Posts Tagged ‘employee engagement’

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.

Are You a Micromanager or a Macromanager?

Thursday, September 24th, 2015
Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares some tips for adopting a Macromanaging mindset when overseeing employees. 

Are you a Micromanager?  Do others consider you to be?  Hopefully, the answer to both of these questions is “No.”  The term Micromanager is widely thought to be one of the most unflattering labels you can have if you manage people.  Micromanagers typically involve themselves so deeply into the smallest details of every project they manage it actually inhibits productivity and creates a very unpleasant workplace for the team as a whole.

Granted, not being a Micromanager is better than being a Micromanager.  But is there something even better?  Yes!  A Macromanager.

Macromanagers deal with employees more efficiently, taking advantage of their individuality and contributing strengths to the overall team.  Macromanagers provide a work environment which allows a team to work together and empowers them to not only make decisions, but to also make mistakes and to learn from both.  This creates a bi-directional feeling of trust, while maintaining a sense of employee engagement and generating results.

How can you become a Macromanager?  How can you make the transition all the way from Micromanager to Macromanager?  Try implementing these four traits of a Macromanager:

Focus on The Big Picture – Micromanagers get too deep in the weeds of a project rather than looking at things from a 10,000-foot viewpoint.  To be a good Macromanager, focus more of your energy and attention on the organization’s direction and strategy for the future.  In doing so, you can develop creative ideas on how to get there and trust your team to use their collective strengths to work out the details for success.

Understand Your Audience – Micromanagers tend to micromanage everyone, even those who do not need it. Macromanagers may occasionally need to provide more detailed guidance to a team member who is less experienced. When you see that team member begin to “get it,” step back before entering “Micromanager Mode.”  Have a stronger member of your team work with and mentor the less experienced employees.

Observe – Watch the progress of your team, keeping your distance.  As an experienced manager, you will recognize the cues that tell you when to engage and when to hold back.  Your responsibility is the successful completion of the project overall, so you should always be involved as a manager, mentor, advisor and member of the team.  Successful people surround themselves with successful people.  Give your team room to succeed and let them know you are there if they need you.

Welcome Feedback – Find a way to ask questions regarding progress without coming across as “interfering.”  As the manager responsible for overall success, you have the right and the responsibility to know what is going on.  Make sure your team understands you are not there to judge or to criticize, but to offer help and observations if and when needed. Open communication should be encouraged.

As a manager, you have larger responsibilities to the organization.  If you ever find yourself getting too deep into the weeds of any one project, you should ask yourself, “What should I be doing in my job that I am not doing?”  Chances are there is something else you should be focusing more time on.  Your employees will thrive and progress more quickly with your guidance rather than your direct involvement.

If you have any more questions regarding the importance of macromanagement, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.


How to Keep Your Employees Excited About Coming to Work

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares some helpful tips to keep your workforce engaged!

Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

Actions often speak louder than words, and the simplest, unexpected and sincerest actions at the proper moment can make a significant difference in someone’s day.  Everyone appreciates being recognized in a tangible way with additional compensation or a certificate of appreciation for a job well done.  Studies have shown, however, employees equally appreciate a heartfelt “Good Morning” from a manager to make their day more pleasant.  Here are a few other simple things to get your employee excited about their job and the organization they are a part of:


  • A Pleasant Beginning – employee attitudes throughout the day are influenced with how their day starts. Something as simple as “good morning” or a smile from a supervisor can set the tone for the rest of the day.


  • Take An Interest – take an interest in their lives, acknowledging a sick relative or a graduating son or daughter. Employees are people first, before employees.


  • Pay Special Attention – recognize your employees for doing a good job and offer to help them grow. Likewise, be candid with your employees when they are not measuring up and offer to help them improve.


  • Show Flexibility – offer a work shift change or additional time off to an employee who is dealing with a temporary change in their personal life to give them time to adjust.


  • Demonstrate Consideration – start a meeting later if an employee is running late to work due to traffic or a sick child. Consider your own feelings if the situation were reversed. Respect given is respect gained.


  • Sensitivity Matters – help employees who need a change at their workstation to be more comfortable. A change in office climate or a new chair can show how much you notice their environment and how much you care.


  • Be A Part of the Team – show up to employee group functions such as group lunches, birthday celebrations or after-hours gatherings to which you are invited to attend. Supervising the team includes being a part of the team.


  • Keep Your Perspective – do not take your stress out on your employees. Put things in perspective, take a deep breath and smile. If you remain at ease, they will remain at ease also.


  • Open Your Door – maintain an open door for your employees to come to you with a problem or idea. Listen intently, and offer a solution or advice if you can. If you cannot help, show appreciation for their coming to you. If they have a good idea, help them to move it forward.


  • Say Thank You – thank your team members as often as you can for the job they do. Expressing your appreciation will lift your team to new heights, and success will follow.


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

Performance Reviews: How Does Your Process Compare?

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Annual performance reviews are often one of the most dreaded and stressful activities for both employees and managers. The process easily creates tension, and is usually directly tied to salary increases and bonuses for the employee.

While the intention behind performance reviews are good, the process itself is typically outdated and can lead to an inaccurate appraisal of employees. This infographic from Findmyshift explains where some of the gaps are in this process, as well as how other companies have improved their performance reviews.


Quick Tips for the Social Media Newcomers

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

employer and social mediaIn the past 5-10 years, social media platforms have taken the Internet by storm. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr and countless other social platforms are used by businesses and organizations for marketing, recruiting, thought leadership and overall brand awareness. With the vast variety of social media platforms and uses, it can be a challenge to know everything about social media and how it can fit in with your company’s goals.

For those businesses that have just started out in the social media world, here are a few tips to help you start your social media use.


Target Your Desired Audience

Like other types of marketing and communication tools, audience targeting is extremely important on social media.  Building your audience is extremely important, but you also need to target your audience so you can reach your customers, investors, employees and surrounding community. Make a note of who likes your Facebook page and follows you on Twitter instead of just setting a target number. That way you can reach a large audience that will actually want to engage with your business.


Connect With Your Audience

Once you have targeted your desired audience, it is time to connect with them. Connecting is important across social platforms and can be done in a variety of ways. It may seem easier to put out content every day or every week and then let people read it, but social media has the capability of generating two-way communication. Take advantage of what it has to offer and message followers on Twitter and Facebook or tweet at someone to engage in conversation. Don’t limit yourself – start a dialogue!


Choose the Appropriate Platform(s)

There are numerous platforms, but you may find that only a few work for your company and actually reach your target audience. It is important to focus on the appropriate platforms that your audience is on instead of spreading yourself thin amongst five or more platforms when only two are actually connecting with your audience. For example, Facebook is an extremely popular and valuable platform, but that does not mean it is appropriate for every company. Evaluate multiple social platforms to figure out which ones work best for your company.


Engage Employees

While you may only have a few people running your company’s social media pages (or only one!), it is helpful to have employees engage on social media with the business as well. Encourage employees that have social media accounts to share and like content so that you can reach more people. This can help generate credibility and exposure.


Social media use is perfected through practice, exposure and research. For more information on social media for businesses go to or

Photo Source: mkhmarketing


Innovate or Stagnate: Living your Passion

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

The following post is from Peter Metzner. Through seminars and consulting, Peter helps leaders, teams and organizations better engage and align staff to business drivers and their overall mission. He is sharing his presentation Innovate or Stagnate: Leadership Skills for Today at the 2015 HR Management Conference on March 4 and March 5 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh.

Business PeopleI once heard at a Symposium that:  “Genius is focused passion”.

To grow, to develop and become the best at your “art” is a meaningful calling or vocation.  Joseph Campbell writes: “Art is the making of things well.  The aim of Art is the perfection of the object”.

He also writes: “if you follow your bliss, you will always have your bliss money or not. If you follow money you may lose it and you will have nothing” (J. Campbell Reflections on the Art of Living” p. 39)

Ideally, to successfully innovate; we need to feel passionate about and love what we do. We also need to feel our work – our “art” is beneficial to others.    That is the rocket fuel that can propel us to new heights.

What keeps teams or individuals from performing optimally?

Sadly only 30 percent of employees in America feel engaged at work, according to a 2013 report by Gallup.  For many, work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and in many ways, it’s getting worse.  Demand for our time is increasingly exceeding our capacity — draining us of the energy we need to bring our skill and talent fully to life. “Increased competitiveness and a leaner, post-recession work force add to the pressures. The rise of digital technology is perhaps the biggest influence, exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests that we feel compelled to read and respond to at all hours of the day and night”.   (

To maintain engagement it is important to have enough rest and renewal to be productive. Over- work, stress and a lack of capacity leads to burnout.  Interpersonal conflict, unaware leadership and not feeling valued or appreciated add to the malaise that cause disengagement, lack of commitment and turnover.

When individuals and teams feel connected to a shared vision and mission that is inspiring and larger than themselves, positive energy and action is released. When relationships are trusting and safe enough to give and receive feedback and engage in constructive conflict; everyone becomes “smarter” than anyone one.  With trust, along with collaborative working relationships; individuals and teams have a greater sense of autonomy, input and buy in to their activities.  Harvard psychologist Kurt Lewin PhD, writes:  “When we are in a supportive environment we are much better equipped to deal with the complexities of our working lives”

As times change; technology advances and new applications and markets will emerge. Yet we need to always keep the timeless qualities that made us successful in the first place. Excitement, energy, common purpose and dedication come from feeling that we are doing what we do best, being challenged to be better in the service of something larger than ourselves.  A real and often forgotten challenge to keeping engagement and passion alive is not only to encourage but to ensure that the work-life balance of staff is maintained.

“When we are completely caught up in something, you become oblivious to the things around you, or to the passage of time.  It is this absorption in what you are doing that frees your unconscious and releases your creative imaginations”.   Rollo May, The Courage to Create

This is the place where synchronicities and “magic” happen.

In addition to innovation through engagement, the 2015 HR Management Conference will feature presentations on making technology choices, insights on the future of work, strengthening organizational performance and more. Visit to view the complete agenda and read more about conference speakers. Register today!


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.