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
Dysfunctions of a Team & Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team
by Patrick Lencioni
Art of Engagement: Bridging the Gap Between People and Possibilities
by Jim Haudan
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
Some Good Memories...Do You Remember?
Metal ice cubes trays with levers
Cork pop guns
The Fuller Brush Man
Reel-To-Reel tape recorders
packs of baseball cards
25 cent a
gall on gasoline
Cigarettes for Christmas
poster that everyone
or call 800-469-3560 to find out how to buy packs of posters!
From 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."
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
BOOKS WE'RE READING
List From My Reading
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.
* 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?
Work/Life Balance: Elder Care &
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
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
Eldercare 911: The Caregiver's Complete Handbook for Making Decisions
by Susan Beerman and Judith Rappaport-Musson
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:
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!
Transfer: in Executive Training by Daniela Mertens
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
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
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
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
The costs were for the
sneakers, a certificate, and the coffee/cookies for the
From Betsy Davis
Ways to Motivate and Reward Your Employees Every Day: With Little or No
Money by MBA,CHRP Dianna Podmoroff BA
the Hearts and Minds of All Your Employees: How to Ignite Passionate
Performance for Better Business Results by Lee Colan
Order by calling 800-469-3560 or
email@example.com and get your
10% discount by mentioning RIR
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
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,
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,
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.
PODCAST: MORE GREEN TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE OFFICE,
EASY TO BE GREEN!
has great tips on green cleaning.
will help you get off junk mail lists.
has tips on every facet of green living.
gives advice on replacing old light bulbs w/energy efficient bulbs.
www.eere.energy.gov/greenpower provides comprehensive "green
urges the use of recycled paper.
helps you plant trees to save the environment.
Going Green At Work
ecofriendly building materials and services at
ecofriendly office supplies at http://www.thegreenoffice.comcom
from home ideas at http://www.treehugger.com
jobs and volunteer opportunities with socially responsible organizations at
paperwork by invoicing, & paying employees & bills electronically
now invoices exclusively by email
and is close to paying everyone
by credit card, PayPal, or automatic debit from checking account)
employees to use public transportation
ceiling fans to reduce air-conditioning costs
your hot water heater temperature by 2 degrees and insulate the tank
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 (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.
a reminder to visit
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.
momsrising.org fights for family-friendly programs and policies at
mygooddeed.org honors the heroes and victims of 9/11, by giving ideas
for good deeds to perform.
kiva.org helps entrepreneurs by connecting them with backers for
short term loans
guidestar.org and charitablechoices.org both make sure the
organizations you’re supporting are legit and give the bulk of their money
to their mission
by type of work project
by country and date
by service program conditions
Earth 911 lets you search
for recyclers by type and area code, http://www.earth911.org
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
Responsibly Dispose of Your Old
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 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.
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: www.earth911.org,
local Electronics recyclers at
Get FREE access to great recruiting, inspiring, training & retaining tips,
ideas & resources where you can:
Download articles for your newsletter!!!
* Use free online assessments!
* Purchase books, tapes &
fun incentives to help you & your employees be the best!
* Get new tips each month on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining
* Have a recruitment, inspiration, training, or retention idea or
question? Send Email, and we’ll
your idea or question (and the answer) in Answers & Ideas on
Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, &
Retaining Great Employees at
* Click on links to great managing and training
* Purchase our famous inspirational quote posters!
* Get answers to your employee recruiting, inspiring, retaining, & training
questions from our experts!
All rights reserved.
**FORWARD RECRUIT, INSPIRE & RETAIN TO OTHERS
Remember, you can get issues you missed at our Website
http://www.trainingsys.com/rir/index.htm. For older (pre-1997) issues,
call 800-469-3560 or send an Email.
**ARTICLE REPRINTS FOR RECRUIT, INSPIRE & RETAIN
An ideal way to introduce new ideas or stimulate learning with the employees
in your organization.
Article reprints can also serve as a powerful promotional or sales tool -
include them with your
brochures, newsletters & media kits. For complete information on article
reprints or copyright
permission, call 1-800-469-3560 or
**YOU HAVE UNIQUE, VALUABLE KNOWLEDGE FOR OTHERS
We’d love to print your articles on recruiting, inspiring, training and
retaining employees. Email
**We’ll be back next month with more great tips, ideas, success stories, and
information to help you recruit, inspire, train, & retain great employees!
RECRUIT, INSPIRE & RETAIN contains links to websites operated by
organizations other than
TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.
These links are for your convenience and we assume no responsibility
for the content or operations of those sites.
RECRUIT, INSPIRE & RETAIN
SYSTEMS, INC., published 12 times/year. Editor: Carolyn B. Thompson, Data Entry: Patti
Lowczyk (Lowczyk Secretarial), HTML: Debbie Daw (http://www.helpquestdomains.com).
Visit us at http://www.trainingsys.com