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GEA Welcomes Chris Murphy

Chris MurphyGeorgia Employers’ Association is pleased to welcome Chris Murphy to the team as our new Membership Development Director. Chris comes to GEA with 20 years of management and business development experience with Chick-fil-A organizations in the Atlanta area, where he worked with operators to develop satellite locations in popular venues like Turner Field and the World Congress Center. He is excited to bring his skills and experience to GEA, where he will focus on expanding awareness of GEA services among Georgia businesses and continued expansion of the association’s membership base.

Chris holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from West Georgia University. Chris and his wife Kristen live in Macon and have two daughters. After hours, Chris enjoys an occasional round of golf, working with his church,  and lots of family time.

Creating a Strategic Plan Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

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“It’s not enough to do your best. You must know what to do and then do your best.”
– W. Edwards Deming

All organizations operate with some kind of strategy. Unfortunately, in many cases, the strategy just emerges as day-to-day tactics. The organization builds momentum and continues to roll in the same direction until it hits a roadblock.

That kind of unplanned approach has some obvious drawbacks. First, it’s not focused on goals. Evolving strategies are generally short on vision. Of more importance, the lack of a clear and purposeful strategy means that employees don’t know what the organization intends to accomplish. Nor do they understand how their individual roles contribute to organizational goals.

In a booming economy it’s easy to confuse “busyness” with success. The rising tide floats all boats, but it’s the companies who plan and improve their processes, products, and services who set themselves up for continued success as the economic cycles shift. Intentional strategic planning analyzes the current environment and future potential and sets a vision and a direction for the future.

“Leadership is the capacity to translate a new vision into reality”
– Warren Bennis

A strategic plan sets the purpose for the entire organization – organizational goals and each individual’s role and contribution towards the goals. Every department and leader in the organization must understand the vision and the methodology for achieving it. That kind of intentional strategic plan significantly increases chances of continuing success.

For employees, a strategic plan generates a unified focus and teamwork. It provides employees with:

  • A clear understanding of direction.
  • A sense of purpose.
  • The ability to set appropriate priorities and make smart decisions.

With this knowledge, employees can contribute and the entire organization becomes geared for success.

Creating a strategic plan doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does take clear thinking and an analytical process. Georgia Employers’ Association can assist our members with the implementation of a practical, straightforward, and expedient strategic planning process that:

  • Facilitates the identification of key issues and initiatives.
  • Focuses on prioritization.
  • Leverages the planning team’s knowledge and experience to develop an achievable plan.
  • Provides each member of the planning team an equal voice, with the opportunity to view their suggestions in the context of other ideas and priorities.
  • Generates maximum buy-in and follow-through from all stakeholders.

GEA would welcome the opportunity to assist your organization with an effective strategic planning process. For more information, contact Buddy McGehee at 478-722-8282 or

The Focus Group provides a full range of Executive Search and Consulting Services for Georgia Employers’ Association members and businesses throughout the Southeast. Click the link or contact GEA for more information.

Less Cash for U.S. Employees?

Aon Survey Predicts 2019 Decrease in Cash Compensation

Piggy BankSalary budgets among U.S. companies continue to increase, but at a very slow pace. Aon’s 2018 U.S. Salary Increase Survey projects an increase in the salary component of base payroll to 3.1 percent. At the same time, the variable pay component (incentives, sign-on bonuses, special recognition) is projected to drop to 12.1%.

The net effect is a decrease in total cash compensation to U.S. employees from 15.5% to 15.2% of payroll. According to Ken Abosch, broad-based compensation leader at Aon, “ Employers are putting more behind an initial higher salary in an effort to be more attractive in recruiting talent.” The implication is that more salary dollars up-front may impact longer-term earning opportunities.

Other findings from the survey:

  • Expected minimum wage increases and regulatory changes are are having a negligible effect on budgets. 99% of respondents anticipate not changes following minimum wage increases due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. 71% of companies report no changes in salary increases for employees who earn above the minimum wage.
  • Employees in high cost cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, and New York City are likely to see higher increases in both base pay and variable pay.
  • Pay increases are accelerating slightly faster in the construction and insurance sectors. Employees in the Education and Tansportation sectors are likely to see lower-than-average increases in salaries.

Aon, PLC is a global professional services firm providing risk, retirement, and health solutions. There’s more information about the survey on their website.


Press Release: Total Cash Compensation for U.S. Employees Projected to Decrease in 2019, Aon Media Center, 9/24/2018