Recruit, Inspire & Retain

September 2009

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 (Call/Email for Ways to Celebrate the FUN Days to Celebrate!)
bullet RECRUIT:  Testing for Team Engagement
bullet Posters: Some Good Memories
bullet Cool Calls
bullet INSPIRE: Work/Life Balance: Elder Care & the Recession
bullet Books We’re Reading: Big List From My Reading
bullet TRAIN: Ice Breakers for Executives?
bullet RETAIN: Rewarding High Performers in a Down Economy
bullet Professional Development Conferences
bullet Ways to Volunteer & Give

exclamation point How to Maintain “Positivity” No Matter What’s Happening!

Let Training Systems, Inc. help your staff learn simple, proven things to practice each day to maintain their traditionally positive outlook – even with layoffs, even with work overload, even with complaining customers. . .


READERS! If you find an article worthy of Recruit, Inspire & Retain, please send it (with a note telling us where you found it)

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

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September is...
Be Kind to Editors & Writers Month
Great American Low-Cholesterol, Low-Fat Pizza Bake Month (Sounds yummy!)
Library Card Sign-up Month
National Mushroom Month
International People Skills Month
International Self-Awareness Month
International Strategic Thinking Month
Self Improvement Month (In your quest for self improvement, work on your people skills, while thinking strategically about yourself.)
Subliminal Communications Month (This newsletter is full of subliminal messages, - can you find them? Duh, of course not — they’re subliminal!)

September 7-11 – National Waffle Week
September 14-18 – Line Dance Week
September 21-25– Build A Better Image Week, Child Passenger Safety Week, & Tolkien Week
                              (Re-read The Lord of the Rings – it’s worth it!)

September 1 – Building and Code Staff Appreciation Day
September 5 – Be Late For Something Day (Finally, something I can get behind wholeheartedly!)
September 7 – Labor Day & Google Commemoration Day
September 8 – International Literacy Day & World Physical Therapy Day
September 9 – Wonderful Weirdoes Day
September 10 – Swap Ideas Day
September 11 – Patriot Day & Remembrance Day
September 13 – International Chocolate Day (Gotta have at least 1 day for chocolate every month!)
& National Grandparents Day (Read our Inspire article on this day.)
September 14 – National Boss/Employee Exchange Day
September 16 – Mayflower Day
September 18 – Chiropractic Founders Day & National Respect Day
September 19 – Rosh Hashanah, International Eat An Apple Day, National Seat Check Saturday,
                         & Responsible Dog Ownership Day
September 21 – International Day of Peace & National Women Road Warrior Day
                          (Bit of a dichotomy, huh?)

September 22 – American Business Women’s Day
September 25 – National One-Hit Wonder Day & Hug A Vegetarian Day (OR, hug a cow the
                          vegetarian saved!)

September 26 – R.E.A.D. in America Day
September 27 – National Good Neighbor Day, World Heart Day, & World Tourism Day
September 28 – Yom Kippur
September 29 – VFW Day
September 30 – National Women’s Health & Fitness Day 

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

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Testing for Team Engagement

At many companies, cutbacks have led to fewer people doing the same amount of work -- so employees are increasingly working in teams to collaborate and share resources. Can pre-employment assessments identify applicants who have that quality? Gallup thinks so.

The Washington-based polling and consulting firm recently studied thousands of teams at 10 companies and found that certain job applicants, once hired, can raise the engagement levels of their eventual team members. According to Jim Harter, Gallup's chief scientist for workplace management, those job applicants had these four traits:

* Mobilization: The ability to mobilize people with decisiveness and genuine inclusiveness. "They're forceful but not pushy," says Harter. "Their approach is, 'Let's do this together.' "

* Clarity: They reduce team members' uncertainty by helping make clear the goal of the team and of each team member. Both managers and co-workers can achieve this on a team.

* Relationship: They are more likely to help team members get things done, because their relationship with them is important. "When people feel they won't be let down, and other people have their back, they are more likely to become engaged," says Harter.

* Affirmation: These are people who have an optimism and enthusiasm that give others a positive attitude.

Gallup identified these traits by first examining the individual employee-engagement scores of each team member and figuring the average for each team. The next step was to see how that average went up or down when various team members were removed from the equation.

Finally, Gallup looked at the pre-employment assessments of those who had the most positive impact on their teams, to see what they had in common. The four abilities listed above were embedded in the assessment questions, and the Gallup study was able to pull them out, says Harter.

From HR Executive Magazine, June 16, 2009

Get more tips on recruiting great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.


Five Dysfunctions of a Team & Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

The Art of Engagement: Bridging the Gap Between People and Possibilities by Jim Haudan

Five Dysfunctions of a TeamOvercoming the Five Dysfunctions of a TeamThe Art of Engagement
Order any of the 3 by calling 800-469-3560 or emailing and get your 10% discount 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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Some Good Memories...Do You Remember?

45 rpm spindles

Green Stamps

Beany and Cecil

Metal ice cubes trays with levers

Roller-skate keys

Marlin Perkins

Cork pop guns

Drive in Movies

Drive in restaurants

Car Hops


Topo Gigio

Washtub wringers

The Fuller Brush Man

 Sky King

Reel-To-Reel tape recorders


Erector Sets

Lincoln Logs

15 cent McDonald hamburgers

5 cent packs of baseball cards

Penny candy

25 cent a gall on gasoline

Jiffy Pop popcorn

5 cent stamps

Gum wrapper chains

Chatty Cathy dolls

5 cent Cokes

Speedy Alka-Seltzer

Cigarettes for Christmas

Falstaff Beer

Burma Shave signs

Brownie camera

Flash bulbs

TV Test patterns

Old Yeller

Chef Boy-AR-dee

Fire escape tubes

Timmy and Lassie

Ding Dong Avon calling


Aluminum Christmas Trees

**TOOL BOX****
"All stressed out and no one to choke" poster Here’s a FREE poster that everyone will LOVE Want more? Email or call 800-469-3560 to find out how to buy packs of posters!

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* GuinnessFrom last issue’s ‘What’s Your Morning Ritual?’ question: Justine Fehali, WSI, made us smile with her answer; "I get up every morning, kiss my husband good morning, pour a cup of coffee and sit peacefully watching the sun rise with my stress management coach, aka my dog."
* Michael D’Angelo, VPHR, Quaker Foods & Snacks: "Thanks so much for your continued support and partnership, Carolyn. I've been thrilled with your involvement and look forward to continuing to work with you."

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booksBig List From My Readingbooks

I’ve gotten so many suggestions for books to read while reading that I wanted to share a few:

* Back to Basics: The Personal Touch, by Lisa A. Sidletsky, CAE

* The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual, by by Rick Levine, David Weinberger, David Weinberger, Christopher Locke

* The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups, by Mancur Olson

* Free: The Future of a Radical Price, by Chris Anderson

* Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, by Clay Shirky

* Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, by Seth Godin

* Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams

* The Open Brand: When Push Comes to Pull in a Web-Made World, by Kelly Mooney and Nita Rollins

* The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures, by Frans Johansson

  Have a book you want to recommend?

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Work/Life Balance: Elder Care & the Recession

Even though the workplace has changed for the better in work-life acceptance, employee needs are still evolving. In spite of an economic downturn that causes them to be grateful for a job, those over age 50 (Boomers) have older family members to consider. The balance issues becomes critical when their parents are in their later years.

I was speaking on the phone to a supervisor at a county agency recently when she asked to put me on hold. She returned and then explained that she had to take the call because it was her mother. She says her furnace is making a funny noise, so will I stop after work to see if a repairman is needed? The woman said that she gets these calls about a variety of things, but she is glad to help, since her mother lives alone. I will be retiring soon, and then I can give her more attention, she added. This woman could leave in an instant if an emergency occurred, and she also has a plan for her future. But what of those who work at places where no elder care policies permit them to leave?

In the 20 years since work-life policies began to evolve, elder care has lagged far behind other policies such as child care or flexible hours. The Family and Medical Leave Act is a start, but it deals mainly with illness of the individual or a family member, not the day-to-day situations that this supervisor was experiencing. Exemplary employers offer the flexibility to meet these needs, but barriers exist where managers are forced to count productive hours and cannot, or do not want to, give released time.

One of the best solutions for employers is to rely on a work-life specialist or an outside consultant to design and implement solutions, but this involves a paid position or a fee for services. Employer use of these services has diminished in the pas year of a slow economy.

What can be done if you don’t have policies and right now can’t afford to create them?

1. Helping employees negotiate with you. Considering the business case, the manager can be given a scenario enabling the employee to be fully productive with a more flexible schedule. The willingness of your employees to work different hours is paramount to any decisions. A back-up plan that does not infringe on co-workers must be detailed and in place.

2. Create a revised skill assessment based on recent achievements. This allows the employee to feel confident that his or her skills are valuable and necessary to you and the mission of your organization. Research has shown that it is extremely expensive to lose a talented employee and often takes as long as 2 years to fill the gap.

3. Give them resources to join with others who have similar family issues. They can meet and plan a pilot project that offers flexibility for themselves, setting a trial period for a result agreeable to you. This is a win-win-situation for all involved. The project can be tweaked to certain requirements. If it does not work, it can be revised or discarded. If it works, it can be a morale booster.

4. Let them know about resources for agency assistance in the community. A national care giving web site is a starting place, and referrals to a nearby town or city can be found. Some of the best are:

Virginia Byrd has for years written, taught, and presented on the topic of Work-Life Balance. Contact her as follows: Virginia Byrd, 760-436-3994,

Adapted from Career Planning and Adult Development Network Newsletter, May/June 2009

How to Find the Best Eldercare by Marilyn Rantz How to Find the Best Eldercare 

Eldercare 911: The Caregiver's Complete Handbook for Making Decisions by Susan Beerman and Judith Rappaport-Musson


Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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Ice Breakers for Executives?

You know this section rarely lists examples of learning methods – we usually cover administering learning type topics. But, a recent listserv discussion included great ideas when someone asked - how to design ice breakers for executives so they felt like they were being treated at the "higher level" that they are and therefore wouldn’t balk at the learning.

Your learners need ice breakers to get their minds off what they were last doing so they can focus on the learning and therefore have faster and longer retention. And who needs to refocus more than a busy executive — so quite the dilemma. I loved the examples, so here they are:

This is simple, but simple is often good for this kind of thing:
Place a coin at each place setting. Then go around the room (with introductions if necessary) and each person tells about something that happened to them in that year. This is memorable and sometimes funny, but the “stuffier” people can just say something that happened to them professionally (boring but they are still playing along and perhaps they get to brag a bit) but some of the livelier personalities can tell a fun story, which does break the ice. Some stories are touching as well, and can be unexpected and warm. I don’t know how much time you have, but this has worked nicely for us in groups of 10-20. It works for people who already know each other and for those who don’t (and for different cultures). And it’s not too goofy that execs will balk at it.

I still remember a lot of the stories from several years ago, and I think of their little stories when I think of them. So it works to break the ice, but also to help people get to know something about each other that they may not know.

(Be sure to have a variety of years. If there are a variety of ages, you may want to selectively place the coins once they find their places. Give the younger folks more recent coins because they won’t want to have a year that places them in junior high or something, when the others in the room were already in the business world.)

Good luck! I’ll be interested to see other responses you receive.
From Lynnea Brand, Chapter Relations Manager, ISACA

Two ideas come to mind, one I’ve tried and one that a fellow association exec has used successfully.
I brought paper and crayons and had each person draw their favorite place. Then we went around the room and each person gave the "Why" about their place. Almost none of the pictures had to do with anything related to their work – exactly what I wanted to happen. I wanted people to get to know each other, not name, rank, and serial number.

A fellow association exec told me that he had each person bring a picture, it could be a photograph of from a magazine, that exemplified the organization for him or her. It might have good things represented, it might have some not so great stuff represented. But it broke the ice because each person had to talk about the photo and why it represented the organization.
From Donna Dunn

We ran a retreat just 2 weeks ago and had great fun just going around the room answering if I wasn’t in my job now, what job would I pick.
We had lots of artistic folks, a couple of teachers and quite a few who pick the outdoors for their next job site. What was great was hearing them refer back to the conversation throughout the 2-day event and connecting over meals on the newfound interests.
From Peggy Hoffman

Thanks Component Relations Section, ASAE listserv!

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Learning Transfer: in Executive TrainingLearning Transfer: in Executive Training by Daniela Mertens

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Rewarding High Performers in a Down Economy

Like the Training article above, another listserv this month was full of great ideas on rewarding high performers when your budget is tighter than usual and you really want to keep the staff. Enjoy:

Create a survey for your employees to see what they prefer. As for money, be open to your employees about the budget situation and why you can or can't give raises or bonuses. But, if you want everyone to be comfortable, there are two approaches:

1) Have a four-day work week where the company works for 10 hours a day and get Fridays off. There was an experiment in Utah where they condense the work days to 4 days and were very productive. Here's the link:


2) Take your department/company out where they're going to remember. Some suggest bowling, picnic, a sporting event, volunteer event, etc. It shows that you care about them and for this one day, they can understand their co-workers.
From Tracy Tran

Regarding keeping general staff morale up...
While it might not be in your budget, I scheduled a "mandatory HR training" about two years ago from 1-5 on a weekday, and started into a laborious policy compliance talk for about 30 seconds before announcing that the office was closed and we were going bowling. Provided them all a metro card to get there with exact fare, light hors d'oeuvres on site, and beer and wine.

Broke the group up using randomly picked numbers, and they bowled a few games.

Only cost me a couple thousand bucks, and the return on that investment was ‘priceless’ (staff still talk about it).
From Russ Capps
You have a challenging situation. I expect others face the same one. As you consider your options, keep in mind that people responding differently to different types of rewards or recognition. What works for one staff member and is appreciated by them may go unappreciated by another. Have you asked your staff what would be meaningful to them? You might get some of the most relevant ideas by polling them and receive some unexpected suggestions.

Common rewards in these situations are extra time off or professional development opportunities. These are generally appreciated but do come at a cost to the organization in terms of either lost opportunity for productivity or a direct hit to the bottom line. Keep in mind that as another responder noted, anything you do for one is likely to cause an adverse reaction for those who are not treated the same. That happens with any type of merit reward. As a former CEO, I didn't let that prevent me from rewarding high performers.

Try and think of ways to recognize the efforts of all staff in these trying times and determine what can be done to encourage mediocre performers to a higher level of performance by tapping into their personal interests and passions through meaningful work. Sometimes offering staff the opportunity for more meaningful work is as appreciated as getting more money as it positions them for promotion. It also provides immediate gratification for doing work that they enjoy and find rewarding.

Let me know if I can help further off line.
From Karen Tucker Thomas

You've received great advice. Additional time off, flex hours, telecommuting. Additional professional development may not be in your budget, but if the employee wants to pay personally, give the time required without deducting from their PTO or accumulated leave.

And on Karen's point about keeping all employees positive don't forget food. Walk in and announce lunch is on me today -- it could be pizza, or burgers and brats in the parking lot. Spontaneous really works wonders for attitude.
From Donna Dunn

A program I saw work well once was a "big shoes to fill" award, given monthly to staff at APICS.
The biggest sneaker you can imagine -- Shaq size and then some -- was purchased, and each month, an outstanding performer (single contributor or work team) was acknowledged in front of the whole staff. He/she signed the shoe and displayed it on top of his/her cubicle or in his/her office for the next month.

The benefits of this program were public recognition, and education -- it gave aspiring staff an idea of what was award-worthy. So, it was both recognition for the outstanding performer(s) and education for the rest of the staff. Nominations came through the staff to a multi-disciplinary team's e-mail box, who then made the monthly selections.

The costs were for the sneakers, a certificate, and the coffee/cookies for the staff.
From Betsy Davis

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Get more tips on retaining great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

365 Ways to Motivate and Reward Your Employees Every Day: With Little or No Money365 Ways to Motivate and Reward Your Employees Every Day: With Little or No Money by MBA,CHRP Dianna Podmoroff BA
Engaging the Hearts and Minds of All Your Employees: How to Ignite Passionate Performance for Better Business ResultsEngaging the Hearts and Minds of All Your Employees: How to Ignite Passionate Performance for Better Business Results by Lee Colan

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September 23-24, 2009
Training Magazine Online Learning Conference, New York, NY,

Sep 28, 2009 - Sep 30, 2009
Chief Learning Officer - Peak Performance: Pushing Your Enterprise to the Top, The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colorado

September 30-October 2, 2009
HR Executive’s 12th Annual HR Technnology Conference & Exposition, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL,

October 1, 2009-October 2, 2009
Exceptional Boards: Strengthening the Governance Team, Fairmont Chicago, Chicago, IL,

November 5-6, 2009
ASAE’s Social Media Workshop, Marriott Learning Complex, Washington, D.C.,

November 6-8, 2009
American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) 19th Annual Meeting, Hyatt Regency DFW, Dallas, TX,

November 18-20, 2009
18th Annual National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo, Mc Cormick Place, Chicago, IL,

January 7-8, 2010
Exceptional Boards: Strengthening the Governance Team, InterContinental Harbor Court Baltimore, Baltimore, MD,

January 14-17, 2010
35th Annual International Conference: New Frontiers in Learning and Innovation
, Houston, TX,

February 1-3, 2010
Training Magazine Training 2010 Conference & Expo, San Diego, CA,

May 10-11, 2010
Training Magazine Training Leadership Summit, Wild Horse Pass Resort, Phoenix AZ,

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WAYS TO VOLUNTEER & GIVE has a list of hundreds of organizations that support the military. The Yellow Ribbon Fund is one such group and focuses on injured service members and their families.



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.

Going Green At Work
Find ecofriendly building materials and services at
Buy ecofriendly office supplies at http://www.thegreenoffice.comcom
Work from home ideas at 
Find jobs and volunteer opportunities with socially responsible organizations at 
Reduce paperwork by invoicing, & paying employees & bills electronically
TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.  now invoices exclusively by email and is close to paying everyone
         by credit card, PayPal, or automatic debit from checking account)
Encourage employees to use public transportation
Use ceiling fans to reduce air-conditioning costs
Reduce your hot water heater temperature by 2 degrees and insulate the tank
Use energy-saving light bulbs

B.I.G. ON BOOKS is an organization that promotes literacy in underprivileged countries, primarily Africa, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia. You can donate books through most Rotary Clubs. B.I.G. also accepts cash donations. Send email to Steve Frantzich at for more information.

Kicking World Hunger is the biggest soccer juggle-a-thon in the world (uh, that we know of), much like a walk-a-thon, but more fun! Participants sign up to juggle a soccer ball thousands of times while raising money to provide hope for children and communities that desperately need it.

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. fights for family-friendly programs and policies at work. honors the heroes and victims of 9/11, by giving ideas for good deeds to perform. helps entrepreneurs by connecting them with backers for short term loans and both make sure the organizations you’re supporting are legit and give the bulk of their money to their mission

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


Earth 911 lets you search for recyclers by type and area code,

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.  http://www.greendisk.comm

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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