FUN DAYS TO CELEBRATE
June 10-16 – Flag Week
June 9 – Great Turtle Race Day (This only takes a day?)
Email TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. for ideas on how to celebrate any of these days.
Great Workplaces Welcome Their New Staff
You can recruit them and hire them, but IF you don’t keep them, have you actually recruited them?
The following "best practice" examples from three 100 Best Companies to Work For winners highlight some of the ways these companies have gone about welcoming their employees and reinforcing their unique cultures in the process.
The MITRE Corporation
Welcome e-mails are sent out to introduce new employees to others in their department, and some senior vice presidents send personal notes to each new employee. New employees are also invited to a "get-acquainted" meeting soon after they start work. Pictures of new employees are posted on department bulletin boards, and each week the names of new employees are posted on electronic information displays in common areas in each building.
Operations and support staff have a goal that by the end of the first day’s orientation, each employee has a computer with functioning software and a desk drawer filled with the basic tools for getting down to work. It’s also standard practice for new employees to receive welcome e-mails and phone calls from the help desk, information center, security and others to make sure everything is working, to answer any questions and to let the employee know how to reach them as new questions come up.
As one employee said: "I was delighted by how much time, energy and organization is given to the New Employee Orientation. The entire week was completely reassuring that I made the correct choice for my next career move to The MITRE Corporation. Not only did I feel assimilated and equipped with the appropriate tools and contacts to start my new job, but I felt welcomed on a personal level."
Speakers come from different departments to talk to the Nooglers and a special tour of the campus is provided, as are folders with benefit information and coupons for a free massage and discounts for a car wash. At the end of the day, Nooglers are picked up by their mentors and receive a special escort to their work areas where they’re greeted with welcome balloons and a bag of chocolates.
A Google Buddy (technical person) stops by during the week to ensure each new employee is set up with their computer and to assist with any technical questions or concerns. Mentors play a big role in helping Nooglers adjust to their new work environment. They stay with their Noogler until they feel completely comfortable, and each mentor continues to be a direct resource for any future needs. To round out the first week, Nooglers are recognized at weekly TGIF events, with their names and work group shown on a large screen. They also get their first chance to feel part of Google, sitting in the front rows as Google founders Larry and Sergey talk shop. Here are a few employee comments that confirm the success of Google’s welcoming activities:
"I was really impressed with the openness and amount of information given to Nooglers during orientation and throughout the first week."
"I couldn’t believe all the speakers that take time to come and talk to Nooglers during the first day orientation."
"My group had a special orientation where I was introduced to my group. It really made me feel special."
"I was surprised at how many employees went out of their way to help me – and that they came to me to help and I didn’t need to go to them."
Bright Horizons Family Solutions
When new hires start, everything is ready to go – at the corporate office, the new employee’s name is placed on his or her workspace, a key scan security card has been provided to insure access to the corporate building and all paperwork is done before the first day. The phone system – including voice mail, an e-mail account, working computer and desk – are all ready to insure that each new hire is able to do their work and doesn’t need to fuss around with logistics.
Each new employee also receives a welcome letter at their home, and when they arrive at work there are a series of orientation activities geared to their role within the company. New Teacher Orientation begins immediately upon hire and continues through the first three months of employment. Similarly, for their New Manager Orientation, managers receive an individualized program geared to prepare them for their role through a review of specific topics and skill-building activities.
Throughout the first weeks and months of employment, each new employee is ‘re-welcomed’ at numerous events. One staff member wrote, "I never went to a meeting where I wasn’t introduced and made to feel welcome." Staff meetings are one mechanism for keeping employees from across the many on-site locations connected to each other and to the larger organization. People gather as a team each month at the on-site offices and every quarter at the home office. At these meetings, new employees are recognized and have an opportunity to share information about themselves and their recent experiences at work.
How to Get Started
Every great workplace has a few distinct qualities in its culture that are special and create a foundation for success. It’s hard to define these cultural factors in a few words, yet several common themes are identified from studying the 100 Best .
First , great workplaces are characterized by inclusive environments in which all employees are invited to participate in the cultural life of the organization. Second , leaders at great workplaces are accessible, sharing information with employees and answering their questions. Third , leaders at great workplaces create an environment in which the fair distribution of rewards, recognition and opportunities is rigorously pursued. And all great workplaces are characterized by a sense of being on a journey. The bottom line is that there’s never an end to the process of becoming a great place to work – it’s something people work at every day.
Adapted from Motivation Strategies, Spring 2007
Perks of Being Over 40
We know all our readers aren’t over 40, but if you’re not,
you surely work with people
1.Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
2. In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
3. No one expects you to run — anywhere.
4. People call at 9 pm and ask, "Did I wake you????"
5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way.
7. Things you buy now won’t wear out.
8. You can eat supper at 4 pm.
9. You can live without sex but not your glasses.
10. You get into heated arguments about pension plans.
11. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.
12. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.
13. You sing along with elevator music.
14. Your eyes won’t get much worse.
15. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
16. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the National Weather Service.
17. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either.
18. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.
19. You can’t remember where you saw this.
TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. Associate Andy Kaufman is reading:
Disperses and Time Passes: The History of Heat
This is a very accessible book about thermodynamics. I’m thinking anyone that can make thermodynamics fun and interesting to a non-physicist is intriguing enough to buy his book! I’ve applied the concept of entropy to leadership development and project management for over a decade, but this book is giving an engaging education into the people and science behind it. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics has interesting applications to more than we might realize, but you’ll have to read the book to appreciate it all!
The reason I took a night out of my life to read it is because so many people in classes and in friendly conversations brought it up after Oprah gave it the attention of two episodes. There are a few reasonably good ideas in it (e.g. How we think impacts our feelings. Sometimes change is made more effectively not by doing other things, but rather changing how we think about them. Choose gratefulness over resentment. You reap what you sow. Visualizing a future event can help one prepare for it.). However, even a passing extension of her Law of Attraction yields some downright hideous ramifications. The Secret’s philosophy says that bad things, even great evils, happened to people because they were somehow on the same frequency as the event. An abused person was somehow attracting that fate. Jews killed in Nazi death camps were somehow on a very unfortunate frequency. The 2 ½ year old child diagnosed with leukemia attracted the illness with their intentions? This single tenet of The Secret is outrageously repulsive, not somehow comforting or empowering. The “I am God” worldview, with Me as the center of the universe leads inevitably to narcissistic hedonism, not true lasting joy. Nothing personal Oprah but two thumbs down!
us with what you’re reading & a sentence or 2 about why you’re reading it
or what you learned from it (can be fiction or non-fiction).
Leave Your Job Behind When You're on Vacation
Facilitation Challenge – Facilitator is Stuck in Traffic!
If you’ve facilitated more than a few in-person group training sessions, you’ve had your cell phone ring, forgotten materials, discovered typos, or even been late because of traffic. Lynn Hauser, TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. Associate, got stuck in traffic, handled it brilliantly, and was gracious enough to write up her experience so we all can benefit. Thanks and Bravo, Lynn!:
"I recently had a facilitation challenge that I thought you might be interested in hearing about. Last week I was facilitating a one-day workshop in downtown Chicago for a new client. Since I live in the southwest suburbs I got to sleep in my own bed the night before and drove into the city in the morning. Without another car on the road, it takes me about 45-50 minutes to get into the city. Since it was rush hour, I left 2½ hours before the 8:00am start time. Under normal rush hour circumstances, that would have been plenty of time. For reasons known only to the commuting gods, last Wednesday was anything but normal. Since the traffic reports put the freeway at a virtual standstill, I stayed on the surface streets for as long as possible.
It was apparent fairly quickly, though, that I was going to have trouble getting there on time. By 7:00am I had been on the road for 1½ hours and was still only about of the way there. I called the client to give him an update. Being a Chicago native, he was very understanding and said they'd just wait for me (like they had any choice but to wait).
At 7:45, I was certainly closer but still not moving very quickly. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm like a rabid dog about beginning and ending a group training session on time. So, I decided it was going to start at 8:00am even if I wasn't there . I called the client and asked him to set up a speakerphone in the training room. Since there was almost a full minute of dead silence, I'm fairly certain that he thought he'd hired a crazy person. But he hooked up the phone and called me back at the stroke of 8:00.
We started the training at 8:00am sharp from my car...me on my Bluetooth and them on speakerphone. Since I didn't want to do too much talking while trying to navigate rush hour traffic, I adapted the beginning a little so that I could get to the beginning small group activity faster.
After the opening I got them going on their small group activity, with the client acting as my eyes to let me know when they were finished. Once they were done, we started the processing. I did lose them as I went into the underground parking, but the client continued with the processing anyway. I called back in as soon as I got above ground and he filled me in on what I had missed. Within minutes of parking the car I was at their building. I walked into the room at 8:30 (to a rousing round of applause, which I can tell you felt great) and continued the training as if I'd been there all along.
The learners were a group of executives who were used to running their own companies so I could have had some credibility issues. The good news is that they weren’t in the least bit upset about the somewhat unorthodox start to the day and the training was a huge success.
I told the client contact that if I ever had the chance to work with them again, I'd leave my house at midnight and sleep in the parking lot until morning. Not only would I be there on time, but I'm sure I'm make a lot of new friends in the parking lot."
FromTRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. Associate, Lynn Hauser, Performance Partners, Inc.
A Simple Formula for Reducing Unwanted Turnover
Recently, two researchers, Robin DiPietro and Steve Condly, completed a study within hospitality and tourism, an industry notorious for high employee turnover. They discovered "employee satisfaction" is far less important as an exit trigger than 4 very specific variables related to thinking and behavior.
DiPietro and Condly conducted their research at high- and low-turnover work sites. They discovered four factors that explain more than 96% of employee turnover. Workers at the low-turnover sites displayed significantly higher:
As a result, employees at low-turnover work sites appeared to persist longer at work tasks, exhibiting more mental and physical effort in pursuit of their duties than their peers at high-turnover locations.
Of the four factors, the one exerting the strongest impact was agency — even when workers reported lower levels of the other three, supportive supervisors and managers appeared to reduce the likelihood of job abandonment.
Build value for work. Show employees that their contributions not only help the organization and customers but, more importantly, build their own valuable skills and knowledge. Employees who highly value their work seldom leave.
Avoid comments and practices that decrease feelings of self-efficacy. Continually reinforce employees' ability to perform. Feelings of inability to meet requirements often lead to demoralization and flight from the source of discomfort: the job.
Monitor employee performance to spot declining persistence and effort. These are warnings of a waning motivation for the job and a sign of potential turnover.
From Talent Management Magazine, May, 2007
June 22-24, 2007
June 24-27, 2007
June 25-27, 2007
July 29-31, 2007
October 10-12, 2007
October 10-12, 2007
Charity Navigator (http://charitynavigator.org) is an in-depth, searchable guide to more than 5,000 charities worldwide that aims to encourage "intelligent giving". They rate charities based on their total expenses, revenues, and organizational capacity. If you want to give, but the recent slew of charity scandals has you feeling skeptical about where your money would go.
Take Pride T-Shirts (http://www.takepride.com) was founded by a group of friends who all share the belief that the more difficult the mission facing our military, the more deserving they are of our thanks and support. Each unique shirt design provides a glimpse into the life of a different US Service member who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and is hand silk-screened. The message of the shirts isn’t political, it's about acknowledging, celebrating, and taking pride in the spirit of young Americans who despite facing an extremely difficult job and unpleasant conditions, nonetheless strive to do their job well. Take Pride gives at least 20% of profits to charities and causes that assist combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.
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 (
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.
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