September 2016 – The Cerno team took off on a road trip to Asheville for the North Carolina SHRM conference at the US Cellular Center. The 2016 NCSHRM conference was the largest conference Asheville has hosted to date and Cerno was honored to participate, having the opportunity to make connections with HR leaders from around the state.

There was so much to learn and so many connections to be made over the course of the three-day conference, but a few things stood out.

Cerno’s Top 3 Takeaways from the 2016 NCSHRM conference:

1) HR Gives A Squat About Nature!

We invited conference attendees to donate squats to our Give A Squat™ About Nature campaign. (In case you haven’t heard, Cerno challenges people to move their bodies by donating squats for a good cause.) For this campaign, we are showing our love for the outdoors so once 10,000 squats are banked, Cerno will make a financial donation to the The Nature Conservancy!

#NCSHRMCON challenged HR professionals to lead differently

Cerno can help!

We challenge people to #GiveASquat because we want people to keep moving their bodies and implement healthy lifestyle habits, which ultimately helps to drive high performance, so we sweetened the deal by putting a brand new Fitbit Charge 2 up for grabs! In true Cerno fashion, conference attendees couldn’t simply drop in a business card for a chance to win (like at other booths), they had to actually earn every entry, with 1 entry to win being awarded for every 10 squats donated.

The HR crowd at the conference truly stepped up, some even using a 10-lb. medicine ball to take the challenge up a notch. The conference record was set with a 116 weighted squat set! The Cerno team added to the squat count by joining most every person who logged squats at our booth. By the end of the conference, “I Give A Squat” stickers could be seen just about everywhere. We logged over 4,600 squats and our legs needed a good massage!

It just goes to show you that when confronted with a challenge and given a supportive environment, there’s no limit to what can be achieved!

2) Asheville cuisine doesn’t disappoint!

The “Bites and Sips” opening reception was a unique collaboration by local restaurants, which offered conference attendees the opportunity to sample a wide range of dishes in a single venue, while networking with colleagues. Meatballs, grits, tacos and hummus were just a few of the dishes served up by the local culinary talent. Pairing this with a selection of wine and local brews completed the recipe for a deliciously fun evening!

3) Lead Differently

The keynote speakers left a lasting impression on how to lead differently.  In his Thursday keynote, Tom Rath commented that, “we need to look at health seriously. The healthier you are, the happier and more productive you are.” Great advice in a world where organizations are challenged to take a more holistic and comprehensive approach to building high value relationships with their most valued employees.

As we here at Cerno know and we heard echoed throughout the sessions, retention and engagement of top talent are critical issues for HR leaders and the status quo just won’t cut it anymore. Speakers challenged companies to differentiate themselves and the benefits they offer in order to be viewed as an “employer of choice”. Studies show that creating healthy work environments and providing cutting edge programs to reward hard working employees increase productivity and performance.

All of these messages align with Cerno’s mission. The bottom line—we help HR professionals lead differently by providing them with ready-to-implement programs to attract, retain and engage top talent. Learn more about Cerno’s performance recognition programs for high performers by visiting our website,

Want to learn more about top talent? Download a copy of our white paper “The Talent Challenge: How Leading Companies Attract, Retain and Engage Top Talent.