Recruit, Inspire & Retain

June 2004

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

Great Training for Great Employees
800-469-3560 FAX 815-469-0886


bullet Successful Interviewer’s Skills
bullet Who's Wearing Fun Meters?
bullet 12 Step Internet Recovery Program
bullet Cool Calls
bullet When Bright People Don't Perform
bullet Current Employees Write Scenarios to Help New Employees Learn
bullet Dress Code Decisions Now Extend to Tattoos and Body Piercing
bullet Things to Do This Month/Conferences to Attend/Ways to Volunteer/Give (Call 800-469-3560 or Email For Ways to Celebrate the Special Days of the Month!)


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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SPREAD IT AROUND! Pass this issue along to fellow employees or customers so they too can benefit from the ideas on recruiting, inspiring, training, & retaining. You can FORWARD this issue or print it out.

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Successful Interviewer’s Skills

Are you successful at getting the information you need to determine if the person can do the job?

Check all the skills below that you’re great at. Then work at refining those skills even more. Your great skills, made greater, will make your "less than great skills” barely noticeable.

Ability to choose the right people to interview
Using active listening skills
Thinking on your feet
Ability to plan for the interview quickly and thoroughly
Ability to organize, compare and analyze information
Knowledge of your organization/service/product
Belief in your organization/service/product
Ability to provide a win-win outcome
Scheduling and following through carefully and accurately
A love of interacting with people
Thorough documentation
Knowing what your competitors for this person (or their information) do 
Ability to create a good impression for yourself and your organization
Ability to help the person you’re interviewing understand the benefits to them
Ability to help the person you’re interviewing understand what you need from them
Using quick, thorough research skills
Being able to feel positive very quickly after rejection or an error
Using a voice that is interpreted by the person you’re interviewing as enthusiastic
Knowing the way the person you’re interviewing likes to be communicated with
Understanding the time limits of the person you’re interviewing
Using words that are clear, concise, verb first and first person when speaking and writing

Reprinted w/permission from Interviewing Techniques for Managers, page 19.

  Interviewing Techniques for Managers, by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.'s, own Carolyn B. Thompson.
  Behavior-Based Interviewing, by Terry Fitzwater. Order by clicking link or email 

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


* Employees of the Brooklyn Public Library
* Staff working on a complex closing with Investment Banking
* Bolingbrook Chamber scholarship breakfast participants
* Friends of Central Coast
* Friends of Omer Nelson Electric


12 Step Internet Recovery Program

  • I will have a cup of coffee in the morning and read my newspaper like I used to, before the Internet.
  • I will eat breakfast with a knife and fork and not with one hand typing.
  • I will get dressed before noon.
  • I will make an attempt to clean the house, wash clothes, and plan dinner before even thinking of the Internet.
  • I will sit down and write a letter to those unfortunate few friends and family that are Internet-deprived.
  • I will call someone on the phone who I cannot contact via the Internet.
  • I will read a book...if I still remember how.
  • I will listen to those around me and their needs and stop telling them to turn the TV down so I can hear the music on the Internet.
  • I will not be tempted during TV commercials to check for email.
  • I will try and get out of the house at least once a week if it is necessary or not.
  • I will remember that my bank is not forgiving if I forget to balance my checkbook because I was too busy on the Internet.
  • Last, but not least, I will remember that I must go to bed sometime...and the Internet will always be there tomorrow.
  • From The District Rotary newsletter.

    **TOOL BOX**
    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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    * When clients call to order Fun Meters, we always ask how they heard about them. Here are 2 fun stories:
    “I saw a Fun Meter on someone at the airport.”
    “A friend said he had to change his Fun Meter to maximum so I asked what he was talking
    * CLTV interviewed TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. President, Carolyn B. Thompson, for a program on how teen small business owners can compete with adults in their industry.

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    When Bright People Don't Perform

    Many managers get frustrated with staff who are obviously bright and intelligent, yet can't seem to use their ability in positive and useful ways. What's so maddening is that they have masses of talent, but seem bent on not using it in ways that the organization – or the boss – deems acceptable and useful.

    What's going on? Is there a way of getting these people into situations where their talents can become useful, rather than disruptive?

    A Parallel Universe?
    Let's start by trying to look at things from the point of view of a hypothetical bright individual who doesn't fit in.

    His or her experience is typically one of being misunderstood and devalued. People don't feel happy when they aren't validated by those around them, so our bright person will have tried many times to win the respect and recognition he or she wants. The trouble is that – just like anyone else – the bright person will use the means that seem right, based on his or her own values. Since these are likely to place a high value on knowledge, learning and being creative rather than conforming, the result is like pouring gasoline on a fire. The bright person tries to use the very behaviors that cause rejection by others to win their approval: behaviors like talking in unfamiliar language, using lots of jargon, parading esoteric knowledge or loudly correcting others' mistakes.

    Bright people often put a lot of value into mental stimulation and achieving challenging, even near impossible goals. This can lead others to see them as show-offs, out to continually prove their superior intellect. 

    In reality, these bright people are simply seeing the world through a different set of mental filters. We all have such filters, usually derived from the habits we've built up over the years and the kind of values we've come to adopt. When two people with very different filters try to communicate, the outcome rapidly becomes a mutual exchange of highly judgmental criticisms. The manager can't understand why the bright staff person is arrogant or willfully insubordinate! The staff person feels misunderstood and wrongly accused. It must be envy or an inability to see value in others! Once these mutually critical assumptions are in place, the whole sad scenario rolls out in the almost inevitable fashion. Usually the ending only comes when one or the other (most often the staff person) leaves or is fired.

    Why do bright people sometimes seem dismissive of everyone else? Because they feel threatened by people who don't value what they're good at – being bright. Why do "ordinary folk" act as if being bright is a kind of social disease? Because they feel threatened by people who don't value what they're good at – fitting in and getting along with others. It would be funny, if only people weren't being hurt.

    Mutual Complicity
    Everyone shares equally in the blame for this process. The bright people who scorn fools miss their own complicity in the situation. It's their dismissive behavior that makes someone else into a fool. In the same way, those who revile the products of the intellect and claim that only the practical person is worth anything are heaping hurtful derision on fellow human beings whose only crime is being different.

    There are no heroes or villains in this story. Bright people who under-perform typically rationalize their frustrating behavior by blaming it on the envy and foolishness of others. Managers trying to produce changes in such maddening people usually go to great lengths to try to persuade (even force) them to fit the cultural norm – a process that will be strongly resisted, since it's the cultural norm that these bright people blame for their isolation and lack of recognition.

    Both sides have to first see that the way we think and behave is only the product of our habits and values. It's not a test of normality or worth. If we can drop all the emotional baggage and learn to value our diversity as one of the things that makes people marvelous and interesting, we can see beyond the minor differences of emphasis to the common humanity beneath.

    Practical Steps 
    1. Recognize and explore different ways of thinking without feeling the need to pass judgment. Everyone has the basic potential to think in many ways, some tightly focused and some broad and far ranging. We make choices and get better at what we do most often. It doesn't mean that we're better than anyone else – we've just practiced longer and with more attention. Value people for what they can do well, instead of judging them on the basis of what you do well. They may not have gotten around to trying it yet.
    2. Understand that values and opinions are just that – not some kind of absolute truth. We all have a right to hold strong opinions and act on them in our own lives. If we drop the judgments, we'll be able to see the untapped worth of people who march to a different drummer. The unthinking assumption that our values and opinions are bound to be shared by all right thinking people is the single most corrosive behavior in any relationship.
    3. Find out what people do best and value most. Set them to work on those things and praise and validate their achievements. Let everyone have the opportunity to shine at what they esteem the most. That way there won't be "good" and "bad" – just a whole group of people contributing whatever they can in ways that suit them best.
    4. Stop treating the organization's values and opinions (a.k.a. corporate culture) as sacrosanct. They're just habits. Sometimes the culture is beneficial; sometimes it gets in the way. Don't deify the organization as the sole arbiter of truth. It's a human creation – and human creations, like human beings, are terribly fallible.
    5. Step beyond habitual judgments to see what's truly there and what its value can be. Drop the elaborations, emotional overtones and instant opinions that we all use to embellish what we see. All these assumptions and facile judgments only cloud the clarity of our view. 

    The bottom line is that the bright person who under performs has a reason for doing so. If we discover the reason, we may well change the behavior. Preaching, threatening and fussing never work. The only real barrier to finding the truth could be that it will throw an uncomfortable light on our own part in the whole sorry mess.

    Excerpts from an article by Adrian Savage, copyright PNA, Inc. 2002.

     **TOOL BOX**
    A Spark From Heaven?” The Place of Potential in Organization & Individual Development, by Adrian Savage & Marshall Goldsmith

    Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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    Current Employees Write Scenarios to Help New Employees Learn

    In our New Employee Orientation, we have taken about 10 of the most violated policies including sexual harassment and written multiple choice scenarios to go with them. The group really enjoys this portion of the training. Here are the sexual harassment scenarios to give you an idea:

    Sexual Harassment 2.16
    Which of the following is NOT an example of sexual harassment?

    1. A female supervisor makes a remark to a male employee such as, "I really like your tie today." The employee responds with a smile and says, "Thank you."

    2. A male supervisor sends his employees, both male and female, an e-mail joke containing sexual innuendos about three blondes and their mischievous behavior with the president, a priest, and a rabbi. You are offended by it and tell your supervisor. The next day you receive another joke. This time it is a picture containing a sexual innuendo.

    3. On break, a male supervisor tells "the guys" stories about sexual encounters he had with the new girl. Even after one of "the guys" informed him that this was offensive, he continued to share the encounters.

    4. A female employee has a "Nice Buns" calendar on her desk containing photos of men in thongs, Speedos, and other beach wear. None of the men are nude. You are offended by it and tell her so. The next day, the calendar is still there.

    Thanks to Karen Distler who sent this to the Training Ideas listserv.

    **TOOL BOX**
    Creative New Employee Orientation Programs, by Doris Sims
    The First 90 Days, by Michael Watkins 

    Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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    Dress Code Decisions Now Extend to Tattoos and Body Piercing

    Corporations as mainstream as Ford and Boeing have policies permitting tattoos if they are not offensive and body piercings if they are not safety hazards.* The permissiveness may be a bow to the reality that 1 in 10 Americans now sports a tattoo, compared to 1 in 100 just 3 decades ago – plus companies’ desires to encourage individuality and to attract younger workers.

    On the other hand, this* article pointed out that service-oriented industries, in particular, are not as lenient. Wal-Mart does not allow employees to sport any facial piercing, while Subway limits piercings to 1 hole per ear. U.S. postal carriers may display their tattoos, but cashiers at McDonald’s may not. 

    Despite the subjectivity involved in setting dress codes, the courts have generally supported the rights of organizations to do so as long as they do not discriminate. Here are a few examples cited by the EEOC:

    ☼ Requiring a male loan counselor to refrain from wearing his earring at work, even though female counterparts wore earrings, was upheld because the employer had the right to enforce minor sex-based differences for the sake of its image.

    ☼ A public school district was upheld in dismissing a teacher for wearing short skirts. Although the court conceded that the skirt length was not extreme for a woman of that age, the school was allowed to act on a legitimate educational concern.

    ☼ Terminating a male employee who was dressing as a woman prior to a sex change operation was not viewed as sex discrimination because he was a man when he began to dress as a female. The employer was permitted to bar cross-dressing.

    Why would you want a dress code and how does it help you retain staff? Clothes and body art end up representing your company culture. They can create safety hazards, can be offensive to other employees and customers and can even be distracting.

    If you haven’t developed any policies in writing to govern these issues, the approach of summer is the time to think about rules regarding tank tops, shorts, sandals, and T-shirts bearing provocative messages. The important elements are putting your policy in writing, distributing it universally within your workplace, making sure the rules and consequences are clear, and avoiding any rule that is discriminatory.

    Excerpts from the THRD newsletter.
    *Wall Street Journal article “The Tatooed Executive”

    **TOOL BOX**

    Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed to Do & What to Do About It, by Ferdinand Fournier


    Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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    National Safety Month
    National Candy Month
    National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month
    June 11-17–E-mail Week
    June 20-26–Forgiveness Week
    June 4–Hug Your Cat Day
    June 5–Family Day
    June 8–Ice Cream Day
    June 10–Ball Point Pen Patented, 1943
    June 14–Flag Day
    June 15–Father’s Day & Smile Power Day
    June 16–Mortician’s Day
    June 20–Take Your Dog to Work Day & National Juggling Day
    June 22–Chocolate Eclair Day
    June 26–Chocolate Pudding Day & Beautician’s Day
    June 29–Remote Control Day

    Anniversaries in June
    June 7–VCR Anniversary: Sony came out with the Betamax on this day in 1975. It cost $1,400.
    June 14–Univac Anniversary: The world’s first commercial computer, large enough to fill several
             rooms, was unveiled in Philadelphia in 1951 on this day.

    June 17-20, 2004
    International Association of Facilitators, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort, 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 19-21, 2004
    SHRM 2004 Spring Seminar Series, HR Generalist Certificate Program, Cleveland, OH,  

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

    July 7-9, 2004
    Accelerated Learning Training Methods Workshop, Hotel InterContinental, Toronto, CAN, 

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

    July 28-29, 2004
    Excellence in Government Conference, Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C., (CAN’T READ WEB SITE FROM FAX)

    August 14-17, 2004
    American Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting and Exposition, 
    Minneapolis, MN,  

    October 13-15, 2004
    HR Executive’s Technology Conference & Exposition, McCormick Place, Chicago, 

    October 26-29, 2004
    International Coalition of Workplace Ministries (ICWM), Holiday Inn Select, 
    Bloomington, MN,  

    Capella University offers degrees in:
    HR Management
    Training and Performance
    Instructional Design for Online Learning
    Capella is an accredited online university with curricula mapped to the competencies that make up the American Society of Training and Development’s (ASTD) Human Performance Improvement Model,


    Cut Your Hair and Change a Child’s Life!
    Matrix is the official sponsor of Locks of Love, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing custom-fitted hairpieces to boys and girls with medical hair loss.
    They need hair of 10 inches or more from men, women, and children of all ages, races, and colors. 

    Companies Helping Employing People!
    These companies TRAIN and EMPLOY those in need of jobs:  

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