FUN DAYS TO CELEBRATE
April 15-21 – Organize Your Files Week & Volunteer Week
April 3 – Find A Rainbow Day & Chocolate Mousse Day
Email TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. for ideas on how to celebrate any of these days.
Recruiting Tips From a Long Time Master
Webster’s dictionary defines recruiting as "forming or strengthening an organization by increasing its vigor and talent". This is indeed a prophetic definition.
My view of this complex subject has progressively changed, yet not too radically and perspective evolves in the process. As a young, eager, corporate recruiter I was groomed for the task by a major consumer products company.
Step one was attending a major eastern university’s 2-week course on resume assessment and various screening and interviewing techniques. This tedious process prepared me well for the recruiting business.
Much has changed over the years in terms of what we should & shouldn’t know about applicants, but a fundamental underlying principles which echoed through our ears has not. The course professor whom we dubbed "Professor Resume" and "Doctor Scrutiny" preached that recruiting personnel is an "art not a science."
Today, I believe his adage holds true and the job is even more important and tedious. What characteristics were we looking for in the candidates we were interviewing? They were virtually no different from today’s marketplace, save computer literacy and other current technical skills. Then, as today, we sought to identify people with good track records, academic credentials, appearance, communications skills, energy level, and to some degree with newcomers, applicant’s background. Success breeds success!
The degree of maturity and experience required and associated with the position largely dictates the caliber of the candidate we want to recruit and employ. All candidates interviewed are always judged, graded, and treated with dignity and respect. This is common courtesy and important.
It’s imperative to set up a specific profile of the position(s) to be filled, with the talent required parameters put down on paper, and a time frame to complete the project. Recruiting good, quality people requires specific probing and personality/skill testing of the candidate. Experience in the endeavor, is by far, our best teacher. This requires good insight into the makeup of the work and its details.
I recently completed an assignment for each of two client companies where I spent a full week inside the companies to better understand their distinct culture and needs.
Recruiting is truly a "process" that requires the recruiter to employ extra energy and preparation, perseverance, intuition, and a dose of luck. Pre-screening potential candidates by phone once or twice is vital. We never recommend hiring a person "at first sight". The candidates should also employ this strategy. A bad hire is expensive for them as well as for the company.
Recruiting in its purest form is "putting people together with an opportunity". Experience and hard lessons learned have convinced me not to compromise my selection process and the accompanying standards. As difficult as it might seem, it is better to begin anew rather than settling for the "semi-fit" candidate.
By Ralph D. Considine, who specializes in recruiting
Things to Remember
The most important things in your workplace are the people.
Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional.
Faith is the ability to not panic.
If you worry, you didn’t pray. If you prayed, don’t worry.
Laugh every day – it’s like inner jogging.
Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
There is no key to happiness. The door is always open. Come on in.
Do the math. Count your blessings.
Dear God: I have a problem. It’s me.
Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted.
A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.
He who dies with the most toys is still dead.
We do not remember days, but moments. Life moves too fast, so enjoy your precious moments.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.
Amy Riley, TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. Associate, is reading:
Leadership and Self-Deception
A really quick and easy read that gives you relevant examples of how we might be "in the box" in our work and home lives. When we’re "in the box" with someone we can feel annoyed, defensive and frustrated with the person. This book allows us to see how we are the ones who put ourselves "in the box" and therefore, we’ve got the knowledge to completely shift our perspective on the situation! It’s empowering and transformative.
An easy read and an excellent resource – there are coaching examples, exercises, and forms included. This book describes the power in co-creating the coaching relationship with your clients, and describes what’s possible when we relate to our coaching clients as whole, complete, and resourceful.
Stop Interrupting Yourself
It was the mid-1990s, and Linda Stone, a Microsoft executive, noticed something radically new when she looked over the shoulders of her students working on laptops at New York University.
Tiled across their screens were four or five applications: e-mail, a Word document, music, a news service. Unlike her colleagues at Microsoft, who focused on one thing at a time, these kids were paying attention to everything, all at once.
She gave it a name: continuous partial attention. And, over time, she watched it spread like wildfire.
Ten years later, nearly everyone is addicted, with many of us paying a heavy price. "Connect, connect, connect has brought us to a place where we feel overwhelmed, overstimulated and unfulfilled," says Stone, who worked as an executive for Microsoft and Apple for nearly 20 years. "We’re under constant stress because our orientation is: ‘I don't want to miss anything.’"
Our manic multimedia dance has given us unimaginable access and freedom. But continue at your own risk. Keep it up, experts say, and you’ll undermine your ability to learn, think deeply and remember.
"The brain is a limited organ," says Barry Schwartz, a psychologist at Swarthmore College and author of The Paradox of Choice, Why More is Less. "It’s quite miraculous but it can’t take in, analyze, organize, and decide what matters from overwhelming amounts of information." Faced with a flood of information, and an explosion in ways to get it, we’ve become a nation of compulsive multi-taskers. But the brain, it turns out, is not designed for multitasking. It can do just one thing at a time.
When we think we’re multitasking, we’re really just constantly interrupting ourselves. They’ve also proved that we don’t learn as effectively when multitasking. "The consensus is that you don’t retain information as well, and it’s harder to retrieve," says Arthur Kramer, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
And if you continue multitasking, you’ll not only make more errors and feel befuddled. You could change the very way your brain works, reducing its capacity to do the heavy lifting: reasoning and deliberating. Scientists know that if you favor certain activities, you can expand or contract different parts of your brain. Because multitasking is really just the physical act of switching — moving fingers on a keyboard, turning to view a computer screen — it mostly relies on brain systems related to visual and motor processing. Reasoning and deliberation take place elsewhere, in the prefrontal cortex, says Jordan Grafman, chief of the cognitive neuroscience section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
So What Could Happen If We Keep Up a Steady Diet of Switching?
Multitaskers store information they’ve learned in a different part of the brain than people who learn without distraction, Poldrack found in a first-of-its-kind brain imaging study. And the two brain systems aren’t equal. The multitaskers stored their information in an area that's "less flexible," meaning it’s harder to retrieve later on. That section controls habit or automatic behavior, such as riding a bike.
But when you learn without distraction, the brain’s conscious learning system is engaged. That’s for storing facts and concepts — information you can recall in a variety of situations. In practical terms, that means the people in Poldrack’s study who multitasked had a harder time remembering what they’d learned than people who worked without distraction.
Ten and a half minutes. That’s the time modern professionals spent on a project before being interrupted or switching to another. What’s more, they averaged no more than two minutes with any document or device, such as a computer or cell phone, before moving on or getting sidetracked.
"This really has an impact on the amount of depth people can apply to their work," Gloria Mark said from her California home. "The [professionals] all claimed they were doing redundant work, lost their places, had to go back and read again. There was a cost."
We read more slowly on screen than on paper, research since the late 1980s has shown, says Andrew Dillon, dean at the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. That’s because resolution on most computer screens is significantly lower than on paper, explains Ed H. Chi, a senior research scientist at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center. And the typical small size of a computer screen — comparable to an airline tray table — only makes us feel more overloaded, Chi says.
"With an airline table, you start putting documents away or under other documents, then quickly you spend time shuffling them around rather than working on then," Chi says. "The equivalent thing happens on a computer."
What to Do
Despite that, Linda Stone is hopeful. Like addicts ready to enter rehab, she says we're ready to move on.
Major corporations, including Hewlett Packard and BP, have stepped in to help. In 2005, Hewlett Packard in the United Kingdom issued a guide to "info-mania" that discouraged use of hand-held devices during meetings. BP started a "Think Before You Send" program.
Rainie sees the trends, but isn’t convinced we're headed for simpler times. Techies will make it easier for us to get "through the clutter," he predicts, but we’re addicted to our new way of life.
For all of our sakes, let’s hope he’s wrong.
Excerpted from Kate N. Grossman’ article,
Innovative Training for Your Training Vendors
Most companies are used to being schmoozed by their vendors. But at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. it’s the other way around. Every year, the learning and development department at the global consulting giant invites more than 30 of its learning vendors to a two-day, on-site Learning Partnership Symposium at the company’s offices in Herndon, VA.
Why on Earth would a company pay close to $50,000 for its vendors to pitch products and services to its employees? The answer is simple, says Vicente Gonzalez, senior employee development manager at Booz Allen. It helps Booz Allen accomplish its strategic objectives.
The vendors provide Booz Allen employees with learning products and services from graduate and undergraduate degree programs to professional certifications and customized training. The training these vendors provide helps Booz Allen develop its primary asset: its people. The more education that consultants and other Booz Allen staff receive, the better they perform on their client projects and programs. "Our business is focused on consulting. We don’t sell widgets; we sell intellectual capital that helps our clients do their jobs better," Gonzalez says.
The learning vendors not only improve the performance of Booz Allen employees, they also help the company retain them. On average, its employees enrolled in learning programs have an attrition rate of only 3% per year — well below the industry average of 20%. Gonzalez estimates that over a five-year period, the return on investment derived from that impressive employee-retention rate will add up to another $200 million in cost savings for the company.
All told, Booz Allen spends close to $15 million each year with its university and training partners. To maximize this investment, Booz Allen provides these partners with an unobstructed view into its business, both from the corporate and learning-and-development department perspectives. The partners can then provide better-tailored products and services that support Booz Allen’ organizational goals.
"When you’re in a true partnership, you want to share information, open the lines of communication, and tell your vendors what your business challenges are," Gonzalez says. The more that you help them to understand your business, the more able they’ll be to help you meet those challenges and the more effective the partnership is going to be."
Annual Learning Partnership Symposium
Excerpted from an article in Corporate Event, Spring 2007
4 Humor Habits for Workplace Wellness
From Paul Huschilt’s session at the Association for
Applied & Therapeutic Humor.
April 23-25, 2007
April 30-May 4, 2007
April 30-May 3, 2007
June 22-24, 2007
June 24-27, 2007
July 29-31, 2007
October 10-12, 2007
Are your shelves full of books you’ve already read? Join http://www.novelaction.com, an online book-exchange store. Select books from their site, and send in an equal number of books in exchange.
Set a reminder to visit http://www.thebreastcancersite.com daily and click this button to help underprivileged women get mammograms.
VolunteerMatch.org helps you find organizations in your area that spark your interest in volunteering.
Global Volunteers (http://www.globalvolunteers.org)
Responsibly Dispose of Your Old Electronics
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. http://www.greendisk.com
Recycle PCs and other computer products at Hewlett Packard and Dell. See their websites for details.
Find local Electronics recyclers at http://www.earth911.org and http://www.ebay.com/rethink
Kwww.eartheasy.com has great tips on green cleaning.
K www.greendimes.com & www.41pounds.org will help you get off junk mail lists.
K www.thegreenguide.com has tips on every facet of green living.
K www.energystar.gov gives advice on replacing old light bulbs w/energy efficient bulbs.
K www.eere.energy.gov/greenpower provides comprehensive "green power" info.
K www.globalwarming.org urges the use of recycled paper.
K www.arborday.org helps you plant trees to save the environment.