Author Archive

The Key to Aligning HR to Your Business? Understanding Your Corporate Strategy

Thursday, February 11th, 2016
Doug Blizzard, VP of Membership

Doug Blizzard, VP of Membership

In today’s post, CAI’s Vice President of Membership Doug Blizzard discusses the importance of setting a corporate strategy to begin the process of aligning HR to the business.

I’ve talked with several senior HR executives recently about a conundrum they face.  They want to align HR to their business, however there doesn’t appear to be a business strategy in place to align HR to.  When they inquire about said strategy they hear things like “we are pursuing a growth strategy” or “our primary strategy is reflected in the budget” or even better “the world is changing too fast to really have a formal strategy.”

I’m not here to make the case for aligning HR to the business.  That case has been made a hundred times over and there are thousands of companies that have figured that out and they lead their industries every year.  I’m also not going to talk about how you can align HR to the business.  That’s a much broader subject.  Click here for more on that or see the reading list I prepared for you below.

I do want to talk about the first step in aligning HR to the business and that is setting a corporate strategy.While more enlightened companies have given HR a seat in the boardroom and the opportunity to help shape their corporate plans, the vast majority will expect HR and other departments to fall into line once a business strategy has been mapped out.  And some number of those companies don’t have a formal corporate strategy, particularly smaller companies in growth mode.

Here are three steps you can follow to help you understand your corporate strategy:

First, just because you haven’t seen a corporate strategy doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  Unfortunately many companies don’t involve HR and some don’t trust or value HR’s contribution to the strategy.  Other companies hold corporate strategy very close to the vest.  It’s easy to go negative and second guess executives when you feel uncertain about how and why decisions are being made.  Check your own negative attitude and pursue further.

Second, the most straightforward and perhaps logical path to understanding corporate strategy is to just ask the CEO.  If you can talk to the CEO by all means do so.  Be prepared however to explain why you need to know.  The simplest explanation: I need to understand where we are going so I can make sure our workforce has the skills and competencies necessary to both get us there and keep us there.  Also I need to make sure we have the necessary leadership, culture, work systems, performance capabilities, rewards and incentives and governance to achieve our goals.    Now of course if your company doesn’t look to you to do any of the things I just mentioned then your bigger issue is building credibility for the HR function.  Click here for ideas on how to do that.

Now the CEO may not give you a formal plan so be prepared to ask questions to help you shape the HR implications of the ideas he/she has in their head.  Which brings me to an important point, asking the CEO about strategy isn’t a hallway conversation.  You should schedule a meeting.  If you don’t report to the CEO, by all means talk to your boss first.  They may have all the answers you need, or they may block you.

Third, if you’re unable or unwilling to talk to the CEO, or your boss doesn’t like the idea and can’t provide any insight, what can you do?  Well if you’re a publicly traded company you can find information in annual reports, investor statements, etc. Here are some other ways you can uncover your corporate strategy complements of CAI friend and world renowned HR thought leader Dr. David Ulrich:

  • Read positive and negative analyst reports
  • Read magazines, newspapers and articles about your company
  • Read magazines, newspapers and articles about your industry
  • Attend industry trade shows
  • Master internal market reports
  • Learn how internal market reports are generated
  • Visit customers in their buying context
  • Visit customers in their product or service utilization context
  • Study competitors in detail
  • Be personally involved in market research
  • Track financial analysis of market segments
  • Attend marketing meetings
  • Attached product development meetings
  • Attend sales meetings
  • Invite customers, analysts and shareholders to address training programs
  • Invite customers, analysts and shareholders to attend training programs
  • Invite customers, analysts and shareholders to address management meetings
  • Invite customers, analysts and shareholders to address HR meetings
  • Invite customers, analysts and shareholders to address meetings of line operators
  • Know what you don’t know

Your company desperately needs to have HR strategies woven into every fabric of the business.  Your path to do that may be difficult but it’s worth it.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to myself, or Rick Washburn orTom Sheehan for help in aligning your HR practices to your business.

For additional guidance about how to craft your business strategy, please contact our Advice & Resolution at at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. If you have any suggestions about ways to align HR to business strategy, let us know in the comments!

Drive Productivity in 2016 Through Wellnesss

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016
Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares how wellness initiatives can be used as a key driver for employee engagement and productivity this year.

Human Capital Media (Workforce magazine’s research group), in conjunction with Virgin Pulse, has released its latest report on the top areas of focus for employers in 2016.  Nearly 89% of the 1,000+ HR professionals surveyed indicated improving productivity among the workforce was their top priority in 2016, and over 97% agreed that employee wellness programs have a strong impact on improved productivity.  Click here to download the complete survey.

More employers are seeking ways to either implement or improve wellness programs within their organizations to help achieve their business objectives in the coming year.  According to the survey, 60% feel it will improve employee engagement, 53% feel it will increase productivity, and 52% feel it will add value to their existing corporate culture.

The number of key executives included in the survey would also indicate wellness programs are no longer simply viewed as a way to reduce the rising cost of healthcare benefits.  Such programs are now being regarded as a way to achieve other objectives of the business going into the new year.

By investing now in improved wellness programs, employers are able to assist their employees in achieving a better work-life balance model so they can focus on their work while at work.  The return on this investment will reach far beyond the anticipated savings on health benefit premiums.

virgin+pulse+report

Nearly 40% of larger companies and nearly 30% of small companies are reporting increased spending on wellness programs for the coming year, demonstrating a keen awareness that employee wellness is a key driver of business success.

As with the approach of any new year, it is incumbent upon organizations to reflect on the initiatives of the prior year to analyze what worked and what did not when it comes to meeting business objectives.  Perhaps this would be a good time to seek ways to either implement or improve your wellness programs.

Please share your plans for 2016 below regarding your wellness program, ideas for improved productivity and employee engagement.  Also, consider joining our Health & Wellness group on myCAI to collaborate and learn from others.

For any further information about wellness initiatives at work, please give our Advice & Resolution team a ring at at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Veni. Vidi. Lusi: I came. I saw. I played.

Thursday, February 4th, 2016
Dawn Daria, Co-founder of Skoyz Wellness

Dawn Daria, Co-founder of Flow Circus

In anticipation of CAI’s upcoming HR Management Conference, one of this year’s speakers, Dawn Daria, shares how a little play time at work can go a long way in optimizing performance. Make sure to register by Friday, Feb. 5th to get early bird pricing for the Conference!

As a co-founder of Flow Circus, Dawn aims to promote whole person wellness to boost employee engagement, productivity and company culture. She is an award-winning educator and author, and works with co-founder Paul Miller, a nationally touring comedy juggler, to create memorable team building experiences that serve to break down barriers and create authentic connections between employees.

Somewhere around middle or high school (and now it seems even elementary school), play time is no longer valued as essential to learning. Instead, we encourage students to get serious, work hard, and focus. But in the process we lose sight of the fact that no matter what our age, play creates physical, intellectual, emotional, and social well-being critical for effective and efficient performance. The focus for creating healthy and productive work cultures should be on developing tools and strategies to seamlessly integrate play breaks into our workday in order to refresh energy and replenish creative reserves.

Here’s how play breaks support and encourage well-being:

Physical:  Particularly for those of us that spend most of our day staring at a computer screen, sitting in meetings, or driving a car, adding play breaks gets blood flowing to different parts of the body and brain.

Intellectual: Play provides an opportunity to practice two different ways of approaching a problem. On one hand, we set a goals to “win” the game and strategize toward that end goal while at the same time being open to improvising when variables change. Both are critical cognitive skills for problem solving and growth.

Emotional: By definition, we engage in play voluntarily, for its own sake, because it is pleasurable. Play researcher Brian Sutton-Smith once stated, “The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression.”

Social: During play, barriers break down and we become more attuned to the people we play with which builds trust and authentic connections. Plato understood and captured this experience with his statement, “You discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation.”

Play can take many shapes and forms. In his book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, Stuart Brown identifies eight different play personalities — including the Joker who likes to make people laugh, the Kinesthete who likes to move, and the Explorer that likes to seek out new experiences and ideas. Think about yourself and other members of your team – what types of activities put you in a playful state and bring joy? How can you build short play breaks into your work day, internal meetings, or even your commute?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Start meetings with an improv game: You can find instructions for improv games on line or in books. Zip, Zap Zop is a great beginner level, non-threatening game to start with.
  • Collaborative Creativity Wall: Have a designated spot in a break room where one person starts a sentence, story, or poem that can continued by colleagues one word or line at a time.
  • Poll Your Team: How do you and your team members like to play? How can these forms of play become an active or passive part of your work place culture? Maybe it is a community jigsaw puzzle in the break room or a two minute afternoon break that features a company-wide dance party or rock, paper, scissors tournament.
  • Learn to Juggle! Juggling provides a great physical and mental activity that can be done for two minutes or two hours. Very adaptable, juggling can be done solo or in groups, inside or out, and packs small for travel.

Learn how juggling and a playful mindset can encourage creativity, resilience, and connection for your team at our session Dropping the Ball: Juggling Creativity and Innovation at Work on March 9th at the HR Management Conference. We guarantee you will leave our session refreshed, energized, and ready to juggle!

Where to Draw the Line When Sharing Your Opinion at Work

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016
Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

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.

Any topic that preys on emotions, faith or morality is a fire-starter around the water cooler. “The Patriots are cheaters!” “The Tar Heels finally got caught.” “What is up with that Supreme Court decision?” “Trump is right!”

Polarization from our politics or religions is one thing. Workplace conflict caused by hardheaded emotional opinions is quite another.

There is nothing wrong with an opinion shared among respectful co-workers. Opinions are part of life and work. Progress and clarity come from opinions shared openly and appropriately. Problems are solved when opinions are aired in the right way.

No workplace can or should be free of opinions. That includes properly expressed political, religious and sports team views. Policies or handbooks prohibiting such are largely futile or counter-productive.

Unproductive opinions

Most unproductive opinions are the “my way or the highway” kind. Conflict flows from the dogmatic or preachy style of the speaker. Well beyond a normal opinion is the overly confident pronouncement. It shuts off debate and sends opposition underground. Business issues that could be solved and opinions that could be harmonized have no chance.

Worse yet, when the pronouncement involves an emotional, faith-based or moral topic, the seeds of workplace conflict are sowed. Unfortunately, the seeds may take a long time to germinate, showing up only after several more conflicts, a termination or a perceived mistreatment.

The aggressively outspoken evangelist who promotes an employee from her church but rejects an employee of another faith creates Exhibit A for the disappointed employee’s lawsuit. The decision may be unrelated to faith, but these suits are about the intent of the actor. Intent is usually proven through statements and behaviors. Emotional declarations make good evidence.

Offensive opinions

The other significant source of opinion conflict is an off-base or offensive statement. Sometimes, it is so offensive it requires an employer response. Maybe it was an honestly held belief. Maybe the speaker was never coercive or directive. Maybe the comment or action can be read two ways. The confederate flag stuck on workbenches in the shop might be an example.

Out-of-bounds opinions that offend reasonable people can become the employer’s problem. Even if no one in management made or endorsed the opinion, the failure to take action or clearly reject the opinion can become an issue. Situations vary, but it would be a bad idea to ignore truly offensive and repeated statements by employees just because they were not made by management.

Employers may not like the role of hall monitor, but when the hallway banter shoves people into unwanted emotional lockers, it is time for the principal to come out of her office. Failure to act can be raised in a future claim to show tolerance and acceptance of similar behavior.

We are rounding the corner on another long season of politics, pomposity and pronouncements by candidates and their supporters. Opinions that allow for respectful disagreement should be expected in any workplace. Opinions that carry a verbal stick or seriously offend reasonable people are harmful and may require action.

Using Effective Recruiting Sources

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

sources

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares the findings of a CareerBuilder survey that reveals where employers should be wisely spending their resources on recruiting sources.

According to a CareerBuilder survey of over 1,600 of their clients, job candidates, on average, use eighteen (18) sources when looking for a new job.  Understanding which of these sources are used most often will give employers insight as to where to invest their recruiting time on job posting sources.

Most companies typically do the same things when it comes to getting the word out regarding job openings.  There are employee referrals, internal databases, job boards, etc.  No secrets or surprises here.  So, which sources are having the most success?

Forty-three percent (43%) of those surveyed find the most success posting on Job Boards.  Thirty-two percent (32%) find the most success by posting on Career Sites. Seven percent (7%) have more successful hires coming from Employee Referrals and two percent (2%) are more successful recruiting candidates through an Agency.  Other sources combined to make up the remaining 16%.

However, according to Leadership IQ’s latest research, the most successful companies are finding their best people in what they call “The Underground Job Market” through employee referrals and networking.

As an employer, now that you have this information, what can you learn from it?  In order to ensure the best possible formula for recruiting success, an organization must have a multi-faceted strategy for sourcing candidates.  An internal database, or pool, of qualified candidates you have already spoken with and vetted is one of your best sources.

However, you should also make sure you post openings on targeted job boards and career sites.  This will attract candidates for your current opening. Establish an employee referral program which rewards employees for finding and recruiting qualified candidates for an opening.  This will encourage participation and engagement from your existing employees, as well as serve to preserve your corporate culture.  People are prone to associate with and recruit people who they are most compatible with.

A single approach to recruiting is not enough to make you successful.  There will be specialty jobs which require very targeted approaches, including perhaps the support of an agency.   There will also be jobs requiring a certain level of soft skills in addition to education and experience.  For these, you may find yourself “smiling-and-dialing” to locate the right candidate.

Lastly, there are two important considerations to remember when putting these strategies to use.  The first is, a recruiting technology is only as good as the people who use them.  Make sure your team is well-trained on getting the most use out of career sites and job boards.  As with any technology, if you do not use it correctly, it will not work for you.  The second thing to remember is to accurately measure your source for each hire.  These statistics will tell you and your management, which strategies are working well and help to drive budgets for investing deeper in certain strategies.

Should you need assistance developing a new approach or validating your existing one, please contact Tom Sheehan on our Advice & Resolution team at (919) 878-9222 or tom.sheehan@capital.org.

 

The Truth About Affirmative Action…

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016
Kaleigh Ferraro, Manager, Affirmative Action Services

Kaleigh Ferraro, Manager, Affirmative Action Services

In today’s post, CAI’s Manager for Affirmative Action Services, Kaleigh Ferraro, sheds lights on what exactly affirmative action is and what it means for your business.

I get asked all the time “What is affirmative action?”.  You’d think since I am the manager of affirmative action services at CAI that I wouldn’t have difficulty in answering that question.  You’d think that, right?

The truth is I do struggle to answer this question.  Not because I don’t know what it is but more because I’m not sure what answer the person asking really wants. Are they interested in a quick summary just highlighting a few main points?  Or do they want more detailed information including all requirements and analysis.  I can provide both.  I tend to provide more detail.  For those of you who have spoken to me – you’re welcome….or I’m sorry.   What I’d like to address here is high-level information.

What Affirmative Action IS:

Affirmative action is based and builds on the principles of equal opportunity laws.  It is intended to provide opportunities for defined protected groups and give them equal access as others in the population. Groups covered by affirmative action are: race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability and veteran status.  Affirmation action laws are intended to:

  • Help eliminate discriminated members of groups who have been historically disadvantaged
  • Provide proactive action-oriented programs to include members of protected groups in employment
  • Assist in removing barriers for employment and level the playing field in the workplace

What Affirmative Action is NOT:

To me almost equally important as identifying what affirmative action is, is to educate people on what it is not. There is often a misunderstanding of what companies must do as affirmative action employers. Affirmative action is not:

  • Quotas/ Set aside programs
  • Preferential treatment and selection
  • Different standards
  • Selection of unqualified individuals

Affirmative Action Programs (AAPs)

If certain headcount/contract amounts are met, federal contractors and subcontractors are required to develop written affirmative action programs.  These programs are intended to be a management tool to ensure that equal employment opportunity is occurring in the workforce.  These programs should identify the extra steps contractors are implementing to include covered, protected groups. Written programs must be developed on an annual basis and include:

  • AAPs include analysis of the contractor’s workforce. Analysis includes comparing the demographics of the company in relation to the demographics of qualified individuals in the labor pool.  Where the company is underrepresented, placement goals are established (women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, protected veterans).
  • AAPs include a narrative which is a communication tool for what the contractor/subcontract has done or intends to do for the AAP year. This includes the company’s good faith efforts to address under-representation or impediments in employment practices.
  • Contractors must also annually review employment transactions (hires, promotions, terminations) that occurred in the prior twelve months,   often referred to as adverse impact analysis.  The analysis is used to determine if there are significant differences in selection rates between groups (females vs. males, minorities vs. non-minorities).
  • Contractors are also required to annually review compensation practices/systems to evaluate if there are gender, race or ethnicity based disparities.

While the AAPs could be viewed as a paperwork exercise, they really can be much more.  Use them as the tools they are intended to be to identify and address areas in which there are opportunities for good faith improvement.  Improvements to processes are definitely recommended where adverse impact exists in employment transactions or where unexplained disparities exist in compensation as monetary liability exists for companies in those areas in the event of a government audit.  Develop realistic and attainable goals for your organization by using your developed AAP as your guide.

If you need help understanding the requirements or how to implement your company’s program, please contact Kaleigh Ferraro, Manager of Affirmative Action Services, at kaleigh.ferraro@captial.org or 919.713.5241.  We also invite you to sign up for our free one hour webinar AAP: Preparing Data for Analysis on Feb. 9th.

Here’s How to Master Doing Less Better…

Thursday, January 21st, 2016
Tom Sheehan, HR Business Partner

Tom Sheehan, HR Business Partner

In today’s post, CAI’s HR Business Partner Tom Sheehan shares the importance of HR professionals staying focused on one or two projects at a time rather than spreading themselves too thin.

Because of its inherent support role, the HR function and its leaders typically have a strong service orientation. That means that as ‘opportunities’ to support and serve the business are brought forward, there is a certain eagerness to please the customer. HR professionals frequently struggle to identify and prioritize which HR projects to push forward to the organization.

Because of the desire to please, HR teams typically conduct too many initiatives, often with mediocre results. Conducting too many projects dilutes the effectiveness of each initiative, and wastes valuable resources.

When deciding which HR initiatives are top priorities, answer these three questions:

  1. To what extent does this HR initiative further the key business objectives that have been laid out for the organization?
  2. If we decide to move forward with this project, what project or initiative must be bumped or moved down the priorities list?
  3. Can we articulate a true return on investment on this project?

Here are the most typical projects that the HR team may undertake:

  1. Improving leadership development
  2. Implementing new technology
  3. Restructuring the organization
  4. Delivering on recruiting initiatives
  5. Measuring and improving workforce performance
  6. Enhancing employee engagement

At the end of the day, HR professionals and their teams would benefit greatly by ‘doing less better.’  That may mean selecting one or two projects to focus on and delivering outstanding results on each of them. Do not move on to the next project until the current project is fully executed and has had a chance to take hold. Being able to stand your ground and appropriately push back when being pressured to take on a new initiative is often a key success factor.

Nothing will ‘short-circuit’ your credibility more quickly than a series of half-delivered projects with mediocre results. The ‘customer-requested’ projects should of course be added to the master list of projects and prioritized appropriately. The master list should include dates and timelines as well, and undergo periodic review with the leadership team.

Frequently, HR leaders are challenged by the business with a ‘critical’ training opportunity for the problem du jour. The expectation by the customer is that HR drop everything and hastily complete the training project. This ‘drop everything’ approach to training is frequently misguided and should also be weighed against existing priorities and projects. It is critical to remember that there is an opportunity cost associated with every project. Never allow a new ‘discretionary’ project to come at the expense of delivering on the strategic promise.

If you think you may need help rethinking your department’s priorities, please give our Advice & Resolution team a ring at at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Practicing Mindfulness In The New Year

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

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

As 2015 has come to a close and we begin to embark on the adventure of another year, many of us will be making resolutions, promises to ourselves and our loved ones for a happier, healthier, better 2016.

But the reality for most adults is that we are too busy, too stressed, and have a to-do list a mile long. Frankly, when are we ever going to catch up on our daily activities, let alone find the time to better ourselves?

The answer may be found in mindfulness. UC Berkeley defines mindfulness as the practice of “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.” Mindfulness can be cultivated through quiet periods of meditation, focused breathing techniques, and intentionally noticing your surroundings through each of your senses.

The Harvard Business Review recently published an article chronicling the success of a mindfulness and meditation program at Aetna. While most business leaders are spewing the standard “do more with less” and “increase productivity by working harder, faster, longer” jargon, Aetna’s CEO Mark Bertolini is taking a different route. Aetna began a mindfulness training program back in 2010 to teach employees how to better manage stress and center themselves throughout the day through yoga and meditation.

Aetna isn’t the only company instituting mindfulness practice into employee lives. Other major companies, like Intel, General Mills and Google, have created their own mindfulness programs. Google offers over a dozen courses on mindfulness to their employees, and the most popular of these courses – “Search Inside Yourself” – is now offered to other companies as a way to train leadership teams on bringing the practice into their own organizations. The list of participants in the SIY Leadership Institute yields more high-profile companies and institutions, including Ford, Comcast, American Express, and several universities.

Clearly, mindfulness is taking the corporate world by storm, and for good reason. Aetna’s program resulted in a 36 percent reduction in perceived stress by participants, and has increased participant productivity by an average of 62 minutes per week, which computes to $3,000 in increased productivity per participant each year. In addition to reducing stress, mindfulness has also been shown to improve your ability to focus, boost productivity and creativity, and increase your Emotional Intelligence, a key indicator of job success.

The New Year is the perfect time to interject mindfulness practice into your life and the lives of your employees. The holidays are often synonymous with stress and over-indulging, but the New Year brings the promise of a fresh start, in which we can shape our present lives to better fit our ideals for the future.

So, how do you begin? The idea of jumping headfirst into meditation may seem daunting, but that is not the only way to cultivate mindfulness in your daily life. Try creating a small habit at the beginning of each day: when you arrive at work, sit quietly for two to three minutes, doing nothing but feeling your breath and taking note of your surroundings.

For a beginner’s course in attentively using your senses, consider the raisin. This popular practice in mindfulness, especially mindful eating, has the participant experience a single raisin through sight, smell, feel, and taste.

For more information on starting a mindfulness program, and promoting employee well-being in a broader sense,  please reach out to HCW’s Health Management Department.

Create Core Values That Will Strengthen Your Business

Thursday, January 14th, 2016
Rick Washburn

Rick Washburn, A&R Manager

In today’s post, Advice & Resolution Manager Rick Washburn shares helpful tips for businesses looking to create core values that will put them on the track to creating a better and more intentional workplace.

A company’s personality is comprised of core values that guide the way employees’ think, feel, act, and perform. A company’s core values also directly impact the decisions and actions of the organization.  This can be an extremely powerful enabler or derailer of a company’s business  results.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Volkswagen blamed their damaging emissions crisis on a chain of mistakes and a “culture of tolerance for rule-breaking” that allowed deception to continue within the organization for many years.  Engineers deceitfully added software to their cars that would lower nitrogen oxide emissions in its diesel engines after realizing that there was no legal way that engines would pass U.S. exhaust standards.  Volkswagen’s internal investigation revealed that parts of their organization had a “mindset that tolerated breaches of the rules.”   The consequences have been devastating:

  • Over a 4% decline in global sales within 30 days of the disclosure
  • A $3.85B loss in the 3rd quarter
  • Significant loss of customer loyalty and trust
  • The enormous cost of recalling and repairing 11 million cars world-wide

Does your organization have core values that define your culture?  Do they reflect the current desired state and the fabric of the organization?  What does the organization do to reinforce, “walk the talk,” and keep the core values alive and relevant?  What could be worse than when a company says it values one thing and does another.

Here are a few tips that HR leaders can use to formalize or revise their company’s values:

  1. Involve others in the establishment of company values. Gather input from employees, customers, and other key organizational stakeholders.
  2. Management must commit to the values. Commitment to values starts at the top. Leaders must take the company values into consideration when they make important decisions and refer to them when they explain why these decisions were made. Values should not be abandoned even in the face of economic crisis.
  3. Set realistic expectations. Management should communicate to employees that everyone should strive to act consistently with the values but that it may not always be possible. For example, there may be times when holding a meeting on a weekend is unavoidable and an exception must be made.
  4. Continuously monitor how well the organization lives up to its values. Management should consciously make time to regularly reassess the authenticity of its actions vs. its values. They should also survey employees to find out if they feel the organization is living up to its values.

For more information on core values, culture, and creating a better workplace, please call our our Advice & Resolution team at at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. If you have any further tips for formalizing company values, we’d love to hear them – so let us hear your suggestions in the comments!

How to Lose Your Best Employees in 10 Easy Steps

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Michelle Smith, VP of Marketing at O.C. Tanner

In anticipation of CAI’s upcoming HR Management Conference, one of this year’s speakers, Michelle Smith, shares the 10 toxic practices that will cause your business to lose its top talent.

Named one of the most influential women in the incentive industry, Michelle M. Smith, CPIM, CRP, is an accomplished international author and speaker, Past-President of the FORUM at Northwestern University, President Emeritus of the Incentive Marketing Association, Vice-President of Research for the Business Marketing Association, and Vice-President of Marketing for O.C. Tanner.

What could be more essential to both organizational success and the corporate bottom line than talent?

Most of us would agree that having the right talent is crucial for success and sustainability, yet many of the people in our employ continue to be marginalized and neglected, often taking a backseat to the various other matters that occupy our workdays as leaders.

And the problem seems to be pervasive.

While writing The Talent Mandate: Why Smart Companies Put People First, author Andrew Bennett spoke with a prominent business school professor who noted improvements and innovations in every area of business – except in talent management. In fact, the professor said no corporate function today lags behind as dramatically as how we manage the employees for which we are responsible.

That’s astonishing, and it’s also lunacy when the ‘War for Talent’ continues to rage and employee costs represent a majority of corporate expenses.

These things will cause your best people to leave

The author suggests we keep doing the following if we want to free ourselves from our brightest, most dynamic, and highest-potential employees:

1. Hire for the past, not the future. Choose talent based on what worked before, not on where the company is heading now. Emphasize candidates’ narrow former experience over a more generalized, nimble agility to adapt in a fast-changing world.

2. Downplay values and mission. Send the signal that anything goes in pursuit of profit, making employees guess about what choices are truly acceptable. Fail to spend time articulating to your workers why they come to work every day and how the greater community benefits from their efforts.

3. Bungle the teams. Avoid mixing generations and skill sets, instead grouping like with like and producing stale and predictable solutions that are safe and excite no one.

4. Put jerks into management.Reward the old-fashioned, autocratic style that stifles unorthodox, creative thinking and feels threatened by fresh ideas, energy and dynamism.

5. Measure hours, not results. Keep an expensive cadre of stern enforcers busy with policing everybody. Don’t trust your talent to use their time wisely. Crack down on social media. Forbid personal activities during the workday, even as you continue to expect work to be conducted long into the night and over the weekend.

6. Promote people straight up the ladder. Fail to give employees exposure to different parts of the business through lateral moves or cross-training, giving them the sensation of being narrowed over time, rather than being broadened and improved.

7. Leave talent management exclusively to HR. Expect the professionals who must deal with an increasingly complicated variety of personnel issues to also be exceptional visionaries in hiring. Detach the C-Suite and other leaders from talent recruitment and development since it’s not their department.

8. Hoard information. Keep decision-making securely ensconced in the executive wing. Avoid empowering mid-tier managers or employees lest they suddenly become entrepreneurial and unpredictable.

9. Don’t bother with training. It’s costly, and employees will probably jump ship with their new skills. Instead, have your workers do the same tasks over and over in the very same way.

10. Hire outsiders. After you’ve failed to train and develop your best people, follow it up by stifling their ambitions for increased responsibility. When they come to you and say, “I’m leaving,” express astonishment and outrage.

If these sound at all familiar, you’d better hope your competitors are following the same game plan or your organization could be in big trouble.

Either way, all is not lost. Please join me on March 10th at the HR Management Conference for “Winning the War for Talent in a People-Led Economy” to learn more about how to attract, develop and retain the best talent.

The presentation is full of tested research, insights, and tools for HR leaders to advance their organizations and their own careers. The session will help those looking to evolve professionally, or to be viewed more strategically by senior leadership, as these concepts can fundamentally change the future of leadership, recognition and engagement. I look forward to seeing you there!