Archive for December, 2012

4 Workplace Habits to Break By the End of the Year

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

break habitsIn less than two weeks, 2013 will be here. A new year can conjure up an array of emotions: scared, excited, hopeful, exhausted, doubtful—the list can go on. Choose to focus on the positive emotions, and do something beneficial for your work life. Paying more attention to your responsibilities at the office will push you to perform better, benefiting other parts of your life like your health, sleep and relationships.

Creating an efficient work routine will help you achieve your work/life balance goals and improve your workplace attitude. Before you develop your routine, take time to acknowledge inefficient habits that you’ve gotten used to relying on at your organization. Break these habits to plan a successful 2013.

Below are a few examples of habits that will harm your performance. Review the items below, and work hard to break or avoid these office blunders:

Frequent Chitchats

Conversing with your coworkers is not a bad habit. Chatting actually helps build trust and create workplace friendships. However, excessively talking with your workplace colleagues is a bad habit that you should attempt to break. Getting along with your coworkers is ideal, but if you’re missing deadlines or not paying attention to your manager’s requests, you might need to realign your priorities. You don’t have to cut out chitchat all together, but save it for less busy times of the day, such as lunch time or the late afternoon.

Email Obsession

Numerous surveys show that employees receive and respond to a large number of emails each workday. Responding to the different email requests you receive throughout the day can kill your productivity. Email is incredibly important, but understanding the difference between urgent and not urgent will help you complete other tasks that you have on your plate. If a response is not needed immediately, reply back after you finish more pressing tasks.

Stepping Up

Do you feel like you’ve missed an opportunity for a raise or promotion? Instead of lamenting over the fact they you aren’t where you want to be, do something about it. Ask your manager for more responsibilities or find new ways to challenge yourself and make your job more exciting. Only you can really change your circumstances. Work harder and be more helpful. Remember, if your company doesn’t acknowledge or appreciate that you’ve stepped up your game, you might not be at the right place.

Working Too Hard

Eight hours for five days a week are dedicated to your organization. You work hard to create innovative projects, make deadlines and recruit talent to keep your business running successfully. Sometimes you spend too much time making sure the company is running smoothly. Make sure to strive for work/life balance in the new year. Enjoy the other important aspects of your life.

For additional information on strategies to improve your work performance, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558

Get Quality Candidate Referrals from Your Employees

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Research indicates that a high percentage of candidates referred by employees become top-performing team members. Research also shows that only 30 percent of a company’s workforce offer quality referrals.

Do you know what would motivate your team members to supply you with more stellar candidates? Once you figure out what the drivers for your staff are, you can create an employee referral program that produces amazing results and secures industry-leading talent.

Review the methods below to identify and initiate incentives to encourage your employees to participate in your organization’s overall recruiting strategy:

What motivates your employees?

  • Survey those who currently refer
    • What incentives do they find most appealing?
  • Survey those who don’t typically refer
    • What incentives would they like to see?
  • Research other companies
    • What incentives or rewards do they offer their employees?
  • Test your options
    • Put incentives in place, monitor them and adjust as needed based on feedback.

Non-Cash Incentives

  • Public Recognition
    • Acknowledge the recruiting efforts and success your employees make in front of their peers.
  • Prizes/Drawings
    • Offer items, such as vacation time, a television or an iPad, for successful referrals. You can offer these prizes on an annual or quarterly basis depending on what works for your organization.
  • Direct Reward
    • You can directly reward employees with a gift, like a movie ticket, dinner or spa treatment, for each referral they make.

Cash Incentives

  • Start low and work your way up
    • On average, rewards top out at around $1,500 for a successful referral.
  • Determine criteria
    • Some organizations insist that referrals not only be hired, but also work at least 90 days before a cash incentive is awarded. Determine what works for your team.
  • Hard to find positions
    • For openings that are especially hard to fill, increase the incentive to as high as $5,000 to draw out great candidates.

Because employees are diverse and motivated by different incentives, offering several options is a good way to go when eliciting referrals from your staff. If you have questions regarding company referral programs or ways to recruit top talent, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558

4 Tips to Enjoy the Holidays and Stay Productive at Work

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

The holidays are great for celebrating and spending quality time with your friends and family. Many people take extra time off from work during December. People often get so excited about their time off around the holiday season that they take an “early vacation” at work. Don’t slack off during this time of year. Staying alert while you’re still at the office will help you complete tasks so that you don’t return to a mountain of work.

Do these four things to make sure you can enjoy your holidays and not worry about the to-do list you must revisit when you go back to work:

Check Calendars

Don’t let the excitement of the holidays make you forget your work responsibilities. Know your schedule for the next two weeks. Do you have important meetings that you need to prepare for or a project with a looming deadline? Be up to date with your work plans so you don’t miss a beat when you’re away for the holidays.

Check Out Meeting

Be sure that you’ve completed all the projects and activities for which you are responsible. Have a check out meeting with your manager so you both are on the same page about the work items that need to be completed before the end of the year.  Doing this will prevent little fires or less than positive surprises when you return to the office.

Create a New List

Write down all the items you’d like to take care of before you leave for your winter vacation. Be productive during the days leading up to your vacation so that you’re able to complete a large portion of your list. For everything that you don’t finish, create an additional list that you’ll complete once your back at the office. You’ll return to the office with a great start if you prepare before you leave.

Clean Up

Tidy up your workspace before you leave the office to celebrate the season with your loved ones. File away loose paper and put away items that you don’t frequently use. Take out your recycling and empty storage areas. You’ll come back to work with a fresh space that encourages productivity.

For more tips to stay productive and organized at work, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: davedehetre


CAI’s HR Management Conference Will Help You Put the Pieces of Your Talent Puzzle Together

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

The competition for top talent is fierce as organizations require more specialized skills from their workforce. In order to secure top talent, employers should spend adequate time searching and hiring candidates that possess strong interpersonal skills and a desire to grow and achieve success.  

Excellent talent will be increasingly difficult to maintain in the current business climate’s competitive atmosphere. CAI’s 2013 HR Management Conference will equip you with information and strategies to hold on to your best people, as well as attract new talent. Scheduled for March 6 and March 7 at Raleigh’s McKimmon Center, the conference will help you put the pieces of your talent puzzle together to develop a positive culture that reaches its business goals.

Four keynote speakers will address participants at the early March conference:

  1. Daniel Pink will reveal why traditional approaches to high performance backfire at most organizations and will offer alternative solutions.
  2. Demographic trends show that pretty soon your workforce is going to look different, work different and want to be rewarded differently. Dr. James Johnson will help you prepare.
  3. Based on his best-selling book, The Energy Bus, Jon Gordon presents a powerful roadmap to overcome life and work obstacles and bring out the best in yourself and your team.
  4. In his presentation, Dave Rendall will help you find the strengths hidden in your workforce and explore eight strategies for improving employee engagement at your organization.

Conference attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in several breakout sessions. Topics include:

–Performance, Development and Succession: The Foundation of Talent Management

–15 Reasons You May Have a Shortage of Skilled Labor and What to Do About It

–Learning Agility: The Defining Competency for Working (and Thriving) at the Speed of Light

–Strategies for Developing and Changing the Leadership Culture

CAI will announce the winners of the 2013 Ovation Awards for HR Excellence at the HR Management Conference. There is still time to submit a nomination if your company has implemented an HR/People practice that has brought success to the organization. Deadline is Friday, December 14.

Please visit to review the programs full agenda, descriptions about the presentations and speakers, and to register. Everyone who registers for the conference by the end of the day on Thursday, December 13 will be entered into a drawing to win a new iPad with retina display. Register today! Please call 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 with any questions.

5 Tips to Help Your Employees Survive the Holidays

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Your employees will juggle many more tasks during this time of year as they prepare for winter vacation, parties with their family and friends, charity events, children’s performances and whatever else they can fit on their packed schedule.

The holiday season adds plenty of joy to life, but it can also add stress. Recognize that your employees might be focused on something other than their work this season. To help them continue to perform well while they balance it all, use some of the suggestions below at your organization:

Rethink Break Room Goodies

The holiday season is full of delicious food. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, there are an assortment of treats and dishes for feasting. Many staff members bring their leftovers from the home to their workplace to share with coworkers. Encourage your team to bring in treats with fewer calories and less sugar to help employees have a healthier holiday.

Give Many Small Donations

Spreading cheer during the holiday season is important. Even more important is showing your employees that what matters to them, matters to their employer. In addition to holiday perks you’re already giving your staff, offer to make a small (or large) donation to the charity of their choice.

Understand the Priorities of the Season

Your employees will appreciate some flexibility around the holidays. Maintaining rigid deadlines will likely add more stress to the lives of employees who are planning parties, searching for presents and attending school performances. Family is the reason for the season for many of your employees. Acknowledge this by granting time off, okaying short days and allowing telecommuting.

Be Generous to Your Workforce

Don’t let your employees remember you as a Scrooge. Show your staff members your generosity during the holidays. What you give to your employees can range depending on office tradition or company budget. Some companies can afford to give each employee a bonus. Other employers might distribute gift cards to grocery stores or gas stations. Holiday hams or turkeys also make great gifts. Whatever you give, make sure it shows how much you appreciate your employees.

Remember to Plan for the Future

It is important to reflect on the accomplishments your company and staff achieved in the current year. Reviewing what didn’t go according to plan is also important.  Try to schedule employee performance reviews at the beginning of the New Year. Help your employees learn from their successes and mistakes from the previous year, and assist them in goal planning for the upcoming year.

For additional workplace tips regarding the holidays, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Seantoyer

You Still Can Nominate Your Company for an Ovation Award for HR Excellence

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Did your team recently start a project or try a new system that brought your company a lot of success or made a workplace process easier? If so, we want to hear about it!

We are collecting nominations for CAI’s Ovation Awards for HR Excellence until December 14. Six years ago, CAI created the HR awards to honor exceptional workplaces in North Carolina that implemented HR or People practices that positively affected their businesses.

Diverse companies with varying initiatives have received the awards since 2007. A few examples include Krispy Kreme for its Healthy Lifestyle Program, Caterpillar Building Construction Products Division for its Workplace Flexibility Program and Burt’s Bees for its Live the Greater Good Program.

Nominations related to any area in the HR field are acceptable. Some examples include: reworking your company’s onboarding process, starting a wellness program to improve employee health or changing your company culture to attract better talent. If multiple projects or programs have helped your company reach success, feel free to submit more than one nomination.

The awards are divided into three categories: small employer (less than 200 employees), mid-size employer(201 to 700 employees) and large employer (more than 700 employees). Submitting a nomination is quick, easy and free.  Recognition and publicity, an enhanced employer brand, and free registration to the 2013 CAI HR Management Conference are a few of the benefits you’ll earn when your company wins one of the awards

Here are the questions you will need to answer when entering your submission:

  1. Number of employees at your organization.
  2. Describe the problem or opportunity that your best practice addressed.
  3. Describe your solution.
  4. Describe how your solution positively impacted business results.

Visit  to read more about the awards, review submissions from past winners and start the nomination process. Please contact  with any questions regarding the awards. Deadline is Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Winners will receive their awards at the 2013 HR Management Conference on March 7, 2012.