Engaged Workforce

Agile and social models are changing performance management, rewards, coaching, goal-setting and development. How you engage with your workforce will directly correlate with how to maximize the productivity of employees whilst giving the best possible opportunities for development.

HR XCEL, LLC, Announced Today That it has Signed Contracts with Several New Clients

Charlotte, NC October 12, 2005 – HR XCEL, LLC, announced today that it has signed contracts with several new clients. HR XCEL will provide a wide range of services for the new clients, ranging from full human resource outsourcing to benefits administration, payroll administration, employee relations services, time & attendance solutions, COBRA administration, FMLA administration and FSA administration.

"As HR XCEL continues to grow, we remain unwaveringly focused on providing our clients with outstanding HR expertise from HR professionals," said Barbara Sheridan, president and co-founder, HR XCEL. "We thrive on tailoring our solutions for each new client and then providing them with world-class service."


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Organizational Hurdles Often Keep Leadership Development Programs from Being Successful—New Global Survey Shows

American Management Association and Human Resource Institute Provide In-depth Look at the Future of Leadership

NEW YORK, October 4, 2005—Too often, companies fall victim to the organizational hurdles that keep leadership development programs from being truly top-notch. Lack of measurement tools and rewards systems of leadership behaviors are commonly cited obstacles that corporations face. That’s according to a new global survey commissioned by American Management Association (AMA) and conducted by the Human Resource Institute (HRI).

The AMA/HRI survey on “Leading into the Future” included responses from 1,573 managers and HR experts from around the world. The survey was conducted in conjunction with AMA’s affiliates and global partners, including Canadian Management Centre in Toronto, Management Center de Mexico in Mexico City, Management Centre Europe in Belgium, and AMA Asia in Japan.

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Resource Guide: Incentives Case Study

Strategic Employee Recognition

by Debbie Vorndran, Rich Siegenthaler

At Westfield Group–an Ohio-based insurance, banking, and related financial services company–we want our employees to feel not just comfortable at work, but like its the only place in the world where they should be. Considering some of the perks offered to employees–the use of two golf courses, gourmet meals, dry cleaning services, and an on-site fitness center–one would think that overall employee satisfaction would never be an issue at Westfield. That’s just not the case. 

A 2002 internal employee satisfaction survey indicated that many employees actually felt undervalued due to the lack of an effective recognition program. We had a program in place, but it ran so slowly that awards were often passed out months after the commendable act or achievement took place. In addition, employees–and even some managers, for that matter–did not exactly understand how the program related to the company’s core competencies. It was clear that a change was in order. We needed a program that ran more smoothly, that recognized employees more often and promptly, that clearly reinforced company values, and, most importantly, dismissed the feeling among employees that they are unappreciated and undervalued. 

We called upon recognition industry leader O.C. Tanner Company to mend our problems. They helped us understand that not just recognition, but strategic recognition is the way to motivate employees, reinforce company values, and garner real business results. On the surface, strategic recognition sounded like what we already had been trying to do. But it goes much deeper than just handing out awards in a timely manner. It means focusing recognition on the right behaviors, simple and measurable, in order to be completely beneficial. 

O.C. Tanner trainers helped identify and establish program goals and objectives, and the importance of those goals was emphasized to managers. With our new program, called Westfield Excellence, we were able to do away with the 300-plus-page spreadsheet that was used to track awards (ineffectively, in many cases). With online, cutting-edge tools, the program is fast, easy to use, and awards always show up on time. Westfield Excellence also encourages employees to nominate their co-workers for performing or adhering to one of the company competencies. But we didn’t leave that to chance. O.C. Tanner and Westfield trainers and experts have made sure all managers and employees understand what is important to our company, what the specific goals of the new recognition program are, and how to use the online system. 

And it’s working. One of the best indicators that Westfield Excellence is succeeding is the fact that employee turnover has decreased by 7.7 percent since the program’s introduction, an obvious, measurable benefit. Also, according to in-house surveys, 80 percent of employees now say they are satisfied at work, as opposed to 70 percent when we were running the old program. Employees in general are buying into the concept of the new program. More than 1,100 employees have been individually thanked and awarded by co-workers for their effort, showing that employees are enjoying the new culture of appreciation and are using the program to recognize each other–perhaps the most effective type of recognition. 

An important part of a successful recognition program is defining the company values and behaviors that are most valued, and recognizing employees for embodying those core competencies. Our CEO, Bob Joyce, calls this connecting the dots; and that seems to be happening as well. First-quarter results from Westfield Excellence showed that 64 percent of its awards were related to the core competency of customer focus, which is our most important goal. 

So employees are satisfied and they are recognizing each other and getting great awards. What does that mean for bottom-line business? Well, in a 2004 internal survey, 89 percent of employees agreed with the statement, “The work I do at Westfield is meaningful to me.” That’s already up five percent since 2002. Also, of all the employees that received recognition through the new program, 90 percent stated via the accompanying online survey tool they were extremely satisfied with all facets of the program. That is certainly translating into bottom-line benefits for our organization. 

We are seeing how recognition, when done strategically, is an HR investment that is sure to pay off.

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Resource Guide: PEOs & ASOs Case Study

Outsourcing helped a legendary Florida Keys resort reduce workers’ compensation claims.

by Scott Simmons

Holiday Isle Beach Resorts and Marina is a sprawling four-resort complex that includes hotels, restaurants, shops, recreation, and entertainment in Islamorada, Fla. We have more than 275 employees and all the complex payroll, risk, safety, and human resource issues that come with such an expansive seasonal organization.

We first began utilizing professional employer organizations (PEOs) several years ago as a resource for reduced workers’ compensation rates. We had to go through a number of PEO relationships, however, before finding the right outsourcing group that took the time to partner with us to establish compliance procedures that would really get a handle on reducing costs. It got to the point where our average annual costs for compensation claims was well into the six figures. And that was before September 11th. 

The entire hospitality industry experienced considerable loss in occupancies and halting reservation projections during the latter part of 2001. Rising claims costs and the severe drop in revenue could have spelled disaster for what has become something of a legendary resort (not to mention our “world-famous” Tiki Bar). Thankfully, by that time, we had signed with AlphaStaff. 

AlphaStaff is a PEO that already had customers in the hospitality industry, so they understood the destabilization that we were experiencing after 9/11. Plus they established processes for our resort community that forced us to review how we trained our employees on safety and human resource issues and how we approached our staffing in general.

A detailed survey of our health and safety programs revealed a number of improvements that could be implemented to create a safer working environment and control costs. AlphaStaff laid out causation factors for claims from the past three years. They presented a loss control service plan–complete with goals, target dates, and formal reviews. They even sent our head of security to a three-day safety management class so he could better understand the processes. He returned enthused and ready to work hand-in-hand with our outsource partner. 

Such safety programs do not even address everything our outsourcer offers in regard to payroll, technology integration, and human resource management, as well as their disaster preparedness in the face of hurricane devastation, which is extremely important for any business located in the Keys. They helped us establish “best practices” with reporting payroll and provided reports for auditing that ensured our employees are accurately compensated. They have provided training on documentation for new hires and other required documents for account maintenance, and supplied customized reports to assist with our GL accounting. They keep us informed of any new HR laws, such as the recent FLSA changes, to ensure there’s no negative impact, or at least that the impact is mitigated. But it’s their focus on safety that reduced our claims cost from a couple hundred thousand dollars in years past to less than $50,000 in 2004 and projecting to almost half that amount in 2005–more than an 85 percent drop in claims.

Possibly the most beneficial aspect to this particular outsourcing experience was how extremely interactive our PEO was with our employees. They made sure that everyone, from our senior management to our janitorial staff, understood their contribution to maintaining a safe work environment. AlphaStaff made safety education a priority and engaged with every department until the entire organization was on board. An additional benefit to this employee focus has been a significant increase in employee retention. The heightened awareness of all safety issues has proven to be a wonderful demonstration of how much Holiday Isle values our workforce, and our employees have responded appreciatively. 

All PEOs are not created equal. But if a hospitality, or any, organization can find a vendor that takes so much interest in reducing risk and touting safety throughout the company like AlphaStaff has done for Holiday Isle, we would recommend they sign on immediately. Then maybe the HR manager making such a cost-conscious decision on behalf of their organization can reward themselves with a trip to the Florida Keys, of course!

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Gecis Global Adopts Genpact Name, Touts Growth

One of the heavyweights in the enterprise outsourcing market, New Delhi, India-based Gecis Global has changed its identity to Genpact. The former GE unit said the change was to better convey its global scope.

            We chose [the new name] because it so aptly communicates our brand promise generating value, commitment, partnership and impact, said Pramod Bhasin, president and chief executive officer, Genpact

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NewPage Corporation to Outsource IT and HR to Accenture

DAYTON, Ohio –(Business Wire)– Sept. 28, 2005 — Accenture (NYSE: ACN) will provide NewPage Corporation with information technology and human resources services under separate multi-year outsourcing contracts the two companies signed recently. Financial terms of the contracts were not disclosed. 

Under the information technology agreement, Accenture will have day-to-day operational responsibility for NewPage’s enterprise IT functions, including infrastructure operations and maintenance, application maintenance and systems integration

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5,000-Employee Company Selects Ultimate Software’s Intersourcing

WESTON, Fla., Sept. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Ultimate Software (Nasdaq: ULTI), a leading provider of Web-based payroll and workforce management solutions, announced today that Federal Signal Corporation has selected Ultimate Software’s UltiPro Workforce Management delivered through its hosted model, Intersourcing.

Federal Signal is a manufacturer and worldwide supplier of safety, signaling, and communications equipment, fire rescue products, street sweeping and vacuum loader vehicles, refuse truck bodies, high-performance water- blasting equipment, parking control equipment, carbide and super-hard-tipped cutting tools, precision metal stamping punches, and components for plastic injection molds

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Growing Defense and Safety Contractor Sought Partner to Upgrade All HR Functions 

BOCA RATON, FL September 21, 2005 The Protective Group, Inc., a Miami-based company specializing in the manufacturing of personnel protective material for use in military, security and firefighting applications, and AlphaStaff Group, Inc., a market leader in Human Resource Outsourcing (HRO), today jointly announced that they have entered into a partnership through which AlphaStaff will provide the Protective Groups more than 200 employees (including its subsidiaries of Protective Materials and Chieftain Safety) with critical support in all areas of human resource administration

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MCAA Chooses HR Outsourcing Provider for Members

HR XCEL, LLC, announced today that it has been endorsed by the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) to provide Human Resource Outsourcing, Benefits Administration and Payroll Solutions to association members and their employees.

Charlotte, N.C. (Thursday, September 15, 2005) – HR XCEL, LLC, announced today that it has been endorsed by the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) to provide Human Resource Outsourcing, Benefits Administration and Payroll Solutions to association members and their employees

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Workforce Performance: It’s not Polite to Eavesdrop, but Sometimes It’s Necessary

Getting the right ROI with employee recognition.

by Louise Anderson

Welcome to the office of Shannon White, the vice president of human resources. Shannon is meeting with David Moskowitz, the companys VP for sales. He wants to increase revenues right away and hes asking about incentive programs. Let’s listen in …

David: I’m under serious pressure to move my sales numbers up this quarter. I need incentives for my sales reps that will work quickly. And while were at it, I really need for the program to pay for itself. What can you do for me, Shannon?

Shannon: I think I have just what you need, David. This is always a tough assignment, but Im sure our department can help.

David: Were going to have to throw a ton of cash at these people to get them to sell harder, and I know that money talks.

Shannon: In my experience cash sometimes works-but only for the short term. Cash incentives wont necessarily accomplish what youre trying to do here, plus there are some serious downsides to cash. By using cash, you may end up paying more and only getting a slight improvement or not even getting enough improvement to pay for the incentive. I know that accelerating your sales result is a priority, so let’s pick an incentive strategy that will get results now and pays for itself.

David: Yeah, its important that we get something back for this.

Shannon: You will. Let’s talk about Return on Investment …

If this conversation has not happened in your office, it most likely will. The reason is that sales leaders are relying heavily on their HR partners for help with incentives, and HR officers are now better equipped to meet these needs. Let’s look at some research.

A survey published this year by the Incentive Foundation shows that about three-quarters of companies are placing a greater emphasis on Return on Investment (ROI) when evaluating their incentive dollars invested in productivity programs. Three-quarters of respondents feel they can build a “more exciting and memorable” program around travel or merchandise than cash. It was reported that 60 percent of employees see cash as a part of their compensation package. David and Shannon clearly are not the only ones who are looking for a way to make their incentive programs more productive.

One of the leading-edge ways of accelerating sales and efficiencies immediately and also assuring a significant ROI is by rewarding changed behaviors. The following are important steps to follow when developing a work performance program:

Identify the behaviors of the top performers (those improving the fastest) in growth, customer satisfaction, and efficiency/profit. You want the middle group of performers in your company to do what the top performers are doing.

Focus on two behaviors, such as knowledge validation or knowledge sharing, and one improved results measurement.

Reward employees for good or excellent behavior change and for improved results. 

Remember that the goal of a performance acceleration program is to copy what is already working well in your organization. The following is an example of how it can work.

A leading telecommunications company needed a sales incentive program, designed to reward a specific group of employees with prizes they could win by scoring performance points in a three-month program. Its purpose was to change behavior. Workers whose behaviors changed-as measured by tests, surveys, observation, and sales-earned merchandise and travel rewards.

The company also wanted to increase product sales by 20 percent as a result of the incentive program. To help meet its goal, 90 percent of employees passed a knowledge validation quiz to increase knowledge of products and services by 275 call center workers. Participant response was much higher than anticipated: 98.5 percent of eligible sales reps participated in at least one aspect of the program, and 84 percent earned rewards. The company reported that overall customer satisfaction scores were up decidedly. They also announced a 32.1 percent increase in sales of targeted products for the three months of the program.

The program exceeded its stated objectives because of two important factors. First, it set out to change behaviors rather than to affect only short-term action. This was accomplished largely through education, supervisor coaching, and creating benefits for the company, which as demonstrated in the results above, are much more likely to be permanent. The second factor was that, in this case, the incentives and the number of choices of awards was specifically designed to appeal to the nature and economic level of the participants.

Remember, we were looking for ROI as well as performance improvement here. Imagine what kind of return David could claim for their company if sales increased 32 percent as a result of Shannon’s work.

Louise Anderson is president and CEO of Anderson Performance Improvement Company (www.andersonperformance.com), a company that is accelerating results through the science of performance. She is also the author of Cream of the Corp., a book of practical suggestions and ingenious ways companies can get people doing things that accelerate profits NOW, available on Amazon.com and www.andersonperformance.com.

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