Archive for the ‘Employee Recognition’ Category

How to Prepare for Difficult Compensation Discussions

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
Molly Hegeman, VP of HR Services

Molly Hegeman, VP of HR Services

In today’s post Molly Hegeman, CAI’s Vice President of  HR Services, shares helpful strategies for approaching conversations about pay with preparation and confidence. 

If you’ve been in HR long enough, you’ve inevitably experienced uncomfortable conversations about pay. Whether it’s with an unhappy employee or a frustrated manager, your staff looks to you for answers in these emotionally charged situations.

So what can you do to feel more comfortable and prepared the next time you’re questioned about pay?

First, don’t say “No” right off the bat. Start by asking questions and gathering information.

  • Why is pay suddenly an issue?
  • If it’s about an employee, is he/she a good performer?
  • Does the employee demonstrate potential with your organization?
  • If it’s about hiring, has there been recent turnover in the position?
  • Are you having a difficult time making an offer to candidates because of pay?

Second,  agree to look into the situation. Research market data about the position. Go to trusted survey sources, like CAI’s NC Wage & Salary Survey, seek outside expertise.

  • Look for answers to questions about the position:
    • What is the market paying?
    • Is this a market-sensitive position?
    • Is this an issue about low supply of the skill set?
    • Are benefits and/or your total rewards package competitive?
  • Look for answers to questions about the employee(s):
    • How long has the employee(s) been in the position?
    • What is the performance history of the individual?
    • Is this employee a strong contributor with future potential?
    • Are there implications to other employees within the department?

Finally, don’t get defensive. Remaining calm will help you have a better conversation about the issue.  Your goal is to maintain an objective perspective and develop a credible position based on facts and knowledge, not emotion. They will most likely come to the conversation with plenty of emotion of their own, so addressing their concerns with facts and research will help you both understand the situation better and have a good follow-up conversation. Whether you end up agreeing to make an adjustment or providing rationale for why the pay is appropriate as is, you will be more credible and have confidence in your decision.

Six Tips to Turn Frustrated Employees into Positive Ones

Thursday, December 10th, 2015
Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares helpful tips to transform negative energy into positive action within frustrated employees.

Within any organization, there will always be an opportunity to deal with a frustrated employee.  When employees are frustrated, their productivity often goes down and odds are they are affecting the morale and productivity of those around them.

Some frustrated employees will never speak up regarding their frustrations, be it feelings of being unheard as an employee or mistreated as a team member.  Their feelings eventually turn to anger or resentment until they finally resign.   When an unhappy employee does confide in you, it becomes an opportunity to turn that situation around for an employee who may be a valuable contributor to the organization.

Start by listening to the employee.  Do not try to immediately determine if they have an actual problem. That can sometimes be a first reaction, but it is not what they are looking for when they come to you. The important thing to remember is they perceive there is an issue which needs to be discussed.  Let them talk through it and work with them to really understand their point of view.

Show the employee you genuinely care about their issue and then work to find out why they feel the way they do.  By talking through it, the two of you can get to the underlying cause and hopefully find a solution.  Follow these simple steps to turn a frustrated employee into one with a more positive outlook:

  • Appreciate Feedback – Show your employee how much you value the time, energy and the courage it took for them to come to you with this situation.
  • Empathize – Offer your employee understanding about their situation. Take the time to understand the situation and be genuine in your delivery. Otherwise, you will come off sounding like you are patronizing them.
  • Get the Details – Have the employee outline for you what led up to their becoming frustrated with the situation. Let them know, if appropriate, that you will investigate the issue(s) and therefore the more detail they can provide, the more quickly a solution can be found.
  • Offer an Apology – Providing your employee with a heartfelt, honest apology may be appropriate.  You may not be directly responsible, but you are not apologizing for the issue, you are offering an “I’m sorry” for the way your employee feels as a result of the issue.
  • Take Action – At the end of the discussion, your employee is going to want to know what you intend to do about the situation. They may not ask directly, but you need to convey your plans to take action. Your next steps will be what they remember. This is an opportunity to enhance your employee’s trust.
  • Follow Up – Offer a time frame in which you will follow up with the employee to be sure things are better. By now, you have conveyed what you feel is the solution and have hopefully executed it. Close the loop by making sure the employee is satisfied in how you handled it.

These simple steps will help you take control of a negative situation and make a very positive statement about how your organization cares for its staff. If you have questions about dealing with frustrated employees, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.

What has worked best for you when you have dealt with a frustrated employee? What has worked best for you if you were the frustrated employee?  Let us know in the comments below.

Giving Thanks At Work Beyond Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015
Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares the many reasons why employers should be giving thanks – and not just around Thanksgiving.

As Thanksgiving approaches, it is typically the time of year when we take a moment to count the blessings in our life and give thanks.  Often, the word “thankful” seems less than adequate to express how we truly feel and does not completely convey our gratitude.  There are so many things for which we should be grateful.  In fact, we should try to take stock of the sources of gratitude in our lives and demonstrate our gratitude on a daily basis – not just at Thanksgiving.

Begin a practice to take time out of each day and tell those around you that your life is better because of them. Naturally, we always appreciate our significant others, our children and special friends.  Many share their thanks and gratitude to colleagues at work.  When did you last thank a fireman or police officer? Have you acknowledged a member of the armed forces lately?  There are those you do not see every day that also deserve your thanks.

Even good leaders can forget to acknowledge the contributions of their followers in the workplace.  Taking your team’s work for granted can strain a relationship over time.  In a much quoted Gallop survey, they found that fewer than one in three American workers could strongly agree that they had received praise from their supervisor in the last seven days.   In an uncertain economy and competitive job market, it is essential that our workforce, business partners, clients and suppliers hear directly from us that their contributions to our success are recognized and appreciated.  Take time to say “thanks.”  It is such a simple thing to do and yet so meaningful to the recipient. A genuine thank you is priceless.

Experience has taught us that when you acknowledge and appreciate the people around you, they work harder, perform better and care more about the people around them in return.  The simple and meaningful act of showing gratitude can have a powerful “ripple effect” in both business and in the daily lives of those who directly and indirectly support your success in life.  Adrian Gostic and Chester Elton, authors of The Carrot Principle, conducted a 10-year motivation study, in which more than 200,000 employees and managers were interviewed. They found that when managers are considered to be effective at ‘recognizing’ their employees they:

• have lower turnover rates than other managers

• achieve better organizational results

• are seen to be much stronger in goal-setting, communication, trust and accountability

This Thanksgiving, remember to extend a special thank you to your coworkers. Not only will it mean a great deal to them, but they will likely return their gratitude in kind! With a simple “thanks”, you will be building a sense of gratitude and appreciation that can outlast the Holiday season and ultimately embed itself into your company’s culture.

For further information as to how or why you could be showing gratitude in the workplace, please give our Advice and Resolution Team a call at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Put Your Mistakes Under the Microscope to Improve Your Work

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
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.

We spend too little time celebrating our workplace mistakes. They deserve dissection, truth and reflection. Too often they receive denial, excuses and burial.

There is so much focus today on finding your strengths. Consider the common parenting advice to use only reinforcement in redirecting child behavior. There is even a movement to replace “weaknesses” in the time-tested business SWOT (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) analysis because the word is too harsh!

This over-emphasis on positive is having a negative effect!

Mistakes are the mothers’ milk of change and growth. All the praise in the world (while it feels nice and has good effects) will not create needed change. Mistakes have the power to mold our thinking and our skills in ways that triumphs never will.

If you define mistakes broadly, and not just as small errors and omissions, they include bad habits and unproductive traits. Until you decide to understand and own your mistakes, the path to improvement remains hidden. Robert Frost wrote of the road less traveled. A truthful and open review of mistakes (big and small) is the less traveled, and shortest, road to real improvement.

Open discussion

Celebration of mistakes means applying the same passion to weaknesses as you bring to successes. Think of a person at work who takes their mistakes to the team or manager, and has responded well to criticism. Did your opinion of them go up or down? Did their impact at work improve or decrease?

Owning your mistakes and using them to grow makes good things happen.

Learning from mistakes is the most basic benefit of owning your mistakes. Only skeletons come from buried problems.

Trust develops between you and others if you are just as willing to discuss your problems as your strengths. Imagine what could be accomplished if everyone behaved this way!

Open discussion of mistakes and needed changes helps you work harder to improve. Think of it like telling your friends you stopped smoking.

Ownership of all behaviors, good and not-so-good, is the best way to demonstrate to others the treatment you expect in return.

Early recognition

Skilled managers know how to help employees make the most of mistakes while preserving a motivation to grow. Less-experienced managers need proactive help from the mistake-maker to maximize improvements. Every manager should be pleased and impressed if you bring your mistakes to them in the right spirit and with a plan of action.

Owning mistakes may include early recognition of a skills gap or a troublesome personality trait. Both can be improved if addressed early. Allowing a reputation for poor aptitude or attitude to harden can make success at any workplace difficult. This is an important discussion to have right now with your manager to get on a corrective path.

So many of us hide our mistakes that there is little danger of overdoing all this openness. Employees who acknowledge problems and work toward solutions get the best work opportunities. It starts with owning all your mistakes, big and small.

For additional guidance, please give our Advice and Resolution Team a call at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

First Impressions Vital to Candidate Experience and the Bottom Line

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015
Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares the importance of creating a strong candidate experience and its positive impact on the health of your business.

The overall experience a candidate encounters during the interview process is very important to securing the candidate’s continued interest in your organization.   As competition for top talent continues to grow, and candidate expectations of potential employers expand, it is vital to make the best first impression possible.

According to a new CareerBuilder study, candidates who are turned off by a bad interview experience could go so far as to stop purchasing products or services provided by your company and may tell their family and friends to do the same.  According to the study of 5,000 workers and 2,000 hiring managers, candidate expectations are on the rise.

Here are a few specifics from the study:

The Bottom Line – A negative hiring experience can actually affect your bottom line.  Although eighty-two percent (82%) of employers felt there would be no negative impact to their bottom line as a result of a bad hiring experience,  58% of candidates indicated they would be less likely to buy from a company after a bad hiring experience. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of candidates said they would be more likely to buy from a company after a positive interview in which they were treated with respect.

Networking – According to the study, the average candidate researches an organization using as many as eighteen (18) resources during their job search.  Job boards, social networking sites, and online referrals are just a few of those resources.  Fifty-eight percent (58%) of employers fail to track how candidates learn about a position or how they researched the organization.  As a result, these employers miss a real opportunity to connect with candidates who are actively searching for jobs.

The “Black Hole” – The absolute worst thing an employer can do after interviewing an application is failure to follow up.  Candidates would prefer bad news over none at all.  Unfortunately, 52% of employers say they respond to less than half of their applicants, while 84% of today’s candidates expect a personal email response from their application, even if the answer is negative.  Do not let your candidate applications fall into the “Black Hole.”

Communication – Today’s technology makes it all too simple to send out a quick note via email to an applicant who has been through the interview process.  According to the study 41% of job applicants expect to be notified after the interview process if they were not chosen for the job opening. Seventy-three (73%) said they were never notified of anything post-interview.

KISS – We have all heard of the KISS method.  Keeping it simple is still the best way to keep candidates engaged in the hiring process.  A complicated application process can cause a candidate to lose interest and move on to another company they may be interested in.  Forty percent (40%) of applicants complain the hiring process has  become to difficult and 57% complain the process is too automated and lacks a personal touch.

Make Me An Offer – Making a good first impression during the hiring process can produce other benefits as well for the organization.  Seventy-seven percent (77%) of candidates surveyed said they would accept an offer 5% lower than their expectations if the interview process went well and left them with a good impression of the company.  Eighty-three percent (83%) said they would accept 5% less if the company had a great reputation as an employer.

Companies that have a strong reputation for an excellent hiring process and making a great first impression have a definite advantage.  Fifty-two percent (52%) of employers surveyed admit they do not have such a reputation, giving the other 48% the edge in acquiring top talent.

If you have any further questions regarding how you can develop or improve upon your existing talent acquisition process, please call our Advice and Resolution team today at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Use Multiple Channels of Communication to Recognize Employees

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015
Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares some new strategies to reach and recognize your employees.

A recent survey conducted by the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute illustrates the importance of using multiple channels for recognizing employees for their accomplishments and contributions.

Over 19,000 workers in 26 countries participated in the survey, which produced the following key observations:

  • 76% of employees who receive recognition are engaged in their jobs, whereas only
  • 28% are engaged in their jobs who do not receive recognition
  • 51% of employees without recognition indicated they intended to leave, whereas only
  • 25% who receive recognition were intending to leave their employer

Obviously, recognition of employees is an excellent productivity and retention strategy.  However, many organizations continue to rely solely on written and verbal recognition methods.  According to the survey, 58% of employers use emails for employee recognition.  This may not be the best way to reach today’s Millennial workforce.

The workforce of today includes many members of Generation-Y, who have grown up with the notion of instantaneous information access in almost every aspect of life- including work.  Their expectation is to work with an organization that embraces the technology available to them and utilizes that technology to communicate wherever possible.

While there is no substitute for a face-to-face, verbal “thank you” to an employee, there are a number of channels for recognition which can be used in order to get the recognition to the employee faster, especially as our workforce continues to become more widespread geographically.

The use of Smartphones, online recognition applications and peer-to-peer videos are excellent ways to provide more timely recognition and reinforce employee engagement.  These methods allow for social recognition as well among fellow employees and peer work communities.  Feedback, such as congratulations from other team members, can be almost immediate and multiplies the overall effectiveness of the recognition.

In order to engage, retain and improve the productivity of our workforce, recognition strategies have to evolve to effectively communicate with the changing workforce of today.  There are numerous communication channels available today which take advantage of social, mobile and other technologies utilized by Generation-Y and, in many cases, Generation -X.  Using multiple channels of communication can offer interactive, frequent and immediate communication.

What recognition channels are you using to recognize your workers?  Are you using enough channels?  Are you using the right channels?

If you’re struggling with these questions and are searching for ways to help your business evolve its recognition process, please call our Advice and Resolution team today at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.