Posts Tagged ‘employee engagement’

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

6 Tips to Keep Your Company Holiday Party Stress-Free, Safe and Fun

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

With radios blasting seasonal tunes and shopping centers offering big discounts, it’s crystal clear that the holidays are upon us. Throwing your workforce a party during this merry season is a great way to celebrate the time of year and show your team that you appreciate what they do for the company.

A holiday party offers staff members the opportunity to mix and mingle outside the office, which encourages employee interaction and conversations. With all the employee engagement benefits a holiday party can bring, it’s important to note that holiday parties can also have a negative effect on the company if ground rules aren’t set.

Here are six suggestions to consider when planning your holiday celebration:

Give plenty of options

There are two things you should try to accomplish when throwing a holiday party for your team members: to reward them for their efforts and to create a memorable and fun experience for them to have. Spend time preparing for details like location, food and drink options, and entertainment. Leave them excited for next year’s party.

Interject some fun

Whether it’s inviting holiday carolers to sing to your staff or playing a holiday themed icebreaker to get to know spouses and guests, encourage your employees to enjoy themselves. Your staffers are expecting to have a good time with their coworkers.  Get great reviews by planning activities and surprises throughout the night.

Make a drink maximum

Not that you can’t have a good time without alcohol, but offering employees of legal age a drink is generally part of the holiday festivities. To protect your party committee and to advise your employees, provide your guests with no more than two drinks. Getting sloppy at the company Christmas party—whether it’s a seasoned manager or a recent hire—isn’t a win for anyone.

Say thank you

The holiday party happens at the end of the year, which is perfect timing for you to recognize the contributions your staff made during the last 12 months. There are several ways to show your appreciation. A speech highlighting specific accomplishments, awards given to stellar performers, and gift cards for the entire team are only a few ways to recognize your team during the celebration.

Keep work talk to a minimum

Other than congratulating your team for a great year, talking about work should be avoided. Your employees want to have fun and celebrate the season with their coworkers. Use this event to get to know your team members and their friends and spouses better. You can discuss work when you return to the office.

Know how everyone is getting home

Making sure your staffers get home safely is an important part of the planning process. Arrange hotel stays for your team members who don’t work in your local office. Organize cab rides for employees who bought additional drinks and don’t plan to drive home. Be aware of how each employee leaves the party.

For more holiday party ideas for your company, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Qtea


12 Activities to Keep Your Workforce Engaged through Fall

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Saturday is the first day of fall, and with the new season comes cooler weather, different foliage and a workforce that just wrapped up its summer. Keep your team members’ engagement high by incorporating fall fun into your workplace. There are many activities you can try at the office. Some are great for team building and others will show your employees that you appreciate their hard work.

Try these employee engagement activities with an autumn twist at your organization:

  1. Have team members bring in fall inspired dishes, such as apple pie or pumpkin soup, for a fall themed office party
  2. Stock the break room with warm apple cider or pumpkin flavored coffee for a morning treat
  3. Allow your staff members to leave work early to pick up their children from school once the academic year starts
  4. Organize an office activity day at a nearby park and play football with your workers and their families
      • Make participation optional
  5. Help employees stay fit during the season by planning a group hike at a local nature trail
      • Make participation optional
  6. Purchase group tickets to a local football game or other fall activity for you staff members to enjoy
  7. Treat your staff to a fall family day and schedule family-friendly activities like jumping in leaves or a cake walk
  8. Plan an office outing to a local apple orchard or pumpkin patch to bond while walking and picking autumn goods together
  9. Host a family hayride at a local park or farm
      • Include hay bale contests or a mini petting zoo
  10. Encourage fitness by arranging after work pick-up soccer games
      •  Make participation optional
  11. Throw a Halloween party and create a costume contest and a pumpkin decorating and carving contest
  12. Buy a turkey and hold an office potluck lunch for Thanksgiving
      • Ask your employees to each bring a dish

For more employee engagement tools and strategies, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Michael Whyte

The Best Metric for HR Effectiveness: Revenue per Employee

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

I recently did a quick Google search on the number of different HR metrics out there to “help” HR professionals better measure their effectiveness, their return on human capital, etc. I found 441 on one list. Holy cow! No wonder many HR Pros struggle with metrics…

The problem with many HR metrics is they are just that, HR metrics (versus business metrics). We struggle to explain their relevance and bottom line impact to our C-Suite executives. If you could only pick one metric, or perhaps more appropriately only had time to measure one metric, I would submit that Revenue per Employee (RPE) would be it. It’s been around forever and is well understood in B-schools. Just take the revenue produced by your company or business unit and divide it by your total number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees.

Many HR activities impact both sides of the equation and it’s our job as HR Pro’s to show our executive teams how. Employee Performance, Innovation, Sales, Culture, Employee Engagement, headcount, turnover, recruiting effectiveness, supervisory skills, training programs, etc. They all impact RPE.

How to use it… Just compare your number over time – is the number going up or down. Go online and find out what your industry averages look like. How do you stack up? You can also use RPE to help justify your next HR initiative. RPE thinking can help you determine if your department is focused on the right priorities. Try it out!

I’d love to hear from companies using RPE in their HR strategic planning. Please share!!

Photo Source: Victor1558