October Special Days
Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
October 2-4 – No Salt Weekend
November Special Days
Email TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. for ideas on how to celebrate any of these days.
With unemployment at a 25-year high, experts say the current pool of job-seekers is a mixture of highly qualified workers and ones employers couldn’t wait to get rid of. For employers looking to add new people to their ranks, this means they must exercise extreme discipline in the hiring process, according to Warren Cinnick, director of people and change advisory practices for New York-based PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“Individuals today have desperate stories of their need to be employed – heart-wrenching ones,” says Cinnick, “The employer needs to set feelings aside and have a set of unemotional, thoughtful criteria by which they are making hiring decisions.” As desperation sets in, job-seekers may begin embellishing their resumes, exaggerating competencies, work history and accomplishments, according to Ron Selewach, founder and CDO of Human Resource Management Center, Inc., a Tampa-based provider of automated HR solutions. This means recruiters can’t simply trust what’s printed on a resume or application, but must rely on good interviewing skills. The problem is the longer poor performers are in the job market, the better they get at interviewing, says Bob Van Rossum, president of Atlanta-based MarketPro Inc. “If they are a better interviewee than you are an interviewer, you may find yourself hiring someone else’s poor performer,” he says.
Such pitfalls can be avoided, but only if employers avoid the temptation to cut corners in tough economic times. They must continue following their procedures to the letter, conducting background checks, calling an applicant’s references and engaging in behavioral interview to get an accurate picture of exactly who they may be hiring.
“Now is the time to be more diligent in the recruiting process and do everything reasonable, from the testing component to the background-checking piece,” says David Lewis, president of Operations Inc. And chairman of The CEO Roundtable in Stamford, Comm. “You have to cross your t’s and dot your i’s if you want to make sure you don’t have any inappropriate and undesired surprises after you hire these folks.”
1. Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?
2. Why is the third hand on the watch called the second hand?
3. If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?
4. If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?
5. Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack?
6. Why does "slow down" and "slow up" mean the same thing?
7. Why does "fat chance" and "slim chance" mean the same thing?
8. Why do "tug" boats push their barges?
9. Why do we sing "Take me out to the ball game" when we are already there?
10. Why are they called " stands" when they are made for sitting?
11. Why is it called "after dark" when it really is "after light"?
12. Doesn't "expecting the unexpected" make the unexpected expected?
13. Why are a "wise man" and a "wise guy" opposites?
14. Why do "overlook" and "oversee" mean opposite things?
15. Why is "phonics" not spelled the way it sounds?
16. If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?
17. Why do we put suits in garment bags and garments in a suitcase?
18. How come abbreviated is such a long word?
19. Why do we wash bath towels? Aren't we clean when we use them?
20. Why do they call it a TV set when you only have one?
21. Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?
Office Toys - Fun Office Gifts for Employee Motivation, Rewards and Recognition
by Susan Campbell
Your employees work hard - and while recognizing their efforts with a plaque or other award is a thoughtful gesture, why not consider a fun gift that expresses your human side (and that will always be well-received)?
Saying "You're Appreciated" in a Cool Way
Gone are the days of gift certificates for the Jelly of the Month Club. Today's brightest and most talented employees are looking for something more unique. Other than cold hard cash, these fun and innovative employee gifts will be sure to get you voted Best Boss in no time. Consider this type of gift as an investment in keeping your best employees happy; happy employees are hard-working employees.
In a great company we know a supervisor hears a positive statement and the employee gets to choose a gift from the positive "vibes" box. Positivity rubs off, and so does being negative. In fact, employees who are constantly negative can actually spread negativity around just like a virus. Having small rewards for positive thinking and positive actions helps to keep everyone motivated and happy. Inspire your employees without cracking the whip (and encourage positive actions) with these fun and enjoyable gift ideas:
* Derringer rubber band gun - perfect for the secretary who likes to play Rambo or for putting stray workers into their rightful "place". Each supervisor should have their own Derringer rubber band gun to enforce the office "rules" with a sense of play.
* Grow a Geek - you've seen Sea Monkeys - now there's Grow a Geek. Simply place this sweet little nerd into water and watch him grow. His Momma would be so proud - and all women love geeks - even if they don't admit it.
* Something Somewhere Went Terribly Wrong Tee - this funny shirt shows what Darwin never expected...show your funny take on evolution with this wacky tee.
* Floating Pendulous Pen Stationary Set & Clock - a pen that floats? This far-out gift set is entertaining, handy, and a great conversation starter.
* Desktop Water Dispenser - a scaled-down water cooler style dispenser. Perfect for keeping up to a half gallon of liquid on tap and ready.
* Desktop Aquarium - with a small desktop footprint, this office aquarium provides hours of distraction. Life-like fish are included - you never have to feed 'em or clean up their "droppings".
* Can of Whoop A$$ - just pop the top and you'll hear the old taunt "you just opened a can of...!" Makes a perfect gag gift.
* Photo Rubik's Cube - just like the 80s toy phenomenon, this cube scrambles six favorite photos for hours of descrambling fun.
* Bernie Madoff's Head - thousands of investors have been demanding it, and now it's here. Bernie Madoff's head - you can even put it on a platter for effect. This stress reliever toy will certainly bring a lot of laughs and provides a unique outlet for general workplace stress.
* Chill Pills - employees stressing too much? Hand out these candy chill pills to get the whole room to relax.
* Bug Out Bob Stress Reliever - squeeze Bob until his brains pop out; don't worry, he's very flexible and you won't hurt him (too bad anyway).
* Notice: Problems Next Office Sign - point them in the right direction, no questions asked with this fun sign that directs all the problems away from you!
Now it’s your turn to fill the positive vibes box at your company with gifts that fit your company culture, industry and staff.
Appreciating your employees for their valuable contribution to the company and rewarding them accordingly doesn't have to drain your company's bank account. You can express your appreciation and create motivation to do more by giving them fun office toys they'll love to have sitting on their desks.
Adapted from goarticles.com.
Thanks, Paolo Bazzan, Sr Mg HR, Wolzem Corp, for letting us know about this great article idea.
Five Ways to Create Engaging Videos
by Brandon Hall
Video in e-learning isn’t new. For years, it has provided a means to move learner materials beyond text and graphics. Today, video for e-learning is created via webcams, cell phones, video cameras and Internet television.
But video has unique challenges and needs to be designed carefully to command attention and achieve learner objectives. A video of someone speaking, for example, requires little effort to create but is usually not very engaging.
Here are some techniques that organizations use to create video that engages learners.
1. Use humor: PricewaterhouseCoopers broke through a somewhat cynical environment by using humorous, authentic training videos. “The Firm,” a series of three- to five-minute intranet videos shot “docu-comedy” style, became the organization’s approach to build an everyday coaching culture. Shot in a PricewaterhouseCoopers office, real employees were cast as made-up characters in realistic situations. The characters and scenes were hearty examples for self-study and classroom experiences that explore coaching techniques and often led to conversations and discussions.
2. Use a familiar format: IBM cut through a deluge of staid and static learning content for its IT professionals by using a TV newscast approach. IBM TV anchor newscasts provided a friendly welcome and a way to quickly grab the learner’s interest. IT professionals save time by watching product comparisons on IBM TV rather than surfing an endless stream of product Web pages trying to establish an insightful analysis. IBM TV is now a global phenomenon, as IBM TV stations are popping up beyond North America, in Australia, France, India, Italy, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
3. Use emotional stories: Youth WISE is an organization that develops youth employment skills by focusing on personal development, employment readiness and positive self-image. Designing safety training for this group was a challenge. Prior training was met with rolled eyes, and attitudes toward safety practices were lackluster. So Youth WISE’s videos targeted the “it can’t happen to me” mentality and touched learners at an emotional level instead of using an expert, cognitive approach. By presenting real people’s emotional stories, learners related to people much like themselves and experienced significant attitude and behavioral change.
4. Provide feedback: Abbott Laboratories’ on-boarding program for marketing professionals used to consist of presentations from marketing team members. Abbott realized a need to reduce both the amount of time the marketing team spent in training new employees and the amount of time new employees spent in a classroom. Video provided a way for new employees to meet the marketing team, and dynamic video feedback at certain points in the course provided more consistency than the previous program.
5. Leverage content: AT&T has merged several communications companies over the last few years, and each new company created new training. So there was no unified sales program. Using templates, top performers were videotaped and content was then edited into short three- to five-minute vignettes. The videos were then used three ways: in a video library, in WBT modules and in classroom sessions. In the past, best practices were typically shared only within a centralized location or department. Delivering video across multiple distribution points increased training’s reach to all AT&T employees. Also, learners could play video locally on a computer or mobile device, making it accessible in any location.
6. Show, don’t tell: Finally, the power of video is in visual images. A talking head bores viewers after a few minutes. That’s why network news broadcasts quickly move off their anchorperson to video segments that illustrate while the voice-over narrates. According to a statement from IBM Learning’s Rich Media Center of Excellence, “The most compelling video stories are the ones that show through physical actions and images, rather than tell mostly through dialogue or narration.” Employ the guideline “show, don’t tell” as much as possible and even mere line drawings can be compelling.
Using video over the Internet has been a goal for years. Now, with advanced technology, instructional video is being realized on the PC and offers organizations great potential to engage learners.
Adapted from Chief Learning Officer online 9/09
“Stealth” Keys to Effective Leadership
"Management primarily involves getting along with people with whom you share common goals," said Sheldon Miller. Stealth management, Miller’s term sounds a bit like a military spy strategy, but his definition explains it - "a management style in which all involved are encouraged to participate after which the leader announces a decision...”
"If you involve employees in both the planning and the decision-making process, they will derive a sense of participation that borders on a feeling of ownership," Miller pointed out. "Everyone will share the same goals and be part of the same team."
"Interpersonal skills, often referred to as ‘soft skills,' are of vital importance to leaders. Yet they are neglected by most management books and training," said Miller, who was CEO of a 140-employee seismic equipment, valve and rubber molding manufacturing company. Examples of some interpersonal skills are knowing when to use compassion, being a good listener, admitting mistakes, and not showing anger. He added that, "When interpersonal skills are not part of management training, no substantive change follows the training."
Many of the traits of a good manager could be included under the term "aggressive humility." Said Miller, "You are aggressive if you actively want to succeed, but you must come across as humble, a team worker -- not walking over people."
"The same attitudes that make for a good parent also make for a good manager," said Miller. "They both need a basic goodness, trust, and a sense of humor."
Accused by some of being "too paternalistic," Miller recalled hiring a particular woman whose work history wasn't good. He chose to hire her with no trial period, and told her he had faith in her ability to do good work for him. The employee didn't let him down. She was faithful and worked hard. Then one day she didn't show up for work. A second day passed, but Miller didn't just give up on her. He said he told her supervisor to find out the reason for the woman's absence.
The employee didn't have a phone, so a neighbor was contacted. The woman was alone and ill, suffering from dental problems that had caused infection and fever. Miller called a dentist and arranged to have the woman treated, guaranteeing that if she didn't make the payments, he would.
Too paternalistic? Miller said he ended up with a loyal, grateful employee.
The boss's attitude toward mistakes has an impact on employee performance. Although mistakes need to be monitored and causes addressed, Miller said you should not tarnish your relationship with an employee when you deal with their mistakes.
Miller gave as an example an incident in which an employee of his accidentally damaged a $15,000 cable assembly by hitting it with a fork lift. The cable, already behind schedule in production for a Navy subcontractor, was beyond repair. Instead of firing the man, Miller took a few hours to calm down, and then walked back to the employee and said only, "Paul, you had a bad morning." The employee was moved to tears, They took some time to devise a new handling technique to help prevent future accidents, and went back to work on a replacement cable.
Miller said that by showing forgiveness and compassion to the employee, he earned the respect of his other employees and even of the buyer who had to wait for another cable. He also kept Paul, who over the following years was an exemplary employee.
This incident illustrates another of Miller's convictions: "If you want to change your company or organization, you must first change yourself. A company's culture reflects you, its leader."
Miller said he had, before the incident with the cable occurred, identified his hot temper as a trait he needed to change to improve his management style. "I had a temper, and if someone made a mistake, my temper showed," said Miller.
Another change Miller targeted and worked on in his management style was his lack of personal knowledge of his employees. "I was so busy, I wasn't taking time to get acquainted," he said. "I began to make it a point, twice a week, to ‘roam the ship,' and get a personal conversation going with employees." Miller said he tried to visit with every one of his employees personally over a period of time.
Adapted from bizactinos.com
October 19-November 29
November 5-6, 2009
November 6-8, 2009
November 18-20, 2009
December 1-2, 2009
January 7-8, 2010
January 14-17, 2010
February 1-3, 2010
March 3-5, 2010
May 10-11, 2010
www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil 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, http://www.Inc.com/keyword/jun08
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.http://www.firstgiving.com/kickingworldhunger
Going Green At Work
Charity Navigator (http://charitynavigator.org) is an in-depth, searchable guide to more than 5,000 charities worldwide that aims to encourage "intelligent giving". They rate charities based on their total expenses, revenues, and organizational capacity. If you want to give, but the recent slew of charity scandals has you feeling skeptical about where your money would go.
Take Pride T-Shirts (http://www.takepride.com) was founded by a group of friends who all share the belief that the more difficult the mission facing our military, the more deserving they are of our thanks and support. Each unique shirt design provides a glimpse into the life of a different US Service member who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and is hand silk-screened. The message of the shirts isn’t political, it's about acknowledging, celebrating, and taking pride in the spirit of young Americans who despite facing an extremely difficult job and unpleasant conditions, nonetheless strive to do their job well. Take Pride gives at least 20% of profits to charities and causes that assist combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Set a reminder to visit http://www.thebreastcancersite.com daily and click this button to help underprivileged women get mammograms.
volunteermatch.org helps you find
organizations in your area that spark your interest in volunteering.
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 tohttp://www.recycline.com for details.
Responsibly Dispose of Your Old Electronics
Recycle PCs, cell phones, printers, CDs diskettes, etc., with GreenDisk. For $29.95, they send a 70-pound-capacity box. When it’s full, you download postage from their website and ship it back. Your “junk” then goes to workshops for the disabled and are refurbished. http://www.greendisk.comm
Recycle PCs and other computer products at Hewlett Packard and Dell. See their websites for details.
EASY TO BE GREEN!
has great tips on green cleaning.
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