Recruit, Inspire & Retain

August 2007

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bullet FUN Days to Celebrate (Call/Email for Ways to Celebrate the FUN Days to Celebrate!)
bullet RECRUIT - No Answer At All For Applicants
bullet How to Recruit the Right Person
bullet Who's Wearing Fun Meters?
bullet Cool Calls
bullet What Are You Reading This Month?
bullet INSPIRE - How a CEO & His Staff Are Making the Balance of Work & Family a Priority
bullet HOW TRAINING SYSTEMS . . . Takes a Day Off
bullet TRAIN - Get Participant’s Ideas For What to Learn
bullet RETAIN - “Companies Are Colder These Days”
bullet Professional Development Conferences
bullet Ways to Volunteer & Give


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August is...
Family Meal Month
Brownies @ Brunch Month
Coffee Month
National Catfish Month
Golf Month
Happiness Happens Month
Smile Month

August 9 – Send an Email Day & Dance A Polka Day
August 11 – Play in the Sand Day
August 12 – Thank You Day
August 13 – Left-Handers Day
August 14 – Financial Awareness Day & National Creamsicle Day
                   (Personally, I’d rather think about creamsicles!)
August 16 – Tell a Joke Day & Roller Coaster Day
August 17 – #2 Pencil Day
August 19 – Soft Ice Cream Day, Potato Day, & Spicy Food Day
August 20 – Lemonade Day
August 22 – Eat a Peach Day
August 24 – Can Opener Day & Waffle Day
August 25 – Banana Split Day & Healthy Lifestyle Day
August 26 – Cherry Popsicle Day, Toilet Paper Day, Dog Day, & Horseshoe Day (Again, 1 of
                   these doesn’t fit with the others.)
August 27 – Banana Lovers Day
August 29 – Lemon Juice Day & Chop Suey Day
August 30 – Toasted Marshmallow Day & Red Telephone Day
August 31 – Eat Outside Day (Glad this one isn’t on the 26th, too!) & Trail Mix Day

September 1 – Cherry Popover Day & Exclamation! Day
September 3 – Labor Day
September 4 – Bright Idea Day
September 5 – Cheese Pizza Day & Do It Day

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

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No Answer At All For Applicants

Do you get back to all applicants? If not, Barbara Ehrenreich discovered you’re not alone. Read this excerpt from Bait & Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream:

The brief encounter with Qorvis, the nibble from Locum Tenens—these are the exceptions in what is becoming a life of unrelenting rejection. I have, by this time, applied for over 200 advertised and posted jobs, even branching out from health and pharmaceuticals to banks and the trade association for the modular construction industry, which latter at least yields a pleasant phone conversation about the unfortunate down-market image of modular buildings and how this might be corrected by creative PR.

But it is the rare application that generates human contact of any kind. When I can follow up with a phone call, which is not always possible, since named contacts are seldom given, I might be told, as I was by a firm called JR Technologies, that my resume had entered some complicated industrial batch process, along with hundreds of others, which process could take weeks to resolve. Or I might get a recording saying that "due to the volume of applications, we are unable to verify the status of your application." G.J. Meyer, in Executive Blues, reports from his job search in the late eighties that, "...unless you’re luckier than most or the job market gets a lot better than it has been lately, you’ll discover that it’s possible to send off 500 resumes with 500 customized cover letters and not get a single reply more substantial than a preprinted postcard saying thanks."

That was in a more genteel era. I have received, for all my efforts, only one such preprinted postcard. Usually an automatic response appears in my in-box seconds after electronically submitting my resume and cover letter, but it offers no thanks, just an acknowledgment of receipt and a code number to use should I be pesky enough to follow up. Mostly there is nothing at all, and it is this—the unshakable, godlike, magisterial indifference of the corporate world—that drives my fellow job seekers to despair. Neal, whom I met at the ExecuNet meeting, told me: "You ring people and no one returns your calls, or apply by computer and just get an automatic response. I had got to the stage where I’d just get up and sit around and drink coffee until it’s time for lunch, really do nothing all day. Dealing with the rejection is quite difficult."

But rejection puts too kind a face on it, because there is hardly ever any evidence that you have been rejected—that is, duly considered and found wanting. As the New York Times reported in June 2004: "The most common rejection letter nowadays seems to be silence. Job hunting is like dating, only worse, as you sit by the phone for the suitor who never calls." The feeling is one of complete invisibility and futility: you pound on the door, you yell and scream, but the door remains sealed shut in your face. I remember once reading a complaint about the invisibility of middle-aged women in our society, and thinking, bring it on. Because invisibility is something every child aspires to—the chance to flit around snatching cookies and making gargoyle faces, immune from punishment. But now, like all those fairy-tale characters who are unfortunate to get what they wised for from an overly literal-minded wish granter, I am left frantically trying to undo the spell. Is it my resume that consigns me to darkness or, in the case of the people whom I encounter at networking events, something about my physical appearance?

Excerpted from Bait & Switch, 2005, Henry Holt & Co., NY

Author Barbara Ehrenreich, went undercover for 10 months as a job seeker for a PR position. Her discoveries are a fascinating look into our hiring world from the viewpoint of someone seeking a professional job. You can read more of her experiences in Retain and in her book.

Why do we do this to job seekers? No time to respond to all...concerned if we respond they’ll keep pestering us...our labor attorney told us that responding could cause them to target us for not hiring them? Whatever your reason, think of a way around it! Why?

Not responding made Barbara feel invisible, inadequate (and she knew she was going back to her employed life as a writer; imagine how it makes people feel who were productive workers and now no one will give them the time of day!) Eventually one of us will find this job seeker to be right for our company — I don’t know about you, but I don’t want people working in my organization who spent months feeling invisible and inadequate.

Job seekers are potential customers of our products and services.
Job seekers have friends, families, and colleagues who are potential customers.
Job seekers have friends, families, and colleagues who are potential right employees.
Need I go on?

For ideas on how successful organizations contact potential applicants email


Bait and Switch : The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, by Barbara Ehrenreich

Executive Blues, by Mike Meyer

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


How to Recruit the Right Person

Put about 100 bricks in some particular order in a closed room with an open window. Then send 2 or 3 candidates in the room and close the door. Leave them alone and come back after 6 hours and then analyze the situation.

bullet If they are counting the bricks, put them in the accounts department.
bullet If they are recounting them, put them in auditing.
bullet If they have messed up the whole place with the bricks, put them in engineering.
bullet If they are arranging the bricks in some strange order, put them in planning.
bullet If they are throwing the bricks at each other, put them in operations.
bullet If they are sleeping, put them in security.
bullet If they have broken the bricks into pieces, put them in information technology.
bullet If they are sitting idle, put them in human resources.
bullet If they say they have tried different combinations, yet not a brick has been moved, put
them in sales.
bullet If they have already left for the day, put them in marketing.
bullet If they are staring out of the window, put them on strategic planning.

And then last but not least.........

bullet If they are talking to each other and not a single brick has been moved. Congratulate them
and put them in top management.

From TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. Associate Gary Shoup’s friend Jal Thanawala, India


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   * The Catholic High School of Baltimore

* Cabinets 4U

* YMCA, Little Rock AR

* Buyers at the IL SHRM Conference Bookstore

* Buyers at the Pioneer Network Conference Bookstore



* Rose Marie Fagan, Pioneer Network after their conference bookstore: "You were fabulous again for us. Our bookstore is a special feature at the conference thanks to you. You are truly amazing. Many thanks. Hope you are resting up now. So pleased to see that your work with us is leading to other jobs. That is gratifying for us, and hope rewarding to you."



TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. Associate Steven R. Sligar, Ed.D. is reading:

Designing and Managing Programs: an Effectiveness-based Approach (2nd ed.), by Kettner, P.M., Moroney, P.M., Martin, L.L. (1999)

This is a book I use to teach our PhD students to learn the fundamentals of how to design and develop social service programs. The premise of an effectiveness-based program is that the program meets an identified social problem within the community and not a perceived need or as a response to funding availability. In the 262 pages the authors cover every aspect of program design and management from Problem Analysis/Needs Assessment to Planning, Designing and Tracking the Intervention to Calculating the Costs and Value.

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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How a CEO & His Staff Are Making the Balance of Work & Family a Priority

When Mark Earley became president and CEO of PFM (Prison Fellowship and Breakpoint Ministries) in 2002, he brought with him a clear and well-practiced commitment to his wife, Cynthia, and six children (ages 10-23). "We had set boundaries early on in our marriage. We decided work would not overwhelm married life or family life." He developed the principle years earlier as a practicing lawyer, and later as he served in the Virginia state senate and as the state’s Attorney General. "The only time it didn’t work well was when I was running for Governor."

Mark admits he didn’t always quite make the mark. "I’ve gotten myself overbooked and overscheduled." Today, he reminds the PFM staff there’s little difference between the ministry staff and other organization staff when it comes to divorce and other family issues: "We need to make sure what we say is a priority really is a priority in how we allocate our time. Neglecting the relationships in our lives is always a bad decision." His advice to
his staff:

bullet When the day is over, it’s over. Go home.
bullet Do not bring work home.
bullet Don’t work on weekends unless absolutely necessary.
bullet Make it a point to spend family time with an open Bible and in prayer.
bullet Take your family with you to work so they can see what you do.

"Some leaders think travel is a badge of importance," says Mark, "but for me, the more I travel, the more it shows my stupidity. You really have to be ruthless (and say ‘No’). You have to be the guardian of your gate." In ministry, he admits, everything can seem urgent or a crisis. "I think the big problem for Christian leaders is that every need takes on a sense of a call. You really have to stay mission focused. If you can stay focused, it helps you to say ‘no’ to certain things." To this end, Mark requires all his direct reports to take a day of retreat once a quarter to reflect on their personal walk with the Lord, their relationship with their family, and their personal life balance. "One thing managers can do is build into their expectations of the job the opportunity for people to draw away. Everyone needs the chance to refocus on how they’re doing on the balance."

Excerpted from Christian Management Report, July/August 2007

Make a Comment/?

Get more tips on inspiring great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

Breaking the Mold: Redesigning Work For Productive & Satisfying Lives, by Lotte Bailyn
Striking A Balance: Work Family, Life, by Robert Drago

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Just a few of the TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.  Associates on our Day Off at Pheasant Run Resort.

10AM arrive for first spa appointments (some chose massage, others facial or body wrap, manicure or pedicure)

11AM more spa appointments

12 noon lunch and swimming at the pool

2PM more spa appointments

3PM yet more appointments

4PM close of day show off your soft skin, relaxation form massage, etc and talk about the day at the pool

We took the day off to talk about something other than work in the company of our colleagues. From the agenda at right, you can see we got beautiful, swam (OK, it ended up being a super windy cloudy day, but we ate at the pool!) And talked about everything non-business. We felt great, looked great smelt (smelled?) Great...what a joy!

NEXT YEAR — we’re going back to a resort and staying overnight (the day was too short) — keeping the spa appointments, lunch & swimming (bring your children!), and adding golf  and a murder mystery dinner show and breakfast the next day!


Get Participant’s Ideas For What to Learn

To solicit input and glean new insights into the marketplace it serves, Sage Software Inc. in Irvine, CA, asked the 2,900 partners and resellers who attended its 2006 Insights Conference to submit questions to the Sage executive team when registering for the event.

Conference organizers reviewed the questions, weeded out redundancies, and fed the questions up the Sage food chain for answers. The attendees-submitted questions informed a keynote panel and Q&A session led by members of the company’s executive team. At the session, the questions were displayed on a large screen at the front of the room, which also displayed multiple-choice answer options. Participants used instant-polling devices to make selections. Within minutes, results were displayed for all in the room to see. Sage executives then provided their own in-depth answers to each question.

The session provided an educational experience for Sage’s partners, and gave them an opportunity to interact directly with Sage executives and feel like they were being heard. Sage executives left the session equipped with valuable insights and plenty of customer-driven ideas.

From Corporate Event, Spring 2007

You may not be doing partner/reseller conferences, but this idea is applicable for your employee training, too!

Learner-Centered Training, by Maryellen Weimer
Order by emailing or calling 800-469-3560. Mention RIR for 10% off.
Begin with the Brain: Orchestrating The Learner-Centered Classroom, by Martha Kaufeldt

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“Companies Are Colder These Days”

Do you want that said about your organization? Read an excerpt from Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bait & Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream:

"Companies are colder these days" is how Hillary Meister put it. "There’s no sense of stability anymore. A lot has to do with greed." Donna Eudovique echoed her: "It’s so cold-blooded now. There’s no warning, no thanks, just ‘take you stuff and don’t come back tomorrow.’" For all that they missed their salary and benefits, no job seeker I met ever expressed nostalgia for the camaraderie of the workplace, perhaps because they had experienced so little of it. In her most recent job, one of my informants felt she had been marked for firing almost from day one, when she unwillingly confessed to having been treated for cancer. During the interviews, everyone had been friendly, but after learning of her illness:

"It was weird. They were like avoiding me. I think they were looking for every tiny mistake. . . They didn’t have an orientation. They didn’t want me asking for feedback."

Jeff Clement, who had worked in IT staffing and sales, told me: "I’m bitter and cynical about corporate America because I’ve seen far too many decisions just based on the bottom line. It’s not just Enron and WorldCom. I honestly think I lost my last job over ethics. I had someone actually ask me: ‘Are your values worth more than your paycheck?’ They think you can be evil all day and then go home and live the American dream."

Corporations cannot of course offer a completely stable and nurturing environment for their employees: businesses fail; consumer tastes change; technology marches along. The Cheese, in other words, is always Moving. But we do expect corporations to provide jobs; at least that is the rationale given for every corporate tax cut, public subsidy, or loosening of regulations. The most recent corporate tax break, for example, is provided by the appealingly title American Jobs Creation Act, although it does nothing at all to encourage job creation. Elected officials coddle the corporations for our sake, we are always told; there is no other way to generate jobs.

Once, not so many decades ago, the job-generating function ranked higher among corporate imperatives. CEOs were more likely to stand up to the board of directors and insist on retaining employees rather than boosting dividends in the sort-term by laying people off. Appalled by the mass lay-offs in her family’s firm, Claire Giannini, daughter of the founder of the Bank of America, recalled the days when "executives took a pay cut so that the lower ranks could keep their jobs." A corporation may be a "person" under the law, but we understand it to be composed of many hundreds or thousands of actual people—which is what makes it corporate in the original sense of the word.

It is the corporate, or collective, aspect of corporations that has fallen into disrepair. There are 2 legal ways to make money: by increasing sales or by cutting costs. In most cases, a corporation’s highest operating expense is its payroll, making it a tempting target for cuts. In addition, the mergers and acquisitions that so appeal to CEO egos inevitably result in lay-offs, as the economies of scale are realized. Or downsizing may be undertaken as a more or less routine way of pleasing the shareholders, who, thanks to stock options, now include the top-level managers.

So, by eliminating other people’s jobs, top management can raise its own income. The trend was clear in the mid-nineties: CEOs who laid off large numbers of employees were paid better than those who didn’t. In the last few years, outsourcing has reaped the greatest rewards for CEOs: compared to other firms, compensation has increased five times faster at the fifty U.S. firms that do the most outsourcing of service jobs."

Put in blunt biological terms, the corporation has become a site for internal predation, where one person can advance by eliminating another one’s job. In his business advice book, QBQ (which stands, mysteriously, for "the questions behind the
question"), John G. Miller quotes ‘a senior leader of a financial institution’: "Sometimes people say to me, ‘I don’t want to take risks.’ I tell them, ‘You and I had better take risks, because there are about a dozen people at their computers right now in this building trying to eliminate our jobs!’"

And the management consultant David Noer observes: "Organizations that used to see people as long-term assets to be nurtured and developed now see people as short-term costs to be reduced...They view people as ‘things’ that are but one variable in the production equation, ‘things’ that can be discarded when the profit and loss numbers do not come out as desired."

There are limits of course to this kind of Darwinian struggle. At some point the survivors will no longer be able to absorb the work of those who have been eliminated, no matter how hard they try.

So another question that the unemployed and the precariously employed might want to take up is: Is this any way to do business? Some management consultants, while urging acceptance of the seemingly inevitable demise of the "old paradigm" based on mutual loyalty between the company and its employees, nevertheless argue that the "lean and mean" trend ultimately undermines the business, as more and more work is left to the exhausted, insecure survivors.

Excerpted from Bait and Switch : The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, by Barbara Ehrenreich

If you read RECRUIT you already know how Barbara went undercover for 10 months as a job seeker. What can you do/what are you already doing to make your workplace not feel cold-blooded to your staff?

Bait and Switch : The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, by Barbara Ehrenreich
Healing the Wounds, by David Noer
     Order by emailing or calling 800-469-3560. Mention RIR for 10% off.

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

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

October 15-17, 2007
Training Tech Solutions Conference & Expo, Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, UT,

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.

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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