Recruit, Inspire & Retain

October 2007

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: Informal Background Checks in the “Googling” Age
bullet Office Germs
bullet Who's Wearing Fun Meters?
bullet Cool Calls
bullet What Are You Reading This Month?
bullet INSPIRE: We Let Our People Tell Us How to Improve Their Bosses
bullet TRAIN: Lessons from External Coaching…Developing Managers on Their Own Terms
bullet RETAIN: Performance Cornerstones for the 21st Century
bullet Professional Development Conferences
bullet Ways to Volunteer & Give

Let us know and we'll print it in the next issue. Plus, you may get a great idea for something you need!




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

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October is... (A real popularmonth!)
Pretzel Month
Roller Skating Month
Spinach Lovers Month
National Popcorn Poppin’ Month (But you can’t EAT any — that’s another month!)
Vegetarian Awareness Month
eCard Month
AIDS Awareness Month
Dessert Month
Pizza Month
Pasta Month
Chili Month
Cookie Month
Pork Month

October 1-5 – Customer Service Week
October 7-13 – Get Organized Week
October 14-20 – Pet Peeve Week
October 21-27 – Pastoral Care Week

October 4 – World Animal Day & International Toot Your Flute Day
October 5 – World Teacher’s Day, Do Something Nice Day, & Diversity Day
October 6 – Biscuit Day
October 7 – Intergeneration Day
October 8 – Columbus Day
October 7 – Global Learn Day
October 10 – International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction & National Angel Food Cake Day
October 14 – National Dessert Day
October 16 – Boss’s Day, Oatmeal Day, & Dictionary Day
October 17 – Gaudy Day
October 18 – Chocolate Cupcake Day & Boost Your Brain Day (Chocolate is scientifically
                      proven to boost your brain, right?)

October 19 – Look Back on Your Life Day & Change Your Life Day
October 20 – Sweetest Day
October 21 – Babbling Day
October 22 – Eat A Pretzel Day & Color Day
October 24 – International Forgiveness Day & National Bologna Day (Just make sure your
                      forgiveness isn’t “baloney”)

October 26 – Bring Your Jack-O-Lantern to Work Day (How about “Get a Life”Day!)
October 27 – Boxer Shorts Day & Make A Difference Day
October 28 – Chocolate Day
October 29 – Happy Birthday, Internet!
October 30 – Candy Corn Day
October 31 – Halloween, Magic Day, & Caramel Apple Day

November 1 – Nutty Pecan Day, Cake Appreciation Day, Play A Game of Chess Day, & Authors
                       Day (Let’s start November off with a bang!)
November 2 – Piggy Bank Day & Deviled Egg Day
November 3 – Sandwich Day
November 4 – U.S. Daylight Saving Time Ends & Candy Day
November 5 – Guy Fawkes Day & Doughnut Day
November 6 – I Love Nachos Day & Peanut Butter Day ( got your nachos in my
                       peanut butter!)

November 7 – Intergeneration Day
November 8 – Columbus Day

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

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Informal Background Checks in the "Googling" Age

This article is written to job applicants, and it gives all of us hiring managers something to think about, too. Will you use this kind of info/do this kind of investigating before hiring? Should others in your company?

If you want to learn about yourself, there are many routes to take: meditation, psychoanalysis, personality quizzes. Then there’s the 21st-century option of "Googling" yourself — typing your name into a search engine can yield sometimes surprising results.

Googling your name, however, isn’t just an exercise in self-congratulation — it’s also an action many employers might take to learn about potential employees. That’s something Roxanne Jones, a copy editor for Newsday, takes to heart. Jones maintained a blog as a college student, and she continued to do so for a while after graduation. After leaving a job in April 2006, Jones received an e-mail from a former co-worker, who said she was upset by something she had read on the blog. Jones had mentioned her blog only in passing conversations and never told co-workers how to access it, and she was surprised to hear from her co-worker months after she had left the job.

"I figured someone had Googled my name and had found my blog, which you could do, and so whoever found my blog saw the comments and passed them along," Jones said. "They went to the guy who actually hired me. So, he called me and asked me, ‘Why didn’t you like being here?’ and all these other things, and it ended up becoming a big misunderstanding."

When applying for another job, Jones learned the person who was interviewing her had talked to the former co-worker who had been upset by Jones’ blog.

"My fear was, now that these people didn’t think much of me anymore, what if I looked for a job in the future, and the recruiter called someone there and asked about me, and they said disparaging things about me? Would that prevent me from getting a job?" she said.

Although everything worked out, Jones said the experience was an eye-opening one.

"I was really, really naive in thinking I could be a private person on the Internet," she said. "Things I thought I was just whispering to people, I was really screaming — you could Google me, you could see it. The Internet is not a private place."

She said up-and-coming job applicants need to be aware of the consequences of posting things to social networking Web sites, blogs and Web sites such as YouTube.

"People put the most ridiculous things on the Internet," Jones said. "And as time goes on, if you’re applying for an internship or a job, and you put a tape of yourself shaving your friend’s head while he was sleeping or something like that, it’s going to come up, and I think that’s something a lot of young people aren’t thinking about."

From Talent Management Magazine, May 2007


Reference Checking For Everyone, by Paul W. Barada & J. Michael McLaughlin
Sleuthing 101: Background Checks & The Law, by Barry Nadell
Order both by emailing or calling 800-469-3560. Mention RIR for 10% off.

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


Office Germs

You likely didn’t want to know this...but:

Although you can catch diseases from a public toilet seat, your typical office is a far more dangerous place than a bathroom, harboring around 400 times more disease-causing bacteria. A microbiologist at the University of Arizona, Charles Gerba, broke down the bacteria count:

Telephone — 3,694 germs per square centimeter
Keyboard — 511 germs per square centimeter
Computer Mouse — 280 germs per square centimeter>

All together now, "EEEEEEEWWWWW!!!!!!!!!"

"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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Fun Meter   * Buyers at the IL Healthcare Association Conference Bookstore


* CISPI Performance Newsletter published "Interactive Lecture - Oxymoron?", a book review by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. President, Carolyn B. Thompson, in the March/April 2007 issue.
* CISPI Performance Newsletter published "Reduce Learning Time and Learners Learn More – How Could This Be?", a book review by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. President, Carolyn B. Thompson, in the May/June 2007 issue.
* CISPI Performance Newsletter published, "What’s Wrong with E-Learning and How Do We Fix It?", an article by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. President, Carolyn B. Thompson, in the July/August 2007 issue.
* Craig Polak, after reading last month’s article on Writing Skills That Inspire Your Staff and the People They Write To, emailed: "Sorry, can’t resist sharing a couple of my favorites: I prefer being ‘gruntled’ when discontent...and ‘disgruntled’ when content. Also, if it was a ‘near miss’, doesn’t that mean there was a hit? I prefer it being a ‘near hit’, which suggests a miss."



TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. President, Carolyn B. Thompson

The World is Flat
by Thomas L. Friedman

A totally eye opening view of everything from offshoring to collaborative software. I will never look at the telemarketer or the help desk people with non-U.S. accents the same way. Every business person has to read this book in order to do their job efficiently in the coming years.

Email 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).

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We Let Our People Tell Us How to Improve Their Bosses

In our annual satisfaction surveys, employees were pointing out weaknesses in our management that weren’t turning up in the managers’ annual performance appraisals. It was clear our employees had a unique and valuable perspective on their bosses that we could tap to improve our management.

But we had to get positive, useful feedback — not just complaints — that would help us grow. So we took these 3 steps. We:
designed a questionnaire to elicit objective feedback including a core section of questions that we
     never change so we can compare results from year to year
ran the first year strictly as a test to see how our system worked. At year end we asked
     employees to comment on the process and revised the survey based on their feedback
rolled out the revised survey in subsequent years and used the results to set new corporate goals

Get measurable feedback
First we identified the core qualities we felt managers needed to succeed at our company. Those include commitment to change, teamwork, accountability, coaching, feedback, etc. Under each quality, we asked employees to rate their bosses. For example, under commitment to change, we asked employees to rate on a 1-to-10 scale how often their boss seeks new ways to get things done. We go for objective answers because we can measure them and compare what different employees say about their bosses. We can also use the data to track trends over several years.

Do once just for practice
To find out if our idea would work, we did it once for practice. Then we surveyed employees to find out what worked and what didn’t. They said:

questions focused too much on their impressions of management in general, not on what their
    bosses actually did

there was no point In the upward evaluations unless they had a real impact on managers’
    performance appraisals

As a result, we sharpened our questions and made the upward evaluations a greater part of managers’ evaluations. The test run also helped us prepare for the extra paperwork involved with upward evaluations.

Include feedback in new company goals
Our employees’ added feedback helps us identify areas were we need to set new goals for improvement. For example, in 1994, coaching scored lower than other areas, so we made improvement there a top priority. Then in 1995, we added new questions to the coaching section of our evaluations to get an even deeper perspective.

The upward evaluation process has benefitted us in a few ways. First, people say the quality of management has improved. Their bosses work harder to communicate with them and help them grow in their jobs. But employees also show greater awareness of our corporate goals. Since they have to evaluate how well their bosses are meeting those goals, it forces employees to think about them more. We also track a composite score for the company and that’s gone up every year.

Written by Judy Splendorio, Manager of HR, Bellcore, Piscataway, NJ,
originally published in What’s Working in Human Resources, 4/25/96

We’ve helped our clients develop the system — need ideas for how to make this work in your organization? Call TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. 800-469-3650 or Email.

How to Build and Use a 360-Degree Feedback System, by Warren Shaver
30 Reasons Employees Hate Their Managers: What Your People May Be Thinking – What You Can Do About It, by Bruce Leslie Katcher & Adam Snyder
Order both by emailing or calling 800-469-3560. Mention RIR for 10% off.

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Lessons from External Coaching…Developing Managers on Their Own Terms

Why are fewer managers attending traditional leadership development training workshops? Why is it that many managers who have attended such training typically reflect upon the experience as “good;” yet, most have a hard time remembering the specific strategies they learned or more importantly, used as a result of the training?

New Zenger Folkman research (2007) indicates less than 10% of today’s leaders have their own personal plan for leadership skill development. The root of these findings may not lie in the managers’ lack of interest; rather, the training offered does not address current managers’ demands.

Two leading U.S. companies recently discovered that managers are still keenly interested in self-development, but only when it is offered on their terms.

When the managers from these companies worked with an external coach in bi-weekly coaching calls over the telephone (telecoaching):

  • 90% of the managers rated this way of learning and the actions they were able to take as good or excellent

  • 100% recommended this type of performance improvement to their peers

Why the high-ratings?

Pure and simple. External telecoaching met managers on their terms unlike scheduled group training. Let’s consider some of these terms and how these were satisfied through the external telecoaching approach.

1. Most managers are consumed by the pressures of producing results, over-scheduling,
    customer-driven demands, and inadequate resources.
Over 80% of the participating managers noted the convenience of the one-hour telecoaching sessions as an outstanding feature. They could schedule their coaching as they do conference calls; and since these sessions were done on the telephone they could be conducted when traveling or telecommuting. Telecoaching offered managers the flexibility to pursue their performance improvement while still achieving their many other priorities.

In all cases, managers linked the actions they chose to take as a result of their coaching to improved results; these results provided the tangible returns managers are looking for.

2. Managers learn primarily through informal channels.
A moderate number of the managers surveyed were initially skeptical about trusting a coach they had never met and the coaches’ ability to add value when they didn’t really know the inner workings of the managers’ environments. However, after they tried this coaching, 90% of the managers agreed they preferred the fact that the coaches didn’t work for their companies and we didn’t get any comments saying they felt a lack of rapport or trust.

Comments in this area included, “They were able to ask questions with a greater level of objectivity,” “I found it refreshing my coach wasn’t involved with our politics; it made for a more straightforward and honest conversation,” and, “I felt my coach really understood me and my problems.

3. Today’s managers demand deeper levels of advice to solve the challenges that arise in
    their jobs because the workplace is far more complex than it used to be. They’re seeking
The coaching sessions were only on the issues the managers were most concerned about. What a change from group training dealing only in part with a person’s most pressing issues. Coaches could offer advice resulting from their own experience and knowledge and also those solutions they had developed in conjunction with their diverse client base. The external coaches helped managers to dissect and analyze their issues at a greater level of detail resulting in strategic solutions that would succeed given their unique work environments.

4. Managers are in a position that forces them to focus on retaining their jobs in the face
   of severe competition. This competitive reality typically leads to managers not wanting
   to disclose what they don’t know.
External coaches provide an additional value resulting from the managers’ willingness to share their professional shortcomings with someone outside of the organization. This might be considered the “bartender” or “hairdresser” effect. An external coach can act as a “safe haven” for seeking help on one’s personal management challenges. The coach is not there to judge nor do they have a stake in the politics or choices the managers make.

Lessons for All Organizations Considering External Coaching
If what happened to these two companies and their managers sounds good:
1. Consider using external coaches as an effective alternative to group training. It’s convenient,
    objective, and confidential
and provides a superior level of personalized focus and pay-off.
2. Find opportunities to incorporate some of the “satisfiers” managers discovered when using
    external coaches when you are coaching others yourself:
    • Coach via telephone – it is convenient!
    • Listen objectively (cast aside your assumptions and biases related to politics, personalities,
      departmental agendas, etc.)
    • Provide and deliver on the promise of confidentiality; build a relationship of trust and respect
3. Seek ways to provide training the same easy way you schedule one-hour meetings.
    Remember, convenience and flexibility are critical success factors to hard working managers when
    it comes to fitting performance improvement in with their many competing priorities.
4. Provide opportunities to focus on the individual needs of those being trained and be sure the time
    spent nets tangible benefits in the form of actions and results.

By Cindy McCann, Custom Performance Solutions, Inc.

If you are interested in exploring an external coaching program for yourself or your managers; or would like to develop additional training for your leadership team on effective coaching practices that incorporate these same best practices contact our partner, Custom Performance Solutions, Inc. at 510-530-3423 or Email TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.

Coached to Lead, by Susan Battley
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful, by Marshall Goldsmith & Mark Reiter
Order by emailing or calling 800-469-3560. Mention RIR for 10% off.

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Performance Cornerstones for the 21st Century

The 21st Century has brought with it a New World of Work. The growing use of virtual workers, the expanding needs of our multi-generational workforce, and heated competition for top talent have put increased pressure on businesses of every size and industry. To see how well your organization is responding, check the statements below that are true about your organization:
Our people have a clear understanding of our most critical business goals.
Our leaders handle having differing opinions represented on a team with ease.
Our people are clear on what is expected of them.
Our people know how to get the information they need to perform effectively.
Our managers are comfortable handling personnel issues.
Our meetings produce clear courses of action.
Our managers resolve interpersonal problems quickly and effectively.

Not happy with your score? There are 3 Performance Cornerstones proven to sustain the leadership style, culture, and best practices that grow strong businesses. Enforced together throughout your organization, they form a foundation for ensuring that your people are actively engaged in achieving success.

Cornerstone 1: Clearly articulate your most critical business goals at regular intervals
Harvard Business Review's report on successful strategy implementation points to the importance of management's ability to identify and communicate the most critical priorities of their organization. Everyone on your team needs to know what fits your vision and what doesn't. The more they appreciate how what they do fulfills critical business goals, the more they understand what is expected of them and why. Most can even better align their contributions so that those goals are reached faster and more thoroughly.

Business goals should be specific, measurable, and simply worded. Compound ideas can result in a loss of important detail. Include a clear description of what "successful completion" looks like. When you define your expectations from the outset, completing every project becomes a shared vision.

Cornerstone 2: Reward and reinforce desired performance
Poor managers cost US businesses $300 billion a year in productivity losses. They give more work (instead of better work) to their best performers, who consequently become overloaded. Because of their discomfort with conflict, they gloss over reviews of underachievers and employees who may be a bad fit. Consequently, these people continue to detract from team effectiveness and the wrong behavior is unintentionally rewarded.

Evaluation, feedback, and reward systems should be designed to align your results with your intentions. That way, you get the best results from your best people and move more rapidly towards your business goals. Work with your team to create and publish guidelines for evaluating ideas, giving constructive feedback, and rewarding performance that forwards team objectives. Publicly acknowledge when someone has gone the extra mile. Your organization benefits from shared information and positive feedback and good employees are encouraged when they see their work making a difference.

Cornerstone 3: Focus on problem-solving over blame
McKinsey's analysis of hundreds of global companies identified a strong correlation between improved reporting relationships and financial performance. Yet, many businesses have evolved using a blame or fear basis for inspiring people. This model stifles initiative, accountability, and creativity — 3 forces organizations need to flourish.

Problems often present an opportunity for improving existing processes and team effectiveness. To take advantage of this opening, your team members must be able to be honest about their observations and experiences without fear of punishment. Using problem-solving language encourages people to work together to develop lasting solutions. Following is a chart illustrating the differences between typical blaming language and problem-solving language.

Blaming Language

Problem-Solving Language

Emphasis on history, a "laundry list of sins"

Emphasis on current situation and evolving processes

Focused only on roles of others

Includes your role in the current situation

Commands and compliance

Questions that challenge the other person to help solve the situation

High emotion

Monitored responses

What you don't want to see

What you want to see

Solution is general

Solution is measurable with appropriate reward for success


Blaming Examples

Problem-Solving Examples

Orientation: If you can't manage to get here on time, we're going to take it out of your paycheck.

Orientation: Let's try to figure out why you have difficulty arriving on time and see what we can do about it.

Behavior statement: You are too casual with the way in which you hand off documents.

Behavior statement: Hand-offs of documents should be confirmed with an email receipts so we have an appropriate record.

Impact statement: You don't care about anyone else on this team.

Impact statement: When you arrive late, I have to answer your calls as well as mine.

In today’s New World of Work, you need to consistently promote the appropriate sharing of information to move your organization forward. By putting these 3 Performance Cornerstones in place, you optimize worker commitment, nurture quality employees, and attract and retain top talent. In short, you get what you’re already paying for.

From Cathy Hammer & Associates, helping business owners and managers capitalize on their best people so that they work together more effectively and achieve superior results., 415-675-5811.

Growing Great Employees: Turning Ordinary People into Extraordinary Performers, by Erika Andersen
The Carrot Principle, by Adrian Gostick
Order by emailing or calling 800-469-3560. Mention RIR for 10% off.

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October 10-12, 2007
HR Technology Conference, Navy Pier, Chicago, IL,

October 10-12, 2007
Strategic HR Conference, Tampa, FL,

October 15-17, 2007
Training Tech Solutions Conference & Expo, Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, UT,

January 17-20, 2008
33rd International Alliance for Learning Conference 2008, "Learning that Counts - From a Dream to Reality", Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia,

January 31-February 3, 2008
Christian Writers Guild Writing for the Soul Conference, Colorado Springs, CO,

March 6-7, 2008
3rd Annual ASAE Conference on International Operations, Marriott Learning Complex, Ronald Reagan Building/International Trade Center, Washington, DC,

April 5-8, 2008
International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), NY Marriott Marquis Hotel,

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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 http://www.rateitgreen.comom
buy ecofriendly office supplies at http://www.thegreenoffice.comom 
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

Charity Navigatoror ( 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.

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

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.

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 2007 TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. All rights reserved.


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