Archive for March, 2015

I Didn’t Come to Work Because I Dreamed I Got Fired

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

work and tardinessNo, this isn’t an April Fools’ joke. An employee actually told his employer that he missed a day of work because he dreamed he got fired. Getting to work can be a challenge, but with added obstacles like life-changing dreams, shower accidents and drunken forgetfulness, the commute can become harder.

A recent survey from CareerBuilder with help from Harris Poll found that participants gave reasons like the ones from above as to why they arrived to work late. More the 2,100 HR managers and more than 3,000 employees in several industries participated in the nationwide survey from November 4 to December 2, 2014.

The survey found that more than one in five employees admitted to being late to work at least once a month and 15 percent of participants said that arriving late to work is a weekly occurrence. Of the employees who admitted to arriving late, 30 percent also admitted to lying about the reason for their tardiness.

Responses from the survey revealed that traffic is the most common factor for tardiness, followed by lack of sleep and bad weather. Not as common, but still culprits of causing tardiness include getting kids ready for school or daycare, public transportation issues and wardrobe malfunctions.

CareerBuilder’s survey also asked employees what was the most outrageous excuse they’d ever given and they shared the following:

  • I knocked myself out in the shower.
  • I was drunk and forgot which Waffle House I parked my car next to.
  • I discovered my spouse was having an affair, so I followed him this morning to find out who he was having an affair with.
  • Someone robbed the gas station I was at, and I didn’t have enough gas to get to another station.
  • I had to wait for the judge to set my bail.
  • There was a stranger sleeping in my car.
  • A deer herd that was moving through town made me late.
  • I’m not late. I was thinking about work on the way in.
  • I dreamed that I got fired.
  • I went out to my car to drive to work, and the trunk had been stolen out of it.

If you receive an excuse similar to the ones above from an employee tomorrow, you may want to wait for them to say “April Fools!” before you start to doubt. You can read more about the survey here.

Photo Source: Tiffany Bridge

Unlocking LinkedIn’s Recruiting Potential

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

HR on Demand Team Member Carolyn Ulrich shares helpful tips for using LinkedIn as a recruiting tool:

linkedin and recruitingAs a recruiter for CAI, social media plays an invaluable role in my career. While we can arguably debate the usefulness of Facebook and Twitter, no one can deny that Linkedin is the holy grail of professional social networks.

Originally launched in May of 2003, Linkedin was created as the professional response to MySpace, gaining only a few new members a day. Within the first 3 years, Linkedin had 20 million users and surpassed MySpace in 2011 with over 33 million. Within the past 4 years, Linkedin has grown to more than 347 million users in over 200 countries and is the largest professional networking site in the world.

By investing a little time and effort into Linkedin, you can take your recruiting efforts to the next level. Here are my top suggestions on how to unleash the full recruiting potential of LinkedIn:

Start with a great profile!

Take the time to invest in a good headline and descriptive summary that helps people understand who you are and what you do. Don’t be afraid to highlight pictures, videos, presentations, skills, recommendations, certifications and clearances that will stand out to others in your profession. This will make you seem more credible and in turn, more approachable.

Expand your Connections!

Don’t be shy about accepting invitations from people you’ve met and even sometimes those that you haven’t. The more connections you have, the more users will be able to see you in their 2nd and 3rd degree network. Make it a point to reach out and connect with people you have heard about or met at events, trainings and conferences. Remember, there’s only 6 degrees of separation!

Post Often!  

Is something interesting happening with your company or in your office? POST IT! Once you have built your network connections make use of all your connections and post content as it relates to you, your profession and your company. Make sure you’re also posting jobs on your page and highlight why you LOVE your company! Never underestimate the power of social media. If you’re always posting about how much you love your job, your connections perceptions of your company will fall in line. Even connections that aren’t actively looking for a new position might be interested so don’t be afraid to put that job in front of them!

Leverage Your Connections!

Send notes to your connections that may be a great fit for your job openings. But make sure you’re not being too aggressive…. No one likes to be sold and you don’t want them to look at your messages like spam. This will keep you current with your connections and is a great FREE marketing tool!

Our recruiting team is dedicated to helping you with all of your recruiting needs. Whether it’s learning more about leveraging Linkedin as a recruiting tool, having us recruit for and fill your vacant positions, or simply answering a few questions, we’re here to help! Please feel free to contact our recruiting team directly at 919- 431-6084 or

Photo Source: Link Humans



10 HR Practices that Destroy Small Business Productivity – Misguided Meetings

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

In today’s video blog, CAI’s VP of Membership, Doug Blizzard, continues his series on HR practices that destroy productivity.  This month’s focus is misguided meetings, and he starts the video by giving examples of what misguided meetings might look like.

Doug then shares that for Business recently surveyed over 3,200 employees, asking them to rank their biggest time wasters at work. The number one reason, with 47 percent of participants agreeing, was attending too many meetings.

Running bad meetings isn’t due to a lack of available resources, Doug says in the video.   There are several books and other learning tools that offer predictable meeting advice. However, meetings with good elements, such as a detailed agenda or clear purpose to solve an issue, can also go south and waste valuable time.

Doug offers insight from business expert Pat Lencioni who argues that most meetings lack drama. The expert suggests putting the more controversial issues at the beginning of the meeting and seeking solutions before moving on to the next topic.

Another reason why meetings are often time consuming is that they lack context and purpose. Doug suggests getting into a rhythm by scheduling reoccurring, tightly-run meetings with your employees. The meetings should happen as scheduled and with specific agendas.  This will help you focus on what’s important and solve problems faster.

So stop letting bad meetings kill productivity at your office.  If you need help around your company’s meeting or communication strategy, please reach out to our Advice and Resolution Team  at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Are You Making Costly Compliance Mistakes?

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Business meetingNot knowing the different federal and state employment laws is not an excuse for not following them. Making sure you are in compliance can be overwhelming as several regulations and laws get amended or updated each year. Trying to keep up with all of the information may be time consuming or frustrating, but staying informed is necessary for keeping you and your organization protected.

Based on the EEOC’s 2014 Charge Receipt, employers all over the country lost nearly 300 million dollars for not staying compliant with employment law in that year. Don’t let this happen to your organization. Government enforcement agencies like the EEOC are always looking for ways to improve their methods for finding employers that are not following the law—whether purposefully or unknowingly.

Follow these three steps to help you stay on top of any federal or state law changes:

  • Research, research, research

Research is essential for making sure you understand the responsibilities you have to your employees and the business community. Some helpful websites to make sure you’re getting the information you need include:,, and

  • Attend an employment law conference or web series

Let’s face it—we are not capable of doing it all or knowing it all. Finding information on your own through internet searching or government agency announcements is important and should be part of every employer’s quest to stay compliant. Attending an employment law conference or joining a web series on the topic with industry experts, such as employment law attorneys, ensures that you get a deeper dive and a broader base of knowledge to keep your company protected.

  • Form a community

Make sure to stay in touch with your industry peers. The community support you can receive will be helpful for you when you need assistance in making a policy decision or handling a difficult employee situation. Whether they are coworkers on your team or members of a local industry group you meet up with monthly, it’s important for you all to discuss the different issues and laws that currently and will eventually affect employers.

Knowledge is your strongest defense against the complicated, ever changing world of federal and state employment law. Don’t risk your company’s reputation or having to pay attorney fees because you were unaware of the information you needed to keep your company safe and protected.

Guarantee that your company stays on track in 2015 and beyond by joining us for our 2015 Employment and Labor Law Update on May 13 and May 14 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. You will learn everything you need to know regarding updates to state and federal employment law. Some of the conference topics include: the NLRB, the Affordable Care Act, undue hardships and the ADA, sexual harassment, data security, FMLA and more!

Top Tips To Gain Executive Support For Health Management

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

The post below is a guest blog from Meaghan Roach who serves as Health Management Specialist for CAI’s employee benefits partner Hill, Chesson & Woody.

health management supportAccording to the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA), gaining executive support for your work site health management initiatives is a crucial first step to a successful program. Leadership support is a significant driver in getting employees to pay attention to and engage in the program. An executive champion serves to communicate the program to the masses, and sets a positive example of the desired healthy behaviors. However, this is often easier said than done.

If you are struggling to get your C-Suite on board with your plans for a health management program, try following these key steps:

  1. Establish Common Ground. How does the program tie in with your overall business strategy? How can you relate it to the company’s mission and vision statements? The CDC breaks down the reasoning for having a health management program into three key arguments: the Health Care Cost Argument, the Productivity Argument and the Great Please to Work Argument. Consider, for example, that you are part of a small company, thus your medical insurance is community rated. The Health Care Cost Argument may not be as important, but your field may be highly competitive, and being considered a “Best Place to Work” could be key for recruiting top talent. In order to capture the attention of your audience, you must know what issues are important to them and use those to your benefit.
  2. Understand the Obstacles. Often, members of leadership are dealing with their own health issues, and don’t want to appear hypocritical by pushing a health promotion program on their employees. They may not fully understand how their role fits in to the bigger picture, and what responsibilities fall on them. Be specific with what type of commitment you are requesting from them and what they will need to do to make the program successful.
  3. Build the skills. Once you have members of leadership on board, it is essential to help them hone their expertise to effectively lead the company’s health management initiatives. The key to effective support is to make the leaders be vocal, visible, and visionary for the program. Get your champions to push out important communication pieces, as well as be present at the events. Additionally, encourage executives to keep an innovate mindset throughout the process. Creative methodologies can help spark employee engagement.
  4. Respect that it is a Process. While it would be great if the entire C-Suite were committed to being champions of the program after the initial introduction, this is a lofty goal. The truth is: it will take time and perseverance to move their interest to a boiling point. Continue to bring success stories, employee testimonials, and hard data highlighting the progress the program has made. As they begin to see the impact of the program, they will be swayed in the desired direction.

Getting your entire workforce supporting and engaging in your health management program can be tricky, but it is necessary for the success of your plan. If you have more questions about how to obtain leadership support, contact our Health Management team.

Drugs, Alcohol and the ADA

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Advice and Resolution Team Member John Gupton shares helpful information about the ADA and what the law allows in regard to drugs and alcohol.

John Gupton, General Counsel and HR Advisor

John Gupton, General Counsel and HR Advisor

In general, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits covered employers from discriminating against a “qualified individual with a disability” in regard to job applications, hiring, advancement, discharge, compensation, training, or other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. The ADA requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability, unless to do so would impose an “undue hardship” upon the employer.

The ADA specifically allows employers to prohibit the use of alcohol or illegal drugs in the workplace and require that employees not be under the influence. Employers may test for the use of illegal drugs under the ADA. Employers also may maintain and enforce rules prohibiting employees from being under the influence of alcohol in the workplace and may conduct alcohol testing for this purpose if they have a reasonable belief that an employee may be under the influence of alcohol at work.

While current illegal drug users and alcoholics who cannot safely perform their jobs are not protected by the ADA, those who have been rehabilitated or are participating in a supervised rehabilitation program and are not currently using drugs or who are erroneously regarded as engaging in the illegal use of drugs, are covered. Thus, an employer may be required to make reasonable accommodation to recovering alcoholics, for example, by allowing time off to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

For more information about the ADA, go to If you have questions about the ADA, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.

5 Employee Engagement Activities for the Spring

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

spring engagement activitiesThe winter months can leave people feeling down and dreary, and these feelings can carry over into the workplace and impact work performance levels. Employees start to need a pick-me-up to increase engagement and motivation. As spring approaches, employers have many opportunities to participate in fun and engaging outings and activities with employees.

Here are 5 spring activities that will increase employee engagement:

1. Plant a company flower garden

This can be a fun way to get your employees outside and working together, while enhancing the appearance of the company grounds. If your office location prevents this, try planting trees in your local community.

2. Volunteer to walk dogs at your local animal shelter

Many local animal shelters are always looking for volunteers to walk the dogs (and cats sometimes), and this could be a great outdoor activity for your employees to do together that would also benefit a good cause.

3. Host a March Madness office potluck lunch

Choose a day when there is a basketball game on and invite employees to come and eat sporting their favorite team’s gear. This allows all employees to get involved even if they do not love basketball, they can come and eat!

4. Attend a local baseball game

For a company of 100+ people, this can be a good activity for employees in a specific department to do together. Whether a local minor team, major league team or college team, this activity will get everyone outdoors and away from all of the stress at the office.

5. Throw a company picnic

Have a picnic at a local park or lake during the nice spring weather and encourage employees to bring their families. This will give employees the opportunity to spend time with their families and colleagues at the same time.

These five activities will bring employees together during the spring while taking advantage of the warm weather and all of the opportunities that the season has to offer. Watch as your employees spirits perk up and their work begins to blossom from these engaging spring activities.

For additional ideas for employee engagement activities, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Woody Hibbard


Give more time to your best employees – not your worst

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

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

We hear managers complain that too much time is spent on people problems. The same issues repeat with the same people. All the while, their best performers are quietly getting the job done.

Why do we let recurring problems keep us from mentoring, growing and rewarding the right people?

Managers make their livings solving problems. They do not like to fail and, believe it or not, they do not like to fire people.

They often overrate their ability to change employee behavior. Plus, they worry too much about getting the job done if they finally do remove a problem employee.

Put all that in a blender and you get lots of time spent on lots of problems that will never be resolved. More importantly, not enough time will be spent on the right people.

Turnover is not expensive; turnover of your best people is expensive. Ignore your best people, and another employer will spend quality time with them.

Here is a revolutionary idea: Spend at least as much time on the top 20 percent of your workforce as you do on the bottom 20 percent.

Reprioritizing time

Think about your neediest employee. Think of the hours spent with them, with your own manager getting advice, or with other employees complaining of the problems caused. Think about waking up at night worrying about how to solve those issues.

Now take that same number of wasted hours and imagine how you might use them with one of your best performers, someone who has the potential to grow, innovate, implement and maybe even take your role one day. How could you help them get ready to do more and learn more?

What if you involved them in more of your projects? Could you take them into negotiations or client problem-solving sessions? Would they learn from helping you to hire the next members of the team?

How about attending a conference together, talking about what they like doing and want to do next, helping them obtain short assignments in other areas, resolving work flexibility hurdles and doing anything that makes them more valuable and more loyal?

Less on problems, more on best

The managers who say they have no time for such things are often the ones who cannot find great applicants or retain their best people. They want a magic cure with little change in their own behavior when the truth is that the best people demand the best from their manager.

If you are a high-performing employee with an inattentive manager, maybe the problem is too many poor performers taking too much time. Be upfront about your need for a mentor, for regular discussion about your own growth and for opportunities to try new things. If you like the work and the culture, it is worth your effort. If you fail to get the help you need, you might have your answer.

Spend far less time on problem employees and much more on your best. Your life as a manager and your organization’s performance will both improve.