JUNE SPECIAL DAYS
Email TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. for ideas on how to celebrate any of these days.
How to Hire a Star Employee: Step 1: Win Over the Family
By Timothy Harper
The CEO looked at the young guy he was considering for an executive position. Then he looked at the guy's wife. "What," he asked, "are your husband's strengths as a leader?" Nicole Wigton was taken aback for a moment; she hadn't expected to be interviewed. She paused and then replied, "Well, he's never asked anybody to do anything he wouldn't do himself."
That was the moment Jim Thornton decided to make Mike Wigton an offer. It's typical Jim Thornton. He has a way of mixing a traditional analytical approach with often unorthodox methods to reach big goals, in this case rebuilding the senior management team at Provo Craft and Novelty. Provo Craft was founded in 1964 as a single store in Utah; it sold paper, fabric, glue, buttons, and other materials for do-it-yourself home and school projects. Over four decades it grew to become a leading manufacturer, importer, and supplier for a broad range of arts and crafts. But Provo Craft, based in Spanish Fork (population 28,000), about 50 miles south of Salt Lake City, was showing its age. Its product lines had become stale and profits were meager. Its management structure was cumbersome and inefficient. Sensing weakness but potential, Sorenson Capital, a private equity firm, bought the company and hired Thornton to fix it.
When Thornton, then 38, took over as CEO in late 2005, Provo Craft was still run more like a neighborhood store than a company with 1,200 employees and $120 million in sales. Executive positions often went to people who had been promoted simply because they stuck around. Twenty people were considered top management, including the maintenance supervisor. "We needed to bring in a layer of truly senior people," Thornton says.
Thornton decided to narrow his search to executives who had experience at bigger companies and were looking for the chance to advance rapidly in a smaller setting. He himself had relocated from Chicago, where he had been president of the consumer-products division ($800 million in sales) of Apogee Enterprises (NASDAQ:APOG), a publicly traded glass-technology company, before coming to Provo. But attracting top talent from big corporations to an underperforming company in a decidedly unsexy industry in a sleepy little Western town would be a tall order.
Thornton, a Utah native who had welcomed the chance to move his young family home, recognized that he had to recruit executives willing to give up big-city sophistication and embrace the community's orientation toward family. "I needed to recruit not only the executive but the entire family," Thornton says. He decided he would invite applicants who were under serious consideration to bring their families along to Utah for a few days of hiking or skiing, including the kids and sometimes their grandparents. And Thornton wanted to include spouses in interviews whenever possible.
Relying on a mix of recommendations from executive search firms and people he found through references, Thornton interviewed 40 to 60 candidates for each of 6 senior positions from mid-2006 to mid-2007. He pitched Provo Craft not as a creaky old company selling yarn to Midwestern housewives but as a "40-year-old start-up" that was dropping low-margin inventory such as paper and stickers in favor of new computerized products such as the Cricut, a $400 tabletop version of a $20,000 industrial cutting system used for creating paper or fabric patterns in scrapbooks and other decorative art forms. The six men Thornton finally hired came from companies like Honeywell International (NYSE:HON) in New York and AT&T (NYSE:T) in Seattle. They say they were persuaded to join Provo Craft the moment Thornton told them he expected each one of them to move on to become a CEO at another company within 5 years.
But Utah was a hard sell. Mike Wigton was typical. Wigton liked the idea of joining forces with Thornton. Based in Chicago as an executive for Banta, part of the RR Donnelley (NYSE:RRD) printing empire, Wigton was restless for more responsibility. But he and Nicole were uneasy about moving their kids so far from their relatives in Wisconsin. As non-Mormons, they were also concerned about fitting into a culture dominated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Wigtons flew out, and Mike spent the day with Provo Craft managers. He and Jim Thornton played pickup basketball. Nicole toured the headquarters and warehouse, lunched with her husband and the senior managers, and checked out the local neighborhoods.
When the Wigtons met back at their hotel that evening, the phone rang. "Hey, how about coming over to the house to meet my family," Thornton suggested. "We'll order pizza." He wanted to give the Wigtons a glimpse of what their home life might be like in Utah, and he wanted to hear about any misgivings they might have. As they ate their chicken pesto pizza, the Wigtons chatted with the Thorntons' four kids, the oldest of whom was in high school. The kids told the Wigtons how they liked their schools, how they ran around the neighborhood playing with friends, how they loved the views of the Wasatch Mountains and the short drive up to the ski resorts.
Later, the adults settled into conversation in the basement family room. Jim and Lise Thornton, both Mormons, were direct. Yes, they said, non-Mormons will in some ways always feel like outsiders; at the same time, newcomers typically welcome the chance to live in a place where the streets are safe, the schools are good, and neighbors really do welcome newcomers with a plate of homemade cookies. "We talked frankly about the culture," Wigton says.
Thornton urged the Wigtons to make a return visit to get to know more people in the town. Thornton also offered to pay for Wigton's parents to make the trip. Three weeks later, the Wigtons returned with their kids and with Mike's parents, who gave their blessing to the move after a cookout in the Thorntons' backyard.
Mike joined Provo Craft as the director of new business, and a year later, the Wigtons say they have no regrets. The added responsibility at work, the prospects for faster advancement, and the family-oriented outdoor lifestyle are all exactly what Thornton promised. Thornton is satisfied, too. Sales at Provo Craft are up 40% over the past two years, to a projected $220 million in 2008, and pretax earnings are on track to triple to $35 million. Without the new team, he says, the turnaround would have never happened. Thornton also knows that at some point the team members will probably be gone, off to bigger jobs elsewhere. Then again, they may just stick around for that view of the Wasatch Mountains. Life is pretty good in Spanish Fork.
From Inc. Magazine, June 2008
Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D. wrote Children Learn What They Live. Below we changed the word "children" to "people". All apply, no matter the person’s age.
If people live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
To Work or Not to Work on Vacation
by Daniel Margolis
Taking your work home with you is sometimes unavoidable. Now, with all the tools available to facilitate working from anywhere at anytime, work can easily follow an employee on vacation — and often does.
"Without a doubt, it’s become a lot more prevalent," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president, human resources for CareerBuilder.com. "People are staying connected when they’re supposed to be taking time off. Toys facilitate that. You’ve got your BlackBerry, your cell phone. And how great, you can be on the beach and have your laptop up and running."
This is a sticky issue — as sticky as the issue of how to get employees to take a vacation in the first place. The biggest mistake employers often make, and may want to consider avoiding, is telling employees they must remain in contact during a vacation.
"As a manager, you don’t want to send the message that says, ‘I want you to take a vacation, but oh, by the way, I want you to return my calls,’ or ‘I want your BlackBerry with you the whole time,’" said Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health.
Further, employers may want to avoid indicating they’re pleased when an employee works while on vacation.
"Don’t send the message that you’re going to be more complimentary of somebody because they’ve done that," Darling said.
This might seem counterintuitive for a talent manager who would understandably respond favorably to an employee going above and beyond the call of duty. But it’s important to send the right message about what a vacation is supposed to achieve.
"I’m adamant that your vacation time is your vacation time," said Mark Thomas, president of recruiting firm Thomas Executive Resources. "Unless there’s a dire emergency, like the company’s going under, I don’t want to hear from you, and you’re not going to hear from us because I feel that it’s important you completely get away and then come back. Myself, once or twice a year, I take an exotic trip somewhere in the middle of nowhere where no one can reach me because I come back more refreshed and able to work harder than I have the previous three months."
For some, though, being completely cut off from work can cause stress and detract from vacation pleasures. For this type of employee, working on vacation is necessary and acceptable, but it’s important that managers take steps to make sure this doesn’t get out of hand.
Darling, for example, does take a BlackBerry with her on vacation. "I only check it once a day, and I do it at a particular time. And here’s a big difference: I only respond to those things that I need to respond to, which usually is like 1%," she said. "I tell other people: Frankly, if you can manage your life so you don’t even have to do that, that’s what your vacation is for.’"
Another important step is for employees to have their e-mail and voice mail set up to notify anyone who contacts them that they’re out.
"The main thing is to send the message that you’re not checking so that people are only grateful if [you respond], but they don’t expect it," Darling said. "People aren’t wondering where you are; they’ve already got an e-mail saying you’re on vacation and won’t be back for two weeks so, ‘Goodbye, have a nice life, and I’ll get back to you when I’m ready.
Excerpted from article in Talent Management Magazine, May 2008
Employee Engagement Surveys – A Great Way to Discover Performance Needs
We always think of employee commitment surveys as just ways to get info on what we’re doing well or poorly as an organization. Here’s a great description of one of our partner’s methods for creating and implement a survey. What if you looked for performance needs in it?
The Center for Research & Design at IIT and its partner, BAI, did an employee survey & used engagement surveys as a method for driving organizational outcomes. Here’s an example:
With $8.3 billion in assets, Old National Bancorp is the largest financial services bank holding company headquartered in Indiana and employs nearly 3,000 associates. When Bob Jones came on board as CEO of Old National Bancorp in September, 2004, most analysts expected Old National to take slash and burn measures to turn the ship around. But Bob had other plans.
He made it very clear than changes would be made but that nothing would be accomplished effectively without committed and engaged people. He believed employee engagement was the key to increased customer loyalty, retention, satisfaction, and, ultimately, profitability. The final step was to determine the best mix of methodologies to create a baseline and ongoing measurement of employee commitment, along with a communications process to address the feedback gained on a regular and consistent basis.
The BAI Employee Survey, which was customized for Old National, was selected as one of the key tools for the engagement initiative. Additional survey questions were created from feedback from focus groups. The survey was administered for the first time in March 2005 and follow-up administrations or "pulse surveys" have been administered each quarter since.
In addition to the BAI customized survey, Old National had project teams develop employee engagement measures for its balanced scorecard that gauged how the organization was performing for its clients, shareholders, and employees. This was a deliberate approach to measurement which extended beyond employee engagement to account for key process and performance factors in the organization.
Although each of these components was important, in order to strengthen the lines of communication, Old National enacted several key initiatives. Associate Commitment Teams (ACT made up of 8 associates serving 12-month terms met every 2 weeks to develop recommendations for improving associate engagement. The progress of ACT projects and recommendations were made accessible on an internal website. Associates were also provided a direct link to email the CEO with questions or suggestions for improvement. In addition, the effectiveness of each of these initiatives was gauged by the quarterly pulse surveys.
The employee engagement initiatives as well as the communication objectives helped to create a safe and open-dialogue environment. They did more than just improve two-way communications; they created a way to engage their people in the processes that follow a survey-performance change. Credited to the employee engagement survey was a 24% improvement in the average associate commitment score from 55% to a 68%, reduction in turnover rates by 28%, and the total number of job requisitions was cut in half.
One of Old National’s Managers best described the utilization and impact of the surveys as "...the nucleus of our overarching employee engagement initiative. It goes hand-in-hand with all the other communication mechanisms and tools we put in place. One without the other would not have yielded the results we’re now achieving." If you would like to read a detailed version of this case study, please visit the website (www.center.iit.edu/baisurvey.htm)
From The Center for Research & Science at IIT Newsletter
We love these guys! Contact them if you need any kind of survey or test or even just the administration of one!
Chaplains in the Workplace
by Kristen Scharold
For years chaplains have served the military, hospitals, and sports teams. Now they are coming to a business near you.
In an effort to improve the holistic wellness of their employees, companies are hiring chaplains to pray for and counsel employees, and sometimes even officiate at weddings. If an employee has an ill child, has just suffered the loss of a parent, has a substance abuse problem, is in a rocky marriage, or is just under a lot of stress, he or she can turn to a corporate chaplain for support. Among the companies that have hired chaplains from various ministries are Coca-Cola, Tyson Foods, and Fidelity Bank in Atlanta.
Corporate chaplains, according to The Grand Rapids Press, are provided by outside contractors and operate within a business model similar to nondenominational army chaplains.
"We don't go in to preach or proselytize. We go in to pick people up when they are down," said Gil Stricklin, founder of Marketplace Ministries, based in Dallas. Marketplace Ministries employs 2,387 chaplains and cares for over 140,000 workers.
Stricklin, who was an army chaplain for 22 years, founded Marketplace Ministries in 1984. He wanted to offer the services and support usually associated with a church to those who may not have access to a local congregation.
David Miller, executive director of Yale University's Center for Faith and Culture and author of a forthcoming book, Workplace Chaplaincy, told Outcomes that chaplaincy programs could be very beneficial to many organizations, even Christian ones. "Religious communities often have a fear of acknowledging there might be a problem in the lives of their employees," Miller says. "These organizations would be bold to have chaplains."
But out of Marketplace Ministries' 400 contracted clients, only three are nonprofit Christian organizations. Many Christian nonprofits do not think they need chaplains because their employees go to church, Stricklin says. But he insists that even nonprofits and Christian companies need chaplains.
"When people who go to church have a moral failure, they most likely will not go see their pastor, but they will go to a work chaplain," Stricklin says. "We fill a different role than a pastor because a pastor does not have the time to see you at work and have coffee with you once a week. Our role is outside the church."
From Outcomes Magazine, June/July 2008
June 11-14, 2008
June 18, 2008
June 19-20, 2008
June 23, 24, 2008
June 26, 2008
June 27, 2008
June 22-25, 2008
July 26-28, 2008
July 27-30, 2008
July 28-31, 2008
August 9-12, 2008
August 16-19, 2008
September 18-20, 2008
September 24-26, 2008
PODCAST: MORE GREEN TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE OFFICE, http://www.Inc.com/keyword/jun08
CLUTTER FOR A CAUSE
has great tips on green cleaning.
Going Green At Work
B.I.G. ON BOOKS is an organization that promotes literacy in underprivileged countries, primarily Africa, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia. You can donate books through most Rotary Clubs. B.I.G. also accepts cash donations. Send email to Steve Frantzich at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Kicking World Hunger is the biggest soccer juggle-a-thon in the world (uh, that we know of), much like a walk-a-thon, but more fun! Participants sign up to juggle a soccer ball thousands of times while raising money to provide hope for children and communities that desperately need it. http://www.firstgiving.com/kickingworldhunger
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.
Freecycle: online community that connects donors with recipients to reduce landfill waste and strengthen communities. You post what you need/have on a listserv, www.freecycle.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.comm
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
Copyright 2008 TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. All rights reserved.
**FORWARD RECRUIT, INSPIRE & RETAIN TO OTHERS
**ARTICLE REPRINTS FOR RECRUIT, INSPIRE & RETAIN
**YOU HAVE UNIQUE, VALUABLE KNOWLEDGE FOR OTHERS