Posts Tagged ‘Raleigh’

7 Takeaways from CAI’s 2012 Compensation and Benefits Conference

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

CAI hosted its annual Compensation and Benefits Conference on Tuesday, Aug. 28 and Wednesday, Aug. 29 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. More than 200 HR professionals and company leaders participated in the event that focused on trends and best practices in total rewards.

The conference featured presentations from a variety of professionals responsible for advising companies on their compensation and benefits strategy. Some notable presentations included CAI’s Director of HR Services, Molly Hegeman, detailing marketplace trends for salaries and benefits in North Carolina, and Peter Marathas, Partner in the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group, who imparted the audience with tips to handle the recent changes in health care.

Other topics covered at the conference included flexible scheduling, health care management, mistakes related to wage and hour law, and multi-generational retirement planning. Below are some key takeaways from last week’s conference:

  1. Marketplace trends show an increase in consumer-driven health plan options (CDHP), well-being programs, and companies giving employees financial education and advice. These trends show a decrease in 401K matching, salary budget, promotions, teleworking and recognition programs.
  2. Employee time off costs are virtually equal to health care costs, and time off is one of the highest valued benefits to employees, second only to pay.
  3. Top 5 Wage-Hour mistakes include considering salaried employees exempt, averaging work hours, errors in recording work schedule, believing child labor laws aren’t applicable to your own child, and thinking any person may be an independent contractor.
  4. Chronic diseases make up 75 percent of national medical costs, and 80 percent of chronic conditions are modifiable or preventable. National data supports that effective wellness programs improved employee health and impact overall healthcare costs.
  5. A survey from AonHewitt revealed that health benefits satisfaction is declining, more than half of employees do not know how their pay is determined, most employees don’t understand the value of their pension plans, and 80 percent of respondents fear that they will not have enough money in retirement.
  6. According to CAI’s 2012 Wage & Salary Survey, NC companies project to increase employee salaries by 2.9 to 3.6 percent for 2012. Percentage of companies giving performance-based merit increases is 81.2 percent and those giving general increases in 36.2 percent.
  7. Companies that don’t manage total rewards effectively are missing valuable input from their employees, leading to lower engagement and higher turnover; missing opportunities to manage total rewards as a portfolio, which may lead to higher costs and lower effectiveness; and introducing unnecessary risk into their total rewards approach.

CAI holds four conferences each year. The Triad Employment Law Update is CAI’s next conference and will take place at the Koury Center in Greensboro on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. For more information related to CAI’s conferences, please check out CAI’s conference page.

HR Success – Eye Care Associates

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Ranked among the top 25 largest U.S. optometric-optical practices, Eye Care Associates has 19 offices throughout central and eastern North Carolina. It has grown aggressively over the past three years, adding seven new locations and upgrading several more of its existing offices. Along with this expansion, it has retained most of its talent. That accomplishment resulted in the firm winning a 2010 CAI Ovation Award in the small employer category (companies with 250 or less team members).

A few years ago, Eye Care Associates Human Resources Manager Melissa Short often heard team members tell her they wanted to achieve, learn and experience more to be engaged in the company’s mission as part of its growth. At the same time, Eye Care Associates knew it needed to identify and develop high-potential team members as part of its expansion activities. The company had lost a few exceptional team members because of a perceived lack of advancement opportunities.

Short started brainstorming ideas for a program that would meet everyone’s needs, from the corporate management team, who found themselves with insufficient time to develop a large number of team members, to the supervising office managers who needed employees on site for patient care. Working closely with the company’s training manager, Lois Paul, and two experienced office managers, Short tried to balance those interests as she designed and created the Visionary Development Program.

This 14-week intensive program identifies and tests high-potential team members while providing them with a strategic and more in-depth view of the organization. It consists of job shadowing, increased company involvement, and work on special projects. Eye Care Associates’ upper management team is actively involved in this process, mentoring employees and spending time with participants to educate them on their roles. Only a small group of team members – usually four or five – can participate in any four-month period when the program occurs.

The Visionary Development Program resulted in multiple benefits for Eye Care Associates, including:

  • Excellent retention among participants (15 out of the first 16 chosen for the program have stayed with Eye Care Associates, with the one leaving only for health reasons)
  • Improvement of the management team’s professional and interpersonal relationships with participants
  • A stronger pipeline of internal candidates for succession planning and expansion plans
  • Increased employee engagement and participation
  • Improved individual performance results
  • Innovative ideas from participants that would likely have remained undiscovered without the program
  • Increased credibility and respect for the management team by among program participants and their peers, as a result of witnessing their knowledge level and work volume firsthand
  • More confidence from the management team in participant abilities, resulting in more involvement of participants in special projects
  • Additional support to the management team that may have saved in administrative costs
  • The establishment of a true stepping stone for future advancement in the company

Eye Care Associates plans to revise and tweak the Visionary Development Program in the future to reap additional returns. This is a great model that other employers can replicate in their workplaces. Engaging employees more in the success and operations of the company is a great way to improve talent retention. For additional information about the Visionary Development program, contact Short at

CAI recognizes North Carolina companies for innovative HR/People solutions with Ovation Awards during its annual HR Management Conference in February.  If you’d like to be considered please send a 2-3 paragraph description of your program to  The description should summarize the business need, describe how the solution was implemented, and highlight the measurable and/or forecasted business results.

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