Recruit, Inspire & Retain

February 2007

Ideas for “Marketing” and Providing “Customer Service” to Current and Potential Employees

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bullet FUN Days to Celebrate (Call/Email for Ways to Celebrate the FUN Days to Celebrate!)
bullet RECRUIT - Exposing Hidden Talents
bullet Best of Dilbert’s Out-Of-Office E-Mail Auto-Reply
bullet Who's Wearing Fun Meters?
bullet INSPIRE - Staff Recommending Improvements Increases Staff & Customer Satisfaction!
bullet TRAIN - Potpourri of New Ways to Use Old Ideas
bullet RETAIN - Leading From the 2nd Chair
bullet Professional Development Conferences
bullet Ways to Volunteer & Give

How Did You Celebrate February 1 — Inspire Your Employees to Excellence Day?

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READERS! If you find an article worthy of Recruit, Inspire & Retain, please send it (with a note telling us where you found it)

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February is...
Chocolate Lover’s Month
African American History Month
Great American Pies Month

February 8-14 – Love & Laughter Week
February 11-17 – New Idea Week

February 1 – Inspire Your Employees to Excellence Day, sponsored by
                      TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.
February 2 – Groundhog Day (the 1st was in 1887)
February 4 – Homemade Soup Day
February 5 – Chocolate Fondue Day
February 6 – Pay A Compliment Day
February 7 – Send a Card to a Friend Day
February 11 – Inventor’s Day & The Anniversary of the Beatles’ 1st live USA appearance
February 12 – Clean Out Your Computer Day & Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday
February 14 – Valentine’s Day
February 15 – Burger Lover’s Day
February 19 – Chocolate Mint Day
February 20 – Mardi Gras & Love Your Pet Day (get some beads & a mask for your pet)
February 21 – Ash Wednesday
February 22 – Teddy Bear Day & George Washington’s Birthday
February 23 – Banana Bread Day
February 25 – Estimated world population reached 6.5 billion in 2006
February 27 – Polar Bear Day
March 1 – Peanut Butter Lover’s Day & Plan a Solo Vacation Day
March 2 – World Day of Prayer, Banana Cream Pie Day, Employee Appreciation Day, & Read
                 Across America Day (I have no idea how to make these work together!)
March 3 – National Anthem Day
March 4 – Hug a GI Day
March 5 – Say Hi To Mom Day
March 6 – Chocolate Cheesecake Day (send one to Mom if you forgot to say hi yesterday)

Emaill TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. for ideas on how to celebrate any of these days.

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Exposing Hidden Talents

You've got an important position to fill and scores of résumés to filter for likely candidates. But when it comes to actual face-to-face interviews, screening for qualifications isn't enough.

Résumés communicate about competencies and skills but seldom about motivational fit or values. You need to know what motivates prospective hires, what hidden talents they might have, and to what extent corporate and personal values intersect. The answer? Behavioral interviewing.

"There are several reasons why behavior-based interviewing has become a core element of most selection systems, including ease of understanding, prediction of job performance, flexibility, and efficiency," says Scott Erker, vice president of selection solutions for Development Dimensions International (DDI). When you move beyond qualifications and requirements and focus on specific experiences, passions, and interests, you'll have a better chance of identifying a great match. And people who are well matched with their jobs are generally more productive, motivated, and valuable for your organization. Behavioral interviewing is a great way to expose hidden talents and interests that don't appear on a résumé but might be beneficial for the position. "Behavior-based interviewing is based on the idea that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior," says Erker. So what sort of questions should you be asking?

"You need to ask some motivational questions: What drives you? What are you most passionate about in your work? Why? Give me an example of a time when you were the most creative or when you felt most alive at work, and what allowed you to feel that way?" says Mary Robins, associate director of the career center at Notre Dame de Namur University, in Belmont, California.

"Ask for examples of specific experiences," adds Gail Hartka, a senior consultant in management and professional development at Oracle University. In behavioral interviews, explains Hartka, the focus is on specific experiences and examples. If there's a competency you're screening for—customer service, for example—ask candidates to describe a time when their customer service skills were challenged and how they overcame that challenge. Or ask when the candidate felt most excited about customer service. The more emotion you can draw out, the better understanding you'll have for motivational fit.

After you ask a behavioral question, the most important thing to do is listen, explains Robins. In addition to what candidates say, what they don't say can be informative. A candidate's body language can reveal, for example, defensiveness (crossed arms) or evasiveness (lack of eye contact) that might be cause for concern and warrant further questions and subsequent interviews—or a polite handshake good-bye.

Excerpted from Profit, November 2004

Get more tips on recruiting great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.



The ROI of Human Capital: Measuring the Economic Value of Employee Performance, by Jac Fitz-Enz
Order by emailing or calling
Interviewing Techniques for Managers, by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. own Carolyn B. Thompson.
(10% off by mentioning “RIR”)

Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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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Best of Dilbert’s Out-Of-Office E-Mail Auto-Reply

  1. I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position. Be prepared for my mood.
  2. You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn't have received anything at all.
  3. Sorry to have missed you but I am at the doctor’s having my brain removed so that I may be promoted to management.
  4. I will be unable to delete all the unread, worthless e-mails you send me until I return from vacation on 4/18. Please be patient and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.
  5. Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for the first ten words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.
  6. The e-mail server is unable to verify your server connection and is unable to deliver this message. Please restart your computer and try sending again. (The beauty of this is that when you return, you can see how many in-duh-viduals did this over and over).
  7. Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queuing system. You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.
  8. Hi. I'm thinking about what you've just sent me. Please wait by your PC for my response.
  9. Hi! I’m busy negotiating the salary for my new job. Don’t bother to leave me any messages.
  10. I've run away to join a different circus.
  11. I'm not really out of the office. I'm just ignoring you.

Forwarded by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. own Gary Shoup, "Some of these are a bit mean, but overall, they made me smile."

Love those COLORFUL QUOTE POSTERS you see in TRAINING SYSTEMS' group training and conference bookstores? Email or call 800-469-3560 to find out how to get packs of the topics you need.
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!

Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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Fun Meter  

* Purchasers at The National Business Aviation Association Scheduler’s
   & Dispatcher’s Conference Bookstore

* Teachers buying at the Gratitude Store in Port Aransas, TX

* Cimarron Casino in Perkins, OK


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Staff Recommending Improvements Increase Satisfaction for Both Staff & Customers!

Which of these hospitals would you rather be treated in?

At Hospital A, a major southwestern facility, the nursing staff is stretched so thin——and the intellectual and emotional demands of the job are so intense——that nurses question their ability to deliver quality care. This summer, the strain finally drove Rebecca Matthys, 40, to quit nursing after 16 years. Too many times, an emergency with one patient had meant postponing care to others, then scrambling to catch up on her remaining duties. "It was like playing Russian roulette," she says. "It was just a matter of time before I made some horrible mistake that I would have to live with the rest of my life."

At Hospital B—UPMC Shadyside, part of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center—the ambience couldn't be more different. Even on a hectic day, things seem to be under control. There's a sense of energy rather than panic. "I truly love coming to work," says medical-cardiology nurse Cynthia Hostetler, 51.

Check into a random hospital in America, and you're far more likely to be in some version of Hospital A than Hospital B. Across the nation, nurses are feeling overworked and underappreciated, with little more than lip-service support from their managers. "New nurses aren't putting up with it," says Diana Mason, editor in chief of the American Journal of Nursing. "They're leaving hospitals at a higher rate than new graduates in the past." As of late last year, there were 118,000 vacancies for registered nurses in hospitals (8.5% of positions), according to the American Hospital Association. That's bad news for patients. A recent study in the Journal Health Affairs estimated that increased staffing by R.N.s could avert 6,700 patient deaths a year.

The true shame is that hospital nursing doesn't need to be in a state of crisis. As UPMC Shadyside shows, it's possible to get things right. And no person takes greater credit for that success than Tami Merryman, UPMC's vice president for quality improvement and innovation. A nurse herself, Merryman knows the convoluted procedures that typically bog nurses down. So nine years ago, when she became chief nursing officer at Shadyside, she started experimenting with solutions.

Early on, she zeroed in on the time nurses spend running to central supply cabinets. "In a year, nurses on the average unit walk the equivalent of the circumference of the globe," she says. So she suggested keeping basics like gauze and bedpans in patients' rooms. This simple fix saved nurses on a single ward more than 700 trips a week.


Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB), a joint initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. The mission: to boost nurse retention by improving teamwork and eliminating inefficiencies, such as unnecessary paperwork, that divert nurses from direct patient care.

Every Friday, Merryman holds a brainstorming session where nurses, managers and even a patient's family member pinpoint problems and seek solutions. In addition, she trades ideas with other hospitals in the TCAB program. The result has been a spate of reforms. The hospital now leaves oxygen equipment in patients' rooms after surgery in case they need it again at night (eliminating 20 minutes of set-up time). If nurses are overloaded and want help, they post red flags on their carts; those who display green flags have time to spare and come to their aid, while those with yellow flags signal a full load but no emergency. Merryman has even given patients' families the authority to summon a rapid-response medical team if they feel an urgent problem isn't being addressed. "Who cares more than the family?" she asks. And for nurses trying to juggle myriad tasks, it provides a safety net.

These ideas and dozens of others have apparently been paying off — not just at Shadyside, but at all 10 hospitals that are now part of the TCAB program, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. At all 10, nurse satisfaction is way up, overtime is down and turnover of R.N.s has plummeted from an average of 15% a year in 2003 to 4% today. That translates into cost savings for a hospital. Equally important, the average amount of time nurses spend in direct patient care has risen from 40% of their shift to 52%, leading to fewer patient falls, fewer bedsores, and fewer failures to rescue patients from life-threatening complications.

Excerpted from Newsweek, 10/16/06

How can you institute this in your organization?

Make a Comment/?

Get more tips on inspiring great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

Kaizen Teian 1 & 2: Guiding Continuous Improvement Through Employee Suggestions, by Japan Human Relations Association
Employee Suggestion Systems: Boosting Productivity and Profits, by Robert Bassford. Order by emailing or calling 800-469-3560. (Mention “RIR” for 10% off)

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Potpourri of New Ways to Use Old Ideas

Reinforcing the Learning with Blogs
Some bloggers aren’t in the game to garner fame, earn fortune, or take down politicians — they simply want to share their thoughts, songs, and videos with friends and family. That’s the target audience for Vox (, a free, easy-to-use service created by the blog software company Six Apart. Instead of broadcasting to the entire globe that you have a crush on the guy across the hall, your blog posts go only to the groups you specify — no worry that ex-spouses or college-admissions directors will come across them on Google. Vox also allows even the tech-timid to smoothly integrate media into their posts, and is especially amenable to importing stuff from Web sites like Flickr, Photobucket, Amazon, and YouTube. And you can use it on your mobile phone.
From Newsweek 11/6/06

Want to Use Music in Learning But Can’t Remember the Song?
Going nuts trying to name that tune? Relief may be a Web site away. "If you can hum it, you can search it," says Jay Bose, COO of, which offers a new humming search vtool. Here’s how it works: sound off a few bars of a song into your PC’s mike. The site then compares your notes with a group of 500-byte MuGenes — virtual fingerprints based on unique melodic transitions from songs in Napster’s library — and returns potential matches. Only about 5,000 songs — a combination of oldies and modern hits — have been encoded for the program so far. While Nayio wouldn’t give a success rate, saying the product is too young, Rafe Needleman, editor of tech blog, says his Juilliard-trained wife found her songs about 30% of the time in a quick trial. Now, if they could only design one for the shower.
From Newsweek 1/8/07

Getting Staff to be Self-Directed Learners — Show Them This:
In a survey of 462 IT professionals in the U.S. and Canada, 85% said they choose training and education they need based on their own career plans; while 8% base the decision on their employer’s requirements or recommendations. More than 88% said they pay in full or in part for their career training and education and 20.5% said their employer provides paid time away from work for training and education.
From Oracle Magazine 5/6/06

How Different is Facilitating Training Online From In Person?
Jennifer asked:
Can any of you tell me what you have found to be the differences between online and in person training? I would imagine that some of the differences would be the way you interact with learners, but how does this effect your understanding of what they have learned? Even better, how do your learners contribute to the learning? Is the learning done in an online "room", with more than 30 learners at a time, or is it one-on-one?

Nancy answered:
For me, facilitating training, and learning, is context dependent. Some of that context is if it is F2F or online, but that is not the sole distinguishing context. Content, pedagogy, and process, who is in the group, all affect what happens and creates the differences and similarities. So anything I say about online vs. F2F is still embedded in a more complex set of variables.

For me, the key differences I’ve experienced which influence how I think of the design and running of online learning are:

*  attention is harder to get and hold online, especially for busy adults. F2F in a room at the same time forces the attention. But that is not to say the quality of the attention is guaranteed just because we are F2F. We can have quality attention online. It is harder to do and know when it is present.

*  online can allow more learner autonomy, enabling a range of learner preferences and styles IF we design for THAT at the same time, that ability for individuals to create their own experience may lead to less of a sense of group cohesion, if group cohesion is a desired outcome, I find I have to design for it more attentively online.

*  online allows for easier integration of a wide variety of inputs/contents/sources because of the power of the hyperlink. Of course, you could do this F2F too, which raises the question of the creative application of Internet technologies in F2F learner settings.

From Online Facilitation listserv (Nancy White, Full Circle Associate)

Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, by Will Richardson
Live and online! By Jennifer Hoffman. Order by emailing or calling 800-469-3560. (10% off by mentioning “RIR”)

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Leading From the 2nd Chair

This article and the book it’s named after are written with churches as employers in mind. It is equally applicable to any industry.

Many capable, idealistic, servant-minded people find themselves in "second chair" management and leadership roles within Christian organizations and churches across the country. For many, this is a positive, fulfilling experience while for others it is frustrating and sometimes even painful.

"A second chair leader is a person in a subordinate role whose influence with others adds value throughout the organization."

Mike Bonem and Roger Patterson, co-authors of Leading from the Second Chair: Serving Your Church, Fulfilling Your Role, and Realizing Your Dreams, have done Christian leaders everywhere a real service by identifying the factors that can make the difference between frustration and fulfillment for "second chair" managers and leaders. At the same time, they have provided significant insight for all who occupy the "first chair" and those who report to "second chair" leaders.

This is a person who reports to someone else occupying the first chair and is therefore in a subordinate role. But it’s a role that, in the context of a team, significantly influences the overall organization. The resulting value added by the second chair makes the organization

much better than it otherwise would be. Through multiple interviews with second chair leaders around the country, Bonem and Patterson identified three significant paradoxes that all second chair leaders must understand and learn to balance.

Subordinate-Leader Paradox
"The subordinate-leader paradox is challenging to successfully balance because it is relationally intensive and partially dependent on another person: your first chair. It deals with how you as a leader are interfacing with and following the lead of your senior leader.

Some first chairs are a pleasure to work with, and some are not. Some are concerned

about the personal lives and careers of their subordinates, and others seem detached or self-absorbed. Some give their second chairs ample room to lead while others are much more controlling. At the end of the day, the second chair can do little to change the first

chair. A second chair leader’s most valuable tool for promoting change is his or her own attitudes and actions. "This does not mean that the second chair is to be a mindless robot, obeying whatever commands the first chair issues. Second chairs are leaders. Our definition makes it clear they are not content to sit back and wait for someone else to take action. This is the tension of the paradox. It is not easy to be a subordinate and a leader.

Deep-Wide Paradox
"Second chair leaders live in the deep-wide paradox every day. They have no choice. Their role requires them to see the big picture and make decisions that affect the entire organization. It frequently requires them to delve into the details to solve a problem in some part of the organization, or to launch a new ministry. They move from strategic planning meeting to analysis of why one department is over budget, from a discussion about the church’s spiritual maturity to recruiting additional small-group leaders. If a first chair is not well versed in details, it is excused because he or she is the ‘visionary leader,’ a big-picture person. But if a second chair misses either end of the deep-wide continuum, the person’s performance might be considered ‘in need of improvement.’"

Contentment-Dreaming Paradox
"Contentment vs. dreaming stirs up a restless tension in our souls. It makes us wonder if it is possible to dream great dreams and be content at the same time. One person might be pushed beyond contentment to complacency, thinking that dreams are only for dreamers or first chair leaders who can control their future. Another person is wound tighter than a spring, intent on seeing her dreams realized now! Yet another tries to mentally escape from his current reality, spending all of his time dreaming about the future rather than dealing in the present. Effective second chair leaders understand and live with the tension of contentment-dreaming. Rather than crumpling in the tension, they let it drive them.

Just knowing that these paradoxes exist and are common to all second chair leaders is extremely helpful. But learning to live joyfully in these tensions on a day to day basis is the key to fulfillment in a second chair role. And the first chair leader who learns to appreciate the tensions his or her second chair leader deals with will become the better leader for it.

How about when there is a change in first chair leadership, then you need to evaluate the effectiveness of the match anew.

Excerpted from Christian Management Report 2/06

Leading From the Second Chair, by Mike Bonem & Roger Patterson
Order by emailing or calling 800-469-3560. Mention RIR for 10% off.

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February 12-14, 2007
ASAE Association Technology Conference, Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC,

February 15-18, 2007
The AATH 20th Anniversary Celebration-"Makin' Waves: Integrating Compassionate Humor into Caring Communities", The Bay Point Marriott Resort, Panama City Beach, FL,

February 26-28, 2007
Training Magazine’s Training 2007 Conference & Expo, Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and Convention Center, Orlando, FL,

March 12-15, 2007
Christian Management Association 2007 Conference, Palm Springs Convention Center, Palm Springs, California,

March 19-21, 2007
SHRM Global Forum Conference & Exposition, Los Angeles, CA,

March 26-28, 2007
Exhibitor 2007:The Education and Training Conference for Trade Show and Corporate Event Marketers, Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas,

April 30-May 4, 2007
Learning Consortium: Learning in the 21st Century, Doubletree Hotel, Ontario, CA,

April 30-May 3, 2007
2007 International Performance Improvement Conference: Performance Beyond Borders, San Francisco Marriott Hotel, San Francisco, CA,

June 22-24, 2007
HUMOR Project’s The Positive Power of Humor & Creativity Conference, Silver Bay, NY,

July 29-31, 2007
World Future 2007: Fostering Hope and Vision for the 21st Century, Hilton Minneapolis and Towers Hotel, Minneapolis, Minnesota,

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Recycle yogurt containers and old toothbrushes!

Recycline’ Preserve partnered with Stonyfield Farm and is recycling yogurt containers into toothbrush handles. Old toothbrushes are used to make plastic lumber for picnic tables. Go to for details.

Responsibly Dispose of Your Old Electronics
Donate Old Cell Phones
911 Cell Phone Bank provide free emergency cell phones to needful people through partnerships with law enforcement organizations,

Recycle PCs, cell phones, printers, CDs diskettes, etc., with GreenDisk. For $29.95, they send a 70-pound-capacity box.When it’s full, you download postage from their website and ship it back. Your “junk” then goes to workshops for the disabled and are refurbished.

Donate PCs to National Cristina Foundation,; Goodwill,, Salvation Army,

Recycle PCs and other computer products at Hewlett Packard and Dell. See their websites for details.

Several other places to recycle old PCs:,,

Find local Electronics recyclers at and



K has great tips on green cleaning.
K & will help you get off junk mail lists.
K has tips on every facet of green living.
K gives advice on replacing old light bulbs w/energy efficient bulbs.
K provides comprehensive "green power" info.
K urges the use of recycled paper.
K helps you plant trees to save the environment.

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