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SEPTEMBER QUESTION OF THE MONTH (QOTM)
What summer programs worked well this year for
inspiring employees (picnics, short work week, etc.)?
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September Special Days
Hispanic Heritage Month
Better Breakfast Month
Self Improvement Month
Read-A-New Book Month
School Success Month
Got ya covered: have a chorizo sausage biscuit with salsa for breakfast,
while teaching yourself to play “Feliz Navidad” on the piano, while reading
a new book... at school.
September 17-23 – Rehabilitation Awareness Celebration Week
September 17-23 – Ballroom Dance Week
September 17-23 – Singles Week (Tennis or marital status?)
September 24-30 – Dog Week
September 24-30 – Religious Freedom Week (Remember, the Constitution says
freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion)
September 8 – Pardon Me Day & Nose Hair Maintenance Day (not touching
this with 10 foot nose trimmers!)
September 9 – Teddy Bear Day & Hot Dog Day
September 10 – Swap Ideas Day
September 12 – Video Games Day & Chocolate Milkshake Day
September 13 – Positive Thinking Day, Peanut Day, & Helicopter Day
September 14 – Cream-filled Donut Day, Hug A Crabby Stranger Day (this
could be dangerous), & Eat A Hoagie Day
September 15 – Hat Day & Make a Hat Day
September 16 – Collect Rocks Day & Working Parents Day
September 17 – Citizenship Day & U.S. Constitution Day
September 18 – Thank You Day
September 19 – International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Avast, ye
September 20 – Student Day
September 21 – World Gratitude Day, Miniature Golf Day, & International Day
September 22 – Rosh Hashanah & Ice Cream Cone Day
September 23 – Chocolate Day & Fishing Day
September 24 – Ramadan, Good Neighbor Day, & World Heart Day
September 25 – Family Day, New Horizons Day, & One Hit Wonder Day
September 26 – Pancake Day
September 28 – Strawberry Cream Pie Day
September 29 – Pumpkin Day & Coffee Day
September 30 – Ask A Stupid Question Day (If only people limited this to
only 1 day a year!)
INC. for ideas on how to
celebrate any of these days.
The Compelling Case for the Corporate Tithe
Imaging how people you’re trying to attract to work in your organization
would feel about this kind of commitment. A year ago, we wrote about the
giving Office Depot does and how it helps their recruiting efforts. What
could it do for yours?
The founders of Civicom laid out a fresh and noteworthy model for
entrepreneurs wishing to combine a desire to support people who are less
fortunate with the pursuit of business success. 10% of the company’s
founding stock (a “tithe”) was pledged to World Vision—an organization
dedicated to attacking the root causes of poverty around the world.
Christians—and those of the Jewish and Islam faiths as well—are exhorted
to “give (at least) 10% of what our fields produce”, a simple but wise
mechanism for supporting people in a day when substantially all of the
population was involved in farming. Because most of us no longer grow crops
and livestock, the commonly adopted modern-day translation is that of giving
10% of one’s income. For an organization, an up-front pledge of stock,
annual sales or profits is worthy of consideration. At Civicom, we chose an
up-front pledge of stock and here’s why (you can easily apply these to sales
or profits, too):
First, for a successful organization, stock value
appreciation augments and often significantly exceeds the salary
earned during the process of creating that value. The challenge was
not to give 10% of what we earn working in the field, but rather to
give 10% of the value created in our fields. Stock is, in fact, a
representation of the value created in one’s firm or "field" of
Second, an up-front pledge, whether stocks, sales or
profits, is an act of faith—the
“first fruits” concept, so to speak.
This is what’s asked of us and, counter-intuitively, it’s perhaps
easier to give at the beginning when the value is somewhat abstract,
than after the value has appreciated.
Third, even without the 3000-year-old principle, one can
see that if people who share a common cause support each other’s
undertakings, they’ll succeed beyond what could have happened
without such support. This is the enduring notion:
“If you do good
things, good things happen”.
Fourth, the 10% pledge becomes an integral part of the
organization’s culture, sets it to higher standards, gives employees
an elevated sense of purpose and the leader a strengthened belief
that the forces of good will are allied in the endeavor. There’s no
better time than during the stressful days of a startup to tap into
the oft repeated, if not necessarily in financial terms, then
perhaps in more important ways.
Fifth (and most important), taking this idea to its
extreme, if a significant portion of successful organizations were
to follow this model, the problems of poverty and hunger would be
substantially diminished within a few generations. Keep in mind,
every business was once a new venture, and the financial scale of
serious poverty around the globe is minuscule, compared with the
annual value created in corporations.
The Economist recently editorialized against corporate
philanthropy on the basis that it amounts to management choosing charitable
causes for the shareholders, while a more appropriate process is to maximize
return and leave donation decisions to shareholders.
Our pledge model reverses the paradigm. Founding shareholders do make the
decision, up-front, enhancing their contribution by enabling the very act
itself to have a bearing on the actual value created.
Adapted from an article by
David West, Founder & CEO of Civicom Inc.,
in the Christian Management Report, 12/04.
Corporate Social Investing: The Breakthrough Strategy for Giving and
Getting Corporate Contributions, by Curt Weeden
Doing Well & Doing Good: Money, Giving, and Caring in a Free Society,
by Os Guinness
Call 800-469-3560 or e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org for both. (10%
off by mentioning “RIR”)
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
Stoneybrooke School 5th Graders as they return
Wacos Regional Medical Center
Pioneer Network Conference Bookstore customers
VA Medical Center (Wilkes-Barre, PA) volunteers
How to Determine the Perfect Job For People
AUGUST QUESTION OF THE MONTH (QOTM)
We asked you:
What do you wish you’d known before you started
your current job?
A few answers (and,
“amazingly”, no one wanted us to print who they were!):
of my first manager.”
“If I would have
only known more history on the person I was replacing. He
was demoted and now reports to me.”
“I wish I had known how political the environment was for a
non-profit organization. I might have stayed in the private
sector and steered clear from the political back-stabbing
Leave them in a conference room for 4 hours. Then, you go
back to see what they’re doing:
If they don’t look up when you enter the room, assign them to the
If they’re counting the butts in the ashtray, put them in Finance.
If they’ve taken the table apart, put them in Engineering.
If they’re screaming and waving their arms, send them off to
If they’ve left early, put them in Sales.
From Bits & Pieces, March 4,
1993, p. 10
Love those COLORFUL QUOTE POSTERS
you see in
group training and conference bookstores?
Email or call
800-469-3560 to find out how to get packs of
the topics you need.
|| 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!
In the September/October 2006 issue,
CISPI Newsletter printed, "Design Training So People
Learn Easily, Quickly, and With High Retention!", by Carolyn B.
Thompson, President of
The Leadership Genius of George
W. Bush: 10 Common Sense Lessons from the Commander-in-Chief,
by Carolyn B. Thompson & James W. Ware has been translated into
In August, Christian Management
Association Magazine published 3 articles by Carolyn B.
Thompson, President of
SYSTEMS, INC.: "Can
Baby Boomers Effectively Manage the Next Generation?", "Can An Old
Dog Learn New Tricks or Can Boomers Really Learn a New Way to
Manage?", and "Retaining Your Gen Y Staff".
Give Your Staff A Nudge in Self Improvement
We hear so much about how important employee happiness, satisfaction, &
wellness are to our ability to service our customers. What are we doing
about it though? Give a copy to all your employees of this list that U.S.
News & World Report assembled last year. If you want the explanation/ideas
that go with each, email
and we’ll send it to you:
Your Gray Matter
to New Music
Back on the Fees
Your Credit Cards
for the Worst
an Emergency Plan
to File Really Well
the Can of Pop
Your Bike Helmet
out for Deer
a Carbon Monoxide Detector
a Paper Shredder
in the Dark Corners
the Right Shoe Size
Vitamins–the Right Vitamins
Excerpted from U.S. News & World Report; 12/27/2004-1/3/2005, Vol. 137 Issue 23
50 Success Classics: Winning Wisdom for Life
& Work From 50 Landmark Books, by Tom Butler-Bowdon
Order by emailing
or calling 800-469-3560. (10% off by mentioning “RIR”)
Calculating E-Learning ROI
E-learning is one tool in your "Helping Employees Do Their Jobs" tool
kit. Like the other tools (group training, OJT, self-study paper-based), you
need to be able to determine a financial return on your investment. Only if
we can truly demonstrate an ROI in dollar figures will e-learning become an
ongoing part of the tool kit.
It’s difficult to assign a dollar figure to e-learner’s most important
benefits. Sure, you can calculate how many airline tickets your company
didn’t have to buy because a whole division participated in Microsoft Office
training online. But can you calculate how much better your managers
communicate with their direct reports since they took that course on online
communication skills? E-learning’s less tangible improvements are no less
valuable than the savings in travel expenses the method yields, but
intangibles are more difficult to document and justify to senior-level
Fortunately, many training evaluation experts have developed models for
determining the value of training experiences. Two models stand out. One
developed by researcher Donald Kirkpatrick and another enhanced by his
colleague Jack Phillips, form a logical framework to examine ROI from both a
human and business performance perspective.
The models evaluate training benefits on several levels. Critical to
both is the concept of “chain of effect”, which links each benefit level to
others. Each level of measurement depends on the previous level, as well
as the next. Without this link, it’s difficult to conclude with any degree
of confidence that training is responsible for improvements in performance.
Kirkpatrick’s original model considers the value of training on four
levels and was laid out in Evaluating Training Programs: The Four
Levels (Berrett-Koehler, 1998 2nd edition). Phillips
expanded on Kirkpatrick’s model in Accountability in Human Resource
Management (Gulf Professional Publishing Company, 1996), suggesting
that another level be added to calculate a company’ return on investment.
Thus, an organization cannot ultimately measure ROI at the fifth level of
training benefits without taking accurate measurements at the other four
Evaluating training programs begins with Level I, which answers
the question, “What are participants’ reactions to the training and what do
they plan to do with the material?” Trainers measure this with what they
call “smile sheets” — surveys or questionnaires that measure whether the
training was meaningful or enjoyable. These surveys should also include
sections on how the employee plans to use the lessons learned.
Level II answers, “What skills, knowledge, or attitudes have been
changed or acquired (with the training) and to what extent?” Achievement
tests measure how well the employee learned the information or skill
Level III answers, “Did participants apply what they learned in
training to their jobs?” Observer ratings and observations measure the
degree to which the employee applies what he or she has learned. Observers
(usually managers and supervisors) must be thoroughly trained in the
evaluation system. Managers need to establish a system for leveling out the
inconsistencies between observers’ judgments.
Level IV answers, “Did this on-the-job application produce measurable
results?” These results may include increases in productivity and
efficiency, decreases in absenteeism and occupational accidents, decreases
in customer complaints, and so forth. Isolating the effects of training from
other variables that produce an effect in these areas, either through
statistics or by using a control group, is vital to getting a clear picture
Level V answers, “Did the monetary value of the produced results
exceed the cost of training?” This is the measurement of ROI, which can be
calculated in several ways.
Formulating Training’s Value
This fifth level gets down to the brass tacks of quantifying the return
on a company’ monetary investment in training and requires a mathematical
formula to determine an answer. Evaluation experts have developed 3 common
formulas for measuring training ROI, each reflecting a different concept of
a company’s return on training investment.
TACTP - TACNP = PNS
||Subtracting the total administrative costs of the new program (TACNP)
from that of the former training program (TACTP) gives the
projected net savings (PNS) for training administration. Although cost
savings are certainly important, ROI encompasses much more than just that.
# of learners
|Dividing the total cost of training (TCT) by the number of
learners gives the cost per learner (CPL) of the training. This
is useful, but again is not a true measure of return on investment. Both
formulas, although frequently cited as measures of return on investment, do
not measure what monetary value or profit is derived from a training
TB (in $) x 100
= ROI %
|Multiplying the total benefits (TB) of training in
dollars by 100 and dividing that by the total training program cost
(TTC) gives the true percentage of ROI in a new program. This
formula, included in Phillips’ Accountability in Human Resources
Management, is the most accurate of the three.
CALCULATE THE TOTAL TRAINING COST (TTC)
Make sure you include costs for paper and other
office supplies, advertising, rentals or purchases of
needed equipment, facility usage, server & telephone
usage, and postage, as well as the costs of your staff
missing the non-training part of their job.
CALCULATE THE TOTAL
need to evaluate the tangible results of
training and assign a monetary value to such
productivity (units produced, items sold,
forms processed, tasks completed)
(less scrap, less waste, less rework of
product, fewer defects)
workers’ compensation insurance claims
customer satisfaction as reflected in an
increase in repeat sales.
These benefits are often called “hard benefits” because they can be
converted easily to a monetary value. Other training benefits such as
improved communication, enhanced corporate image, improved conflict
resolution, increased sensitivity to human diversity, improved employee
morale, and increased employee loyalty are less tangible, more difficult to
convert to dollar figures, and are called
Soft benefits are important, and although they can’t be directly
measured, they can be inferred or indirectly measured by associated
outcomes. One way to approximate the value of soft benefits is to ask
experts within your organization to give a monetary figure for these
intangibles (Example: enhanced corporate image likely shows increase in
sales & decrease in employee turnover). Talk to employees, managers,
supervisors, and executives and then take an average of the numbers they
It’s often difficult to demonstrate increased value of a company’s human
capital. But that doesn’t mean that your training investment must end up on
the expense side of the balance sheet, ripe for budget slicing. By measuring
carefully the results of training and tying training to the strategic
metrics your organization uses to measure its success, you can increase—and
demonstrate the increase in—the return on training dollars.
Adapted from an excellent article – we can’t find the author,
so if you
know who it is, Email us
Employee Handbooks as Retention Tools
Typically, human resource professionals think of employee handbooks as a
tool to communicate policies, establish standards, and protect the
organization from legal liability. Have you considered the role that the
employee handbook plays in helping to keep good employees, particularly in a
tight labor market?
The employee handbook is the primary formal communication tool between
management and employees, yet seldom do managers review this document as a
tool to promote goodwill, establish high standards that contribute to an
ideal work environment, or instill pride in the organization. What can be
done to create a more positive tone in this employee communication tool
without lessening its effectiveness?
Here are some guidelines for reviewing, updating, or writing from scratch
your employee handbook with employee retention and positive employee
relations as a cornerstone:
- Use the handbook as a means of communicating why your
organization is a great place to work. It is not enough to state
your policies and expectations. Frame these standards in light of
your goal of creating an optimal workplace. State that you have high
expectations because you want to have a culture in which employees
are truly valued.
- Eliminate dictatorial and paternalistic language. Too many
employee handbooks sound like the grist for Scott Adams’ cartoons,
including wording such as “employees must,”
and “all employees are
required to,” instead of stating,
“it is the policy at XYZ to . . .”
or “you should” or
To quickly evaluate your employee handbook, do a word check for
the words “must,”
“employees,” and determine
in each case how the language can be modified.
- Break long, difficult-to-read paragraphs into small, bite-size
parcels that are easier to understand and follow. Provide
sub-heads and bullet point key ideas to make the information easier
to reference and digest. Provide examples and mini-cases for
hard-to- understand policies such as vacation policies.
- Explain the positive intentions of management to create an
ideal workplace. Clearly state your positive motives, which may
include the following:
To provide a fair and equitable environment
To help all employees succeed
To follow federal, state, and local laws and
ordinances (especially when these appear
restrictive, in the case of some Wage and Hour
To create a safe and healthy workplace
To eliminate harassment in the workplace so that all
employees can work optimally
To become an "Employer of First Choice"
- Use “you” language when referring to positive intentions; use
“employees” when discussing negative outcomes. For example, your
might write: “You'll want to keep your educational record with HR
updated.” Employees who don’t update their educational records risk
not being considered for promotions or special projects. The word
“you” is one of the most powerful, positive words in the English
language. Use it to create a warmer, user-friendly tone in your
Use an employee retention task force or committee to review
the updated handbook. The members of this task force or
committee can identify language that seems dictatorial, policies
that are unclear, procedures that are not consistent with current
policy, and inaccurate information. They can evaluate tone,
determine management intentions, and check if this document is one
that engenders feelings of pride and commitment.
In a changing labor market, employers must use all their communication
tools to create a more positive work environment and let employees know that
they are valued. In addition, the employee handbook, as a formal, documented
tool for communicating with all employees, should be reviewed and updated so
that it can send the right message to the organization’s valued employees.
From our own Associate Cathy Fyock’s ebriefing from
Cathy Fyock and Innovative Management Concepts, 8/31/06
Hiring Sourcebrook: A Collection of Practical Samples, by
TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.
own Catherine D. Fyock
Create Your Own Employee Handbook: A Legal & Practical Guide,
by Lisa Guerin & Amy Delpo
calling 800-469-3560 or
September 25-27, 2006
IQPC’s E-Learning 2006: Evaluating, Delivering & Aligning E-Learning
Technologies with Business Strategy, Renaissance Atlanta Hotel, Atlanta,
September 26-28, 2006
The Motivation Show: Business Solutions That Motivate People,
McCormick Place, Chicago, IL,
October 4-6, 2006
9th Annual HR Technology Conference & Expo, Navy Pier,
October 4-6, 2006
Strategic HR Conference, Phoenix,
October 16-18, 2006
SHRM Workplace Diversity Conference & Exposition, Los Angeles, CA,
October 23-25, 2006http://www.trainingsolutionsconference.com/learninggroup/3480/index.jsp
Training Magazine’s Training Solutions Conference & Expo, Denver, CO,
November 1-5, 2006
2006 International Career Development Conference: Integrating High Tech
Tools in a High Touch Field, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Santa Clara, CA,
October 2, 2006 begins the Best Christian Workplaces Survey!
Register your organization at
and encourage your employees to take the survey.
October 2-6, 2006 is Customer Service Week!
Global Volunteers (http://www.globalvolunteers.org)
by type of work project
by country and date
by service program conditions
Donate Old Suits
Check with your local Dress Barn. Some have programs to help unfortunate
women get jobs by supplying them with business suits people have donated.
Plus, they offer the donator a 10% off coupon for any purchase. Give a
little, get a little!
Responsibly Dispose of Your Old Electronics
Old Cell Phones
911 Cell Phone Bank provide free emergency cell phones to needful people
through partnerships with law enforcement organizations,
PCs, cell phones, printers, CDs discettes, 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.
PCs to National Cristina Foundation,
PCs and other computer products at Hewlett Packard and Dell. See their
websites for details.
other places to recycle old PCs:
local Electronics recyclers at
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