Recruit, Inspire & Retain

July 2007

Ideas for “Marketing” and Providing “Customer Service” to Current and Potential Employees

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bullet FUN Days to Celebrate (Call/Email for Ways to Celebrate the FUN Days to Celebrate!)
bullet RECRUIT - Sticky Messages - Beefy Benefits - I.T. Wait
bullet Real-Life Dilberts
bullet Who's Wearing Fun Meters?
bullet Cool Calls
bullet What Are You Reading This Month?
bullet INSPIRE - Getting Onboard With Your New Leader
bullet TRAIN - Helping Execs Be Better Presenters
bullet RETAIN - 12 Questions to Determine Employee Engagement
bullet Professional Development Conferences
bullet Ways to Volunteer & Give

Happy 4th of July ALL month!

Support your employees who serve in the National Guard & Reserve.

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READERS! If you find an article worthy of Recruit, Inspire & Retain, please send it (with a note telling us where you found it)

We encourage you to use these articles in your own communications with staff and customers/members.

If this was forwarded to you, get your own copy FREE!



July is...
Anti-Boredom Month
Hot Dog Month
Baked Bean Month
Ice Cream Month
(Who could be bored with hot dogs, baked beans, & ice cream?)

July 15-21 – Hug Week
July 22-28 – Coffee Week
July 22-28 – Salad Week

July 11 – Cheer Up Day, Swimming Pool Day, & Blueberry Muffin Day
July 12 – Simplicity Day
July 13 – French Fries Day & International Puzzle Day
July 15 – Ice Cream Day
July 16 – Talk to A Telemarketer Day (As IF!)
July 17 – Peach Ice Cream Day & Wrong Way Corrigan Day
July 20 – Moon Day, Fortune Cookie Day, Chess day, & Ugly Truck Day
July 22 – Ice Cream Cone Day & Vanilla Ice Cream Day
July 25 – CHRISTMAS IN JULY, Act Like a Caveman Day, & Hot Fudge Sundae Day
July 26 – Coffee Milkshake Day
July 27 – System Administrator Appreciation Day
July 28 – Hamburger Day, Cheese Lovers Day, Accountants Day, & Milk Chocolate Day
               (which of these things don’t go together?)

July 29 – Lasagna Day
July 30 – Cheesecake Day & Kiss Your Car Day (Kiss the car before you eat your cheesecake!)
July 31 – Cotton Candy Day & Raspberry Cake Day

August 1 – Raspberry Cream Pie Day (Boy, someone sure likes raspberries!)
August 2 – Ice Cream Sandwich Day
August 3 – Watermelon Day, Grab Some Nuts Day, Bratwurst Day, Dental Awareness Day, & Work Like a Dog Day (The dentist is the one who’ll be working like a dog after all these
sweet-eating days!)

Email TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. for ideas on how to celebrate any of these days.

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Sticky Messages — Beefy Benefits — I.T. Wait

bullet While reading Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive & Others Die, I immediately thought of the messages we send out about working in our companies — whether in our formal recruiting info or informally. In an interview w/Motivation Strategies Magazine, one of the authors, Chip Heath, had these things to say:

My Definition of Stickiness
"Our definition of sticky is that people understand the message when they hear it, that they remember it later on and that it changes something about the way they think or act. So there are a lot of good ideas in the world that haven’t been turned into sticky ideas – a lot of business memos or PowerPoint presentations, for instance. People absolutely don’t remember them, and they certainly don’t change the way people think or act."

What’s Needed for a Sticky Message
A memorable message doesn’t necessarily have to include all of these, but the more of these qualities it shares, the more likely it is that the message will be remembered:

  • Simplicity. The core message is both simple and profound.
  • Unexpectedness. It generates interest and curiosity by overturning expectations.
  • Concreteness. The message is put in terms of sensory information and human actions.
  • Emotions. It should tap into people’s feelings.
  • Stories. The message makes use of a short, coherent story or stories.

Examples of "sticky" messages include the Kennedy era policy that the U.S. would "Put a man on the moon within the decade" and a Texas anti-litter campaign whose slogan is "Don’t Mess with Texas."
From Motivation Strategies magazine, Spring 2007

bullet Beefy Benefits

As the competition for employees continues to grow, restaurants are enhancing their benefit packages as a way to lure and retain staff (and these can apply to any industry).

Qdoba Mexican Grill locations in Denver, CO, St. Louis, MO, and Seattle, WA, host the Knowledge Series — free seminars to help employees with their lives outside work (e.g., buying a home, financial management, building healthy families.). Seminars are typically held at restaurants between shifts. "We believe that if we can help improve the quality of employees’ personal lives, it makes Qdoba a better place to work," says Tiffany Herron, manager compensation/benefits.

A major perk of working at Mercy Wine Bar, Dallas, TX, are all-expense paid trips for staff. Last year the entire staff of servers (14 people, split in two groups of seven) went to the California wine country. This year two servers are being sent to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. "It’s a great way for us to invest in our people and increase their wine knowledge so they can share it with our guests." says manager Mike Castagne. "These trips are also a really good retention tool, helping to keep our turnover around 5%."

From day one employees who work 25+ hours a week at Carino’s Italian Grill headquartered in Austin, TX, may apply for tuition reimbursement, from $200 to $1,000 per semester (amounts increase with tenure; the highest amount is for hospitality majors). "This provides an extra incentive for students to join us," says Vici Wilkerson, director of human resources. "Our ultimate goal is to entice them to enter our management program".

At MK, Chicago, IL, GM Kara Sherman says, "We’re trying to build loyalty and create a family environment for the staff. One way we do this is by offering 3 weeks paid vacation to those who are employed for 5 years or more." Currently, 15 employees qualify.
From Briefing, May/June 2007

bullet I.T. Wait

It takes an average of 56 days to fill a full-time, staff-level information technology position and 87 days to bring in a new IT manager, according to a survey of 1,400 U.S. CIOs of companies with 100 or more employees.
From Oracle Magazine, May/June 2007


Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive & Others Die, by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Best Practices: Hiring People: Recruiting & Keeping the Brightest Stars, by Kathy Shwiff
Order both by emailing or calling 800-469-3560. Mention RIR for 10% off.

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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


Real-Life Dilberts

A magazine recently ran a "Dilbert Quotes" contest. They were looking for people to submit quotes from their real life Dilbert-type managers. Here are the finalists:

  1. "As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday and employees will receive their cards in 2 weeks." (This was the winning quote from Fred Dales at Microsoft Corp. in
    Redmond, WA.)

  2. "What I need is a list of specific ‘unknown’ problems we will encounter." (Lykes Lines Shipping)

  3. "E-mail is not to be used to pass on information or data. It should be used only for company business." (Accounting manager, Electric Boat Company)

  4. "This project is so important, we can’t let things that are more important interfere with it." (Advertising/Marketing manager, United Parcel Service)

  5. "Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the schedule."

  6. "No one will believe you solved this problem in one day! We've been working on it for months. Now, go act busy for a few weeks and I'll let you now when it's time to tell them." (R&D supervisor, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing/3M Corp.)

  7. "My boss spent the entire weekend retyping a 25-page proposal that only needed corrections. She claims the disk I gave her was damaged and she couldn't edit it. The disk I gave her was write-protected." (CIO of Dell Computers)

  8. Quote from the Boss: "Teamwork is a lot of people doing what I say." (Marketing executive, Citrix Corporation*)

  9. My sister passed away and her funeral was scheduled for Monday. When I told my Boss, he said she died on purpose so that I would have to miss work on the busiest day of the year. He then asked if we could change her burial to Friday. He said, "That would be better for me." (Shipping executive, FTD Florists)

  10. "We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees." (Switching supervisor, AT&T Long Lines Division)

  11. We recently received a memo from senior management saying: "This is to inform you that a memo will be issued today regarding the memo mentioned above." (Microsoft, Legal Affairs Division)

  12. One day my Boss asked me to submit a status report to him concerning a project I was working on. I asked him if tomorrow would be soon enough. He said, "If I wanted it tomorrow, I would have waited until tomorrow to ask for it!" (New business manager, Hallmark Greeting Cards.)

Thanks for sending this, Steve Sligar, TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. Associate.

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!
Love those COLORFUL QUOTE POSTERS you see in TRAINING SYSTEMS' group training and conference bookstores? Email or call 800-469-3560 to find out how to get packs of the topics you need.

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Fun Meter   * National Assn. of Postal Supervisors in Fort Lauderdale, FL

* Buyers at The Gratitude Store in Port Aransas, TX

* Attendees at The Maine Wellness Conference

* The Maxey Family at their 2007 reunion



* ASAE’s Professional Development Forum published Books That Will Make Your Job Easier – Becoming a Change Agent for Your Association, by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. President, Carolyn B. Thompson, in the Professional Development Forum Online’s Quarterly Column in the June 2007 issue. Email for a copy.



TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. President, Carolyn B. Thompson is reading:

by Fred Ramsay (great friend & husband of great friend & retired client Susan Ramsay)

I was lucky enough to read the galley of Judas long ago and thought it was such a different portrayal of Judas and his interaction with the people around him! Now it’s finally published and I’m reading it again to see what changes the publisher asked for. A very good summer read!

Email 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).

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Getting Onboard With Your New Leader

An often-overlooked aspect of assimilating a new external executive into a company is not getting that person onboard with the organization but vice versa. When the new executive takes the reins of leadership, the question then becomes whether the team is ready to be led.

Every seasoned manager comes into a new business with a sense of excitement and anxiety. There's excitement about the opportunities promised during the interview process and anxiety in discovering the unknowns.

A newcomer might experience a love-hate relationship with the new team and peers — the organization loves the fresh perspective, new ideas and new practices but hates that the new person just won't leave things alone. The new leader wants to lead change.

One of the best tools to overcome resistance to new leaders is a set of assimilation questions. Although deceptively simple on the surface, these questions can help a new leader and the organization in profound ways. They are based on the notion that meaningful relationship building and an open exchange serve as a solid platform for leadership.

Kevin Wilde, vice president and chief learning officer at General Mills, uses four key topics with leaders and their teams about two to three months into the new job:

What does the team know about the leader? What does the team wish to know? Some new leaders are better than others at self-disclosure. Teams are more willing to trust and follow leaders when potentially sensitive topics are covered early, in a direct way:
  • Background and Career. What were the leader's most developmental jobs? Who were their most influential bosses? How long does the leader plan on staying in the role? What's next?

  • Communication Style and Preferences. In person, e-mail or voicemail? Scheduled or drop-in meetings? Headlines or detailed messages?

  • Likes and Dislikes. Everyone has pet peeves and preferences. Must meetings start and end exactly on time, or is a bit late OK? Should problems be reported early or only after potential solutions can be offered?

  • Expectations and Direction. What results are most important to achieve? Short-term? Longer-term? How do other senior managers view the team, the situation and what needs to change?

What does the leader need to know about the team, and how does it like to be led? Getting team members to talk about themselves facilitates the group bonding with the new leader. Discussing how the team prefers to be led allows it to describe many of the topics the leader shared in the previous questions such as communication styles and preferences.
What challenges might the leader face? Part of getting a team onboard with a new leader is having the group put itself in the place of the leader. This topic builds empathy and a bridge to the new leader. Groups often link challenges with what the leader has shared about goals and expectations.
What are the team's challenges and potential solutions? The challenges the team shares can provide the leader with an inside view of the team's thinking, including how the team views its situation in the organization, their pressures and creative approaches to consider.
When I see a leader and a team connecting well, they often remark, "We have the same challenges." This can be an encouraging sign of maturity in the group. It is certainly a sign the team is getting onboard with the new leader. That's the moment of truth awaiting all new leaders.

There is no greater time for learning than when a new leader joins an organization — and no greater opportunity for misunderstanding and lost opportunity.

Remember: Assimilation isn't just about getting the new leader informed and integrated. It's also about readying the organization so the new manager can lead. Anything less diminishes the value of new talent and might result in eventual outboarding. If that occurs, everyone will be asking another question: "What happened?"

From Talent Management Magazine, May 2007

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Get more tips on inspiring great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

Managing Upward: Strategies for Succeeding with Your Boss, by Susan Schubert
Assimilating New Leaders: The Key to Executive Retention, by Diane Downey, Tom March, Adena Berkman
Order both by emailing or calling 800-469-3560. Mention RIR for 10% off.

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Helping Execs Be Better Presenters

From the CEO and founder of Fast Signs, Gary Salomon:
I’m not a natural public speaker, but I have steadily gotten better at it over the years thanks to a lot of practice and a willingness to work hard to improve. I am always willing to give my presentation in front of people who can assist me and provide guidance.

Training is a big part of our culture at FastSigns International Inc. Each year, our training department holds a presentation-skills training session in preparation for our annual franchisee convention. As part of that training, presenters are required to submit notes detailing what they want to include in their PowerPoint presentations, and then a person on the training staff schedules training with all presenters so that they have an opportunity to rehearse, receive constructive feedback, and work toward becoming a stronger and more confident speaker.

If this process isn’t easily replicated in your own organization, or training is not part of your corporate culture, my advice is this: Let these "challenged" speakers watch their own performances on video so that they can see for themselves how invigorating they are. If that doesn’t make the point, hire a third-party presentation expert to provide training and assistance.

One way to sell the idea of hiring an outside consultant is to inform execs that based on across-the-board learner evaluations, all staff within the company could stand to make some improvements. Then have the third-party expert come in and evaluate and critique every person’s presentation, not just the CEO’s. If your execs aren’t willing to spend the money on an outside trainer, establish an internal review committee tasked with evaluating video of all staff presentations and providing constructive feedback.

If your execs are so out to lunch that they aren’t willing to accept assistance or constructive criticism, then they have bigger problems than just presenting. If that is your situation, I’d either find another company to work for or simply accept the fact that you and the learners may continue to suffer "Death by PowerPoint."

Excerpted from Corporate Event magazine, Spring 2007

We’ve helped hundred of executives and other staff improve their presentation skills. If you need help, call TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. at 800-469-3560 or email

Getting Your Message Across, by Kurt Hanks
Never Be Boring Again: Make Your Business Presentations Capture Attention, Inspire Action & Produce Results, by Doug Stevenson
Order both by emailing or calling 800-469-3560. Mention RIR for 10% off.

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12 Questions to Determine Employee Engagement

The Gallup Organization has identified 12 questions to ask to determine if the level of employee engagement is where it should be. The company says its "Q12" system is based on findings of hundreds of companies and millions of employees it has gathered data on in the past 20 years.

Essentially, Gallup says that the more a company’s employees can answer yes to the list of questions, the greater their level of engagement. Engaged workforces have proven to be significantly more productive than non-engaged workforces, according to the company. The 12 questions:

  • Do you know what is expected of you at work?
  • Do you have the materials and equipment you need to do your work right?
  • At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
  • In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  • Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about you as a person?
  • Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
  • At work, do your opinions seem to count?
  • Does the mission or purpose of your company make you feel your job is important?
  • Are your associates or fellow employees committed to doing quality work?
  • Do you have a best friend at work?
  • In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?
  • This last year, have you had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

Excerpted from Motivation Strategies, Spring 2007

12: The Elements of Great Managing, by Rodd Wagner & James K. Harter
First, Break All The Rules, by Marcus Buckingham
Order by emailing or calling 800-469-3560. Mention RIR for 10% off.

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July 29-31, 2007
World Future 2007: Fostering Hope and Vision for the 21st Century, Hilton Minneapolis and Towers Hotel, Minneapolis, Minnesota,

October 10-12, 2007
HR Technology Conference, Navy Pier, Chicago, IL,

October 10-12, 2007
Strategic HR Conference, Tampa, FL,

January 31-February 3, 2008
Christian Writers Guild Writing for the Soul Conference, Colorado Springs, CO,

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Charity Navigator ( 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 ( 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.

Provide free mammograms!Set a reminder to visit daily and click this button to help underprivileged women get mammograms. helps you find organizations in your area that spark your interest in volunteering.

Global Volunteers (
You can:
select by type of work project
select by country and date
select by service program conditions
select by cost

Recycle yogurt containers and old toothbrushes!

Recycline’ Preserve partnered with Stonyfield Farm and is recycling yogurt containers into toothbrush handles. Old toothbrushes are used to make plastic lumber for picnic tables. Go to for details.

Responsibly Dispose of Your Old Electronics
Donate Old Cell Phones
911 Cell Phone Bank provide free emergency cell phones to needful people through partnerships with law enforcement organizations,

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.

Donate PCs to National Cristina Foundation,; Goodwill,, Salvation Army,

Recycle PCs and other computer products at Hewlett Packard and Dell. See their websites for details.

Several other places to recycle old PCs:,,

Find local Electronics recyclers at and



K has great tips on green cleaning.
K & will help you get off junk mail lists.
K has tips on every facet of green living.
K gives advice on replacing old light bulbs w/energy efficient bulbs.
K provides comprehensive "green power" info.
K urges the use of recycled paper.
K helps you plant trees to save the environment.

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Copyright 2007 TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. All rights reserved.


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