Posts Tagged ‘employee retention’

Attract, Retain and Engage: CAI’s 2011 Compensation and Benefits Conference

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

On August 31 and September 1, CAI invited HR professionals and company executives to attend its annual Compensation and Benefits Conference at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. More than 180 guests participated in the two-day event. Learning different methods to approaching compensation and benefits and receiving legal updates were top reasons people attended.

“I want to improve my understanding of compensation as it relates to benefits. I want to gain more insight on the topic,” Yolanda Melvin, benefits administrator at PHE, Inc., said when asked why she decided to attend.

conferenceThe late summer conference aimed to help organizations attract, retain and engage their employees by offering innovative strategies to recognize and reward staff in any economic setting. For each of its conferences, CAI strives to provide attendees with speakers who present informative, relevant and captivating content. This year’s speakers ranged from a Lead Consultant in Engagement Assessment and Insight from Aon Hewitt to a Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Conference guests enjoyed five presentations that offered information to plan ahead for a changing workforce, different economy and competitive business climate. Speakers shared their knowledge on re-engaging a mentally and physically exhausted workforce and what rapidly changing demographic trends employers should be preparing for. CAI’s Director of HR services, Molly Hegeman, revealed the results of the company’s 2011 Wage and Salary Survey during the conference. CAI also ensured that attendees received an update on healthcare reform and learned different methods to communicate benefits issues with their workforces.

“I’m always interested in anything that has to do with the healthcare reform because it’s going to impact our company a lot,” Stephanie Moore, human resources representative at DAK Americas, said regarding the presentation she was interested in seeing.

In addition to participating in the main events, attendees had the opportunity to join several of the conference’s breakout sessions. Some of the session topics included:

  • Current Trends in Retirement Plans
  • The New Frontier: Expanding the Paradigm of Organization Well-Being
  • Making Incentive Compensation Work for You
  • Wage and Hour Compliance

CAI works to provide participants with a great experience while educating them on best practices for compensation and benefits.  Professionals who attend the conference get to network with other industry leaders while they analyze research findings, consult on total reward strategies and receive the latest updates on issues that will affect their businesses.

“I always like [CAI’s] conferences. It’s a lot of good information. It’s always relevant. I do a lot of the surveys for CAI, so it’s always interesting to see that the feedback from those surveys is presented in all of their conferences,” Moore said.

For more information on CAI’s annual Compensation and Benefits Conference or help with keeping your workforce engaged, please contact an account manager at 919-878-9222 or 336-669-7746 or visit www.capital.org/compconf.

Help Your Employees Achieve and Maintain Work/Life Balance

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

 

Balance

The uncertain economy has caused many employers to maintain a lean workforce.  As a result, employees are often working additional hours to get their jobs done.  The expanded workweek may prevent employees from attending children’s events, socializing with friends or taking quality time for themselves.

As an employer, it is important to know the negative effects associated with an improper balance between work and life. People who spend most of their waking hours working are much more likely to suffer from exhaustion, stress and poor sleep habits. The side effects from frequent overtime hours could spiral into business hazards, such as regular absenteeism, decreased retention and poor work performance.

Taking steps to help your staff members achieve work/life balance will provide your organization with a number of benefits. The following are some of the positive changes companies that value and incorporate work/life balance initiatives have seen:

  • Improvement in productivity
  • Increase in employee satisfaction
  • Reduction in tardiness and absenteeism
  • Greater company loyalty and teamwork
  • Decrease in stress, sickness and exhaustion

There are a number of ways that an organization can ensure that their employees are maintaining work/life balance. Depending on the size of the organization, the staff members and the budget, implementing some of the ideas below could be helpful in reaching work/life balance for the entire company:

  • Childcare and eldercare assistance
  • Flexible work hours
  • Company wellness programs with onsite workshops
  • Reduced cost for fitness memberships
  •  On-site and off-site professional development opportunities

Employees can also make an effort to improve their quality of life. Encourage staff members to take ownership of their work/life balance by asking them to speak up if they receive too much work or feel strained to keep up with a project deadline. They can also utilize some of the practices below to make the most of their time inside and outside of work:

  • Set deadlines for projects to help maintain the amount of time spent working on them
  • Prioritize tasks by their importance and work to complete the more pressing assignments first
  • Take breaks between long periods of work to help regain focus
  • Exercise, eat well and sleep at least seven hours each night to sustain energy
  • Avoid discussing work when spending quality time with family and friends

Organizations that emphasize work/life balance improve their bottom line and create a positive environment for all of their staff members. To discuss various approaches for accomplishing a work/life balance initiative at your workplace, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: lululemon athletica

Why Employees Stay Long-Term

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Granted, some reasons employees leave a company are out of your control. People may quit a job for reasons as varied as having a bad commute, a deterioration of their community, an industry downturn, a desire to be closer to family or even to escape from unpleasant weather. However, most employees leave a company because of factors directly connected with their job.

 Like the Rolling Stones’ song, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” people leave a company when they are dissatisfied and decide they can only achieve their career goals somewhere else. To combat this, you need an armload of information relevant to your company in particular.Meeting

 Find Out Why Employees Leave and Why They Stay

 It’s important not only to have exit interviews in which you find out an employee’s reason for leaving, but also to ask those who have stayed with the company the reasons why they stay. A simple employee survey could open your eyes (and those of management) to all sorts of useful insights.

 Studies have shown that the longer employees stay with a company, the more likely they are to continue to stay. Research company Blessing White’s Employee Engagement Report 2011 shows that engaged employees stay longer and provide more value to the company (http://grenell.com/cms/index.php/how-engaged-are-your-employees/ ). So the big question is, how does a company engage its employees?

 Engage Your Employees

 There are many ways to effectively engage employees. Here are a few ideas: 

  1. Implement a strong career development program.
    This involves many aspects of management, from the creation of job descriptions and career ladders with clear advancement steps tied to job performance, salary and status, to the time set aside for coaching and mentoring. Providing training to employees is a major part of any career development program. Some employers fear that if they train their employees, the employees will leave—but it is most often the other way around. Fail to train your employees, and they will leave.
  2. Monitor the company benefits constantly for improvement.
    Having great benefits is a strong factor in retaining employees. Offering top wages is not enough, as employees make career decisions based on company benefits such as 401(k)s, profit sharing, sick leave, vacation, and health plans—especially as health insurance premiums continue to rise. The Department of Health and Human Services just released its guidelines to states for the creation of affordable insurance exchanges on July 11. Monitor your statMeetinge’s efforts to carry out the new federal health care law and keep your employees informed.
  3. Make employees feel valued.
    This is where job satisfaction begins and ends. To keep up morale and make people feel appreciated, you must create a workplace environment where managers are respected for their competence and fairness, and employees are recognized in multiple ways for their contributions. Develop creative employee incentive and reward programs, and you will affect employee productivity and company profitability. People have a strong need to feel valued.
  4. Empower your employees. Personal autonomy in completing tasks is important to employees because no one likes to feel powerless. Giving people some control over their workplace environment and schedule is often a wise move on the part of management, but so is delegating authority and trusting employees to follow through. Accountability and responsibility for results are essential for empowerment, so the benefit works both ways.

For additional information about how you can improve employee retention, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: Alan Cleaver, Voka-Kamer van Koophandel Limburg

Help Your Employees Save Money in a Down Economy

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

The cost for almost everything—gas, food, insurance, etc.—is currently rising. Unfortunately, due to the economic recession and other business factors, employees’ paychecks are not increasing at a rate to offset the higher cost of living. As an employer, there are several ways to help your workers keep money in their wallets. Helping employees save money will increase their job satisfaction and the company’s retention rate.

Here are a few tactics to help staffers cut down their expenses:Carpool

1. Carpooling

  • Today’s gas prices are fluctuating around $4 across the country. Help workers save money at the pump by encouraging them to carpool with their coworkers. Put a signup sheet in the office break room to make others aware of those interested in carpooling.

2. Flexible Schedule

  • Thanks to technology there are several ways to adjust the traditional “9 to 5” work week. To help employees avoid traffic, allow them to come in earlier or later and leave earlier or later. Additionally, agreeing to let employees work from home at least one day of the week could help them save a few hundred dollars in gas per year. Some organizations are even implementing 4 day weeks with longer work days to combat gas prices.

Lunch3. Staff Lunch

  • Although your organization might be unable to provide daily lunch for all staff members, offering a free meal a couple of times per month will be appreciated. Ordering in for your workers will help them save money on lunch and on gas.

4. Pre-Tax Accounts

  • Health Saving Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) allow employees to put money away in pre-tax accounts for health care services and goods. Offering this benefit will assist employees in the long run because it will help them take advantage of their earnings and increase their savings.

5. Retirement Plans

  • It is never too late to help your employees invest in their retirement. If a 401(k) p401(K)rogram is available at your organization, ensure that all eligible staff members know the advantages of opening an account. The contributions made for 401(K)s are pre-tax dollars, and the interest on the accounts are compounded to make greater profits.

For more information on helping your employees save money, as well as strategies to retain your top talent, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Richard Drdul, Matt Seppings, Calita Kabir

Workplace Friendships: Reap the Benefits and Avoid the Negatives

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Companies hire people based on the skills and knowledge they can offer to help achieve business goals. Forming strong friendships with others is usually not a job requirement, but when considering the number of hours employees work together, office friendships are likely to occur. Understanding both the benefits and harm that workplace friendships can create will help your organization maintain a professional work environment while creating a friendly atmosphere that positively affects business performance.

A 2010 survey from recruitment company Randstad revealed that a majority of American workers are happier at their jobs because of their office friendships. Survey participants credit work friends with making their jobs more fun, enjoyable, worthwhile and satisfying. Not only do office friendships benefit employees, but they also provide organizations with several advantages. Here are a few examples:

  • Friendships create a more enjoyable workplace, which promotes greater employee engagement and increases individual productivity.
  • Friends give each other feedback. Receiving constructive criticism from peers versus supervisors is sometimes easier to digest and correct.
  • Work gets stressful and talking to friends who have similar responsibilities provides workers with positive outlets to release frustrations.
  • A friendly work environment yields creativity because employees feel comfortable being themselves and are able to think more freely.
  • Team members who know each other on more personal levels might work together more effectively and efficiently than with those who do not.

Although there are many positive outcomes that come from office friendships, knowing the negatives will help your company establish boundaries and guidelines for staff members to follow if they plan to pursue friendships. Watch out for these situations:

  • Too much non-work chatter can turn focus away from work and lead to decreased productivity.
  • Office friendships that end unfavorably can create tension for all parties involved. Backstabbing and sabotage can happen as well.
  • Coworkers who form bonds can create cliques and leave others out to create favoritism.
  • Inappropriate behavior from colleagues, such as tardiness or not completing work, might be ignored or enabled by staff members who are friends.
  • Pals who have negative views about their employers have the potential to get others to share their views, which can result in decreased company loyalty.

Organizations wanting to prevent the adverse effects of workplace friendship sometimes implement strict fraternization policies, but employees are often capable of finding ways around restrictions. Here are some guidelines to present to your staff in order to uphold a professional work environment and allow employees to be friends:

  • Work pays the bills, so stay focused on your assigned projects and tasks. Time at work should be professional and focused on driving business—not socializing.
  • You received your assignments for a reason. Do not miss deadlines or lose sight of your goals to help friends who are behind on their projects.
  • Office gossip is not tolerated. Information that you would not tell the boss should not be told to colleagues.
  • Do not share too much personal information with your coworkers. Private topics, such as salary history or performance review results, should be avoided in conversation.
  • Respect personal and professional boundaries with your colleagues. Just because you have a personal relationship with a coworker does not entitle you to put them in an awkward position inside or outside of the office.

For more information on how to handle workplace friendships, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo source: peyri

Two Key Considerations When Performing Background Checks

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

When people fib about their work history, educational degree, job titles or salaries, criminal background and substance abuse habits – the top five lies told by job candidates – the results can be devastating for a company to have these individuals on staff. Performing a strong background check to weed out violent and dishonest candidates is essential if a firm is to work at top efficiency. In fact, one study estimates that the resultant annual ROI for using background screening to prevent business losses is more than 900 percent.

Potential employees can omit details that hide facts that can be difficult to uncover. To make sure your background checks are as thorough as possible, consider the following suggestions:

Hire a professional background checking company, also known as a consumer reporting agency – A CRA can help a business conduct background checks on candidates so that it does not have to devote extra time and resources for this process, plus it helps reduce liability. If you use a CRA, you must follow the federal law and tell the candidate on a document separate from the employment application that you are going to conduct a background check to independently verify the information provided, and the individual must first sign a document authorizing the background check. Turning someone down based on information drawn from a CRA requires that you give the applicant a chance to review the negative information, and possibly dispute the record before you make your final hiring decision. To know what you can and cannot do with a CRA report, review the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements.

Perform searches appropriate for the position – Hiring a CRA is only part of the battle. You must make sure that you are asking for the appropriate research.  You should start with some sort of name and address history search to independently verify the applicant’s basic information.  Then you should search for criminal records based upon the address history for some given “time window” – maybe 7 years.  Other types of searches should be based upon job responsibilities. Check on licensing claims, driving records, education verification, professional  and employment references, Medicaid sanctions, and other registries where needed to ensure that the applicant meets the minimum requirements for the job. Early discoveries can prevent much bigger later headaches if the person is lying.

For additional information on what to consider for background checks, please call Kevin von der Lippe at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo source: showbizsuperstar

Use Professional Development to Motivate and Retain Top Talent

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Many 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 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 a few tips to promote the growth of your team members:

  1. 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.
  2. Inform employees on training opportunities. Alert staff of different training and educational opportunities that benefit 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 Counsel Team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746, or ask for an account manager to discover the different training options CAI offers.

Photo source: lumaxart

Are You Using Social Media for Employee Communications Yet?

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

The post below is a guest blog from Stephanie Clark who serves as the Marketing Coordinator and Social Media Manager for CAI’s employee benefits partner Hill, Chesson & Woody Employee Benefit Services.

Have you seen the social media traffic stats on the night of Sunday, May 1, 2011? While President Barack Obama announced to the world that a U.S. military team killed Osama Bin Laden, Twitter topped 5,000 tweets per second.  Care to guess how many of your employees updated their Facebook status that night? The news spread like wildfire on various social media channels, per CNN’s report, as details unfolded through reputable and highly-followed twitter users.

More and more businesses are jumping into social media to educate consumers and create brand awareness. At the same time, this way of communicating has also changed how organizations approach their own workforce, by offering another method of sending out information. A 2010 Watson Wyatt survey showed the most popular topics to engage employees through social media are collaboration and team building, adapting to change, and promoting health and wellness. On the other hand, for messages around business changes, employees widely prefer face-to-face communication. Social media provides another avenue to engage employees in a way they like to receive information.

Paper memos are a thing of the past. Long-winded emails may be going in that direction as well. Here’s a thought: Try pasting the next employee memo you compose into Microsoft Word and conduct a Flesch-Kincaid readability test. If your memo scores higher than a seventh or eighth grade level, some employees may not understand it. It’s hard for employees to genuinely care about what goes on in your company when information is presented at a level they don’t understand. Keep it simple if you want to reach everyone in your company with the message.

For years now, IBM has engaged with employees through social media, even before they used social media externally for marketing. Companies such as Virgin Media have gone the route of video blogging on a YouTube channel exclusively for employees. Viewers see and hear someone as if they are speaking only to them, and yet a wide audience is being reached.  Also, this offers workers the opportunity for commenting in a public forum.

Who doesn’t like to hold the remote? Like most individuals, your employees probably prefer to control their own communication experience. By asking questions, offering suggestions and learning other employees’ perspectives, they create news that is relevant to them on a level that makes sense. What is a better way to become a true stakeholder? Forums, blogs and social networks are a great way to encourage employees to connect and interact.

If you’re not using social media in your organization yet, internally or externally, it’s never too late to start. Many resources are out there to help you get started. A few helpful links are listed below.

How to create a LinkedIn company page
http://learn.linkedin.com/company-pages/

How to create a Facebook page for your business
http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

How to create a YouTube channel
http://www.ehow.com/how_4493894_create-youtube-channel.html

How to create a Twitter account
http://support.twitter.com/entries/100990-how-to-sign-up-on-twitter

How to optimize your Facebook privacy for business
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/12067/How-to-Optimize-Your-Facebook-Privacy-for-Business.aspx

Six non-fluff answers to your social media questions
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/10268/6-Non-Fluff-Answers-to-Your-Social-Media-Questions.aspx

Improving and Maximizing Employee Efficiency

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Productivity is the name of the game. It is easy for employers to fall into the trap of believing that high levels of stress combined with a busy work life create the most effective results from employees, but that may not be the case. Employees are often just as effective without operating under high tension and hectic work/life schedules. Consider Fortune magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies To Work For” and you will see that a common thread spanning the majority of top organizations is the repetitive mention of high productivity and happy employees.

Shifting the workplace environment may be easier than you think. By adjusting your company mindset and assisting employees in becoming their most productive selves you promote a more efficient organization overall. Here are three ways to do that:

Make information fully accessible – Can your employees work easily from airports, hotel rooms and the home office? When completing assignments offsite runs as seamlessly as sitting in the company office, efficiency will inevitably increase. Employees may surprise you with the additional work they can complete outside the regular 8 to 5 routine when the proper systems are put in place for continuous access.

Become more flexible – Does last year’s model still fit the current staff and system of your company? Though structure is essential to the livelihood of an organization, your company’s working hours should occasionally be reevaluated. Early mornings, late evenings or longer work days – the level of productivity will improve when you identify the various ways your employees operate best.

Provide for employee needs – Have you evaluated the needs of your staff and if those needs are being met? Discuss with employees what they need to be more effective in their job, as they may vary from what you believe is best suited. Employee needs can be as small as a file folder for better organization or as large as dual monitors for completing assignments, but hear them out and consider the benefits as a whole.

For additional information on employee efficiency, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo source: Hugo90

CAI’s Ovation Awards: 2011 Spotlight

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

CAI has presented Ovation Awards to a number of diverse companies for their even more diverse “people practices” for the past four years. CAI created the Ovation Awards in 2007 to honor exceptional workplaces that have implemented innovative people practices that directly and positively affect their business results. Organizations are encouraged to showcase their HR tactics by submitting a nomination for one of the three award categories, which are separated by size of company: small (less than 250), mid-size (250 to 500) and large (more than 500).

Once nominations are submitted, a panel of HR experts reviews the different programs and selects winners based on whether the companies’ strategies solved an HR or business problem. Some examples of applicable programs include enhancing employee engagement and improving business productivity. Award winners are then announced during CAI’s annual HR Management Conference.

Past recipients of the Ovation Award have included Krispy Kreme (2010, large) for its “Healthy Lifestyle Program,” The Bank of Oak Ridge (2008, small) for its “e-Awards Program” and PPD (2007, large) for its “Employee Engagement” project. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Burt’s Bees and Capitol Broadcasting Company are also among previous award winners.

The panel of HR experts saw stellar submissions for 2011’s nominations, and at the 2011 HR Management Conference, CAI revealed the three companies that displayed outstanding HR practices for the year. The Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) received the small company award for itsinnovative “Total Quality Improvement Initiative.” For the mid-size company category, Novo Nordisk Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc, won by building a “Strengths-based” organization, and Rex Healthcare collected the large company award for its workforce planning efforts.

To highlight the 2011 award winners’ accomplishments in HR planning and execution, CAI will spotlight each winner in a blog post that extensively details its award-winning programs.  In the meantime, please take a look at past award winners and their presentations here.

We are also always on the lookout for Ovation Award nominations, so if your company has implemented an efficient HR-related program, please consider submitting a nomination for 2012. We will post more information on the nomination criteria and deadline at a later date. Please contact Doug Blizzard at doug.blizzard@capital.org with any questions regarding the awards.

Image Source: Werner Faymann