Helpful Information from 3 Presentations at the 2014 Compensation and Benefits Conference

August 21st, 2014 by

Comp Ben Save Date 2014 (2)CAI hosted its 2014 Compensation and Benefits Conference at the McKimmon Center on Thursday, August 14 and Friday, August 15. More than 200 HR professionals and company executives attended the two-day event to review and discuss emerging workplace trends surrounding compensation, benefits and total rewards, as well as the impact these trends leave on culture and profitability.

This year’s conference speakers shared presentations on how to attract and motivate top talent, strategies to increase employee engagement, reinforcing a positive workplace culture, and more. Keynote presentations for the 2014 conference lineup included:

The Future of Attraction, Retention and Motivation: How Compensation Fits into the Process Anne Ruddy – WorldatWork

What Would Healthcare Look Like If Getting It at the Lowest Cost Was Your Key Priority? Skip Woody – Hill, Chesson & Woody Employee Benefit Services

Green Goldfish – 15 Ways to Drive Engagement & Reinforce Culture Stan Phelps – 9 INCH marketing

Leverage Marketplace Trends When Making Decisions about Compensation and Benefits Strategies Molly Hegeman – CAI

In addition to the keynote sessions, conference participants had the opportunity to attend several of the many breakout sessions. Why performance management fails, building high performing teams, work-site wellbeing, and understanding survey data are some of the topics of this year’s breakout sessions.

Below are three sets of insights conference speakers shared with last week’s audience:

–Anne Ruddy shared the changes in employee attitudes from recipients to consumers of rewards in her keynote presentation:

From:

Employer loyalty

Traditional work design

Pay = position

Retirement security

To:

Self-managed careers

Virtual, flexible environments

Pay = performance, market

Individual career management

 

–In the breakout session Why Performance Management Fails, Mike Maciekowich shared five reasons why companies need performance management systems:

  1. Help managers to observe their staff more closely and to do a better coaching job.
  2. Motivate employees by providing feedback on how they are doing.
  3. Provide back-up data for management decisions concerning advancement, transfers, dismissals, and so on.
  4. Improve organization development by identifying people with promotion potential and pin-pointing development needs.
  5. Establish a research and reference base for personnel decisions.

 

–CAI’s Sherry Hubbard-Bednasz explained the purpose of salary surveys in her presentation Taking the Mystery Out of Survey Data:

Salary surveys:

  • Provide a fair representation of pay practices occurring in the market
    • Sample reflects population
    • Consider source, methodology, transparency
  • Show how variables impact pay
    • Size of company
    • Industry/sector
    • Geography
  • Indicate trends in pay
    • Overall market movement
    • Movement in certain segments
  • Inform compensation decisions as a guide, not absolute

For additional information on CAI’s conferences, please go to https://www.capital.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?site=cai&webcode=cai-training-conferences.

 

Survey Reveals Women and Millennials in Leadership Yield Greater Company Success

August 19th, 2014 by

women leadersMost companies strive to create a work environment that embraces diversity. Differences in age, gender and other characteristics benefit companies in numerous ways, such as various perspectives for problem solving or creating new business opportunities.

New research from DDI and The Conference Board highlights a critical difference between the top and bottom corporate financial performers—companies with more women in leadership roles perform better. Another finding from the survey indicates that millennials in leadership roles can also impact business success positively.

The Global Leadership Forecast (GLF) 2014/2015, Ready-Now Leaders: Meeting Tomorrow’s  Business Challenges is the seventh edition of the annual report that DDI has put together since beginning this research in 1999. This year’s report includes responses from 13,124 global leaders and 1,528 human resources executives within 2,031 organizations. Survey results represent 48 countries and 32 major industries.

Here are some insights the survey revealed:

  • Men and woman are equally competent workers. However, men tend to portray themselves as more effective leaders overall than woman do.
  • In comparison to men, women are not as likely to rate themselves as highly-effective leaders.
  • Women are also less likely than men to have completed international assignments, led across geographies or countries or teams spread out geographically.
  • Of the participating organizations, those in the top 20 percent of financial performance have 37 percent of their leaders as women and 12 percent of their leaders are high-potential women.
  • Organizations in the bottom 20 percent count only 19 percent of their leaders as women, and 8 percent of their leaders as high-potential women.
  • An organization’s rate of growth is directly linked to the number of millennials in leadership roles.
  • Companies that were more financially successful were also more likely to have a higher percentage of millennial leaders.

“To improve business outcomes, bolster current development programs so that all leaders, including women and millennials, can improve their skills,” said Evan Sinar, Ph.D., DDI Chief Scientist, Center for Analytics and Behavioral Research (CABER) Director and study co-author. “Development opportunities build confidence. Provide opportunities for stretch assignments, ensure formal practices are in place to facilitate those opportunities and fully-commit your support to mentoring programs to develop and prepare new leaders.”

Receive full access to the report on DDI’s website here.

 

 

 

In An Environment Of Uncertainty, Prepare To Comply With The ACA

August 14th, 2014 by

The post below is a guest blog from Mike Beck who serves as Principal, Health & Welfare Consultant for CAI’s employee benefits partner Hill, Chesson & Woody.

hcw 8 14In the last few weeks, there’s been multiple Affordable Care Act (ACA) developments, ultimately impacting large employers with 50 or more employees. How and when will they occur is another story, and it is easy to see why some employers are perplexed. Predicating what the ACA will look like a year from now is very difficult with some saying the employer mandate may be delayed again. Let’s review the recent events and how they are contradictory in many ways.

On July 22, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that PPACA’s subsidies should only be available to individuals purchasing health insurance in exchanges operated by a state – calling into question all the subsidies that have been obtained to date through the Federal exchange. Hours later in Richmond, Va., the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decided that legislative intent was to make tax subsidies available to individuals purchasing health insurance through a federally funded exchange or a state-based exchange if the state failed to create one. These two conflicting rulings are likely to go to the Supreme Court. For now, subsidies/tax credits will continue to be granted on the Federal Exchange. If the D.C. Circuit’s decision is upheld, it could strike a serious blow to the employer mandate since receiving a subsidy is a primary trigger of the employer mandate.

On July 24, the IRS published draft forms for the Code 6056 employer Minimum Essential Coverage reporting and disclosure requirement to the IRS and to individuals. This reporting requirement has multiple purposes as it allows the IRS to enforce the employer mandate, enforce the individual mandate, and confirm eligibility for premium tax credits for coverage purchased through an Exchange. This reporting along with the associated forms take effect in 2015 and are due in January 2016.

So in the same week, we witnessed a decision by an appeals court that called into question the viability of the Employer Mandate and suggested a possible delay, and then actions by the IRS which seem to indicate the Employer Mandate is moving forward as scheduled.

Regardless, large employers need to be prepared to comply with the employer mandate in 2015 and the associated reporting requirements. This should include a review of current payroll and HRIS systems to ensure they will be able to meet the new reporting requirements. The safe play is to assume that the employer mandate will go into effect without another delay, and if a delay occurs, organizations will have more breathing room to implement.

Evaluating the Softer Skills of a Top Candidate

August 12th, 2014 by

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares the importance of analyzing a job candidate’s soft skills to uncover ways he or she can help your organization succeed if hired.

Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

When seeking top talent for a current job opening, the first criteria we most often use to identify the right candidates is a combination of education, experience and skill. These factors can be used, in part, to predict whether or not a candidate has the ability to be successful in the role for which they are being considered.

While these factors are very important, the long-term success of a candidate within your organization can depend more heavily on their softer skills, which tend to come across during the interview process.

With limited resources, stiff competition for talent and smaller amounts of time for assessing candidates, HR has to use their opportunities wisely to drill very quickly down to these softer skills.

The following interview questions can be used to provide you with a deeper insight into exactly what this candidate can bring to the company in addition to their education and experience:

  • What can you tell me about our company? Give me your analysis of our business. Look for the candidate’s initiative, ability, values and confidence.
  • Tell me about the first five things you would do if hired. Look for the candidate’s thought process, prioritization and execution.
  • Name five things you need to be successful in this role. Name three things you consider obstacles to that success. Look for the candidate’s expectations from the company and their ability to overcome obstacles.
  • Discuss a time you took a risk and failed versus a time you took a risk and succeeded. Look for the candidate’s willingness to take risks and ability to accept failure.
  • What was one of your proudest moments at work? Look for the candidate’s preferred work style (team player, solo contributor).
  • Where do you see yourself in two more career moves? How will this position help you get there? Look for the candidate’s long-term thinking, motivation and expectations.

To be a successful hire, candidates need to be a great corporate fit for your organization. You also want individuals who are thinking long-term with confidence in their own abilities to succeed within your company. For additional guidance, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

 

Wage and Hour Issues: Allowed Deductions From an Exempt Employee’s Salary

August 7th, 2014 by

In today’s video blog, CAI’s Senior Executive of Government Relations and member of the Advice and Resolution team, George Ports, discusses allowed deductions from an exempt employee’s salary. George starts with a reminder: exempt employees are paid on a salary basis. Deductions are allowed but are limited. George shares an example in the video.

Another question that George explores is whether an employer is allowed to suspend an exempt employee without pay for violating a major work rule. He says the answer is yes, but the work rule must be major. He gives suggestions of what counts and what doesn’t.  George points out several scenarios that illustrate why you would have to pay an employee based on when he or she was suspended.

George offers additional deductions that can be made to an exempt employee’s salary in the video. One of the deductions he explains is the entire week concept. If there is not work completed by the employee in an entire week, the employer does not have to pay the employee for that week. Highlighting today’s technology, George emphasizes that if an employee is responding to emails or voicemails during this week, the entire work week exception is invalid.

Improper deductions from an exempt employee’s salary can destroy the exemption status for that employee and the exemption status of employees in that same classification, George says in the video. He also lists deductions that an employer is not allowed to take from an exempt employee’s salary.

If you have any questions about wage and hour regulations, please call CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Your Employees Won’t Work Hard for a Robot

August 5th, 2014 by

The following post is by Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and President. The article originally appeared in Bruce’s News and Observer Column, The View from HR.

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Think about your best manager ever.

The one that you trusted, learned from, worked hard for, took problems to and even enjoyed. The one that managed you with both clarity and humanity. The one that knew you as an individual and took a genuine interest in your development. Do you have this person in mind?

Many managers are good communicators and handle workplace issues well. They might even be good teachers and technical geniuses. They may have regular meetings with you to be sure you are on the “same page.” But the human element that makes them truly impactful and inspirational is too often missing.

Somewhere along the way, managers (and some in HR) have lost sight of this important fact: nobody works hard for a robot or simply to earn revenue. They work hard for people who know them as individuals.

The great workplace leaders understand this human element. It builds bonds that allow your organization to solve big problems, face great challenges and obtain extraordinary results from all types of people.

Think again of your best manager ever. Would you work twice the hours for two weeks to get a big project done for that individual? Would you bring him or her your bestideas and best work every day? Would you accept and understand when you received an answer you did not like? Would that manager make your view of the company much more positive, making you much more likely to stay?

I bet your best manager even knew quite a bit about you as a person and showed it in appropriate ways. Maybe you both enjoyed discussing your family, your hobbies, common schools/teams, your dog or even political topics. Maybe you shared your feelings about free time, what you hope for or what you are concerned about.

What about the time your manager attended that awards ceremony on your behalf or that soccer game you played? How did you feel when a manager did something nice for your child? The point is, your manager knew what you cared most about in this world and showed that s/he cared, too.

It is not a great deal more complex than that, but managers tend to avoid the right kind of personal topics with employees, while a few spend too much time on the wrong personal topics. I’ve seen lawyers scare good managers away from positive personal conversations and relationships (with fears of lawsuits) while failing to sufficiently scare the harasser away from negative personal interactions.

The human element is key to maximizing both work performance and enjoyment. One of my favorite workplace authors is Patrick Lencioni (“The Three Signs of a Miserable Job”). He says this human element means taking a Genuine Personal Interest in employees and each other. Each of those three words was chosen carefully. The opposite might be called an Insincere Prying Irritation.

Other non-genuine interactions: asking the same question each day to the same people (“How ’bout them Heels?”), forcing the interaction, focusing on things you care about, doing the same thing for everyone or treating interaction as a one-way street. Employees, your manager would appreciate a Genuine Personal Interest from you as well.

Maybe this is natural to you. Keep it up! If it is unnatural or stressful to you, find ways to bring the human element into your workplace interactions. Observe what employees display in their workspace. Chances are they care deeply about those things and people.

Think about the power of a Genuine Personal Interest in improving conversations, building trust and creating a common language . . . and boosting performance.

The only person who wants to work hard for a robot is the technician who changes its oil.

 

5 Recruiting Tips for Your Hiring Needs

July 31st, 2014 by

recruitingAs the job market roars back into the limelight of post-recession America and our national unemployment rate plummets to a satisfying 6.3%, companies from basement start-ups to fortune 500’s are hiring again. The question is, who’s doing all of their recruiting?

Well, it depends. For anyone having grown up in the millennial generation the answer is simple, social media. As our society becomes ever increasingly social, more people are absorbing most if not all of their news, entertainment and career resources from various sites online. As a result, recruiters today have a vast world of social resources that weren’t imaginable even 10 years ago.

But then again, if you ask someone from a more experienced generation, they’ll tell you that while social media does have its advantages, not everyone uses it and there is still something to be said about hiring a professional recruiter to handle everything for you.

Obviously, there’s no one-size-fits-all method to recruiting, but when so much is riding on making the right decision, one thing is for sure, it’s better to get it right the first time than waste time, money and energy refilling the same positions.

Here are five steps to making sure your next hire is your best hire!

Advertising is key

When trying to attract the right candidates for the job, the first thing you have to address is where to place the post. Who is your audience and where might they look if they were searching for a job? First, you could consider your standard issue job boards such as Careerbuilder.com, Monster.com, Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com. Next, we would recommend finding sites that directly relate to your industry or a particular career area. Many professions have sites, communities or organizations dedicated specifically to collaborate and host jobs boards for people of a particular skill set. Then, you should consider any credible social media outlets that could help. LinkedIn is a wonderful tool for recruiting.

Thorough screening process

Once you’ve posted your openings on a few job boards, you should start receiving resumes. If you’re not seeing any responses you may want to go back and reevaluate your previous posting decisions. Sifting through an inbox full of resumes may very well seem like a daunting task, but it is by far one of the most important steps to eliminating those who are not right for the position. To make the selection process easier, you can start by automatically deleting the applicants who:

  • Have spelling errors
  • Forgot to attach a resume/document
  • Did not follow your instructions

Not saying that they’re not qualified, but if they don’t care enough to check their spelling or follow instructions, are they really the candidate you’re looking for?

 

Assessment Tools

Once you’ve whittled your list down, it’s always a good idea to test their knowledge, because anyone can look good on paper! Testing could range from a simple computer test, to a more complex test of their skill set or even a comprehensive personality test so you know exactly who they are regardless of what they seem like over the phone.

 

Interviewing

After you’ve gathered your applicants’ test results, you should have a much smaller list than you started out with. At this point, it’s time for the in-person interview. This should give you a much better understanding of how your applicants carry themselves.

  • Are they professional?
  • Are they knowledgeable?
  • Are the able to hold a conversation and maintain enthusiasm for what they do?
  • Can you see yourself working with this person in the future?

If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then you may have yourself a winner!

 

Background checking

Lastly, and quite frankly one of the most important steps in the hiring process is the background check. Your candidates may have an impressive resume, pass your assessments and all of their interviews with flying colors, but do they have a criminal past? If so, that’s something that they should have already mentioned when you ask them for permission to do a background check and if they didn’t why? Are they embarrassed or are they hiding something? Either way, you need someone who will always be forthcoming and honest with you, and a background check will not only eliminate those questions, but also give you the peace of mind that you’re hiring who you think you are.

For more information on recruiting or CAI’s recruiting services, please contact Jill Feldman, jill.feldman@capital.org 919.431.6084 or Molly Hegeman, molly.hegeman@capital.org 919.713.5263.

 

 

4 Ways to Keep Company Productivity High in the Summer Months

July 29th, 2014 by

work summerSummer can be full of distractions. The hot weather of the season encourages employees to dedicate fewer hours to the office or take vacations with their friends or families. Your clients may also be making vacation plans, so their requests may decrease temporarily. For these reasons, productivity during the summer months can slow down. However, with proper planning and participation from managers and direct reports, you can keep business moving as usual. Try the four ideas below to keep your company productive:

Devise a plan

Because it’s vacation season, fewer people will be in the office. Missing a few employees doesn’t mean you can’t continue company projects in an efficient and effective way. Schedule a few minutes with your employees before they take time off to discuss the tasks and assignments that need to be completed while they are away. Teamwork will be instrumental in meeting or exceeding deadlines.

Practice flexibility where you can

Many employees prefer to spend their summer evenings and free time with their friends and loved ones. Being more flexible in the summer months to allow your employees to get home and spend quality time with people outside of work will be appreciated. Several companies are partaking in the trend of letting staff members leave early on Fridays. Similar to the effects of a nice summer break, leaving early on Fridays will have your employees returning invigorated and ready to perform on Monday morning. Another option to encourage flexibility is to have your employees come in earlier or work through their lunch breaks to leave the office sooner.

Work ahead of schedule

The demands of your top clients might slow down as people begin to make plans for summer trips. Instead of waiting for a request, work on a project that has been on the bottom of your to-do list for the past several months. Be productive and efficient with the tasks you decide to tackle during the summer months. If you know of a project that you’ll be working on in the future, go ahead and start working on it. The more you get done during the slower months, the less stressed or pressed for time you’ll be in the busier months.

Have some summer fun

Maintaining stellar productivity over the summer is a goal of most companies. Although everyone is in agreement that keeping up productivity is important, summer is all about having fun. Don’t lose opportunities to engage your employees and show them that they are valued. Plan a fun activity, like a pizza party or a trip to a local baseball game, to show them that you appreciate their contributions throughout the year.

For additional tips for keeping business productivity high, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

 

 

Rehire of Former Employees Terminated for Positive Drug Test

July 24th, 2014 by
Pat Rountree, HR Advisor

Pat Rountree, HR Advisor

In today’s post Pat Rountree, an HR Advisor on CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team, discusses the decisions employers have made regarding rehiring former employees who were terminated for a positive drug test.

There was recently discussion on the CAI Members List Serve about whether other employers considered rehiring employees terminated for testing positive on a drug test and if so, after what length of time. Responses on past Policies and Benefits surveys have revealed that employers’ decisions on this vary from not being eligible for rehire to not being eligible for some specified period of time.

There was a court case several years ago where a former employee who had been terminated for drug use applied for an open position. He was told he was not eligible for rehire. He sued the employer for disability discrimination. Rehabilitated drug users are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The employer prevailed because their policy was that no one who was terminated for cause was eligible for rehire.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ADA Guidance does address inquiries about illegal drug use. It states as follows:

An individual who currently uses drugs illegally is not protected under the ADA; therefore, questions about current illegal drug use are not disability-related inquiries. 42 U.S.C. §12114(a)(1994); 29 C.F.R. §1630.3(a)(1998). However, questions about past addiction to illegal drugs or questions about whether an employee ever has participated in a rehabilitation program are disability-related because past drug addiction generally is a disability. Individuals who were addicted to drugs, but are not currently using drugs illegally, are protected under the ADA. 29 C.F.R. §1630.3(b)(1),(2)(1998).

Since questions about past addiction or participation in a drug rehabilitation program are disability related, those questions can only be asked post offer. If you choose to make those inquiries, it is recommended that you ask all applicants post offer and not just a former employee who was terminated for a positive drug test as that may indicate you considered them to have a disability (drug addiction).

If you have questions on this issue, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.

 

Are Gated Health Plans the Way of the Future?

July 22nd, 2014 by

The post below is a guest blog from Steve Byrd who serves as Principal, Health & Welfare Consultant for CAI’s employee benefits partner Hill, Chesson & Woody.

hcw 7 14As employers continue to identify new ways to control their health plan costs, many employers are considering gated health plans as an option. A “gated” health plan, offers a different spin on the traditional wellness incentive that employers and employees have become used to.  Instead of offering employees lower payroll deductions through the completion of a health assessment or completion of a biometric screening, employers are now considering the option of offering richer benefits as well.

In a recent survey, more than 1,000 employers were asked to disclose current plan designs and changes they expect in the next three to five years. It’s a way for employers to control costs and reward employees for their healthy lifestyles.

52 percent of employers said their current health plan focuses on traditional trend mitigation approaches, such as employee cost shifting. Interestingly enough, it dropped to 21 percent when asked if this would be their preferred approach in three-to-five years.

Employers are beginning to lean more towards plans that require employee action.

In the upcoming years, over 60 percent of employers plan to introduce a gated plan, where employees must complete a task to obtain access to richer design options, compared to only 20 percent who “gate” their employees today. In the past we’ve seen incentives to help lower payroll deductions, but now with gated plans, there is an option to improve benefits.

Employees are also considering implementing the following tactics to mitigate health costs:

  • 72 percent of employers are or will be reducing subsidies for dependents
  • 52 percent of employers anticipate using unitized pricing—where employees pay per person and not individual versus family—up from 5 percent today
  • 42 percent of employers are considering offering high-deductible health plans as a full replacement plan, up from 15 percent today
  • 24 percent of employers plan to offer employees tools to guide decisions in plan selection and utilization, up from 19 percent today
  • 92 percent plan to offer cost transparency tools, up from 49 percent today

While employers are evaluating these new options, and continuing to ask their employees to become more engaged, it is important they evaluate their plan designs carefully.  These new gated plan options are permissible under HIPAA wellness rules.  However, it is very important to ensure they are designed correctly, as they must be carefully structured to comply with both ADA and GINA requirements.  Also, these plans would need to provide a reasonable accommodation to anyone who can’t participate due to a disability, as restricting eligibility in a plan based on participation could be seen as more of a penalty than a monetary premium differential.