Wednesday, May 11, 2022

HR Strategies for Employee Retention

Three Simple Ways To Keep Your Workforce, Happy, Healthy and Engaged

The pandemic workplace dynamics have led to unprecedented quit rates and a labor shortage. As a result, employees have more employment options and power, and keeping good people in place now requires more than just “work” and “pay.” To navigate this challenging landscape, business owners need to focus on what they can control. Here are three steps to invest in your employees’ well-being to build engagement and keep your workforce!

1. Conduct Stay Interviews

Stay Interviews are a great way to develop your employees and drive strategic change. These structured conversations between supervisors and employees are designed to learn about employees’ strengths and areas of interest. Employees at every level should participate in a stay interview to be effective and successful. Having these conversations at the start of the new year is a great way to engage the workforce and gather feedback. Based on the outcome of these interviews, implement measurable changes and evaluate them throughout the year. Quantifying the changes helps drive success. This can be accomplished by defining key metrics along with strong communications. Be consistent and plan to keep this process alive every new year.

To help get this process started, below are questions for managers to consider asking their direct reports. Structure these conversations as an opportunity for you and the interviewee to learn and grow.

Question 1: How can I improve my management style?

Remember, people tend to leave managers, not jobs. Embrace this question with an open mind and be prepared to receive constructive criticism.

Questions 2: What do you like about your job; what do you not like?

These questions will provide insight into the individual’s strengths since people typically enjoy doing what they are best at. Revising their job responsibilities to include more of what they like will help improve performance, thus fostering retention.

Question 3: What are your short and long-term goals? And how can our organization help support them?

Good talent leaves if they don’t see a clear path to career advancement. Leave this conversation with a clearly defined developmental plan and how the business can support the individual to achieve their goals.

2. Invest in a Wellness Program

A wellness program is an initiative provided to employees to encourage a healthier lifestyle. The bonus is that improving an employee’s well-being positively impacts productivity, engagement, company loyalty and helps reduce health care costs. In addition, it can be used as a recruiting tool. Here is a list of cost-effective wellness programs that can easily be integrated into your organization.

  • Wellness Challenge

Encourage team members to engage in workouts and to drink more water. Have them keep track of their accomplishments to win health-related prizes at the end of the month.Yoga/Meditation Classes

Offer lunchtime breaks that include 15-30 minute yoga or mediation classes. Classes can be found on Youtube!

  • Healthy snacks and lunch options

To advocate healthy eating, offer healthy snacks such as nuts, dried fruit, or fresh fruit in the breakroom.

  • Offer flexible work hours

The 9:00 to 5:00 day is a thing of the past. Allow your team members to set their hours.

  • Advocate for employees to take their vacation

Taking time off to recharge promotes productivity! Encourage your employees to take all their vacation days and do not encourage rolling over days or paying them out.

  • Say “thank you” and provide feedback

Showing appreciation makes one feel valued and helps people stay motivated.

  • Smoking cessation programs

Supporting smokers to quit their habit will help success rates! Fewer smokers will not only reduce healthcare costs but also improve productivity.

3. Review your rewards and compensation programs

In this competitive job market, it is critical to go beyond just salary to retain and attract talent. By building enticing compensation packages (packages that creatively combine the total value of base pay, benefits, rewards, and other perks into your business strategy), you can distinguish yourself as an “employer of choice.” While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, it is essential to evaluate the below offerings to ensure you are competitive and aligned with your market and industry.

  • Base compensation

You want your employees’ salaries to be equal to or more than the industry standard for a specific job title in that location.

  • Employee Bonus Programs

Giving incentives allows you to reward your  top performers. Here are the five most popular rewards programs: annual incentives, spot bonuses, referral bonuses, signing bonuses, and profit-sharing plans.

  • Non-monetary rewards

Employees put a lot of value into their quality of life. Here are examples of non-monetary rewards: flexible schedule, an extra day off, time for volunteer work, training and/or mentoring programs.

  • Benefits and Retirement

Research shows that a competitive benefits plan can play a vital role in attracting and retaining skilled workers. This plan should include:  healthcare, retirement savings and planning, paid time off, paid parental leave, flexible work schedule, and professional and career development.

  • Recognition and Promotions

Create a culture of recognition. A critical piece to the success of this initiative is regularly promoting your programs to make them appealing to your employees.

Remember, a more engaged workforce isn’t just a loyal workforce; it’s a more productive one. Building and retaining a great team is key to your company’s long-term growth and success. In an economy where workers have the upper hand, it is more important now than ever to incorporate employee retention strategies into your business plan.

The Author, Beth Williams of Warren Whitney

Beth Williams, Director of Human Resources at Warren Whitney, has worked in human resource management for more than 25 years with experience that spans many diverse industries, including energy, financial services, banking, legal services, pharmaceuticals, IT, and non-profit. She provides a full range of HR consulting services and strategic solutions, which are customized for each client and provide a clear direction to company goals and objectives. Beth has worked with many of her clients on a long-term basis, serving in interim HR director roles for several small and large businesses around Virginia.

About Warren Whitney

Warren Whitney’s HR team works with business leaders to strategically evaluate the best path forward. Their work includes in-depth compensation and benefits analysis, organizational structure and planning, as well as talent management.

About Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs)

Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is a nonprofit organization connecting CEOs for learning and growth. Formed more than 20 years ago, member benefits include placement in a peer roundtable group and access to a thought leader network, and a robust program of events for learning and growth. This is not a networking group, but rather a group of CEO peers who are invested in the success of each member. To qualify for membership CEOs must run a business with $1M+ revenue and 5+FTEs. Learn more at www.vaceos.org.

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 10:09 am
Monday, March 21, 2022

What Our Members Are Reading To Be Better Leaders

“All readers are not leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

Harry S. Truman

On March 31, acclaimed author and podcaster, Jeff Brown, will be speaking at the VACEOs Quarterly Lunch on the topic of reading and leadership.

Brown, co-author of ‘Read to Lead’ makes a convincing argument that reading is the single best thing leaders can do to improve themselves. Reading more and better books creates opportunities for CEOs to learn new skills and rise above one’s competition – unmatched by any other single action.

According to Brown, having a well-lined bookshelf is something that distinguishes great leaders. The average number of books CEOs read is 60 per year (or five per month). In contrast, the average American adult reads fewer than 12 books a year. That’s a huge difference and not a coincidence.

So, that got us wondering about our own membership and how the VACEOs community feels about reading in general, as well as what books they truly love and value. That prompted us to send out a brief poll. Highlights from the responses are below.

What VACEOs Members Are Reading

The first question we asked was “What are you reading right now?” To our pleasant surprise, Jon Morris, president, and CEO of HopeTree Family Services shouted right back that he isn’t just reading one book right now – but that his normal practice is to read three to five books at the same time. Some of what he is currently reading includes;

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 12 Powerful Tools for Leadership, Coaching and Life, by Marilee G. Adams, Ph.D.

 It Takes What It Takes: How to Think Neutrally and Gain Control of Your Life,
by Trevor Moawad, Andy Staples

Connie Hom, CEO of Buckingham Greenery, is doing some fun reading in addition to books on leadership. Her list includes:

The Personal Librarian,
by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

The Lenten Cookbook,
by David Geisser with essays by Scott Hahn

Robin Green, president at Ascend Performance powered by Sandler Training, enjoys reading more than one book at a time too. And what better way to learn about power, persuasion, and perseverance than from history’s celebrated leaders? Robin is currently reading;

Leadership in Turbulent Times – the Leadership of Abraham Lincoln,
by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Grant,
by Ron Chernow

And Gyrus Systems President and CEO Viren Kapadia, is reading a brand new best-seller;

Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Fail,
by Ray Dalio

Michael W. Matthews, president and COO of Froehling & Robertson, who is also in school earning a Ph.D., carves out extra time at lunch and on weekends to read. When asked what his favorite books of all time were,  Michael picked two contemporary classics;

Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competitive Strategy,
by Joan Magretta 

Winning,
by Jack Welch

In contrast, Robin’s favorite books scanned the ages including;

Meditations,
by Marcus Aurelius, written between 161-180 AD

7 Habits of Highly Effective People,
by Stephen Covey

The Art of War: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles,
Steven Pressfield

The Must Read Book for CEOs

And last but not least, there was only one book that made it to the “Must Read” list of multiple VACEOs. It was…

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t, 
by Jim Collins 

We hope you will join us at the Quarterly Lunch on March 31 to listen to Jeff Brown. In the meantime – check out one of these great books your peer’s recommend. Above all – just keep reading. It can literally change your business and your life.

About Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs)

Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is a nonprofit organization connecting CEOs for learning and growth. Formed more than 20 years ago, member benefits include placement in a peer roundtable group and access to a thought leader network, and a robust program of events for learning and growth. This is not a networking group, but rather a group of CEO peers who are invested in the success of each member. To qualify for membership CEOs must run a business with $1M+ revenue and 5+FTEs. Learn more at www.vaceos.org.

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 12:25 pm
Thursday, March 17, 2022

Three VACEOs Member Companies Make Inc’s “All-Star” List

VACEOs Member Takes Top Spot on Inc’s Fastest Growing Companies List

Inc. magazine just revealed its third annual Inc. 5000 Regionals: Mid-Atlantic list, the most prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing Mid-Atlantic-based private companies, based in D.C., DE, MD, NC, VA, and WV.

The companies on the list show a remarkable rate of growth across all industries in the Mid-Atlantic region – adding thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to the Mid-Atlantic region’s economy.

Please join us in congratulating VACEOs member Glenn Dierson of Summit Human Capital whose company ranked number ONE on Inc’s list.

Founded in 2018, Summit Human Capital Summit Human Capital specializes in providing IT human capital solutions to a diverse portfolio of industries including: Information Technology, Healthcare, Government Services (Federal and SLED), Legal, Logistics and more.

Ranked at 89 was Lauren Sweeney of the Dotted Line Agency. The Dotted Line is a creative agency that helps ambitious brands become great. With a strategy-before-everything approach, they draw the line that connects marketing from beliefs to behaviors for brands that want to do more business to grow effectively and efficiently, with lasting impact.


Eddie O’Leary of COLAB made the list 131. COLAB is a team of strategists, designers, developers, engineers and project managers that create digital platforms to empower marketing leaders.

Are you curious to learn more? Would you like your company to be listed as an Inc. Magazine All-Star? While we can’t guarantee you will make the list, we can guarantee that by joining VACEOs you will have the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the greatest business leaders in Virginia. Don’t wait. Come check us out.

About Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs)

Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is a nonprofit organization connecting CEOs for learning and growth. Formed more than 20 years ago, member benefits include placement in a peer roundtable group and access to a thought leader network, and a robust program of events for learning and growth. This is not a networking group, but rather a group of CEO peers who are invested in the success of each member. To qualify for membership CEOs must run a business with $1M+ revenue and 5+FTEs. Learn more at www.vaceos.org.

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 11:49 am
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Thursday, March 17, 2022

Future-Proofing Your Career in 2022: Break The Bias

VACEOs partners with Robins MBA to #breakthebias

 #BreakTheBias posed with their arms crossed to show their commitment to calling out bias, smashing stereotypes, and breaking inequality

In recognition of International Women’s Day, over 100 women gathered at the University of Richmond on March 10 to hear a keynote address by Susan Quinn, President & Chief Executive Officer of circle S studio for the fourth annual Future-Proofing Your Career event. Her topic: Break the Bias which is also this year’s International Women’s Day theme.

Hosted jointly by the Virginia Council of CEOS (VACEOs) and The Richmond MBA, the festivities took place at the Jepson Alumni Center to a sold-out crowd of women from all different stages of their careers.

Keynote Speaker:  Susan Quinn, President & Chief Executive Officer of circle S studio

An executive with 30 plus years of experience, Susan believes that “leadership is a mindset from the inside out.” It needs to be cultivated and nurtured like a garden and “not left to chance.”

Speaking for 30 minutes to an attentive audience, she mapped out four keys to future-proofing one’s career. They include:

  1. Respect yourself and stop apologizing
  2. Keep an open mind and stay curious
  3. Be authentic – don’t try to be anyone but yourself
  4. Raise the bar – keep bettering your personal best

Following Susan’s keynote address, there was a panel discussion of business leaders, including Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) member Connie Hom, CEO of Buckingham Greenery, Inc., Melody Short, co-founder of The Jackson Ward Collective and Polly White, Chair of the ChamberRVA and COO of Gather.

From left to right, Susan Quinn, Connie Hom, CEO of Buckingham Greenery, Inc., Melody Short, co-founder of the Jackson Ward Collective and Polly White Chair of the ChamberRVA and COO of Gather.

For Connie Hom, a first time panelist, but a four time Future-Proofing Your Career attendee, she shared that loved all of the energy in the room and was grateful for the opportunity to get together in person this year to “learn, improve and grow.”

Jennifer Boyden, CEO of Heart Havens, Inc., said “Being among and having conversations with other professional women is empowering. It is encouraging to see how far we have come and motivating to see how far we still need to go to work in a bias-free world.”

The words “inspirational” and “powerful” could be heard being murmured all around the cocktail reception held towards the end of the evening.

Susan Quinn best summed it up when she said there was “a lot of power packed into that room.” She also said, “when women come together to learn something new, they are often successful and there is no limit to what they can accomplish.”

About The Richmond MBA

The Richmond MBA is a highly-ranked part-time program designed to meet the needs of working professionals. With small class sizes and experienced, engaged faculty, the student body is comprised of high-potential individuals who form a network of ambitious and innovative leaders driving change across central Virginia’s top organizations. The program is part of the larger Robins School of Business, a fully-accredited business school in a liberal arts university, recognized nationally for quality and excellence.

About Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs)

Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is a nonprofit organization connecting CEOs for learning and growth. Formed more than 20 years ago, member benefits include placement in a peer roundtable group and access to a thought leader network, and a robust program of events for learning and growth. This is not a networking group, but rather a group of CEO peers who are invested in the success of each member. To qualify for membership CEOs must run a business with $1M+ revenue and 5+FTEs. Learn more at www.vaceos.org.

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 8:58 am
Friday, March 4, 2022

5 Questions Every CEO Should Ask their Banker

five key questions

As business leaders, it is imperative to have an inner circle of advisors you trust. In addition to a CFO, you often seek advice from attorneys, CPAs, and insurance agents to name a few. Adding a local banker to your list who lives and works in your market is smart and strategic.

Of course, a banker will discuss your business finances and help you gain access to capital. A trusted banker also has vast knowledge of the market, is up to date on the latest business deals and happenings and can share a wide network of contacts to help your business grow. With a community bank, decisions are made locally and often, much quicker, than at larger national financial institutions.

I would encourage any business leader to ask these questions of their current or prospective banker.

1. Is now a good time to expand my business?

Your banker should walk through different scenarios with you. What is the current demand for your products or services? Are customers requesting a new product line? Do you have customer support to grow? Are you growing so fast that you can hardly manage current business? Do you see an unprecedented opportunity that is exciting and difficult to pass up? Is your overall industry growing and is the opportunity ripe?

2. What precautions should I put in place to help my business with the concern of inflation and a potential recession?

Dollar moving up. Money finance growth chart graph stock market

Your banker understands that the effect of inflation on small to medium-sized businesses may seem somewhat insignificant in the short term; however, it can quickly have an impact on your bottom line. Reduced purchasing power means that businesses will sell less and potentially lower profits. Lower profits mean a decreased ability to grow or invest in the business itself. Credit control can help offset inflation. Your banker may direct you to increase savings and reduce unnecessary expenditures.

3. Can you offer my business options outside of traditional banking?

A community banker should detail any new technology and additional services they offer. Such services can help you cut costs and be more efficient. There are multiple treasury management solutions that can efficiently help you manage your business budget, improve cash flow, protect against fraud, and reduce processing delays. Definitely inquire about remote and mobile deposit, ACH and wire management systems that will save you time and money.

4. Can you help me with supply chain issues?

Your local banker can tell you about certain lending tools it can recommend to offset this rising challenge. Supply chain financing can support the trade relationships of middle market companies as a way to help stabilize supply chains and improve working capital.

5. How can you support my growth plans?

A trusted banker should understand your business and industry. He or she can assist in reviewing financial forecasting and projections. Ask about cash flow analysis and tips to gain financial efficiencies. Moreover, your banker should be a good sounding board and offer advice.

I believe if you focus on building a positive relationship with an experienced community banker, your business will succeed and grow.

Too many leaders navigate the financial arena with little personalized support. Sadly, 20% of companies fail within the first two years, according to Forbes. While opening a new business can be exciting and is more popular than ever, getting sound banking advice at the start, or even years after launch, can propel your business forward and help you serve your customers far into the future. I believe if you focus on building a positive relationship with an experienced community banker, your business will succeed and grow.

About the Author & Blue Ridge Bank

Chris Layne, market president at Blue Ridge Bank is a professional who primarily works with closely-held and non-profit organizations in and throughout the Richmond Metro region. If you have any questions for Chris. please feel free to reach out to him at 804-518-2625 or chris.layne@mybrb.bank.

Blue Ridge Bank is a Virginia bank with a national reputation, Blue Ridge Bank is all about business. Our team exudes an enterprising spirit in each local market so we can best serve our business clients. We provide a wide range of financial services including retail and commercial banking, private banking and wealth management, mortgage lending, and government-guaranteed lending. 

About Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs)

Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is a nonprofit organization connecting CEOs for learning and growth. Formed more than 20 years ago, member benefits include placement in a peer roundtable group and access to a thought leader network, and a robust program of events for learning and growth. This is not a networking group, but rather a group of CEO peers who are invested in the success of each member. To qualify for membership CEOs must run a business with $1M+ revenue and 5+FTEs. Learn more at www.vaceos.org.

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 10:55 am