Recruit, Inspire & Retain

December 2005

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

Great Training for Great Employees

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bullet RECRUIT - No More Recruiting For Top Spots: Use Succession Planning Only
bullet Your Age by Chocolate
bullet Cool Calls
bullet INSPIRE - 10 Tips to Having A Great Holiday Party/Event
bullet TRAIN -  Online Discussions – Could Be a Recipe For Learning Disaster!
bullet RETAIN - A Benefit With a Future! – Paying Employees to Improve Their Health
bullet Fun Days to Celebrate/Professional Development Conferences/Ways to Volunteer & Give
(E-mail Us For Ways to Celebrate the FUN Days to Celebrate)
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TRAININGSYSTEMS' Online Catalog Gift Certificate

Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain


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No More Recruiting For Top Spots: Use Succession Planning Only

When should you recruit from outside your organization for CEO and other top spots?

Only when you need to make a powerful change statement (think Lee Iacocca), according to talent management consultant George Watts.

If you’re bringing people in from outside for any other reason, it’s likely that you’ve done a great job with your Recruitment Planning (& implementation thereof) and not such a great job with your Succession Planning (& implementation thereof).

The Basics of Your Succession Plan
1st Identify Replacements
Identify potential leaders in general.
   1. Assemble the list of leader characteristics in general needed in your organization in the next 10 years. Examples may include:
ability to think strategically/abstractly (this is more important for top
spots than good management skills – you may have to trade off as few people
have both)
self-aware of both strengths & weaknesses
able to have deep conversations with others
comfortable with risk, conscientious, open minded, agreeable, courageous
  2. Use assessments, self report & performance appraisals to identify.
Identify potential successors for specific top spots.
  1. Assembled list of characteristics needed for that spot in the next 10 years.
  2. Use assessments, self report, & person who’s in that spot now (it is a major part of the CEO or other person in a top spot’s job to find and prepare their successor).
2nd Tell the People
  (You’d be amazed how many companies lose people who are "being groomed" for top spots, because no one told them they were being groomed – so off they go to a VP or CEO job in another company!)
3rd Develop Those People
  1. Determine the methods for learning needed for your organization and these particular people. Examples may include:
Exposure to senior leadership in social situations – invite them to parties, golf, the Club; with the Board – invite to Board meetings; in on problem solving situations – make them an integral part of high level problem solving discussions & solution implementation
Executive coaching in all identified characteristics
Rotate assignments throughout the organization
  2. Implement them

As George says, "The 60's are turning 60." We’d all better get on the stick or we’ll have no one running our organization!

Get more tips on recruiting great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

Systematic Succession Planning, by Rebecca Luhn Wolfe (10% off by typing "RIR" in Special Instructions) Or E-mail..
Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity & Building Talent From Within, by William J. Rothwell

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

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Your Age by Chocolate

It takes less than a minute.
Work through the math as you read ... and no peeking at the answer!

  1. Pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more than 1 but less than 10)
  2. Multiply this number by 2
  3. Add 5
  4. Multiply it by 50 (we’ll wait while you get the calculator)
  5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1755 ....If you haven't, add 1754.
  6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.
You should have a three digit number. Click here for answer
PowerPoint screen show that features 40 humorous 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!
Love those COLORFUL QUOTE POSTERS you see in TRAINING SYSTEMS' group training and conference bookstores? E-mail or call 800-469-3560 to find out how to get packs of the topics you need.

Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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* After teleconference training with TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. on HRD, Dr. Steve Sligar, East Carolina University, emailed:
"Thanks so much for sharing of your time and expertise last night. The students were somewhat overloaded, which is what I had hoped/suspected would happen. They have many years of clinical experience and coordinated/delivered some training without stopping to think about all the topics you surfaced last night. I am curious as to how the dust will settle and what they will take away with them. From my perspective, you did an excellent job of covering all of the topics in a practical and applied way with enough theory to be applicable to the PhD students.

Their initial reactions were related to your enthusiasm (how can she be that enthusiastic over the phone before dinner) and the tips you provided especially the one about avoidance of setting training as separate from job functions and how to incorporate evaluations/feedback/measurement of performance as part of the routine of work. Both of those surfaced quickly after break when we debriefed the activity.

I have asked them to email me with their reactions and what they learned. I will compile those responses and send them to you when I have them.

Emi provided a bit of humor and helped cement that you were not just an okay but good person with that group of dog lovers!

It was fun working with you and I look forward to our next opportunity."

* After a web conference with TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. on Lean Manufacturing, Shiao-Chuan Kung, ASME, emailed:
"Great! You guys are so professional. Loooooove working with you :-)"

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10 Tips to Having A Great Holiday Party/Event

The holidays are fast approaching and that means it's time to finish up planning your organization's annual festivities. It's a joyous time—and also a golden opportunity for staff from every level of your organization to mingle and bond. Here are 10 different tips to help with everything from a small lunch to a big dinner dance.

  1. For larger events, offer different rooms with different activities or entertainment—this enables staff and their families, customers, & whoever else you invite to find something they can relate to instead of being trapped in a static atmosphere.
  2. Offer health-conscious food and beverage alternatives that will be appealing to all who may be trying to avoid the traditional indulgences of the holidays.
  3. For a fun and inexpensive dance starter, attach helium balloons to 24-inch stems, which allow the balloons to stand up on their own, and pre-set them on the dance floor. This gives the group a wonderful view during the meal and it adds an element of playfulness.
  4. Your own "Organization Carolers" can add a wonderful element of warmth and holiday spirit to the "walk-in" portion of your event. Two or three rehearsals are all that is needed and the participants will love being center stage in front of a festive holiday curtain or backdrop.
  5. Allow extra time during the holidays (at least 30 minutes) for staff to arrive and to move from one segment of your event to another. The holidays are a time when people reconnect and there is considerable mingling. In order for you to remain on time, the slower movement of people needs to be considered.
  6. If your festivities include a seated meal—to assist in the flow of people from the pre-meal area to the dining area, use one main entrance and provide a table schematic at your registration desk so people can easily flow in and find their tables in a less frenetic manner.
  7. Alter the scale of the decor by creating giant ornaments in the sky. Begin by suspending enormous white balloons (perhaps three, four, and five feet in diameter, depending on the scale of the environment) from the ceiling. Alternatively, helium-filled balloons could be weighted and anchored to tables. Throughout the event, colors, patterns, photos, or special effects can be projected on the balloons' spherical surfaces to support what is happening below.
  8. Incorporate a charitable component into the theme to give the event additional meaning. Break arriving guests into teams and orchestrate your first annual "gingerbread bank" contest. Each team will erect and decorate its own creation, to be used first as a centerpiece for the table. At the end of the dinner, one of the participants can then take the new bank to work or home to be filled with checks and cash. The banks could be collected within 30 days by the host and donated to a local shelter.
  9. Make the memory of your holiday event last with an inexpensive memento for people to take home. A nice clear or tinted glass with your logo, message, or event date and time etched on it would be used for years to come. If your budget won't allow for etching, an inexpensive alternative is a very light gray screen imprint, which will look like an etching, and last as long, while costing much less.
  10. Make it a time of learning with quizzes and other games that are related to their jobs, the industry or your geography. Using traditional games is easy since we all know the rules. Examples:

    Place pictures of your product in a jar, people write their guess of how many were produced and the closest # wins.

    Win, Lose or Draw OR Jeopardy, OR Family Feud with your organization’s information.

    Team Challenge Courses

Adapted from Michele Wagner, Successful Meetings, November 1, 2005.

If You Need Last Minute Help or Ideas, Call TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. at 800-469-3560.
Email and tell us what made your holiday festive event (small or large) a success!

Make a Comment/Question

Get more tips on inspiring great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

Don’t Put Off Your Company Party Any Longer – an article from Boulder County Business Report, available digitally through
Companies Giving to Charities, Planning Parties – an article from Mississippi Business Journal, available digitally through

Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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Online Discussions – Could Be a Recipe For Learning Disaster!

Having just finished co-facilitating a very enjoyable 6 weeks of training using online discussion as the learning, I’d planned to write a few tips for you. But before I could, I saw an article titled, ‘Just Link and Leave’ a Recipe For Disaster For Online Discussions. How perfect — having found that many people who signed up and could have helped everyone learn didn’t, because they didn’t participate — they’d linked and left!

Below are:
a basic definition of online discussions
strategies for facilitation and maintaining participation in the discussions

What Is An Online Discussion?
Unlike face-to-face discussions, online discussions can occur at the same time and in the same online space (synchronous) or be staged over a period of time with participants entering and posting information at their own pace (asynchronous). The designer/facilitator is responsible for planning/designing the online environment, navigation, sequencing, security, access, and the role of learners and facilitators, objectives, assessment and maintenance functions of online discussions.

Good design yields:
Supplements or replaces content from the facilitator.
Communication and group skills develop during knowledge development.
Provides a written record of each learner’s contribution to the discussion.
Allows time for reading and reflection before entering the discussion.
Allows geographically isolated learners direct contact with peers.
Available 24 hrs a day, so access is controlled by the learner, not the facilitator.
All learners have the same opportunity to engage with each other and not be ‘‘talked over’’.
Allows flexible use of people’s time to facilitate and participate in the discussion.
Changes the power balance between facilitator and learners.

Strategies for Facilitating and Maintaining Participation Within Online Discussions
The most common criticism from designers & facilitators of online discussions is ‘‘but learners don’t or won’t use it’’ which implies an inherent flaw with the vehicle. Issues such as geographic location and time of day are unlikely to hinder engagement with online discussions, but non-engagement can be a result of lack of timely provision of information, technical skill proficiency within the online environment, perceived value of the content, and the skills of the facilitator.

The more of these you incorporate, the more successful will be the learning:



Require participation

Define what behaviors constitute participation, including frequency and quality of required behaviors.

Formal assessment of participation

Provide clear and unambiguous information concerning how participation will be assessed and what weight this component will contribute to overall grade/computer/certification.

Provide weekly tasks

Where training is delivered entirely online, provide clear statements of what is to be achieved each week.

Stimulus questions

Provide start-up questions for each discussion. This could include questions which require individual learners to apply concepts, new information or thinking to practical day-to-day life.

Alternate the role of the facilitator

The role of the facilitator can be rotated around group members (including the facilitator). Clear instructions need to be provided concerning the role of the facilitator.

Relate discussions to current events or topical debates

Wherever possible illustrate or ask further questions concerning how the current topic applies to international /national events.

Deal with unacceptable behavior privately

Unacceptable behavior should be dealt with quickly and in private using constructive feedback on the telephone.

Supportive and encouraging comments

Within the online environment, the lack of visual cues emphasizes the importance of clear verbal (written) feedback especially where learners are fearful of the online environment.

Base assessments upon information generated within online discussions

Using material generated from online discussions may encourage learners to actually engage with the discussion. This could take the form of reflective summaries, critique of other learners’ work or assessment of the quantity/quality of responses from them within a discussion or over a series of discussion.

Summarize and close discussions

Prepare to close each discussion by asking an open-ended question which requests learners to clarify and explain what they have learnt through the discussion (but do not limit this to factual, content based

Adapted from article by Marie T Williams and Dale Wache, University of South Australia

Online discussion is a great learning method method when you put a few of these strategies into place!

Make a Comment/Question

Get more tips on training great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

75 E-Learning Activities: Making Online Learning Interactive, by Ryan Watkins, available by calling 800-469-3560
Discussion Based Online Teaching to Enhance Students Learning, by Tisha Bender

Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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A Benefit With a Future! – Paying Employees to Improve Their Health

That’s just what Silliker is doing with its My Health IQprogram. Silliker is the leading international network of accredited testing laboratories serving the food processing, retail, food service, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Leave it to a company that values food safety and quality to value human safety and quality of life!

Why pay people to improve their own health? Silliker wants to ensure the future of their company which is dependent on consistent and quality productivity and they knew that healthier employees (due to happiness and less absenteeism) was the way to do it. Some nice side benefits were to reduce medical insurance costs by reducing health risks, obtain company-wide data on health issues impacting employees and provide another attractive benefit offering to employees.

The program that is now completing it’s first year of operation was seen as extremely attractive as it provided a free on-site health screening (eliminating the need to make time to call the doctor, wait months until the first appointment they could squeeze you in, taking off work to go, driving time only to wait the hour plus in the waiting room and then pay your co-pay). Just for doing this the employee got $15 wellness credit /check per pay period (that’s $390/year just for taking 15 minutes to participate in the screening!)

First Year Program

  • Free on-site health screening & assessment
  • Personalized health IQ report summarizing lab results and modifiable risk factors
  • Private and confidential health coach and wellness programming from their EAP provider
  • $15 wellness credit/check per pay period

Included in the Screening

  • Medical history
  • Preventive health care - going to doctor, self exam, etc.
  • Your health status - self perception, illness, mental health
  • Your health risks determined by biometric collection for
    • Nicotine (cancer, mental health)
    • Cholesterols: Total, LDL, HDL, Total/HDL (heart disease)
    • Triglycerides (heart disease, diabetes)
    • Glucose (diabetes)
    • Body Fat%, Body Max Index (obesity)
    • Blood Pressure (hypertension)
    • GGT (liver function)
    • 20 Chem-Panel to assess kidney, liver and other organ function and to detect possible infection
  • Readiness to improve
All U.S. full-time, benefit eligible (24 hours or more/week) employees were eligible for the initial offering during open enrollment time. Any employees hired after the annual screenings would need to wait until the following year to participate. Though not included in the initial offering, dependents are on the docket to be considered for future years.

So how does participating in the screening and getting a report of their current health status improve the employee’s health? Each employee gets their report (online if they filled out the form online or paper if they originally completed a paper based version) 3 weeks after the screening. They then get follow up with a health coach from the EAP provider (at 1 and 2 months a phone call to provide encouragement and help them utilize the resources for health improvement available, after that mailings to support them in their goal attainment).

The Big Incentive
The first year of the program any employee who has a screening gets the $15. In order to get the $15/pay period in year 2 the employee will need to obtain a health IQ score of 71 or higher (which has to be an improvement of at least 5 points over the first year).

It’s only the end of year one so no hard data is yet available to tell Silliker their ROI but just walking around the halls you’ll see thinner, happier employees. Stay tuned!

Resources For Health Improvement

LifeWorks (Silliker’s EAP provider) – health coach to discuss health & wellness goals, provide support and program materials and develop a wellness improvement plan.

Web MD – website offering a wealth of health and wellness information.

Medcohealth – website provide detailed information on prescription drugs and specific information on Silliker’s coverage and prescription costs.

My Health IQ – web site where self-reported health appraisal part of the screening online can be completed and later review personalized report and receive customized health information throughout the year.

Make a Comment/Question

Get more tips on retaining great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

Move It. Lose It. Live Healthy. Achieve a Healthier Workplace One Employee at A Time, by Thomas B. Gilliam & Jane Neill
David’s Dilemma: Managing Employees Whose Personal Problems Interfere with Work (video training)
(10% off by typing "RIR" in Special Instructions) Or E-mail.

Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

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December 6 – St. Nicholas Day, International Bad Hair Day, & Give a Secret Gift Day
December 7 – Hang a Wreath Day & Pearl Harbor Day (hang a wreath to remember those
                       who were killed at Pearl Harbor)
December 8 – Brownie Day
December 9 – Homemade Gift Day & Pastry Day (bake someone a pie & you’re covered!)
December 11 – Radio Day
December 12 – Poinsettia Day
December 13 – Cocoa Day
December 14 – Deck The Halls Day
December 15 – Lemon Cupcake Day
December 17 – Cookie Cutter Day
December 18 – Bake Cookies Day
December 19 – A Christmas Carol Day & Chocolate Pizza Day
December 21 – World Peace Day, Look At The Bright Side Day & Crossword Puzzle Day
December 22 – Christmas Tree Light Day
December 23 – Popcorn Popping Day
December 24 – Eggnog Day & Christmas Eve
December 25 – Christmas (through January 5)
Hanukkah (through January 2)
Kwanzaa (through January 1)
December 26 – Boxing Day & Candy Cane Day
December 27 – Fruitcake Day & Call A Friend Day (call a friend a fruitcake!)
December 28 – Chocolate Day
December 29 – Ice Skating Day & Bowling Day
December 31 – New Year’s Eve — make your resolutions!


January 10-13, 2006
The Special Event Conference Trade Show 2006, Dallas Convention Center, Dallas, TX,

January 12-15, 2006
International Alliance for Learning’s 31st Annual Conference: Leading Through Learning, Alexandria, VA,

January 30-February 1, 2006
Center on Education and Work 2006 Conference, Madison, WI,

February 26-28, 2006
ASAE’s The Great Ideas Conference, Coronado Bay Resort, San Diego, CA,

February 26-28, 2006
IADIS International Conference Web Based Communities 2006, San Sebastian, Spain,

March 15-18, 2006
19th Annual International Mentoring Association Conference, Chicago, IL,

March 31-April 3, 2006
Humor Project Cruise to the BaHAHAHAmas, from Miami to Bahamas,

April 18-21, 2006
15th Annual Association of Australian Career Counselors (AACC) Conference, Sydney, Australia,

July 7-9, 2006
National Career Development Association 2006 Conference, Chicago, IL, 1-866-FOR-NCDA

July 26-30, 2006
WorldFuture 2006: Creating Global Strategies for Humanity’s Future, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada,

Enter the 2006 ASAE Associations Advance America Awards!

February 17, 2006 is the deadline for programs conducted between October 2005 and January 2006.

May 2, 2006 is the deadline for programs conducted between January 2006 and April 2006

For details on eligibility and award categories, go to


Responsibly Dispose of Your Old Electronics
Donate PCs to National Cristina Foundation,

Recycle PCs and other computer products at Hewlett Packard and Dell. See their websites for details.

Find local Electronics recyclers at and

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Copyright 2005 TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. All rights reserved.


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**We’ll be back next month with more great tips, ideas, success stories, and information to help you recruit, inspire, train, & retain great employees!

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RECRUIT, INSPIRE & RETAIN is a free e-zine of TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC., published 12 times/year. Editor: Carolyn B. Thompson, Data Entry: Patti Lowczyk (Lowczyk Secretarial), HTML: Debbie Daw ( Visit us at soon!
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