Recruit, Inspire & Retain

November  2009

Ideas for “Marketing” and Providing “Customer Service” to Current and Potential Employees

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FUN Days to Celebrate (Call/Email for Ways to Celebrate the FUN Days to Celebrate!)
RECRUIT:  Finding a New Kind of Leader
Cool Calls
Posters: 45 Lessons Life Taught Me
INSPIRE: Some Really Captivating Employee Engagement Programs
TRAIN: What We Know about the Brain
RETAIN: Bosses Go Undercover
Professional Development Conferences
Ways to Volunteer & Give
54% of HR Executives surveyed by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., consider employee engagement to be the BIGGEST challenge organizations face after job cuts.

What have you done in your organization to increase engagement?

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November is...

American Diabetes Month
Military Family Appreciation Month
National Georgia Pecan Month
National Inspirational Role Models Month
MADD’s Tie One On For Safety Holiday Campaign begins this month and runs through New Year’s Day. This program was designed to encourage the public to become actively involved in the fight against drunk driving by tying a red ribbon to a visible place on their vehicle such as the antenna or side mirror. Come on, Tie One On - For Safety!

November 2-6 – World Communication Week
November 9-13 – Pursuit of Happiness Week
November 9-13 – World Kindness Week
November 16-20 – American Education Week
November 23-27 – National Teens Don’t Text and Drive Week (Having a new teen driver, I can really appreciate this week!) & Better Conversation Week (, don’t text.)
November 3 – Election Day, and (strangely enough) Cliche Day
November 4 – Use Your Common Sense Day
November 5 – National Men Make Dinner Day (And it can’t be barbeque!)
November 7 – International Tongue Twister Day
November 8 – Abet and Aid Punsters Day
November 11 – Veterans Day
November 13 – World Kindness Day
November 14 – Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day & Spirit of NSA (National Speakers Association) Day
November 15 – American Recycles Day, National Bundt Pan Day, & I Love to Write Day
November 16 – Boss’s Day, Dictionary Day, & World Food Day
November 19 – Use Less Stuff Day (which causes you to . . .) Have A Bad Day Day
November 20 – Name Your PC Day
November 23 – Fibonacci Day — it’s on November 23 because the first numbers of the Fibonacci Series are 1, 1, 2, 3. The Fibonacci sequence adds the previous 2 numbers to get the third. If you’re into math, do a little discovering of your own on Fibonacci numbers.
November 24 – Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day
November 25 – MADD’s Tie One On Day
November 26 – Thanksgiving Day
November 27 – Black Friday

December Special Days

December 1-4 – Cookie Cutter Week & Tolerance Week
December 1 – World Aids Day
December 2 – Special Education Day
December 3 – International Day of Disabled Persons

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

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Finding A New Kind of Leader

In a global, knowledge-based economy, those who recruit and develop the right kind of leaders will have a huge competitive advantage. Despite the investment of millions of dollars in leadership development by Fortune 500 companies, experts warn of a growing leadership gap as an entire generation of baby boomer executives retire. The challenge is further complicated by a next-generation workforce that is unimpressed with position-based leadership or management by declaration. Growing up in an environment where their opinion has been sought on almost everything, and where a forum to express it is just a few keystrokes away, this group responds to a different type of leader.

As Jim Collins described in his bestseller Good to Great, "Level 5" leaders share common characteristics that are attractive to both current and future generations of knowledge workers. After spending years coaching and developing leaders from a variety of disciplines, I’ve learned that one sector of our economy is uniquely positioned to create this kind of leader.

Some of the most talented leaders on the planet are those leading associations, nonprofits, or volunteer-based organizations. With little or no executive authority, these amazing individuals employ a wide range of gifts and talents to influence and inspire others. Masters of influence and persuasion, they build personal relationships, invest in others, and motivate people to achieve. Leveraging a compelling vision, these leaders build great teams, introduce fresh ideas and strategies, and light a fire of optimism that burns brightly throughout their organizations. What makes this phenomenon even more intriguing is that these leaders generally do this without two of the biggest motivators in the history of civilization: money and power.

Gone are the days when working for a volunteer-based institution meant you could shift into neutral and coast. The pressure and demands on the social sector have risen so dramatically in recent years that those who don’t deliver don’t survive. If nonprofit leaders can’t demonstrate to funders a measurable return on investment, they’re out of business. Since social-sector leaders face the challenge of motivating people to work hard and deliver results without the benefit of financial reward, they’re forced to discover what truly motivates each individual to perform. Someone who finds success in this environment develops knowledge and experience about human behavior that could never be learned in a traditional corporate setting or even in business school.

So what are the gifts, talents, and attributes that make successful social-sector executives great leaders?

They’re skilled listeners who ask great questions, then carefully mine the responses to unearth the nuggets they need to inspire greatness. This is especially critical with a generation that is accustomed to being heard.

They’re determined problem solvers who don’t believe there is only one right path or solution, and they rarely accept "no" as the final answer. When you can’t spend or hire your way out of a problem, you are forced to develop a problem-solving mindset.

They’re passionate advocates with a deep-seated commitment to the mission that is highly attractive to volunteers and staff. When a leader burns with a passion for the cause, you can’t help but be drawn to the warmth of that fire.

They’re vision casters who inspire and motivate an entire organization to follow them to the future. To accomplish this they must be able to see what others cannot yet see and then be able to describe it in a compelling way.

They’re change agents who provide the stability an organization needs to operate while serving as a catalyst for transformational change.

They’re master communicators who cultivate conversations, storytelling, and compelling dialogue that maintain the interest of all the stakeholders.

While I do not suggest that the answer to the global leadership challenge is to raid associations and hire their leaders, I do believe there is a competitive advantage for those who are willing to learn from the social sectors.

Reprinted from Associations Now magazine, May 2008

Get more tips on recruiting great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.


Finding the Best and the Brightest: A Guide to Recruiting, Selecting, and Retaining Effective Leaders by Peg Thoms

The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices for the New Era by Frances Hesselbein and Marshall Goldsmith.  Order by calling 800-469-3560 or emailing and get your 10% discount by mentioning RIR.

Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

Recruitment, inspiration, training, and retention ideas

Have a recruitment, inspiration, training, or retention idea or question? Send e-mail to 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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* GuinnessFrom last issue’s ‘What Inspirational Quotes Do You Use?’ question: Meg Henderson-Mt. Zion UNC Preschool, Marietta GA, told us: "The first step towards the solution of any problem is optimism.", by John Baines and, "Children & adults alike should always take the approach, ‘I’ll try’ rather than ‘I can’t’ — all part of a glass that’s half full!"

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45 Lessons Life Taught Me
by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote a list of the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others.. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, and wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, and then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

**TOOL BOX****
"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!

Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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Some Really Captivating Employee Engagement Programs
by Carolyn B. Thompson

I was lucky enough recently to be one of several judges for the National Council of State Housing Agencies Management Innovations Awards. They give awards in many categories – one is HR programs.

I’ll describe a couple of the easiest to do but yet the most effective ones but first – what made all the engagement programs so award worthy is that they did the single most important thing to make any program successful:

They built it around a theme that had to do with the mission of their organization (ex – a housing authority whose awards were called bricks, hammer and nails, firm foundation and another ex – a housing authority that allowed their employees to receive hardship housing allowances)

One agency started their request to be recognized with an award with a great definition of employee engagement:

Engaging employees is more than just ensuring they are satisfied or motivated in their jobs. It’s about helping them develop an emotional connection or sense of personal attachment to their work.

Some easily doable programs for you:

North Carolina Housing Finance Agency - Housing Heros: Recognizing Employees for Great Work – to do you’ll have to use your own organization’s words (they’re involved in housing so they used house words) but here’s what they did – the awards were ones any employee could give to any other employee (you to you co-worker, you to your staff person, you to your boss, etc) – except the special Rooftop. All awards are pieces of paper with a pic on it or cut out in the shape of the object.

Brick award – rewards good work (awarded immediately)

Hammer and Nail – rewards extra-special effort (awarded immediately)

Windows of Opportunity – rewards creative thinking/ideas (awarded immediately)

Doorways to the Future – rewards team effort (after completion of a team project)

Firm Foundation – rewards the agency values in action (nominations taken and given w/i a month a that nomination)

The Rooftop – outstanding performance (annually by Exec Director)

MassHousing strives to be in the top tier of family friendly places to work –

Lactation room available – not a closet or rest room but a room set up to be warm, private and comfortable for mothers and includes a refrigerator for storing milk

Back up day care – a day care provider within a couple blacks of the employee’s office (used when the primary care can’t do it at the last minute or for planned times like school vacation days). Agency pays a membership fee and charges the employee a modest daily usage fee taken out as a payroll deduction

Flex hours – dept heads can vary work hours within a 12 hr time period to accommodate and employee need (employee make a proposal)

Rhode Island Housing is my personal favorite: opportunity to wear jeans on Friday and pay $3 to do it ($2 more if they want to wear tennis shoes too). The money is give to charities chosen to cover a wide range from food to shelter to clothing to medical treatment. Employees can suggest a charity.

HR staff send a weekly email highlighting info on one of the Jeans Day charities (website link, additional info, how much the agency has given to date, impact of this money, etc)

Some of the charities provide volunteer opportunities too and HR staff coordinate the participation (this has expanded to bike-a-thons, walk-a-thons, etc as a group with the Jeans Day money going to pay the per mile or whatever donation)

Sign in lobby informs visitors of the Jeans Day program so they know why people are dressed in jeans and what the money is going for.

Read the HR award entries in their entirety here:

Let us know if you institute any of these or if they give you an idea for something else – or if you’re already doing something that engages employees and we should hear about how you do it.

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The Monroe Doctrine: An ABC Guide To What Great Bosses Do by Lorraine Monroe


The Hard Truth About Soft Skills: Workplace Lessons Smart People Wish They'd Learned Sooner by Peggy Klaus - Order by calling 800-469-3560 or emailing and get your 10% discount by mentioning RIR


Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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What We Know About the Brain

There are a number of things we now know about the brain and learning that can help us make a difference in the work we do (according to the work of a number of neuroscientists like Dr. Fritz Mengert, Dr. Janet Zadina and other researchers like Dr. Boyzatis and Dr. Zull at Case Western, Dr. Tobin Hart at West Georgia, or those like Dr Renate Caine and others who have worked to translate science to learning).

Some of the highlights of the research suggest that:

Emotion and Cognition are linked in the brain and learning is state dependent. Music is an important tool to create an optimal state for learning. The arts, discovery process, and an engaging environment help us create meaningful learning experiences that not only accelerate and deepen the learning process, but help shift limiting beliefs and tap into potential.
"Cells that fire together wire together" – the more natural repetition that is build into learning and the more senses engaged in the learning, the more the learning is embedded and accessible.
A feeling of progress motivates learners to persist in tasks that could seem daunting or even tedious. Success breeds success. By designing learning (using for example the AL cycle) learners continuously success, make progress and see the relevance of the learning to their lives.
Novelty in a stress free environment arouses and engages attention. It is important to create a environment free of high stress, and one that offers novel experiences – ones that arouses attention. The methods, the environment itself, the changes embedded into the learning design all support novelty and attention.
Self-efficacy or being in control of one’s own learning and actions facilitates learning because it sets the right emotional tone and motivates. When we enable learners to co-create the learning, they learn more and deeper.
The brain-mind is social. We learn more together in collaboration than alone. When we talk about the content, we learn at a deeper level as well.
Patterning is a key element of learning and emotional connection improves the ability to pattern.
When we write down things and put a time and place to when we are going to do them, it increases intention in the brain. Reflection activities, action plans, and ways to end a learning module, day or program helps learners take the learning back and apply it.
The leader/facilitator’s mood, attitude, emotions and ability to empathize and connect with learners impacts learners ability to learn, their emotional state and how they see themselves and the learning. As facilitators of learning our own self-awareness, self-regulation and ability to empathize and manage our own state supports others in their learning. "We teach what we are!"

Many IAL conference sessions are designed to help you discover how to apply the science to the art of teaching. And, because we practice what we preach, the conference will engage you in multiple ways to promote your own learning! Visit to see our complete program,

A preview from Gail Heidenhain, IAL Board Chair, of some ideas coming in the IAL International Conference January 14-17, 2010.

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Brain-Based Learning: The New Paradigm of Teaching by Eric P. Jensen
Order by calling 800-469-3560 or emailing and get your 10% discount by mentioning RIR

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Bosses Go Undercover

  Martin Walker is just an average construction worker at Clugston Group in Northern England. He lays concrete. He cleans drains. He gets his hands dirty.

But the employees who got to know Martin Walker over a two-week period were stunned to find out later that he was really Stephen Martin, CEO of the 600-employee company.

Martin simply ditched his suit, grew a beard and began working as a rank-and-file construction guy -- hoping to gain valuable information about what really affects his workforce.

The trick was part of a British TV show called Undercover Boss. (CBS has planned a U.S. version for its 2009-2010 season.)

Armed with knowledge of the way lower-level workers go about their days and respond to corporate initiatives, Martin changed HR practices. He's now convinced that communication from an HR executive wearing a suit and tie, and sitting in an office somewhere, is just not that effective.

HR, he says, should spend more time on worksites, rather than sending employees newsletters or mass e-mail.

"Our key messages were just not getting through to people," Martin told the Financial Times. "People working a shift on a large site do not have time to read newsletters or log on to Web sites. You have to communicate with people on their terms, and it is different for every location. One size does not fit all."

John Younger, a partner at HR management and consulting firm RBL Group in Short Hills, N.J. says there are better ways to find out employees' unfiltered work-related opinions.

"I don't know if getting punked by your CEO is a good definition of leadership," he says. "You might get some interesting info and it might be helpful, but you have destroyed trust within your organization. Imagine how fast suspicion grows if you're not sure if the guy to your right or left is your co-worker or your boss in disguise?"

Rather than "creating a legacy of suspicion," he says, a leader should hold frequent meetings at which employees know they can say what they want without being punished.

"[Employees] won't [be so open] the first time [and] they may not even be open the second time but if you . . . demonstrate that you are sincerely interested in what they have to say, that you're going to take action to fix the issues they describe and you won't punish people for telling the truth -- that's a much more enduring recipe for an open and trusting relationship between the top and the bottom."

From HR Executive Online, September 16, 2009

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My Best Boss Ever by Rory Rowland and Tedi H. Rowland
It's Okay to Be the Boss: The Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming the Manager Your Employees Need by Bruce Tulgan.  Order by calling 800-469-3560 or emailing and get your 10% discount by mentioning RIR

Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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November 5-6, 2009
ASAE’s Social Media Workshop, Marriott Learning Complex, Washington, D.C.

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

December 1-2, 2009
Business of Meetings: Flawless Business Operations, The Center Building, Washington, DC,

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

January 22, 2010
The Bottom Line: The Nonprofit Finance Game, Marriott Learning Complex, Washington, DC,

February 1-3, 2010
Training Magazine Training 2010 Conference & Expo, San Diego, CA,

March 3-5, 2010
Talent Management and Diversity Executive Magazines’ Strategies 2010: Harnessing the Power of People, W Atlanta, Midtown, Atlanta, GA

May 10-11, 2010
Training Magazine Training Leadership Summit
, Wild Horse Pass Resort, Phoenix AZ,

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WAYS TO VOLUNTEER & GIVE 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.


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.

Going Green At Work
Find ecofriendly building materials and services at
Buy ecofriendly office supplies at http://www.thegreenoffice.comcom
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 Navigator ( 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. fights for family-friendly programs and policies at work. honors the heroes and victims of 9/11, by giving ideas for good deeds to perform. helps entrepreneurs by connecting them with backers for short term loans and both make sure the organizations you’re supporting are legit and give the bulk of their money to their mission

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


Earth 911 lets you search for recyclers by type and area code,

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.  http://www.greendisk.comm

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


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.


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