Posts Tagged ‘resolutions’

Practicing Mindfulness In The New Year

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

mindfulnesshcwThe post below is a guest blog from Meaghan Roach who serves as Health Management Advisor for CAI’s employee benefits partner Hill, Chesson & Woody.

As 2015 has come to a close and we begin to embark on the adventure of another year, many of us will be making resolutions, promises to ourselves and our loved ones for a happier, healthier, better 2016.

But the reality for most adults is that we are too busy, too stressed, and have a to-do list a mile long. Frankly, when are we ever going to catch up on our daily activities, let alone find the time to better ourselves?

The answer may be found in mindfulness. UC Berkeley defines mindfulness as the practice of “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.” Mindfulness can be cultivated through quiet periods of meditation, focused breathing techniques, and intentionally noticing your surroundings through each of your senses.

The Harvard Business Review recently published an article chronicling the success of a mindfulness and meditation program at Aetna. While most business leaders are spewing the standard “do more with less” and “increase productivity by working harder, faster, longer” jargon, Aetna’s CEO Mark Bertolini is taking a different route. Aetna began a mindfulness training program back in 2010 to teach employees how to better manage stress and center themselves throughout the day through yoga and meditation.

Aetna isn’t the only company instituting mindfulness practice into employee lives. Other major companies, like Intel, General Mills and Google, have created their own mindfulness programs. Google offers over a dozen courses on mindfulness to their employees, and the most popular of these courses – “Search Inside Yourself” – is now offered to other companies as a way to train leadership teams on bringing the practice into their own organizations. The list of participants in the SIY Leadership Institute yields more high-profile companies and institutions, including Ford, Comcast, American Express, and several universities.

Clearly, mindfulness is taking the corporate world by storm, and for good reason. Aetna’s program resulted in a 36 percent reduction in perceived stress by participants, and has increased participant productivity by an average of 62 minutes per week, which computes to $3,000 in increased productivity per participant each year. In addition to reducing stress, mindfulness has also been shown to improve your ability to focus, boost productivity and creativity, and increase your Emotional Intelligence, a key indicator of job success.

The New Year is the perfect time to interject mindfulness practice into your life and the lives of your employees. The holidays are often synonymous with stress and over-indulging, but the New Year brings the promise of a fresh start, in which we can shape our present lives to better fit our ideals for the future.

So, how do you begin? The idea of jumping headfirst into meditation may seem daunting, but that is not the only way to cultivate mindfulness in your daily life. Try creating a small habit at the beginning of each day: when you arrive at work, sit quietly for two to three minutes, doing nothing but feeling your breath and taking note of your surroundings.

For a beginner’s course in attentively using your senses, consider the raisin. This popular practice in mindfulness, especially mindful eating, has the participant experience a single raisin through sight, smell, feel, and taste.

For more information on starting a mindfulness program, and promoting employee well-being in a broader sense,  please reach out to HCW’s Health Management Department.

Transform Your Business With These 5 New Year’s Resolutions

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

In today’s post, CAI’s HR Business Partner Tom Sheehan shares the important resolutions HR professionals should be aiming to tackle in the New Year.

The New Year is here, and I imagine many of you will have already set goals you hope to achieve by the end of 2016.  As HR professionals, odds are attracting and retaining talent will be some of your top priorities for the year.  To meet these goals, I would like to call your attention to five resolutions that if followed will be instrumental in creating success for your business this year.

  1. Narrow the Front Door to Close the Back Door
    Commit to improve the screening and selection processes to ensure that poor fit candidates don’t join the organization. In particular, use structured interview questions to assess for cultural fit, and incorporate realistic job previews. In short, by acting as the ‘gatekeeper of talent’ and narrowing the front door, you will reduce the unnecessary turnover of employees leaving via the backdoor.
  2. Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill
    Winston Churchill famously said that ‘Attitude is a little thing that makes a BIG DIFFERENCE.’ It is much easier to train a new hire on a set of work skills than to correct issues with their attitude. If you want to know about their attitude, check their references thoroughly.
  3. Onboard New Hires with Real Purpose
    Make certain that the new hire process utilizes a formal, scripted plan for the first 90 days. Include check-in points for an HR representative to make sure things are still on track. Hold the hiring manager accountable for ensuring that the process unfolds according to plan.
  4. Dump the ‘once a year’ Performance Review
    Resolve to make the performance management process something more than a ‘check-the-box’ exercise. Train managers on how to give performance feedback on a regular basis. Encourage managers to have weekly one-on-ones with their staffs. At a minimum, there should be a formal mid-year check-in between the employee and the manager.
  5. Do Less Better
    In our zeal to please (and support) our internal customers, HR has traditionally had a hard time saying ‘No’. As a result, we are often overextended and inefficient. Endeavor to prioritize your HR initiatives and select fewer projects to start. In doing so, you will improve execution and results.

Follow these resolutions and you will likely find a positive impact across your organization. Not only can it help transform your business for the better, but it also will improve the credibility and faith in HR and establish a reputation and culture for doing things the right way.

For further questions about how to achieve your HR resolutions in the New Year, please contact our Advice & Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Top 5 Resolutions For Maintaining A Strong Benefit Plan

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

The post below is a guest blog from Joy Binkley who serves as Principal, Health & Welfare Consultant for CAI’s employee benefits partner Hill, Chesson & Woody.

resolutionsYou may think New Year’s resolutions only apply to bettering yourself, but don’t forget about the health of your benefit plan! Follow these five resolutions for keeping your benefits strong:


  1. Look for new opportunities to communicate the value of your benefits. Many employers pull their employees together once a year to review their benefit offerings during the annual open enrollment.  Make a point to pick 2 or 3 other times a year to stress the benefits of your health plan.  For example, distribute a hidden paycheck, highlight one of your benefit offerings at a staff meeting or hold a Lunch & Learn event supported by one of carriers during the year.
  2. Test your plan for ACA and overall compliance.List all of the notices you are required to release each year.  Take inventory of all of your employee categories and know which ones are eligible for coverage under your plan.  Make certain you are able to access contracts and policies without difficulty.  Review your time recording structure and be assured it will assist you with the new 2015 reporting requirements.
  3. Develop a health and wellness calendar.Challenge your organization to engage in a health and wellness event once a month.  Select a small group of employees or form a committee to develop an activity or event each month to support.  These events can range from a lunch time walk, encouraging others to eat more fruits and vegetables or supporting a team effort at a local charity walk.  With a little forethought, these activities can be a great way to remind your employees that their health is important.
  4. Plan ahead; don’t wait until the last minute to review your plan options for 2015.Review how things are running with your current benefits mid-year and see if they are supporting your overall business objectives for the year. Are your benefits helping you retain and attract the right talent for your organization to succeed?  If not, what may you need to change or initiate to help you meet this goal.
  5. Look for ways to enhance your plan offerings.Employees are looking to their employers to offer them more choices in plans that may meet their unique needs.  The worksite benefit landscape has evolved a lot over the past few years.  Introducing new voluntary benefits are a great way to enhance your benefit portfolio.  These benefits can provide additional financial assistance or incentives to many employees alongside their major medical plans.

Regardless of which direction you go in 2015, now is the perfect time to take a step back and assess what is working well for your plan.  Talk to your benefits consultant to identify different avenues to explore in the New Year!


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.

10 Resolutions for Workplace Success

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

The beginning of January prompts people to start setting resolutions they plan to keep for the rest of the year. Making commitments to improve your work performance is a good way to plan and prepare for achieving success at your workplace. Whether your goals include joining senior management in making leadership decisions or scheduling weekly progress meetings with your direct reports, having specific goals for the new year will improve your own productivity. Try setting these 10 workplace resolutions to deliver positive results for your company:

1. Be Specific

Make resolutions for the New Year that are specific and measurable. Goals that have these characteristics are easier to envision and plan for, which makes them more attainable.

2. Stay Organized

The best way to make sure you keep your resolutions is to stay organized. Being clutter free will help your productivity and keep your mind clear for maintaining your resolutions.

3. Be Positive

Research shows that optimists live longer than pessimists. They are also happier and more productive in the workplace. Instead of spending time worrying about items in the office that you cannot change, focus on the steps you can take to make your workplace experience more positive and enjoyable.

4. Maintain Work/Life Balance

Spend some time making your work schedule fit into your life schedule and vice versa. Do not chat excessively about personal matters during work hours. Use your lunch break to catch up on news from your colleagues. When you leave the office, make sure to enjoy your personal time and feel free to limit the amount of time you spend talking about work.

5. Keep an Eye on Progress

Track your progress on the measurable goals you made. Seeing your progress can help motivate you to succeed in achieving your goals. This process also can help you see if you need to rework a goal that you are having trouble completing.

6. Arrive on Time

Being on time to meetings or important conference calls shows that you respect your job and the others who are also particpating. Be on time so meetings can start when they were planned and everyone has ample time to return to their work.

7. Mind Your Manners

All employees want to be recognized for the contributions they make for the company. Start using “please” and “thank you” when requesting information or projects from your coworkers. These words will help increase office morale.

8. Be Accountable

If you offer to work on a project or your supervisor assigned you a new task, own the assignment and follow through on items you are expected to deliver.

9. Take Breaks

Work gets busy. Life gets busy. Limit workplace anxiety and stress by taking appropriate breaks from work. Leave your desk for 15 minutes for a walk or use your vacation to take a long weekend getaway with family or friends.

10. Be Healthy

Eating the right foods at the right portions and sleeping at least seven hours each night will help you maintain your energy for a full week of work.

For more tips on achieving success at your organization, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: planeta