Archive for December, 2016

How Effective is Succession Planning in your Organization?

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Succession is defined as the right, act, or process, by which one person succeeds to the office or rank of another.

How is the succession of your organizations’ talent happening?  Do some of your employees have implied “rights” to specific positions? Does their “time in grade” entitle those who have “paid their dues” to simply move into a vacated senior position regardless whether or not they are the most qualified or possess the most potential?

Does your organization use the “replacement” method of succession whereby a successor is simply chosen from a ‘short list” of employees that a select group of managers have compiled behind closed doors?

Or does your HR organization provide a collaborative process that brings leaders together to discuss designated positions and relevant potential talent as possible candidates? This of course, is the most effective and desired state.

If your succession process is not of the “desired state” mentioned above, then you are missing out on an incredible opportunity to enable your
business as well as potentially putting your business at risk by not filling opportunities with the top talent within your organization.

How do you get started?  Here are the first 3 steps:

  • As an HR business partner, you first need to be sure you completely understand your business and its current / future strategy and goals.
  • You then need to understand your organization’s key positions that drive and impact your business.  This includes not only key leadership roles but also positions with specialized skills that are challenging to find and or develop.
  • Next, and most importantly, you need to get buy-in from your GM/CEO, key leaders, etc. in the development and implementation of a succession process for your business. Although HR should own this process, succession is not a standalone HR “project” and needs to be done collaboratively and with the support, understanding, and buy-in of senior leaders and other key stakeholders.

Many small and medium-sized businesses fall into the trap of not implementing a succession plan, just like many people put off creating a will. While there are many other key considerations and variables that go into a developing a succession plan, don’t look at the process as insurmountable. CAI can help bring order to the process and partner with you along the way.

Rick Washburn leads the Advice & Resolution team at CAI. In his role, he advises executives and HR professionals on strategic and organizational issues, tackling subjects ranging from employee engagement to talent management. With his 25 years experience in HR management, Rick is uniquely poised to advice and lead businesses to successful HR strategies.

How to Retain Millennials

Monday, December 26th, 2016

It’s hard to think of an important aspect of management that is more neglected than individual development planning. As a consequence, companies typically pay the high price in the form of the loss of top young talent.

A Harvard Business Review article, “Why Top Young Managers Are in a Nonstop Job Hunt” conducted an analysis of young high achievers and concluded that many of the best and the brightest are not receiving the career development support they desire.

The article stated, “Dissatisfaction with some employee-development efforts appears to fuel many early exits.  We asked young managers what their employers do to help them grow in their jobs and what they’d like their employers to do, and found some large gaps.  Workers reported that companies generally satisfy their needs for on-the-job development and that they value these opportunities, which include high-visibility positions and significant increases in responsibility.   But they’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring and coaching – things they also value highly.”

There are two primary reasons that companies neglect the individual development process:

1. We tend to focus most on the here and now

Managers naturally tend to be most focused on essential day-to-day operations and less interested in longer-term activities perceived as having less immediate payback.

2. There’s just no time for it

This is another poor excuse.  There’s always time for important activities.  If you believe that development planning is a valuable managerial function, HR must make it a priority and create an expectation that ‘building talent’ is an obligation for all leaders.

Here is why development planning makes good business sense:

1. People care if you take a genuine interest in their future 

Development planning should be something a manager takes a real personal interest in – not an HR-driven mandate.

2. It helps builds loyalty, and loyalty increases productivity

Taking an honest interest in someone builds loyalty.  Employees feel as though the company is investing in them. Loyal employees are more engaged, and engaged employees are more productive. Talented people naturally want to advance, and appreciate the support in the process.

3. Capable ambitious young employees want training, mentoring and coaching

They want to gain skills.  They want to become more versatile and valuable to an organization. If your company doesn’t provide it, enterprising employees will go elsewhere for it.

Key HR Action takeaway:  Development planning doesn’t have to be elaborate or costly.  At its core it’s mostly a matter of good managers taking the person-to-person time to understand their employees, recognizing their skills and opportunities, and documenting them in an agreed-upon Individual Development Plan.

If you’re struggling with creating effective Individual Development Plans CAI can help.

Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.

Two Considerations For The Marketplace Open Enrollment Period

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

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

The Affordable Care Act provides the ability for individuals to buy coverage regardless of any underlying medical condition.  This guaranteed issue provision has provided millions of Americans the access to health care that was not there before.  Many who had access to group coverage have also shifted either themselves or dependents to individual plans when their group plans were too expensive or did not provide the coverage they needed.

This year’s annual Open Enrollment Period for the Marketplace has opened and we are seeing, on average, a 25% increase to the cost of individual plans.  This cost increase is forcing many who are enrolled there to re-evaluate if an individual plan is still the best option for them when other group coverage is available through an employer.  When making this decision around where to be covered, there are two important items that should be understood about moving onto or coming off of an employer-sponsored health plan.

First, the annual Open Enrollment Period for the Marketplace is not considered a qualifying event under the IRS guidelines to allow someone to drop their individual policy and enroll in an employer-sponsored group plan.  There seems to be a common misconception around this with both employers and employees.  As the costs for individual plans continue to rise, many are looking for ways to move back to an employer’s plan.  The only instance in which someone could leave their individual plan and move onto their employer’s group plan is if the group plan is in an open enrollment period.

Another thing to consider is that the Marketplace Open Enrollment Period is not a qualifying event that will allow someone to drop a spouse or dependent from their group plan (unless the group plan’s annual open enrollment period coincides.)  So those who may be considering moving a dependent to an individual plan would not have the ability to do so at that time.  However, a special provision in the rules does allow an employee the ability to make a mid-year revocation of their group plan (outside of the group’s open enrollment) and enroll in Marketplace coverage.  In order for an employee to move a spouse or dependent to an individual plan during the Marketplace Open Enrollment Period, the employee must also drop coverage for him or herself too.

Given the rising costs of individual plans it seems unlikely that many will want to shift away from the group coverage.  It is important for employers to know the rules around allowing employees to come on and off of their plans outside of their annual open enrollment period.  Employees should understand the potential pitfalls of shifting away their group plan as that could create the opposite impact of what they are trying to achieve.

PHR®/SPHR® Certification – Are You Ready?

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Did you know North Carolina HR partner, CAI, offers a PHR®/SPHR® Certification Study Course Program that far exceeds the pass rate of the national average of 50%? Program participants who study with us achieve an impressive 90% pass rate PHR®/SPHR® exam! An HR certification will distinguish you from your peers, build your self-confidence, and earn you greater respect from your organization. According to a Payscale Survey, this certification typically translates into the ability to advance more quickly and earn significantly more money.

CAI’s PHR®/SPHR® Certification Study Course will have you prepared to the best of your ability to pass the exam. You’ll receive a complete study manual, online videos, practice test questions, online chat and discussion boards, and testing games. An audio flash drive is included too so you can listen on your commute. New this year, “online office hours,” will be available to maximize communications between you and your instructor.

“I couldn’t imagine taking the exam without the help of your prep class. The materials and experiences, combined with genuine teacher interest and support, really helped me focus my energies and determination,” states Terry L. Taylor, SPHR, HR Manager for Penske Racing Team.

This course is offered days, evenings, and weekends as both in-class sessions here in North Carolina or via live webinar. That means no matter where you reside, or how busy your schedule, you can study with the best and be on your way to the coveted HR certification!

David Siler, SPHR, GPHR, HRBP, HRMP, Managing Partner of Distinctive HR, Inc. has taught the PHR®/SPHR® study course for over 20 years. David teaches all of our classes and his engaging, motivational method of teaching will set you up for success!

Still not sure how it will help you? Sign up for the FREE 60-minute LIVE webinar (offered in January, March, June and August of 2017) to learn more about the benefits of achieving your HR certification, eligibility requirements to sit for the exam, and why this study course is the best one to register for. Worried you won’t pass? Just in case, we allow free retakes of this course within one year of your paid registration.

 

Click on the “start” button and take the next step toward your PHR®/SPHR® certification!

 

 

 

New to HR? Like our PHR® and SPHR® Certification Study Course, the new aPHR™ study course content will be focused on covering the general HR knowledge, principles and practices that make up the aPHR™ exam: HR Operations, Recruitment and Selection, Compensation and Benefits, Human Resource Development and Retention, Employee Relations and Health/Safety/Security.

The aPHR™ certification study course, also led by David Siler,  is perfect for people who have just graduated from high school, are new to HR or interested in pursuing HR as a career. Find out more about jumpstarting your HR career with the aPHR™ Study Course beginning in February 2017.

6 Things Not to Do When Terminating an Employee

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Terminating an employee is a stressful process for all parties. Even though you have repeatedly shared your performance concerns with the employee, they generally don’t believe that they will actually get fired.

You can make the experience easier to digest by using an effective, supportive approach.

Here are the top don’ts when you do decide to terminate an employee.

1. Don’t Terminate an Employee Unless You Are Meeting Face-to-Face 

If at all possible, do not terminate an employee using any electronic method (i.e. emails, voice mails, or phone calls). Even a notification letter is inappropriate. When you terminate an employee give them the courtesy you would extend to any human being.  Some organizations will follow-up with a written notification but this should not be the first time the employee is learning of their discharge,

Employees deserve a face-to-face meeting. Nothing else works. The discharged employee will remember and your other employees have even longer memories.

2. Don’t Terminate an Employee without Warning (for anything not deemed gross misconduct)

Nothing makes an employee angrier than feeling blind-sided when discharged. Unless an immediate, egregious act occurs, the employee should experience some combination of coaching, performance feedback, and or progressive discipline as required.  Before you discharge an employee, try to determine what is causing the employee to fail.

If you decide the employee is able to improve her performance, provide whatever assistance is needed to encourage and support the employee.  Often time your EAP is the appropriate intervention. Document each step.

If you are confident the employee can improve, and the employee’s role allows, a performance improvement plan (PIP) may show the employee specific, measurable improvement requirements.

3. Don’t Terminate an Employee without a Witness 

The best practice is to include a second employee in the termination meeting when you fire an employee. Typically the HR Business Partner and the employee’s immediate supervisor are the two members of management involved in this meeting. HRBP’s can also help keep the discussion on track and moving to completion.

The HRBP can also help pick up the slack if the terminating manager runs out of words or is unsure what to say or do next.

4. Don’t Supply Lengthy Rationale and Examples for Why You Are Terminating the Employee

This is a notification meeting only.  If you have coached and documented an employee’s performance issues over time and provided frequent feedback, there is no point in rehashing your dissatisfaction when you fire the employee. It accomplishes nothing.
Instead, sum up the high points and have ‘talking points’ prepared that correctly summarize the situation without unnecessary detail or placing blame. You want the employee to maintain his/her dignity during an employment termination process. So, you might say:

“We’ve already discussed your performance issues. We are terminating your employment because your performance does not meet the standards we expect from this position. We wish you well and trust you will locate a position that is a better fit for you.”

5. Don’t Let the Employee Believe That the Decision Is Not Final

Because employees don’t believe that you will actually fire them in the first place, they may believe that there is an
opportunity to affect your decision. Approach the employee with kindness, concern, and respect, but your words should be straightforward.

Being ‘wishy-washy’ only complicates the issue for all parties, especially if the employee believes he/she has one
last chance to affect your decision. In fact, tell the employee that the purpose of the meeting is to inform them of your decision, which is final. This is kinder than misleading the employee.

6. Don’t Terminate an Employee without a Checklist in Hand

An employment termination checklist can keep you organized and on track when you need to terminate an employee. The employment termination checklist ensures that you cover all appropriate topics during what can be a stressful meeting for all participants.

In addition, the employment termination checklist also provides guidance about informing the employee of what they can expect from your company upon termination of employment and any related supporting processes. If your company needs help with workforce planning and HR strategy contact us today.

Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.

How Do You Treat Former Employees?: Alumni or Deserters

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

employee-departuresHow do you treat your former employees?  Do you treat them as well as your current employees or do you treat them as deserters?  An increasing number of organizations today are treating former employees as valued alumni!

Why?  There are several very sound and  strategic reasons for doing so:

  • Top employee talent: The “war for talent” is real and great hires are hard to come by; competition is fierce!  Your former top employee(s) may find out that “the grass is not always greener on the other side.”   If so, would they likely return to your business or continue to look elsewhere?
  • Social media and references: People talk about and seek out information when considering your business for employment.  With websites such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn it is very easy for your former employees to post their opinions and write reviews about their experience while employed at your business. In addition, many people post information pertaining to their former employer on their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts.  What do your former employees write about your business?  Do you even know?  Does someone in your business monitor these sites and respond accordingly?
  • New business opportunities: Some professional services firms such as Ernst & Young consider their former employees as a specific network or talent pool.  This pool is tapped into as a source of new business opportunities as well as job candidate referrals.  The value of these “alumni” is increasing further as former employees are not only changing jobs but they are increasingly crossing over industry lines, which further expands both individual and company networks.
  • Competitive advantage: More and more employers are recognizing that these networks of former employees are providing a competitive advantage.  Some employers have established specific networks for alumni using websites like LinkedIn while other employers have developed a more customized approach incorporating this feature into their company website.  Some companies write targeted e-mails or newsletters to their alumni while others conduct on-line webinars to help engage and keep former employees up to date.

Consider the strategic benefits of treating your former employees as alumni rather than deserters!  The investment to do so is minimal and the return can be significant!

What steps would you have to take to transition your organization from one being perceived as just a mediocre place to have worked at to one of being viewed as a treasured alma mater? CAI helps 1,100+ North Carolina member companies with workplace planning and transition plans, contact us at 919-878-9222 if we can help your company.

Rick_Washburn circle

Rick Washburn leads the Advice & Resolution team at CAI. In his role, he advises executives and HR professionals on strategic and organizational issues, tackling subjects ranging from employee engagement to talent management. With his 25 years experience in HR management, Rick is uniquely poised to advice and lead businesses to successful HR strategies.

 

‘Twas the Night Before Performance Reviews

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

nightime-holidayTwas the night before performance reviews were due to HR.
Not a positive thought was stirring, as I drove home in my car.
The forms they lay scattered on my desk and floor,
In hopes that some miracle would walk through my door.

I squirmed in my chair as I tried to recall,
but  the visions of greatness did not come to me at all.
Goals and objectives and day to day grind,
We all had worked hard but, oh, never mind.

When all of a sudden I rose from my seat,
Thoughts sprang from my head, as I stood on my feet.
I started to write and I wrote and I wrote,
“The forms were all eaten by my brand new pet goat!”

The look on the face of HR was surprising,
And gave new meaning to all of ‘there’s a storm sure arisin’.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a look from my boss which gave new meaning to fear.

A little old man but sharp as a tack.
I knew in a moment he’s not giving me slack.
More rapid than words flying came out of his mouth,
And shouted and shouted as the meeting went South!

“Now dangit McGoo, all these people work hard!
Connor, and Connie, yes Donald and even Bernhard!
To the top of their game! to the long days they spend!
Now go away! go away! Don’t do this again !

As I sat at my desk and I got my head straight.
I will do the job well though these forms may be late.
So up through the night and into the next day,
I focused on all of the words I must say.

And then, with a twinkle and smile on my face
I headed to work to present my true case.
As I walked by my office and straight past my door,
I read all the words and then read them no more.

I was standing amongst the best team in the place,
And their eyes were a mist as I asked them for grace.
Applause began slowly and then cheers of joy,
As they sounded like children, each girl and each boy.

Their eyes – how they twinkled! Their smiles were a glow!
These reviews were as fresh as a new fallen snow!
Their mouths were dropped open as they read one by one,
I captured each plus, each best job they had done.

But their faces turned tight and they snarled showing teeth.
Confusion like smoke encircled their heads like a wreath.
They had a long face and with a sigh and a jerk,
Said, “hey, this review only covers the last month’s worth of work!”

I was stumped and perplexed, as I fell off of their shelf,
And I laughed when I heard them, in spite of myself!
A wink of my eye and a twist of my head,
Soon let them know I had nothing else to be said.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
I’ll fill out those forms, those misfits, those jerks.
But the clock alarm sounded and it filled me with fear,
It’s my fault, it’s my job to  keep notes through the year!

I sprang from the bed knowing this was a dream,
And away I drove swiftly to my office and team.
I heard in my head a voice whisper good cheer.

Our reviews don’t come once, they come all through the year!

If you need help with your performance review planning, learn more about CAI.

reneeCAI’s Advice & Resolution Advisor Renee Watkins is a seasoned HR professional with a diverse background in Human Resource. Renee provides CAI members with practical advice in a wide range of human resource functions including conflict resolution, compliance and regulatory issues, and employee relations.