Monthly Archives: February 2013

Help, I have been Stricken with Technology Blindness!

"Technology Blindness is when a person experiences anxiety about new technology and mentally freeze, unable to comprehend it.", "technology blindness", "Technology for Dummies", "new technology", "user friendly"Have you ever tried to explain some sort of technology, be it software or hardware, to someone who is less than receptive to the idea? It usually starts with them saying either “How does this work?” or “I can’t figure this out”. As you begin to explain, if they are already in a state of anxiety over their lack of comprehension,  a common reaction is them throwing their hands up in the air, either literally or figuratively, and experiencing a temporary case of ‘technology blindness’.

Technology blindness is a brain freeze caused by sheer anxiety. Often, the victim has experience in frustration with technology and has convinced themselves that software and “gadgets” just aren’t their thing. The human mind doesn’t particularly like feelings of incompetence or failure and might recognize those feelings about to descend upon it. Whatever the reason, the victim’s mind goes blank and their immediate reaction becomes, “Would you do it for me?”.

IT support people have dealt with technology blindness for many years and often develop a distain for its victims. One can almost read an IT person’s mind when a request for help arises- ‘”Yes, you dummy, I will perform miracles now”. You can’t blame them though when recipients of their wisdom typically gush praise when their problem is solved, often with a couple of keystrokes.

As many a psychologist will tell you, until victims of certain maladies want help, they must suffer.  One personal favorite way to cure technology blindness is to take a deep breath and remind yourself that most things are designed with the average person in mind. Onward, to the help files!

You Are Not Blind, Relax.

Ovation’s hiring platform was designed to be simple and it really is once you walk through it. Admittedly though, some users have had trouble getting going. Fortunately, for us, the stumbling blocks seem be limited to a couple of things that we are working on to make them more obvious. I have encouraged more than one user to give it a try and I tell them that if they hit a wall to give us a call. We also offer a weekly WebEx QuickStart demo on Thursdays.

Here at Ovation, we take turns with the after-hours requests for support. Incoming calls are forwarded to our cell phones and we can usually talk through problems quickly. Last week, I took one of the support calls from a user in California, Lane,  who stricken by technology blindness, wanted to know “What do I do?”. My first question was whether he had signed-up for the application. Hearing him say “How do I do that?”, I knew he had an extraordinary severe case of blindness and needed some tough love to regain vision.

I asked Lane if he would do me a favor. I said that our intent was to make Ovation a very easy to use, effective hiring platform.  I asked if he would go ahead and sign-up at the “Try it for Free” button and give it a try on his own. I was very curious to see if and where he might hit a wall in posting that first job. I made sure he understood that he could call back at any point and I would lead him forward. I ended the call with optimism.

Fifteen minutes later, I received a call from Lane. He said that he was successful in signing up and had a job ready to post. When he went to open the job, the system reminded him that opening the job would use the free first job post credit and asked if that was the intent. However, Lane couldn’t see where to click to agree and was stuck.

My blindness is cured!, technology blindness, help I'm stuck, It's a miracleI was already glad to hear he made it on his own. I knew what the problem was- browser incompatibility.  He was using an early version of Internet Explorer and it sometimes misses in rendering pop-ups completely. I walked him through switching to the Chrome browser and re-logging in. Now, the problem was fixed and he opened the job with ease. While I was on the phone, we walked through publishing the job to Indeed and SimplyHired and I congratulated Lane on his success. Lane was really relieved and happy. He was cured!

As we develop and improve our platform, we have the user in mind. Ovation is designed to make hiring easier and organize the process. And, cure blindness!

Tips on How to Treat Your Employees

Happy employees are good employees. Treat them nice and reap the rewards.Here are some real tips to use in your relationships with your employees. They are from a blog by James Altucher who is an investor, programmer, author, and entrepreneur. He is Managing Director of Formula Capital and has written 6 books on investing. His latest book is I Was Blind But Now I See. You can follow him on Twitter @jaltucher

Here are James’s rules for employees:

A) Treat them as if they are eventually going to be better than you. You can learn from every one of them before you have to fire them or before they abandon you.

B) Picture that all of them will eventually start their own businesses and you are just training them. This doesn’t mean be nice to them all the time. It means train them to start their own businesses. In my first business a bunch of employees broke free, stole some clients, and started their own business. Now they are doing very well. My partners hated them. I love them. It’s good to have many friends who look back and appreciate what you did for them.

C) If an employee gets the “disease” (all they want is more money and they don’t care about anything else and they start to have an attitude) then instantly fire them. There is no cure for the disease and it’s highly contagious.

D) No employee is allowed to say a bad thing about any client. Everyone has to love the client’s products. No gossip. No jokes. Worst situation: One time we had a proposal to send to the U.S. Post Office. Everyone worked very hard on it and we got it done just in time. The project manager FedExed the proposal to the Post Office. Fed. Ex. He was tired because his wife had just had a baby in the prior month. We had to fire him that very night. Nor did we win the job.

E) No gossip about anyone. I was guilty of this as a VC. I would talk badly ab0ut one of the CEOs we invested in. One of my partners told him everything I said. The CEO eventually went bankrupt anyway but he has since written a novel where I am the evil character. Gossip is a seed that gets twisted into history.

F) I picture every employee calling home at night to their mother. The mother asks, “how was your day at work?” I picture the employee saying, “Mom, it was the best.” I picture the mother crying tears of happiness because the baby that once came out of her is so happy to be working with me. I try to make that happen every day.

G) Teach the employee how to exploit you for their own gains. You certainly exploit them. Not in a bad way. You have to exploit them. You charge more for their services than you pay them and than you pay for all of your fixed expenses. That’s how you get rich so it’s worth it. But ultimately they have to exploit you to feel good about the relationship. When you both die there should be no bad feelings that linger among the maggots you share between your graves.

H) How can they exploit you? By building a rolodex off of yours. By learning your skill set. By learning how you deal with your failures. By learning not to repeat your mistakes. By eventually stealing some of your clients and employees and breaking off to start a business or take a higher position at a competitor. None of these things are bad things. You want them to do this. If you train them how to do this then it all becomes a good thing for you in the long run even though you might not see that. If you act with abundance in these situations then abundance will come to you. Too many bosses act with fear and scarcity and ultimately scarcity will come to them.

I) Teach them how to sell. Even if they are programmers. Programmers are often introverted and think they can’t sell. I’m a programmer. Because of their introversion, programmers are often seen as more trustworthy by the clients. Bring programmers or introverts to your meetings. They listen the best and they are the best sales people but they don’t know it.

J) Surprise them. Employees are like “reverse clients.” You have to please them just like you please a client. It doesn’t cost much to reward an employee who gets a job done. Gift certificates, dinners, get a masseuse to come in every Friday, write employees personal notes about what you liked about their work, and so on. Employees, like clients, are the gift that keep giving. They are all there to make you wealthy so you need to be infinitely grateful to them and, ultimately, help them get wealthy.

Read James complete post on TechCrunch

Save Time Using Job Search Websites to Find Employees

Are you tired of looking for employees?

competitive job market, job seekers, employers, good candidatesIn today’s competitive global job market, finding quality employees continues to be a challenge. Job search websites are a very powerful tool for recruiting applicants, with benefits that often get overlooked by small businesses.

So, what are job search websites?

Job search websites are sites where job seekers can apply for jobs instantly. Conversely, they are sites that employers can post job openings. There are websites that gather the results of many of such sites, and plainly present the choices to the job seeker. Indeed.com and Simplyhired.com are two such sites, with up to 7.5 million visitors per site each month. According to a survey conducted by Beyond.com, “87% of Baby Boomers choose job boards as the resource they turn to first in a job search, followed by 82% of Gen X and 77% of Gen Y where all generations spent between 5 and 20 hours per week searching for jobs online”.

How do these sites work?

Whenever a prospective employee fills out an online application, it is stored in a database. The same goes for when an employer posts a job opening. Then these indexing sites gather all the information from these databases, from multiple different sites. Think Google, except they specify in searching employment websites for data instead of the entire web. This saves both the employer and applicant time by only having to visit one site, and getting the benefit of visiting many.

What are the benefits of using employment websites?

If your not already using job search sites to advertise your jobs, your missing out. Employers who have adapted benefit from:

  • Saving time by only posting your opening on one site.
  • Employment websites are usually free for the job seeker. This increases the number of people that visit them.
  • Search engines help narrow results, allowing you to see only the relevant information.
  • With internet based searching, job seekers from all over will see your post.
  • A resume can be uploaded, allowing employers more searchable data.
  • The time it takes to update your post is significantly less.

How can employers get more applicants for the job?

There are many tools available that can help employers create high-ranking job listings, effectively increasing the number and quality of applicants you get for that listing. This works like SEO for normal websites. Through certain techniques, these tools can help get your listing at the top of its class where everyone can see it.

Starting the search for good employees is easy

If you want to hire the best employees, you have to start by being visible where the best talent is spending the majority of their time searching; online. The Ovation hiring tool will help you find good employees.  Try Ovation free for 30 days and see how your business can harness the power of job search websites.

Your Best Employees Are Working for Someone Else

For most hospitality businesses, hiring is a chore—eating up time and money—and as a result, restaurants have become notorious for high turnover rates.

passive job seekers are the highest quality employees for your restaurant, profile of a job candidate, job seekersThe task of finding new people is seen as a constant distraction to most restaurant owners because it takes them away from what they believe to be most important—providing the best service possible for their patrons! Over time, the cycle of hiring-training-firing-hiring has become known as a necessary evil and for many restaurant owners this is still the case. 

But does it have to be this way?

Look around your restaurant. Do your employees convey the quality, excellence and friendly environment you worked hard to establish?

Most restaurants, bars and nightclubs rely exclusively on walk-ins for their hiring pool. Why? The main reason is that we like to size up potential employees in-person to see if they fit the look and feel of our establishment. As you may have learned the hard way, relying solely on walk-ins can limit the scope and therefore the quality of employees that you have to choose from.

So where are all of these seasoned, experienced service industry job seekers? The answer is simple. They are currently working in other restaurants, and an alarming 74% of them are actively looking for a better place to work. In fact, 35% of these applicants, known as “passive job seekers”, start preparing for their next job search within weeks of starting a new one.

According to Careerbuilder.com, “long before candidates even step through a potential employer’s doors, they’ve already engaged with that employer in some way to find out about its reputation as an employer – much the same way consumers research potential purchases before even going to the store”.

So how do you reach this untapped spring of talent? Well, they’re certainly not “walking-in” your door but they are searching for job opportunities on the internet. Job seekers are conducting their job search by visiting your company website, social media and job boards.

The Ovation hiring tool allows you to reach more of these passive job seekers without the hassle of logging in and out of multiple job boards and social networks. Simply create your open job position in the Ovation app and it is automatically published to several popular networks with the click of a button. These highly-qualified job seekers can now find your business while searching on the web.

So, who would you rather spend your valuable time interviewing,  walk-ins off the street—or hospitality workers with excellent customer service running deep in their blood; people who love what they do?

Great people are out there and you might even see them now and then—working for someone else. Try Ovation absolutely free for 30 days and see the difference hiring automation can make on your quality of service and your bottom line.