Recruit, Inspire & Retain

September 2006

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

Great Training for Great Employees

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bullet FUN Days to Celebrate (Contact TRAINING SYSTEMS For Ways to Celebrate the FUN Days to Celebrate!)
bullet RECRUIT - The Compelling Case for the Corporate Tithe
bullet Who’s Wearing Fun Meters?
bullet How to Determine the Perfect Job For People
bullet Cool Calls
bullet INSPIRE - Give Your Staff A Nudge in Self Improvement
bullet TRAIN - Calculating E-Learning ROI
bullet RETAIN - Employee Handbooks as Retention Tools
bullet Professional Development Conferences
bullet Ways to Volunteer & Give


What summer programs worked well this year for inspiring employees (picnics, short work week, etc.)?


Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain


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Remember, Recruit, Inspire & Retain back issues are available at

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

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September Special Days
September is...
Hispanic Heritage Month
Biscuit Month
Better Breakfast Month
Self Improvement Month
Piano 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 landlubbers!)
September 20 – Student Day
September 21 – World Gratitude Day, Miniature Golf Day, & International Day of Peace
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!)

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

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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 work.

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.

Get more tips on recruiting great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

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 for both. (10% off by mentioning “RIR”)

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

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Fun Meter   * Stoneybrooke School 5th Graders as they return to class
* Fitzpatrick
* Career Services
* Wacos Regional Medical Center
* Pioneer Network Conference Bookstore customers
* VA Medical Center (Wilkes-Barre, PA) volunteers

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How to Determine the Perfect Job For People


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!):
“The idiosyncrasies 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 public sector.”

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 Security Department.
  • 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 Manufacturing.
  • If they’ve left early, put them in Sales.
  • From Bits & Pieces, March 4, 1993, p. 10




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    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!

    Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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    * 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 TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.
    * 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 Bulgarian!
    * In August, Christian Management Association Magazine published 3 articles by Carolyn B. Thompson, President of TRAINING 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". 

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    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:

    Set Your Priorities
    Learn to Meditate
    Clear Your Closets
    Donate Your Phone
    Save Your Snapshots
    Store by Season
    Bag it
    Move to Bismarck
    Quit Your Job
    Use Your Gray Matter
    Grow a Plant
    Listen to New Music
    Read More Books
    Have More Sex
    Fix Your Finances
    Cut Back on the Fees
    Rebalance Investments
    Freeze Your Credit Cards
    Plan for the Worst
    Refigure Your FICO
    Make an Emergency Plan
    Master Your Data
    Learn to File Really Well
    Exercise a Little
    Try Greener Greens
    Consider Cantaloupe
    Wipe out White
    Toss the Can of Pop
    Treat Yourself
    Quit Smoking
    Get Married
    Become a Birder
    Wear Your Bike Helmet
    Watch out for Deer
    Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector
    Get a Paper Shredder
    Peer in the Dark Corners
    Floss Your Teeth
    Stretch Regularly
    Wear the Right Shoe Size
    Take Vitamins–the Right Vitamins
    Take Up Philosophy

    Excerpted from U.S. News & World Report; 12/27/2004-1/3/2005, Vol. 137 Issue 23

    Make a Comment/?

    Get more tips on inspiring great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

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    Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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    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 decision makers.

    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 levels.

    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 presented.

    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 of ROI.

    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


    = CPL


    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 investment.

    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.
    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.
    You need to evaluate the tangible results of training and assign a monetary value to such factors as:
    • increased productivity (units produced, items sold, forms processed, tasks completed)

    • improved quality (less scrap, less waste, less rework of product, fewer defects)

    • reduced turnover

    • reduction in lost-time injuries

    • reduction in workers’ compensation insurance claims

    • increase in 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.

    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 give you.

    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

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    Evaluating E-Learning, by William Horton. Order by Emailing or calling 800-469-3560. (10% off by mentioning “RIR”)
    Managing E-Learning Strategies: Design, Delivery, Implementation, & Evaluation, by Badrul Huda Khan
    Ten Steps to Determining the Return on Your Training Investment (worksheets for planning and/or measuring the ROI), by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.

    Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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    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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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 you may.

      To quickly evaluate your employee handbook, do a word check for the words must,” “require,” “required,” “employees, and determine in each case how the language can be modified.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 guidelines)
      * 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"
    1. 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 handbook.
    2. 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

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    September 25-27, 2006
    IQPC’s E-Learning 2006: Evaluating, Delivering & Aligning E-Learning Technologies with Business Strategy, Renaissance Atlanta Hotel, Atlanta, GA,

    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, Chicago, IL,

    October 4-6, 2006
    Strategic HR Conference, Phoenix,

    October 16-18, 2006
    SHRM Workplace Diversity Conference & Exposition, Los Angeles, CA,

    October 23-25, 2006
    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!

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

    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
    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 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.

    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

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


    Copyright 2006 TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. All rights reserved.


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