FUN DAYS TO CELEBRATE
Get a Foot in the Door by Dropping Through the Mail Slot
As you begin brainstorming the qualifications of your ideal job candidates, you might also think about the various things you could have in common with them, such as interest in your industry, work ethic, integrity, eagerness to learn. But there's one very valuable characteristic that you share every day, and you might overlook: They read their mail.
Like you, they don’t read all of it. Sure, those over-sized, thick stock envelopes are irresistible because they undoubtedly contain personal notes or birthday cards. There is the junk mail addressed to "occupant," that you likely throw away without a second thought, just as your ideal candidates do.
There’s also a third category - and that’s where recruitment gold flies through the mail for the price of a stamp. It’s called direct mail. While it’s not personal mail, like a birthday card, it is mail addressed specifically to the recipient by name. There’s something so enticing about the envelope, that you (or your potential candidates) rip it open because you know it contains a promise that requires maybe just a little bit of action, and the payoff is delightful.
It’s been used for years as a great way to raise funds, invite people to their high school reunions, offer 20% off any one item at Bed Bath and Beyond. Direct mail is a great tool for contacting candidates exactly where you can find them - at home or at work.
Direct mail is also effective because it can be highly targeted. Your message only goes to those who you believe will be most interested in your opportunity. You can subdivide your targeted list of potential candidates via a wide variety of categories: their profession, education, age group, even zip code. Afterward, you can call them by name, which is far better than "Dear Occupant."
For example, a home health agency wanted to target older women with work experience to provide unskilled care in the homes of frail, elderly clients who needed help with bathing, dressing, cooking, or housekeeping. The agency’s owner found a mailing list that contained the names and addresses of women who met the qualifications and who lived in certain zip code areas. Knowing its older employees wanted to work in their own neighborhoods, the agency identified the zip codes where they had the greatest number of clients. It then sent a targeted mailer, appealing to its "neighbors" to put their experience to work by using the skills they already had. The agency’s owner encouraged interested individuals to call for more information or send in a form to receive additional information. Years later, this remains as one of the agency’s most successful recruitment campaigns.
The direct mail recruitment approach requires a little bit of strategy. First, think about who might have the best access to the addresses of your ideal candidates. You might contact data base companies, independent research companies, recruitment research companies, professional organizations, seminar providers, or recruitment advertising agencies. Some newspapers, magazines, and marketing firms also develop and keep current mailing lists that you can purchase.
When you use the direct mail approach, you must also look for ways to distinguish your envelope from the pile of coupons for car washes and 2-for-1 pizza specials. Assuming that your list is a relatively short one, use first class postage - via a stamp rather than a meter. If you can’t hand address the envelope (which is the best way to send the message that this isn’t junk mail), set your word-processing software to print the addresses directly on the envelopes (rather than on sheets of labels). Also, avoid self-mailing brochures because these look too much like advertisements.
Finally, as every direct mail consultant will tell you, be sure to end your message with a "call to action." Tell the recipients what you want them to do with the information they’ve just read. Call you for an appointment or an informational interview. Attend an open house. Visit your web site’s career page to learn more. Give them something to do! That will show you how well they take direction.
From Employment Strategies, our own Cathy Fyock (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Get Yer Posters Here!
At last count we were at 1,001 posters! I remember thinking when we started making these 7 years ago, "Maybe we’ll find a few more good quotes..." This was when we had about 100!
Here are a few of my favorites — you can send them to your staff, one each day, or to a person know needs to hear one of them:
TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. Associate Andy Kaufman
Decline and Fall of the Roman
I just started Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I had to present a paper on it back in high school and I’ve been wanting to re-read it. With a lot of travel in the 3rd and 4th quarter of this year, the timing is perfect. In Daniel Boorstin’s introduction he had an interesting quote: "For Gibbon, while human nature is anything but unintelligible, it remains only partly explicable. For him the menace to understanding was not so much ignorance as the illusion of knowledge."
In our business we have the opportunity to learn rich theories and models that explain personality styles and other aspects of human nature. Yet I’m probably less immune than I want to admit to the illusion of knowledge—that I can explain it all because "they’re an ENTJ" or "a High D", when in fact I’m over-simplifying and perhaps being held back from greater understanding because of it.
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).
Writing Skills That Inspire Your Staff and the People They Write To
Everybody writes these days — with email as our main communication method, there are precious few positions in an organization that don’t require readable writing.
This opinion article was very useful in our company:
When I grade written work by students, one of the phrases I hate most is "It goes without saying," in response to which I scribble on their essays, "Then why write it?" Another favorite of undergraduates is "It's not for me to say," to which I jot in their blue books, "Then why continue writing?"
I also despise the phrase "Who can say?" to which I reply, "You! That's who! That's the point of writing an essay!"
In teaching bioethics, I constantly hear about "playing God," as in "To allow couples to choose X is to play God." Undergraduates use the phrase constantly as a rhetorical hammer, as if saying it ends all discussion. And I don't even want to get into "opening Pandora's box" or "sliding down the slippery slope."
Sometimes the clichés are simply redundant, as when my students write of a "mass exodus." Can there be a "small" exodus? "Exodus" implies a mass of people. Other times the expressions defy the rules of logic. A student in a philosophy class writes that philosophy "bores me to tears." But if something brings him to tears, it's certainly not boring.
I also fear that most students don't know what they are saying when they write that a question "boggles the mind." Does every problem in bioethics really boggle the mind? What does this mean?
My students aren't the only ones guilty of cliché abuse. The language of medicine confuses patients' families when physicians write, "On Tuesday the patient was declared brain dead, and on Wednesday life support was removed." So when did the patient really die? Can people die in two ways, once when they are declared brain dead and second when their respirators are removed? Better to write, "Physicians declared the patient dead by neurological criteria and the next day removed his respirator."
All of us repeat trite expressions without thinking. My TV weatherman sometimes says, "It's raining cats and dogs." Should I call the Humane Society? Where did this silly expression come from? Another common mistake involves "literally." I often hear people on election night say, "He literally won by a landslide." If so, should geologists help us understand how?
Then, of course, there's the criminal who was caught in "broad daylight." I guess he could not have been caught in "narrow" daylight. And are we sure that the sun shone on the day he was caught? I sometimes read about a "bone of contention." I imagine two animals fighting over a bone from a carcass (and not, as students write, from "a dead carcass"). But do writers want to convey that image? And how can we forget about the "foreseeable future" (versus the "unforeseeable future"?) and the "foregone conclusion" (versus the "non-foregone conclusion"?).
Spare me jargon from sports, such as being "on the bubble" for something. I'd also rather do without other jargon, such as "pushing the [edge of the] envelope." And has writing that we should "think outside the box" become such a cliché that it's now in-side the box?
Some of the worst phrases come from the business world. Because of my profession, I read a lot of essays on medicine, ethics and money. So I must endure endless strings of nouns acting as adjectival phrases, such as "health care finance administration official business." Even authors of textbooks on business and hospital ad-ministration use such phrases; no wonder that students use them, too. And in these fields and others, can we do away with "take a leadership role"? These days, can't anyone just lead?
Can we also hear more about the short arm of the law (versus its "long" one), about things that sell well besides "hotcakes" and about a quick tour other than a "whirlwind" one?
Beyond the shadow of a doubt, I'd like to leave no stone unturned in grinding such writing to a halt, saving each and every student's essay in the nick of time. But I have a sneaking suspicion that, from time immemorial, that has been an errand of mercy and easier said than done.
From Newsweek, August 6, 2007
Let TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. help your staff learn how to write the way people need to read it to understand. Email
How Can Baking Cookies Improve Your E-learning Course?
A Tale of Two Cookies
The other girl decides to go door-to-door and asks the neighbors what they want, taking orders specific to their needs. She then buys the ingredients she needs for each order, bakes the cookies, and delivers them to satisfied customers.
The first girl committed all of her resources to a product that many didn’t need or want. The second was able to manage her resources by committing them to a product that customers did want.
Bake Cookies People Want to Eat
Typically, we’re like the first girl. We build the training courses based on what we think and then try to sell them. In addition the course is built based on the curriculum rather the user’s needs. We commit all of our resources to building the course.
We should be like the second girl and learn to make cookies people need and want. Instead of building the course around information, we should built it around how the learner will use the information.
Today, with rapid development tools, like Articulate Studio, we have the flexibility to bake the type of cookies that meet our users’ needs. In the past, it took months to design and build curriculum. Today, training can be built within hours.
Since we can build and modify our training so quickly, we are in better position to built it and get it to the users. If we find that the information doesn’t work for them or needs to be modified, we can do so on the fly. This saves time and money…and helps to satisfy the users.
"C is for Cookie…That’s Good Enough for Me."
Order taking. Keep the cookie story in mind. Don’t just bake chocolate chip cookies. Understand the learner’s needs. Use you rapid elearning tools to quickly pull together the cookies that will be eaten.
Results. Organizations spend money on training because they expect results. Design your training to meet real needs. As a rapid elearning developer, you’re in a win-win situation. You can respond quickly to training needs at a very good cost.
Engaged learners. Build the learning experience in a manner that engages the learner. Engagement means that the course has to look nice and embrace proven techniques on how to present information visually. It also means that we need to engage the user’s learning process and make the course truly interactive.
Objectives. Make a promise to your learners: This training will not waste your time. Be clear on the objectives and build your training to meet them.
In future posts, we will pull our OREO apart and look at these steps in greater detail.
Excerpted from The Rapid Elearning Blog, August 3, 2007
Keep Your Staff, at Every Level, By Helping Them Be Successful
Leadership expert Roger Fritz, has some very concrete ideas on being successful at work. Give this to each of your staff:
To be successful you must be in demand. To be in demand, you must sharpen your competitive edge. This requires concentration on 5 bedrock principles. None are complicated, but each can be deceptively difficult to accomplish.
To be sure your competitive edge is as sharp as it can be, ask yourself:
Above all, keep this in mind every day: your competitive edge is you! If you want to be competitive, don’t wait another day—get on with it!
Excerpted from The Business Ledger, June 25, 2007. Buy Roger Fritz's newest book, Why Stop Now?: Resisting the Temptation to Retreat, by calling him. 630-420-7673, www.rogerfritz.com
October 10-12, 2007
October 10-12, 2007
October 15-17, 2007
January 17-20, 2008
January 31-February 3, 2008
has great tips on green cleaning.
Going Green At Work
Charity Navigator (http://charitynavigator.org) 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 (http://www.takepride.com) 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 http://www.thebreastcancersite.com daily and click this button to help underprivileged women get mammograms.
VolunteerMatch.org helps you find organizations in your area that spark your interest in volunteering.
Global Volunteers (http://www.globalvolunteers.org)
Responsibly Dispose of Your Old Electronics
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. http://www.greendisk.com
Recycle PCs and other computer products at Hewlett Packard and Dell. See their websites for details.
Find local Electronics recyclers at http://www.earth911.org and http://www.ebay.com/rethink
Copyright 2007 TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. All rights reserved.
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