Posts Tagged ‘employee engagement’

Promoting Positivity in the Workplace

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Many people seem to know the expressions “Negative Nancy” or “Debby Downer,” but negativity is not something that should be familiar in the workplace. A negative environment can lead to low performance, job and performance dissatisfaction, and low employee retention rates.

But how exactly do we eliminate negativity in the workplace? This may seem like a tricky question because ultimately we can only control ourselves, but therein lies the answer. Whether a senior executive or an entry-level employee, to eliminate negativity in the workplace, we must evaluate our own attitudes and behavior and the way we express our views to colleagues and employers.

Let’s examine a few areas where we can re-evaluate our attitudes:

Interactions with colleagues

  • Employee retention rates may have a lot to do with how happy employees actually are. It may seem obvious, but no one likes a person with a negative attitude or someone that is never happy with anyone at work. Whenever you interact with colleagues think about trying to stay positive and optimistic because a positive attitude is contagious. If people have positive interactions with you, then they are more likely to have a positive interaction with another colleague, thus spreading the attitude throughout the workplace.


  • Try to avoid gossip or exclusivity, because this can turn an office into a negative environment by isolating certain employees and spreading animosity for certain people. By encouraging others to remain positive through example, you will help reduce office gossip, exclusivity and ill feeling towards others.

One-on-ones with supervisors

  • Feedback is key to developing employees, yet feedback can be unproductive if it presented improperly. Positive feedback can be beneficial to both the person giving and receiving it. When presenting feedback, try to do so in a positive way. Tell employees what they are doing well and then present them with a few things they could be doing to improve performance instead of only telling them what they are doing wrong. By keeping the attitude positive, the employee feels hopeful and encouraged to perform well.


  • It is important to receive critical feedback in a positive way as well. Try to understand where your supervisor is coming from and offer ways that you could improve your work. If you are optimistic about how you can improve, then your supervisor will be too.

Job performance

  • When approaching your own work, a positive attitude can look like many different things, such as being confident in the task or challenge at hand, feeling optimistic with the effort you are putting forth or performing to the best of your ability to achieve the results you want. By having a positive attitude towards your own work, you can achieve the best results. If a negative attitude is encroaching on your work, figure out if your skill set is being used properly or if there is a way to approach the task differently.

A positive work environment starts with you. Positivity and happiness seem to be contagious, so the next time you overhear an employee gossiping or being negative, encourage them or offer them a positive view on the situation. Say goodbye to “Negative Nancy” and say hello to “Positive Polly.”

Photo Source: Glen Wright

Prepare for Difficult Conversations with Employees

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

In today’s video blog, Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor on CAI’s Advice and Resolution team, shares how to have difficult conversations with employees by offering a few steps to follow when delivering difficult news.

Renee’ starts by explaining that the key to delivering bad news is to lead the conversation with respect and sensitivity. She then offers several steps to make these conversations positive and productive experiences.  Some examples Renee gave in the video include: be specific and avoid generalities, show employees your willingness to listen, and allow employees the opportunity to give their side.

She says having these difficult conversations will make the difference between success and failure for a valued employee. By following the steps in the video, you can improve the lives of many of your team members.

For more information on having difficult discussions with employees, or if you have any questions, call a member of our Advice and Resolution team today at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. The team is now available 24 hours each day throughout the week! Please give us a call!

4 Wickedly Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Employees

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Halloween in the officeSummer has faded away and now employees are welcoming fall!

With summer vacations behind them and their kids back in school, many employees start operating in serious work mode during this season. Keep their productivity high by helping them insert some fun and staff bonding throughout their work weeks. Halloween is a great holiday that encourages everyone to loosen up and enjoy spending time with coworkers and managers.

Try these four Halloween-themed activities at your organization to engage your employees during this fun and exciting time of year:

Have a pumpkin carving contest. Whether you carve them together at work or invite staffers to bring in their creations from home, a pumpkin carving contest is a creative and fun activity for all. Let team members vote on the best pumpkin in the office. You can give the winner a bucket of sweet treats or a gift card if you’re looking for healthier prize options.

Decorate the office to create a fun and spooky environment. Make the fun of Halloween last all of October by decorating your company’s building in fun and appropriate Halloween adornments. Filling dishes with candy corn, hanging purple and orange lights and placing cobwebs in office corners are just a few ideas. Use this opportunity as a bonding experience for your staff. Have fun and keep the atmosphere low key.

Throw a Halloween-themed employee appreciation party. Telling your employees how much you appreciate their contributions to you organization will never get old to them. Take advantage of this time of year and coordinate a fun, Halloween-themed party for your staff.

Treat your team to pumpkin spice lattes. Pumpkin flavor is back, and who can resist the ultimate taste of fall! Venture to Starbucks or another favorite coffee shop to pick up warm fall beverages for your team. The nice and simple gesture will help them feel appreciated and kick start their day in the most positive way.

The key is to have fun and make sure your employees feel appreciated for all their hard work throughout the year. For additional advice on employee engagement activities, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 326-668-7746.

Photo Source: Amelia Extra

6 Fun Ways to Keep Your Employees Engaged in the Springtime

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

spring flowersSpring has officially started. Although it’s still a little chilly, the weather will warm up and your employees will be energized for the new season. Spring brings longer days and additional opportunities to keep your employees satisfied, as well as reward them for the hard work they contribute to the company all year long.

Try some of the springtime activities below to keep your staff motivated and productive in the warmer months ahead:

  • March Madness is upon us! Have the basketball games playing in your break room for people who are fans of the tournament.
  • Spring is a great time for a company picnic. The season isn’t too hot or too cold to enjoy an outdoor gathering with your employees and their families. It will be a great opportunity to get to know them and the people who are most important to them.
  • Warmer weather means more chances to enjoy frozen treats. Show your staff some appreciation by throwing an afternoon gelato or ice cream party. You can buy the tasty treats and serve them yourself or have a vendor dish out the goodies.
  • Your employees will enjoy a more relaxed dress code when the weather is warmer. Giving them the choice to dress more comfortably throughout the spring will show your employees that you care about their happiness while they are at work.
  • Plan a warm-weather potluck lunch. Have staff members sign up for different food dishes to bring during the lunch hour. If the sun is shining, eat outside!
  • Encourage your team members to add some fitness into their schedules by planning a company walk in the late afternoon or after work. Walking and talking with your coworkers during nice weather is a great way to bond and burn calories.

For additional ideas for employee engagement activities, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Employee Engagement Starts and Ends with the Boss

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

In today’s video blog, CAI’s Vice President of Membership, Doug Blizzard, discusses employee engagement. Why aren’t my employees engaged?—is a question he often receives from CAI members. He says that many studies on the topic show that 60 to 70 percent of employees are not engaged with their organization. High numbers of disengaged employees mean companies are losing productivity.

Engaged teams are more profitable and more productive than teams that are not. Doug also notes that companies with disengaged teams face several challenges, such as higher turnover, increased absenteeism and more safety incidents.

Doug says the first step in getting your team engaged is realizing that engagement isn’t happiness or satisfaction. Engagement is really talking about the emotional commitment an employee has to his organization and its goals.

According to different studies, 70 percent of engagement is determined by an employee’s primary manager or boss. Doug explains that failure of the boss to execute good management has by far the biggest impact on engagement.  He says that everything employers do for their business will be interpreted by, reinforced,  ignored and even torn down by your supervisors and managers.

Doug says the message is clear: if you really want to engage your employees, start by developing your supervisors and managers.  If you’d like additional guidance on increasing employee engagement, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Does Your Work Culture Attract or Repel Customers?

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

CAI’s Vice President of Membership, Doug Blizzard, tackles the topic of workplace culture in today’s video blog. He often hears from HR professionals that they wish their company leaders were more focused on employee engagement. Doug says that many leaders understand employee engagement. However, the challenge is showing a clear return on investment when starting initiatives to improve employee motivation and satisfaction.

Doug then turns his attention to customers and explains that businesses exist to satisfy a customer need in the market place. If you remove that need, you remove customers, and your employees directly interact with your customers. Doug then asks what kind of employees would customers prefer to interact with? Employees who are engaged and motivated—or the opposite?

Employers should consider how their culture affects their customers. Doug says if your employees are happy, your customers will be too.  He encourages company leaders to try walking in the shoes of their customers for a minute to gain a new perspective on the value of having an engaged workforce.

If you need help with employee engagement and culture at your workplace, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

19 Low Cost Ways to Recognize Employee Achievements

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

employee recognitionRecognizing your employees for the work they produce for your company is a great way to increase their engagement and the overall morale of your organization. No matter the size of your budget, creating special moments for your team members is possible.

Listed below are encouraging, empowering and easy ways to recognize and reward employees at no or low cost to the employer:

  • Encourage and recognize employees who pursue continuing education.
  • Create and post an “Employee Honor Roll” in break rooms or feature it in the company newsletter.
  • When preparing a status report, acknowledge individual contributions by using employee names.
  • Send Congratulations cards home or tape them to the employee’s office door.
  • Give a copy of the latest best-selling management or business book as a gift.
  • Encourage and recognize employees actively serving the community.
  • Drop in on the first meeting of a special project team to thank each employee for their participation.
  • Thank each employee for their involvement as a team member at the conclusion of a project.
  • Call an employee to your office to thank them and recognize them for a recent achievement.
  • Ask employees to identify specific areas of interest in job-related skills and have them spend a day with the in-house expert to learn more about the subject.
  • Immediately pass along any praise about someone to that person, preferably face-to-face.
  • Tape a few gift cards to the bottoms of chairs at an employee meeting.
  • Serve refreshments at the next team meeting.
  • Encourage the sharing of a team accomplishment by designating that team as mentors or advisors to other teams.
  • Ask upper management to attend a meeting when you plan to thank individuals and the group for their specific accomplishments and contributions.
  • Make arrangements for a team to present their completed project to upper management.
  • Write a letter of appreciation to an employee for his/her contributions, placing a copy in the personnel file.
  • Be sure to use positive nonverbal behaviors that reflect your appreciation.
  • Remember, a smile is contagious!

People like being appreciated. Simple things, particularly when made public to their co-workers, foster a supportive and productive workplace by openly recognizing employees. If you have questions regarding employee recognition, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919‑878‑9222, 336‑668‑7746 or

Photo Source: Texas State Library and Archives Commission


3 Tips for Managing Your Employees Who Are Introverts

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

ChangeIntroverts are individuals who keep their thought process and emotions internalized. Sometimes introverts may come across as shy or uncomfortable in social environments, including the workplace.

While their talents may not be as pronounced as the ones from your extroverted team members, your introverted staffers are just as beneficial to your organization. Help your introverts reach their full potential by utilizing the strategies below at your workplace:

Match tasks with employee

Be aware of the personality traits that many introverts have when assigning new tasks to your employees. For example, an introvert would likely excel at developing a more efficient work process for a problem area in your company, and an extrovert would probably be the best person to plan a social gathering for your employees.

Move out of the comfort zone

Extroverts are more likely to be outspoken and dominate in a meeting while introverts are more likely to be reserved in their contributions to a discussion. So everyone has a chance to be heard, help introverts engage in the discussion. Whether you directly ask them their thoughts or have them create a short presentation expressing their viewpoints, encouraging them to get out of their comfort zone will help everyone see the assets they bring to the workplace.

Make leadership opportunities available

While they don’t typically like to be the center of attention or at the front of the room, introverts do make great leaders. They are known to be thoughtful, humble and respectful of others when given leadership positions. Don’t pass all of your supervisory roles to your extroverts. Be sure to ask your more introverted staff members if they have any interest in your available leadership opportunities.

If you’d like additional advice for managing your employees who are introverts, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558

8 Ways to Motivate Your Employees When Funds Are Low

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

carrrotsMotivating employees to be more engaged and productive is a common concern for employers. Organizations will often reward employees with raises or promotions for their previous good work in hopes that they’ll be even more productive. While raises and promotions are good incentives for increasing engagement and efficiency, the funds or new positions are not always available.

So what can employers do to motivate employees when funds are low? Several things! Research shows that money and job titles are not always top motivators. There are other ways to show your staff members that their contributions matter.  Below is a list of ways to boost morale and productivity without blowing your budget. Try incorporating some at your workplace:

  • Give your top employees an extra day of paid time off
  • Whether it’s in writing or said out loud, make sure you thank your staffers for their efforts
  • Schedule lunch and learns to explore topics that are of interest to your employees
  • Start committees to improve your workplace community and invite your high potentials to serve as committee members
  • Purchase gift certificates to a movie theater or restaurant and give them to deserving employees
  • Invite your green employees to shadow under or be mentored by your high-level managers as a form of professional development
  • Throw invitation-only appreciation events for employees who completed big projects or took on more work
  • Coordinate a food or ice cream truck visit at your workplace and treat your employees to free food or dessert

CAI members provided many of the tips above through CAI’s list serve, a member benefit that enables participants to ask peers at member companies for advice, recommendations and best practices for their organizations. Recent topics members have discussed on the list serve include vacation policies, executing performance reviews, short term disability coverage and many more. For additional information about a CAI membership and signing up for the list serve, please contact an account manager at 919-878-9222 or 336-667-7746.

Photo Source: Leo-setä


3 Actions Marissa Mayer Could Have Taken to Fix Yahoo’s Remote Work Problem

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Marissa MayerBy now, many professionals are aware of CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to end workplace flexibility at Yahoo. Several business experts have given their opinion on the decision by the technology company’s top management. Some agreed with her actions, saying it was necessary to turn around a failing company. Others have said her actions don’t align with positive business practices of today.

CEO is no easy role. Turning a company around is no easy task. Time will tell if Mayer’s decision will help Yahoo or hurt the progress she’s helped the company achieve. Instead of deciding whether her decision was the right one, I’d like to offer Yahoo’s CEO another way to handle the situation. In my opinion, blanket decisions are never the best way to address employee performance issues. The email blast sent from Yahoo’s HR chief is not usually an effective way to deal with a sensitive people issue.

Maybe Mayer wants people to leave without firing them. Maybe she wants to figure out who’s working and who’s not. Maybe she wants to change Yahoo’s current culture. There aren’t a lot of details so we can speculate a long-list of reasons. However, whatever her reason was, this people decision could have been handled better.

Here are three actions Mayer and her team could have made (and can still make) that will help Yahoo address its remote work problem, making the company more productive and successful. These three steps show that businesses can improve without ignoring the needs and wants of your employees.

Revaluate Policies

Many ex-Yahoo employees have come to Mayer’s defense, saying that the company’s remote work policy was too lax. Well, if it’s too lax, management should give it more structure. Company policies should not be set in stone. Make an effort to review your policies on an annual basis. When they are no longer serving their purpose or being ignored by employees, it’s up to the people in charge to update policies and announce the changes through several forms of communication. Some examples include an internal newsletter, a staff meeting or a manager-direct report meeting.

Identify Top and Weak Performers

All employees should not be treated equally. Your top performers should never be lumped into the same group as your weak ones. So one-size-fits-all solutions, like the one that Yahoo’s HR chief sent out, to address poor performers can have a pretty negative effect on the morale of your employees who are always delivering stellar work. Managers, don’t punish your good employees because of the behavior from your bad ones. Instead, look at each employee’s performance individually. If they aren’t doing their work, they don’t get to work remotely—simple as that. An underperformer doesn’t deserve the same perks as one who always overachieves.

Check Progress

Reading the different reports on the situation at Yahoo leads me to believe the company has an accountability problem. How were employees allowed to begin start-up companies while working remotely? Why were people not making their deadlines or delivering on their goals? This is not just an employee performance issue; it’s also a management issue. Leaders do not have to be micromanagers, but they are responsible for ensuring that their direct reports are doing their jobs. Weekly phone calls or meetings to review progress on different projects are integral for keeping your employees engaged and productive. Weekly meetings are also a great way to share your appreciation for your employees, so they won’t feel that their efforts aren’t important, leading them to start a new business on their own.

If you’re having employee performance problems at your organization and need help finding a solution, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Jolieodell