Archive for December, 2014

Giving Your Employees a Personal “Thanks”

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

In today’s video blog, CAI’s Advice and Resolution team member, Renee’ Watkins, shares helpful information to keep your employees engaged by giving them a personal thank you. Renee’ starts by reminding employers and HR professionals that everyone likes feeling appreciated, especially when the gesture is genuine and personal.

She says employees who feel their efforts are being noticed will likely go the extra mile for their organization. In the video Renee’ shares that research shows that one of the most effective acts of appreciation comes in the form of a hand-written note. Notes should be sent right after an employee accomplishment.

Renee’ gives advice for making hand-written notes special and effective in the video. She also imparts several examples of messages you can write to employees for different reasons, such as successfully handling change or paying great attention to detail.

If writing a thank you note is just simply not your style and not going to happen, Renee’ encourages you to find another way to show your employees appreciation for their contributions. She says what may seem to be a small gesture, requiring little effort, can often translate into a significant moment of positive recognition that will be remembered by your employees long after the event has passed. She ends the video with additional ways you can reward your team members without breaking your budget.

For additional employee engagement tips, please call CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. The team is now available 24 hours, seven days a week!

Last Minute Requirements for 2015 Affirmative Action Plans

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

CAI’s Manager for Affirmative Action Services, Kaleigh Ferraro, shares information on affirmative action plans for 2015. Make sure you are compliant.

Kaleigh Ferraro, Manager, Affirmative Action Services

Kaleigh Ferraro, Manager, Affirmative Action Services

It’s that time of the year again.  Not only is the holiday season here, but it is also the time that many federal contractors and subcontractors update their affirmative action programs (AAPs).  If your company prepares AAPs on a calendar year, you should begin preparing for your 2015 AAP update.

In order to develop your annual report, you’ll need to gather data that will be analyzed in the plan.  Below are different types of data you’ll need.

  • Employees: This is a listing of your current employees at a point in time
  • Hires: A list of employees hired in 2014
  • Applicants (internal and external): Applicants who applied for positions filled in 2014
  • Promotions: A list of all promotions that occurred in 2014
  • Terminations: A list of all terminations for 2014

Additional information you should also review and update as you prepare the AAP include:

  • Targeted outreach and recruiting efforts
  • Update your signed EEO/Affirmative Action policy
  • Notify vendors and suppliers your organization is an affirmative action employer and they may be covered by the affirmative action laws.
  • Ensure subcontracts and purchase orders contain EO Clause and specified language
  • Ensure employment openings are listed with the appropriate state employment service

Additionally, you should ensure you have implemented the requirements of the regulation changes for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

  • Provide applicants the opportunity to self-identify as an individual with a disability and protected veteran. This solicitation should occur both pre-job offer and post-job offer. Data on applicants and hires must be reported in subsequent AAPs.
  • Include Utilization Goals for individuals with disabilities. This 7% Goal will apply to each job group within your AAP. If you have fewer than 100 employees, you may set a goal for your workforce as a whole. Assessments on meeting these goals will occur in future AAPs.
  • Include Hiring Benchmarks for protected veterans. The hiring benchmark data provided by the OFCCP is 7.2%. The hiring benchmark is set for the AAP location as a whole.

For more information on affirmative action and the recent changes within it, please feel free to contact Kaleigh Ferraro at (919) 713-5241 or Kaleigh.ferraro@capital.org.

Survey Reveals Employee Trust and Confidence in Their Leaders is Stronger

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Business PeopleA recent survey from Towers Watson indicates that 55 percent of all U.S. employees said they have trust and confidence in their senior leaders. In 2012 that number was only 49 percent, and two years earlier in 2010, that number was 47 percent. Senior leaders received high scores from survey participants in the following areas: 80 percent agreed that their leaders promoted a positive company image to the outside world and 68 percent agreed that their leaders understand the factors that lead to success.

While the survey shows that employees trust and confidence in their leaders has slowly increased, the number of employees who think senior management provides effective leadership overall has decreased slightly. Additionally, less than half of participants said their leaders inspire employees, understand how their actions impact staff, are open to new ideas, or do a good job developing future leaders.

The survey does provide some positive insights from American employees, but it is also clear that there’s still some work senior leaders must do to ensure their workforce sees them as trustworthy and confident to lead the organization to success. Check out some of our past blogs for some help in improving your company’s efforts:

Building trust in an organization is no easy feat. Time, dedication and care are essential for keeping trust nurtured and sustained. Trust is a fundamental value that all companies should practice because it improves almost every business facet, including retention, morale, communication, customer service and productivity. Check out four ways you can build trust here: http://blog.capital.org/four-ways-to-build-and-sustain-trust-in-your-workplace/.

In the workplace, miscommunication can be blamed for a significant amount of conflict and the tension that it stirs. It would be unrealistic to think all miscommunication could be prevented, but if we understood its causes, the percentage could likely be decreased. Review the five common causes here: http://blog.capital.org/five-common-causes-of-miscommunication-in-the-workplace-and-how-to-avoid-them/.

Providing employees with education that will be beneficial to their careers is a cost-effective way to increase job satisfaction at your workplace. Keep your employees engaged and confident in your ability to help them get to where they need to be in their careers. Here are some great ways to provide professional development and training: http://blog.capital.org/use-training-and-professional-development-to-encourage-employee-engagement/.

For additional help with improving trust and positive employer-employee relationships at your organization, please call our Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

 

Which Pays First – Medicare or Private Insurance?

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

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

Picture1As we go through Medicare Open Enrollment for this year, it’s important to remember some basics about how Medicare interacts with traditional private medical insurance plans. Many individuals who are entitled to Medicare benefits are still actively working and eligible for employer sponsored health insurance. When a person has multiple insurance plans, coordination of benefits takes place.This determines which payer (insurance company) pays first.

In most instances where group health insurance is involved, Medicare is the secondary payer. That means that the group plan will pay first, paying the amount that its maximum coverage allows, and then Medicare will be asked to pay the remainder. This is important, because when you determine your potential liability, you don’t want to exclude members who may be on Medicare and assume that your group plan will not be responsible for any claims.

Check out the details in our on-demand webinar on Medicare Secondary Payer.

It’s also important to remember some prohibitions that come with Medicare and employer-sponsored group health plans. It is illegal to incentivize employees off of the group plan and onto Medicare. While some feel that this could improve their demographics and potentially eliminate some high cost claimants, the government makes it clear that penalties can be assessed for each time an incentive is offered, whether it is verbal or written.

Another consideration is when your company offers a High Deductible Health Plan paired with a Health Savings Account (HSA). Those who are entitled to Medicare, meaning both eligible and enrolled, cannot contribute to an HSA on a tax-preferred basis. If this is the only plan option your company offers, your Medicare entitled employees may not be able to take advantage of the full benefit of the plan design. Employees who carry a balance in an HSA that was accumulated prior to enrolling in Medicare may still use those funds for Medicare premiums and out of pocket expenses.

If you have any specific questions about Medicare, CMS has a variety of detailed resources.

The 2015 HR Management Conference Will Help You Prepare for the Future

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

2015 HRMC ppt slide imageIn order to stay successful and make positive impacts to your bottom line, you must keep up with the kaleidoscope of factors that are now driving today’s business climate. Technology, global competition and shifting demographics are only a sampling of those factors.

From hiring the right people, to developing a thriving culture, and to getting the people out of the organization that don’t belong, HR can lead the charge! Please join us for the 2015 HR Management Conference on March 4 and March 5 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. With the theme Mind Shift: Talent Strategies for a Changing Workforce, come prepared to shift your way of thinking around talent strategies to address the dynamics and effects of the changing workforce of today’s business environment.

Four keynote speakers will share their informative presentations for conference participants:

Conference goers will also have the opportunity to attend several breakout sessions during the two-day conference. Some of the topics include:

CAI will also announce the winners of the 2015 Ovation Awards for HR Excellence on the second day of the conference. There is still time to submit a nomination if your company has implemented an HR/people practice that fits into one of the following categories: addressing the skills gap, driving HR efficiency, and leveraging changing workplace demographics. The nomination deadline is Friday, December 19. Please send nominations to Doug.blizzard@capital.org.

Please visit www.capital.org/hrconf to review the full agenda, descriptions about the presentations and speakers, and to register. Please call 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 with any questions.

3 Tips for Leading a Multigenerational Workplace

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

multi generationYour workplace might be comprised of employees and managers from four different generations. The age differences between your youngest employees and most experienced employees could be anywhere from one to 50 years.

The workforce now has the Silent Generation (born before 1946), the Baby Boomer Generation (born 1946-1964), Generation X (born 1965-1980), and Generation Y or the Millennial Generation (born 1981-2000). Each generation may come with its own approaches and ideals, but they all have assets to bring to the table. Employees of all generations need to be led in a way that makes an organization cohesive and united.

It takes time to figure out how to approach your multigenerational workplace, while maintaining the company culture and environment. Here are three tips to consider when leading your multigenerational workplace:

Be flexible and open to new ideas

If you have employees born in a different generation than you, it is likely that they can have different ideas that might fit with their generation. Differences are not a bad thing. They can lead to ideas and approaches that you might not have thought of or considered. Be open to ideas that challenge your way of thinking and lead to an innovative approach.

Initiate open communication about needs

Employees across multiple generations might possess a variety of workplace needs or preferences. You may prefer face-to-face communication or a personal note. However, an employee in a different generation might prefer email or a text message.

Employees may also need different types of motivation. While Generation X tends to be motivated by results, Generation Y can be associated with being motivated by achievements. You will have to be open to asking questions and figuring out how employees are motivated.

Eliminate generational stereotypes

You as a manager are expected to have open communication with your employees, yet you should also encourage open discussion amongst employees. Encourage people to discuss their differences, whether they be strengths or weaknesses. This can help to eliminate any generational stereotypes. Open communication could lead to the discovery of a Silent Generation employee’s social media skills.

A multigenerational workplace is one that has a variety of approaches, ideas, and skills that can all be used to strengthen an organization. Instead of taking a general approach to leading all of your employees, figure out how to use their variety of skills most effectively.

For additional tips for managing a multigenerational workplace, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: US Department of Labor

Nominate Your Company for a 2015 Ovation Award for HR Excellence

Thursday, December 4th, 2014
Bruce Clarke with 2014 Large Company winners - AICPA

Bruce Clarke with 2014 Large Company Winners – AICPA

We are now accepting nominations for CAI’s 2015 Ovation Awards for HR Excellence. The HR awards recognize North Carolina employers that have successfully initiated an HR or people practice that positively affected their business.

This year we have created three categories for you to submit a nomination. Unlike previous years, we will select the two best initiatives for each category regardless of size, selecting six winners in total. You are welcome to submit multiple nominations to any or all categories. The three categories are:

  1. Addressing the Skills Gap

Nomination topics can include: efforts in apprenticeship programs, professional development activities, training opportunities, succession planning, etc.

  1. Driving HR Efficiency

Nomination topics can include: efforts in outsourcing work, implementing HR technology, flexible work schedules, strengthening processes, etc.

  1. Leveraging Changing Workplace Demographics

Nomination topics can include: efforts in mentor programs, working with different generations, maternity and paternity planning, diversity training, recruiting veterans, etc.

Please submit a nomination that successfully tackled one of the topics above and helped your company reach business goals.

Submitting a nomination is quick, easy and free! Recognition and publicity, an enhanced employer brand, and free registration to CAI’s 2015 HR Management Conference are a few of the benefits you’ll earn when your company wins one of the awards. Plus it’s a way for you to give back to the HR community and to have a broader impact on workplaces in NC.

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

  1. The appropriate nomination category
  2. Describe the problem or opportunity that your initiative addressed
  3. Describe your solution
  4. Describe how your solution positively impacted business results

Please submit nominations via email to Doug Blizzard at Doug.Blizzard@capital.org. Please contact Doug with any questions regarding the awards.

The deadline for submitting nominations is Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. Winners will receive their awards and must be present at the 2015 HR Management Conference on March 5, 2015. Winners will also have the opportunity to share the process and results of their initiatives and participate in an Ovation Award panel at the conference. Past winners of the HR awards include: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, AICPA, Tanger Outlets, Farragut, Eye Care Associates and more! Good luck!

Delivering Great New Employees – Part 3

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

In today’s video blog, CAI’s Vice President of Membership, Doug Blizzard, shares his last installment of advice for hiring great new employees. Doug starts the video by describing a triangle that represents a pool of job candidates. He says the 80 percent of candidates that are at the bottom of the triangle are aggressively searching for a new job. The five percent of candidates at the top of the triangle are not open to new opportunities. However, Doug says the actual challenge is to attract the 15 percent in the middle who aren’t looking but might be open to a better opportunity.

To uncover those 15 percent, Doug offers several tips in the video. His first tip is to engage employees. He suggests telling your employees about current openings at the company and asking them to tell their friends, as well as post about the jobs on Facebook and LinkedIn. His second tip is to encourage employees to brag about the cool things your company is doing, such as blood drives or food drives. His last tip is to ask employees questions like “why do you enjoy working for our company” or “what makes our company different from our competition.” Doug says to use their answers in campaigns and ads to target and attract new employees.

Doug’s overall message is to train your employees to be good talent scouts for your organization. Please call our Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 for additional ways to attract new talent.