$20 Million in Training Grant Dollars Available to Ohio Companies

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Update (1/10/13): As of January 10, 2013 over 400 applications have been submitted for the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program. According to the Ohio Development Services Agency (formerly Ohio Department of Development), many more companies have begun applications. The Ohio Development Services Agency is still encouraging companies to apply for funding.

The Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program has been officially announced, making $20 million available for training opportunities to enhance worker skills.

The ultimate goal of this program is twofold: allow employers to retain and grow their existing Ohio workforce and create a statewide workforce that can meet the present and future demands in an ever changing economy.

Applications are now available at www.OhioMeansJobs.com. Funding is made available on a first come, first served basis. The caps on the program funding will be $500,000 per eligible company and/or $4,000 per eligible employee, with a reimbursement rate of up to 50%; all training must begin and be completed between February 4, 2013 and June 30, 2013.
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Holiday Party Budgets Continue to Grow

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The percentage of employers hosting holiday parties has hovered just under the 75% mark for several years now and 2012 is no different. What we do see is a resurgence in terms of the total budget allocation for both holiday parties and employee gifts. After a sharp decline in 2009, employers have consistently reported that they are budgeting at least as much, if not more, for both of these line items.

Timothy Magaw of Crain’s Cleveland cited the ERC survey in this week’s issue of Crain’s noting, “Even at the recession's peak, the region's workplaces didn't altogether banish their holiday parties. But as the recession's grip loosened, these same companies appear to be spending more on their end-of-the-year blowouts.” More specifically the data shows that of those organizations that are spending more in 2012 to celebrate the season the average budget increase is 25%.


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10 Ways to Give Thanks to Your Employees

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This week, we commence the season of giving thanks not only with our families and friends, but also of showing gratitude to our vendors, customers, and employees.

Many of us forget to say "thank you" to all of the people that make our organizations successful, but it's important to step back and acknowledge their contributions, accomplishments, and hard work. This season, in particular, is an ideal time to show thanks to all of your employees and let them know how much you appreciate them and how valuable they are to you.

There are countless opportunities to show your thanks to others in the workplace. Here are some ideas for recognizing people during this upcoming holiday season:
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3 Guidelines When Terminating an Employee

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Unfortunately, some employees don't work out - their behavior or poor performance escalates and they eventually need to be terminated. Many organizations have questions about properly carrying out terminations, including what to do to address the problem, when it's appropriate to terminate an employee, and how they facilitate the termination itself. Here are 3 guidelines when terminating an employee.

1. Address the behavior or performance problem.

Directly address the problem before you terminate an employee, whether it be a behavioral issue such as attendance, tardiness, conduct, attitude, or inappropriate behavior; or poor performance. Approach termination with fairness by bringing the problem to the employee's attention, counseling or coaching them on understanding the problem and disciplinary consequences if they do not change, and providing the necessary training and support for improvement.
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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.

How to Motivate Employees in 3 Easy, Surprising Ways

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In “Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” author Daniel Pink suggests that using only traditional rewards and punishment (“carrots and sticks”) to motivate employees is no longer effective and does not suit the greatest needs and challenges of our organizations.

Win a free copy of this book!

Pink explains that historically, most work was algorithmic. Many of the tasks carried out were routine and a formula/series of steps produced a correct solution. Traditional rewards were effective in motivating people to perform well on those tasks. Nowadays, however, only a small percentage of job growth is in algorithmic work, with the majority of job growth lying in artistic, empathic, complex, technological, and service-oriented work. This work tends to be less routine and more creative, enjoyable, and self-directed; but the same traditional rewards do not motivate high performance for this type of work.
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Understanding the Value of Talent Management

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“People are our greatest asset.”

This phrase appears frequently in press conference statements to the media from high level executives and in motivational speeches directed at the business community. But what does this well intentioned, feel-good statement actually mean when put into practice in the workplace?

One key factor in creating a work environment reflective of this mindset is proper management of the talent base at your organization. A recent survey of 102 Northeast Ohio organizations on this topic found that just under two-thirds of respondents (63%) do not have an official definition of “top or key talent” at their organization.
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Free Training Planning Worksheet

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Planning and organizing employee training for an entire year can be a challenge. That's why we're providing you with a simple worksheet to help you chart and organize the types of training classes that will be offered in a given year, the individuals who will attend those classes, their perceived skill level, and the timing of when they will attend training throughout the year.

Download Worksheet (Excel)

 

Instructions

Here are some simple instructions:

  1. Chart the individuals in your organization under the column "Name" and their corresponding department or position in the second column.
  2. List the classes that your organization plans to offer during the upcoming year at the top of the chart.
  3. Color code the cells for each individual based on the degree to which each employee needs training in a specific topic area or skill.
  4. Within each cell, insert the timing (month or month and day) of when you plan to offer this class or when each employee will attend this class.
  5. Insert any relevant comments around the individual.

Budgeting Assistance

Need quotes for particular training programs? Contact Chris Kutsko at (440)947-1286 or ckutsko@yourerc.com. You can also view ERC's full catalog of employee training courses online.

The Top 3 Benefits Trends You Need to Know

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Three types of benefits have seen the most significant changes in 2012 trends, based on our research nationally, locally, and among employers of choice. Find out what they are and how these trends impact your organization as it plans and budgets for 2013.

Health Insurance & Wellness

Survey data released by Towers Watson and Aon Hewitt show that the widespread majority of employers plan to offer health care benefits to their employees in the future. Most employers, according to their surveys, do not foresee eliminating health plans, even in light of health care reform.
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A Step-by-Step Guide to On-Boarding New-Hires

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Many organizations struggle to on-board and engage new employees effectively which poses challenges in setting them up for success in their new roles. As a result, we've compiled a step-by-step guide to help you successfully on-board and engage your new-hires.

Step 1: Communicate with the new-hire.

On-going communication with the new-hire is essential for effective on-boarding. The new-hire's immediate supervisor and HR liaison should not only call or email new-hires at least once to answer questions and welcome them prior to their first day, but also send them information such as:
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