Topics & Tools - May, 2005

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Topics & Tools - Aug 2006

Topics & Tools - Jan 2007

Topics&Tools - April 2007

Topics & Tools - Feb 2008


Alan's Tools and Topics
August 2006


Summer is almost over. With September, and its emphasis on back to school and back to work, many of us reflect on how we can work more effectively and efficiently. Please read on for some ideas and strategies.

in this issue
  • Interviewing Skills: For Your Employees?
  • Peter Drucker's Messages Still Resonate
  • Training & Professional Development Make a Difference

  • Interviewing Skills: For Your Employees?

    Back in May, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) International Conference and Expo in Dallas, Texas. This year's ASTD Conference was one of the best I've attended. I learned a lot and met some fantastic new colleagues.

    After an absence of several years, the ASTD Career Center returned as a part of the annual conference. I was privileged to be a part of the Career Center. My colleagues Marshall Brown (Marshall Brown & Associates), and Debbie Wise and Susan Antos (ASTD) did a great job of managing the Center. In addition to a roster of interesting career related workshops, one-on-one resume review and coaching were available with skilled counselors.

    I twice presented one of the Career Center workshops. It was an interviewing skills workshop called "The Amazing Interview Race" (loosely based on the television program "The Amazing Race"). Both times I presented the workshop, a fascinating discussion ensued. Participants questioned "Why aren't we doing workshops like this internally to enhance the promotional prospects for our own employees?" Several workshop participants shared stories of hiring less qualified candidates from outside their organizations because the interview skills of their own employees weren't up to snuff.

    The human resources function in many organizations is overworked, and there simply aren't resources to provide this kind of workshop or coaching for current employees. An outside resource like Alan De Back Learning & Communications can help fill that gap. Why not enhance the interviewing skills of current employees? In doing so, you will help them be more ready to pursue opportunities within your organization, and in turn have a positive impact on your organization's employee retention.

    Peter Drucker's Messages Still Resonate

    Following the death of Peter Drucker late last year, much was written about his influence on corporate America. There is no doubt that he was one of the most influential management "gurus" of the 20th century.

    An article in The Wall Street Journal shortly after his death highlighted some of messages he conveyed during his 60 year career. Here are some samples from The Essential Drucker, HarperCollins Publishers, 2001:

      • Management is about human beings. Its task is to make people capable of joint performance, to make their strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant.
      • Every enterprise is a learning and teaching institution. Training and development must be built into it on all levels - training and development that never stop.
      • True marketing starts out...with the customer, his demographics, his realities, his needs, his values. It does not ask, What do we want to sell? It asks, What does the customer want to buy?

      So much of what Peter Drucker wrote was common sense, and how often in the business of the day-to- day workplace common sense is forgotten.

    Training & Professional Development Make a Difference

    With unemployment at a low rate, and the market for employees with strong skills robust, retention continues to be a major concern for many organizations. What do they do to ensure that they keep their best employees?

    Earlier this year, a poll was conducted by Robert Half Technology. In the poll of more than 1,400 CIOs from firms across the United States, this question was asked: "What steps, if any, are you taking to retain key people?" The results were interesting:

    • Providing training or professional development: 63%
    • Offering flexible schedules: 47%
    • Increasing base compensation: 41%
    • Offering bonuses: 31%
    • Offering equity incentives: 9%
    • Other: 4%
    • No steps taken: 23%

    What is quite clear to me from this study is that the traditional emphasis on salary and benefits as primary retention tools is fading. Employees want and expect opportunities for professional development. More and more employers recognize the importance of providing those opportunities. Are you providing the training and professional development options that your employees need and want?

    Alan De Back

    Alan De Back, Learning & Communications

    • Career Development
    • Management & Leadership Development
    • Communication Skills
    • Customer Service

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