high or low job turnover rates.

  • Perks and Benefits – Salary increases are projected to be a mere 2.9% this year, which means that more prospective employees are looking to negotiate more perks and benefits into their employment packages. This can include sign-on bonuses or relocation allowances. Some employees are looking for more flexible work schedules or additional paid time off. Additional benefits may include extended maternity, family or personal leaves.
  • Boomerang Employees – More employees are considering returning to their former employers. Studies even show that some 28% of employees are, in fact, boomerangs. Experts anticipate that companies will begin to host virtual and in-person alumni events to help boost networking with former employees. This will help companies further build their pipeline of potential rehires. As an added bonus, rehires generally require less training and are already familiar with company’s rules and procedures.
  • Social Media Increasing – Social media will continue to reach qualified job candidates. Recruiters are constantly using social media to research candidates for jobs. More people will brush up their social media profiles, making themselves available to potential job opportunities that may arise. Companies will also continue to embrace online job applications, which make it easy for potential candidates to apply for open positions.
  • Employee Referral Programs – Companies are beginning to embrace the benefits of word of mouth advertising. Companies are offering referral bonuses that range from $100 to $500 to former employees, friends of the company and current employees that refer potential job talent to their human resources departments.
  • Flexibility – The number of companies that offer flexible work arrangements will continue to increase. This may include flexible work hours, occasional telecommuting or virtual access to company files.

Finally, companies are continuing to turn to digital hiring alternatives to streamline their hiring process.  Options like job boards, applicant tracking systems, digital on-boarding packages, and more, allow companies of all sizes to simplify and streamline the previously burdensome task of hiring.  Ninja Gig is a great option to help your company accept job applications online.  The process is simple, and you can take advantage of our current 30-day free trial.  Sign up today and see why online employment apps are part of the latest hiring trends.

To Telecommute or Not to Telecommute?

In today’s job market, offering a telecommuting option can be very attractive to job applicants.  In fact, when searching for and applying for a job online, many prospective employees will search for a position that offers telecommuting.

Seriously, what could be better than staying in your jammies and working from the comfort of your own home?

Well, if you listen to Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer, working from the office is much better than working from home – and what’s more surprising – many others agree.

When Yahoo’s relatively new CEO Marissa Mayer decreed that workers would be required to show up at the office rather than work remotely, the immediate backlash from outsiders was mostly on the side of the angry Yahoo employees who were losing the comfort and convenience of telecommuting. Inside the company, reactions were mixed.

Mayer may have been extreme in her demands for face time at the office, but it’s the right call for a leader who is working to turn around one of the former king’s of the Internet.

Yahoo is famous for having bungled its position as a one-time Internet leader. Mayer was brought on specifically to revitalize the company after a series of lackluster leaders.  All the while, Yahoo has been a company in search of a direction.

In a memo to Yahoo employees about the policy, the head of Yahoo’s HR said, “personal interaction is still the most effective way of conveying a company’s direction, and keeping tabs on what different parts of the organization are up to.”

What do in-person meetings accomplish that e-mail can’t? Part of the answer lies in time use surveys of CEOs that go back nearly 40 years.

Management scholar Henry Mintzberg was among the first to track how top managers spend their time in the early 1970s. Much to his surprise, he found that around 80% of their time was spent in face-to-face meetings; the subjects of his study had few stretches of more than 10 minutes at a time to themselves.

More recent time use studies by researchers at Harvard, the London School of Economics and Columbia have found that little has changed. Despite the IT revolution, business leaders still spend 80% of their time in face-to-face meetings.

The reason is that there’s only so much that one can glean from a written report or a spreadsheet. To cut through the hidden agendas, and office politics, most of the time you need to look someone in the eye and ask them, “Really? How exactly would that work?” It is this probing and questioning that allows effective managers to gather the scraps of information needed to understand what’s really going on.

Similarly, all the way down the organizational chart, person-to-person interactions are crucial to ensure that an organization’s change of direction isn’t misrepresented or garbled in its retelling.

As one of our friends who runs a virtual workplace puts it, “with e-mail exchanges alone, everyone starts to get a bit paranoid.”

The Yahoo memo notes that it’s hard to innovate via e-mail exchanges or the occasional agenda-filled meeting. New ideas spring up through chance encounters in the cafeteria line and impromptu office meetings. It’s an assertion that’s backed up by academic research highlighting the importance of physical proximity in driving scientific progress.

In one study of telecommuting at a Chinese online travel agency, customer-service reps were both happier and more productive when working from home — probably Yahoo service reps aren’t any different from their Chinese counterparts in this regard. And every Yahoo employee surely has some aspects of their jobs that could be done just as well at the kitchen table as in an office cubicle.

But it’s hard to create a norm of “physically together” if the office is always half-empty. And once it becomes that way, the half that have been showing up will be less and less inclined to bother. Finally, such a shocking and provocative directive will most certainly have the effect of imbuing the organization with the sense of urgency it needs to get the job done.

Will Yahoo employees come around to appreciating the change? Not necessarily the ones that liked to sleep in or work on a startup on Yahoo’s dime, but it may be welcomed by the ones already showing up. Will it be damaging to morale? Possibly, though it may help Yahoo employees to remember that, if they’re successful, the change is likely to be temporary.

But the job of the CEO isn’t to maximize worker happiness. It’s to make sure they get their jobs done. And in driving change at Yahoo, Mayer thinks they need to show up at the office.

When considering your office policy on telecommuting, you may want to offer just one day a week or a 50/50 time split so that you have that prime face to face contact time, as well of offering a perk to potential employees.

-Today’s blog post was inspired from:  http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/26/opinion/fisman-yahoo/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

Cough, Sneeze, Cough and Repeat

Reports are out stating that this is one of the worst flu seasons on record.  There have been many deaths and hospitalizations from this year’s flu bug.

When running a business, it’s hard when key employees, or any employee for that matter, calls in sick.

As a business owner or manager, it is your job to communicate to your employees the importance of not spreading illness around at work.  A sick employee is not a productive employee.  Most often it’s best for them to get back on their “A” game faster by healing at home.

Here are a few tips you can give your employees about staying home:

1.  Call in Early.  If you’re feeling sick, call or send a text the night before.  That way, plans can be made to cover for you and to share the responsibilities around the office.

2.  Offer to Telecommute.  Oftentimes workers come in to work because of a pressing meeting, a deadline or other important matter.  Give your employees an option of telecommuting while they are sick.  Invest in the software that makes this possible…it will be an investment that will pay off.

3.  Delegate.  You know your job better than anyone else.  If you have a serious illness that will have you missing work for a few days, delegate it to someone who can help.  A good manager or owner will always have employees be dual-trained on things so one can pick up where the other left off.

WebMD.com recommends that employees who exhibit any of the following symptoms should stay home from work and not infect anyone else:

Flu Signs:  fever, muscle aches, headache, runny nose, sore throat, cough, weakness and fatigue.

Sinus Infection:  yellow or green discharge from the nose, headaches, aching in jaw and teeth.

Pinkeye:  everyone knows what this is – it’s highly contagious – stay home!

Colds:  scratchy throat, sneezing, runny nose and coughing.

All of these things are highly contagious and care should be taken not to “share the love” around the office.

If employees know they are cared about, especially when ill, their morale will be much higher and they will have incentive to get healthy and back to work more quickly than if they feel resented for being ill.

Making Working from Home Work for You

A lot of companies are structured to allow people to telecommute from home.  This can be a win-win situation, especially if you live far from the office or have children to take care of at home.

Here are 5 quick tips on how to maximize your working from home experience:

1.  Set aside your work space.  First and foremost, it needs to be a space where you can’t view the laundry pile to be folded, the TV shows that your kids have on, or any other projects that you have to do at home.

If you don’t have a separate room to work in, then invest in a room divider or a screen to separate your work area from your home area.  Then, establish this place as strictly for work.  Your kids and/or spouse need to know that when you’re in your space, then you are working and are not to be disturbed unless there is a fire or emergency greater than a paper cut.

2.  Make a Schedule and Stick to It! Time-blocking your day is a great way to let everyone around you know when you’ll be working.  If the kids know you’ll be working at certain times, then they will get on a routine too.

If your friends are aware that you work between the hours of 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., they will learn to not text or call you during that time, especially if you are strict with your work hours and don’t answer the calls or texts until you are done working.

3.  Make a Non-Negotiable To-Do List.  Make a list that you WILL get done before you take the kids to the park, run errands, do the breakfast dishes or whatever else is on your home to-do list.

If you make a list that is doable and prioritize it, chances are you will accomplish it faster than you thought possible.

4.  Set Regular Meetings with Real People.  Stay in touch with your boss, your co-workers and other people vital to your success with regular face-to-face meetings.  People who telecommute often comment that they lose touch with the goals and mission of the company without regular (even just monthly) face to face meetings.

In the digital world we live in, it’s a lot easier not to make time to meet with real people, but in reality, these meetings are crucial to success and keep you connected to people that are vital to your job.

5.  Have a Little Fun.  Working from home without the usual office banter and drama can get a little drab at times.  Make sure you shake up your day a bit.

Grab lunch with a colleague, dance around the room with your kids during a 15 minute break from work, walk around the block when you need a breather – anything to keep you from being stagnant and stifling your creative juices!