Recruit, Inspire & Retain

April 2004

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

Great Training for Great Employees
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1. Scan It.
Read what interests you, and then select one article at a time to focus on.
2. Capture the Main Ideas.
Read a couple of ideas that are most relevant to you.
3. Think of an Application. 
How will you apply these ideas and insights to your life and work?
4. Take Action.
Set and implement at least one idea.

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Hiring People Who Are “Overqualified” 

A Legal Implication

Be Careful When You Use the Word "Overqualified"
Employers should be cautious when evaluating job applicants who are "overqualified," because courts might view that characterization as a pretext for age discrimination. That is what happened in Hamm v. Hevesi, where an applicant was turned down for a position and sued in a federal court in New York alleging age discrimination. The court refused to dismiss the case.

The employer asserted that the applicant was rejected because he had not shown a genuine interest in the position. However, because one of his interviewers had described him as "overqualified," the applicant argued that the reasons given for the decision not to hire him were a pretext. The court ruled that the applicant was entitled to have a jury decide the issue, stating that the word "overqualified" might simply be "a code word for too old." Of course, there can be legitimate business reasons for turning down an overqualified candidate. But where the employer’s decision is really motivated by considerations of age, the rejection will not pass muster.

Could It Save Training Costs? — Pro & Con
Saving on training costs.
Hitting the road faster.
May be able to guide, coach others.
May be appropriate for future leadership (or higher leadership) roles.

Potential turnover because the person is accepting the job in a bad job market and will leave for a better job as soon as the market changes.
The individual will lose motivation very quickly because the job will get old to him.
Others in the organization—even the individual’s supervisor — may feel threatened by his presence and experience.

Is It A Good Thing to Hire Someone You Feel is Overqualified?
The answer lies in deciding which of the above will occur in your particular organization. Can you make the job more interesting and challenging by giving the individual more responsibility and/or authority fairly quickly? You might, for example, make this person a trainer for new hires in the organization. Or, you may give him special assignments, such as developing training manuals.

Other questions to consider: is the supervisor/manager working with the individual capable of handling the individual? What is the climate in your organization relative to bringing in highly skilled people? Perhaps you have always hired people who are unskilled. How will they react to a skilled person?

Most of all, you’ll want to find out more about the motivations and interests of the individual. Find out where he gets his kicks. Do outside interests provide most of his motivation, or does he need a particular job for motivation? Find out how realistic his career aspirations are. Query him on how long he expects to perform at the job before being promoted.

The bottom-line: hire the person you feel is “overqualified” if the environment and the individual's needs match your organization.

Excerpted from articles by Warner & Stackpole, Tacy Byham, William C. Byham, and John Bateson

  Hire Tough: Manage Easy, by Mel Kleiman
  Interviewing Techniques for Managers, by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. own Carolyn B. Thompson.
Order both by e-mailing or calling 800-469-3560.

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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


* Bookstore purchasers at the Association for Applied & Therapeutic Humor Conference
* Bookstore purchasers at the Social Service Professionals of Illinois Conference
* Participants in the “Maintaining Positivity” session at the MN Meetings Planners International Conference


Laptop. How can this be? A lap has no top; it only has two dimensions, length and width. It’s not like a desk. A desk has a bottom, a top, and sides; you place your “desktop” on the top of your desk. A lap only has one plane; when you stand up your lap disappears. And your computer becomes a floortop. – George Carlin

Life is easier to take than you’d think: all that is necessary is to accept the impossible, do without the indispensable, and bear the intolerable. – Kathleen Norris

Service is just a day-in, day-out, ongoing, never-ending, unremitting, persevering, compassionate type of activity. – Leon Gorman, L.L. Bean

To do great important tasks, two things are necessary: a plan and not quite enough time. – Anonymous

A person who has not done one-half his day’s work by ten o’clock, runs a chance of leaving the other half undone. – Emily Bronte

A man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life. – Muhammed Ali

If it works, copy it. – Tony Schwartz

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once. – Ashleigh Brilliant

Solve it. Solve it quickly, solve it right or wrong. If you solve it wrong, it will come back and slap you in the face, and then you can solve it right. Lying dead in the water and doing nothing is a comfortable alternative because it is without risk, but it is an absolutely fatal way to manage a business. – Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

Both tears and sweat are salty, but they render a different result. Tears will get you sympathy, sweat will get you change. – Jesse Jackson

A canning company was trying to sell white salmon, but ran into difficulty because of the popularity of pink salmon. Finally they came up with the solution. On the label of every can they printed: “This salmon guaranteed not to turn pink in the can.” – Michael Iapoce, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Boardroom

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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* Those of us who edit/write/produce publications often wonder who’s really reading. The day the March issue of Recruit, Inspire & Retain hit your mailboxes, I was wondering and to my delight heard from several people:

  • Jim Graber, Business Decisions, Inc., emailed: “I just read your March issue of Recruit, Inspire & Retain. It was excellent! I know how much work goes into a newsletter. I am sure many of the others have been equally good. I admit that I rarely take the time to read the newsletters I receive, but will start making an effort to read yours when it arrives.”
  • Merideth Bromfield, Primerica, at a meeting: “I just got your newsletter. Thanks, I look forward to reading it each month.”

Thanks for letting us know you're finding it useful!

* Chicago Tribune March 29, 2004 did a front page story on gifts given to Mayor Richard Daley over the years and included this entry about books: ”…Daley loves books, and a mayoral aid said he keeps most of what he receives: “Royal Babylon: The Alarming History of European Royalty,’ courtesy of one-time Daley rival Ald. Edward Burke: and ‘The Leadership Genius of George W Bush,’ from Carolyn Thompson of south suburban Frankfort. (Daley may be a Democrat, but he is a big Bush admirer.) Retired Gen. Wesley Clark sent his book, “Waging Modern War,’ about a year before he declared his candidacy for president. Another one-time presidential candidate, Bill Bradley, gave Daley his book, ‘The Journey From Here.’…”
Thanks staff reporter Gary Washburn

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Communication Identified as Most Important Leadership Skill

The Joliet, IL Chamber of Commerce offers an incredible service to their 400+ members and really to every other employer in the world! Each year, they run a Youth Leadership Seminar for 30 top high school students (chosen by their teachers). I had the pleasure of hearing from many of them just exactly what they learned and how they’d use it. 

All of them now believe that the ability to communicate is the strongest asset a leader possesses.

So, for all you readers who want to enhance your communication skills – here’s an excerpt from the chapter on how to Give It to ‘Em Straight.

Straight Talk

Whether writing or speaking, use:
Short Sentences
Powerful words
Optimistic/positive words
Open body language and facial expressions
Tone, volume, pacing
Stories to paint pictures

The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush
Click to buy

Short Sentences
“We refuse to be discouraged.”

Look for words and sentences in your writing and speaking to shorten. There are sure to be 9-letter words for which you can substitute 5-letter words, and 15-word sentences that you can shorten to 10. Short, simple words and sentences make it easier for people to get your message more quickly. You can still say many things. Just do it in many short sentences instead of a few long ones. 

Many short sentences are easier to understand because they draw listeners or readers in. Your audience can picture what’s happening because they’re understanding as they’re reading or hearing. Long sentences require people to go back over the words to get the meaning and make the picture—and most of us don’t bother. We just go on to the next sentence instead.

Powerful Words
“America must keep it’s pledges to defend friends from aggression.”

Normally, the word “must” is on our “not today, not ever” list. It sounds overbearing and patronizing. (Think about it: Who in your life said, “You must...”? Your parents, your you need more of that?) But coming out of Bush’s mouth in the preceding example sentence, must is a powerful word. That’s because it’s America (a vision, a concept) that must instead of you. When speaking about yourself must is powerful as well—as in “I must commit myself to moving this organization ahead”.

Optimistic/Positive Words
“It was exciting the first time I flew.”

Use words that make people feel your optimism. Bush uses the words excite, excited, and exciting frequently. It’s important that you be sincerely excited or your use of the word, instead of creating a feeling of optimism, will create a feeling of being lied to. 

“a smart, talented lawyer”

Bush says good things about people and situations. In the famous words of Ena, Bambi’s mother, “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.” It’s a goal worth working toward.

Finally, there’s the obvious: Delete the negatives. 

Next month, learn George W’s final 3 Straight Talk skills.

Excerpted from The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush, pp. 190-191

The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush **TOOL BOX**
The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush: 10 Common 
Sense Lessons from the Commander-in-Chief
 the chapter, “Give It to ‘Em Straight”), by Carolyn B. 
Thompson & James W. Ware.

The Art of Communication, by Bert Decker

(10% off by typing “RIR” in Special Instructions) Or e-mail  

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Success Linked to Commitment to Learning

A study in retail banking that included interviews with more than 100 senior executives credited employee training for increased revenue, better customer service and other key benefits. 

These Same Findings Apply to Your Industry!

The study revealed, among other findings, that 82% of banking executives feel training has a moderate to major impact on customer satisfaction. On overall quality, 75% said training has a moderate to major impact, while 63% said training spurs revenue growth. 

The Bank Administration Institute (BAI), a professional organization devoted to improving the performance of financial-services companies and individuals, led the study to survey 139 senior banking executives and compile the results.

Although it is widely recognized that learning plays a role in the success of a financial institution, this study included statistical analysis to determine the link between specific business results such as revenue growth and retail banks’ commitment to learning and development. 

James M. McNeil, executive director of delivery channels for BAI, said the results reveal key trends that struggling banks can learn from. “High-performing banks tend to be very good at not only recognizing the importance of training and development, but also at aligning training with corporate goals,” McNeil said. “High performers also tend to manage their training budgets wisely, evaluate results through formal measurement programs and embrace technology.” 

Below are some of the study’s key findings: 
o81% of respondents felt training had a moderate to major impact on overcoming the challenge of sales and marketing initiatives. 
o77% felt training had a moderate to major impact on overcoming the challenges of customer service initiatives. 
o68% felt training had a moderate to major impact on productivity. 
o66% felt training had a moderate to major impact on deposit growth.

The research study also examined how much training retail banks conduct: 
o86% of banks surveyed provide a minimum of 9 hours of company-paid training per employee per year. 
o78% of banks train at least 60% of their workforce each year.

Adapted from “The Performance Impact of Training and Development on Retail Banking”,

Return on Investment in Training & Performance Improvement, by Jack Phillips
Skill Wars: Winning the Battle for Productivity & Profit, by Ed Gordon.  (10% off by typing “RIR” in Special Instructions) Or e-mail

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Making the Performance Appraisal Discussion Fun! (and actually useful)

You’ve heard us preach: performance appraisal is a process, not an event. We’ve helped you create a process that builds on the employee’s strengths, is easy for them and their supervisor to work through during the year, and yes, it actually creates performance change. So, what do you do on that once a year (or more frequent) day you meet?

Have fun talking & learning about each other so you can really work together! A listserv topic from several months back generated a wonderful list of questions for you to explore with each other (here are just a few – email if you want the full list):

Big Picture Questions
? What’s the real, core purpose of our organization? What are we really here to do? What would be missed if we were not here?
? If that’s what we are really supposed to be doing, then what are we doing that we shouldn’t be, or what are we missing?
? Then what are the big opportunities we haven’t grasped yet?
? What are the hurdles that are stopping us from taking those opportunities?
Current Picture Questions
? What has given you the most energy this year? What would be the most energizing in years to come?
? What are some situations where the staff performed like a well-oiled machine? What was fueling such high performance? How might we have more of it in years to come?
? If something were to happen to you, who is most likely - on staff - to be able to carry out your responsibilities? (addresses succession planning and the need to develop other staff)
? If our budget were to double, what could we spend it on?
What Makes Them Tick Questions
? If you could start your own business today, what might it be? (this one gives you clues about passions, interests, skills that you might not know about)
? What keeps you from being effective at work? What blocks your satisfaction with your job?
? What are you pretending not to know?
Supervisor Performance Questions
? What am I doing that contributes to your accomplishments? to the accomplishments of the staff in general? What do I need to do more of and less of?
? When have you felt as though you weren’t being heard?
? What am I pretending not to know?

Thanks, ASAE Executive Section listserv – we couldn’t do our jobs without you all!


On the Level: Performance Communication That Works, by Patricia McLagan & Peter Krembs


Productive Performance Appraisals, by Randi Toler Sacks


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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


Humor Month
April 1-7 Laugh Week
April 18-24 Library & Volunteer Week
April 19–25 Organize Your Files Week
April 25-May 1 Karaoke Week
April 1–International Fun At Work Day
April 3–Find a Rainbow Day & Chocolate Mousse Day
April 9–Good Friday
April 11–Easter
April 12–Look Up At the Sky Day
April 15–Rubber Eraser Day
April 16–Stress Awareness Day
April 21–Administrative Professionals Day
April 22–Earth Day

March 22-24, 2004
SHRM Global Forum’s 27th Annual Conference & Exposition, Sheraton Bal Harbour Beach Resort, FL,  

March 27-31, 2004
International Association of Conference Centers Annual Conference, Grapevine, TX,  

March 29-31, 2004
IQPC’s 2nd Annual Instructional Design & Curriculum Development Summit, Hotel InterContinental, New Orleans, LA,  

March 28-30, 2004
Meeting Professionals International Professional Education Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland,  

April 18-23, 2004
42nd Annual ISPI International Performance Improvement Conference & Exposition, Tampa, FL,  

SHRM 2004 Spring Seminar Series, HR Generalist Certificate Program,  
May 3-5, 2004, Los Angeles, CA
May 10-12, 2004, Le Meridien, Chicago, IL
July 19-21, 2004, Cleveland, OH

April 19-21, 2004
Employment Management Associations 35th Annual Conference & Exposition, Washington, D.C.,  

May 23-27, 2004
ASTD 2004 Conference, Washington, D.C. 

May 23-26, 2004
National Association of Workforce Development Professionals 15th Annual Conference, Portland, OR,  

Accelerated Learning Training Methods Workshop,  
April 19-21, 2004, Marriott Lenox, Atlanta, GA
May 3-5, 2004, Jurys Hotel, Washington, D.C.
June 14-16, 2004, The Geneva Inn, Lake Geneva, WI
July 7-9, 2004, Hotel InterContinental, Toronto, CAN

June 6-9, 2004
20th Annual Training Directors’ Forum 2004, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, Phoenix, AZ,  

June 17-20, 2004
IAF Conference 2004, Scottsdale, AZ,  

June 21-22, 2004
Preventing Death by Lecture!, presented by
TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. own Sharon L. Bowman, M.A., The Westin Westminster, Westminster, CO, 

June 27-30, 2004
SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA, 

July 25-27
Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress, Denver, CO,  

August 14, 2004
American Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting and Exposition, Minneapolis, MN,  


Recycle your old phones!  

Donate your cell phone!, 

Support your local animal shelter! Recycle your inkjet, laser, fax toner cartridges.  provides pre-paid mailing envelopes.

Recycle your old computer!

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