3 Tips for Recognizing Employees

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Consistently, employees say that recognition and appreciation in the workplace matters - that when they feel valued, appreciated, recognized, and rewarded for their contributions, hard work, and results, they are more likely to stay and less likely to leave their organization.

Yet when we conduct employee engagement surveys, we find that rewards and recognition programs are usually some of the weakest initiatives in the workplace. In fact, most employers that we work with struggle with rewards and recognition. They have difficulties defining what to recognize or reward, who to recognize or reward, how to do it fairly, what rewards to offer, how to track results, and how to motivate their leaders and supervisors to recognize their people.

Based on what we know about rewards and recognition programs that work, are effective, and increase employee engagement, here are 3 steps to improve rewards and recognition programs at your organization.
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Training is Key for Hourly Maintenance Workers

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According to the 2012 ERC Wage Survey, with the exception of entry level workers, wages for Machine Maintenance Mechanics in Northeast Ohio fall largely in line with the national dollar figures reported by the 2012-2013 Occupational Outlook Handbook. The national median wage for this job category averaged $21.23 per hour.
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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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How to Inspire & Engage Employees in 6 Easy Ways

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Do you want your employees to work harder? Have a better attitude? Be more productive? Find efficiencies or areas to improve? Show more enthusiasm? Be committed?

It seems that every manager wants these behaviors from their employees, but often believe they need to "fix" or "change" their employees, design elaborate programs, or invest a lot of money in engagement to achieve any results.

The truth is that even though these strategies can help engage employees, using only these tactics will sorely miss the mark. Your front-line managers, on the other hand, are the people that have the largest effect on day-to-day engagement and these outcomes, and the ways in which they do are often cost-free.

Here are 6 easy and cost-free ways that you as a manager can inspire and engage employees to receive the outcomes you want.
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Controlling Costs Through Effective Absence Management

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Controlling Costs Through Effective Absence Management

In an era where concerns about controlling costs is more crucial than ever, managing employee absenteeism is one area where HR departments are empowered to make a real impact on the organization’s bottom line. A cost analysis from a Mercer report entitled The Total Financial Impact of Employee Absences found that the total cost (direct and indirect) of all absence categories (scheduled and unscheduled) averaged 36% of total payroll. The most costly days, the analysis continued, were unscheduled absences- largely attributable to the indirect costs associated with higher rates of lost productivity for these types of absences.

So what are Northeast Ohio employers doing to help minimize what is clearly a large financial burden on employers across the nation? According to the ERC Absence Management Practices Survey, simply recording these absences is the most popular method, with 94% of respondents indicating this basic tracking method is how they manage or control absences. Other top reported methods include “disciplinary actions” (74%) and “using attendance as a performance criterion” (70%).

Interestingly, manufacturers are approximately 30% more likely than non-manufacturers to utilize these more structured measures, which in some cases even have direct ties to rates of compensation. In contrast, non-manufacturers trended towards more forgiving strategies such as “flexible work arrangements” and “paid time-off banks.”

Unsurprisingly, “illness” (88%) is the most common reason for unscheduled absence, with “home/family obligations” and “child-care issues” next in line at 61% and 54% respectively. To combat these issues specifically, 44% of participants reported allocating “family leave” as part of their overall attendance policy and 29% of organizations pointed to “wellness programs”- a key preventative measure to help combat unscheduled absences due to illness at the root of the problem.

Overall, the Absence Management survey reported that the average number of days lost per employee per year due to unscheduled absences is 3.9 days, a number 1.4 days better than the average reported by the Mercer report on the national level.

View ERC's Absence Management Practices Survey Results

This report summarizes the results of ERC’s survey of organizations in Northeast Ohio on practices related to attendance and unscheduled absence.

View the Results

5 Measurements to Evaluate Salaries

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6 Tools to Evaluate Salaries

Does your organization know the health of its base salary program? The health of your base salary practices can easily fly under the radar if you aren't paying attention to certain important numbers. It may result in overpaying or underpaying employees, employees being paid outside of pay ranges, an uncompetitive mix of pay forms, or a low revenue return on your costly investments.

There are several "tools" (i.e. calculations or measurements) that you can use to evaluate the health of your base salary program, six of which are among those that most compensation experts agree are the best and most common tools to use.
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What is ADA?

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted in 1990 and amended in 2008, prohibits private employers with 15 or more employees, state and local governments, employment agencies, and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in employment activities. Such activities include hiring, termination, training, promotion, compensation, and other terms and conditions of employment.
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5 Ways to Spot & Develop an Emerging Leader

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5 Ways to Spot & Develop an Emerging Leader

Your emerging leaders are your rising managers and leaders in the making. But how do you spot an emerging leader and then develop them into a leadership role? Picking the right people and training them the right way is essential. That's why we've provided five (5) qualities these talented employees usually embody plus 5 ways to develop them.
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Financial Concerns Drive Innovation in the Workplace

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The results of the 2012 ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey demonstrate a commitment among Northeast Ohio employers to improving their workplaces despite and in some cases because of the financial challenges they face in today’s economy. While respondents indicate for the second year running that the economy is no longer their most pressing challenge, cost related challenges more generally such as funding, healthcare costs, controlling costs and financial stability are all among the top ten challenges reported by employers.

Perhaps the most striking fiscal measure being utilized to control costs reported by participants is layoffs. After a sharp decline in 2011, the percent of organizations anticipating layoffs for the coming year increased to 10.3%. However, it is important to note that while higher than 2011, this number still falls in line with pre-recession levels when double digit percentages were commonplace.
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11 Tools for Recruiting Hard-to-Fill Jobs

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11 Tools for Recruiting Hard-to-Fill Jobs

Recruiting for new, specialized, or highly technical positions requires a different approach than past years. Some of these jobs didn't exist 10 years ago, while others require such specialized experience or specific technical skills that older recruiting methods don't suffice. In any case, the need to find talent for these hard-to-fill jobs is forcing many employers to consider using other recruiting strategies beyond job boards and advertising.

Employers that excel at recruiting hard-to-fill positions have moved beyond traditional recruiting techniques like job boards and advertising by tapping into their existing employees' networks, building online strategies, and uniquely targeting their marketing to prospective candidates. Their recruiting methods are more strategic, sales and marketing-based, and make greater use of existing employees as talent scouts as opposed to just recruiters and HR staff.

Based on research we've conducted on how employers successfully land talent for hard-to-fill jobs, here are 11 effective tools to recruit hard-to-fill jobs.
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