Recruitment Events That Really Attract The Employees You Need
Many organizations are reaping the benefits of attracting great employees using an event.
Ever Wondered Why...
Here are some facts about the 1500's
§ Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children, last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”
§ Houses had thatched roofs, thick straw piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm so all the dogs and cats and other small creatures (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained the straw became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
§ With the thatched roof, there was nothing to keep things from falling
into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other
droppings could really mess up your nice clean bed. So a bed with big posts
and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy
beds came into existence.
§ The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying “Dirt Poor”.
§ The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when
wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As
the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the
door the straw would start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed across
the entranceway. Hence the term “Thresh Hold”.
§ They cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that was always hung over
the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate
mostly vegetables would eat that stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot
to get cold overnight and start over again the next day. Sometimes the stew
had food in it which had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme,
“Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days
§ Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.
When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show it off. It was
a sign of wealth if a man “could bring home the bacon”. Then they would
cut off a little to share with the guests and all would sit around and
“chew the fat”.
§ Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content
caused some of the lead to leech into the food, causing lead poisoning and
even death. This happened most often with tomatoes so for the next 400
years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
§ Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burned bottom of
the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top or “upper
§ Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would
sometimes knock fellows out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the
road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out
on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around
and eat and drink and wait to see if they would wake up. Hence the custom
of “holding a wake”.
§ England is old and small and the local folks started running out of
places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and take the bones to a
“bone-house” and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25
coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they
had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string to the
wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and
tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night
(The Graveyard Shift) to listen for the bell: thus someone could be
“saved by the bell”.
Should You Have Fun at Work in Challenging Times? YES, More than Ever!
We’re not talking about “making fun” of low sales, low profits, or laid off workers. We are talking about enjoying yourself at work.
It’ll help you keep the employees.
It’ll help you get higher production.
It’ll help you keep them coming to work instead of calling off.
Profit from Fun
Some examples are from November 2003 Time Magazine article Having Fun Yet?
eLearning: The Ideal Set Up vs. the Reality of Real Life
Everyone knows that the way you are supposed to develop an eLearning
solution for your organization and the way it really happens are two quite
different things! The ideal, of course, is to do some variant of the
Can we all agree this just never happens? Instead of trying to trim and massage the model to make it fit, let's toss it away for now in favor of something more realistic. It simply does not faithfully depict the experience a typical learning officer has as they implement eLearning. Instead, let’s look at a more realistic situation and a more strategic way of making the best of what you actually do confront.
Reality: a Collage of Disparate Possibilities
Isn't this close to what you have seen: As a trainer you realize the technology has arrived. You begin to explore what is meant by eLearning and what it might look like. You are also getting signals from others in your organization. Perhaps HR has some compliance documents and they ask you to 'put them online'. Or a supervisor comes by one day and says, "Hey, let's put this PowerPoint on our company Web site, so I won't have to always respond to e-mail requests for it. Can't we call it training and make all the new hires look it over?” And of course, there's that hotshot over in the accounting department, who just got out of college. She's been hanging out with some guy named Arthur Ware and says she already has some eLearning modules up on her part of the network. John, your administrative assistant, has also told you about his experiences with some outfit that offers online training in Microsoft office products. And wow! Some of his latest Excel spreadsheets have been phenomenal. Even the VP's kid visited last week and was saying how his role-play games are teaching him how to set up towns and run railroads and did you learn to run your department on a Nintendo!
What these learning officers have in front of them at the time they recognize a need for an eLearning strategy is a wide variety of experience and ability to use technology and a wide variation in the types of needs and solutions available. And everyone is voicing a different combination of all these things. Indeed you may have already hired a coordinator for eLearning, but found them unable to get an initiative underway successfully. Or maybe you brought a programmer on board to create some eLearning courses, but found that they know nothing about how to help people learn.
I recall attending a session a few years ago at ASTD's Techknowledge '99 Conference. Performance Support Systems are a favorite of mine, so I attended a session related to that subject. The focus was team-based task analysis. The issue came up of process and task standards and how task steps were relayed to machine operators on the factory floor. Of course I had in mind a really cool system of monitors displaying computerized process steps with complimentary training available at the touch of a mouse, etc. The presenter let us know that they had abandoned such a system for plain old binders with sheet protectors. For them the low-tech method worked because it required less maintenance, was easily changed, and did not require that factory personnel be computer literate. Actual learning and training was obtained in team meetings where they would discuss the process steps and tasks to complete them. A sophisticated solution would have been inappropriate and may even have retarded team development.
The second source is represented by the vendors, in whose myriad brochures and URLs you find yourself swimming. The U.S. News and World Report lists over six hundred eLearning vendors (http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/elearning). These are just those registered with the magazine and do not include a number of smaller 'boutique' firms and independent instructional designers. Most of the vendors’ products are of the generic kind. Many of these focus on how to use the technology. eLearning products explaining how to use Microsoft Word or other applications are almost a dime-a-dozen these days. Almost any electronics or office supply store carries inexpensive training CDs covering most of the standard software packages. The equivalent is available from most major suppliers of online training. They usually establish for you a company account and administrative tools if you sign on with them. Their product offerings are becoming increasingly sophisticated, as well.
A second tier of products has emerged which slightly customize generic content. This is occurring mostly in the business skills areas. Leadership, project management, coaching and supervising, and other generic content focusing on "soft skills", have been around the training industry for some time. There are literally mountains of instructor-led training materials available on these subjects. Much of this is being turned into eLearning. That allows organizations to work with the content so that it matches their particular approach and culture.
The third type is training custom developed for a particular client. In contrast to the $9.99 CDs at your local electronics store, these often go for between $500 and $1,000 per learner minute, excluding the LMS infrastructures in which to place them.
What this supply breakdown means is that when you are thinking about finding eLearning solutions for the persons most likely to need and use them, you will be drawing solutions from a pool of highly generic, but less expensive to highly customized and more expensive products. Clearly the most absurd way to solve your eLearning dilemma would be to go out and purchase top-of-the-line custom ware for those with little need or ability to use it (i.e., those in the bottom right quadrant of the table above). This is not to say it has not happened however! Most of us, at least with the aid of the strategic tips in this article, can avoid this obvious misstep. So our next move is to apply good strategic principles to getting the right thing to the right people at the right price.
Your Next Step
Hiring an in-house eLearning designer is a symptom of this reaction. True, if this were an instructor-led piece of training, you might go out and hire a trainer to develop and deliver instruction in some subject. The trainer would come in and design the course and do the training. Ergo the same must be true for eLearning.
But that is not the ball game we are in here. The whole point of eLearning is to deliver courses without a live human for every twenty or so attendees. Looking at eLearning staffing as if it were just another training position misses the idea entirely. Besides, that single individual might be put toiling away on a wheel already invented by someone else, and could never get around to developing and managing all your eLearning courseware. In fact it takes about three or four times (some say more) as much time to develop an eLearning course as it does a typical classroom offering.
2. Hire a vendor for everything. At the other extreme is the reaction of tossing up your hands, hiring a vendor for all your eLearning and turning loose of the steering wheel. There are numerous problems with this approach. First, you will need to explore the offerings of lot of vendors. And also consider that many of these will offer only online services. Your staff, however, will want to take these courses at home or on the road, where bandwidth issues become important.
With the many choices available out there these days, putting all your eggs in one basket just is not strategically astute.
Start Your eLearning With
Adapted from an article by Randall Kindley @ HR.com.
Underappreciated Staff May Bolt When the Economy Rebounds
For many years now, American business culture has fostered a form of star worship that even a Hollywood agent might find excessive. The American work force’s steady-Eddie performers gradually lost status to corporate hotshots and those with star potential. In the so-called war for talent, A-list players were showered with cash, stock options, and perks. Yet it was mostly the A players who failed spectacularly at firms such as Enron and WorldCom and countless dotcom wonders.
Now companies that have been overlooking their B players may start to
regret it. When job demand picks up, those solid-performing workers who
constitute the heart of a business are likely to start migrating to places
that make them feel more appreciated. “Long-term performance depends far more
on the contributions of B players than many firms have come to realize,” says
Thomas DeLong, a professor at Harvard Business School. DeLong describes B
players as the middle 80% of a company’s work force, employees who are neither
the hotshots (the A’s) nor the weakest links
B players are a company’s critical caretakers as firms go through the typical upheavals: CEO shuffles, corporate mergers, abrupt strategy changes. Because the B players tend to think of the company as a family, they often take the time to nurture and train inexperienced employees. The B’s can save companies from disastrous oversights and unethical corner cutting, since their ties to the firm tend to be stronger than those of free agents who hopscotch from job to job. And they know how to unjam the copier. One reason Enron, a company packed with hotshots, went bankrupt was that good, solid employees—like whistle-blower Sherron Watkins—were shunted aside in the gold rush. “B players strive for advancement but not at all costs. This attitude is anathema to most A players,” DeLong and co-author Vineeta Vijayaraghavan recently wrote in the Harvard Business Review.
In fact, elements of the management structure championed by former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, who instituted a “forced ranking” system, have infiltrated deep into corporate America. Such systems rank employees along a bell curve in which the top 10% typically receive an A grade or equivalent, the middle 80% earn a B, and the bottom 10% earn a C—and a send-off if they don’t improve. Such “rank and yank” systems gained popularity in the 1990s, and about a third of companies now use them, up from 13% in 1997, according to the consulting firm DDL.
Another way of looking at B players is that they’re people who have a life outside the office. Some Silicon Valley companies are latching onto the idea that B players are valuable. Guerrino De Luca, CEO of Logitech, says, “We have a lot of B’s,” whom he describes as employees who “don’t emphasize self-promotion and don’t want to work 18 hours a day.
Logitech conveys the message to B’s that he and other top executives identify with them. Country-club memberships and other perks that might breed class resentment are frowned upon; everyone flies coach, including the CEO. De Luca roams the halls to chat with staffers and encourages everyone to e-mail him with ideas. A few years ago, he dyed his hair pink after losing a bet with an employee. That sent the signal, he says, that “the boss may be crazy, but he’s somebody I can talk to.”
What You Can Do
Think twice before you try to cut costs by scaling back such family-friendly perks as flexible work hours and on-site day care. Bs’ value those benefits, which have helped ease the pain of pay cuts.
Senior managers need to do a better job of informing people about how they mesh with the company’s overall strategy.
Let workers know how their contributions fit into the company’s overall strategy and goals. They feel disenfranchised if you don’t
Excerpts from Time
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