Recruit, Inspire & Retain

January 2003

Ideas for "Marketing" and Providing "Customer Service" to Current and Potential Employees

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Bring in the Right People: Don’t Be Afraid to Hire People Smarter Than You

Click to buy the book at Amazon.comThe next challenge was to build a strong team of effective people to implement my agenda. I worked hard to recruit the very best.
—George W. Bush

Q: What do the following words and phrases have in common?

*sought advice from close associates
*Bush’s team of headhunters
*had come highly recommended
*I found him
*I put on a full-court press
*recommendation from
*convinced ... to join our team

A: They are all words used by George W. Bush, or about him, in any discussion about bringing in the right people.

In most organizations, we say that we’re going to “interview” someone;—Bush says he’s going to “recruit” someone. We say we’re going to “decide on who we want to hire”; W. says he’s going to “choose.” We say we’re going to “offer the person the job”; he says he’s going to “convince the person to join our team.” We say we’re going to “advertise the position”; Bush says “I found the person.”

What’s the difference between George’s words and ours? His are about selling himself, the organization, the cause, and the position to the right person for the situation. Ours are about the job candidates’ selling themselves, and us deciding to buy or not.

Bush’s process is about research, personality fit, and persuasion. G.W. determines what’s needed for a particular position and who has those skills, characteristics, and attributes. He discovers whether the position and organization match someone before he interviews that person. His interviews thus can focus on how the person’s personality melds with Bush’s, and he prides himself on being a good judge of people.

We believe that Bush’s way works (and believe us when we say we’re not using information about people’s backgrounds to discriminate against them; one of us is an HR professional!). Like Bush, we use such information to understand where the person is coming from. Doing that allows Bush to get a sense of what a person believes and where he or she is going. He hears candidates’ core values and learns their priorities by asking about their background and family. Core values and priorities rarely roll off the tongue in response to a question like “What are your core values?” (They will, of course, for you, now that you’ve read chapter 1, “What Do You Stand For?” In fact, you need to know your values so that you can determine whether a job candidate’s match well with yours.)

Learning peoples’ core values and priorities by talking with them about their backgrounds in general is legally risky. You’ll have information that can’t easily be proven to be related directly to the skills needed for the position. Nevertheless, this information will tell you things about the candidates’ characteristics and attributes that are hard to verify through research alone. An interview of this sort tells Bush, and it can tell you, their core values. Knowing that their values match yours is crucial to bringing in the right person. Bush takes the legal risk that he might be called upon to prove that he didn’t use information about a person’s background to discriminate against that person.

We take that legal risk too, and we take it every time because the benefits (a match with our core values) outweigh the risk (hiring the wrong person). Bush’s thorough researching before interviewing keeps the legal liability down. By learning what he needs for a position and only talking with people who have those skills, characteristics, and attributes, he only interviews people who are so close to right that all it takes is the persuasion –– and he’s a master at this!

Clearly, Bush’s leadership genius in bringing in the right people lies not just in his research and persuasion abilities, but also in his willingness to hire people who are smarter than he is—no matter whose appointee they were. So check your ego at the door, and then get on with the recruiting!

excerpted with permission from The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush,
 pp. 81, 82, 87, 88, 89; John Wiley & Sons, 2003. Buy it at

Ask a Question

Get more tips on recruiting great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  • "The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush: 10 Common Sense Lessons from the Commander-in-Chief" (especially Chapter 4!) by Carolyn B. Thompson & James W. Ware available at
  • Straight Talk for Employers: How to Recruit, Inspire & Retain Great Employees (audio tape set), by Carolyn B. Thompson, President of TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC., available at, click on Recruiting. (10% off by typing "RIR" in Special Instructions)
Recruitment, inspiration, training, and retention ideasHave a recruitment, inspiration, training, or retention idea or question? Ask by clicking the question mark, and we’ll post your idea or question (and the answer) in Answers & Ideas on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining Great Employees at

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De-motivational Images

* Success is knowing who to blame for failures.

* Consulting: If you’re not a part of the solution, there’s good money to be made in prolonging the problem.

* Humiliation: The harder you try, the dumber you look.

* Apathy: If we don’t take care of the customers, maybe they’ll stop bugging us.

From They sell everything from gorgeous posters to conversation hearts with “de-motivating” quotes. There’s a lot to be learned from quotes that tell us “how NOT to do it” and it gets a good laugh, allowing us to retain it longer!

  • PowerPoint screen show that features 40 humorous posters that are pre-set to work on "auto-pilot". Makes a great "WELCOME" message or enhancement to your session break. Runs about 5 minutes, and is set to automatically recycle. You can add in your own slides. (a great place to slip in your objectives!) Get your PowerPoint screen show here!
  • BUY PACKS of inspirational posters. (Do a Product Search for POSTERS, then look for Training Room Posters (30/pack).)

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Don Page, the first reader to call in his comments on Carolyn’s new book, The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush: “I loved it! It was fun to read and I’m going to recommend it to the president of our company. My boss just returned from a company planning retreat and he was very excited about the direction we’re going. The skills described in detail in the book will help us all.

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Upgrade Your New Employee Orientation for Faster “Start Time” to “Productive Employee Time”

The first week on the job plays a crucial role in inspiring, motivating and retaining new employees. We often spend lots of time and money recruiting and wooing new employees and as soon as they start we turn around and treat them like barely welcome strangers. We need to begin looking at recruiting as only half of the task of hiring. Orientation is the other, often ignore, element.

Goals of Great Orientation Programs
Most orientation programs entail little more than putting a tape in the VCR. But if you really want to do a great “get on boarding” process, you need to first understand orientation’s goals and potential impacts. Some of them include:

* Time to productivity. Any delay in providing new hires with the guidance, equipment and training they need can slow the time it takes for a new employee to reach their minimum expected level of productivity.

* Your image as “the best place to work”. How you treat the person during this crucial period has a direct impact on what they say when colleagues ask what it’s like to work there (future recruiting).

* Setting manager’s expectations. On the first day, it’s important for the manager to make sure that the new employee knows the manager’s expectations, the departmental goals, the organization’s goals, and what important contributions the employee can make to the product, services, and the customer.

* Understanding the employee's expectations. It’s equally important for the manager to find out what expectations the new employee has in the areas of training, promotion and preferred management and communication styles.

* Explaining the employee’s "shared responsibility”. Begin by communicating to the new employee that they have to take a proactive role in "helping" their manager understand what it is that motivates and frustrates them.

* Reinforce their decision. Reinforce the sale, answer their questions, eliminate their fears, and give them something to tell their friends.

excerpted from an article on the electronic recruiting exchange, by Dr. John Sullivan

What to Do in a Great Orientation Program:
* Prepare for their arrival (tell other staff, clean their workspace, order supplies, give them a typed first day schedule)

* Give them an introduction to your organization

* Introduce them to co-workers in their department and others (inside and outside the organization)

* Have each of the people they’ll be working with spend time with them (in department and outside) giving them info about their skills, knowledge, fun things to know about them

* Provide them with a tour of all facilities

* Include them in all organization activities early

* Provide training in their basic job duties and responsibilities (best done by co-workers and supervisor)

* Review all important policies and practices (especially those that aren't written)

* Provide an overview of benefits and services (get them to ask questions)

* Discuss their career and life needs/goals and what inspires them to do a great job and how the organization can meet them

* Discuss your expectations and those of the organization

Ask a Question

Get more tips on inspiring great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  • “30 Ways to Shine as a New Employee”, by Denise Bissonnette, available at, click on Recruiting. (10% off by typing “RIR” in Special Instructions)
  • “New Employee Orientation”, by Charles M. Cadwall
    Call 800-469-3560 or email to order.

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Training Only Works if Reinforcement Methods are Built In

Most of us have noticed over the years that HR, Training & Development departments, and outside vendors provided wonderful one-shot trainings that participants would rank (at the end of the sessions) very high, but when the participants got back to work, they rarely used the skills or knowledge from the one-shot sessions. This lack of transfer of training seemed to be true even if the one-shot sessions included learning methods that involved real-world issues and lots of preaching about the importance of transferring information to experiences.

So we developed a list of all the reinforcement methods we could think of. Before designing any training, we work with the learners, their co-workers, and supervisors to choose just the ones they’ll actually do. Then we design it into the training, so it doesn’t feel like something extra. Part of the key to the approach is the words you use. We never say, “After the training, ...”. Instead, we say, (for example): “On Friday you’ll meet with your supervisor to tell him what, specifically, you did that week that related to the skills in the session on Monday.”

Use the list below, exerpted from Creating Highly Interactive Training Quickly & Effectively, by Carolyn B. Thompson, pp. 19 & 20:

* Actively participate in determining training needs
* Actively participate in the design of the training
* Select Learners according to established criteria for that training and the need for that skill
* Participate in an advance briefing on the training
* Participate in some training with employees
* Arrange meetings between former Learners and those about to learn to discuss how to transfer learned skills to the job
* Make sure the Learner uses the new skills immediately
* Have employee complete a Learning Action Plan before the training. Have employee continue to complete during and at the end of training. Collect and mail 1 copy of completed plan back 3 months after to training
* Conduct a pre-training meeting with all staff 2 days before the training to fill out Learning Action Plans and give the opportunity for employees to discuss objectives
* Take a pre-training survey to determine current skills/knowledge
* Show your excitement about the Learner learning—what they’ll be able to do when they finish training
* Schedule the Learner’s workload so they can focus on learning instead of worrying about what’s not getting done
* Plan the evaluation method for use after training (observer checklist, post test, etc.)
* Publish a training newsletter (ex. “Plotting our Progress”)
* Hold reminder/booster sessions (at regularly scheduled meetings)
* Use a Supervisory Follow up Booklet or Learner Reinforcement Booklet (decide which you need), which lists all skills learned, behaviors that should be seen, and what can be done to reinforce the learning
* Give constructive and immediate verbal feedback on performance
* Plan and communicate rewards and incentives (on-the-spot and/or before the training)
* Create a screensaver w/appropriate info
* Conduct a meeting with the Learner back on the job to plan use the skills/meet the objectives they wrote on their Learning Action Plan
* Have the Learners write postcards to themselves re: skills they’ll use and mail/give to them 2 weeks after completing the training
* Provide Learners with a job aid for use on the job
* Have the Learner share training experience and learning with co-workers on the job
* Involve the Learner in work-related decisions based on new learning
* Request reports from the Learner on the use of new skills and knowledge on the job
* Create thank you card for employees to write and put in central box about someone they saw doing one of the skills learned.

Ask a Question

Get more tips on training great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  • Creating Highly Interactive Training Quickly & Effectively, by Carolyn B. Thompson, available at, click on Training (10% off by typing “RIR” in Special Instructions)

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The Best Approach to Managing Conflicts Between Employees Will Surprise You

Duh! (as I slap my forehead!) Why didn’t we realize this? - Gregorio Billikopf Encina tells the Training Ideas listserve:

Years ago, I accepted a challenge to mediate a deep-seated conflict between two agricultural mechanics, and stumbled onto an intuitive approach that challenges some long standing tenets of mediation practice.

We often hear about the importance of creative thinking and thinking outside the box. In this particular instance, I simply did not realize where that box was, and how unique this approach was when contrasted to the conventional one espoused by most authors and researchers. In the conventional approach, mediators bring both parties together and give each stakeholder an opportunity to present his or her case while the other listens. Or rather, as each side keeps interrupting as sparks fly.

Defenders of the traditional approach feel that these outbreaks are a normal part of the process and remind stakeholders of what does not work. In reality, the mediator and the stakeholders lose face when these outbursts take place. In the approach I developed, the best approach, the stakeholders meet separately with the mediator in a pre-caucus before ever coming together in a joint session. This flies against the conventional approach, where it is feared that each stakeholder may attempt to influence the mediator to take his or her side.

One reason that gives validity to this fear in the conventional approach, is that the mediator plays a role that often takes on characteristics of arbitration. In arbitration the third party suggests or enforces solutions while in mediation the parties, in theory, have control over the decisions made.

In contrast, I use the pre-caucusing or separate meeting to listen and coach each stakeholder so that he or she will be able to present his or her case. During the joint session, I play a minor role as a mediator. Most of the work I do takes place during the pre-caucus. As a result of the pre-caucusing:

* Stakeholders are better prepared to face their contender and negotiate a solution directly with the other stakeholder.

* Parties in conflict directly address each other in the joint session, rather than through the mediator.

This study may well change the future of mediation and do much to increase peace and promote effective interpersonal conflict management. The article that fully describes this process can be found at

Thanks, Gregorio, for giving us a way that finally works!

Ask a Question

Get more tips on retaining great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  • “Managing Disagreement Constructively”, by Herbert S. Kindler, Ph.D.
  • “Handling the Difficult Employee”, by Marty Brounstein

Both are terrific “how-to” books that’ll work for you or as workbook in training and are available at, click on Retaining (10% off by typing “RIR” in Special Instructions)

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Recruitment, inspiration, training, and retention ideasHave a recruitment, inspiration, training, or retention idea or question? Ask by clicking the question mark, and we’ll post your idea or question (and the answer) in Answers & Ideas on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining Great Employees at

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“The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush”.
Listen to TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. President, Carolyn B. Thompson, discuss the book:
* 1/16/03 on WFAD-FM radio, Vermont at 9:00 a.m. EST
* 1/12/03 on KXAM-AM radio, the "Arizona Sunrise Morning Show”, Phoenix at 8:00 a.m. MST
* 1/22/03, on the CNBC Television Morning Show at 6:00 a.m. EST
* 1/28/03, on the WION-AM radio, Lansing/Grand Rapids MI at 10:30 a.m. EST

** New interviews added every day! E-mail to get an updated list!

** Go to to read a chapter!

** Visit W.H. Smith’s display on tables in the front of each store when you’re in the airport during January!

** Buy “The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush” NOW at!

January 28-29,2003
Careers Conference, Madison, WI, 

January 27-February 3, 2003
ASTD Techknowledge Conference, Orlando, FL, 

February 2-4, 2003
Meeting Professionals International Professional Education Conference, Walt Disney World Resort, 

February 3, 2003
“Inspire Your Employees to Excellence Day!” Sponsored by CBT Recruitment & Retention Consultants, a division of TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. More tips available by e-mailing

February 24-26, 2003
Training Magazine’s 26th Annual International Training 2003 Conference & Expo, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA, 

February 23-28,2003
Balanced Scorecard Collaborative Human Capital Summit 2003: Aligning Human Capital with Business Strategy, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 

March 7-9, 2003
Path Seminar, Phoenix South Pointe Resort,

March 10-12,2003
SHRM 20th Annual Employment Law & Legislative Conference, Washington, DC,

March 31-April 2, 2003
26th Annual Conference & Exposition of the SHRM Global Forum, Los Angeles, CA,

April 4-6, 2003
The HUMOR Project’s “Humor, Hope & Healing” Conference in Saratogo Springs,

April 7, 2003
NATIONAL FUN AT WORK DAY! Call TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. at 800-469-3560 for ideas.

April 9-11, 2003
Hrtech 2003, Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, Chicago, IL,

April 12-15, 2003
41st Annual International Performance Improvement Conference and Exposition, Sheraton Boston Hotel and Hynes Convention Center, Boston, 

April 13-14, 2003
The Fourth European Conference on Organizational Knowledge, Learning, and Capabilities, Barcelona,

April 23-25,2003
35th Annual EMA Conference & Exposition, Las Vegas Hilton, NV 

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