Recruit, Inspire & Retain

February 2003

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

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The Cost of a Hiring Mistake — 3x the Salary!

The Harvard Business School identified the cost of inferior selection of sales representatives, at 3X the rep's annual compensation, including expenses, training, benefits, wages and commissions/bonus. Thus a $60,000 per year salaried/commissioned sales rep hiring mistake actually costs the company more than $300,000.   In hiring a sales representative, what is the cost of a poor hiring process?

The costs include, but are not limited to, time from dispatching the job order to hire. For instance, a sales territory is open an extra week, or month, or quarter, the reduced revenue and profits can be calculated according to the following formula:

annual quota ÷ time periods = X ÷ gross profit - salary + recruiting fees + travel & administration expenses

All numbers are annualized to the week or month or quarter.

Annual quota $2,000,000.00
Gross Profit 35%, = $700,000.00
Salary + commissions = $175,000.00
Recruiting fees= $25,000,
Administration, Benefits, Travel and Entertainment=$25,000
Gross Profit: $700,000
Total Costs: $225,000
Net Profit: $475,000
Net Profit loss per week: $9,500,
Net Profit loss per month: $39,583.

Here is a simple and true case study highlighting additional hard costs not easily evident in the equation above.
"During FY2000, Lisa, a recruiter, presents a sales engineer to a International software company. The company, in business since 1985 has annual revenues in excess of $50 million. The company hires this candidate and 2 years later the same person is still employed (the definition of a good hire). The software company requires another sales engineer (in the same territory) to compliment the employee placed 2 years ago. The hiring manager, hoping to save money, doesn’t call Lisa to fill the position.  2 weeks later, the employee placed by Lisa calls her and tells her about the available position.

When Lisa calls the hiring manager with an on-target candidate, he insists they have it handled using internal recruiting efforts. One month later, he calls Lisa and asks about the candidate. Discussing the hiring process, Lisa learns the hiring manager is interviewing eight additional people and five managers from around the country fly into the territory to interview these 8 candidates, plus Lisa's candidate. Five upper level managers fly into a city, stay in hotels and spend a complete day meeting 8 candidates when they only need one. At what cost? Six weeks have gone by. Has the company saved any money?

Based upon the example above he has already lost close to $60,000. If we attempt to equate the cost of one day of management hours of a software company, the equation looks like this:

 $150,000 x 5 (managers) = $750,000 ÷ 200 (days) = $3,750.

Plus, what revenue generating activities could be accomplished instead of a complete day in front of 7 or 8 people they will never see again? How frustrated will these managers be by the end of the day?

Plus, the hiring manager has spent 10 hours minimum reading resumes and speaking to candidates over the phone. An additional 5 hours coordinating with the other managers. What activities could the manager have done instead? If I gave you back 2 full working days every 6 weeks, what would the time be worth to you?

Superior human capital practices are not only correlated with financial returns they are, in fact, a leading indicator of increased shareholder value. ...superior HR practices are a key to attraction, retention and to business outcomes themselves! Message: if a company’s goal is to improve shareholder value, a key priority must be to make its approach to human capital efficient and effective.  Excerpted from 

And that’s only the dollars and cents of it! Consider the emotional impact of a poor hire on you and the hire, their family & friends, your staff, your customers. And if that’s not enough, all of this negatively impacts productivity and ability to attract the right people the next time.

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You know you're living in 2003 when:

  1. 1. You have 5 passwords, but can only remember one.
  2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.
  3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.
  4. You e-mail your buddy who works at the desk next to you.
  5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends is that they do not have e-mail addresses.
  6. When you go home after a long day at work you still answer the phone in a business manner.
  7. When you make phone calls from home, you accidentally insert a "9" to get an outside line.
  8. You've sat at the same desk for 4 years and worked for 3 different companies.
  9. Your company's Welcome sign is attached with Velcro.
  10. Your resume is on a diskette in your pocket.
  11. You can only write on 'sticky pads'.
  12. Your biggest loss from a system crash was when you lost all of your best jokes.
  13. Your supervisor doesn't have the ability to do your job.
  14. Contractors outnumber permanent staff and are more likely to get long-service awards.
  15. Board members salaries are higher than all the Third World countries annual GDP's combined.
  16. Interviewees terminate the interview when told of the starting salary, despite not having relevant knowledge or experience. Y
  17. Your staple diet is free food left over from meetings.
  18. Your supervisor gets a brand-new state-of-the-art laptop with all the latest features. You have time to go for lunch while yours boots up.
  19. Being sick is defined as: you can't walk or you're in hospital.
  20. There's no money in the budget for the 5 permanent staff your department desperately needs, but it does include 4 full-time management consultants advising your boss's boss on strategy.
  21. Your relatives and family describe your job as "works with computers".


  1. You read this entire list, and kept nodding and smiling.
  • 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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This month the calls were all about The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush. Thanks to all for your comments:

* Mary Ann Egger, Excel Communications – “As the President of the Joliet Rotary Club, I have a board of about ten members. At the end of each president’s year (June), a gift is usually chosen for each one as a thank you. Well, I am thanking them in advance. I purchased 16 of your new books and will distribute them accordingly. Thanks for being such a great leader with our group.”

* Ray Rossi, Mayor of Frankfort IL – “I am so proud of you! I’m proud of me for knowing you!”

* Detlev Pansch, Director, Frankfort Public Library — “Congratulations on the publication of your book! Also, thank you for the kind words you had to say about our staff and for giving the Library a copy for the collections.”

* Kathy Kanzer-Johnson, Kraft Foods — “Congratulations, Carolyn! I can’t wait to read this book.”

* Steve Drake, Drake & Co. — “I’m just in Chapter 2 of your book which came from yesterday! I’m at a board meeting of the Ohio State Alumni lunch today, the Ohio State Director of Athletics gave a short talk about the status of athletics at Ohio State (not bad since we just won the national title in football)...anyway the major part of his talk was listing his and the department’s 6 core values! He talked about how the department coaches, athletes try to live the values...I thought I was reading from your book!”

* Howard Pelham, Professor @ Butler University — “We’re both deep into LG of GWB. It reads well, but then some of that may be our empathy with the subject of the book...I have seen touches of your subtle and outright sense of humor...and I’m not going to press into who’s who of the writers...’he and she, liberal & conservative’...I will only say from my point of view, God help us if those others had won the election...we’d probably be in the hands of the Arabs by now...You have to realize that among my friends they say that I’m far right of the John Birchers...I realize that most of my University colleagues may not like the book, but I am going to show it and recommend it to them for the Leadership classes. As you say in the book, even some of his harshest critics admit to his leadership.”

* Louie Free, The Louie Free Show in Cleveland, OH — “I am so pleased with the interview. I’ve found you to be an insightful and personal guest and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with you.”

* Barry Farber, The Barry Farber Show, Talk America Radio Network — “What a gutsy and fun-filled show! Thank you for your kind, encouraging words and additionally for making what could seem like an outrageous thesis (Genius?) Utterly convincing!”

* Paul Edwards, On the Word in Detroit, MI – “I enjoyed our conversation as well, and I have received a few emails already, commenting that the interview was “thought-provoking” and also an in-depth look at Bush from a perspective the listener hadn’t considered before. Hopefully we also sold some books for you! I’m looking forward to having a second go at it in the near future! And I hope Focus on the Family calls you; I’ll put a bug in my connections’ ear at Focus.”

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George W. Bush Creates An Environment That Looks Like Leave ‘Em Alone

Clearly Bush has to bring in the right people first.  People who can be left alone.  Or does he?  This is the chicken and the egg – how can he bring in people who can be left alone without being able to prove to them that he will leave them alone?  Leave ‘Em Alone people are attracted to work where they’ll be left alone.  Here’s the unique combination that makes up Bush’s leadership genius again.  Bush has a long record of leaving staff alone, he publicizes it, he looks for people who’d be interested in it and he sticks to it.

* Bush Does Bring in the Right People  In Chapter 4, you learned exactly how he decides who’d be right for a position, goes out and finds them and gets them to say yes, I want to work with you.  So much of his success at this comes from his personal knowledge of and his interactions with the candidates and the people who might recommend candidates. Bush has been made fun of for choosing people he had personal knowledge of from his father’s administration (as though he couldn’t find his own people) and from his own as Governor of Texas (recycling!).

We’re mystified. If you are looking for people who you’re sure have your same core values and are able to be left alone doesn’t it follow, logically, that you’d feel the most confident with people who you, or someone you knew had worked with? Past staff, staff of other leaders whom you trust – this sounds like an internship for Bush’s administration.  Of course he’s brought in people who weren’t his past staff or staff of a leader he knows well.  But there aren’t many, and he follows his formula – research, personality fit, persuasion – rigorously.

* Bush Gives It to ‘Em Straight About How It’s Going to Work  Bush tells staff, “My job is to set the agenda and time and frame work.  To lay out the principles by which we operate and then delegate as much of the process to you as possible.  The final decision often rests with me but your judgment has a big influence.”

He didn’t just do this one day and think, Cool, this works, and then expect staff to know.  He had to tell them.  He told them all the things they’d need to know about how his Leave ‘Em Alone system works.  Because he’s a straight-talker, staff receive the information in a clear, concise and therefore understandable way.

He also tells them, “I rely heavily on you.  I trust you to bring me quality information and advice and I’ll act decisively after weighing the options you present.”

And he tells them, “I’m not going to make decisions in your area of expertise but I am  going to hold you accountable for your decisions.”

And he tells them, “You worry about doing your job.  I’ll take care of the politics.”  Then Bush stands up to the critics when they complain about something his staff do.   And he tells them, “Always return each other’s phone calls first.  It’ll foster good communication and make sure you seek each other’s advice and guidance.”  Did it work?  Bush says that many of his staff have told him that it set the tone and was key to the team approach they developed.

People believe him when he tells them about Leave ‘Em Alone during the recruiting process.  They believe him when he tells them how it’s going to work.  Why?

The Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC) showed “Gov. George W. Bush’s main leadership strengths were the important political skills of charisma and interpersonality, which will enable him to connect with people and retain a following.”  

In job after job, Bush’s “hands-off” leadership system builds confidence and trust among his staff. They see it as he lives it.

Excerpted with permission from The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush, Chapter 5,
“Bring in the Right People & Leave 'Em Alone” PP. 120, 121, 123, 124
. Buy it at

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Get more tips on inspiring great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  • “The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush: 10 Common Sense Lessons from the Commander-in-Chief” (especially Chapter 5!) by Carolyn B. Thompson & James W. Ware available at
  • Managers As Facilitators”, by Weaver & Farrell. Call 800-469-3560 or email to order. 
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I Resolve to Take Responsibility for My Own Learning Success

  1. I will be a voracious learner, soaking up knowledge, skills, and wisdom in formal and informal training opportunities.

  2. I will seize opportunities to build relationships with others by focusing on what I can do for them, not what they can do for me. 3. I will get lots of valuable work done very well and very fast, every day.

  3. I will adopt a customer service mindset in my dealings with customers, vendors, co-workers, managers, and direct reports.

  4. I will work hard to improve my listening skills; listen more than I talk; and choose my words very carefully.

  5. I will stay in touch with my priorities, regularly set clear goals and deadlines for myself, and make productive use of my time and energy.

  6. I will be a model of integrity.

  7. Every day, I will eat and drink healthfully, get enough sleep, exercise, and stay away from toxins; my body is the only physical plant Me, Inc. will every have.

Reprint appears courtesy of Bruce Tulgan, founder of RainmakerThinking, Inc.
and author of Winning the Talent Wars (W. W. Norton).

--Traveling Is No Excuse for Not Learning--

Untraditional libraries are cropping up all over:

* The Library Hotel in New York City is a book lover’s fantasy: Guests can choose form 6,000 volumes. The hotel’s 60 rooms are decorated with books by topic, from the arts to religion, science and history. Ted Koppel stayed in the Journalism room. And one-time guest Neil Armstrong? Astronomy, of course.

 * Cracker Barrel eateries offer audio books at 400 locations in 38 states, for a small fee. Just return them at another Cracker Barrel on your road trip.

 * You get highlighted and enlightened at the Ultimate Image Hair Salon and Free Lending Library in Lancaster, PA. Hundreds of books were donated by clients and staff.

 * BookCrossing, a free Web-based book club (, aims to make the planet a lending library. Members leave registered books in public places to be picked up, read and then left again. Readers share comments and track books online.

 * Country Inns & Suites lend books that guests return on their next visit to the 295-hotel chain.

Excerpted from USA WEEKEND, Jan.30-Feb. 2, 2003 issue

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Get more tips on training great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  • Self Study Gift Certificates – reward your employees by helping them learn with TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.,  gift certificates. Buy at (Good for anything in the catalogue and more)

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Performance Appraisals Are Enjoyable!

Performance appraisals are one of the least liked and most dreaded responsibilities that any manager has to endure.  

They're worse than terminations. After you fire someone, they're gone; but after a performance review, they're still around. Staring at you. Resenting you. Challenging you and sometimes even subverting your ability to manage the group

Ronald M. Katz is of a different opinion. He believes that performance management can be an enjoyable and rewarding process. Yes, enjoyable. He'll even go so far as to say that he thinks performance management can be as enjoyable as the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Keep that thought in mind as he describes a six-step approach (use the acronym PARADE to remember it) that can alleviate much of the worry and dread associated with performance management:

1. Preparation
Create objectives for the performance period. We have to ensure that people know what's expected of them if we ever expect them to achieve it.

Think of setting objectives as a road map with a set of directions. The road map is your organization, and the directions lead employees to their goal. If people don't know where they're going, how can we ever expect them to get there? How will they know when they've arrived? It's also critical to get employees' input on their own objectives if we want to increase their commitment to achieving those goals. If people feel that they have a voice in their assignments, they will frequently work harder toward the success of those assignments.

2. Assessment & Feedback Ongoing
Assess their performance and give them feedback on it as soon as they mess up or do well. This also addresses two of the most common fears that managers have about performance appraisals: confrontations and surprises. Many managers avoid delivering performance reviews because they fear confrontation.

If the performance review is the only time that managers talk with staff about how they're doing, and especially if employees feel that this one meeting has tremendous impact on their salary increases, the meeting takes on enormous proportions. Most employees, when questioned as to what the once-a-year review reminded them of, responded, "A trip to the principal's office."   When asked what they want out of the performance review meeting, both managers and staff most often respond: "No surprises." They don't want to have it sprung on them at the last minute, when they no longer have the opportunity to do anything about it. They want to be treated with respect and as partners throughout the performance cycle.

3. Reviewing documents
Before you actually do sit down with the employee, review all your documentation from the year. Take a look again at the objectives that you and the employee agreed to and documented at the beginning of the year. Review your notes from the meetings that you've had with the employee.

Then sit down and write the first draft of the performance review. Some organizations offer the employee the opportunity to create a first draft as well. Then the manager and the employee sit down to review the employee's progress.

4. Appropriate setting
The most commonly used location, a manager's office, is often the worst place. It's not neutral territory (remember that principal's office analogy). A conference room is often best, but if that's not available, find some other place. You want the setting to relax employees. This is one reason to avoid restaurants. Some managers choose to do appraisals over lunch. It's a way to reward the employee, but restaurants at lunch are far from private.

5. Deliver it clearly
Deliver the appraisal in straightforward language. Instead of dancing around the issue at hand, especially if it’s not as positive as you’d have liked and the employee will pick up on your discomfort like a shark sensing blood in the water. This isn't a meeting to renegotiate the objectives or the standards for performance that were set at the beginning of the year.

This advice on clarity goes for both good news and bad! When it comes to good news, some managers avoid it because they're afraid to tell an employee she has done a good job. "What if I have to fire her someday?" they ask. If you have to fire that employee someday, you will have a good reason why. You'll be able to explain it to the employee because you will have developed the necessary communication skills.

More often, managers feel a need to hide the bad news. They're afraid to hurt the employee's feelings, they fear an argument, or they just don't like to talk about someone's shortcomings. Many managers feel that if the employee hasn't done as well as expected, this is a poor reflection on the manager. If someone's performance has been subpar, managers owe it to the employee, the organization, and themselves to inform the employee.  

By glossing over employees' performance deficits to spare their feelings, managers are actually exposing the company and themselves to great liability. If managers have been doing the assessment and feedback throughout the year, there is little likelihood that there will be any confrontation at the review meeting. Tell people straight out what they've done well and where they need to improve. They'll respect you for it, and your credibility and standing as a manager will rise because of it.

6. Encouragement
Your job is to encourage. You want to inspire the employee to continue doing that which he does well and to improve in the areas where there is room for growth. Remind the employee that he is valued and that you'll support him in his development.  

Send him off to complete the development plan that he’ll follow in order to meet the objectives.

Set up a separate meeting at which you will discuss his development plan. This is a terrific way to let the employee know that you support him and are willing to invest your time and the organization's training dollars in his growth in the company. The performance management process is actually the organization's best retention tool. Too often, when employees get a less-than-stellar appraisal, they take it as an indication that this is the beginning of the end. This is the first step on that dreaded "Documentation Trail" that can only lead to the door. Let them know that you believe in them and their ability to improve. Your willingness to work with and invest in them is a wonderful turnaround tool to effect an attitude adjustment.

Adapted from an article by Ronald M. Katz at

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Get more tips on retaining great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  • Abolishing Performance Appraisals”, by Coen & Jenkins
  • Now Discover Your Strengths”, by Marcus Buckingham

Both available by calling 800-469-3560 or emailing

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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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February 23-27, 2003
Christian Management Association Annual Conference, Colorado Springs,

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 30-April 1, 2003
American Association of Association Executives Strategic Leadership Forum,
Orlando, FL

March 30-April 2, 2003
Association of Job Search Trainers (AJST) Annual Conference, “Job Search Training: The Oasis in the Desert”, Palm Springs, CA,  

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

March 24-28, 2003
Software Development Conference,
Santa Clara, CA,

March 29-April 2, 2003
International Association of Conference Centers Annual Conference, Alberta, CAN,  

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

April 7, 2003
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  

June 19-22, 2003
International Association of Facilitators Global Conference, “Building Community in Organizations”, Ottawa CAN,  

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