From Leader to Leader: ERC President Kelly Keefe Talks Total Rewards

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Compensation matters. Whether it’s the familiar refrain of news stories about job hopping for massive pay raises or ERC’s own top-performer data that confirms it, employees are placing a higher value on their compensation now than ever before.

Why not capitalize on this trend and share with your employees the entire picture of all that your organization has invested in them?

Without delving into complex compensation strategies or even spending a dime, here are three practical tactics that you can implement to help ensure employees understand, as well as find value in, your organization’s overall monetary investment in them as individuals both now and into the future.

1. Design a Total Rewards Statement 

Employees can easily see how much money comes through in each paycheck, but your full investment in them isn’t nearly as accessible or visible as their bank account. Over half (54%) of the 2022 NorthCoast 99 winners spell out that investment for their employees by providing them with Total Rewards Statements. 

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It may feel overwhelming to decide what should be included in a Total Rewards Statement if you are starting from scratch. But the good news is, there is no right or wrong answer.

Start with the basics in terms of pay and benefits and add on from there over time. Your HR and accounting departments should be able to pull together documents that itemize your organization’s investment in each employee. The time and effort required to compile these statements may vary depending on both the level of detail you choose to report, as well your employee count.

Examples of What to Include in Your Total Rewards Statement:

  • Base pay 

  • Bonuses & other variable compensation 

  • Medical, dental, vision coverage 

  • Dependent care account 

  • Paid time off (or vacation & sick/personal time) 

  • Employee Assistance Plan 

  • Tuition reimbursement 

  • Clothing allowances 
  • Gifts & meals 
  • Life insurance premiums 
  • Retirement plan / 401k contributions 
  • Social Security contributions 
  • Supplemental insurances (e.g., AD&D, Critical Care, Hospitalization, etc.) 
  • Training & development 

2. Ask Your Employees

Now that all parties involved have a better sense of what your organization is bringing to the table, take this one step further and look for gaps in what is being provided.

And don’t just take our word for it, ask your employees what they would like to see. Find out how they would like to be rewarded for their hard work. There is no sense in creating a new program if it’s not something your workforce finds useful or valuable! 

To gather this information, consider what top organizations in Northeast Ohio do. Seventy percent of NorthCoast 99 winners formally asked employees what types of rewards and recognition they find most valuable.

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3. Take Action

These organizations then looked at the data they collected and took action.

From personalizing the types of rewards and recognition distributed, to making changes to organizational policies outside of rewards and recognition specifically (e.g. increasing PTO, adding tuition reimbursement, etc.), these organizations were able to add items to the Total Rewards Statement that reflected what their employees actually want.

Ultimately, by increasing the visibility of your investment with a Total Rewards Statement and continuing to refine your investment by asking employees what they value most, your organization will construct its own powerful feedback loop. This will allow your organization to successfully share and refine your Total Rewards program for years to come. 

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Kelly Keefe, SHRM-SCP
President, ERC 

From Leader to Leader: ERC President Kelly Keefe Talks Employee Well-Being

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Given today’s political and financial climate, your employees may be feeling uneasy and uncertain about the future. Leaders have an opportunity to help employees better manage their worries and stress by increasing their organization's efforts around their employee well-being programs.

Here are some successful well-being initiatives that award-winning organizations in Northeast Ohio have implemented to support and retain their employees.

1. Offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) 

Based on ERC's NorthCoast 99 data, 95% of winning organizations have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  An EAP assists employees with both personal and work-related issues that may adversely affect their overall well-being and job performance. EAPs offer a whole suite of services, including confidential counseling sessions and financial and legal services to help workers handle work and life challenges.

"We send periodic emails to remind employees about our Employee Assistance Program."
- 2022 NorthCoast 99 Winner

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2. Regularly Check In With Employees 

Nearly all of the 2022 NorthCoast 99 winning organizations have an established practice of checking in with employees to assess their well-being and to let them know leaders care about their health and job satisfaction. These check-in meetings focus on a variety of topics, including organizational support, work-life balance, and employee mental health. 

"We encourage managers to schedule individual and/or area coffee chats, 'happy hours,' and personal celebrations either virtually or in person. We also encourage them to check in with employees to make sure they have everything they need and to inquire about anything else that could help them to achieve professional and personal goals. We prioritize the need to establish regular check-ins particularly with those who are working in remote settings." - 2022 NorthCoast 99 Winner

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3. Provide Mental Health Resources

Leaders at top companies place an extra emphasis on mental health. From offering full-time employees extra paid time off for relaxation and wellness to providing managers with mental health information and resources for employees who turn to them for assistance, award-winning organizations are finding innovative and creative ways to support the mental health of their workers. 

"To address stress and burnout, we expedite appointments for staff to meet with mental health clinicians." - 2022 NorthCoast 99 Winner

While we can't predict what the future has to hold, prioritizing employee well-being now will only serve your employees and overall organization in the short and long term. And if we've learned anything over the last few years, a healthy workforce equals a healthy bottom line. 

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Kelly Keefe, SHRM-SCP
President, ERC

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.

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