Building Great Places to Work

September 28. 2015

Great Workplaces & Top Performers: A NorthCoast 99 Fairytale

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September 28. 2015

A NorthCoast 99 Fairytale

Chapter 1: The Great Quest Begins (a.k.a. Attracting Top Talent)

Once upon a time…in a faraway land (Northeast Ohio)…long, long ago (2015)…there lived 99 NorthCoast award winning employers. Applicants would flock from far and wide in search of a job with one of these NorthCoast 99 winners and their HR Departments were always on the look-out to add top performing employees to their teams. As they set out on their quest to attract and retain the best and the brightest to their organizations, these NorthCoast 99 winners knew that their efforts would be in vain without the help of their trusty best practices in recruitment and hiring. More...

September 2. 2015

NorthCoast 99…Something to Celebrate!

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September 2. 2015

NorthCoast 99 2015

ERC’s NorthCoast 99 program annually honors 99 great workplaces for top talent in Northeast Ohio. Carrie Morse, Director of Partnerships at ERC, has been overseeing NorthCoast 99’s exclusive awards event for the last 13 of its 17 years.

“NorthCoast 99 is really about the application and the data that we are able to collect and share through the program. Organizations that apply for the award share a great deal about what they’re doing to attract and retain the best of the best, including their practices, their policies, and success stories,” says Morse.

More...

September 1. 2015

The 2015 NorthCoast 99 Winners Revealed!

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September 1. 2015

We are excited to share the 2015 winners of the 17th annual NorthCoast 99 Awards! These organizations, recognized as great places to work in Northeast Ohio, have demonstrated excellence in attracting, motivating and retaining top performers through an application process completed earlier this spring. The 2015 NorthCoast 99 winners represent 10 counties in Northeast Ohio and are from more than 14 different industries. 

Of the 99 organizations winning the award, four are being honored as a Legacy Winner, having won the award 10 times. They include Cleveland Clinic, Jennings Center for Older Adults, Pomerene Hospital, and Skoda Minotti. Workplace & Community Impact Awards are being presented to Akron Children’s Hospital, The Cleveland Foundation, The Garland Company Inc., and Human Arc.More...

February 24. 2015

10 Qualities of a Great Supervisor [Research]

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February 24. 2015

What makes a great supervisor? The best ones lead by example when managing, leading, empowering, and involving employees. We've taken research from the some top organizations and identified some of the top qualities of good supervisors and managers.

1. Lead by example                                              

Excellent managers and supervisors lead by example. They are to model the organization’s mission and values, embody the desired culture, and create an environment where employees can thrive; all while remaining positive and supportive.

2. Treat employees respectfully, fairly, and empathetically

It's important to create a positive work atmosphere by making decisions in a fair manner, treating employees consistently, communicating honestly, and being respectful towards employees. Top supervisors and managers are also expected to act empathetically and compassionately when responding to employees’ needs and concerns.More...

February 27. 2014

NorthCoast 99 Recognized as Top Corporate Event of the Year!

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February 27. 2014

NorthCoast 99 has been recognized as a Connector’s Choice Award Winner for the Best Corporate Event of the Year (Non-Fundraiser) by CBC™ Magazine!

NorthCoast 99 won the award for its 2013 awards banquet, held September 18, 2013 at LaCentre Conference & Banquet Facility. The event was attended by over 850 Northeast Ohio businesspeople, with a keynote from worldwide philanthropist, Craig Kielburger; and a special presentation from Cleveland's youth chorus, The Singing Angels.

This is the 7th annual Connectors’ Choice Awards, which recognizes professionals in the corporate events and networking industries. From October through December of 2013, CBC™ surveyed its readers, advertisers and vendors to determineNortheast Ohio’s top connectors.  The top 5 in each category were then voted on by a panel of judges and determined the winners for each of the 26 categories.

NorthCoast 99 and all of the other Connector’s Choice Award winners will be featured in the March issue of CBC™ magazine. The winners were recognized at the CBC™ Connectors’ Choice Awards Celebration on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at Cleveland Playhouse Square. This is the second time that NorthCoast 99 has been recognized with a Connectors' Choice Award.

"We are delighted that NorthCoast 99 has been recognized as the top corporate event for 2013," said Pat Perry, President of ERC. "To be at the top of the class with the other events in our category is quite an honor. I'd also like thank our sponsors; without their support this event would not be possible.  This is the second time that the NorthCoast 99 event has received this honor and we could not be more thrilled."

Finalists in the Best Corporate Events category include: Cleveland Event Expo; COSE Small Business Conference; Gear Up, Iron Man 3; and National Senior Games Opening Ceremony.

If your organization is interested in applying for the 2014 NorthCoast 99 Award, please visit www.northcoast99.org for details and to register to apply. The application deadline is April 25, 2014.

December 10. 2013

Top Company Workplace Trends from 2013

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December 10. 2013

NorthCoast 99 winners lead the way when it comes to starting new trends in the workplace. Here are some of the top trends we’ve observed among NorthCoast 99 winners in 2013. 

Recruiting & Hiring

  • Improving the candidate experience with better responsiveness, communication, and on-boarding
  • Using data-driven online marketing methods to recruit
  • Targeted recruitment (niche resources, social media, etc.)
  • Focusing on culture in the hiring process (culture-specific communication, hiring criteria, etc.)
  • Using case studies and other work sample tasks to base hiring decisions

 Performance Management

  • Doing more communication and analysis of what makes top performers different from other employees
  • Having top performers mentor others to improve performance
  • Initiating shadowing between lower performers or younger employees and top performers
  • Tailoring performance conversations to three groups of employees: high performers, average performers, and low performers
  • Improving performance management support for supervisors (guides, talking points, etc.)

Recognition & Rewards

  • Using online rewards and recognition systems which allow employees to engage in recognition of others
  • Implementing recognition programs or initiatives for “unsung heroes” hidden behind the scenes
  • Focusing on staff appreciation through employee appreciation days and/or weeks

 Training & Development

  • Coaching and mentoring engagements with senior leaders
  • Leadership and knowledge sharing groups which provide support for leadership development
  • Women’s initiatives, dedicated to female development
  • Career development systems, websites, and training series’ providing employees with tools and information to guide their career

 Community Involvement

  • Providing paid time off to participate in community service or community service activities during company workdays
  • Initiating unique community service projects relevant to the organization’s business or employees' passions
  • Developing funds and foundations
  • Using local resources: buying local, using community leadership programs, and participating in local community organizations

 Work/Life & Wellness

  • More flexible sick and bereavement time policies
  • Less restrictive attendance policies
  • Holistic wellness initiatives (yoga, meditation, guided imagery, etc.)
  • Offering healthy food in the workplace
  • Incorporating counseling and support on other wellness issues (financial, emotional, career, stress, etc.)

Involvement & Engagement

  • Having non-management employees lead strategic initiatives
  • Using cross-functional initiatives and shadowing in other departments
  • Involving employees in addressing employee engagement issues
  • Involving employees in developing and carrying out the mission, values, and vision

Management & Leadership

  • Movement towards a servant-leadership approach to leading focused on employees’ needs
  • Movement towards managers having a shared responsibility for attraction, retention, and engagement with greater accountability
  • Initiatives to help increase interaction with and exposure to senior leaders and CEO on a one-on-one basis
  • More involvement by senior managers in the recognition, development, and engagement of top performers

These are just some highlights of the major trends that we observed among the NorthCoast 99 winners in 2013. To learn about other workplace trends, please download the 2013 NorthCoast 99 Winners Report.

 

September 24. 2013

Why Giving Back Matters in the Workplace

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September 24. 2013

Last week at ERC's NorthCoast 99 Awards Dinner Event, Craig Kielburger, activist for the rights of children and cofounder of the Free the Children charity and Me to We social enterprise, gave an inspiring keynote, encouraging companies to give back to their communities and make a difference through their actions in the workplace, as these actions create a ripple effect of positive change.

Not only is corporate volunteerism and community involvement in the workplace important in giving back and positively impacting our communities, but research backs that corporate philanthropy is good for the workplace and for business as it seems to benefit employers in a number of other ways. These include:

  • Higher performance than competitors over the long term
  • Return on investment and sales growth
  • Enhanced company reputation and willingness to buy a product or service
  • Increased career and job satisfaction
  • Development of workplace skills

Additionally, new research conducted through the NorthCoast 99 program by ERC shows that top performers who are more satisfied with the opportunities their organization offers relative to community involvement are more likely to be engaged.

In our analysis, we researched top performer engagement levels, desire to stay at an organization, perceptions of whether an organization was a great place to work, and whether top performers felt they had sufficient opportunities to reach out to the community in relationship to the level of community involvement at all organizations that applied for the 2013 NorthCoast 99 Award.

Our results found that among top performers who were the most satisfied with the opportunities their organization provided to reach out to the community, not only were they more engaged, reported being more likely to stay at their organization, and viewed their organization as a great place to work, but their organizations reported doing more in the community. Tenure also tended to be higher at organizations where top performers were the most satisfied with their opportunities to reach out to the community.

Specifically, organizations with the most satisfied top performers, in terms of opportunities to reach out to the community, were significantly more likely to...

  • Organize an organization-wide day of service
  • Coordinate an organization-wide community service
  • Allow employees to provide non-compensated professional services
  • Communicate or promote volunteer opportunities
  • Sponsor fundraisers, charitable events, and/or scholarships
  • Cite a number of ways they contribute to the community or demonstrate social responsibility

Our research via the NorthCoast 99 program is not the first to find a linkage between employee engagement, retention, and volunteerism. Deloitte has found that volunteerism and community involvement contribute to the total work experience and organizational culture, which drives engagement and retention. Other studies have found that community involvement helps companies differentiate themselves from their competitors.

All in all, the research shows that corporate volunteerism and community involvement matters in the workplace in terms of attraction, engagement, and retention of great employees, but also because it's just the right thing for companies to do for the communities in which they live and work.

September 18. 2013

Top 10 Attributes Most Important to Top Performers

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September 18. 2013

Each organization that applied for the NorthCoast 99 award was required to choose between 10 and 50 top performing employees (depending on the size of their organization) to complete the Top Performer Engagement Survey. A total of 4,280 top performers participated in the survey.

Within the survey, top performers were asked to select the top five most important job attributes that they look for in a job, with “1” being the most important. They selected from a list of 19 job attributes. The percentage of rankings top performers selected as the #1 most important attribute are noted below.

Challenging and meaningful work was ranked as the number one most important job attribute among all top performers. Compensation, job security, work/life balance, and benefits were also ranked among the top five #1 most important job attributes.

  1. Challenging/Meaningful Work (20%)
  2. Compensation (16%)
  3. Job Security (13%)
  4. Work/Life Balance (10%)
  5. Benefits (7%)
  6. Career Development (6%)
  7. Leadership (6%)
  8. Advancement (6%)
  9. Autonomy (6%)
  10. Product/Service Quality (3%)

Additionally, in our analysis of what top performers are seeking in a job, we found a variety of differences based on gender, age, full-time/part-time, education, and job responsibilities. 

Gender

  • Female top performers tended to rank challenging/meaningful work with more importance than compensation and job security, which were ranked slightly more important by male top performers.
  • Work/life balance and benefits appeared to be somewhat more important to female top performers.
  • Male top performers perceived career development and advancement as somewhat more important than female top performers, and more important than work/life balance and benefits.

Age

  • Younger top performers (age 18-30) placed more importance on career development and advancement than older top performers.
  • Top performers age 31-40 ranked compensation, challenging and meaningful work, work/life balance, and job security as the most important job attributes they seek in jobs.
  • Top performers age 41-50 ranked the attributes similarly to top performers age 31-40, but work/life balance tended to drop off in importance with this age bracket when compared to younger top performers. 
  • Older top performers (age 51+) place the most importance on challenging/meaningful work and also perceive benefits, autonomy, and leadership to be more important than younger top performers.

Full-Time/Part-Time

  • Full-time top performers rank challenging and meaningful work, compensation, job security, and career development as more important than part-time top performers.
  • Part-time top performers rank work/life balance as the number one most important attribute they seek in a job, followed by challenging and meaningful work.
  • Autonomy was viewed as more important among part-time top performers than among full-time top performers.

Education

  • Top performers with less education rank job security as the most important attribute that they seek in jobs.
  • For top performers with a Bachelor's degree or higher, challenging and meaningful work is the #1 attribute they seek in a job, followed by compensation, work/life balance, and job security. Career development and advancement were also important to these top performers.
  • Top performers with graduate or professional degrees viewed challenging and meaningful work as more important than top performers with less education and also viewed autonomy and work/life balance as more important.

Job Responsibilities

  • Across the majority of jobs, top performers rank challenging and meaningful work as the most important attribute that they seek in jobs.
  • Job security was most important to top performers in production, transportation, and material moving jobs, and more important to top performers in health and human service as well as construction and maintenance jobs. 
  • Compensation was also ranked highly by nearly every job type, and was ranked as the #1 most important job attribute by top performers in office, administrative, and professional as well as construction and maintenance jobs.
  • Top performers in sales and marketing, specifically, ranked work/life balance as more important than top performers in other jobs.
  • Benefits tended to be more important to top performers in office, administrative, and professional; health and human service; construction and maintenance; and production, transportation, and material moving jobs.

These differences have been largely consistent over the past few years and suggest that gender, age, education level, job responsibility, and even employment status can affect what top performers are looking for in a job. Employers should take note of these differences and make sure that they align recruitment messages and the rewards within the work environment in ways that best attract top talent.

For more information about what top performers are seeking in a job, including specific percentages and breakdowns, please download our 2013 NorthCoast 99 Winners Report.

September 3. 2013

Congratulations to the 2013 NorthCoast 99 Winners!

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September 3. 2013

Congratulations to the 2013 NorthCoast 99 Winners!

These organizations excel at creating workplaces that attract and retain top performers in Northeast Ohio. They have established many outstanding, creative, and innovative workplace practices to find and keep great people. They are truly leaders in driving and implementing creative and positive workplace change in our region. More...

September 3. 2013

The Top 15 Things That Retain Top Performers

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September 3. 2013

As part of the NorthCoast 99 program, annually, ERC researches factors that top performers seek in jobs, factors that engage them, and factors that retain them. Each organization that applied for the NorthCoast 99 chose a sample of their top performing employees (depending on the size of their organization) to participate in the Top Performer Engagement Survey. In 2013, a total of 4,280 top performers participated in the survey. More...

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