Recruit, Inspire & Retain

September 2005

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

Great Training for Great Employees

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bullet Attract More Employees By Doing Good – Office Depot Does
bullet Why?
bullet Cool Calls
bullet Gone to the Dogs & Cats! — of Great Inspiration
bullet Training is Useless Without Retention – But How Do You Get Them to Do It?
bullet Terminating Employees With Retention in Mind?
bullet Fun Days to Celebrate/Professional Development Conferences/Ways to Volunteer & Give
(Email Us For Ways to Celebrate the FUN Days to Celebrate)

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Attract More Employees By Doing Good – Office Depot Does

According to an NFIB National Small Business Poll, 91% of small business owners contributed to their communities in the last year. They served as volunteers, made in-kind contributions and cash donations and about 41% contributed in all 3 ways.

The estimated average value of contributions is $6,600 per small employer which amounts to about $40 billion annually.

About 74% volunteered for community and charitable activities, adding up to about 18 working days each year. As many as 1 in 3—about 1.9 million small business employers—serves as an officer in at least 1 community organization.

Most businesses don’t give of their time and money expecting a direct benefit, but it does happen, as people are attracted to companies that do good for their communities.

Office Depot has learned over the past 6 years that their philanthropy makes them special, makes them unique. In an interview with Office Depot’s Director of Corporate Responsibility, Mary Wong, we heard the history of their incredible efforts. She said, “6 years ago we changed the focus of our culture with regards to giving. We gave, but with no focus. And, thus ‘Caring - Making a Difference Was Born.’”

To decide what the focus should be Office Depot asked their customers and their employees, “What is the best impact we can make?” What they heard led them to develop a focus that provides people in the communities served by Office Depot with time (volunteers), material goods (products), and occasionally cash.

Just a sample of what Office Depot does:

teacher discounts every day

350K of backpacks full of supplies (with no branding)

individual store & community appeals (they get 5,000 requests per month)

give to food banks

Teddy Be Caring teddy bear created for Toys For Tots

volunteer program: The Care Connection (volunteer match to a list with an organization like
      Habitat for Humanity)

Gifts in Kind (organization that turns trash into treasures – Office Depot gave leftover tiles from
      new store to a school for mosaic art projects)

Count Me In (business loan program) – Office Depot made baskets for a women’s business
      conference who sold them to raise 50K in funds

We asked Mary how all this has affected the company’s employees, particularly their ability to attract new ones. She told us the story of Chuck Rubin, CMO, “Chuck said our philanthropy was one reason he wanted to work at Office Depot. He and his family looked at the corporation’s Social Responsibility Report and knew that this was obviously a company that cares a great deal. Chuck said that he could see that we walked the talk in 50 states & Canada”.

She also told us that there is a huge sense of pride in this program – she gets 400-500 emails per day, many from employees thanking her for the experiences they’ve had and asking what more they can do in the community.

Remember the vast majority of Office Depot employees are cashiers, a position with the potential for high turnover. Office Depot finds and keeps great employees because of how the company helps in their communities.

Get more tips on recruiting great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  Give & Take: A Candid Account of Corporate Philanthropy, by Reynold Levy
  Compassionate Capitalism: How Companies Can Make Doing Good an Integral Part of Doing Well, by Marc Benioff & Karen Southwick

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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

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Why do banks charge a fee on “insufficient funds” when they know you already don’t have enough?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Why are there still apes, if people evolved from them?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag (like in the produce section) will open from the end you first try?

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that’s falling off the table, you always manage to knock over something else?

How do dead bugs get into enclosed light fixtures?

How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

If at first you don’t succeed, shouldn’t you try doing it like your wife told you to do it?

And Finally...the statistics on sanity are that 1 out of every 4 people are suffering from some sort of mental illness...think of your 3 best friends, if they’re okay, then it’s you.

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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* Becky (1 year after training on teamwork for their whole organization): "I'm definitely seeing signs of teamwork improving here, thanks for asking. We recently held some Bible League core message workshops to discuss how to summarize what we do in a clear and concise way. This training was conducted by an internal staff member and I think it really helped us in the area of communication and breaking down the "silos" between departments."

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Gone to the Dogs & Cats! — of Great Inspiration

  There are 44,874,121 dog owners in the United States, who own a total of 62,965,745 million dogs. Of the 102.8 million house-
holds in the U.S., 33.2
million have at least one cat as a pet, totaling 76,688,522 million cats.
31,589,887 dog owners purchase Christmas gifts for their dogs. 39,091,999 cats receive Christmas gifts from their owners.
9,843,962 dog owners celebrate their dogs’ birthdays. 13,455,002 cats have their birthdays celebrated.

30% of America’s pet owners display their pet’s picture in their home, while 16% of America’s pet owners keep a picture of their pet in their wallet or purse.
Statistics from the American Pet Association, 

And these numbers are from 2001 & 2003. The numbers have only increased since then!

So it’s a pretty good bet that the vast majority of your staff have a pet (or several) and a fun pet activity will be of great inspiration.

Here are some ideas from one of our listservs:

* Have a pet/owner look-a-like contest!
   ^ serve special treats for pets and people
   ^ have your own “stupid pet tricks” competition
   ^ have a pet/owner fashion show
   ^ have a sing/howl/meow-along
   ^ have everyone bring old blankets, towels, newspapers, pet food, etc. and donate it all the
      Humane Society or another rescue organization

* Bring in a veterinarian or dog groomer to do doggy baths, clip nails, etc.

* Bring in someone to have your employee’s pets implanted with an identification microchip for a
   nominal fee (say, $10 compared to $50 at a vet’s office).

* Organize a Doggie Splash Day at a nearby pond or lake:
   ^ have separate sessions for small and large dogs
   ^ partner w/Humane Society to offer free seminars on pet CPR, obedience training, etc.
   ^ contact local vet hospitals & pet supply stores for freebies to give away.
   ^ make sure everyone cleans up after their pets!

* Have a Doggy Fair:
   ^ offer puppy day care
   ^ have prizes for everything from longest ears to fluffiest tail
   ^ have a DJ playing “dog” songs like “Who Let the Dogs Out”
   ^ give out Doggy loot bags

* Bring in a caricature artist and have drawings done of employees with their pets.

Make a Comment/Question

Get more tips on inspiring great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

Between Pets & People: The Importance of Animal Companionship, by Alan Beck & Aaron Katche
The New Work of Dogs: Tending to Life, Love, & Family, by Jon Katz

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Training is Useless Without Retention – But How Do You Get Them
to Do It?

Who cares if you train if no one remembers what they learned? You’re one. But, when setting up training, we used to hear that our clients didn’t have time or money “after the training” for retention (called “follow up” by some). SO, we learned how to build retention into the training (where it was all along, but people didn’t see it that way).

Your 1st action is to eliminate the word “follow up” from your vocabulary. Likewise, any other
word(s) that sound like they are outside the training (pre-work, post-work, homework, before the training, after the training, etc.).

We all know that all the steps necessary for someone to learn, retain, and apply don’t happen during the part that people perceive as THE TRAINING (day they learn with facilitator or do the web-based self-study, or read the book). BUT, if they hear words that lead them to believe it’s something more than THE TRAINING, they say, “Not enough time.”

Your 2nd action then is to use words that describe all parts of the training as a whole (example: tell your learners, “On March 10 you’ll be reading pp. 1-8" (code for pre-work), “on March 11 we’ll all work together as a group for the day” (code for group training), “on March 20 your supervisor will watch you do ABC and give you feedback” (code for post-work).

Your 3rd action is to build in any of these retention techniques:

Actively participate in determining training needs
Actively participate in the design of the training
Select Learners according to established criteria for that training and the need for that skill
Participate in an advance briefing on training
Participate in some training with employees
Arrange meetings between former Learners and those about to learn to discuss how to transfer learned skills to the job
Make sure the learners use the new skills immediately
Have employee complete a Learning Action Plan before they start the learning. Have employee continue to complete during and at the end of learning. Collect and mail 1 copy of completed plan back 3 months after beginning the learning
Conduct a meeting with all staff 2 days before they start the learning to fill out Learning Action Plans and give the opportunity for employees to discuss objectives
Take a survey at the beginning of the learning to determine current skills/knowledge
Show your excitement about the learners learning — what they’ll be able to do when they finish training
Schedule the learner’s workload so they can focus on learning instead of worrying about what’s not getting done
Plan the evaluation method for use after learning (observer checklist, post test, etc.)
Publish a training newsletter (ex. “Plotting our Progress”)
Hold reminder/booster sessions (at regularly scheduled meetings)
Use a Supervisory Follow up Booklet or Learner Reinforcement Booklet (decide which you need), which lists all skills learned, behaviors that should be seen, and what can be done to reinforce the learning
Give constructive and immediate verbal feedback on performance
Plan and communicate rewards and incentives (on-the-spot and/or before the learning starts)
Conduct a meeting with the Learner back on the job to plan use the skills/meet the objectives they wrote on their Learning Action Plan
Have the learners write postcards to themselves re: skills they’ll use and mail/give to them 2 weeks after starting the learning
Have the Learners do a BLOG re: what they’re doing with what they learned
Involve the learners in work-related decisions based on new learning
Request reports from the learners on the use of new skills and knowledge on the job
Create thank you card for employees to write and put in central box about someone they saw doing one of the skills learned
Include at least one method to help learners retain what they learned
√ While learning imagine:
    - boss said they’d be giving a report on what they learned
    - have to do classroom training on what they learned
    - have to write book from new view point
√ Take breaks frequently
√ Plan to review notes regularly after training 3-4 minutes each time - practice during training
√ Create multi-sensory memories of each thing to remember
√ Make visual images linked - especially if there’s movement or humor
√ Play music to stimulate emotional part of brain - long term memory is situated there
√ Record what they want to learn and listen to it & music together
√ Organize material in related categories and label categories
√ Memory flashing - look at notes for a few minutes, then rewrite w/o looking at them, then
   compare the 2 sets. Keep doing this until both sets are the same.
√ Flash cards for review
√ Create a mnemonic device - 3, 5 or 7 letters best
√ Let it sink in overnight after reviewing notes - brain uses sleep as time to file
√ Number the points
√ Whole learning - learn words, add sound, add movement
√ Fluency=mastery - continue learning it after already know it
√ Compress information into chunks and label each chunk, then make a mnemonic for the
    chunk words
√ Use music to associate actions with the speed, etc. of the music and/or lyrics with music
    to remember a list in order or other methods (ex. ABC song)
√ Hold up props or use hand motions while saying words to create pictures (ex. To
    remember cartoon hold up a car and a record while saying the word)
Provide Learners with a job aid for use on the job.
Here are a few examples – just add appropriate steps, etc.:
√ create a screensaver or desktop
√ keyboard template or Hip Pockets
√ keyboard or monitor calendar
√ other promotional products (mouse pads, stress balls, lunch bags)
√ jar of slips of paper
√ decks of cards or single card
√ table tent
√ posters
√ name badges forms

From the TRAINING SYSTEMS Learning Format. Call TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.  at
800-469-3560, email for ideas on how to use these retention techniques.

Make a Comment/Question

Get more tips on training great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

Creating Highly Interactive Training Quickly & Effectively, by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.  own Carolyn B. Thompson. (10% off by typing “RIR” in Special Instructions) Or e-mail
Training Games: Everything You Need to Know About Games to Reinforce Learning, by Susan El-Shany.

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Terminating Employees with Retention in Mind?

I know it sounds a bit odd to terminate people so you can retain, but think about it — if an employees needs to be asked to leave and you do it wrong (see Recruit, Inspire & Retain “Horrors from The Bad Firing Files”), you’ll lose the staff you want to keep because they’re not interested in working in an organization like that.

Last month we listed the people to people termination issues, this month it’s the technical ones.

Tips from The Society of Human Resource Management’s Deborah Keary:

1. Get Help
An effective human resource manager will be familiar with employment laws that govern employee discharge. This manager can help you review the employee’s work record using job descriptions, attendance records, and company policy in order to bolster your case. The human resource manager can also act as a third party mediator.

2. Say It With a File
Document the proceedings as soon as possible so all the details will be fresh in your mind.

3. Remain Calm and Courteous
Avoid confrontation or raising your voice. Never escort someone out of the building with his belongings in a cardboard box. That creates a scene and embarrasses everyone.

4. Never Speak of the Matter
The next day after the termination, send out a simple email to staff, then drop it. Avoid participating in the rumors. Privacy is essential to avoid lawsuits. Never be concerned with justifying your actions. Even if the employee was the “life of the party” during office happy hours, most of his co-workers will understand the reasons for the termination.

Adapted from JJCIET Training Source, Aug. 05

Rightful Termination, by Ron Conti & Richard Stiller. (10% off by typing “RIR” in Special Instructions) Or e-mail
I Have to Fire Someone, by Richard S. Deams

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Buy The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush: 10 Common Sense Lessons from the Commander-in-Chief from our online TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. catalog or by E-mailing or calling 800-469-3560.

WWW.TRAININGSYS.COM Get FREE access to great recruiting, inspiring, training & retaining tips, ideas & resources where you can:

  • Download articles for your newsletter!!!

  • Use free online assessments!

  • Purchase books, tapes & fun incentives to help you & your employees be the best!

  • Get new tips each month on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining great employees!

  • Click on links to great managing and training websites!

  • Purchase our famous inspirational quote posters!

  • Get answers to your employee recruiting, inspiring, retaining, & training questions from our experts!

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


Classical Music Month
Library Card Sign-Up Month
Read-A-New Book Month
National Literary Month
National Courtesy Month
Self-Improvement Month
(Get a library card—being very polite to the librarian—& read a self-improvement book while listening to classical music.)

September 18-24:
National Flower Week
National Adult Day Car Center Week

September 25-30:
National Food Service Workers Week
National Dog Week (aren’t “dog days” in August?)

September 8 – National Boss/Employee Exchange Day
September 9 – Teddy Bear Day & the day canned laugh track
was first used in 1950
September 10 – Rosh Hashanah
September 10 – Hot Dog Day & Swap Ideas Day
September 11 – Grandparents Day & Patriot Day
September 12 – Chocolate Milkshake Day
September 13 – Positive Thinking Day & Programmer’s Day
September 14 – Cream-filled Donut Day
September 19 – Yom Kippur
September 19 – Thank You Day
September 21 – National Pecan Cookie Day
International Day of Peace
September 22 - Ice Cream Cone Day,
National White Chocolate Day,
National Laundry Workers Day (observe the first 2, then thank the dry cleaner when you drop off your stained shirt)
September 23 – Dogs in Politics Day (WHAT??),
Landscape-Nursery Day,
Checkers Day,
National Chocolate Day
September 24 – National Cherries Jubilee Day
September 25 – National Food Service Workers Day
September 26 – National Pancake Day & Family Day
September 27 – National Chocolate Milk Day
September 28 – Ask A Stupid Question Day (some celebrate
this every day!)

National Strawberry Cream Pie Day
September 29 – Pumpkin Day,
National Mocha Day,
International Whistle-Off Day


September 23-25, 2005
National Christian Leadership Coaching Summit, Sheraton Capital Center, Raleigh, NC, 

September 25-27, 2005 Employers of Excellence Conference 2005, Phoenix, AZ, 

September 25-28, 2005
TechLearn Exploring Learning and Technology Conference, Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, NV,

September 28-30, 2005
Speed to Competency: Developing People, Building Capabilities Conference, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, CA, 

October 19-21, 2005
8th Annual HR Executive’s Technology Conference & Expo, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL,

October 24-26, 2005
Workplace Diversity “New Challenges, New Opportunities” Conference, Las Vegas NV, 

November 7-11, 2005
International Career Development Conference (ICDC), Hyatt Regency Orange County, CA, 

November 14-16, 2005
2005 SMT Annual Conference, Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia Island, FL,

SHRM HR Generalist Certificate Programs, 
October 31-November 2, Nashville, TN
November 14-16, Washington, CD
December 5-7, Phoenix, AZ

Dave Meier’s 3-Day Accelerated Learning Training Methods Workshops, 
September 12-14, 2005, Embassy Suites, Denver, CO
September 16-18, 2005, AmeriSuites, Dallas, TX
October 3-5, 2005, The Geneva Inn, Lake Geneva, WI
November 7-9, 2005, Washington Athletic Club, Seattle, WA
December 5-7, 2005, Embassy Suites, Phoenix, AZ

Special Opportunity!
Participate in the fourth annual Best Christian Places to Work survey, sponsored by Christianity Today. Organizations with 10 or more employees can get more information and register at


Katrina Disaster Relief
So many of our meeting planner & hotel colleagues are hard hit by Katrina. Many of your clients & family may be too. Follow these guidelines so your help really helps!
Who to give money to:
○ Large, brand-name charities that have vast experience with natural disasters:
    American Red Cross, 800-HELP NOW
    America’s Second Harvest, 312-263-2303
    AmeriCares, 800-468-HELP
    United Methodist Committee on Relief, 800-554-8683
    Salvation Army, 800-SAL-ARMY
    Catholic Charities USA, 800-919-9338
    Jewish Federation Katrina Relief Fund, 312-444-2854
○ Look to organizations that dealt successfully with handling the tsunami relief.

Who not to give to:
○ Don’t donate money to anyone who calls on the phone.
○ Don’t give cash to anyone.
○ Don’t donate money to someone who says they’ll send someone to collect.
○ Stay away from buckets at eh convenience store.
○ Stay away from benefits that spend a portion of the money on entertainment rather than giving
   100% to the cause.

How to help:
○ The Episcopal Church’s Relief and Development team is accepting donations at 800-334-7626,
○ Check with your local city hall and churches to see what they’ve set up.

Sing to Live — Live to Sing
Join this not-for-profit group brings together singers whose lives have been directly or indirectly touched by breast cancer. Call 773-250-SING or send an email to Include your contact information & what part your sing (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass).


Responsibly Dispose of Your Old Electronics
Donate PCs to National Cristina Foundation, 

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

Find local Electronics recyclers at and 

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Get FREE access to great recruiting, inspiring, training & retaining tips, ideas & resources where you can:
* Download articles for your newsletter!
* Use free online assessments!
* Purchase books, tapes & fun incentives to help you & your employees be the best! 
* Get new tips each month on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining great employees!
*Have a recruitment, inspiration, training, or retention idea or question? Send e-mail to and we’ll post your idea or question (and the answer) in Answers & Ideas on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining Great Employees at 
* Click on links to great managing and training websites!
* Purchase our famous inspirational quote posters!
* Get answers to your employee recruiting, inspiring, retaining, & training questions from our experts!


Copyright 2005 TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. All rights reserved.


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