Archive for April, 2013

6 Tips to Help You Think Like a Sales Person to Find Top Talent

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

CAI’s Director of Member Development, Doug Blizzard, shares advice for finding high-performing talent in today’s video post. He offers a reason as to why employers are struggling to find top talent:

“…it may be because you’re looking in the same places, in the same ways, and at the same time as everybody else.”

He goes on to say that finding top talent today requires a new approach. He suggests learning from the world of sales to benefit your recruiting efforts. Doug details six lessons that you and your organization can borrow from your sales team:

1.       Start Your Process Early

Landing the best account takes time in sales. Don’t be desperate in your hunt for a new team member because you will find desperate job applicants. Doug says to get great people you need to start the recruiting process well in advance of the opening.


2.       Put Your Goals in Writing

In the video, Doug shares that the top sales people all have incredibly clear goals and a written plan to accomplish their goals. For recruiting people for your company’s critical roles, he suggests that you create and keep a list of people you want to hire. These are your sales targets.


3.       Define Your Ideal Candidate

Doug says the best sales people win more business because they only focus on ideal prospects, so make sure your team has determined who the ideal candidate is in regard to skills and fit. If you’re not sure what to look for, Doug suggests asking your best employees because they will want your team to attract great coworkers.


4.       Get Known in Your Industry

In order to get known by high-performing talent, you must get known in your industry. Doug encourages you to find out what associations your prospects belong to, events they attend and social media platforms they participate on. In the video, Doug lays out several ways to be more visible to your prospects, as well as in your industry. He says these efforts will help you identify your top candidates and also draw them to you.


5.       Create a Regular Touch System

Once you find your top prospects, Doug says you should implement a touch system of regular contact with them in order to pull them towards your company. He suggests that you mix up the medium you use. The touch system could include emails, phone calls, snail mail, etc. You’ll also want to mix up the content you send, so share information about your industry, specific professions, and other data your prospects will find useful. Be creative and make sure to include information about your organization.


6.       Create a Clear Value Proposition

The best sales people sell on value according to Doug. Relating this to employers, he says you must be able to clearly articulate to your prospects why they should come work for you. It can’t only be in terms of pay and benefits, he warns. Work to uncover their needs and match them to your workplace environment. Show them how coming to work for your organization will get them where they need to be.

For additional guidance on recruiting like a sales person, please contact Doug Blizzard at 919-713-5244 or


10 Tips to Help Your Organization Win the Competition for Top Talent

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

The following is a guest post from Carol Hacker. Carol is the President and CEO of Hacker & Associates.  She specializes in helping HR professionals and teaching managers, supervisors, team leaders, executives and business owners how to meet the leadership challenge. She’s the author the bestseller, Hiring Top Performers-350 Great Interview Questions For People Who Need People.

Carol Hacker portraitFrom an era of a labor surplus to an era of a labor shortage, when it comes to looking toward the future for talent, the economic crisis has made developing strategies and planning that much more difficult.  Would you agree that there seems to be a massive and devastating shortage of skills and an aggressive war for global talent?  The US workplace has become a playing field of competition for hiring top talent in every industry.

The “brain drain” is making it more difficult to find people who are qualified to do the work that needs to be done.  In addition, you have an extraordinary amount of competition, so you will have to be well prepared to attract and keep the best of the best.  It’s your responsibility as the hiring manager to identify the right people who have more than technical certification, proven abilities, or specific skills.

However, just as important as the required skills, you will need to hire job applicants with the energy, ambition, and potential it takes to meet your specific work standards as well as embrace a people-oriented leadership style and comfortably merge with your existing corporate culture.  Personality counts, as does the ability and willingness to get along with everyone including internal customers and teammates.

The following ideas have proven successful and are worth considering as you build your team of qualified employees:

  •  Focus on company policies and procedures that increase employee retention in the future, such as career development opportunities, bonus compensation, competitive benefits, stock options, flexible schedules, on-going new-hire orientation and mentoring programs.  Today’s generation demands instant gratification.


  •  Evaluate your recruitment strategies and hire the right people for the right jobs, rather than trying to fit square pegs into round holes.  The latter approach is guaranteed to set new-hires up for failure.


  •  Before you develop a strategic recruitment plan to increase the number of highly qualified and difficult to find job applicants, conduct a self-assessment to compare your recruitment approach to the universe of known recruitment strategies.  This takes time, but once you know what works and what doesn’t you’re ahead of the game.  You will also want to determine what takes the least amount of effort, but still yields good results.


  •  Selectively screen resumes and applications.  Many job applicants are using the “dart approach.”  They’re sending out dozens or even hundreds of resumes even when they are not qualified for the position (s) as advertised.  Screening these documents is an enormous waste of your time.


  • Do whatever it takes to not only raise the bar, but raise skill levels as well.


  •  Do your homework by completing the necessary market research to determine the levels of compensation expected by highly sought-after job applicants.


  •  Learn how to efficiently transfer knowledge from senior members of the team to new or entry-level employees.


  •  Make use of HR’s abilities and resources in improving the skills and education of your current staff.


  • Consider job-sharing and part-time work opportunities for valued employees who cannot work a 40-hour week.


  • Develop a partnership with colleges, universities and technical schools in getting students to consider majors where jobs are immediately available upon graduation.

Contact Carol by visiting her website:

3 Reasons Why You Should Offer Your Employees Paid Sick and Personal Time

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

paid sick timeAre you looking for ways to increase employee morale at your organization? Have you been unsuccessful in securing top talent? Do you want to diffuse stressful work situations and decrease turnover?

If your company would reply yes to any of the questions above and you aren’t offering your employees paid time off, you may want to reconsider. Many business owners who aren’t giving their employees paid time off believe that the financial responsibilities are too high in this post-recession economy. However, the benefits from offering paid time off may outweigh the financial responsibility your organization would incur.

Review the three reasons below that show why offering employees paid time off is advantageous to your business:

Attract the Best

High-performing candidates aren’t just looking for any job that’s available. These job seekers are in search of companies that offer several benefits for producing great work. Opportunities for growth, meaningful projects and having their ideas heard will keep a candidate interested in an employer. Offering additional benefits that help them balance their responsibilities outside of work could be a deciding in factor in whether they choose to invest in your company.

Avoid Meltdowns

If you’re not paying employees when they take time off, they may not take time off. And if that’s the case, you should be concerned. Employees may work through illness and personal struggles to ensure their paychecks aren’t short because they don’t have other options. Doing this once in a while may be manageable, but in the long run, your employees will burn out. Several side effects can occur once that happens—increase in sickness, higher levels of stress, irritability, missing deadlines, mediocre work, etc. Your employees may even decide to leave to find an employer that does offer paid time off.

Get Quality Work

Giving your employees a set amount of paid sick and personal time will not only benefit them, but your organization will see the rewards as well. Allowing employees to fully recover from a cold or a rough personal patch will prove invaluable. Having time to rest, forget about work and not worry about money on their days off will help employees save energy for their return to work. Time off will assist them in staying focused to complete important projects, interacting positively with their coworkers and customers, and offering your team fresh ideas.

For additional benefits of employee time off, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7736.

Photo Source: Brian Reid Furniture

The Healthcare Reform Timeline – What To Tell Employees When Changes Happen

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

The post below is a guest blog from Lindsey Surratt, JD who serves as Compliance Officer for CAI’s employee benefits partner, HCW Employee Benefit Services.

After lingering doubts about whether it would actually occur, the U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), coupled with the re-election of Barack Obama as president, has virtually ensured that national healthcare reform is underway. That means employers need to accept this reality and prepare employees for what they can expect.

We provided a timeline on how PPACA came into fruition and initial implementation at the end of last year. This blog offers an update on what developments to expect in 2013 and beyond.

Changes In Effect Now and In Upcoming Months

  •  At Present: PPACA contains several tax changes that affect select taxpayers. For one, it increases the Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) tax rate on wages by 0.9 percent on earnings more than $200,000 for individual taxpayers and earnings more than $250,000 for married couples filing jointly. Additionally, it imposes a 3.8 percent assessment on unearned income for higher-income taxpayers. 
  • On Oct. 1, 2013: Individuals and small businesses can buy affordable and qualified health benefit plans in insurance exchanges. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering a checklist for small businesses to prepare for the change that provides information that owners can use to tell employees about their options in this area. North Carolina has decided to follow a Federally-facilitated Exchange that will be in effect at the start of 2014.  All employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act must notify employees of the existence of the insurance exchanges prior to insurance exchange open enrollment in October 2013.

What to Anticipate in 2014

hcw 4 17Several big items will take effect on January 1, 2014, including:

  • The requirement for all U.S. citizens and legal residents to have qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty
  • The requirement for carriers to issue and renew health insurance regardless of pre-existing health conditions or gender.
  • No annual limits on coverage of essential health benefits.
  • Deductible limits in the individual and small group markets.
  • Eligibility waiting periods are limited to 90 days.
  • Prohibitions on insurers from dropping or limiting coverage because an individual chooses to participate in a clinical trial, such as those that treat cancer or other life-threatening diseases.
  • Tax credits will become available for those with income between 100 percent and 400 percent of the poverty line who are not eligible for other affordable coverage.  These individuals may also qualify for reduced cost-sharing (copayments, co-insurance and deductibles).

All of these changes will all need to be explained to employees in advance of the date of implementation, with particular note to one other item. PPACA requires that health insurance plans offered in the individual and small group markets provide essential health benefits – items and services in 10 different categories listed in PPACA. The range of essential health benefits offered in these categories will be determined by a benchmark plan. Employers in the small group market should review their benefit plan designs to confirm that their plan(s) comply with the essential health benefits requirements upon renewal in 2014.

What Else to Tell Employees

Remember to let employees know that there already has been and likely will continue to be updates and revisions to these provisions as new regulations are released. While many effective dates are already established, the resulting effects remain unclear. However, proactive communication regarding upcoming changes may help soften the blow of any unintended consequences as implementation of healthcare reform moves forward.

To stay up to date on the changing healthcare reform requirements, register for one of HCW’s upcoming mini webinars held throughout the year and listed on our events calendar. Our June 26th mini webinar titled, Impact of Reform on Employees, will focus on what your employees need to know as 1/1/2014 approaches.

3 Things Employers Need to Know About the NLRA

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

NLRAHow familiar are you with the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)? Do you have enough knowledge of the act to guarantee that your organization won’t make costly mistakes regarding your employees?  

According to, the NLRA was enacted by congress in 1935 “…to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices…” Keeping up with the decisions based on interpretations of the act can be challenging. However, all employers should be familiar with the NLRA and know how related rulings affect their organization.

Here are three things all employers should know about the NLRA:

Not Just for Unions

Think the NLRA won’t affect you because there are no unions at your organization? Wrong! The NLRA is applicable to most private and non-profit employers whether they have a union presence or not (there are some exceptions). Because the NLRA affects most companies, it’s important to be aware of the most recent rulings dealing with the act.


The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) enforces the NLRA. Five members, appointed by presidents, make up the board. Their jobs are to review the unfair labor practices they receive from unions or employers, and make decisions or rulings on the cases they investigate. The board analyzes the NLRA to determine its decisions. Though the group can’t change the elements in the NLRA, it can change how the law is interpreted and used.

Decisions from the Board are Law

Rulings made by the board have the effect of law, and board decisions can change often. Past rulings do not set precedents as they do in actual courts of law, so reverse rulings of decisions made by previous boards are not uncommon. For employers, this means that employment and labor law constantly changes.

Make sure your organization stays informed to avoid actions that may violate federal or state laws. Brian Hayes, former NLRB member and current Ogletree Deakins attorney, will present at this year’s Employment and Labor Law Update conference. During his sessions, he will share his views and give advice on the board’s recent rulings.

Please visit to review the full agenda of the conference, descriptions about the presentations and to register. Feel free to call 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 with any questions.

Photo Source: Kheel Center, Cornell University

6 Insightful Interview Questions for Finding the Right New Hire

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

right hireCAI’s Advice and Counsel team member Reneé Watkins gets several  phone calls from employers asking for interview questions that will assist them in determining if a job seeker is a good fit for a position. To help organizations ask the right questions, Reneé references information from Jeff Haden’s article 14 Revealing Interview Questions . Jeff shares the favorite interview questions of various top executives.

Try using a few of the unique questions from the leaders during your next candidate interview:

(1) “If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you in this role, what did we achieve together?” – Randy Garutti, CEO – Shake Shack

The answer to this question reveals whether the candidate has done her research not only on her position, but the company’s mission and values as well.

 (2) “When have you been most satisfied in your life?” – Dick Cross, CEO – Cross Partnership

This question will help you uncover what the job seeker needs to be content with his career path and how your organization can help him achieve job satisfaction.

(3) “If you got hired, loved everything about this job and are paid the salary you asked for, what kind of offer from another company would you consider?” – Ilya Pozen, Founder – Ciplex

Decipher if the candidate is driven by money, responsibility or an enjoyable work atmosphere when you ask this question.

 (4) “Who is your role model and why?” – Clara Shih, CEO – Hearsay Social

Ask this question to learn what the candidate values and the types of character traits he admires.

(5) “Tell me about a recent project or problem that you made better, faster, smarter, more efficient or less expensive.” – Edward Wimmer, Co-Owner – RoadID

Allow your interviewee to brag about herself. This question will help you get insight on the candidate’s work ethic.

 (6) “So, what’s your story?” – Richard Funess, Managing Partner – Finn Partners

Get more information about the candidate and his life experiences by asking him this question.

For more tips to enhance your recruiting and hiring process, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558

Smart Recruiting is the Key for Securing Top Talent – 4 Helpful Tips

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

recruiting talentTo achieve a high-performing workplace that creates positive business results, you should place finding top talent at the beginning of your to-do list. Current data reveals that many businesses are struggling to fill positions that have been open for months. Although there are many candidates in the market, employers are finding that these job seekers do not meet the skills or qualifications required to do the job well. Knowing where to find candidates and who you are looking for are important factors in making hiring decisions that are advantageous to your organization.

Employees represent a driving force behind the success or failure of your company. Revamp your recruiting and hiring process by following these four tips:

Create a Talent Pool

Keep your eyes and ears open to ensure you recruit the best and brightest talent for your organization. Whether or not you’re hiring, monitoring the candidates who are interested in seeking opportunity at your organization will be helpful when you’re in a crunch to fill a position. Continuously evaluate your talent pool to have a good idea of who to select for interviews when the time comes.  Keeping an up-to-date archive will help you uncover high-performing talent while avoiding last-minute hiring decisions.

Don’t Skimp on the Job Description

Before you start to pursue suitable candidates, be sure you know what duties and tasks the new hire will be responsible for. Carefully construct your job description to explicitly detail what the future employee will be doing. Making specific job descriptions will weed out the people who really don’t have the experience or desire to fulfill the position.

Devise a Sound Plan

Make your recruiting process more efficient by assigning an interview team to prescreen job seekers to ensure they fit the minimum requirements of your job description. Use your interview team to help you evaluate the interviewees and eventually help you decide who should be offered the opening.

Get Out There

Don’t be passive in your hunt for top talent. Sure you’ll get some good candidates who apply for a position directly on your website or through a job search engine. However, using additional outlets in your hunt will widen your selection of candidates. So be active! Use social media, post an ad in your local newspaper, host networking events, participate in career fairs and ask your employees for referrals.

For additional information on securing high-performing talent at your organization, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558

N.C. Employers Receive Local Data with the 2012/2013 Healthcare Benefits and Cost Survey

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

North Carolina businesses that want to know how their benefits plan design and premium costs match up to other area businesses can quell their curiosity with the N.C. Healthcare Benefits & Cost Survey.  The survey, which is co-developed by CAI and HCW, shares local benchmark data from N.C. employers. Unlike most benchmark surveys that focus on national data, this annual survey offers N.C. employers specific information for managing employee benefits from their local peers.

Data Pool

Nearly 700 organizations from across the state provided data for the survey. More than half of the companies that participated are located in the Research Triangle Region and are small to mid-size employers with less than 1,000 employees nationwide. To capture a good picture of what benefits look like at N.C. companies, the survey includes data from 15 different industries. The top 5 industries represented include:industry table

1)      Professional/Scientific/Technical

2)      Durable Manufacturing

3)      Healthcare and Social Assistance

4)      Finance/Insurance/Real Estate/Rental/Leasing

5)      Non-Durable Manufacturing


Key Findings

Survey participants gave plan data for their traditional plan with the highest enrollment or consumer driven health plan with the highest enrollment, or both if applicable. Approximately 72 percent of employers gave data for a traditional plan, 11 percent gave data for a consumer driven plan and 17 percent provided data for both types of plans. Data revealed that most employers have a fully insured plan, while 26 percent have self-funded plans.

Review the key insights for traditional and consumer driven plans below:

Traditional Plans

Traditonal Data


  •  21 percent of employers with traditional plans offer a non-rollover Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)
  • 80 percent of employers with traditional plans have a PPO plan ,16 percent have a POS plan and 2 percent have an HMO plan
  • Average health plan premium for single coverage is $464.39 per month
  • Average health plan premium for family coverage is $1,335.03 per month
  • Employer contributes to 83 percent of single-coverage premium costs
  • Employer contributes to 55 percent of family-coverage premium costs

Consumer Driven Health Plans (CDHP)

CDHP plans


  • 78 percent of employers with a CDHP offer a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)
  • 22 percent of employers with a CDHP have a rollover HRA
  • Average health plan premium for single coverage is $401.03 per month
  • Average health plan premium for family coverage is $1,145 per month
  • Employer contributes to 82 percent of single-coverage premium costs
  • Employer contributes to 57 percent of family-coverage premium costs

Please find more information on N.C. healthcare benefits and costs from the local survey here.

OFCCP Releases New Compensation Directive for Government Contractors

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

CAI’s Manager for Affirmative Action Services, Kaleigh Ferraro, shares the latest updates from the OFCCP. Make sure you are compliant.

Kaleigh blogEffective February 28, 2013, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) officially rescinded their previous guidelines on compensation. This rescission comes as no surprise since they had published in January 2011 a Notice of Proposed Rescission. The OFCCP stated the previous guidelines were too limiting and “constrained OFCCP’s ability to investigate pay discrimination to the full extent permitted by law.” These previous guidelines also conflicted with other government agencies’ investigated pay discrepancies.

The OFCCP replaced the rescinded guidelines with Directive 307, which is supposed to provide contractors clear insight into how the OFCCP will conduct compensation reviews during audits. However, this “clear guidance” doesn’t really live up to this billing. What it actually does is list multiple protocols and factors the OFCCP may use during a compensation review. The OFCCP makes it clear they may use any number of these methodologies during audits and they will be determined on a case-by-case basis. This of course, gives the OFCCP a great deal of flexibility during investigations and makes it extremely difficult for contractors to determine if they are “compliant” based on the OFCCP’s methods.

The consequence of this new Directive is that it affects contractors’ compensation policies/procedures and data at both the macro and micro levels. Employers must be able to address how their practices influence compensation, as well as prepare for specific individual analysis. The changes to the compensation review procedures have the potential to cause companies additional angst during audits.

The following is a high level overview of some of the changes and the issues they may cause employers:

  • There are eight possible “steps” to be taken when conducting the compensation portion of an OFCCP audit and potentially additional consideration factors within the steps.
    • It is unclear which “step” the OFCCP will actually use during an investigation and/or the progression through any and all of these steps. The OFCCP also may change direction at any point during their review.
  • The OFCCP has indicated that several of their analyses will be conducted by broad groupings of employees and not just at the position title level.
    • With wide groupings such as pay grades, AAP job groups or pay analysis groupings being used for analysis, there is a greater opportunity for pay discrepancies to be identified during the OFCCP’s investigation.
  • Any documentation regarding company policies or practices that may be related to compensation may be called into question during the OFCCP’s review. Examples include but are not limited to performance systems, commission, overtime hours, training, etc.
    • This more detailed review of company practices will likely cause OFCCP to uncover issues with inconsistent pay practices as well as other employment policies.
  • Regardless of findings and whether or not an issue is identified during previous “steps” or reviews, the OFCCP has indicated they may continue their investigation into contractors’ compensation.
    • This seems to indicate that OFCCP audits will be comprehensive and involve many steps and reviews and will likely be a long and drawn-out (and potentially expensive) process.

The Directive seems to serve as an indication that the compensation reviews conducted by the OFCCP will cause many challenges among the contractor community, especially initially. To review Directive 307 in its entirety, visit

If you would like to discuss these new guidelines in detail and the potential impact on your organization, please contact me directly at 919‑713‑5241 or CAI provides AAP plan preparation, OFCCP audit assistance, onsite training and webinars for hundreds of companies each year. We are happy to share our expertise with you!