Greater Cleveland ASTD Seeking Nominations For Award

The Greater Cleveland chapter of the American Society for Training and Development is seeking nominations for its 2011 Workplace Learning & Performance Leadership Award. In its 15th year, this award recognizes a Northeast Ohio organization that demonstrates outstanding leadership in organizational learning, employee development, or workplace performance.

You do not need to be an ASTD member to apply. Winners will be honored during the 15th Annual Business Leadership Award luncheon at the Rotary Club of Cleveland meeting in May 2011.

For more information or to apply, visit www.astdclevele.com.

Cleveland Leadership Center Offers Programs for Our Region’s Leaders

The Cleveland Leadership Center offers five outstanding, interconnected flagship programs. Leadership Cleveland, Cleveland Bridge Builders, Civic Leadership Institute, (i)Cleveland, and Look Up to Cleveland provide participants with an economic, social, and political context for our region. This context motivates participants to be active and engaged. An active, engaged civic community is essential for a healthy business community.  And a healthy business community is a competitive asset in a global economy. Learn about joining an engaged, active community of leaders at www.cleveleads.org.

Some select programs of interest to you & your employees, friends, and colleagues in 2011:

  • Leadership Cleveland, for positional, senior-level leaders. Program runs September 2011 to May 2012. Apply by March 18, 2011.
  • Cleveland Bridge Builders, a hands-on civic leadership program. Program runs September 2011 to May 2012. Apply by April 1, 2011.
  • Civic Leadership Institute, short, succinct, six-session programming designed to deliver need-to-know information direct from key in-the-know leaders. Register now for the upcoming session: February 9 to March 16. Summer session begins in June. No application process.
  • (i)Cleveland encourages civic awareness, leadership and networking for summer college interns. Program runs June 2011 through August 2011. Register your summer interns beginning March 1, 2011. No application process.
  • Look Up To Cleveland, for high school juniors in Cuyahoga County. Program runs December 2011 to June 2012. Apply in September 2011; inquire with high school guidance counselor.

Applications available now at www.cleveleads.org. Be a part of Cleveland's new wave of civic leadership!

The 2011 NorthCoast 99 Application is Now Available

In its 13th year of honoring 99 of the best places to work in Northeast Ohio, ERC is excited to announce that the 2011 NorthCoast 99 Application is now available! Applications will be accepted from now until April 29, 2011. Applicants are encouraged to register at www.northcoast99.org/application to begin their organization’s application process.

There is still no cost to apply, and every applicant receives a free benchmark report in September which summarizes how an organization scored relative to the winners and other applicants.

The application process involves the following:

  • Top Performer Workplace Practices Audit - Our comprehensive online questionnaire that asks for detailed information about your organization's policies and practices.
  • Branding and Culture Submission - Applicants submit materials such as employee handbooks, sample job ads and materials shared with job candidates. 
  • Top Performer Engagement Survey - You select a group of top performers within your organization to complete an online survey that measures their engagement with your organization. 
  • New-Hire Assessment - You select three employees hired by your organization in 2010 and employed in Northeast Ohio to complete a short online assessment of your organization. 
  • Special Awards - ERC will recognize select organizations for unique and innovative practices described within the application.

To be recognized as a great place to work during good economic times is certainly a great achievement; however, during tough times the ability to attract, retain, and motivate top performing employees becomes even more critical. For more reasons to apply for NorthCoast 99 this year, please visit: http://www.northcoast99.com/.

The 2011 NorthCoast 99 Award program is sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, CareerBoard.com, CareerCurve, Cinecraft Productions, Inc., Cleveland.com, FirstMerit Bank, Frantz Ward, Inside Business Magazine, Oswald Companies, PS Awards, Staffing Solutions Enterprises, and WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN ideastream. In addition, NorthCoast 99 is endorsed by the Cleveland Society of Human Resource Management (CSHRM), the Northeast Ohio Human Resource Planning Society (NOHRPS) and JumpStart Inc.

For more information please visit www.northcoast99.org.

5 Secrets to a Becoming a Better Workplace

Why do some organizations receive more qualified job applicants? Have more positive work environments? Experience lower turnover? Enjoy higher employee engagement? Develop more innovative products? Here are five (5) of their top secrets.

Secret 1: Create an open environment

Great places to work create a sense of openness in their workplaces – openness to new experiences, continuous improvement, sharing of information, and creative thought. This openness is created through transparent, direct, and honest communication at all levels of the organization. Leaders communicate information and feedback frequently and sincerely. Little information is held back from employees, and employees constantly have access to information about the organization’s performance and direction and the ability to ask questions about the organization at any time. Similarly, managers and supervisors provide frequent feedback and communicate directly and honestly with their employees. All levels of employees, particularly non-management staff, are encouraged to voice their ideas and opinions. These practices facilitate an open dialogue throughout the organization.

Secret 2: Develop and maintain trust

A strong sense of trust is prevalent at great places to work and is built on positive and constructive work relationships. Most importantly, there is a sense of trust in leaders and their ability to lead the organization successfully. Employees have faith that their leaders will sustain and grow the organization and develop a clear vision and direction for the business. To build this trust, leaders frequently engage and interact with employees, develop a history of good decisions that move the organization forward, model organizational values, and consistently “walk the talk” by delivering on promises and commitments. These leaders are individuals of integrity that inspire their followers.

There is also a strong sense of trust between employees and their managers and supervisors. Managers and supervisors trust their employees to complete their tasks, accomplish goals, and make decisions independently. Similarly, employees trust that their managers and supervisors will support them and look out for their best interest. 

Secret 3: Treat employees fairly

Fairness is widespread at great places to work. Fairness, or perceptions of equity and justice, refers to when organizations make employment decisions (such as promotions, rewards, and pay) based on objective criteria – typically performance. By fairness, we are not referring to distributing these rewards to all employees equally. Nor are we referring to respectful and courteous treatment, which should be given to all employees. At great workplaces, those employees that outperform others receive rewards. Rewards are fairly distributed to those that deserve them.

Similarly, great places to work strive to provide a competitive total rewards package, including competitive and fair pay and benefits to its workforce. They monitor workplace trends and deliver a competitive package that attracts the right talent.

Secret 4: Support employees

Support is a critical part of great places to work, and provided at all levels of the organization – from leaders, managers, supervisors, and even coworkers. Support is prevalent when an organization conveys that it cares about helping employees achieve more for themselves or meet their needs – both personally and professionally. It is communicated and manifested in policies, procedures, and programs, and in how people interact and communicate with one another. People work together, help one another succeed, and support each others’ needs at supportive workplaces.

Great places to work provide flexibility in meeting personal and professional demands; on-going opportunities and interest in professional development through training, career development, and advancement opportunities; new and challenging work experiences; support for health and well-being; and appreciation for contributions and accomplishments.  These are all important ways that these organizations show their support to employees.

Secret 5: Have pride

There is a strong sense of pride and positivity prevalent at great places to work – specifically pride in one’s work, team, and the organization as a whole. Great places to work encourage taking pride in one’s work, recognizing that when employees are passionately and emotionally connected to their work, they are most engaged. These workplaces also encourage taking pride in team accomplishments, which facilitate stronger work relationships and camaraderie.  Finally, at great places to work, employees take pride in the organization as a whole and the products and services it offers to customers. They are incredibly connected to the organization’s mission and purpose.

Is your organization a great workplace?

We find that employers often underestimate their workplaces in terms of these characteristics, and encourage them to consider how their organization stacks up against these crucial aspects of the workplace. You may be surprised to find that your organization has all of this. Becoming a great place to work is more about building the right climate and culture that attracts, retains, and engages top performers, than instituting the most popular and attractive perks.

 

ERC Surveys Northeast Ohio Pay Rates

In 2011, ERC launched it's ERC Salary Survey and ERC Wage Survey. These surveys collected pay rate information from Northeast Ohio employers on over 350 jobs in accounting, administration, customer service, sales, engineering, human resources, IT, maintenance, marketing, production, purchasing, distribution, transportation, safety, science, and research and development functions.

With over 90 years of experience in conducting compensation surveys, ERC is known for providing the most comprehensive, reliable, timely, and local market data for Northeast Ohio businesses.  ERC’s data is collected from actual Northeast Ohio employers.

View ERC's Wage & Salary Adjustment Survey Results

The survey reports data from Northeast Ohio organizations regarding their actual and projected wage and salary adjustments.

View the Results

8 Steps in a Compensation Project

8 Steps in a Compensation Project

Compensation initiatives are often on many employers’ agendas, so we’ve summarized eight (8) steps in a basic compensation project.

1. Participate in or purchase salary and wage surveys.

It all starts with having pay data, which is the basis for all compensation systems and projects. Compensation surveys contain information on competitive wages and salaries for various jobs and report data regarding what other employers pay for given positions. Participating in these surveys (which generally requires reporting your employees’ salary and wage information) typically helps organizations save money on receiving the data. 

A good rule of thumb is obtaining at least three survey or compensation data sources. Local resources are ideal, especially if your organization recruits locally.

For example, ERC’s Salary Survey and Wage Survey are a common resource used by many Northeast Ohio employers to benchmark local pay rates.

2. Identify matches for your organization’s jobs.

Once you obtain salary survey information, the next step is identifying the positions in the surveys that match the jobs in your organization. This is generally not done by job title alone.

Instead, employers look for jobs with position descriptions that match at least 70% of the duties summarized.

For some unique positions, it may be difficult to find an exact match. In these cases, organizations typically blend or weight salary data from multiple jobs to create a salary figure that best represents the job.

3. Select and gather data.

After your organization has selected the positions that match, you’ll need to determine what percentile or metric from the survey you would like to use to compare your jobs.

Organizations commonly select this based on their pay philosophy for different positions. Employers may wish to pay some positions above market rates (percentiles above the median) because talent is scarce or the job is critical to their organization’s strategy or mission.

Other positions may be paid below market rates (percentiles below the median) if they lack importance or are easily recruited. The widespread majority of organizations aim to pay most of their employees at market (the median). You can also use the average; however, the median is less susceptible to higher or lower values, and therefore more reliable.

4. Analyze the data.

In order to analyze the salary information, organizations should age the data to a common point in time by an aging factor—such as an average yearly increase (obtained in a compensation survey).  After aging the data, the percentile information gathered from each of the survey sources can be weighted based on factors such as industry data, local or national information, quality of survey, and strength of job match.

Typically, a weighted average is calculated based on these weightings of the survey sources and the percentile information.

This weighted average is usually referred to as the “market average.” Although, there are certainly other metrics of market competitiveness your organization could use.

5. Calculate a market average.

For each job you are analyzing, it’s important to determine where the job stands relative to the market. This is easily done by dividing what your organization currently pays for the position (the current salary or wage) by the market average.

Figures over 1.0 indicate that the job is paid more than the market average; while figures below 1.0 show that the job is paid less than the market average.

While other metrics exist, this tends to be the easiest to calculate for employers.

6. Create a pay structure.

 

7. Address inconsistencies.

After your organization has collected and analyzed the market data and/or developed any pay structures it deems important to its compensation administration, the next step is to address differences or inconsistencies, particularly in terms of differences in market averages/midpoints and rates your organization is paying for positions and external market rates.

These questions often involve considering organizational culture, structure, what it can afford to pay, and what it wants to pay for certain positions.

8. Make adjustment decisions.

After these questions are addressed, your organization will need to determine whether it wants to adjust salaries and wages to be more in line with the market (if differences exist). These are typically termed “market adjustments.”

Other pay adjustments your organization may provide include cost-of-living or across the board adjustments (the same adjustment being provided to all employees), or merit increases, which are commonly based on performance achieved and varied in terms of amount received (typically a percentage of base salary).

There’s no question that compensation initiatives can be challenging projects and typically include more complexity and analysis than these eight steps suggest. Keep in mind that ERC has many resources, including valid local and national pay data and experienced guidance, available to help you in navigating these projects with ease and success.

ERC offers compensation and benefits consulting services including market pricing, total rewards strategy, and more.

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What a Manager Needs to Know to Drive Project Success

The challenge in project success rests in the ability to deliver to the desired business goal in the desired time frame and within the available budget. These three forces:  time, cost, and quality, are often in conflict with each other. The Project Management Institute (PMI) has defined nine body of knowledge areas that when followed, would increase probability of project success. However, if you are not a full-time project manager and still want to increase your project results, follow these three project management principles:

1. Establish a Project Plan.

The project plan will tell you, your team, and your customers the:

Goals: Define the business reason for the project and how you will know it was successful at the end.
Scope: Determine the boundaries of what your project will address, and just as important, what it won’t address. 
Milestones: Work backgrounds to identify important dates for deliverables, reviews, etc. This is a very easy way to do a reality check on what it will take to meet the due dates.

2. Build a Communication Plan.

The communication plan is not only how you will communicate at the end of the project, but who should be informed and engaged throughout the project. At the minimum you should be able to identify the:

Who: Identify the key stakeholders, the departments, customers, or processes that will be impacted by your project
What: Create the message, which could be different for each audience – some want to be updated while others require more detail.  
When and How: Identify the best time and format.  The rule of thumb is to communicate your message at least three times, and I would add, in at least two different formats (email, phone, in-person).  Leverage communication channels that are already in place like staff meetings, monthly newsletters, weekly email blasts, websites, etc.

3. Define Change Management Processes.

Change is a constant. On any project the scope will alter as more information is gathered.  Define a process and procedure for identifying project changes, approvals, and documentation requirements. The more complex the work, the more important this becomes. 

These are just a few principles to keep in mind to ensure success on your projects. The more you can learn about project management and the underlying principles, the better equipped you will be to lead your organization in the future.

Health Insurance Premiums Rise for Northeast Ohio Employers

A 2010 survey released by ERC reports that on average, Northeast Ohio employers’ health insurance premiums rose 15.2% in 2010.  In terms of industry differences, local non-profit organizations saw the lowest average percent increase in health insurance premium, while manufacturing organizations reported the highest average percent increase.

The survey also shows that the average percent of health insurance premium that employers plan to contribute in 2011 is 75%, and the average percent of health insurance premium that employees will be required to contribute in 2011 is 26%. Several employers have raised co-pay amounts (19%), annual deductibles (31%), and employee contributions (32%) to cope with rising costs, but many respondents (43%) have also not increased these.

Average percent of employer and employee contributions to health insurance premiums and average percent increase in premium

To download the results of ERC’s Health Care & Wellness Practices Survey, which summarizes trends in health care and wellness practices among 90 local Northeast Ohio employers, please click here.

Health Care & Wellness Practices Survey

This report summarizes the results of ERC’s survey of 90 organizations in Northeast Ohio, conducted in December of 2010, on practices related to health care and wellness.

This survey was co-sponsored by the ERC Health Academy. The survey reports trends in:

  • Health insurance premiums
  • Increases to co-pays, deductibles, and employee contributions
  • Eligibility for health insurance
  • Health insurance cost-control
  • Wellness programs
  • Wellness program administration

 

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