Author Archive

4 Steps to Motivate and Retain Top Employees with Professional Development

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Professional DevelopmentMany organizations believe that increasing salary is the most effective way to retain their stellar performers. Although higher salaries might keep employees at their jobs, it is not always a cost-effective solution for employers. To help staff members remain content without maxing out budgets, companies can devote time to staff development and education.

Employees stay in their positions when they believe they are accomplishing their goals and advancing in their careers. Showing serious interest in the development of your staff demonstrates to employees that they are essential in achieving success for the company. Support within management to invest in workforce coaching will help your organization attain a lower turnover rate and strengthen employee morale.

The entire organization benefits when time and resources are allotted to professional growth and job preparation. Employees are satisfied and become more productive, which leads to increased efficiency and greater revenue. Here are four actions you can take to promote the growth of your team members:

Help staff set goals.

Have employees evaluate their responsibilities to determine their strengths and weaknesses prior to setting goals. Help them establish obtainable goals that align with their interests and strengths to support success. Goals should be measurable, and a timeline can track progress.  Personally praise employees when goals are achieved.

Inform employees on training opportunities.

Alert team members of different training and educational opportunities available that are beneficial to their position and encourage them to participate. Offer to sponsor their attendance for different activities, such as conferences and seminars. If sponsoring is too expensive, partial payment still exhibits your vested interest in their career.

Encourage membership in professional groups and associations.

Organizations relevant to employees’ positions allow them to network with similar professionals, learn best practices and even gain new clients. To help facilitate their involvement, consider providing them annual stipends to partake in group activities related to their fields or reimbursing membership dues and other fees. Provide flexibility in scheduling and options to work nontraditional hours to allow employees to attend events as well.

Recognize training progress.

Employees need positive reinforcement when they continually perform their duties well. By attending training sessions, they invest in their career development as well as benefit the organization, so it is important to acknowledge their efforts. Take time to discuss what they learned from their experiences, and advocate that they integrate new knowledge into their responsibilities. Congratulating team members on earning certifications also promotes company loyalty.

Members of management should consider training options for themselves as well in order to set positive examples for all employees. Company leaders should also explain the value of continual education and professional development during staff gatherings or one-on-one meetings.

For more information on staff development and professional training, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.



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.


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

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!

Medical Care is not a Priority to Millennials

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

millennials workMillennials put a lower priority on medical care than other generations according to a new analysis from Aon Hewitt. However, this generation is also more likely to want their employers to play a strong role in supporting their overall health and wellbeing. The data comes from the 2014 Consumer Health Mindset report from Aon Hewitt, the National Business Group on Health, and the Futures Company. Participants included 2,700 U.S. employees and their dependents. The joint survey analyzed the health and wellness perspectives, behaviors and attitudes of employees from different generations.

The survey showed that Millennials are the least likely of the generations to participate in activities focused on prevention and maintaining or improving physical health. Some specifics of that data included 54 percent of them had a physical in the last 12 months, compared to 60 percent of Generation X and 73 percent of Baby Boomers. Additionally, only 39 percent say preventive care is one of the most important things to do to stay healthy in comparison to 49 percent of Generation X and 69 percent of Baby Boomers.

With only 21 percent participating, this group is also not as likely to participate in healthy eating/weight management programs, compared to 23 percent of Generation X and 28 percent of Baby Boomers.  However, 63 percent of Millennials are likely to engage in regular exercise, compared to 52 percent of Generation X and 49 percent of Baby Boomers.

“Given their younger age, most Millennials are relatively healthy, so they may not feel a sense of urgency to go to the doctor regularly or eat a well-balanced diet,” said Ray Baumruk, employee research leader at Aon Hewitt. “However, the lack of health prevention and maintenance when they’re young may lead to greater health risks as they get older. Employers should communicate the importance of participating in health related activities now to avoid serious health issues later in life.”

While they do not feel an urgent sense of preventative care, the data shows that Millennials are the most likely to embrace support from employers in their overall health and wellbeing compared to other generations. Fifty-two percent of participants from this generation say “living or working in a healthy environment” influences their personal health, while only 42 percent of Generation X and 35 percent of Baby Boomers feel the same way.

If you want to help your Millennials reach their fitness and overall health goals, while also making them aware of the importance of prevention and improving their health, Aon Hewitt experts suggests the following steps for employers:

  • Understand motivation. It’s important for employers to understand what motivates and engages this group. Fifty-five percent of Millennials report their motivation is “to look good,” and not as much to “avoid illness.” Employers should modify their strategy and communications to show how poor health can impact an individual’s energy and appearance.
  • Reach your audience correctly. Millennials are significantly more likely to prefer mobile apps, text, or popular social channels, such as Facebook and Twitter to access both general and personal health information. Organizations should also take advantage of apps and mobile-friendly websites to help engage employees in health and wellness campaigns.
  • Easy and convenient is key. Forty percent of Millennials say they are more likely to participate in health and wellness programs if they are “easy or convenient to do.” Employers should remove barriers to helping this generation create good health choices and habits by focusing on programs that meet their work/life balance.
  • Competition for fun. Millennials are the generation most likely to be interested in “friendly competitions.” Employers may want to explore ways they can include competitions to motivate and engage Millennials, such as company-wide well-being or fitness challenges.

For additional tips to help keep your Millennial staff engaged, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: ITU Pictures

Survey Reveals Employee Trust and Confidence in Their Leaders is Stronger

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nominate Your Company for a 2015 Ovation Award for HR Excellence

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

Bruce Clarke with 2014 Large Company Winners – AICPA

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

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

  1. Addressing the Skills Gap

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

  1. Driving HR Efficiency

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

  1. Leveraging Changing Workplace Demographics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Important Topics You Might Have Missed from the 2014 Triad Employment Law Update

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

2014 TELU Flash ImageMore than 170 people attended CAI’s annual Triad Employment Law Update on Friday, November 14. Held at the beautiful Grandover Resort in Greensboro, the conference informed participants on the most recent updates in state and federal employment law. Knowledgeable attorneys from Constangy, Brooks and Smith, LLP, as well as compliance experts from CAI, shared information on several employment law topics, such as DOMA, health care reform, I-9 and E-verify compliance and FLSA.

Below are five important topics that speakers highlighted at this year’s conference:

I-9s Made Easy

  • I-9s must be completed by employees no later than the first day of work and completed by the employer no later than the third day of the new hire’s employment.
  • Retain I-9s for the longer of three years or one year after an employee’s termination.
  • Office of Special Counsel of the US Justice Department investigates I-9 complaints of over-documenting an I-9, asking for a particular document, not accepting a valid document and requiring a document when one is not needed.

Practical Tips for Complying with Health Care Reform

  • Determination of “full-time” – employees must be treated as full-time in the following “stability period” if the employee averages 30 hours during the measurement period.
    • Stability period must last for at least six months and be the same for new employees and on-going employees.
  • Carefully consider the best measurement and stability periods to minimize costs.
  • Track hours to confirm that individuals are properly classified.

Correcting FLSA Mistakes

  • Meal breaks must be continuous and uninterrupted. If not, you must pay employees for that time.
    • Tips – Don’t let employees take lunch at their work stations, train supervisors to respect lunch, and if you use automatic meal break deductions, have a procedure in place for exceptions.
  • You must pay employees for preliminary and postliminary work that is indispensible to their principal work activities. For example, time spent logging into the computer system and shutting it down at the end of the day is likely compensable.
    • Tips – allow employees to clock in when they arrive at their work stations. If your clock in system is run through a computer system, either leave the computer on or add a set number of minutes to the time each day, and have a procedure for exceptions.

Avoid Discrimination with Unique Employees

  • Public image policies should not be based upon discriminatory preferences of clients. Be sure to avoid improper stereotypes, and if you have a questionable policy, ask yourself if you’re willing to defend it in court.

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Same-Sex Marriage

  • In 2012 North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment saying marriage is between one man and one woman. In 2013 the Supreme Court of the United States declared that amendment unconstitutional under Section 2 of DOMA.
  • Same-sex spouses will be entitled to all spousal benefits if they married in NC after October 10, 2014.
  • Same-sex spouses will be entitled to all spousal benefits if they were validly married in another state before moving to NC.
  • Same-sex spouses will not be entitled to spousal benefits if they were “married” in a state that doesn’t recognize it, but they can always remarry in NC.

For further assistance on staying compliant with state and federal employment laws, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Survey Reveals Majority of Employers in Favor of Raising the Minimum Wage

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

minimum wageRaising the minimum wage is one of the country’s top socioeconomic and political issues. Voters at large have shown support for minimum wage increases according to recent polls. A new survey from CareerBuilder indicates that many businesses are also in support of raising the minimum wage.

The survey reveals that 62 percent of employers who participated think the minimum wage in their state should increase. Fifty-eight percent of those participants are senior leaders at their companies.  Harris Poll conducted the survey on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 13 to June 6 of 2014. The survey includes a sample of 2,188 full-time hiring and human resource managers and 3,372 full-time workers in the private sector across industries and company sizes.

When asked what a fair minimum wage would look like, only 7 percent of participants think a minimum wage of $15 per hour or more would be fair. Check out how the other participants answered:

  • $7.25 per hour (current federal minimum): 8 percent
  • $8.00 or $9.00 per hour: 29 percent
  • $10.00 per hour: 29 percent
  • $11.00-$14.00 per hour: 19 percent
  • $15.00 or more per hour: 7 percent
  • No set minimum wage: 9 percent

When asked why the minimum wage should increase, employers in favor of an increase gave business-related reasons for the support. A majority of the supporters say a higher minimum wage helps the economy and company retention. Additional reasons are below:

  • It can improve the standard of living: 74 percent
  • It can have a positive effect on employee retention: 58 percent
  • It can help bolster economy: 55 percent
  • It can increase consumer spending: 53 percent
  • Employees may be more productive/deliver higher quality work: 48 percent
  • It can afford workers the opportunity to pursue more training or education: 39 percent

The employers who do not support an increase highlight the negative effects an increase may have on their business. See below for those reasons:

  • It can cause employers to hire less people: 66 percent
  • It can cause issues for small businesses struggling to get by: 65 percent
  • It can cause hikes in prices to offset labor costs: 62 percent
  • It can mean potential layoffs: 50 percent
  • It can lead to increased use of automation as a replacement for workers: 32 percent
  • Wages for higher-level workers may suffer and create retention issues: 29 percent

The survey showed that 27 percent of employers are hiring minimum wage workers in 2015. Forty-five percent of these employers are hiring more minimum wage workers than they did pre-recession.

An interesting statistic the study uncovered is that companies currently hiring for minimum wage positions are more likely to support a minimum wage increase than those who are not by an 11-point margin– 70 percent versus  59 percent.

Photo Source: Maryland GovPics