Recruit, Inspire & Retain

October 2005

Ideas for "Marketing" and Providing "Customer Service" to Current and Potential Employees

Great Training for Great Employees

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bullet Interviewing for Group/Team Skills — Exercises You Should Use
bullet Who’s Wearing Fun Meters?
bullet Doughboy Dies
bullet Cool Calls
bullet The 8th Habit — An Interview on Stephen Covey’s New Key to Success
bullet Want Return On Your Training Investment?
bullet 2005 Workforce Opinions The Same As 2003?
bullet Fun Days to Celebrate/Professional Development Conferences/Ways to Volunteer & Give
(E-mail Us For Ways to Celebrate the FUN Days to Celebrate)

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Interviewing for Group/Team Skills — Exercises You Should Use

Here are some ideas generated in a listserv on how to determine whether a candidate has the teamwork skills (traditional interview format) you’re looking for. HINT: asking the person to "tell" you about their teamwork skills will tell you if they are a skilled interviewee, but not about their teamwork skills!

Terrence Seamon asks the listserv:
My client wants to put the finalists for a job opening through some (two to three) group interview exercises as a final step in the selection process. He is interested in seeing how these finalists behave in a group task (e.g. "lost at sea/on the moon/in the arctic" and the like) and he will be looking to see how they demonstrate the key competencies (e.g., leadership skills, interpersonal communication skills, project management, analytical thinking...and so on) desired for the position. The hope is that a set of simulation type exercises would provide useful input toward making the final selection to fill the opening.

I could use input on:

1. What group task exercises would you recommend we consider for this application?

2. What other resources (e.g., books, articles, websites etc.) would you suggest I take a look at?


Carolyn answers:
Instead of using "Lost at Sea", etc. create a simulation with the kind of work the candidate will be doing. I realize this is more work than buying one but the end result will more than pay for itself (it costs a lot to hire the wrong person). The person you’re interviewing and the people interviewing the person will be more themselves and thus you’ll get a truer picture of how the candidate will really behave on the job. You listed the things you’ll be looking for in the candidate. Use this list to be sure the simulation will show those behaviors and to create an evaluation list for use immediately after to capture the specific things the candidate did to demonstrate their skill in each area. Have the candidate evaluate themself as well as the interviewers’ evaluation.

I use the book Simulations by Ken Jones every time we create a simulation – good reminder of the things to be careful of.


Peter answers:
In addition, perhaps an "in-box" experience where the group deals with varied, diverse and challenging "in-box" tasks requiring the knowledge, skills and abilities you're looking for in new hires. I'd also not only have the candidates evaluate themselves, but also each other (looking at their coaching and feedback skills, whether they manifest the qualities/values of respect, honesty, sincerity; looking at their communication skills, ownership of "mistakes" if made, etc.)


Ken answers:
Assuming that the list of competencies the client provided is accurate (an assumption worth challenging, in my experience), I would concur with Carolyn's advice to "create a simulation with the kind of work the candidate will be doing." Otherwise, I would be concerned that the client might use a simulation that would not withstand the legal scrutiny that would accompany a discrimination lawsuit. I am skeptical that off-the-shelf simulations would correlate well to the competencies that are required to be successful in a particular position. I would not want to have to defend in court their use in employment decisions.

I require all finalists for my training analyst positions to conduct a short presentation on the role of training and development in high tech organizations. This provides them an opportunity to demonstrate--at least to some degree--their presentation skills, but also their research, organizational, and instructional development skills. It also provides the rest of my work group an opportunity to see the candidates in action and get their input on each candidate's abilities and suitability for the position.

This kind of exercise is not difficult to conduct, but more closely mirrors the kinds of activities they would perform in the job and the competencies they would have to have.

Get more tips on recruiting great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  Individual Hiring Plan (IHP) Workbook (comes in packs of 5),
E-mail or call 800-469-3560 to order and get 10% off by mentioning "RIR."
  Interviewing Techniques for Managers (especially the chapter on simulations/job trials), by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. own Carolyn B. Thompson. (10% off by typing "RIR" in Special Instructions) Or E-mail  

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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   * Teachers & students at Stoneybrooke
* People going on a trip with Molly’s Travel
* Teachers at AVM Middle School

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Doughboy Dies

The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection, & complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71. Doughboy is survived by his wife, Play Dough, two children, John Dough & Jane Dough, who has a bun in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart. Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, The California Raisins, Betty Crocker,the Hostess Twinkies, M&M & Captain Crunch.

The grave site was piled high with flours. Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy, and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart "cookie", wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes.

Despite being a little flaky at times, he still, as a crusty old man, was considered a roll model for millions.

The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.


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!
Love those COLORFUL QUOTE POSTERS you see in TRAINING SYSTEMS' group training and conference bookstores? E-mail or call 800-469-3560 to find out how to get packs of the topics you need.

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* The Christian Science Monitor interviewed Carolyn B. Thompson, co-author of The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush, for an article titled: Bush's Buffeted Leadership. You can read it online.
* Wayne Swanson, Canyon Lake Community Church: "I just wanted to say thanks again for the time you spent with the Church Council at Canyon Lake Community Church at our annual retreat. I have over the past 30 plus years had the opportunity to participate in countless seminars and training classes that dealt with understanding and dealing with people and recognizing their personalities. My primary job for over 10 years was actually managing a citizen complaint desk for a medium sized city in Southern CA, so you can imaging the need for this type of training. I have for the past 20 years been responsible for managing the security function of the largest public water agency in the U.S., and have applied what I have learned over the years in that role as well, dealing with an endless array of people fro all walks of life and concerns. And a lot of the information you shared, I have seen before. But never have I been led to connect this training with Scripture. What a difference! This was by far the best training I have received on this subject. It is amazing how when you put God in front of your purpose, how He changes things. I must say, that you held my interest and made me think more in the short time we were able to have you with us than any trainer I have had in the past. Thanks again for being able to come out here and take us to new heights. I know I will use what I learned forever, and I am confident that the majority of the Council members will also."

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The 8th Habit — An Interview on Stephen Covey’s New Key to Success

What is the 8th Habit?
Stephen Covey: It's basically "Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs." It's like the dimension to the other 7. This goes beyond "the 7 Habits" into the area of leadership -- of families, homes, businesses.

Can everyone develop it?
SC: The overwhelming majority of people definitely have leadership potential.

How do you know you're there?
SC: It's kind of like a "sweet spot" in golf or tennis. You just feel energized, enlightened, excited, enthusiastic. You love going to work, or you love an initiative that you're undertaking in the community or your church. You love your parenting role in that you can see your purpose to develop the character of your children. Little things don't beat you up and knock the life out of you. ... He who has a "why" can live with any "what."

Help us understand what all this looks like.
SC: I use a match to illustrate [these ideas]. I just hold the match up and say: Now just look at the potential contained in this little match. It could burn down this whole building. And [the power] is already in there. [Or] you put two matches closer together, and the closer they get, the warmth gradually ignites the other one. Then you light a candle, and it burns during the whole day.

Quite an image. Who embodies it?
SC: I interviewed Oprah, for instance, who is a beautiful illustration of this. ... Her whole approach is to be completely open to what's happening out there with the audience. She's really authentic. She has found her voice. ... She's extremely empathetic and has developed such intuitive skills [with the audience] that she can bring the best out in them.

First "The 7 Habits." Now "The 8th Habit." Will there ever be a 9th?
SC: I don't know. My kids wonder why I have such a fascination with numbers! I don't have any 9th habit in mind. I didn't even have an 8th habit until I became so overpowered by all this research. I really believe that this is a third dimension that is built upon the 7 Habits but that it does deal with realities of the new age.

From USA Weekend, Nov. 21, 2004

Help people learn the 8th Habit — see the Tool Box below!

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The 8th Habit - (Memory Card Deck), by Stephen Covey — no time to read the whole book? Want to share the main concepts/highlights with staff or training participants? To order the card deck (only $7.95 each) call 800-469-3560 or E-mail. In quantity you can even customize by adding your logo or other words.

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Want Return On Your Training Investment?

The Right Modalities
Balancing and managing various training modalities - in-person group training, self-study e-learning, off-the-shelf training, virtual classroom training, and homegrown training content - along with new technologies is a good place to start earning some returns.

For example, in-person training is the absolute best choice for any soft skills training, as it allows for immediate practice and the group environment encourages participation. But it can turn into a big investment, with employees taking significant time from their other work, or billing travel and expenses that result from traveling off-site.

Here’s an evaluation chain you can follow to augment or replace some investments in in-person learning in order to save money and better manage an employee's time away:

  1. Can some of the sessions be just as effective using conferencing technology like WebEx? This would make the time and travel expense a non-issue for employees who could learn at their desks & still allow the benefit of live interaction with facilitator.

  2. Can some of the in-person group learning be delivered self-study online? It has many advantages, including low unit costs, ease of re-use, scalability (when large populations need to be trained consistently on the same subject matter), and they can learn at their own speed

  3. Can some of the learning requirements (e-learning or in-person group) be met through off-the-shelf training titles, eliminating the need for internal course development while offering reduced costs? Off-the-shelf is particularly effective when training on non-proprietary subject matter, like Microsoft Office or basic customer support skills. Keep in mind that many of the titles can be customized by the content provider to meet any organization’s specific needs.

  4. Is some of the content more appropriately delivered as just-in-time training? Meaning training can be broken up into short "modules" and accessed by employees right when they need it in short, efficient, and effective bursts of information on specific topics that focus on issues as they come up in the workplace. Due to the simple nature of these training bursts, costs are lower and organizations can pay as they go, eliminating up front costs for training that may not be used.

There are options!

You can take several steps to ensure the training you invest in is targeted at the right employees:
~ Evaluate groups of employees and the training they receive. In other words, a sales executive should not be in a non-sales learning track.

~ Make sure the skill level of the employee fits the level of the training. It serves no purpose to offer training that will fly over the heads of an employee or, in turn, will simply serve as a review of information they already know.

~ Track training results. Build evaluation methods into the learning (plans, checklists, weekly skills tests, etc.) in order to make sure information is retained and used immediately on the job.

No 2 employees are the same. Using a Human Capital Management system to track their training allows an organization to determine the skill sets of its workforce and allow an employee to learn more effectively and efficiently on the job. In the end, this approach benefits all parties.

The Right Measures
The original means to evaluate training was set forth by Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick. Whether you like his 4 Levels, or Philip’s Levels or TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. street language, you need to look at basic outcomes: Reaction, Learning, Behavior, Results. Tying the appropriate measuring stick to each of these provides a key metric that you can use to track ROI and the effectiveness of a particular training program on your workforce. These measures are time-related to see if an employee is implementing the knowledge/skill he has received. 30, 60, or 90-days, or whatever is appropriate for the skill.

Integrating Employee Development with Performance Management
Wondering what the "HCMS" was in the previous paragraphs? Leading Human Capital Management Systems seamlessly link learning management and performance management into one integrated system with full analytics capabilities.

Through of an integration of performance management and training solutions, organizations provide a road map of training tailored to each employee, their skill sets, and how they want to grow within the organization. These robust HCMS make it easy for organizations to evaluate performance, assign training as needed, and if an employee is faltering in a certain area, more training can be assigned, and progress can be tracked accordingly.

If you’re using an LMS, get it integrated to provide the strongest ROI on both human capital assets and training programs. If an LMS system that tracks training programs is not tied into a performance management system that evaluates the outcome of the training programs, assessments are made in subjective terms and not an accurate gauge of actual training ROI.

There is a world of possibilities out there for organizations that are ready to implement a more structured and ROI-centric approach to training. Choose software applications that integrate with your existing systems, enable access to all training modalities, and include easy-to-use, easy-to-deploy solutions that can be fully integrated across your organization, providing the right people with appropriate information on training performance and the ROI the organization can expect as a result.

Adapted from Learning & Training Innovations, 1/05, Ensuring Training ROI

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Get more tips on training great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

Creating Highly Interactive Training Quickly & Effectively, by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.  own Carolyn B. Thompson. (10% off by typing “RIR” in Special Instructions) Or E-mail.
Ten Steps to Determining the Return on Your Training Investment (worksheets for planning and/or measuring the ROI), by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.

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2005 Workforce Opinions The Same As 2003?

Just came across this survey of managers & non-managers from 2½ years ago. Is it still accurate? E-mail your thoughts for each:

People are working longer and harder than one year ago: Thoughts?
  • 60.7% said they work longer and harder than one year ago
  • 18.6% said their jobs are easier than one year ago

And managers are working even harder than everyone else: Thoughts?
  • 64.4% of all managers who responded are working longer and harder
  • 15.9% of all managers who responded said their jobs are getting easier
Most people give their bosses a lot of credit, rating their bosses... Thoughts?
  • 16% Excellent
  • 59% Very good or good
  • 25% Not so good or very bad
The 3 most important supervisory skills are: Thoughts?
  • Motivating employees to perform (37.7%)
  • Terminating low performers (20.3%)
  • Holding employees accountable (19%)
The 3 most difficult supervisory skills are: Thoughts?
  • Motivating employees to perform (37.7%)
  • Terminating low performers (20.3%)
  • Holding employees accountable (19%)
The top 3 supervisory skills people want their own boss to improve are: Thoughts?
  • Providing employees with feedback (28.3%)
  • Helping employees meet their needs (16.5%)
  • Holding employees accountable (13.9%)

from survey of 1207 managers/non-managers conducted by Rainmaker Thinking, Inc. 2/21-3/7/03.

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Get more tips on retaining great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

How to Become a Great Boss, by Jeffrey Fox
Whale Done!: The Power of Positive Relationships, by Ken Blanchard

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Pretzel Month
Cookie Month

Get Organized Week
Care Week

October 4 – Techies Day
October 9 – Clergy Appreciation Day
October 12 – Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work and School Day
October 13 – Dessert Day & Train Your Brain Day
October 15 – Sweetest Day & Grouch Day (but don’t be a grouch to your sweetheart!)
October 16 – Boss’s Day & Oatmeal Day
October 17 – Pasta Day & Gaudy Day
October 18 – Chocolate Cupcake Day & Boost Your Brain Day
October 19 – Change Your Life Day & Look Back on Your Life Day
October 21 – Caramel Apple Day & Mammography Day
October 22 – Eat A Pretzel Day & Make A Difference Day
October 24 - International Forgiveness Day
October 28 – Chocolate Day
October 29 – The Internet’s Birthday
October 30 – Daylight Savings Time Ends & Candy Corn Day
October 31 – Magic Day
November 1 – Computer Security Day!


October 13-14, 2005
2005 Learning Leaders Invitation with Dr. John C. Maxwell, Emory Conference Center, Atlanta, GA,

October 19-21, 2005
8th Annual HR Executive’s Technology Conference & Expo, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL,

October 24-26, 2005
Workplace Diversity "New Challenges, New Opportunities" Conference, Las Vegas NV,

October 26-28,2005
Strategic HR: Aligning With the Bisiness to Drive Results, Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, New York, NY,

November 7-11, 2005
International Career Development Conference (ICDC), Hyatt Regency Orange County, CA,

November 14-16, 2005
2005 SMT Annual Conference, Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia Island, FL,

November 16-18, 2005
DevLearn: The eLearning Developers’ Conference & Expo 2005, San Francisco, CA,

SHRM HR Generalist Certificate Programs,
October 31-November 2, Nashville, TN
November 14-16, Washington, CD
December 5-7, Phoenix, AZ

Dave Meier’s 3-Day Accelerated Learning Training Methods Workshops,
November 7-9, 2005, Washington Athletic Club, Seattle, WA
December 5-7, 2005, Embassy Suites, Phoenix, AZ
January 12-15, 2006

International Alliance for Learning’s 31st Annual Conference: Leading Through Learning, Alexandria, VA,


Sing to Live — Live to Sing
Join this not-for-profit group brings together singers whose lives have been directly or indirectly touched by breast cancer. Call 773-250-SING or send an email to Include your contact information & what part your sing (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass).

Think Pink
Buy products that raise money for breast cancer research & awareness:
  • To benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation: Pure Color Crystal Gloss in Evelyn Pink, B.Sweets Chocolate Rx,
  • To benefit the Women’s Cancer Research Fund: Shower for the Cure Pink Ribbon Shower Gell,


Responsibly Dispose of Your Old Electronics
Donate PCs to National Cristina Foundation,

Recycle PCs and other computer products at Hewlett Packard and Dell. See their websites for details.

Find local Electronics recyclers at and

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