Author Archive

The 3 C’s of Candidate Selection

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

In today’s video blog, Tom Sheehan, CAI’s HR Business Partner, shares helpful information for choosing great candidates to hire. He starts by saying there are many factors that should be considered during the hiring process, and he simplifies them into three categories: capability, chemistry and commitment.

Tom then explains what each of the 3 C’s mean:

  • Capability – Can they do the job?
  •  Commitment – Will they do the job?
  •  Chemistry – Will they fit in?

He explains each of these factors in more detail in the video, as well as offers some helpful tips to consider with each.

Tom says a successful candidate selection can only take place when you factor in each of these elements. He suggests using tools, such as the job description and success profiles, to eliminate those candidates that fail to meet minimum qualifications.

If you need further assistance with your hiring process, please give our Advice and Resolution Team a call at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

The New World of Recruiting Great Talent

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

HR on Demand Team Member Jill Feldman shares helpful tips for recruiting top candidates for your company:

Teamwork It’s a brave new world for recruiting talent. No longer can we place a job posting on an online job board and assume the candidates will flock to us. Whether it’s the quantity or the quality of applicants, companies are finding it harder than ever to recruit and hire top talent. It’s a new world out there, and in a candidate-driven marketplace, many of our usual “active-recruiting approaches” simply aren’t working.

Why?

It’s simple. With the rise of technology and a focus on self-gratification, top candidates are in the driver’s seat and more in control of their careers than ever. They’re hyper connected, often having multiple career opportunities available at once and they’re not afraid to “job hop” to satisfy their goals.

Consequently, in order to hire top talent and succeed in this new world of recruiting, we must move away from our traditional methods and old school tactics and move towards “new world” thinking and “new world” tactics.

This kind of thinking involves:

  • Focusing on finding a great employee who will serve the organization well beyond today and into the future.
  • Selling the applicant on those aspects of the job and the company likely to be most appealing to him or her. This approach suggests applying the same tools to identify and appeal to applicants that you use to identify and appeal to customers.
  • Focusing on defining the characteristics and qualities of a great employee and, then, using the methods that are best suited to provide you with information about an applicant’s abilities and aptitudes related to these characteristics and qualities.
  • Identifying your best sources of great employees and tailoring your recruiting and hiring methods to best fit that target audience.
  • Taking a much broader perspective on finding top talent and looking at not only the fit between the person and the job but also at the fit between the person, the company, the boss, the coworkers, etc.

Here are some “new world” strategies you can use to recruit and hire top talent:

Know Your Top Employees

Get to know your top employees. Where did they go to school? Where did they work before they came to you? What newspapers/magazines/blogs do they read (both work-related and non-work related)? What hobbies do they have outside of work? What community and/or charity events do they attend? The more you know about your top employees, the more information you will have to help you identify and appeal to great new sources of top talent.

Owning the Recruiting Function

Recruiting and hiring is NOT the sole responsibility of Human Resources. Anyone who has people reporting to them is responsible for recruiting and hiring. The new world of recruiting and hiring top talent requires that you and your organization help all managers own their role in recruiting and hiring. It also requires that you and your organization provide resources (e.g. training, online resources) to your company’s managers to help them improve and strengthen their skills in this area.

Involve Potential Co-Workers

One of the most important and often, most overlooked, aspects of hiring is the fit between an applicant and their potential co-workers. Employees can be one of your most effective recruiting tools. By sharing information about their work environment, employees have the potential to attract great talent. You can have employees do things like interview the applicant, give the applicant a tour of the facility, and take the applicant to lunch. These activities allow employees to share important, work-related information with the applicant. By creating ways for this happen, it shows both applicants and employees that you care about them.

Know and Sell What Makes Your Company Unique

Organizations that do a great job of recruiting and hiring top talent know their values and they know what makes them unique. Most importantly, they find ways to show who they are throughout the recruiting and hiring process. Organizations who understand this concept know who they are and they use creative ways to show who they are during the recruiting and hiring process.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is no way to meet the demands of the new world of recruiting and hiring top talent. You must think differently and act differently to get different results. What are you doing to think differently and act differently about recruiting and hiring? If you aren’t thinking and acting differently, I can guarantee you that someone else is.

CAI’s recruiting team is dedicated to helping you with all of your recruiting needs. Whether it’s learning more about strategies for recruiting great talent, 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 jill.feldman@capital.org.

 

Summer Interns and The ACA

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

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

summer intern and acaSchool is almost out for summer, and that means many employers are getting ready to start hiring summer interns. However this year, in addition to determining which students will be the best fit for your organization, you also need to consider how the Affordable Care Act may require you to offer benefits to the interns who you hire.

I’ve been asked numerous times in the last month whether interns who work 30+ hours a week must be offered health benefits on the same schedule as a full-time employee. The answer to this question is generally “yes”. An intern who works more 30 hours a week should be offered benefits under ACA if they are going to be employed for longer than an employer’s eligibility period (can be up to 90 days) if the employer wishes to avoid potential ACA penalties.

However, employers should be aware that there is a possible exception for seasonal workers where some employers are finding that interns may fit.  To qualify, the individuals who fill a particular position will work less than 6 months, and are hired at the same time every year.  For these individuals an employer can apply the look back measurement method to determine benefit eligibility rather than make the employees eligible at the expiration of a health plan waiting period.

For more information on seasonal employees, the 4th paragraph of question #54 in this IRS document has some additional information including the definition under ACA.

If you have questions about your specific intern situation, check out our free, on-demand presentation: “Temporary Employees and the ACA.”

4 Tips for Recruiting Exceptional Talent

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

recruit top talentEmployees are the framework for all organizations, and they represent a driving force behind the success or failure of a company. As one of the key elements for long-term success, it’s critical that companies focus on the hiring process, and strive to recruit the most intelligent, motivated and versatile employees available.

How can companies position themselves to not only recruit employees, but attract top talent? Here are four steps:

Evaluate Current Processes

First, evaluate the current selection process your organization has in place. Because of convenience, countless job seekers will come through newspaper ads and website postings, but by using additional outlets (social media, executive staffing firms, industry professional associations, conferences and online boards), a new kind of job candidate can be uncovered. By extending your network pool, you can build relationships, and much can be said about hiring a person whose character you know, instead of hiring solely on Internet credentials.

Provide Thorough Job Descriptions

Once you are recruiting within the correct market, make sure that your company job descriptions are clearly outlined. A detailed description of requirements and responsibilities is imperative, as it’s a way for you to label and define the expectations of future candidates. Don’t wait until the interview process to discover your interviewee doesn’t meet the basic qualifications. If you allow the job description to cover basic requirements, your interview process will reveal the candidate whose skills stand out above the rest.

Keep an Eye on Talent

To recruit the best and brightest, employers must always keep an eye open for top talent. Firms with exceptional recruiting results always monitor potential applicants, whether hiring or not. Through continuous evaluation of the candidate pool, organizations have a better idea of who to select when the time comes. By keeping a running list of candidates, you can keep a watch over top talent and avoid hiring at the last minute.

Monitor your Company Brand

An important piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked is to monitor your company brand. What people say outside of the company walls matters immensely. The overall public perception of your organization will influence many candidates. Outside of salary and job growth, employees want to be part of a company whose culture is respected and valued. Treat your current staff well, as they will be your spokespersons to others about what makes your organization great.

For more information about recruiting, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

 

Staying Connected with Remote Employees

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

remote employees

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares helpful tips for staying connected with your employees who work remotely.

More and more businesses are embracing the use of remote, or virtual, employees. Whether the opportunity to work remotely is provided as a perk, a recruiting tool or for cutting costs, it requires a different mindset on the part of both the employee and their manager to be successful.

Some managers would argue it is difficult to manage employees working on the same floor of the same building, let alone across the country or on another continent altogether. Despite the advent of technology designed to enable team collaboration around the globe, there can be challenges with managing remote employees.

Employees and managers alike wrestle with trust issues in a remote situation. Often remote employees are rarely seen in person on a regular basis. Management can sometimes question whether work is being done when they cannot see it with their own eyes. Remote employees wonder if they are getting the same or as much information as their counterparts at the home office.

Peers who may not have the opportunity to work remotely may show signs of resentment toward remote employees. This can serve to alienate remote employees and lead to being disengaged. In some instances, remote employees do not receive the same level of recognition as local employees upon completion of a significant milestone – “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Hiring the right worker for a remote opportunity usually means someone who is trustworthy and professional enough to work independently and efficiently with little direction from management. For this same reason, management needs to make an extra effort to include remote employees in meetings, announcements and other activities as if they were on-site.

Here are some tips on how to manage remote workers:

Regular Status Updates

These should be held often enough to stay in sync with the remote employee, but not so often as to constitute micromanagement. By definition, a remote worker should not need micromanagement. However, if the remote worker desires more frequent status updates, do everything you can to accommodate them. This is a sign they desire more interaction and you want to keep them engaged in their job and the objectives you are working to achieve.

Work and Play

Remember interaction is not always about work. Employees and managers who work in the same office will naturally establish a bond on a personal level as well and engage in conversations which are non-work-related. Remote employees do not get this type of daily interaction, so it is important to work harder to have conversations about something other than work from time-to-time. Encourage other team members to reach out as well. If feasible, make sure remote employees are brought in for group activities or outings.

Project Share

Where teams are involved, route documents and status emails to the entire group throughout the life of the project. Make sure everyone understands the importance of their own role, as well as others. Keep the remote employees involved and visible to the project and project team.

Open Lines of Communication

Remote workers are less likely to report problems out of fear they will lose the opportunity to work remotely. Also, it is more difficult to recognize a worker who is under stress when they are not in the office each day. Make sure your remote workers know you are there to help them be successful and they have an equal amount of access to your attention as local team members, regardless of distance or geography.

For additional tips for managing your remote workforce, please give our Advice and Resolution team a call at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Handling Stress in the Workplace

Tuesday, June 2nd, 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

Few workplace environments are totally stress-free.

Most of us must work for money and benefits to provide our basic needs.  Yes, it would be nice if the job was fun and challenging, but too many are not.  Or maybe your manager does not know how to make it a good job!

If you have done everything you can to change things, and you must stay in the job for now, try some ways to limit its effect on the rest of your life.

NUTs

Scientists say much of our stress comes from NUTs,”Nagging Unfinished Tasks,” forcing us to think about things we should do but have put off.  Do you have a long list of workplace to-do items delayed for another day that cycles over and over in your head?  That’s NUTs.  The best way to get rid of NUTs is to do the unpleasant parts of the job first.  When you go home, there is much less to run through your head like a bad movie.

Go have that conversation, fix that mistake, do that boring task, finish the useless project your boss keeps asking about, produce that run for a difficult customer, finish the work you just do not like to do.  This really works!  You may even find the job is not so bad after all.

Flexibility

Work gets in the way when it has rigid time and place demands.  More and more, work can be done with flexible schedules and locations.  Many jobs have some room for flexibility where there is a willing manager and a good performing employee.

Would you like to work fewer hours?  How about hours outside the normal schedule?  Could you open up for early bird customers (or late arrivals) that currently go unserved?  Can the work be done anywhere?  Would you rather do ten-hour days, or work all weekend?  How could you get more done in less time with fewer unnecessary interruptions?

The point is, what change in place or time would help you fit work to your life, and help the employer provide better services or products?  Focus on what is good for both rather than just your own needs.  Maybe you can find an example at a competitor or similar business where this works well.  Talk to your manager.

Action Plan

If your best efforts to make the job work with your life have failed, it may be time to move on.  The best moves happen when you know what you really want and have a plan to get there.  Too many people leave a job impulsively for reasons such as “no travel,” only to find they now travel even more.

An Action Plan means you know what you want and you are willing to take time defining the steps to get there.  More importantly, you must have the discipline to actually follow (and sometimes revise) the steps.  It works best when your goals are positive rather than mostly avoidance of pain.

Too much stress in the workplace will affect your productivity, to say nothing of your state of mind and physical well-being. Be honest with yourself about when it may be time to leave a bad job.

Top 5 Things Employees Enjoy Most about Working for Their Company

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

In today’s video blog, Sean Walsh, CAI’s Survey Support Specialist, shares the top five reasons employees say they enjoy working for their employers.

He starts by asking, “Have you ever wondered what your employees think of your organization?”

Finding out whether your employees love or hate their workplace can be discovered by measuring employee attitudes through an Employee Opinion Survey (EOS). Sean says they are one of the tried-and-true methods of HR.

He shares that in 2014, over 3000 employees completed an employee opinion survey with CAI. In the video, Sean reveals the top five things that employees enjoy most about working for their current employers and why they enjoy these five workplace aspects:

 5) Benefits 

 4) Management

 3) Schedule / Hours 

 2) Job Responsibilities / My Work 

 1) Fellow Employees / Enjoy the People 

If you have any questions regarding Employee Opinion Surveys, or possibly conducting an Employee Opinion Survey yourself, please feel free to reach out to Sean at Sean.Walsh@capital.org.

 

10 HR Practices that Destroy Small Business Productivity – Letting Poor Performance Slide

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

In today’s video blog, CAI’s VP of Membership, Doug Blizzard, continues his series on the ten HR practices that destroy productivity. This month Doug focuses on poor performers and how letting them slide drains company productivity, profit and growth.

Doug asks employers to think about poor performers in their lives and how the consequences of their actions can cause frustration for others. He then shares how poor performers can negatively impact top performers.

Offering insights from management thought-leader Bruce Tulgan, Doug says that “undermanagement” is one of the most detrimental phenomenon affecting businesses today.  Doug shares that poor performers come in three categories:

  • They don’t know what do
  • They can’t do what you’re asking
  • They won’t do what you’re asking

He continues the conversation with a mention of hiring practices. Many performance problems are really hiring problems in disguise.  To prevent problems, Doug advises employers to take more time assessing candidates.

If you’d like help managing your poor performers, please call CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

 

Are We Beginning To See Price Transparency In Healthcare?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

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.

healthcare costsAs pricing in the healthcare market continues to rise, we, as consumers of this healthcare, will begin seeking more cost-efficient ways to pay for this. Many experts agree that one way to begin to slow this rise is to become smarter with our healthcare buying decisions. A ‘smart healthcare consumer’ is one who seeks out the highest quality of care at the lowest price and understands the impact of their healthcare buying decisions.

One of the major hurdles to this is the lack of understanding on where to find information. In areas where there is a lot of competition for healthcare, costs can vary for the same procedure at different facilities. However, based on one’s medical plan, the cost to the patient may be the same by the time the deductible and coinsurance limits are met. The patient doesn’t realize there is a cost difference because his or her out-of-pocket expenses remain the same. It is the insurance company that is ultimately paying the difference, which causes potential increases to premiums at the next renewal.

This disconnect of the user of the healthcare (the patient) and the payer of the healthcare (the insurance company) is beginning to shrink as we see a shift to more consumer-driven health plans like high deductible plans and HSA-qualified plans. More of the actual charges are now being paid by the member on these types of plans. Due to this, the demand for greater pricing transparency is increasing.

We are now beginning to see the marketplace respond as third party companies are unveiling new technology designed to give us more precise information on the cost and quality of the services we seek. The Milkin Institute School of Public Health points to a number of new resources designed to give consumers cost information. Additionally, the health insurance carriers are redesigning their cost comparison tools on their member websites. Just recently, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC introduced a new pricing tool that integrates the member’s underlying health plan to show actual out-of-pocket cost for procedures at different facilities. This gives members a true shopping experience when seeking care.

Some carriers have developed phone apps that compare expenses and outcomes for many services and procedures, allowing consumers to find healthcare providers, urgent care centers, and emergency facilities, as well as average costs for medical services.

Ultimately, we will be able to evaluate our healthcare costs quickly and easily. It will be our responsibility as consumers to use this information efficiently and hopefully make an impact to our premiums.

Summer Planning for Youth Employment

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
Pat Rountree, HR Advisor

Pat Rountree, HR Advisor

Summer is on its way, and in today’s post, CAI’s Advice and Resolution team member Pat Rountree shares critical information about summer employment opportunities for teens and young adults.

Applications for summer employment are likely already arriving as the school year draws to an end. Now is a good time to review things you need to know to be in compliance with laws affecting youth employment.

Wage and Hour Laws

Non-Agricultural

North Carolina and federal law have limitations on hours and occupations for employees under age 18 applicable to non-agricultural employers. Where North Carolina employers are also subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the laws that offer the most protection to minors are applicable.

Youth under 18 may not work in any occupations determined to be hazardous or detrimental. (See http://j.mp/NC-HAZ and http://j.mp/NC-DET.)

During non-school weeks, there are no restrictions on hours for youth 16 and over. If they are attending school, they may not work during the hours of 11:00 pm to 5:00 am if they have school the next day unless waived in writing by a parent or principal.

Minors age 14 and 15 may not work in any manufacturing job and are limited to eight hours per day, 40 hours per week between the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm (7:00 am to 9:00 pm from June 1 to Labor Day) during non-school weeks. They must also be given a 30 minute break after working five hours. For more detailed information on restrictions for youth age 14 and 15, go to http://j.mp/Y-15.

Children of business owners may work for their parents in their business any hours, but not in hazardous or detrimental occupations as noted above.

Agricultural/Farm Jobs

North Carolina does not regulate youth employment in agriculture. For the applicable federal law, go to http://j.mp/j-ag.

Youth Certificate Required

All youth under age 18 working in North Carolina must obtain a youth certificate (worker’s permit) and submit it to the employer prior to starting work. See http://bit.ly/ncdol-y. These must be retained for at least two years after employment ends or until the employee reaches age 20.

Agricultural Occupations

The North Carolina youth employment provisions do not apply to farm work.

Drug Testing and Background Checks

Attorneys recommend having the parent sign the consent for pre-employment drug testing or post-offer background checks if these are required contingencies. However, the results should be released to the minor and not the parent(s).

Completing the Form I-9

If the minor has documents to satisfy I-9 requirements, they may complete Section 1 and present documents.

If the minor cannot present documentation of proof of identity and authorization to work, the parent may complete Section 1 on behalf of the minor. (See http://j.mp/I9-m.)

If you have questions about youth employment, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.