Posts Tagged ‘Goals’

4 Ways to Improve Your Workplace and Increase Business Productivity

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

workplace resultsEvery employer wants its organization to run efficiently and produce great results. A likely way to achieve this goal is to ensure that your team members are engaged and content with their roles within your workplace. There are a number of strategies you can implement that will create an environment that encourages your employees to work harder.

Try the four strategies below to improve employee engagement and drive the business results you want:

Be Transparent

Transparency is an essential element for a business that wants to be successful. There are several ways you can promote transparency at your organization. Instruct your managers to communicate frequently with their direct reports about their progress and opportunities for growth. Make sure everyone is receiving positive and constructive feedback. Don’t shy away from answering questions about company finances, improving benefits or other topics that are top of mind to your employees.

Allow Flexibility

Incorporating flexibility into your workplace will be beneficial to your business. More access to technology has made working from home or remotely an option for some employees. Allow them to work from home if their child is sick or leave early on Fridays if they put in extra hours at the beginning of the week. If possible, be flexible with your employees’ start and end times. Finding ways to make sure business gets done while your employees are content is now easier than ever before. 

Recognize and Reward

Having a successful business is dependent on many factors, including how satisfied the employees who work for you are. An easy way to turn unhappy workers into more content ones is to recognize the contributions they’ve made that have positively impacted your organization. Rewarding great work can come in several forms: free lunch, an office, a promotion, a bonus, a salary increase, extra time off, etc.

Offer Opportunities

Employees work harder when they have an attainable goal to work towards. Chances for a promotion, raise or special project are likely to keep your staff members engaged. Inform them of the different opportunities available to them, and help them create a path to secure the results they want.

For more strategies that will accelerate business results at your workplace, join us for CAI’s 2013 HR Management Conference on March 6 and 7 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. Keynote speakers include business experts and best selling authors, Daniel Pink and Jon Gordon. Attracting high-performing talent, aligning HR with business strategy and managing remote workers are some of the additional topics speakers will cover at the conference. To see a full conference agenda and register for the event, please visit

Photo Source: Victor1558

Start the Year Right with a Doable Plan: Try an Anti-Resolution

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Today’s post features a short video from CAI’s CEO and president, Bruce Clarke. In less than three minutes, Bruce explains why anti-resolutions are better commitments to make at the beginning of a new year:

Bruce gives reasons why resolutions, like eating fewer cookies, are sometimes unrealistic. He says if you’re trying to give up cookies, it typically means you enjoy them. When you eat one, you’re immediately satisfied. Not only are you satisfied, but the problem of what happens when you eat too many cookies is not on your mind and it usually isn’t. So you eventually forget about your resolution and never complete it.

Instead of forgetting the many resolutions you were determined to keep at the beginning of the year, Bruce suggests making an anti-resolution. The anti-resolution gets the pain and gain in the right order because this is something you want to do, it brings immediate satisfaction and the end result is an even bigger pay off.  

Bruce lists several examples of what your anti-resolutions can be in the video above. The key things to remember when making an anti-resolution are that it’s something that you want to do and something that has a clear pay off to you. In addition to creating an anti-resolution, Bruce suggests forming a plan that details necessary actions to achieve your anti-resolution. 

Make your 2013 great by developing an anti-resolution. Remember, it’s something that you want to do and not something that someone told you to do.

To receive more information on forming attainable goals for the year, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-989-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Help Your Employees Create Achievable Goals in 2013

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

new work yearA new work year has begun so the time to develop goals with your employees is now. Helping to establish annual goals with your employees is a good way to keep them loyal, as goal making will enhance their personal and career development. Not only is it a good morale booster for your workforce, employees who achieve their goals or make a good effort towards them will boost the performance of your overall business.

Goal setting is an important part of the manager/employee relationship because it allows opportunities for both parties to provide the other with feedback. Employee strengths and weaknesses can be assessed during the process, as well as factors that motivate good performance. Aid your team members in forming assessable goals that will accelerate their careers and bring results to your organization.

There are a couple of aspects you and your employees will want to consider when creating goals. Here are a few to get started:

Stay Focused

Goals that are meaningful to the individual employee and your organization are a good place to start. Work with your employees to pick goals that align with the company’s areas of focus. Make sure to ask your employees for their input so you know the results they’re hoping to achieve.

Make Them Attainable

Setting unrealistic goals is a surefire way to decrease the morale of your staff.  The talents of your employees should be stretched, but working towards goals that are impossible will have everyone in your organization frustrated. Work with the available skills your organization has to create success.

Offer Support

Frequently check in with your employees about progress they’re making on their specific goals. Play an active role in encouraging them to perform their best or identify areas in which they may need some assistance.  Be there for them when they need a question answered or recognition for a day of good work. Commit to helping your direct reports reach success.

If you’d like more information on creating suitable employee goals, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-669-7746.   

Photo Source: Sean MacEntee

Why Your Employees Want to Leave and How You Can Prevent Their Departure

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Losing a top-performing employee significantly impacts an organization. Research indicates that the search to find, hire and train a replacement costs more than a third of the new hire’s salary. Not only do you experience financial implications from the loss of top talent, but your culture could also be affected. The former employee takes his knowledge and skills with him, leaving his remaining coworkers left to pick up the slack from his open position. Heavier workloads can cause stress, decreasing job satisfaction and employee morale for your other team members.

Identifying the reasons why an employee might consider leaving is key in preventing attrition. Contrary to what many leaders believe, money is not the sole or even top motivator for an employee. Many factors contribute to an employee’s decision to leave his current workplace. Some factors are out of your control, but you can heavily influence many. Here are some of the top reasons employees leave their organizations:

  • Demanding positions—long days and working on the weekends
  • Boredom—not enough challenges to keep engagement
  • Inadequate compensation—raises are currently frozen or given to someone less qualified
  • Management disorganization—constant turnover and restructuring in several departments
  • Few opportunities—having little input on decisions cause feelings of unimportance
  • Too competitive—rewarding internal competitiveness instead of cooperation
  • Lack of recognition—feelings of not being valued ignite from infrequent to no acknowledgement

Here are steps you can take to retain your workforce:

  • Set goals—help employees stay motivated by giving them something to work towards
  • Empower them—allow them to lead and don’t micromanage their efforts
  • Show you care—take time to get to know your employee’s life outside and inside of work
  • Offer training—opportunities to gain more knowledge and develop new skills increases engagement
  • Constant feedback—let them know which tasks they’re doing well and which need improvement
  • Be appreciative—thank employees and make sure you frequently let them know they’re valued
  • Give perks—if you can’t offer a raise,  pay for lunch every Friday or grant flexible schedules

For more strategies to retain your top talent, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558

Goal Setting is Critical for Employee Engagement and Company Success

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Tuesday’s post featured information for conducting productive employee performance reviews. In addition to the four key elements listed in that post, employee goal setting is another important part of the review process. Goal setting is helpful for managers and employees. Managers have multiple opportunities to provide employees with feedback during this process, and they are able to identify their employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Employees can see how their individual contributions affect and support their company’s bottom line when they begin making goals. If goal setting is done correctly, managers have measurable results to verify that employees met or did not meet their assigned goals, which is helpful when determining rewards and future career paths.

Appropriate goal setting can motivate employees to produce stellar work. Managers should help their direct reports create suitable goals for their positions. Assisting workers with goal setting keeps managers informed about the personal and professional interests their workers have.

 Successful companies have their employees set goals frequently—quarterly, monthly or even weekly—not just once a year. Here are a few tips to help goal setting run smoothly:


1. Know What You Want Accomplished

Employee goals should align with company goals. Managers should inform their staffs that their roles are essential for bringing the company success, and they should help their staffs tailor goals that will bring additional success.

Managers may have several goals that they would like their employees to accomplish, but they also need to consider the goals their employees would like to attain. Simply ask employees what they would like to achieve, and if their objectives are appropriate, help them create action plans. Employees are more likely to be engaged in their work when they see how their efforts benefit them and their company.

Sometimes managers and employees are overzealous with the amount of goals they create for themselves. All goals should support the overall company mission, so strive for quality instead of quantity when establishing them.

2. Can They Reach Them?

Unrealistic goals benefit no one. In order for employees to be happy at their workplace and produce good work for their employers, they need to receive fairness with demands and expectations. Goals that are too high or impossible to reach will leave employees feeling helpless. Keep their morale high and stress low by tailoring goals to their skill set, position and career growth. Goals should be both challenging and attainable.

When employees are satisfied with their specific goals, have them strategize ways to accomplish them. Break large goals into several projects and help employees set deadlines and determine adequate progress for each one.

3. Be Present

Goals are often unmet because of a lack of supervision from managers. This problem is easily avoidable if managers and employees agree to meet and discuss the progress of each goal frequently. Micromanaging is not necessary, but receiving consistent updates will help managers keep their employees on track, as well as help them identify and work through potential obstacles.

Managers should use update meetings to provide employees with constructive criticism and evaluate goal progress. During these meetings, managers also should take time to encourage and praise employees for their efforts. These meetings are helpful for forming stronger manager-employee relationships because of the constant exchange of feedback and shared desire to achieve great results.


Employees who consistently meet or exceed their goals should be rewarded because they are showing commitment to their work and their organization. Not offering rewards will result in employee frustration, which has the potential to decrease productivity and increase turnover.

If employees do not meet their marks, managers should schedule time to meet with them to discuss the reasons why they fell short. Employees have to take responsibility for their work. Managers can inform employees of their disappointment if goals were attainable. After acknowledging disappointment, managers should help employees rework their goals or brainstorm strategies to make them more achievable.

Please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 for additional tips on successful employee goal setting.

Photo Source: hanspoldoja, Miiish

Focused Employees Contribute to Business Success

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

FocusDid your week start like this? Your biggest client got the wrong order; your CEO received a company report, which had a high-priority deadline, two-days late; and your accounting department cannot figure out how the organization is over budget for the month already.  Meanwhile, your employees are excessively chatting about their weekends, checking their friends’ Facebook statuses and taking numerous breaks.  If so, your company could be facing a problem with a lack of employee focus.

Ensuring that workers pay attention to details is critical to the success of your organization. Even small mistakes can disrupt business goals if they happen frequently. Instead of punishing your staff members for not staying on task, help them see how their efforts affect the bottom line. Motivate them to perform their best and stay on top of their work assignments with these focus-finding strategies:

Create Goals for the Day

Most employees establish goals for the year and sometimes for the month as well, but focus can be lost quickly with broad goals that stretch over long periods of time. Making daily goals helps employees define and prioritize the assignments they need to complete. To further help employees keep their concentration, have them set a time limit for each project they want to accomplish.

Discourage Multitasking

 Many people boast about being exceptional multitaskers. Although juggling multiple tasks seems like an effective skill, research reveals that creating high-quality products with this method does not work. The ability to focus on details decreases when we tackle more than one project. Working on too many assignments can also create stress, which increases our chances for making mistakes. Encourage employees to complete one item at a time. Once they finish one, they can move on to the next one. 

Schedule Distraction-Free Times

Coworkers can often be the cause of preventing others from completing their projects. Whether teammates want recommendations for good lunch places or help reviewing a spreadsheet, time for employees to focus on their individual tasks gets lost. Prohibiting staff interruptions (unless necessary) during specific work hours can give employees an opportunity to work on their aDistractionssignments without distractions from their coworkers. Time blocks tailored to the entire company or individual worker are both effective approaches.

It is easy for workers to become complacent and careless in tasks that they perform frequently. In addition to the pointers above, consistently remind them that they are integral components of your organization and their contributions assist in making your business a success or a failure. For more guidance on keeping your employees focused, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice & Counsel at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: febuiles, Sam Pullara

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