Posts Tagged ‘training’

Ongoing Training Helps Managers Reach Success

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO, discusses the importance of managerial training in his most recent edition of his News and Observer column, “The View from HR.” In his column, Bruce informs his readers that less than half of the companies he surveyed had no budget for managerial training. Bruce argues that without training, managers are unable to improve their soft skills, which are necessary to lead an organization. Communicating effectively, working well in teams, empathizing with colleagues and keeping calm in stressful situations are examples of soft skills that lead businesses to success.

Making sure your managers are adequately trained to handle their projects and supervise people is important no matter if your budget is large or extremely limited. Considering multiple budgets, here are a few ways to train your managers:

Training Classes

  • Employers’ associations and similar organizations offer companies several training options for their managers. While training programs range in price and length, they offer participants valuable information and leadership practices to take away and use for supervising their staff members.

Webinars

  • In addition to training classes, managers can learn key concepts from webinars. Many times managers want to attend training classes, but their demanding schedules make leaving the office hard. Webinars allow managers to sharpen their skills and improve their leadership without leaving their desks.

Reading

  • An inexpensive way for managers to advance their skills is to invest in managerial literature. Many non-fiction books offer managers solutions for solving people management issues or ensuring the success of a project. These books are often available at public libraries.  In addition, reading blogs like this one that share tips on increasing retention and company morale is an effective way for managers to strengthen their leadership qualities.

Mentors

  • A meticulously organized company mentor plan is another budget-friendly method to train your managers. To make this program successful, match new managers with experienced and high-performing managers. The seasoned managers will have a wealth of knowledge and experiences to help their newer colleagues tackle and conquer tough workplace issues. These employee pairs should meet regularly for an extended period of time to be effective.

Managers juggle many tasks and are responsible for multiple people. For these reasons, it’s important to ensure that they receive proper training. Giving them several opportunities to improve their soft skills will help your company see more success. If you’re interested in CAI’s training courses, please contact a member of CAI’s Learning and Development Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Ryan Holst

Employees without Managers Will Disengage

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and president, identifies the importance of employees having managers in his most recent News & Observer column, “The View from HR.” Bruce lists several questions for employers that do not assign specific managers for their employees:

  • How does an employee get help?
  • Who does the employee go to with problems?
  • Who is there to help keep the employee engaged and committed to both the work and the company?

Employees who do not have definite answers for the questions above will quickly disengage with their work and could eventually take another position at a company that boasts strong management. As Bruce mentions in his column, HR departments can help employees with questions they have regarding pay and benefits, but there will be many more topics that employees will want addressed.

Managers provide many benefits to the workers they supervise. They keep employees focused on completing assignments and aligning efforts to match company goals. Managers keep their employees engaged by giving frequent feedback and genuinely having interest in their employees’ professional and personal aspirations. They also serve as problem solvers to help workers when obstacles arise.

If your organization does not have managers assigned to each of its employees, be aware of the negative effects it could be causing. Decreased productivity, lowered morale, absenteeism and lack of trust for the company are just a few of the reactions you may face from your workforce if adequate management is not enforced. Here are a few reasons why employees need managers:

Guidance

Managers help their employees understand their roles and how they can affect business results. With proper goal setting and consistent feedback, both positive and constructive, managers help employees reach success.

Employees have questions that they need answered, and managers who work with them on an ongoing basis are the most equipped to offer them responses. Sufficient guidance and attention spent on employees will help them feel essential and respected in the workplace.

Growth

People are rarely satisfied doing the same tasks for long periods of time, so not planning for employees to grow can have dire consequences for your company, specifically high turnover. Because managers provide consistent feedback, they are aware of the strengths and weaknesses that their employees possess. This information not only helps managers assign projects, but it also helps employees visualize what they do well and what they need to improve. Managers are also qualified to suggest promotions, raises or special assignments for deserving workers.

Recognition

Data indicates that employees who do not feel valued at their organizations will leave. Managers can prevent this from happening by recognizing the hard work their employees contribute.  Managers who seek opinions from their staff on company matters show their employees that their viewpoints are important and can shape business strategy.

In addition to recognizing an employee’s professional performance, managers understand that he or she has a personal life as well. Being fair with expectations and deadlines is mandatory for managers who want to respect their employees’ work/life balance.

Good managers who demonstrate leadership qualities are critical for keeping company morale high. Please call CAI’s Advice and Counsel at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 for additional information.

Photo Source: alancleaver_2000

Onboarding Strategies for Getting Seasonal Workers Up to Speed

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

The post below is a guest blog from Kyle Lagunas.

Kyle Lagunas is the HR Analyst at Software Advice. On the surface, it’s his job to contribute to the ongoing conversation on all things HR. Beyond that, he makes sure his audience is keeping up with important trends and hot topics in the industry. Focused on offering a fresh take on points of interest in his market, he’s not your typical HR guy.

During peak periods – around the holidays, tax season or over the summer – it’s critical that businesses can easily manage the addition of temporary employees and quickly get them up to speed. And from recruiting and training to offboarding, seasonal employees can put your human resources software and processes to the test. Not only do you have to find and hire the right people, you have a very short time to train them and get them connected to your organization.

An effective, streamlined process for hiring and onboarding employees is essential to any organization’s success – especially those that rely on seasonal help. Here, I’ve outlined a few ways to go above and beyond your normal onboarding process to get seasonal employees geared up and ready to go.

Employee Integration: The Heart of Onboarding
According to ForbesWoman columnist and onboarding expert Emily Bennington, every employee in an organization should be integrated into the company on several levels – regardless of the length of employment. But because of the time constraints associated with onboarding seasonal workers, you’re going to need a concentrated game plan. How familiar with your products do they need to be to handle the register? Take a look at your existing onboarding process, and then adjust and condense it so you can achieve your optimal level of integration.

5 Key Factors of a Strong Seasonal Workforce
Some people may assume I’m focused on training when I say “onboarding,” but the fact is that the employee experience starts in the recruiting stage. With this in mind, here are a few key strategies to help you throughout every phase of the process:

Tailor your recruiting strategies. Your recruiting efforts should be tailored to meet the specific needs of a seasonal workforce. It’s important to make the details of the opportunity clear from the get-go. I would also be wary of how you communicate potential for further employment, as you don’t want folks making assumptions.

Perform due diligence. Don’t skimp on due diligence in collecting legal papers and monitoring employees’ schedules. “A lot of people short-circuit processes like verifying work eligibility or tracking hours correctly. It should go without saying, but you really need to be sure you’re following the law,” says John Rossheim, a senior contributing writer at Monster.com.

Provide proper training. According to Bennington, onboarding should focus on integrating new employees in three areas:

  •  Technical Skills: To what depth of expertise do seasonal employees need to be trained to perform their jobs?
  • Company Culture: How thoroughly do seasonal hires need to understand company policies and values?
  • Social Integration: In what ways can you connect seasonal employees to your organization so they feel like they are part of the team?

Furthermore, Rossheim suggests designing your seasonal workforce “to accomplish the task at hand, rather than haphazardly training everyone to do everything they may possibly have to do. Specialize rather than throwing everyone into the same bucket.”

Know your capacity upfront. Whether you have a general human resources management system or a hodgepodge of spreadsheets and checklists – it’s important to know your capacity. Can your back-office system efficiently handle an increased volume in applicants and new hires?

Make them part of the team. Seasonal employees can easily feel isolated if an onboarding program doesn’t successfully connect them to the organization. According to Eddie Baeb of Target Corportate Communications, Target is focused on engaging seasonal employees and making them feel just as valued as anyone else from day one. With nearly 40 percent (about 35,800) of seasonal team members joining as permanent employees last year after the holidays, they’ve got this down.

Offboarding Offers an Opportunity for Improvement
You may have discovered a few star performers you’d like to bring onto your team permanently. For the rest, though, Bennington says “there’s definitely an opportunity to establish brand ambassadors.” Offboarding provides a chance to make a lasting positive impression while gaining insight into the worker’s experience.

Standard offboarding practices include surveying workers on their experience. Bennington suggests going beyond surveying and having one-on-one exit interviews with select employees to get more candid responses.

CAI’s June 2011 Training Showcase

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

On Friday, June 24, more than 45 HR professionals and company executives visited CAI’s Raleigh location to attend its June 2011 Training Showcase. CAI’s Training Showcases are free events, held three times a year at the company’s Raleigh and Greensboro offices, and they offer opportunities for company decision makers to gather information on CAI’s diverse training options.

The June event began with CAI’s Director of Learning Services, Colleen Cunningham, asking participants why they decided to attend. Several enthusiastic audience members interjected various reasons, such as seeing the event in CAI’s management newsletter and wanting to help employees improve in their positions.

“Our company is growing, and we need to expand our training, so we wanted to see which programs were best,” said Bonnie Wooten, HR Generalist at Implus Footcare.

Following a brief introduction of CAI’s staff and principal training facilitators, Colleen shared with the audience some of the training services that CAI provides, as well as the organization’s overall education philosophy. The Learning and Development Team members base each of their courses on CAI’s learning model, which includes items to measure learning results, such as self-assessments; defined learning objectives; and interactive exercises, role-plays and case studies. After guests learned how CAI strives to maximize training results, they were free to attend sessions that offered snapshots of what potential participants would expect to experience. Some of the sessions included:

CAI facilitators work to ensure that all of their programs are interactive to keep participants alert and engaged in the information they receive and the activities that they perform. The June 2011 Training Showcase facilitators, Brad Geiger, Maureen Bertolo and Kelly Barefoot, also added passion and expertise to their sessions.

For example, in Maureen’s session Fundamentals of Management Certification Program, she asked all participants to stand up and walk around the classroom to introduce themselves, which involved saying their name, title and company they represented. This activity helped them become familiar with each other while also teaching them that getting to know staff members is an important part of being in management.

Brad and Kelly utilized real-world examples to relate to audience members in their sessions.  Kelly asked her participants in Developing Others Through Coaching to think of great coaches—job, school or sports related—and the qualities that made them effective teachers. This exercise helped attendees discover strategies to grow successful employees.

“Their use of interactive role playing is very effective,” said Janice Willmott, Chief Administrative Officer at Disability Rights NC, when describing the facilitators’ teaching methods.

The following are additional descriptions participants used to characterize the teaching styles of Brad, Maureen and Kelly: energetic, dynamic, knowledgeable, well-informed and efficient. Their teaching approach encouraged participants to interject frequently, ask thought-provoking questions and cooperate in problem solving.

Not only did participants get to sample programs that generally run for two days, but also they received binders full of each program’s key objectives, learning deliverables and main points of discussion.

The evaluations from CAI’s June 2011 Training Showcase revealed that participants obtained a good sense of each session’s layout, and several participants commented that the event exceeded their expectations, making the experience great.

If you’d like to learn more about CAI’s training programs, please visit our website at www.capital.org or contact a member of CAI’s Learning and Development Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

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

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

What Employee Perks Are You Offering?

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

As the economy slowly begins to improve, many employers are starting to focus on employee retention. AccountTemps, a division of Robert Half International, surveyed more than 1,400 CFOs to learn what perks their companies were either offering or planning to offer in their effort to recruit and retain top performers.

While subsidized training and education topped the list, flexible schedules and mentoring programs came in tied for a close second place.  Overall, the most popular incentives appear to be those that aid in career development:

  • Subsidized training/education – 29%
  • Flexible work hours or telecommuting – 24%
  • Mentoring programs – 24%
  • Matching gift programs – 13%
  • Free or subsidized lunch or snacks – 11%
  • On-site perks such as childcare, dry cleaning, fitness center, cafeteria – 11%
  • Subsidized transportation – 10%
  • Subsidized gym membership – 9%
  • Sabbaticals – 8%
  • Housing or relocation assistance – 7%

Many of the perks listed above go hand-in-hand with the top 10 reasons employees stay with an organization.  These perks assist businesses in the development of a more skilled workforce, often cost very little to implement and can assist with providing work-life balance for your employees.

While employees may be sensitive to pay concerns, especially after a few years of salary freezes or cuts, it is important to note that pay is not the primary reason people stay or leave an organization.

Also, while there are certainly common themes that come through in the list above, these same perks may not be what your organization’s employees would prefer.  The best way to assess how you can get the biggest bang for your buck when investing in employee perks and retention strategies is to ask your employees directly what is most important to them.

If you have questions regarding employee retention efforts, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Midwest Region

Career Development Seen as Critical for Talent Management

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

A recent survey from Hewitt Associates produced some eye-opening results on the importance of career development in recruiting and retaining employees.

The survey, conducted in March and April 2010, includes data from HR professionals at 193 large employers.  In a result that will be surprising to most, 30 percent of survey participants said that career development is more important to their employees than pay as a reward strategy with an additional 55 percent saying it was of equal importance.

Further, 77 percent say that career development is either “much more” or “more” important to their company’s talent strategy than it was five years ago.

Mysteriously, this awareness of the importance of career development has not led to companies strengthening their employee growth initiatives.  Of those surveyed, 72 percent said they do not have a defined workforce planning process that addresses critically needed capabilities.  And only 10 percent said they were satisfied with the current career development programs at their company.

In regards to career development philosophy, 62 percent said their employees are in charge of their own development with some guidance from their manager.  Further, 85 percent described employees’ perception of career development opportunities as “some” or “limited.”

The absence of career development programs offers your company an opportunity to differentiate itself as an employer.  Make career development a key part of your recruiting and retention strategy.  Start with the basics.  Here are five things you can do to promote career development in your organization:

1.  Openly and frequently communicate that your organization believes in career development

2. Highlight the different ways you are helping employees learn new skills or develop in their craft

3. Encourage employees to seek out and find career development opportunities

4. Be sure employees are trained in the basic skills that are necessary to be successful in their position

5.  Require managers to discuss career development with their employees and to create a plan for each employee

Career development is especially important to Generation X and Millennial employees.  A good way to encourage their career development is to set up a formal mentoring program in your organization to match a younger employee up with a more experienced employee.

Clearly the data from the survey shows that career development needs to be an integral part of your talent management strategy.  If you have questions about recruiting and retaining employees or career development plans, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Simon Blackley

Transitioning Returning Military Service Members to the Civilian Workplace

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Men and women represent our country every day as they serve in the military on our behalf. They are praised for their courage, loyalty and leadership but often return home to face a new set of hurdles for which they may be ill-prepared. One hurdle involves jobs.

Finding stable, secure civilian employment has been a challenge encountered by returning veterans, military spouses and wounded warriors.

Why is it that serving our country can act as a risk for future employment? The training and discipline military service provides should make any veteran an asset to future organizations. Veterans exude responsibility and professionalism, knowing their role is vital and that they represent something much larger than themselves. The leadership and work ethic they develop through their service are essential skills not easily taught in the workplace.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, numerous companies recognize the benefit of employing veterans, but though there is an expressed interest, the process has been complex. Organizations have found difficultly both internally and externally. They are unsure where to begin their search, or how to prepare their staff to better accommodate and assimilate veterans into their ranks.

The Department of Labor has taken a proactive role in responding to this growing crisis by establishing an outlet to connect veterans with potential employers. The following six-step process acts as a reference guide for companies seeking veterans to employ and absorb into the company culture.

The Veterans Hiring Toolkit

Design a Strategy for Your Veterans Hiring Initiative – Become familiar with veteran employment by identifying the benefits procedure, the tax incentives and the recruitment and retention process.

Create a Welcoming and Educated Workplace for Veterans – Current employees can better relate to their veteran coworkers if they have a grasp of military culture, experiences and trauma through the proper training and education.

Actively Recruit Veterans, Wounded Warriors and Military Spouses – As with any employee, recognize the specific target audience you are pursuing and how best to reach them.

Hire Qualified Veterans and Learn How to Accommodate Wounded Warriors – With the appropriate orientation plan in place, plan to hire not just any veteran, but the right veteran for the position and for the company.

Promote an Inclusive Workplace to Retain Your Veteran Employees – The needs for recognition and challenge, and the desire to be successful in an organization don’t change for those returning from military service.  Therefore, it’s best to apply the company’s current retention plan across the board.

Keep Helpful Tools and Resources at Your FingertipsEffective and accessible resources can act as one of the strongest assets when hiring and retaining veterans. 

Thousands of military personnel walk away from active duty each year. After all that veterans have sacrificed for us, as a society it is our duty to incorporate them into the civilian workforce and lifestyle to the best of our ability.

For more information on veterans in the workplace, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo source: U.S. Air Force

Employee Social Media Use at Work – What Can (Or Should) You Do?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

While more than half of CIOs report completely restricting their employees from accessing social media sites during work hours, there has been at the same time a general rise in social media use at offices. Such an apparent contradiction can result in confusion and even anger at the workplace, particularly for new hires who could visit social media sites at a previous job but now encounter restricted or no availability at all for those sites at their new positions.

To add to the dilemma, how can an organization forbidding social media activity monitor employees who partake of them on their personal mobile devices? It is a growing concern among owners and operators of businesses in all sizes, and unfortunately, according to the latest word from the American Bar Association, it is still unclear legally how much control employers can exert over their employees.

Yet there are some basic measures you can take, if you feel uncomfortable about an outright social media ban yet do not want your employees to spend an excessive amount of time updating their status on Facebook, Twitter and the like. They include the following:

  1. Inform employees that the terms of your company’s equal employment opportunity, sexual harassment and other policies extend to social media use at work as well. They do not have a license to blog on whatever they feel like on your company time.
  2. Review with your employees the fact that commenting about legal matters or litigation involving your organization via social media is not allowed. The same rule applies to any work-related grievances.
  3. Encourage employees to ask questions and discuss issues with their supervisors regarding whether their social media activity may affect their workplace. This dialogue can help them realize the differences between their personal opinions and the positions taken by your organization, and why it is essential to separate them.
  4. Remind them that the Internet is permanent, even if they “remove/delete” the comment later or attempt to make it anonymous. They should know they can be held personally responsible for any content you post online. That warning alone may curtail them from extraneous social media activity.
  5. Employees should know they can be held legally liable for anything they write or present online. That includes, but is not limited to, commentary, content, or images judged defamatory, pornographic, proprietary, harassing, libelous, or creating a hostile work environment.

For more details on how you can establish social media use policies for your employees, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: heyjudegallery