Archive for January, 2013

Start the Year Right with a Doable Plan: Try an Anti-Resolution

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Today’s post features a short video from CAI’s CEO and president, Bruce Clarke. In less than three minutes, Bruce explains why anti-resolutions are better commitments to make at the beginning of a new year:

Bruce gives reasons why resolutions, like eating fewer cookies, are sometimes unrealistic. He says if you’re trying to give up cookies, it typically means you enjoy them. When you eat one, you’re immediately satisfied. Not only are you satisfied, but the problem of what happens when you eat too many cookies is not on your mind and it usually isn’t. So you eventually forget about your resolution and never complete it.

Instead of forgetting the many resolutions you were determined to keep at the beginning of the year, Bruce suggests making an anti-resolution. The anti-resolution gets the pain and gain in the right order because this is something you want to do, it brings immediate satisfaction and the end result is an even bigger pay off.  

Bruce lists several examples of what your anti-resolutions can be in the video above. The key things to remember when making an anti-resolution are that it’s something that you want to do and something that has a clear pay off to you. In addition to creating an anti-resolution, Bruce suggests forming a plan that details necessary actions to achieve your anti-resolution. 

Make your 2013 great by developing an anti-resolution. Remember, it’s something that you want to do and not something that someone told you to do.

To receive more information on forming attainable goals for the year, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-989-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Help Employees Include Fitness in Their Plans for the New Year

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

office wellnessEmployees spend a large portion of their time at work. Hitting their deadlines and entertaining clients are often more important to them than making sure they make it to the gym three times a week. Although it’s an additional thing for employees to add to their busy lives, exercising brings a number of benefits when done regularly. You can help employees improve their concentration, feel less stress and sleep more by encouraging them to incorporate fitness in their goals for 2013.

Sometimes employees won’t be able to make it to the gym or the park down their street. If that happens, help them stay fit with some work-friendly fitness tips:

  • Tell employees to take breaks to stretch throughout the day. Stretching reduces risk of injury and improves mental alertness.
  • Start a fitness club. Organize different activities to do with your employees. Try a yoga class one day and a walk around your facilities on another. Offer activities during lunch or after work throughout the year. Participation should be optional.
  • Replace office snacks high in sugar and low in nutrition with healthier options. Also provide plenty of drinking water in your break rooms.
  • Have flexibility in your office start time and end time for those employees who want to work out before they come in and those who want to work out when they leave.
  • Hold lunch and learns for your staff on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Include healthy lunch options for your employees to try.
  • Ask your employees if they have all the resources they need to complete their jobs or a specific project. Ensuring that they have everything they need to perform well will reduce their stress.
  • Have employees move around more by encouraging them to a visit a coworker in their office when they need them instead of buzzing them by phone or writing an email.      

For more tips to improve the overall health and wellness of your employees, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: lululemon athletica

5 Ways to Celebrate Diversity at Your Workplace

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

diversity trainingThis coming Monday is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday that honors his legacy as a civil rights activist, noble peace prize winner and champion for equal rights. To observe the holiday, many organizations offer the day as a paid holiday for their employees, but those who don’t close their facilities often celebrate in other ways. The holiday is a great way to recognize the importance of diversity in the workplace.

Here are five ways you can encourage diversity and celebrate the different team members that make up your workplace:

Training

Make sure your employees are trained on the importance of diversity in the workplace. Whether you hire an outside consultant or require a class, offer training to improve the communication between people of different backgrounds.

Emphasis

Establish a hiring plan that encourages the recruiting of diverse individuals. Additionally, include the value of diversity in your culture and interactions you have with your staffers. Accept all of your employees no matter their differences.

After Hours

Host after work socials and activities for your team members to mingle. Attendance should not be required because your employees may have prior engagements. Workplace gatherings are a good way for colleagues to get to know one another’s unique attributes. Host these events once a quarter to become familiar with your staff.

Policies

Update your policies to reflect your beliefs on improving diversity and cultural acceptance at your organization. Be aware of any language in your written documents that could come across as offensive or discriminatory to people of diverse backgrounds.

Celebrations

Throw celebrations to recognize and enjoy the different backgrounds that are present in your staff. Hold a diversity day where staff members bring in dishes that reflect their cultures. Another way to celebrate diversity is to acknowledge cultural holidays that are not mainstream but still fun for all.

For more ideas to recognize the diversity of your workforce, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558

Employees Will Seek Consistent Feedback in the New Year

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

employee feedbackGeneration Y is not the only workforce population that relies on frequent feedback to improve their workplace performance.  Each of your workers will benefit from a meeting discussing their current performance and how they’ll fare in future.

Telling your employees how their performance measures up is advantageous to your organization and their career. Maybe you don’t understand what motivates your office manager or that your graphic designer needs an assistant to better manage his workload. Consistently offering staffers feedback and asking them how you can help will explain some of the questions you haven’t thought to ask.

Here are five ways to offer feedback to your workers and improve their job performance:

Notice Their Routine

Be aware of how your employees conduct themselves at your organization. As their manager, you’re responsible for making sure they deliver the results that you hired them to achieve. Your direct reports represent you and your department, so protect your reputation by playing an active role in their development.

Listen to Their Concerns

Part of being a manager or a leader is addressing the concerns of your employees. The only way you’ll find out their concerns is if you ask them questions and listen. Holding individual, weekly or monthly meetings with your team members is a great way to uncover their motivators and the personal goals they’d like to reach.

Offer Encouragement

Listening is just the start of establishing a positive manager/direct report relationship. Once you know what your employees are hoping to achieve, inform them that you’re on their side. Make yourself available to your employees if they need help. Walk them through frustrating situations, and don’t let them quit, even when obstacles become overwhelming.

State the Truth

Be direct with your employees because it will help them and your business in the long run. Sugar coating issues will only prolong the problems at hand. Take action to make your staff members aware that you have concerns about some aspects of their job performance. Work with them to find solutions instead of wasting time.

Recognize Their Work

Anytime your employees execute great work performances, you should take time to recognize them. Whether they prepared well for a presentation, assisted a colleague who was home sick or doubled their sales numbers, rewarding them for their hard work lets them know that you appreciate their contributions. Showing employees that they are integral team members will boost their morale and level of engagement.

For additional information on delivering constant feedback, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: RDECOM

Help Your Employees Create Achievable Goals in 2013

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

new work yearA new work year has begun so the time to develop goals with your employees is now. Helping to establish annual goals with your employees is a good way to keep them loyal, as goal making will enhance their personal and career development. Not only is it a good morale booster for your workforce, employees who achieve their goals or make a good effort towards them will boost the performance of your overall business.

Goal setting is an important part of the manager/employee relationship because it allows opportunities for both parties to provide the other with feedback. Employee strengths and weaknesses can be assessed during the process, as well as factors that motivate good performance. Aid your team members in forming assessable goals that will accelerate their careers and bring results to your organization.

There are a couple of aspects you and your employees will want to consider when creating goals. Here are a few to get started:

Stay Focused

Goals that are meaningful to the individual employee and your organization are a good place to start. Work with your employees to pick goals that align with the company’s areas of focus. Make sure to ask your employees for their input so you know the results they’re hoping to achieve.

Make Them Attainable

Setting unrealistic goals is a surefire way to decrease the morale of your staff.  The talents of your employees should be stretched, but working towards goals that are impossible will have everyone in your organization frustrated. Work with the available skills your organization has to create success.

Offer Support

Frequently check in with your employees about progress they’re making on their specific goals. Play an active role in encouraging them to perform their best or identify areas in which they may need some assistance.  Be there for them when they need a question answered or recognition for a day of good work. Commit to helping your direct reports reach success.

If you’d like more information on creating suitable employee goals, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-669-7746.   

Photo Source: Sean MacEntee

Retain Top Performers with 4 Strategies

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

 There are many factors that attract top talent to companies. Some candidates will only work for organizations that guarantee great benefits and competitive pay. Other job seekers want to know if there are opportunities for individual and career growth. There also are workers who think a strong and positive company culture is imperative to their workplace success.

top talentKnowing what job seekers are looking for in their future employers is the first step in securing high-performing workers. Once you understand what drives them to perform their best, you can tailor your recruiting methods and company benefits and perks to attract them. Once you attract them and they prove to be integral team members, you’ll still have to put forth a good effort to retain them.

Try these four ways to keep your top achievers productive, happy and loyal:

Your Culture

The environment your company exudes is usually a determining factor in whether an employee will stay. Not every worker will appreciate, dislike or desire the same workplace qualities so it’s important to make sure you’re hiring employees that are interested in your unique offerings. Create a culture that allows several types of people and personalities to grow and enjoy success.

Your Leaders

Who’s leading the company is a major reason why employees decide to stay with an organization long term. Many employee opinion surveys reveal that employees leave or are likely to leave because of the actions of their managers, supervisors or senior leaders. No one enjoys a micromanager or a leader who never checks in. Treat your employees with respect–be considerate and communicate openly.

Your Communication

As an employer, you’re responsible for communicating to your staff the rewards that your company provides. If your employees receive higher than average salaries or your wellness program saves staffers money, make sure they are aware. Frequently remind employees of the benefits that you offer so they’ll have reasons to stay loyal and perform better.

Your Feedback

Employees are more likely to stay with organizations that show them that their time and effort have not gone unnoticed. Receiving positive and constructive feedback consistently is critical for their success, so let them know how they’re doing regularly and show them that you appreciate their efforts.

For more information on recruiting, securing and maintaining top talent, please join us for CAI’s 2013 HR Management Conference on March 6 and March 7 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. The conference will feature four keynote speakers, including best-selling authors, Daniel Pink and Jon Gordon. Some of the topics presenters will share at the conference include: aligning HR with business strategy, succession planning, using social media for recruiting and managing a remote workforce. Register and see full conference agenda at www.capital.org/hrconf. Early bird prices are in effect until February 1, 2013

Photo Source: Victor1558

Encouraging Preventive Care Among Your Employees

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Dax-HillThe post below is a guest blog from Dax Hill who serves as Principal, Health & Welfare Consultant  for CAI’s employee benefits partner, HCW Employee Benefit Services.

The old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is very appropriate for today’s healthcare coverage plans. Employers and employees are able to pay less if they are proactive in trying to avoid illnesses that can cost thousands or more to treat.

But knowing what you are supposed to do and making it actually happen are two very different concepts. How do you inspire your staff to turn your dreams of prevention into a reality? Here are some suggestions:

 1)  Clearly communicate to employees what their benefits are. We talk a lot about communicating benefits to employees. If your workforce knows precisely what options are available to them, and how to better use their benefits by taking advantage of preventive services – they will! Communications experts agree, that effectively communicating benefits is key for prevention to occur among employees. As the Affordable Care Act begins to be implemented, employees:

  • Want to understand the big picture of healthcare.
  • Want to know what their employer knows when they know it.
  • Want their employer to also share what they don’t know.

 2)  Seek medical providers using interactive health records. A new study reports that medical records patients can access online may encourage more people to get recommended screening tests and immunizations. The use of electronic health records (EHRs) allows doctors, hospitals and other providers to communicate more easily as well as help more patients know the tests and treatments they need. Providers are being encouraged to switch to EHRs and will face federal penalties if they do not convert by 2015, so check to see if and when your primary care physicians plan to make the changes.

 3)  Investigate programs being offered by the Prevention and Public Health Fund. The Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund is designed to assist major national groups such as the Centers for Disease Control with developing programs to discourage tobacco use as well as address obesity and other conditions that result in chronic diseases which are expensive to treat. Among those available for possible inclusion in your workplace from the Centers for Disease Control are:

  • National Diabetes Prevention Program
  • Immunizations
  • Tobacco Use Prevention
  • Workplace Health

There are many other options available for preventive healthcare designed for specific requirements. To see what might work best for the needs of your company, contact a health and welfare consultant at HCW.