From Leader to Leader: ERC President Kelly Keefe Talks Top-Performer Retention

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Top performers are the backbone of your company. They sustain you during hard times, push your organization to greater achievements, and make sure you come out on top. Through the NorthCoast 99 program, we uncover what motivates and retains top performers in the Northeast Ohio region each year.

What Top Performers Want in 2022

While the thrill of “challenging and meaningful work” is not gone for top performers, it is no longer the primary tool to retain them. Today, it takes “higher compensation” and “work/life benefits” to hold on to your best employees.

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This comes as no surprise to the 46 percent of ERC Member organizations that report an increase in their voluntary turnover, according to our recent survey. As employees head for the exits, most say they are leaving for more money (81%) and career advancement (41%). 

Top Performers by Generation in 2022

Not only are the expectations of top performers changing, but so is their generational makeup as Baby Boomers leave the workforce and Generation Zs arrive.

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Younger generations are less likely to stay at unfulfilling jobs. Millennial top performers are reassessing what matters most to them as they grapple with the continual disruption and uncertainty of the last few years.

Many are demanding sustained changes, including higher compensation, more meaningful and flexible work, and an increased focus on well-being.

As the market for top talent evolves, so should your culture, operations, benefits, and how you interact with your employees. 

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Kelly Keefe, SHRM-SCP
President, ERC

From Leader to Leader: ERC President Kelly Keefe Talks Recruitment Strategies

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Two years of record-breaking employee turnover during the Great Resignation frustrates many employers that wonder where to find new hires who will stay and thrive at their organizations. Based on the results from our recent Recruitment Strategy Survey, the solution to your recruitment woes might be right in front of you. (Bonus: It might even save you time and money!) 

Most Popular Recruitment Resources & Strategies

When we asked HR managers from 57 participating Member organizations in Northeast Ohio to list all their recruitment resources and strategies, collectively they identified 30 different approaches. Here are the top five most popular strategies!

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Most Successful Recruitment Tools

We also asked them to select their most successful recruiting tool and tallied the number of organizations choosing each tool. Below are the top five most successful recruitment tools, as reported in the survey.

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Given the responses, our Recruitment Strategy Survey shows the best source for new hires is an employee referral program. 

Why Employee Referral Programs Are Successful 

Your employees are well connected in the community and want to help their company and their friends succeed. 

Employees who are happy and proud to work in your organization tell their friends and families, spreading a positive reputation. Like a matchmaker, employees who make referrals know both parties and think you would make a good connection. 

More importantly, involving employees in recruitment shows you appreciate your current associates so much that you trust their judgment when building the team. When you hire someone they recommend, you increase the engagement of both employees.

Financial incentives for employee referrals may not be necessary, but they certainly help motivate employees to make the effort. If you go this route, make sure you have a process in place for keeping employees informed about available jobs. 

From our perspective, it makes sense to invest your team’s best efforts in employee referral programs. That doesn’t mean ignoring other options that have worked well for you. Rather than create busy work, focus on what produces the best results. 

Whatever you do, measure it. Data matters.

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Kelly Keefe, SHRM-SCP
ERC President

Quiet Quitting & Burnout: How You Can Take the First Step to Help Your Employees

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Inturvey Logo (2)Jamie Strong
Sponsored Content from Inturvey

What Is Quiet Quitting?

Quiet quitting is a discussion point that is continuing to trend on TikTok and LinkedIn and creating a general stir online. Because of the large number of people involved in the conversation, the term “quiet quitting” has been used in different ways, all related in some way, to burnout.

Some people use the term to mean that they’ve mentally quit their job, due to extreme burnout, and are simply waiting for the right time to actually put in their two weeks notice. These employees are simply doing the work required to avoid getting fired and no more.

However, other people use quiet quitting to refer to creating a healthy work/life balance in which people “quit” the aspects of their work that contributes to stress and burnout, like working late every day or continually checking their work phone while at home. In this situation, supporting these employees in becoming happier and less stressed could result in greater productivity and efficiency in their jobs.

Is Quiet Quitting New?

Part of the reason quiet quitting is resonating with people is that it’s a way to describe something they are already experiencing or have experienced in the past.

Many people talk about the pressure to work long hours, how unacceptable it is to say no to company/manager demands, and constantly being at over-capacity – oftentimes doing their job and the job of another employee who already left the company due to burnout.

The reason quiet quitting is an important conversation is because a light is being shone on burnout. Large numbers of people feel that they should be investing less in their job, and more people may be inspired by the idea of quiet quitting and by the positive testimonials on TikTok to make a conscious decision to commit less to their work.

Is Quiet Quitting Bad?

While the idea of quitting generally carries negative connotations, quiet quitting can potentially be either good or bad for your company. This largely depends on whether the motivation for quiet quitting comes from a place of hopefulness or hopelessness.

Hopeful quiet quitting

With hopeful quiet quitting, the employee is addressing burnout that their own decisions have been contributing to. The hopeful quiet quitter recognizes that something needs to change for them to manage their feelings of burnout and believes things can improve. For example, someone may “quit” a fifty-hour workweek schedule in favor of a forty-hour one.

However, this does not necessarily mean that this person is doing less work. In order to meet their deadlines with less available time, they may find ways to be more focused and do tasks more efficiently.

The employee who sets healthy boundaries around their work-life balance may spend less time in the office but may also have more to offer their company than ever before. Support from their supervisor and organization can help employees find the balance they need, and reduce the existential feelings of burnout.

Hopeless quiet quitting

This kind of quiet quitting indicates that employees don’t believe there is anything they can do to improve their situation at work.

Their experience of burnout comes primarily from external factors such as lack of support from coworkers or the organization as a whole, communication issues, or an experience of low psychological safety. This employee may not want to quiet quit, but they feel that their job is no longer worth the mental and emotional burden.

How to Address Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting itself has varying effects for the employees and their companies, and is caused primarily by employee burnout. You need to understand your employees in order to take steps to reduce their burnout and address quiet quitting. The best first step is to ask employees about their experiences.

At Inturvey, we offer a validated burnout survey, which can help you understand your employees and determine next steps to make their experience with your company better, reducing the negative effects of quiet quitting. For more information, visit https://www.inturvey.com/contact.

From Leader to Leader: ERC President Kelly Keefe Talks Employee Engagement

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Employee engagement is a hot topic for Northeast Ohio employers in today’s hyper-competitive labor market. In fact, 79 percent of respondents to ERC’s HR Priorities survey ranked Engagement and Culture as their top HR priority over the next 1 to 3 years. 

HR Priorities for NEO Employers 2022

While these organizations have good intentions, they may need to do more to see tangible results. For instance, in the same survey, respondents said only 16 percent of their HR department’s time is focused on Engagement and Culture. And in another ERC survey, only 18% of respondents reported having a staff member dedicated to Engagement and Culture.

HR Dedicated Roles for NEO Employers 2022

Why Engagement & Culture Matter

Engagement matters because it reflects whether employees are willing to go “above and beyond” their job descriptions to get the job done. It measures whether workers plan to stay at their employers and whether they would recommend their organization to a friend as a great place to work. Essentially, it assesses employees’ commitment to their jobs and organizations.

Culture is more amorphous and may be described as “how we do things around here.” Employees are always observing how an organization spends its money, handles customers and vendors, treats employees, communicates, promotes, trains, maintains workplaces, and more. Culture is seen through the employee experience. It’s the cumulative impact of how each employee views the organization through their own lens of experiences and expectations.

Culture drives employee engagement and that directly impacts customer loyalty and profitability. 

Use Data to Drive Engagement Strategies

Prioritizing engagement and culture is essential to your organization’s long-term viability. You can start by researching your current situation. Measure strengths and areas for improvement by methodically surveying your employees. Then, you can move forward with well-thought-out change initiatives. 

I urge you to resist following your gut instincts. Skipping professional research could waste your time and money. Data matters. 

Employers looking to develop their culture and engagement use tools to help them understand their current status. Specialized engagement survey tools, like the tool ERC uses for the NorthCoast 99 Awards Program, can help leaders make decisions based on statistical feedback from their employees. This can be done in one long survey conducted annually or more regularly with fewer targeted questions throughout the year. Some organizations hold listening sessions with small groups of employees and/or qualitative focus groups.

When employees feel valued and optimistic about their future with an organization, they perform at their best and organizations prosper. 

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Kelly Keefe, SHRM-SCP
ERC President

From Leader to Leader: ERC President Kelly Keefe Talks Internship Best Practices in Northeast Ohio

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ERC Members with interns run impressive, multi-faceted programs that help the interns grow in their roles, but most are missing a crucial ingredient – they don’t conduct formal performance evaluations.

While day-to-day coaching is valuable, it doesn't provide the credible, detailed data you need to drive optimal hiring decisions.

Of the companies ERC polled, 75 percent of respondents provide interns with regular feedback and coaching while only 19 percent use formal performance evaluations.*

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From the perspective of interns, formal performance evaluations can reveal their professional-level strengths and areas for improvement. From these formal performance evaluations, interns can understand if they have the technical skills and interpersonal skills to be successful. The interns can also understand if they align with your company culture.

Not only does this data provide the intern with a path forward on their strengths and opportunities, but these formal evaluations also provide the organization with insights into their talent pipeline and what should be included in their onboarding programs.

Instead of reading between the lines, in these formal conversations, their capabilities are analyzed and reported in an actionable way that they can use for self-improvement, just like the rest of the organization.

If your standard performance evaluation form seems like too much for an intern, you could try a simpler alternative, like this model:

  1. Values: Cite an example of how the intern demonstrated one of the organization’s values. 
  2. Accomplishments/Strengths: Invite both the intern and manager to list the intern’s key accomplishments and strengths.
  3. Behaviors: Have the manager identify one thing the intern should continue doing and one thing the intern should start doing. 

Hiring people is nerve-wracking and risky. Hiring past interns reduces the risk because you have already seen the individuals up close. Ultimately, great workplaces are built from great people. This requires hiring the right people at all levels. 

Continue including your interns in company activities, assigning them mentors, giving them challenging assignments, and providing opportunities for them to meet with C-level executives. All of these steps are important, but not enough.

Take the time for performance evaluations and feel confident that you have offered the intern the feedback that they deserve while potentially finding talent for your future. 

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Kelly Keefe, SHRM-SCP
President, ERC

*Source: ERC Member Poll Results: Northeast Ohio Intern & Recent Graduate Practices & Pay, March 2022

Evan Halverstadt Joins ERC as Account Executive

Evan ver 2 320 x 320Highland Heights, OH – ERC, the trusted 102-year-old organization that helps leaders build great workplaces through thought leadership, comprehensive data, and HR solutions, is pleased to announce that Evan Halverstadt has joined the company as Account Executive.

“I am thrilled Evan chose ERC as his new home! His full spectrum of sales experience makes him an excellent addition to our team,” said Sam Clyde, Director of Business Development at ERC. 

Evan brings over five years of sales and operations experience to ERC from the financial and moving industries. As ERC’s Account Executive, Evan contributes to our growth initiatives by nurturing inbound prospects through the sales funnel. He builds new and existing client relationships and helps them improve their workplaces through training, membership, coaching, and consulting solutions.

“I am genuinely excited to join the ERC team as their Account Executive! It’s an honor to be a part of an organization that has stood the test of time and continues to enhance workplaces with their robust suite of HR services and data,” said Evan. 

Evan attended Kent State University and currently resides in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.


About ERC

For over 100 years, ERC has been a trusted resource for organizations in Northeast Ohio and around the country. We help leaders build great workplaces through thought leadership, comprehensive data, and HR solutions that include membership, training and professional development, consultative services, and more.

Committed to our region’s success, ERC founded the NorthCoast 99 annual awards program and event, which honors 99 great Northeast Ohio workplaces for top talent. ERC also sponsors the ERChealth insurance program for Ohio employers. 

Kaylyn Hampshire Joins ERC as Research Associate

Headshots 320 x 320-KaylynHampshireHighland Heights, OH – ERC, the 102-year-old organization that provides people data and solutions to help leaders build great workplaces, is pleased to announce that Kaylyn Hampshire has joined the company as Research Associate. 

I am thrilled Kaylyn has decided to call ERC home! She has been an exceptional intern over the past year, committed to helping our clients achieve their engagement and training goals with data-driven solutions,” said Susan Pyles, Vice President of Professional Development.

Kaylyn started as an HR intern with ERC in April of 2021. During her internship, she helped administer ERC assessments and employee engagement surveys and coordinate our instructor-led training programs.

"Kaylyn has shown her accountable and team-oriented nature through and through. She has become an indispensable member of our team, helping on so many fronts with her capable and ‘can do’ skillset. She has positively impacted our company, our clients, and all who work with her,” said Senior Vice President Carrie Morse.

In her new role as Research Associate, Kaylyn will design, administer, and interpret surveys and assessments across all practice areas and for the annual NorthCoast 99 awards program. She will also assist with managing ERC training programs for client organizations and monitor delivery metrics to ensure success. 

“I am thrilled to officially join ERC as a full-time employee! It’s been a privilege working and learning alongside this talented group of professionals who genuinely care about helping organizations improve and become great workplaces,” said Kaylyn. 

Kaylyn recently graduated from the University of Akron with a master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Central Florida.

About ERC

Since 1920, ERC has provided people data and solutions to help leaders build great workplaces. Through our certified HR advisors, we offer consultative services, compensation benchmarking and data, workplace polls and surveys, networking, and cost savings opportunities.  

We also offer virtual and classroom instructor-led training, on-demand learning, individual and team assessments, one-on-one coaching, and employee engagement services. In addition, ERC is the founder of NorthCoast 99 and sponsors the ERChealth insurance program for Ohio employers. 

ERC Is 102 Years – Young!

Celebrating 100+ Years of Making Workplaces Great

Highland Heights, OH – ERC, the organization that provides people data and HR services to help leaders make better decisions, is celebrating its 102 birthday on Monday, May 16, 2022. Take a look back in time at our history and how we've evolved over the decades into a leading human resources organization.

ERC Promotes Annie Dohnal, Welcomes Wendy White

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Highland Heights, OH – ERC, the 101-year-old organization that provides people data and solutions to help leaders build great workplaces, is pleased to announce that Annie Dohnal has been promoted to Strategic Growth Manager, ERC Solutions, and Wendy White has joined the company as Accounting/Bookkeeping Associate.

“We’re so excited to recognize Annie with this well-deserved promotion and to welcome Wendy to our team!” said ERC President Kelly Keefe. 

Annie joined ERC in 2014 as a Membership Coordinator. Since then, she has done an exceptional job building client relationships, providing outstanding customer service, and creating raving fans. Annie has held various roles at ERC over the past eight years, including Client Service Associate, Client Services Manager, and most recently, Manager, ERC Services. 

In her new role, Annie supports our growth initiatives by engaging with prospects and existing clients and developing data-driven revenue generation strategies for the company. She will continue to work across all practice areas, including membership, training, and consulting

“Annie is an excellent sales professional. This new role will allow her to really shine and focus on what she does best – cultivating strong client relationships and acquiring new business,” said Sam Clyde, ERC’s Director of Business Development. 

Additionally, ERC is thrilled to welcome Wendy White to our team! 

Wendy comes to ERC after having served as the Accounting Office Manager for the KFC Franchise Office in Eastlake, Ohio for over 25 years. In this role, she maintained all accounts receivable and payable for multiple franchise units, including a multi-unit retail plaza. Before KFC, Wendy worked as a bookkeeper and office manager for businesses in the manufacturing, energy, and accounting industries. 

As ERC’s Accounting/Bookkeeping Associate, Wendy supports our finance team with accounting, payroll, and benefits administration. She also oversees all administrative support of ERC Membership, including invoicing, data entry, and data retrieval. 

"Wendy has already hit the ground running and has made a positive impact at ERC! Her background and vast work experience are a major asset to our team," said Sandy Sharrone, ERC's Controller.

About ERC

Since 1920, ERC has provided people data and solutions to help leaders build great workplaces. Through our certified HR advisors, we offer consultative services, compensation benchmarking and data, workplace polls and surveys, networking, and cost savings opportunities.  We also offer virtual and classroom instructor-led training, on-demand learning, individual and team assessments, one-on-one coaching, and employee engagement services. In addition, ERC is the founder of NorthCoast 99 and sponsors the ERChealth insurance program for Ohio employers. 

Kelly Keefe Has Been Named to Cleveland Magazine's The Cleveland 500

Highland Heights, OH – ERC, the 101-year-old organization that provides people data and solutions to help leaders build great workplaces, is proud to announce that President Kelly Keefe has been recognized by Cleveland Magazine as a member of its The Cleveland 500 list. 

Cleveland Magazine’s 2022 edition of The Cleveland 500 is a compendium that profiles leaders from all facets of the business, professional, entertainment, education, and technology sectors. Profiles within this issue offer insights on what it means to be successful, influential, and powerful in Greater Cleveland. It also offers personal anecdotes on what it takes to lead and inspire. 

“It's an honor to receive this recognition for two consecutive years and to join the rankings of these esteemed leaders! I believe this group is committed to moving the Northeast Ohio region forward through strong leadership, innovation, and workplace practices that attract talent. Only together can we learn from one another and grow," said ERC President Kelly Keefe.

Kelly was selected as an honoree for her work in the field of business. 

“Our goal is to give recognition to those who serve and inspire greater collaboration in our community by looking to make a positive impact on Cleveland,” says Lute Harmon Sr., Chairman of Great Lakes Publishing and Executive Editor of The Cleveland 500. “Greater Cleveland is filled with outstanding leaders who live and breathe the important missions of their organizations. In order to lead, they serve. It is our wish that The Cleveland 500 is one step in creating relationships that lead to growth and progress.” 

Cleveland Magazine is a city and regional publication that serves all of Northeast Ohio. The 50-year-old publication offers engaging and authoritative stories on dinning, arts and entertainment, shopping, home and garden, business and civic issues affecting Clevelanders. 

About ERC

Since 1920, ERC has provided people data and solutions to help leaders build great workplaces. Through our certified HR advisors, we offer consultative services, compensation benchmarking and data, workplace polls and surveys, networking, and cost savings opportunities.  We also offer virtual and classroom instructor-led training, on-demand learning, individual and team assessments, one-on-one coaching, and employee engagement services. In addition, ERC is the founder of NorthCoast 99 and sponsors the ERChealth insurance program for Ohio employers. 

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