Recruit, Inspire & Retain

May 2003

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

Great Training for Great Employees
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Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

Invite Carolyn B. Thompson,  co-author of The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush, to speak at your next event.


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Get Help Recruiting From an HR Outsourcing Vendor

* For the times you have an HR staff vacancy and need short term help.

* For the times you need someone with expertise in sourcing a particular kind of candidate (nurse, top executive, association educator, etc.).

* For the time you decide that outsourcing your whole recruiting function would save time and money.

Whatever the reason you want to get help with your recruiting B evaluate the potential providers:

There are a lot of HR Outsourcing (HRO) providers that would love to assist you with your recruitment function. But which one is right for your needs?

Start by defining the outcomes you need to achieve. Then list the characteristics and capabilities you'll need in an HR provider to meet your outcomes. These fall into two categories:

*relations skills & culture
*functional capabilities

Key factors include:
* Trust: What do your instincts tell you? What do other clients say (check references)?

* Cultural Fit: Are you a small organization? Work with a small HRO. Are you team oriented? Look for an HRO that is too.

* People Values & Dedication: What examples of valuing their staff can you find in the provider?

* Interaction with Your HR/Management Staff: Will the provider set up joint tasks or want to work alone?

* Governance Approach: Is there a formal, structured plan for managing the relationship once you've agreed to work together? Are there clear roles and responsibilities?

Perhaps the most important category, HR functional capability, is critical to evaluate. Key factors include:
* In Place Capability: Have service providers' HR professionals been working with them right along or will they be brought on now to work with you?

* HR Knowledge: Does the provider receive recognition from their peers and other HR professionals for their abilities?

* Third Party Management: Is the provider willing to manage existing third party HR service contracts such as benefits or training agreements?

* Alliances: What formal alliances exist for delivery of HR capabilities? Do they work routinely with HR consulting organizations?

* HRIS (Human Resource Information Systems) Knowledge and Abilities: Do they support more than one software (ERP – PeopleSoft, SAP, various stand alone systems, proprietary software)? Can they help you get started or just maintain existing systems?

* HRIS (Human Resource Information System) Knowledge/Abilities: Do they support more than one software (ERP, Peoplesoft, SAP, various stand-alone systems, proprietary software)? Can they help you get started or just maintain existing systems?

* Skills and Expertise: Can they handle complex IT integration, interface, and conversion and projects?

* Business Continuity: Have they provided for disaster backup and recovery services?

Excerpted from an article by Mark Hodges in HRO Today, 3/03.

Want to evaluate TRAINING SYSTEMS' HR consulting division, CBT RECRUITMENT & RETENTION CONSULTANTS as a potential recruiting provider?


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Get more tips on recruiting great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  • Interviewing Techniques for Managers, by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. President, Carolyn B. Thompson.

  • Get the Best, by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. associate, Cathy Fyock.

Both available at, click on Recruiting. (10% off by typing “RIR” in Special Instructions)

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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Members of the Joliet Rotary Club. Carolyn B. Thompson, President of TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC., was just installed as the club’s newest Rotarian. She has to meet and get signatures from all 150 members in the next 3 weeks—as she does, she gives them a Fun Meter!

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For a prize, can you name the candy bars?

Come on, you know these! The first 10 readers who submit 90% of the correct candy bar answers will win a fitting prize.

1. Has greasy digits
2. Was one of Charlie Brown’s girlfriends
3. Two words combined that have to do with girls
4. Was a baseball player
5. Gives a sarcastic laugh
6. Is a long run
7. Is a planet
8. Is overweight
9. Is an author
10. Is a big mass of stars
11. Is what a worker looks forward to
12. Is a small hill
13. Is the number before one
14. Was a famous trio of men
15. Is a definition of an object you can’t identify
16. Is a mountain top
17. Is the terminology of a body builder
18. Is the elite street in New York
19. Is a large sum of money
20. An old cow

  • 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).)

Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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Nancy Soucek, National Christmas Tree Association: “Just a quick not to thank you for the extremely interesting article that was excerpted from your book, The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush. I know that our readers will find it as interesting as I did. With Father’s Day just around the corner, your book will make a great gift for those hard-to-buy-for fathers on
everyone’s list (including my own!).

Bill Arbogast, Caterpillar: After reading and enjoying The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush a few weeks ago during the war I thought I’d get one for each of the leaders I work with. I’d been thinking what I could do to support the US in this critical time and having our staff understand why some of the Commander–in-Chief’s decisions were what they were would help.

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The True Gift of Tiger Woods

Every once in a while we are graced with the presence of someone special in our lives. A person who has the ability to draw our attention and move us by what they do and more often by who they are. Tiger Woods is such a person. Throughout the history of the earth, certain individuals have profoundly touched the minds and hearts of others. Politicians, scientists, religious leaders, business people, athletes, and others have influenced the way we think, how we act, and what we do.

Tiger Woods is a reminder that the spirit of a human being is truly unlimited. He is a reminder just like Lance Armstrong and Michael Jordan that talent is never the single most important ingredient in the achievement of a dream. Michael has often said that without his ability to tap into a place deep within himself, his game would never have reached the pinnacle that it did.

If we choose to look beyond the numbers, these gifts are available to every one of us. Tiger often makes comments about his being “incredibly calm” and “very still and centered” standing over important putts or facing key shots during a round.

It’s not just an ability to be focused. It’s an ability, through practice, to go within and connect with a place inside where there is no doubt, fear or confusion. This is where our true Self resides. It’s a place that everyone has the ability to find within themselves. It’s from this place that high level performances are literally “released”. There’s nothing to do but get out of the way and let it happen.

This is the reminder that people like Tiger have always provided us with and what truly draws us to them. We are moved to know more about them because they are tapping on the doorway of the same truth that resides within us. Beyond the fame and the fortune, they remind us that there is a place and a process within that awaits our attention. Tiger Woods is reminding us, if we choose to see it, that we also have this place within us.

Adapted with permission from TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. Associate, David Breslow.

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Get more tips on inspiring great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.


Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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Assess Your Ability to Recruit the Employees You Need

We start by asking you:

Do you have positions open for longer than one week?
___ YES
___ NO

Do you have a file of potential employees to call when you have an opening?
___ YES
___ NO
___ I keep some old applications

Have you reviewed your Recruitment Plan lately?
___ YES
___ NO
___ What’s a Recruitment Plan?

How attractive is your organization to potential employees??
___ Very
___ Not very
___ How can I tell?

Are your benefit and compensation plans helping you attract, inspire & retain employees??
___ YES
___ NO
___ They can do that?

Are you actively and continuously selling your organization to potential employees??
___ YES
___ NO
___ When we have an opening, then we worry about filling it

If you answer YES to all, then we have you show us examples. This way we can give you enhancement ideas based on the great work you’re already doing.

If you answer NO to any, these become the areas in which we can help you increase your effectiveness and/or efficiency in recruiting. The methods we actually use and the outcomes to be achieved are the first things we discuss. Then we simply follow those methods until you’ve reached your outcomes. If this sounds simple – it is. If this sounds fast – it depends on what the planned
outcomes are. No matter how much time it takes, we promise to help you measure your ROI for improving your recruiting.

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Training Designers/Technical Writers/Anyone Who Writes: Find Your Own Personal Critic

Writers of any kind welcome criticism! Serious writers want to hear “good job” only from a person they trust to be unflinchingly honest.

Where to find your critic? Find sympathy and support, and unflinching honesty from anybody who is representative of the people who’ll be reading what you write, and has read several other peoples’ work.

Willing readers can come from anywhere, but you might have to audition several of them before you find one who gives you the right combination of support and honesty. If you can find two or three good critics, all the better. By comparing the responses of a few trusted readers, you should have all you need to revise with confidence.

Not everyone makes an effective critic. But with guidance, almost any well-intentioned reader/user of your materials can give you useful feedback.

Tell a potential critic specifically what you want:
* Read my work with a pen in your hand and “talk” to me in the margins. Write down whatever comes into your head.
* The most useful feedback you can give me focuses on what doesn’t work for you.
* My feelings won’t be hurt by anything you say. I’m serious about this. I want candor, not kindness. * I’m not asking for solutions. Fixing what’s wrong is my responsibility.
* Of course, if you have ideas about how I could handle something differently, I’m all ears.
* I especially need to know anyplace you found yourself confused (write “Huh?”), or even bored (just write “Ho, hum” in the margin).
* Did you find yourself skipping parts? Where?
* Did anything contradict itself or seem inconsistent?
* Was there anything that you didn’t believe?
* Did I seem to make any factual errors? Please note them, even if you’re not sure. I’ll double-check them myself.
* Put a circle around every word or phrase or punctuation mark that sounds “off’ to you, even if
you’re not sure. Again, I’ll double-check them.

How to handle criticism
When your reader delivers your marked-up work, tell them you’ll contact them with clarifications after you’ve had a chance to absorb their comments. Give yourself time to read, reread and digest your readers’ responses in private. That way, if you feel like screaming in frustration or anger or disappointment, no one will hear you.

Get over it. Then consider your critics’ comments objectively.

It’s likely you’ll disagree with some of their comments, but avoid disputing their observations or trying to defend yourself. It’s a lot easier to get feedback the next time if the reader feels you were at least open to their ideas.

Whether or not you have found your critics’ responses helpful, be sure that they know you appreciate their effort. Buy them presents. Send flowers. Take them to dinner.

Adapted from The Writer magazine 4/03

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)

  • TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. has been the personal writing critic for many training designers, developers, technical and other writers.
    Call 800-469-3560 or e-mail to to set it up.

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Mission Statements: Staff Need to Know Why They’re Here in Order to Stay

Before reading this, please gather the following:
*one book of matches
*one large steel waste paper basket (empty)
*one container of lighter fluid
*all available copies of your organization’s mission statement. "Copies" can include business cards, plaques, wall-hangings, desk ornaments, and other imprinted items.

Situate the garbage can outdoors on flat ground at least 50 feet from the nearest building. Fill the can with all collected copies of the mission statement. Sprinkle liberally with lighter fluid. Then ignite a match and toss it into the can, being careful to maintain a safe distance. Stand back and watch the blaze. Cheering is optional but recommended.

So now you know: I’ve got a problem with mission statements. Missions are vital. Meaningful missions are what prompt people to use their hearts and minds at work. But mission statements are something else entirely.

Sure, there are organizations that have mission statements and meaningful missions. There might even be a connection between the two. But there are many more companies that have elaborate mission statements and yet what they do day to day is different than what their mission statement says — they are either devoid of any deep purpose, or simply on the wrong task track.

How does it happen? A few senior leaders huddle in a conference room, they cobble together their best dangling modifiers, and they emerge with "our" mission statement. It gets sealed in laminate, distributed to the employees, slapped on marketing materials, and added to the organization’s Web site. Then it’s on to the next task.

Ask most execs about their mission and you’ll hear a common response: "You mean a mission statement, right? Sure, we have one. We did that a year or so ago. Let’s see, it’s... " And the exec flips over a business card for a quick refresher, reading it with all the passion of someone scanning the day’s obituaries.

Ask employees about their mission, and most will scratch their heads and talk about tasks. Ask them about their mission statement, and you’ll get all sorts of responses. Some will shrug their shoulders and wonder aloud whether they have a mission statement. Others will mumble something vague about "being world class" or "serving customers." And many will laugh out loud. "Our mission statement? You mean their mission statement." By "their," they mean top management.

Mission statements became all the rage during the 1990s. Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, first published in 1989, had a lot to do with it. With a zillion copies sold to date, the book exposed people to the importance of mission statements for individuals, families, and organizations.

Organizations took the advice—sort of. With factory-like efficiency, executives began to produce long-winded, run-on mission statements. Along the way, they fooled themselves into thinking that they were creating a more mission-driven workplace. In reality, they were further alienating employees and giving Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, more fodder for his cynical cartoon strip.

Covey warned us about this. It’s right there on page 139 of The 7 Habits: To be effective, the mission statement "has to come from within the bowels of the organization. Everyone should participate in a meaningful way—not just the top strategy planners, but everyone. Once again, the involvement process is as important as the written product and is the key to its use."

I’m not sure about the bowels metaphor. I’d rather have a mission that emerges from the heart and mind instead of the bowels. But I appreciate what he’s saying—and I hope you do, too.

So here we are in 2003, up to our hips in an overproduction of meaningless mission statements. What can we do?

First, get rid of your current mission statement. Burning it is one option. The dramatic touch makes a powerful point, and there are wonderful team-building benefits when employees lock arms and sing songs around a roaring fire. But if you can’t get your hands on an empty steel garbage can, or if you’d just as soon avoid all things incendiary, use one of the traditional methods. Hit the Delete button. Activate the shredder. Load up the trash can.

Then start from scratch, this time avoiding the efficient (but terribly ineffective) factory approach to generating a "mission statement." Involve as many employees as possible, in all areas and levels of the organization. Get them talking about customers and purpose. Ponder exactly why you’re all in business. And keep the conversation going and growing.

If a statement develops, great. If it doesn’t, that’s fine, too. What you want is a brightly burning sense of mission--and not the flameout of a "mission statement" that does more harm than good.

Adapted from an article by Tom Terez

Ask a Question

Get more tips on retaining great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  • Organizational Mission, Vision, & Values, by Cynthia Scott PhD, Dennis T. Jaffe PhD, Glenn Tobe

  • The Mission Statement Book, by Jeffrey Abrahams

Both available at, click on Retain. (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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May 6-12, 2003
Nurses Week/Hospital Week.

June 2-6, 2003
ASTD International Conference and Exposition, at the Earnest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA, 

June 8-11, 2003
19th Annual Training Director’s Forum, at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa, 

June 16-27, 2003
Teletraining’s Academy 2003 2-week course, 800-755-2356, or e-mail 

June 21, 2003
Take Your Dog to Work Day

June 21, 2003
HR Certification Institute Exam Dates,

June 22-25, 2003
SHRM 55th Annual Conference & Exposition, Orlando, FL, 

July 28-30, 2003
Human Resources Outsourcing World 2003, New York Hilton, New York, NY,

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