Categories
Communication Coworkers Morale

A Respectful and Racially Diverse Workplace

Since today is the day we remember and reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, it is appropriate to discuss race and respect in the workplace.

Many American neighborhoods, public schools and churches are still overwhelmingly segregated.  The workplace remains one of the few places where those from diverse backgrounds routinely interact. Because Americans from different ethnic groups still have a lot to learn about one another, however, the workplace is often the site of racially offensive behavior.

Sometimes colleagues unintentionally make racial gaffes, and other times prejudice is to blame for their bad behavior at work. It’s in every employee’s interest to avoid culturally inappropriate behaviors in the workplace.

If you can’t say anything nice…

It seems obvious that racial slurs should be a no-no at work, but an employee of African-American descent was stunned recently when a white coworker referred to an Arab-American coworker as a “towelhead.” Apparently, the woman figured that the African-American wouldn’t be offended that she used the term because she isn’t from the Middle East.

That turned out not to be true, a mistake that could have cost the woman her job.

Don’t use race to describe

If you can’t recall a coworker’s name, it’s not appropriate to refer to her as “that Asian lady in sales” or “that black chick in operations.”  If your workplace is predominantly white, think about what you would do to describe a white colleague whose name you don’t know. You might describe what he’s wearing or his height and build.

Try using these same strategies to describe your colleagues of color. Then, “that Asian lady in sales” becomes “the tall woman in the red blazer.”  By taking a few seconds longer to describe someone, you can avoid giving colleagues the impression that their race is first on your mind.

Make assignments based on skill sets, not race

You’re a manager of a company whose new set of clients is Mexican American. Naturally, you assign the Latino man in your department to the case. In fact, anytime you deal with Mexican-American clients, you make sure to involve your lone Latino employee. It’s a smart way to do business, right? Not necessarily.

If there’s a language barrier—the clients speak Spanish and the Latino employee is the only one in the office who can communicate with them—this move makes sense. But to pair up employees with clients simply based on cultural background doesn’t always pay off. Employees should be paired with clients who need services in which they have a strong skill set and range of experiences.

If clients felt that uncomfortable working with those from different ethnic backgrounds, they likely would have sought out a Latino-owned company with which to do business. What’s more is that if you keep directing all of your Latino clientele to your Latino employee, he may begin to think that you only trust him to do business with his own “kind.”

There is a myriad of scenarios where racial bias could creep up.  As a manager, work diligently to treat everyone fairly and to make race a non-issue in your place of work, especially when making decisions on hiring employees and during job interviews.

In the words of Dr. King, “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance  and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

 

The above information was summarized from:

http://racerelations.about.com/od/theworkplace/a/RaciallyInappropriateBehaviorsatWork.htm

Categories
Coworkers Employee Retention Hiring Tips Nepotism Uncategorized

Say No-No to Nepotism

In many circles, the word NEPOTISM is known as a veritable four-letter word.

Nepotism is officially defined as:  The practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.

There is nothing wrong with a family-owned and run business.  They are often some of the most tight-knit and well-run businesses.

The problems occur when the family member employees and other employees are treated differently.

One employee worked in a business that employed several members of the same family.  He worked in marketing with the son-in-law of the owners.  They both shared the exact same job title, the same job responsibilities and the same office.

Problem was – they didn’t share the same salary or bonus structure.

The employee inadvertantly saw a pay stub of his office mate and there was a vast difference from his own paycheck.

This caused much frustration and general ticked-offedness with this employee.

He asked for a raise.  He got 25 cents an hour more.  He worked harder.  The son-in-law got rewarded.

The son-in-law’s bonuses were bigger, even though he wasn’t working as hard as the employee.

The employee soon saw that this was an extremely toxic work environment and that nothing would change his circumstance due to the high level of nepotism.

Here are a few tips to say “no-no” to nepotism:

1.  Make Salaries Equal.  This is HUGE.  Salaries must be awarded based on merit, not family.  When handing out raises, make sure they’re based on credentials, not pedigree.  Award raises to those who deserve them most.  Make a list of why someone does or doesn’t deserve a raise and stick with it, even if family is involved.

2.  Keep Personal Life at Home.  When hiring a relative, make sure that person understands that work life is totally separate from home life.  Spell out very clearly that raises, bonuses and other rewards will be awarded for certain milestones and workplace achievements,  and not because they married the bosses daughter.

3.  Spell it Out.  Put everything on paper – expectations, how raises will be awarded, rules of keeping personal lives out of the workplace, and on and on.  If it’s on paper and spelled out in the very beginning, those boundaries will be set in stone and they will be more likely adhered to.

And lastly, don’t promote the family members above others just as or more qualified.  You will lose good employees and give those family members a sense of entitlement that will not do them any favors in the future.

Categories
Communication Employee Retention Morale

The Number One Trait in a Good Boss

You want to be the best boss.  The legendary boss that your employees talk about on facebook and inspire jealousy among all their friends.

To be the best boss, you must have the number one trait that good bosses have.

That trait is:  R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Just having the title of boss, manager, CEO, or whatever you are, doesn’t alone grant respect from your underlings.  Respect must be earned and in order to do that, you must first respect those that work for you.

Do you know your employees?  Do you care about their personal lives and their family?  When you respect a person, you know them inside and out and show care and concern for them as an individual, not just as a worker.

Another key trait of respect is to never, ever (and I mean, ever) belittle your employees.  Constructive criticism is one thing, but outright belittling and embarrassing is another.  Employees never get over being belittled.

The word belittle is defined as:  to regard or portray as less impressive or important than appearances indicate; depreciate; disparage.

Just remember that even though you are the head honcho, you don’t need to look down your nose at any employee.  If you do, it will come back to bite you.

A final note on respect.  Just because you may have a personal assistant, a six-figure income or a fancier car than your employees, don’t use these as excuses to not keep your feet on the ground.

Always remember what it feels like to work in a cubicle and go about the daily grind.

You will earn respect by rolling up your own sleeves and working right alongside your employees rather than observing your employees from a distance.

Categories
Salary

Top Jobs for the Moo-lah

Happiness in a job is extremely important.  But, paying the bills at home is equally important.  When you can combine the two in a job, then you are very blessed indeed.

Let’s face it, educators rarely get rich.  Same for fast food workers, gas station attendants and babysitters.

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you may want to consider changing your spending habits OR changing your job.  Check out the top 10 highest paying jobs for some ideas:

1. Neurosurgeons

Median pay: $368,000

Top pay: $643,000

 

2. Petroleum engineer

Median pay: $162,000

Top pay: $265,000
3. Nurse anesthetist (CRNA)

Median pay: $159,000

Top pay: $205,000
4. Petroleum geologist

Median pay: $149,000

Top pay: $247,000

 

5. Dentist

Median pay: $147,000

Top pay: $253,000

 

6. Actuary

Median pay: $136,000

Top pay: $208,000

 

7.  Software Architect

Median pay: $119,000
Top pay: $162,000
8.  Pharmacist
Median pay: $114,000
Top pay: $133,000
9.  Management Consultant

Median pay: $110,000
Top pay: $198,000
10.  SAP Basis Administrator

Median pay: $107,000
Top pay: $160,000
For more information on these job positions and what they entail, more details are provided by:  http://money.cnn.com/gallery/pf/2012/11/01/top-paying-jobs/10.html
Categories
Communication Job Interviews

Getting Job Hunt Feedback

You’ve tried everything.

Buying a new power suit.  Re-doing your resume.  Networking.  Printing your resume on fancy paper.

But you still haven’t landed your dream job, or any job for that matter.

The part of searching for a job that can be the most difficult is being told, “Thank you for your interest and time” and receiving no feedback on why you didn’t get the job.

This can cause a lot of frustration and you may be tempted to rip your resume into shreds and start applying for welfare.

While this approach may help you vent your frustration, it’s not going to get you closer to getting a job.

What you need is some feedback.  Grab that relative or friend who you know will be brutally honest with you and get a little feedback.

First, dress in your best job interviewing outfit and have your “feedbacker” review how you look.  Maybe your shoes need shined.  Maybe your jewelry is too outrageous or your tie is too “busy.”

These are tips you need to hear in order to “look” the part.

Next, sit down with them and have a mock interview.  Have them look over your resume.  Is it too detailed or do you need to elaborate on responsibilities you had at a previous job?  Is the grammar correct?  Is there enough white space?

Finally, have your “feedbacker” ask you some tough questions.  Have them grill you, ask crazy questions and basically throw the book at you so you can improve your interview performance.

It’s never pleasant to be critiqued, but when you’re serious about getting a job, this exercise will benefit you and prepare you for landing your dream job in record time.

Categories
Communication Employee Retention Morale Salary

New Year, New Issues

As a business owner, you have to worry about hiring the right person, training the right person, paying the right salary and basically doing everything right, right?!

Even though you may do everything you’re supposed to, there are things that are out of your control.

This year, your employees are going to see less money each paycheck and it’s not the bosses fault.

Everyone’s paycheck is about to take a hit because the rate of workers’ payroll taxes, which fund Social Security, has been 4.2% for the past two years. As of Jan. 1, it’s back to 6.2%, on the first $113,700 in wages.

Some business owners say it’s a tough talk to have with their employees that may not understand that it’s not the bosses fault.

Mike Brey, who owns four Hobby Works shops near Washington, D.C., recently had to notify his store managers about the upcoming change during a conference call. He called the experience uncomfortable. “These are the people who can least afford it,” Brey said.

Brey said he can’t raise compensation to ease the pain. Enduring the recession meant cutting his own salary, firing workers, taking on half a million dollars in debt and raiding his own 401(k).

“Any business that survived the recession did so by digging a big hole,” Brey said. “We can’t dig any deeper.”

Payroll taxes are key for financing Social Security, and the break of the past two years has forced the government to replenish the funds with borrowed money. The tax break was always meant to be temporary.

Workers earning the national average salary of $41,000 will receive $32 less on every biweekly paycheck. The higher the salary (up to $113,700), the bigger the bite, but business owners say their lower wage employees will feel it most.

So, how can you weather this storm?

The key is education. 

As a boss, you need to sit down with your employees and explain in detail what this will mean for their paychecks, why it happened, and what it means going forward.

As captain of the ship, you will still bear the brunt of the responsibility, but that comes with the territory.

The most you can do is to educate, empathize (it affects you too!) and then move on.  If your employees do have concerns, don’t brush them off.  Sometimes every single dollar is accounted for by employees and this could cause some stress and anxiety.

If you continue to educate, train and keep those lines of communication open – your business, and more importantly, your employees, will weather the storm.

Categories
Goals

Those Pesky Resolutions

It’s that time of year again – time to make those (sometimes pesky) New Year’s Resolutions.  In a recent survey, the most popular resolutions for 2013 included:

1. More exercise

2. Lose weight

3. Eat more healthy foods

4. Take up or restart a hobby/activity

5. Learn a new skill

But 60% of roughly 1,200 respondents said you wouldn’t be making any New Year’s resolutions at all.

It has been shown that those people that write their goals down AND set a plan to achieve those goals will be more successful and achieve more of their goals than people who don’t write them down.

In a business, there are goals everywhere – they just might not be clearly written out and stated.  Improving the bottom line.  Improving communication with an employee.  Digging up enough money to fix that annoying copier.  Getting that new software that would improve efficiency.  And on and on.

The question you must ask yourself is:  “Are my goals written down?” and “Are my goals measurable?”

Writing those goals will give you something to focus on.  If you look at your goals every day, then you will remain laser focused until you achieve that goal.

Today is a perfect day to sit back, review your personal goals AND your business goals.  And don’t forget to write them down!

2013 New Year Resolution information came from: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2012/12/five-most-popular-new-years-resolutions-2013-307004/

Categories
Hiring Tips Online Employment Applications Uncategorized

Resolve to Accept Online Applications

What better resolution than to make your biz more tech-friendly this year.  And more specifically, START accepting online job applications for your business.

Even if your business is small, this one step will make your business look better and you will receive a wider variety of qualified job applicants.

For just $10 per month on www.ninjagig.com, you receive:

  • Your own NinjaGig.com website portal
  • The ability to post unlimited jobs
  • The ability to receive unlimited employment applications
  • QR Code (those funky looking barcodes)
  • A tinyURL link for your website
  • A secure login where you can review and organize all received applications, manage job openings, etc.

Here are a Few Key Points to Consider:

-You don’t need your own existing website to receive online job applications.

As part of your registration, you will automatically get your own Ninja Gig portal. We let you choose your own domain name (yourcompany.ninjagig.com) and you will use that link to point applicants in the right direction.
-NinjaGig.com provides you with your own specific link.

We let you choose your own domain name (yourcompany.ninjagig.com) and you will use that domain name on your website and other on-line job postings to point applicants in the right direction. The simplicity of an ninjagig.com domain name makes remembering much easier for your applicants.
-Unlimited Job Applications

NinjaGig.com does not limit the number of applications you can receive from our software. Whether you receive 1 or 1,000 applications, the price is the same. Even if you only receive one application per month, our software is well worth the price to enable the on-line application process, while giving your company the tools you need to receive, track, and manage all current and previous applications.
-Mobile employment applications

We have enabled our software to make accepting employment applications from a mobile device a piece of cake. Mobile visitors will automatically be re-directed to a mobile-friendly website and still enjoy your fully-functional employment application.

Using Ninja Gig for job postings

While our software isn’t specifically designed as a job posting service, our tools will enable you to create basic job openings with titles and descriptions.
-$10 Per Month and no Contract

We understand that your bottom line is the most important thing (next to hiring fantastic employees) – you pay $10 per month for unlimited use and applications and you don’t have to sign a huge contract. You can cancel anytime.

Having an online presence and giving applicants the ability to apply online for a job is becoming more and more of a big deal.  But, setting this up for your company is NOT a big deal at all.  It’s easy, fast and you can test drive it for free HERE.

Happy Hiring!

Categories
Communication Employee Retention Morale Uncategorized

A Gift-Giving Guide for Bosses

Christmas is fast approaching.  Okay, it’s tomorrow.  And hopefully you got your employees something meaningful.  Something fabulous.  And something they’ll never forget.

That sounds like a tall order, but in reality, employees are not that hard to please.

In a survey of employees, the overwhelming response about receiving gifts from bosses was that it should be a surprise, something out of the ordinary, and it doesn’t need to be expensive.

One woman said that she received words of praise along with a poinsettia.  It wasn’t an expensive gift, but it was very meaningful because of the words that came along with the flower.

Another woman said that the best experience she’s ever had with a job was when the boss closed the office early for a day and took everyone up to a local resort town with gift cards for shopping and a time to meet back for lunch.  She said that though it’s been years since that experience, she’s never forgotten that surprise.

Something to keep in mind is who your employees are.  Get something personal.  Do you have a golf nut on your team?  Get them golf passes.Got a fashion-lover?  Get a gift card to a trendy department store.

One employee remembered a time when she was 19-years-old working in an office setting.  She was unmarried, still living at home with her parents and yet her boss gave her a glass serving platter that he gave the other women in the department.  It was a lame gift in her mind, something she wouldn’t use for years and definitely not thought out at all.

Gifts should be thoughtful, if given at all.  That is the number one thing survey respondents said regarding gifts.  So put some thought into those employees you hired make their Christmas the very merriest!  Employee satisfaction and high office morale are the gifts you’ll surely earn in return.

Categories
Communication Employee Retention Morale Uncategorized

The Annual Review

Many employees look forward to their annual review for one simple reason:  it is a natural vehicle for them to get a raise.

Since the economy has been in a downturn, many employers have actually cancelled annual reviews so they don’t have to pay their employees more and also to avoid any natural discussion of pay increases.

This is not a good practice for many reasons.

First, besides the money issues, the annual review is a key time to give much needed feedback to employees.

If there are problems to be addressed or constructive criticism to be given, the year-end review is a good time to discuss these awkward subjects.

Employees thrive on positive feedback as well and if it’s not given, they are left wondering if their performance is measuring up.  The old adage by Mark Twain that reads, “I could live two months on a good compliment,” is true, especially for employees.

Second, if there is no review, you are opening up the door to feelings of resentment from employees, especially if reviews have been a part of business in the past.

If you don’t have the money to give raises, then just explain that to the employee and let them decide what they should do or if they need to find another job.

Having an honest, frank discussion about the state of your business will be appreciated much more than beating around the bush and not opening up.

Finally, reviews are a crucial time to review goals and what has or has not been accomplished in the past year.  It’s a great measuring tool to see if you and your employees are on the same page, accomplishing what needs to be done and on track for the coming year.

Don’t miss out on these crucial reviews – they are beneficial for everyone and will overall improve morale and employee performance.