Posts Tagged ‘HR Management Conference’

How to Lose Your Best Employees in 10 Easy Steps

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Michelle Smith, VP of Marketing at O.C. Tanner

In anticipation of CAI’s upcoming HR Management Conference, one of this year’s speakers, Michelle Smith, shares the 10 toxic practices that will cause your business to lose its top talent.

Named one of the most influential women in the incentive industry, Michelle M. Smith, CPIM, CRP, is an accomplished international author and speaker, Past-President of the FORUM at Northwestern University, President Emeritus of the Incentive Marketing Association, Vice-President of Research for the Business Marketing Association, and Vice-President of Marketing for O.C. Tanner.

What could be more essential to both organizational success and the corporate bottom line than talent?

Most of us would agree that having the right talent is crucial for success and sustainability, yet many of the people in our employ continue to be marginalized and neglected, often taking a backseat to the various other matters that occupy our workdays as leaders.

And the problem seems to be pervasive.

While writing The Talent Mandate: Why Smart Companies Put People First, author Andrew Bennett spoke with a prominent business school professor who noted improvements and innovations in every area of business – except in talent management. In fact, the professor said no corporate function today lags behind as dramatically as how we manage the employees for which we are responsible.

That’s astonishing, and it’s also lunacy when the ‘War for Talent’ continues to rage and employee costs represent a majority of corporate expenses.

These things will cause your best people to leave

The author suggests we keep doing the following if we want to free ourselves from our brightest, most dynamic, and highest-potential employees:

1. Hire for the past, not the future. Choose talent based on what worked before, not on where the company is heading now. Emphasize candidates’ narrow former experience over a more generalized, nimble agility to adapt in a fast-changing world.

2. Downplay values and mission. Send the signal that anything goes in pursuit of profit, making employees guess about what choices are truly acceptable. Fail to spend time articulating to your workers why they come to work every day and how the greater community benefits from their efforts.

3. Bungle the teams. Avoid mixing generations and skill sets, instead grouping like with like and producing stale and predictable solutions that are safe and excite no one.

4. Put jerks into management.Reward the old-fashioned, autocratic style that stifles unorthodox, creative thinking and feels threatened by fresh ideas, energy and dynamism.

5. Measure hours, not results. Keep an expensive cadre of stern enforcers busy with policing everybody. Don’t trust your talent to use their time wisely. Crack down on social media. Forbid personal activities during the workday, even as you continue to expect work to be conducted long into the night and over the weekend.

6. Promote people straight up the ladder. Fail to give employees exposure to different parts of the business through lateral moves or cross-training, giving them the sensation of being narrowed over time, rather than being broadened and improved.

7. Leave talent management exclusively to HR. Expect the professionals who must deal with an increasingly complicated variety of personnel issues to also be exceptional visionaries in hiring. Detach the C-Suite and other leaders from talent recruitment and development since it’s not their department.

8. Hoard information. Keep decision-making securely ensconced in the executive wing. Avoid empowering mid-tier managers or employees lest they suddenly become entrepreneurial and unpredictable.

9. Don’t bother with training. It’s costly, and employees will probably jump ship with their new skills. Instead, have your workers do the same tasks over and over in the very same way.

10. Hire outsiders. After you’ve failed to train and develop your best people, follow it up by stifling their ambitions for increased responsibility. When they come to you and say, “I’m leaving,” express astonishment and outrage.

If these sound at all familiar, you’d better hope your competitors are following the same game plan or your organization could be in big trouble.

Either way, all is not lost. Please join me on March 10th at the HR Management Conference for “Winning the War for Talent in a People-Led Economy” to learn more about how to attract, develop and retain the best talent.

The presentation is full of tested research, insights, and tools for HR leaders to advance their organizations and their own careers. The session will help those looking to evolve professionally, or to be viewed more strategically by senior leadership, as these concepts can fundamentally change the future of leadership, recognition and engagement. I look forward to seeing you there!


The 2015 HR Management Conference Will Help You Prepare for the Future

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

2015 HRMC ppt slide imageIn order to stay successful and make positive impacts to your bottom line, you must keep up with the kaleidoscope of factors that are now driving today’s business climate. Technology, global competition and shifting demographics are only a sampling of those factors.

From hiring the right people, to developing a thriving culture, and to getting the people out of the organization that don’t belong, HR can lead the charge! Please join us for the 2015 HR Management Conference on March 4 and March 5 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. With the theme Mind Shift: Talent Strategies for a Changing Workforce, come prepared to shift your way of thinking around talent strategies to address the dynamics and effects of the changing workforce of today’s business environment.

Four keynote speakers will share their informative presentations for conference participants:

Conference goers will also have the opportunity to attend several breakout sessions during the two-day conference. Some of the topics include:

CAI will also announce the winners of the 2015 Ovation Awards for HR Excellence on the second day of the conference. There is still time to submit a nomination if your company has implemented an HR/people practice that fits into one of the following categories: addressing the skills gap, driving HR efficiency, and leveraging changing workplace demographics. The nomination deadline is Friday, December 19. Please send nominations to

Please visit to review the full agenda, descriptions about the presentations and speakers, and to register. Please call 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 with any questions.

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

CAI’s HR Management Conference Will Help You Put the Pieces of Your Talent Puzzle Together

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

The competition for top talent is fierce as organizations require more specialized skills from their workforce. In order to secure top talent, employers should spend adequate time searching and hiring candidates that possess strong interpersonal skills and a desire to grow and achieve success.  

Excellent talent will be increasingly difficult to maintain in the current business climate’s competitive atmosphere. CAI’s 2013 HR Management Conference will equip you with information and strategies to hold on to your best people, as well as attract new talent. Scheduled for March 6 and March 7 at Raleigh’s McKimmon Center, the conference will help you put the pieces of your talent puzzle together to develop a positive culture that reaches its business goals.

Four keynote speakers will address participants at the early March conference:

  1. Daniel Pink will reveal why traditional approaches to high performance backfire at most organizations and will offer alternative solutions.
  2. Demographic trends show that pretty soon your workforce is going to look different, work different and want to be rewarded differently. Dr. James Johnson will help you prepare.
  3. Based on his best-selling book, The Energy Bus, Jon Gordon presents a powerful roadmap to overcome life and work obstacles and bring out the best in yourself and your team.
  4. In his presentation, Dave Rendall will help you find the strengths hidden in your workforce and explore eight strategies for improving employee engagement at your organization.

Conference attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in several breakout sessions. Topics include:

–Performance, Development and Succession: The Foundation of Talent Management

–15 Reasons You May Have a Shortage of Skilled Labor and What to Do About It

–Learning Agility: The Defining Competency for Working (and Thriving) at the Speed of Light

–Strategies for Developing and Changing the Leadership Culture

CAI will announce the winners of the 2013 Ovation Awards for HR Excellence at the HR Management Conference. There is still time to submit a nomination if your company has implemented an HR/People practice that has brought success to the organization. Deadline is Friday, December 14.

Please visit to review the programs full agenda, descriptions about the presentations and speakers, and to register. Everyone who registers for the conference by the end of the day on Thursday, December 13 will be entered into a drawing to win a new iPad with retina display. Register today! Please call 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 with any questions.

You Still Can Nominate Your Company for an Ovation Award for HR Excellence

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Did your team recently start a project or try a new system that brought your company a lot of success or made a workplace process easier? If so, we want to hear about it!

We are collecting nominations for CAI’s Ovation Awards for HR Excellence until December 14. Six years ago, CAI created the HR awards to honor exceptional workplaces in North Carolina that implemented HR or People practices that positively affected their businesses.

Diverse companies with varying initiatives have received the awards since 2007. A few examples include Krispy Kreme for its Healthy Lifestyle Program, Caterpillar Building Construction Products Division for its Workplace Flexibility Program and Burt’s Bees for its Live the Greater Good Program.

Nominations related to any area in the HR field are acceptable. Some examples include: reworking your company’s onboarding process, starting a wellness program to improve employee health or changing your company culture to attract better talent. If multiple projects or programs have helped your company reach success, feel free to submit more than one nomination.

The awards are divided into three categories: small employer (less than 200 employees), mid-size employer(201 to 700 employees) and large employer (more than 700 employees). Submitting a nomination is quick, easy and free.  Recognition and publicity, an enhanced employer brand, and free registration to the 2013 CAI HR Management Conference are a few of the benefits you’ll earn when your company wins one of the awards

Here are the questions you will need to answer when entering your submission:

  1. Number of employees at your organization.
  2. Describe the problem or opportunity that your best practice addressed.
  3. Describe your solution.
  4. Describe how your solution positively impacted business results.

Visit  to read more about the awards, review submissions from past winners and start the nomination process. Please contact  with any questions regarding the awards. Deadline is Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Winners will receive their awards at the 2013 HR Management Conference on March 7, 2012.


Positively Contagious

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

The following is from Jon Gordon’s newsletter, Soup: A Recipe to Nourish Your Team and Culture. Jon Gordon is a business expert whose principles have been put to the test by NFL, NBA and college teams, Fortune 500 companies, school districts, non-profits and hospitals

The Swine Flu is not the only thing you catch at work. Turns out you are just as likely to catch someone’s bad mood and negative attitude. Yes, the latest research demonstrates what we’ve all known to be true, emotions are contagious. Researchers call them emotional contagions and they impact our work environments, productivity, teamwork, service and performance in significant and profound ways.

As we know all too well, one negative employee can pollute an entire team and create a toxic work environment. One negative leader can make work miserable for his/her team. An employee in a bad mood can scare away countless customers. Complaining can act like a cancer and spread throughout the entire organization and eventually destroy your vision and goals. And pervasive negative attitudes can sabotage the morale and performance of teams with great talent and potential.

That’s the bad news… but there’s also good news.

Positive emotions are just as contagious as negative emotions. One positive leader can rally a group of willing people to accomplish amazing things. One Chief Energy Officer who sits at the welcome desk can positively infect every person who walks in your business/school/workplace. One positive team member can slowly but surely improve the mood and moral of her team. And pervasive positive attitudes and emotions at work can fuel the morale and performance of your organization.

Emotional contagions are the reason I say that everyone in the organization contributes to the culture of it. You are not just a creation of your culture but rather you are creating it every day through your thoughts, beliefs and actions. What you think matters. How you feel matters. And the energy you share with others, whether it’s positive or negative, really matters.

You can be a germ and attack your organization’s immune system or you can act like a dose of Vitamin C and strengthen it.

So the next time you head into work with a bad mood you might want to stop before you walk in the door and consider what your boss would say if you had the Swine Flu. She would tell you to stay home until you are healthy and not contagious. And in that moment, as you stand at the door you have choice: You can go home so you don’t infect anyone with your bad mood, or you can choose to get healthy right there, change your attitude, and decide to be positively contagious.

I’ll be sharing more information on how to maintain a positive, engaged and productive staff at CAI’s 2013 HR Management Conference. Join me at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh on March 7 and 8.

 Jon Gordon

Jeff Tobe Shares Insights on Engagement, Creativity and Business Success

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

CAI’s HR Management Conference will feature Jeff Tobe as a keynote speaker on February 22 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. Dubbed the “Guru of Creatively Thriving from Change” by Insider Magazine, Jeff is a nationally-known speaker who helps his participants embrace change and thrive from it. His presentation for next month’s conference addresses how creativity can engage employees. I had the opportunity to speak with Jeff on this topic, and he offered me inventive but practical advice for employers.

Recent research shows that 72 percent of the American Workforce is not engaged. Jeff says this figure is scary but can also provide great opportunities for organizations to increase their bottom line. An engaged employee affects business results more positively than a disengaged one.

“It’s management’s fault that people are floundering, and it’s management’s fault that people aren’t engaged,” Jeff says.

He explains that more employees are valuing their time and life outside of work, and many companies have management that does not understand their employees’ needs and the factors that drive their engagement. Jeff stresses that companies cannot motivate their employees, but they can create an environment in which employees are  motivated to perform well. According to Jeff, managers must understand their internal customers, including their employees, to create a motivating environment:

“I have to know my internal customer better than I have before, and then I have to ask the right kinds of questions to find out what truly motivates them, so I can work with them in a way in which they need to be worked with.”

Managers who cannot adapt their style to effectively engage their employees will see their company struggle to retain top talent and achieve success. Jeff offers his audience members a number of approaches to combat low employee engagement. Here are a few that can help your company increase its bottom line:

Use Creativity as an Influencer

Jeff views creativity in two parts—there is the “create” and there is the “ivity.” He says the create part is easy, but ivity requires risk. Jeff encourages organizations to look at things from their employees, customers and vendors’ perspectives, and then ask, “How do we shatter the stereotype of the experience people expect to have with us?”

Jeff warns that people need to use accountability when creating. He wants management to encourage new ideas and risk taking, but he says there has to be reasons for asking employees to explore creative pursuits. Time, energy and resources can be wasted when accountability and strategy are not present.

Review Your Current Company Processes

An in-depth review of your company’s current processes can reveal factors that may increase engagement and yield strong business results. There are three parts to the in-depth review process management should perform, according to Jeff. The first is identifying the processes that are unnecessary. Tired industry standards and tasks that do not offer the company benefits are examples of items that you can eliminate. Next, Jeff wants you to review processes that are working, and look at ways you can expand on them to produce greater results. The third step asks you to invent new processes. Are there immediate changes you can make to improve your workflow or are there projects you can create to increase your employee morale?

Jeff says it takes some weight off an organization’s shoulders when it realizes there are processes that it can remove or improve upon to achieve success.

Practice Communicating Effectively

“Stop being the giver of information. Start being the seeker,” Jeff says regarding employers who practice poor workplace communication.

Jeff says that communication is not about oral or listening skills, but it is about truly listening between the lines and being empathetic. He says that most people are good communicators but not empathetic communicators; they do not truly listen to the opinions and frustrations of their workforce. Jeff sees more organizations fail because of poor communications than any other cause.

For more approaches on improving your company’s engagement level and to see Jeff’s presentation, register for CAI’s 2012 HR Management Conference here:


Defining Your Workplace Culture

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Creating a positive workplace that values and motivates your workforce will help you weather any business obstacle. Employees who view their workplace positively are more likely to invest in the company, produce high-quality work and be brand ambassadors. Even in a tough economic climate, a positive culture will encourage employees to continue giving their best work because their leadership is committed to doing the same.

A positive company culture is key to business success and survival. CAI’s CEO and President, Bruce Clarke, explains that there is no silver bullet for establishing an engaging company culture in his latest News & Observer column, “The View from HR.”  He says that workplace culture decisions should be made with purpose and an end in mind. There are many options for creating a more positive workplace, but Bruce cautions employers from copying the culture of others and creating one based on cool behaviors or conservative options. Instead, employers should look to their employees, business vision, goals, and values to develop a lasting company culture.

“It is a powerful thing when whom you hire, how you work and what you are as an organization weave together in concert to meet your business objectives,” Bruce says.

Although there is no special recipe for creating a positive and productive company culture, there are several elements that should be included:

  • Cooperation—All employees, including management, should be involved in the culture-making process.
  • Communication—Use effective communication methods to inform staff about the culture initiative and frequently update them on its progress.
  • Creativity—Challenge employees to change the way they think. Encourage brainstorming and risk taking to guide the process.
  •  Accountability—Set goals and expectations for the project early. Make sure everyone knows their part and hold them accountable for following through.
  • Commitment—Holding regular meetings to discuss company culture is a good method to ensure continual support for the initiative.

You can get more information on developing your company’s culture at CAI’s 2012 HR Management Conference, which is scheduled for February 21 and February 22 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. The conference aims to teach HR professionals and other top executives strategies in culture and talent that will help them crush their competition. Learn more and register today at


Nominate Your Company for a CAI Ovation Award Today!

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

CAI is now accepting nominations for its Ovation Awards for HR Excellence. The awards, created by CAI in 2007, recognize local employers for their innovative people practices that have positively impacted business results.  Companies that win the award gain public recognition for their achievements, and they receive a great opportunity to present their winning people practice.

Three categories make up the awards: small company (less than 250 employees), mid-size company (250 to 500 employees) and large company (more than 500 employees). The nominating process is free and easy. Email CAI’s Director of Member Development, Doug Blizzard, at and include a summary of your best practice and the impact it has had on your organization. The summary should be two-to-three paragraphs and include the following: the business need, how you implemented the solution and measurable and/or forecasted business results.

CAI will accept submissions related to any area in HR. Examples of acceptable people practices include: maximizing an opportunity, implementing a wellness program, recruiting efforts for top talent, strategic planning for employee engagement, etc. The deadline for submitting nominations is November 30, 2011.

Winners will receive their awards at CAI’s 2012 HR Management Conference scheduled for February 21-22, 2012. Winning companies will also deliver a one-hour presentation on their exceptional people practice during the conference.

In addition to public recognition and the opportunity to demonstrate their people practice to their peers, winners receive the following benefits:

  • Enhanced employment brand
  • Organization and accomplishments listed in the CAI Newsletter and Website
  • One free registration to the 2012 CAI HR Management Conference
  • An etched award highlighting the achievement

 Past winners of the Ovation Award include: Krispy Kreme (2010, large), Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Industries Inc. (2011, 2009, mid-size), Eye Care Associates (2010, small ), The Accreditation Commission for Health Care, Inc (2011, small), Burt’s Bees (2010, mid-size), Rex Healthcare (2011, large) and The Bank of Oak Ridge (2008, small). For a complete list of past recipients, please visit

Nominate your company today! Please contact Doug at 919-523-8444 or the email above with any questions. Remember—you can’t win if you aren’t nominated. Good luck!

Photo Source: Third Eye a.k.a TreeNetra