Recruit, Inspire & Retain

December 2002 

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

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Develop A Marketing Plan to Recruit Employees 

REMEMBER: Seek applicants all the time, not just when you have an opening!

Your company can grow and prosper with the right employees without spending a ton on recruiting costs. To do this, you'll need a Recruitment Plan -- just like a marketing plan--but this is marketing to potential employees! The first step in developing and using a Recruitment Plan is to target your market (applicants). Ask and record the answers (involve as many of your current employees as possible to get the best results) to the following questions:

 * What are our company/department objectives for the year? This is your mission statement or a paraphrase of it.

 * What makes us attractive to potential employees? Ask your employees the following questions to stimulate the discussion: "Why would someone want to work here?" "Why did you come to work here?" "Why do you stay?"

 * Who are our potential employees? Based on all you now know about the employees you need-- are they new to the workforce, retired, students, veterans, people with disabilities, teachers, salespeople, accountants? Think about what walks of life your successful employees have come from.

 Once you identify who your potential employees are, ask: "Where would we find them?"

 * What do the employees we need value and need? Ask your current employees what's important to them about their position and what is important to them about working for your company. It's likely to be the same things that'll be important to the employees you're seeking to hire.

 * What are 10 benefits to them of working with us? When your employees talk about "work" with potential employees, they should have an inventory of things to discuss beyond whether they like it or not.

 * Who is our competition for the kind of employees we need? You have competition from companies who have proactive employee recruiting programs. Because everyone should be involved in recruiting new employees, all of your existing employees should know who the competition is and what they do well to attract employees. Learn from your competition.

REMEMBER: to grow your company and be successful, you need to seek the employees you need all the time, not just when you have an opening!

Ask a Question

Get more tips on recruiting great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  • Straight Talk for Employers: How to Recruit, Inspire & Retain Great Employees (audio tape set), by Carolyn B. Thompson, President of TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.
  • "Get the Best", by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. own Cathy Fyock.

Both available at (10% off by typing “RIR” in Special Instructions)

Recruitment, inspiration, training, and retention ideasHave a recruitment, inspiration, training, or retention idea or question? Ask by clicking the question mark, and we’ll post your idea or question (and the answer) in Answers & Ideas on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining Great Employees at

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He was eulogized as the "grandest figure on the crowded canvas of the drama of the nineteenth century". However, much of his life seemed anything but grand. When he was nine, "milk sickness" -- caused by consuming milk from cattle that had eaten the poisonous white snakeroot -- killed his mother. After their mother's death, he and his sister found their greatest comfort in the pages of her Bible, which she had taught them to read. But his mother's death was not the only one he endured. His sister died years later in childbirth. He was grief-stricken again when his young son died just before his fourth birthday. His "hardest trial" came over a decade later when his favorite son, who aspired to be a preacher, died when a severe cold turned into fever.

 Although he received only one year of formal education, he was a firm believer in its value, saying that it was "the most important subject, we, as a people, can be engaged in." Diligently dedicated to educating himself, he borrowed books wherever he could and read them cover to cover.

 His passion to make a difference in his community led him to pursue a political career. Humbly acknowledging his inexperience when he announced his candidacy for the state legislature, he said, "I am young and unknown to you. I was born and have ever remained in the most humble walks of life." Despite his diligent campaigning, he finished eighth in a race with thirteen candidates. To his defeat he responded, "I have been too familiar with disappointments to be very much chagrined." However, his disappointments compounded. When the store he owned in partnership failed and his partner died, he was left so1e1y responsible for an astronomical debt. For seventeen years, he sacrificed, sometimes working several jobs. Gradually, he repaid every penny of the eleven hundred dollars he owed. Then when his fiancée, Ann Rutledge, died at only twenty-two, he dejectedly told a friend, "There is nothing to live for now." He visited her graveside often and once said, "My heart is buried there."

 Yet his grief and sorrow deepened his compassion and patience toward others, preparing him for public service. The change in him caused biographer G. Frederick Owen to remark that he now had "a sympathy, which only the unseen force of sacred sorrow can produce."

Building on his earlier candidacy, he was elected to the state House of Representatives when he was twenty-five. After serving four consecutive terms in the state legislature, he made an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Congress. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on his second attempt but served only one term, as he was defeated for reelection. He again faced bitter disappointment in his bid for the U.S. Senate. Although he won the popular vote, he lost the electoral vote.

 During a most tumultuous time in U.S. history, he won our nation's highest office despite not appearing on the ballot in ten states. Encouraging a disheartened nation, he said, "If we have patience, if we restrain ourselves, if we allow ourselves not to run off in a passion, we still have confidence that the Almighty, the Maker of the universe, will, through the instrumentality of this great and intelligent people, bring us through this as He has other difficulties."

 As the nation's conflict escalated, he fervently prayed for a speedy resolution in the Civil War. Yet he acknowledged, "If God wills that it continue. ..still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.' With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in." Today, his profile remains on the U.S. penny, honoring President Abraham Lincoln's leadership and perseverance during democracy's greatest test.

 Have you ever felt like giving up? Has it ever seemed that all odds were against you, that the challenges you faced were impossible? Have you ever attempted to accomplish something only to discover halfway through that the task was harder than you'd first thought -- too demanding, requiring too great a sacrifice? "Just quit," you said to yourself. But something deep within beckoned you onward. Sure, quitting seemed the easy way out, but you knew that the anguish of defeat would be greater than the struggle to finish. You wanted to give up...but you didn't!

 You kept going. Through tears, through doubts, through the fog of the unknown -- you determined you wouldn't give in. And surprisingly, the farther you went, the stronger you became! You stretched beyond your limitations and pursued your dream despite the odds. You held on to the purpose of your quest. And perseverance had its way, depositing determination and patience into your being. You were forever changed. "Tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope." (The Bible, in Romans 5:3) Wow! Could it be that the trials that come our way actually produce in us character that is pleasing to God? Perseverance produces amazing results. Perseverance is what energized Noah to continue building the ark when others mocked him.

 NEVER GIVE UP! Perseverance is the rocket fuel of your heart -- the fuel that launches dreams. And God's given you a ready supply.

Excerpted from Heartlifters for Hope & Joy, a wonderful book of inspirational stories
with hearts that fold out/lift out.
Email to order. $12.00 + S&H.

  • PowerPoint screen show that features 40 humorous and timely posters that are pre-set to work on "auto-pilot". Makes a great "WELCOME" message or enhancement to your session break. Runs about 5 minutes, and is set to automatically recycle. You can add in your own slides. (a great place to slip in your objectives!) Get your PowerPoint screen show here!
  • BUY PACKS of inspirational posters. (Do a Product Search for POSTERS, then look for Training Room Posters (30/pack).)

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*From Bob Weldzius, BP Amoco: "I was intrigued by our conversation about the books you have written and the subject matter. The way you took apart books about George W. Bush and then tied them into how someone can utilize the same techniques he does to become more efficient or successful is very interesting. I would like to learn more about your work on this and would love to get one when it's published December 27th. What a great accomplishment to have completed 2 books in 2002!! You do deserve to celebrate. We will have to talk some more about those books and your work."

 *And the very next day from Bob Weldzius: "I was looking through some books in the Barnes and Noble in Washington DC tonight and guess what I found on the shelf??? "Interviewing for Managers" by Carolyn B. Thompson!!! I couldn't believe it! I told the guy next to me who was looking at Management books that I knew this girl. Congrats on making it to the DC B&N. I tried moving the 2 copies to the bestseller shelf, but got busted."  

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Include All Your Employees for Successful Strategic Planning

 Q. What's the definition of "successful strategic planning"?

 A. After the plan is developed, people in your organization actually work toward achieving it every day.

 A dream? All you have to do is have staff plan their year and help them see how their plans fit into the major goal of your organization. Of course, the major, major goal is your mission or your vision.

 The process:

 * Start with your mission or your vision. If yours isn't written, use "Fish": create/update your mission and vision and set plans/goals to live it daily using the video of the Pike Place Fish Market who became their vision - "to be world famous" - solely by employees setting values that achieve the mission/vision, committing to the vision, being the values, and coaching others on those values.

 * If your mission/vision or other big goals are well defined, use any fun method to get people thinking about their goals for the year and how they relate to the big organizational goal (see methods we use with clients at

 * During any discussion -- no matter what fun methods you use--use Edward de Bono's "Six Thinking Hats" as the thinking process:

  • The six hats represent six modes of thinking and are directions to think rather than labels for thinking.
  • The method promotes fuller input from more people.
  • People can contribute under any hat even though they initially support the opposite view.
  • Keep people who don't like a particular idea from only saying negative things about it. This also keeps you from offending someone (instead of asking them not to be so negative, ask the person to do Yellow Hat thinking).

1.      White Hat thinking: facts, figures, information needs.

2.      Red Hat thinking: intuition, feelings, and emotions without any need to justify it.

3.      Black Hat thinking: judgment and caution, always logical, points out why a suggestion does not fit the facts, the available experience, the system in use, or the policy.

4.      Yellow Hat thinking: logical, positive, points out why something WILL work.

5.      Green Hat thinking: creativity, alternatives, proposals, what's interesting about this.

6.      Blue Hat thinking: overview.

* Helping each person plan their own year as it relates to the over goal(s) leads to solid action plans for the organization. It's the employee who'll implement anyway, and this process will cement the connection between the goals/plans of the employee and the organization. It has caused employees and Board members we know to actually implement the organization plan daily along with their own. The 2 plans feel like one and the same!

Ask a Question

Get more tips on inspiring great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  • For help planning & facilitating employee-involved planning, call TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.  at 800-469- 3560 or email and we'll call you.

  • Fish, by Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen

  • Six Thinking Hats, by Edward de Bono

To order Fish and Six Thinking Hats call 800-469-3560 or email

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Plan to Build Leaders at All Levels

 In an unpredictable economy, companies that have a network of leaders throughout the organization are the ones most likely to thrive. Front-line employees are expected to lead teams, mid-level managers are heading up strategic initiatives, and downsized staffs are expected to take responsibility for more work with less guidance.

 These new opportunities call for more than management skills. They call for leadership. Historically, leadership development has been limited to the executive team and the few up-and-coming people who are groomed to replace them.

 Offering leadership training is not just a feel-good issue, it's a critical business strategy. A successful leader needs to be able to communicate, inspire, and solve problems. Managers are taught to do things by the book, whereas leaders need to think of new ways to do things. It's a mind-set of adaptive responsiveness.

 Everyone benefits from leadership development. Leadership at every level is the only way to infuse an organization with the values and morale to maintain productivity, even in the face of change. It's also the most effective succession-planning technique.

Excerpted from article by Sarah Fister Gale on

Ask a Question

Get more tips on training great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  • "Leadership Lessons in a Jar", a jar full of cards with ideas to improve leadership.

  • Understanding Leadership Competencies, by Pat Guggenheimer & Mary Diane Sulze

Both available at (10% off by typing "RIR" in Special Instructions)

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Assess Your Ability to Retain the Best

 How healthy is your organization? Discover what causes people to stay now and what causes them to leave.

 Assess these 9 areas of your organization. Look and write yourself. Have others do the same. Discuss it as a group. Or any combination. Write specific examples of each that everyone will be able to see with their own eyes as opposed to generalities which don't paint a picture and will cause people to say, "We don't do this."

 1. Values, mission, vision - can you recite your organization's mission, vision, values? Can your employees? If you can't, they can't and if no one can, how can you possibly tell the people you want to bring in? Make your mission short, "jingly" like these examples: "IL Bell will be a customer focused organization.", "Quality of employee, quality of workplace, quality of customer."

 2. Fiscal - is it healthy or a bit under the weather? Tell the truth, especially if there are problems, most of the people you want to bring in will be attracted by your honesty. If you don't describe the situation they'll know, they always do and they'll run from what they perceive to be a sinking ship.

 3. Organization structure - make sure it fits your current size and structure. If you've grown or changed the way you do business, and not changed both the structure--who's responsible to whom and how--as well as the graphic representation: a circle with everyone responsible to each other vs. all reporting up to various managers who aren't connected to each other, the people you want to bring in will get the wrong message.

 4. Policies/procedures - re-examine policies/processes regularly. Things are changing so fast today that many of your procedures and policies from last year will hold your employees and your organization back. When written, they serve as a recruiting tool to let the people you want to bring in see what you're all about, what's expected of them and the benefits of working with you.

 5. HRIS - when you have to spread all your files on the floor to find the information on your employees, it's time to computerize. You can use off the shelf or customized software to house the letters, resumes, work examples, performance appraisals, training, tests, even the recruitment marketing strategies you developed for different target markets.

 6. Compensation & benefits - make sure they fit the job, your organization and industry and the job market.

 7. Staff development - many organizations think they have to have a Training & Development Department to have staff development. All of us train and develop people in some way. We all do it with on-going supervision and co-worker help. What if you don't have formal staff development? Describing what you do have is more attractive to potential employees than telling what you don't have.

8. Management philosophy - do you use baseball bat management, a hands-off approach, or a more guide and support approach? Whichever you choose, choose it to fit the people you want to bring in and your organization's needs so they can see that they'll be able to be productive and enjoy what they do. Whatever style you choose, be consistent between employees.

 9. Physical workspace - it doesn't have to be beautiful (ok, if the person you're bringing in is Ainsley Hayes for Associate White House Counsel and the organization is The West Wing, then the Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue will be fine) but it does need to be well lit, comfortable, functional for the person and the job.

Now, plan to keep the things that cause people to stay, and change/get rid of the things causing them to leave.

Ask a Question

Get more tips on retaining great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

  • Need an outsider's assessment? Call Training Systems, Inc. at 800-469-3560, or email and we'll call you.

  •  Keeping Good People, by Roger E. Herman Available by calling 800-469-3560, or email to

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Recruitment, inspiration, training, and retention ideasHave a recruitment, inspiration, training, or retention idea or question? Ask by clicking the question mark, and we’ll post your idea or question (and the answer) in Answers & Ideas on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining Great Employees at

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Pre-order The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush, a great how-to book by
TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. own Carolyn B. Thompson & Jim Ware.

January 15, 2003
Buy The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush in stores.

January 28-29, 2003
Careers Conference, Madison, WI,

February 3, 2003
Begin Your Planning for "Inspire Your Employees to Excellence Day! Sponsored by CBT Recruitment & Retention Consultants, a division of TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. 

More tips available at

February 24-26, 2003
Training Magazine's 26th Annual International Training 2003 Conference & Expo,
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA,

MADD's largest annual public awareness campaign asks motorists to tie a red MADD ribbon or affix a window decal to their vehicles as a pledge to drive safe and sober and a reminder to others to do the same. MADD chapters across the country will distribute millions of MADD red ribbons for motorists to join in the 15th anniversary of this lifesaving public awareness campaign. Visit MADD's website at

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