The Ultimate Guide to Training in 2015

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hr training topics The Ultimate Guide to Training in 2015

If your organization is like most, a guiding question for your 2015 planning will likely be some version of this question: “What kinds of training & development programs should we choose that will help ensure we are able to attract and retain talented employees, as well as prevent regrettable attrition, within our organization in 2015 and beyond?” What follows is a snapshot of some of the most popular training topics for 2014 and into 2015, along with a brief explanation of how they can each be leveraged to the benefit of the organization.

Up & Coming

Leadership Development

Pointing to the need to refocus attention on the longevity of an organization and the generational shift towards Millenials that is occurring in the overall workforce, leadership development is definitely on the list of hot training topics on the rise.
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6 Easy Tips to Re-Recruit & Retain Your Best Employees

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Challenged with retaining good people? In order to retain your best talent, your organization needs to constantly re-recruit internally to re-energize them and solidify their loyalty so that they remain committed to your company, just like you would with a job candidate.

6 Tips to Re-Recruit and Retain Your Best Employees

Why re-recruit your best talent? Here are some key reasons.
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The Cost of Employee Turnover

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With the economy and the employment situation slowing pulling out of recession in 2013, employers across the country are faced with a different kind of economic challenge, that of employee retention.

The combination of more jobs (the BLS reports an increase of 148,000 jobs for September) and a somewhat more stable economic outlook has likely contributed to the steady increase in voluntary turnover that has been seen both locally and nationally. For example, since 2010, voluntary turnover in Northeast Ohio is up to 10% (an increase of about 4%) across both manufacturing and non-manufacturing industry groups.
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100 Ideas for Employee Engagement Activities

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Employee engagement plays an important role in attracting, retaining, and developing top talent for organizations, and is important to a business' success. There are so many ways to engage employees through recognition and rewards, compensation, training and development, advancement opportunities, work/life and wellness initiatives, leadership and management behavior, community involvement, employee events, among others.

employee engagement activities

Below are 100+ ideas for employee engagement activities:

1. Share stories about how employees' work impacts customers and the organization.

2. Volunteer at a local charity or non-profit organization.

3. Start an internal company newsletter or blog in which employees and leaders can contribute content.

4. Create a wellness committee to implement initiatives around the office.

5. Start every meeting by recognizing one person for a recent accomplishment.

6. Create a job shadowing program for employees to job shadow and learn about other departments in the company.

7. Create a years of service recognition program.

8. Offer a flexible work schedule.

9. Provide employees with job opportunities outside of their regular job duties.

10. Have the leadership team eat lunch in the cafeteria and promote employees coming to talk to them with questions or concerns.

11. Have a no-email day once a month to encourage employees to encourage in-person interaction.

12. Provide on-the-job leadership opportunities for non-management top performers.

13. Have internal training classes once a month for employees to learn more about the company’s products/services.

14. Create an employee idea/suggestion program.

15. Have supervisors write thank you cards to employees, letting them know much their contributions are valued.

16. At staff or team meetings, encourage employees to recognize their fellow co-workers for a job well done.

17. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with staff.

18. Create an employee of the month award.

19. Allow employees to bring their dog and/or bring their child to work day. 

20. Create succession plans and communicate them to successors.

Engage and Retain

21. Invite top performers to attend a networking or special event with senior leaders.

22. Invite each employee to attend at least one training program each year.

23. Host exercise or yoga classes at the office.

24. Give employees stretch assignments to challenge them.

25. Recognize a personal accomplishment or milestone in employees' lives, such as births of children, weddings, retirements, and professional development achievements.

26. Start a new-hire mentor or buddy program.

27. Meet one-on-one with employees to talk about what they like and dislike about their job.

28. Implement a fitness program or activity.

29. Host an all-staff or team potluck breakfast or lunch.

30. Create a cross-training program.

31. Create employee-led committees for safety, wellness, or other workplace initiatives.

32. Host a community involvement day.

33. Have senior leaders work with non-management employees on projects and assignments.

34. Take a high performing employee out to lunch and/or host a luncheon or breakfast with a small group of employees.

35. Have monthly/quarterly town hall meetings during which senior management reports on the state of the business and employees have a chance to ask questions.

36. Talk about career development with top performers at least once a year.

37. Require that every manager provide ongoing coaching and feedback to their employees.

38. Start a profit sharing or bonus program.

39. Provide employees with extra time off as a reward, perhaps around a holiday.

40. Give employees a day off for their birthday.
 Engage and Retain

41. Host a summer company picnic or outing and a holiday party every year.

42. Do something special for employees when they are take on extra work while another employee is on vacation or out sick/on a medical leave.

43. Create open, comfortable collaboration spaces in which employees can gather together.

44. Implement an open door policy.

45. Match an employee's charitable donation.

46. Have employees participate in developing the organization's mission, vision, values, and strategic direction.

47. Create a mentoring program.

48. Give employees a paid day off to volunteer at a charity or non-profit organization of their choice.

49. Have a different department lead company staff meetings each time. Let the department plan an activity and report on what their department does.

50. Hang a white board (or other type of collaboration board) in the office and each month post a “Question of the Month” and leave markers for employees to write their answers.

51. Support an employee with a personal or work situation, such as a medical issue, loss of a relative, etc.

52. Pay for one professional membership per employee per year.

53. Offer employees to attend a conference paid by the company.

54. Give stretch assignments to top performers.

55. Give top performers the lead on special projects.

56. Create a culture committee comprised of employees.

57. Coordinate an employee appreciation day/week.

58. Allow employees to work from home as needed or on the regular basis.

59. Have a peer nominated employee of the month award.

60. Have non-management employees lead department or team meetings.

Engage and Retain

61. Rotate each person in your department leading a department meeting.

62. Have a welcome celebration and/or activity for newly hired employees.

63. Create a KPI board so employees can track how well they are doing on a daily/weekly basis.

64. Have a praise board in a public place where employees can informally thank other employees.

65. Do a short daily stand up at the beginning of each shift to recap what is going on in the department and business.

66. Coordinate a team-building event or retreat.

67. Start an internal knowledge-sharing group or initiative.

68. Create a book club in your organization on leadership, management, or industry-related topics.

69. Create a personalized learning and development plan for each employee.

70. Offer career counseling or coaching.

71. Implement a creativity and innovation contest.

72. Take candid photos of employees and at events to share on a bulletin board. Every month start with a new board and create an ongoing scrapbook of the old pictures.

73. Contract with a wellness or health coach to come on-site. 

74. Have a monthly birthday celebration for all birthdays in the office.

75. Put fun games and entertainment in a common area, such as a ping–pong table, television, or Wii.

76. Create a leadership development or emerging leaders program.

77. Offer career opportunities and promotions internally before seeking external hires.

78. Offer online training courses.

79. Allow employees to personalize their workspace.

80. Have a field day of outdoor activities or a few field hours during lunches throughout the summer.

Engage and Retain

81. Send top performing employees to a train-the-trainer class so they can help train new associates in their departments.

82. Start a tuition assistance/reimbursement program.

83. Have a company history month, during which employees learn about the history of the company through different activities.

84. Encourage employees to improve at least one thing about their job each quarter that helps the department and/or company.

85. Have senior leaders make "rounds" around the office each week (if possible) to interact and communicate with employees.

86. Have the CEO or top executive write a column for the internal company newsletter or blog.

87. Highlight a different employee in each internal newsletter. 

88. Give surprise half days to the whole staff.

89. Create an internal job board on which positions are posted internally before looking for outside candidates.

90. Create a company vegetable garden together as a staff.

91. Have employees set yearly professional and developmental goals.

92. Celebrate employee work anniversaries; give employees a gift and a card on their anniversary.

93. Give all employees a compensation increase each year. Differentiate increases based on performance.

94. Offer educational opportunities or programs related to stress management.

95. Have casual dress Fridays.

96. Get everyone involved with safety and have a tally in a common area of how many days without an accident. Every 60 days with no accident everyone is rewarded.

97. Play music in the office.

98. Host meetings outdoors for a change of scenery and fresh air.

99. Start a community puzzle for employees to work on during lunch.

100. Initiate a walking, running, or other type of exercise club.


Hopefully this list gives your organization several ideas for employee engagement activities. Providing opportunities for employees to be engaged creates a positive environment where employees can excel in their work.

Engaged employees can pay off in better business results, retention, and productivity if your organization is willing to create a great workplace environment and culture.

Interested in learning more about engagement surveys?

Submit your contact information and receive instant access to a brochure that overviews what is included in ERC's engagement surveys and our process for conducting and assessing.

View the Engagement Brochure

 

7 Proven Ways to Attract & Retain The Next Generation

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At the 2013 NorthCoast 99 event, Craig Keilburger, activist for the rights of children and cofounder of the Free the Children charity and Me to We social enterprise, touched on the importance of social responsibility in attracting the younger generations of talent, namely Millennials (otherwise referred to as Gen Y).

Lately, the workplace is buzzing about this generation in terms of how to best attract, retain, and develop them and how they will impact the future of our organizations. Fortunately, many employers of choice are already leading the way. Here are seven (7) proven ways employers can attract and retain this generation.
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A Toolkit for Retaining Great Employees

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Are you giving your best employees good reasons to stay at your organization? Retaining employees comes down to giving great employees a good reason to stay at your workplace over and over again, especially when they have another opportunity on the table.

Over the years, ERC has conducted a large amount of research on what makes great talent stay at their organizations and has found that retention typically boils down to four (4) key factors: relationship with the manager, challenging work/learning opportunities, a great work environment, and compensation/rewards. Based on these factors, we've developed a toolkit of checklists to help you retain great employees.
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Training: Building Your Talent and the Economy

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Organizations in Northeast Ohio have long understood the importance of offering training and development opportunities to their employees. Whether training is being used as a strategy for attracting and retaining top talent to overall workforce development, ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey consistently reports that between 80 and 90 percent of organizations provide their employees with financial assistance to upgrade their skills. This percentage is even higher among NorthCoast 99 winners with 96% of these top workplaces offering workshops, trainings, conferences, etc to their top performers.

Training as an Attraction & Retention Strategy

Offering training and development opportunities was cited as is the top strategy, after direct monetary incentives, used to attract and retain top talent from a sample of 102 Northeast Ohio organizations participating in the 2012 ERC Talent Management Practices Survey. This commitment to building a skilled employee base is further demonstrated through the financial commitment made by these organizations. For example, 82% of respondents report offering financial assistance to employees who wish to pursue job-related training, 79% contribute financially towards conferences and 72% put money towards costs associated with professional societies/organizations on behalf of employees.

Training as a Factor for Economic Recovery

In addition to being beneficial for individual employers and their employees, training is also singled out as a key component for economic recovery. In an issue from November, 2012 of Fortune magazine, Nina Easton takes this one step further. She suggests that not only is training key for a recovery, but also warns that without significant investments in training from corporate America, the “job crisis” plaguing the U.S. economy for the past few years is likely to worsen. In today’s global market, she continues, U.S. employers hold the fate of their own recovery in their own hands. According to Easton, if we don’t invest in building the skills of employees here at home the so called “skills-gap” will continue to grow- a trend which she argues could be used by U.S. employers, “as an excuse to go on a shopping spree overseas for talent.”

While the survey data above demonstrates that many Northeast Ohio employers already recognize the importance of a well trained workforce, if Easton and other experts like her are correct, the influence that these organizations can have on the business climate may run even deeper than they realize- right to the heart of the economic recovery.

Additional Resources

Technical Training
Give your people the knowledge and skills to become a more efficient and productive employee. ERC offers a wide variety of technical training courses that are important to the success of your business. Click here for more info.

3 Reasons You're Losing Employees Because of Pay

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In this article, we explore three current and critical compensation problems that cause employers to lose talented employees. These issues include low salary increases, lack of differentiation in pay by performance, and difficulties finding the actual "going rate" for jobs.

Problem 1: Low or modest salary increases

Salary budgets have been lagging for 3-4 years, pay increase budgets are not growing rapidly, and the outlook for significant pay raises is fairly bleak. This means that your employees' salaries probably aren't growing. What happens when the market doesn't match what your employees want? Should you keep your pay practices firmly aligned with the market, or adjust them to what your employees want?
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Employers Attempt to Identify Retention Challenges

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When asked “What is the biggest challenge your company faces today?” the most common response by participants in the 2012 ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey was, “hiring & retaining employees.” To address the first half of this challenge, employers report using recruiting and hiring practices at rates that are fairly consistent with past years. Most organizations check an applicant’s references (90%) and more than half (57%) use some type of psychological testing as part of their selection process. Unsurprisingly, there was a noticeable uptick in the use of technology as a recruiting tool overall, with more employers routinely using tools such as internet job boards (85%) and social networking (52%) to match the right candidate with their organization’s needs.

Determining how these same employers are then “retaining employees” requires a slightly more complex explanation. From compensation and benefits, to employee engagement and communication, to work-life balance and rewards/recognition, each element of an employee’s overall experience at work plays some role in their decision to stay-on with their current employer. One specific factor that contributes to employee retention that is addressed in the 2012 Smart Business Survey is “Training & Development.” 
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4 Musts for Retaining Employees

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A flurry of resignations hits your HR department or you could be facing an epidemic of employees that have “quit and stayed.” These are employees who feel trapped (and perhaps even miserable) at their organizations, but are afraid to leave or explore the job market.

These are two common scenarios that many organizations are experiencing this year. Retention of great talent has become a major issue affecting a number of organizations. Before your organization hastily decides to launch a series of HR initiatives to address your retention problems, look first to these four areas of your business.

1. Look at their job

When faced with the red flag of potential turnover, take a hard look at their job first. Is the job playing to their strengths? Could the employee be used in more productive ways that would improve their engagement and is their job naturally progressing with more responsibility and challenge? Most employees need to feel a sense of importance in their work – that their skills and abilities are being put to good use, that they are doing something meaningful with their time, and that they have a say in decisions and how their work is produced. Consistently ranked as the most important attribute among top performers and a key driver of engagement, there is no substitute for making challenging and meaningful work the first priority when solving a retention problem. The job is usually the best place to start.

2. Look at their manager

Employees leave managers, not organizations. Employees are more likely to stay when they are treated in a supportive manner by their boss. In fact, this concept of feeling supported has been time-tested and is consistently found to be the leading indicator of whether employees stay engaged and committed. Support is most commonly manifested in how managers interact with their employees – whether employees are receiving the right amount of interaction and flexibility, the resources they need, help solving problems, and recognition and appreciation. So ask yourself: do employees have a positive relationship with their supervisor and do they feel supported by them in their job, career, and even personally? Consider whether the employee’s manager is doing everything they can to support employees and make them feel valued and confident in themselves.

3. Look at their opportunities

Numerous studies link the relationship between confidence and retention. Generally-speaking, employees will leave their employers for other opportunities. The more confident employees are in their prospects for continued employment and advancement opportunities, and their ability to earn more pay over time, the more likely they are to stay. You can help build a sense of confidence by emphasizing the organization’s success and long-term strategy and discussing advancement opportunities and career paths periodically. The bottom line is that you must give employees confidence that their career will thrive at your organization and that you are prepared to offer those opportunities.  Many organizations fear committing to providing a certain career path to their employees. The reality is that if you don’t, some other organization will.

4. Look at your competitors

Even when the job, manager, and opportunities are aligned with retention, sometimes competitors’ practices snatch a great performer. With pay information publically available on the internet to employees, an influx of passive recruiting via social media, and more employers heavily branding their workplace and culture as great places to work, your organization is constantly at risk of losing its best people. If your organization has fallen behind in terms of making sure its pay and benefits align with those of other businesses, make sure it stacks up before it’s too late. Get to know your competitors’ HR practices intimately and adjust yours if it makes sense.

Contrary to most popular beliefs, retention usually isn’t complex. It’s not a complicated formula requiring a multitude of HR initiatives. It usually comes down to whether employees are doing challenging and interesting work, being supported by their boss, seeing opportunities and security, and receiving fair pay and benefits in comparison to what is offered elsewhere.

Additional Resources

Talent & Performance Management Consulting Services
When it comes to managing talent retention, there are a variety of programs and initiatives to consider including employee engagement surveys, performance management, rewards and recognition programs, succession planning, mentoring and career development programs, job description updates, and exit interviews. To learn more about how ERC can assist you with these consulting projects, please contact consulting@yourerc.com.