AP News: ‘Skills gap’ leaves firms without worker pipeline
















AP News: ‘Skills gap’ leaves firms without worker pipeline.

Interesting story how hard it is becoming to find people with the right skills.


2011 Baldrige Regional Conferences

Register now for the 2011 Baldrige Regional Conferences!

The conferences, which will each showcase the best practices of current and past Baldrige Award recipients, will be held:

September 13

Kansas City, MO
Westin Crown Center

September 27

Birmingham, AL
Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

Come, learn, network, and engage in a day dedicated to improving your organization’s performance and take part in:

–an in-depth plenary session featuring senior executives from the 2010 Baldrige Award recipients

–18 interactive management sessions to choose from, featuring current or former recipients presenting on topics of interest to today’s managers and leaders.

The Regional Conferences are co-sponsored by the Alabama Productivity Center, the Excellence in Missouri Foundation, and the Alliance for Performance Excellence.

To learn more, visit the Regional Conferences Webpages.

For questions about the conferences, contact us at 301-975-2036 or baldrige.

Employee Suggestion Box, Bright Idea Suggestion Programs, employee involvement

Employee Suggestion Box, Bright Idea Suggestion Programs, employee involvement.

Getting employees’ ideas should not be an option. If your organization is going to be competitive, it is mandatory you involve the minds, hands, and ideas of everyone in your organization. Getting employees involved not only yields valuable ideas and suggestions, but also the increased morale of workers who feel like they are being listened to results in a more productive and satisfying work environment.

Peter E. Drucker said, “One has to assume, first, that the individual human being at work knows better than anyone else what makes him or her more productive…even in routine work the only true expert is the person who does the job.”  

Recently, an organization I worked with conducted a powerful employee suggestion program called an Idea Campaign.  In just three weeks this organization captured over 500 new ideas from the workforce.   At the end of the campaign, they had substantial, bottom line ideas and employee suggestions on how to improve productivity, cut costs, and improve worker motivation. 

The Idea Campaign concept is a revolutionary way of capturing new ideas and improving employee involvement.  They are a highly effective, fun, and adrenaline charged version of the traditional employee suggestion program.   The major difference between this and other employee involvement programs is there is a direct bottom line result.  The campaign is the best way of getting hundreds of ideas from the workforce quickly.  They have been used by many organizations and recently by Eglin Air Force Base. 

At Eglin Air Force Base, the campaign ran for two weeks where both civilian and military personnel were asked to submit ideas that could reduce waste and inefficiency or increase productivity.  Eglin received a tremendous surprise when workers generated $400,000 worth of cost savings ideas and new ways to generate revenue.   Harley-Davidson ran a similar program saving $3,000,000 in one 30 day program.  The U.S. Park Service made over 12,000 suggestions with an approval rate of 75 percent.  These are only a few of the organizations discovering tremendous results. 

The goal is to get at least one idea from everyone in the organization.  For the first idea, each person receives a custom designed coffee cup. The second idea is rewarded with a writing pen.  In addition, each week there is a special award ceremony to recognize everyone’s ideas.  At the end of the celebration management randomly draw names from a basket for one of several prizes.  Other award items like baseball caps, gold rimmed coffee mugs, books and medallions can be provided.  However, the most coveted prize was a reserved parking space in front of the building. 

Bottom-Line Results

With most suggestion programs results are slow in coming and the really good ideas get screened out.  On the other hand, idea campaigns take a different twist.  All ideas are recognized and all suggestors receive instantaneous recognition.  The vendor provides all materials, awards and the instructions. 

What people discover is that the most powerful force was not the awards.  What they learned from the campaign is people become more motivated when they know someone will listen to and do something about their ideas.

Employee Suggestion Program Generates High Performance

It is believed that the workplace suggestion box started with the
Japanese in 1721 when the eighth shogun, Yoshimuni Tokugawa…posted the following note: “Make your idea known…. Rewards are given for
ideas that are accepted.” Here it is, 280 years after the Japanese
suggestion idea, however, only 3 percent of U.S. companies have effective
suggestion programs.

According to Chicago-based National Association of Suggestion Systems (NASS),
employee suggestion programs have saved organizations more than $2
billion. Additionally NASS reports the adoption rate of employee
suggestions is 37% reflecting that employees are submitting very
high-quality suggestions that can impact major bottom-line efficiencies,”
says Cynthia McCabe, prior NASS president.

It is unfortunate that in this age where organizations are paying
expensive consultants to find newer, better, and faster ways of doing
things, sometimes the obvious slips right by because the company’s own
work force is not consulted.

According to a March 2001 article reported in USA Today, a survey
developed by OfficeTeam found, Only
38% of working men and women feel their managers are very willing to
listen to new ideas and suggestions for improvement.
Some organizations do listen, and have benefited from employee
suggestions: Money can be
saved in every organization if the management team operates an effective
suggestion program, says
Marsha Myers of Lee Hecht Harrison, a global HR Consulting firm. Managers
usually overlook the companys
most valuable asset and source of information- their employees. As
the economy slows, creative organizations can find new ways to drive
revenue and reduce costs by seeking employee suggestions.

Below are some examples of organizations that have benefited from
incorporating employee suggestions and best practices to create an
employee suggestion program at your organization:

It was the janitor’s idea.The famous El Cortez Hotel in San Diego
provides an excellent example on the profitability advantage of listening
to employees at every level in an organization. The hotel management
decided to install an additional elevator to better serve their guests.
Engineers drew up plans cutting holes through each floor of the hotel. A
janitor, who was concerned with this, made the comment that this would
make a great deal of mess. The janitor was told not to worry because the
hotel would be closed to guests during the construction. The janitor
suggested, “You could build the elevator on the outside of the hotel.” At
the time, this architectural concept had never been done before, but after
investigation by the engineers, it proved an idea that was worth
developing, and is now commonplace in buildings today worldwide. The
janitor’s idea saved the El Cortez from lost revenue, employees from
losing salary and major clean-up costs related to the construction of the
new elevator.

A leak.An employee suggestion involved repairing a leak in a
cooling system.  The system had leaked for years without anyone
thinking much about it.  One day an employee submitted a repair
proposal that resulted in an annual cost savings of $200,000.

Employees Buy An Airplane With Savings.One of the biggest success
stories relating to employee suggestions comes from American Airlines (AA)
in Fort Worth, Texas. AA ran a year-long suggestion program called “IdeAAs
in Flight.” At the end of the year, they purchased a $50.3M Boeing 757
with the money they saved from the employee suggestion program. AA
receives an estimated $55M a year from their employee suggestion program
and reinvests $15M back into the employees suggestion program.

State Government. Randy White, an employee of Oregon State Lottery
submitted a suggestion to his manager in July 2001. Randy found a solution
to upgrade video-lottery terminal equipment so the equipment would accept
the new currency issued last year. Randy recommended replacing 2,500
components in terminals at $12.50 each, compared to the manufacturer’s
proposal of $450 per terminal. Randy saved the State of Oregon $1,200,672
and was awarded $5,000.

New Business Line Started.J. Willard Marriott started out with a
chain of nine profitable A&W root beer stands according to the book,
. One of the restaurants was located near the
Washington, D.C. airport that attracted traveling clientele. One employee
noticed that passengers on their way to catch a flight would purchase
meals and snacks stuffing the food into their carry-on luggage. The trend
continued to grow and the employee mentioned it to his boss. This
communication with an employee resulted in the store establishing a
delivery of prepackaged box lunches directly onto the tarmac. Several
months later, the service expanded to American Airlines catering to 22
flights a day. This airport food service has now evolved to more than one
hundred airports.

A Manufacturing plant in Livingston, Tennessee credit employee

participation with keeping the plant open. They have had no layoffs since
1994, have a turnover rate of only 1.6%. In one year, the plant doubled in
size growing the workforce from 70 to 187 employees. In 1999, employees
generated an average of 8.5 suggestions each saving $741,761 in one year.
The management team encouraged and rewarded innovation.

City Savings: Caryn Thompson, who works in the Oakland county
Children’s Village juvenile detention facility, saved the county about
$11,800 a year just when suggesting the youngsters receive a routine
medical test at the facility instead of transporting them and the staff to
a doctor’s office.

Furniture Idea:Miller Furniture has benefited from employee
suggestions since the beginning of the early 20th century.  The owner
valued his employees for their innate talents and implemented an employee
participation plan that included bonuses for helpful cost cutting
suggestions. It was an employee suggestion that led to the creation of the
first cubicle office furniture units, now one of their best selling

Large Organization Benefits:In February 2000, Southwest Airline

CEO Herb Kelleher sent a letter concerning the current fuel cost crisis to
the home of every employee. “Jet fuel costs three times what it did one
year ago. Southwest uses 19 million gallons a week. Our profitability is
in jeopardy,” he wrote. He asked each worker to help by identifying a way
to save $5.00 a day. The response was immediate. A group of mechanics
figured out how to reduce the cost of heating the aircraft. Another
department offered to do its own janitorial work. Within six weeks of the
letter being sent to the employees, this large organization found ways to
save more than $2M.

Marine Manufacturer.A boat manufacturer used paper in their

lamination department to prevent buildup of fiberglass on the floor.
Before, each shift, the floor was covered with paper, and then the paper
would be discarded at the end of the shift. An employee in the materials
management department suggested an alternate supplier who could provide
recycled paper at an estimated savings of $500K per year. The organization
provided the employee with a check for $3K;lots of corporate recognition
and the community appreciated the environmental-conscious neighbor.

A number of organizations provide ideas on how to run an effective
employee suggestion program. According to Tom Jensen, who now runs The
Center for Suggestion System Development in Orlando advises, “Successful
suggestion programs all have one thing in common: quick, thoughtful
responses. Suggestions should be acknowledged within 24 hours.” While most
would agree with this sense of urgency, some other aspects are just as
important. Areas like building trust and integrity into the program. The
rules governing the level and type of reward is also paramount to any

In an article in the February issue of Public Relations Tactics,
author Grunig suggests the need to “revamp” many of the existing employee
suggestion programs. He says that surveys show that suggestions are not
answered. “It’s like dropping something into the black hole,” remarked one
employee. In fact, of the 200 employees interviewed for his survey, less
than half have ever made a suggestion and only 10 percent ever received an
answer. “I get a form letter saying ‘Thank you for your letter, blah,
blah, blah,’” said one. Adding to this, one worker at a manufacturing firm
dropped a note in the suggestion box that said, “Does anybody read these
suggestions?” She has yet to get a response

Unless an organization is prepared to address every suggestion – the
suggestion program should be abandoned as it will only demoralize
employees adds Marsha Myers of Jacksonville, Florida’s Lee Hecht Harrison,
a global HR consulting firm. Another look at flawed suggestions programs
comes from Geoffrey Lloyd of the Cranfield School of Management. According
to Geoffrey, one reason employee suggestion programs most often fail is
because senior managers are not supportive of the process.

Best Practices of Employee Suggestion Programs

  1. Encourage and reward managers who actively solicit employee
    suggestions. Managers may feel threatened when subordinates receive
    recognition. Therefore, employee suggestions never surface. Eliminate
    fear and reward managers who create a learning environment of better
    ideas/suggestions. GE, the #1 corporate in the U.S. rewards managers for
    suggestions from their departments during their annual review process.
  2. Open the suggestion program up to every employee. Many organizations
    are now computerizing their program; however, ensure all employees have
    access to computers. If not, a traditional box should be installed and
    MONITORED. If the suggestion program is too hard, employees will not
    participate. Keep the suggestion process simple.
  3. Suggestions should be reviewed by a cross-organizational management
    committee not just a HR representative. Once an employee submits a
    suggestion, they anxiously await the feedback. Establish a time line to
    ensure the employee receives immediate feedback on their suggestion,
    i.e. 24 hours, 5 working days, etc. When an employee submits a
    suggestion, they wait, they watch, they hope! A senior official should
    provide immediate feedback on all suggestions.
  4. Suggestions might be categorized as follows: major implementations,
    which consist of cost/time saving suggestions, revenue producing
    suggestions and quality of work life issues.
  5. Suggestions should include: the suggestion and its value/ benefit,
    whom it will impact or affect and implementation and cost estimation
  6. Suggestions must be rewarded. Many organizations award 10-25% of the
    savings and the CEO acknowledges the contributor in the corporate
    newsletter. Employees value both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.
  7. Ensure the suggestion program includes customers/vendors suggestions
    and their recommendations.
  8. For the employee suggestion programs to work, there needs to be
    someone senior responsible for the program.  The program should
    acknowledge employee contributions, rewards, debriefings, etc. This
    person’s performance should be evaluated on the number of employee
    suggestions submitted and accepted. If few suggestions come in, then
    someone is not stimulating interest in the program.

As many organizations have seen the effectiveness of an employee
suggestion program. It can be a positive force to motivate, improve
performance, productivity, safety, and contribute to the bottom line.

Submitted by Freda Turner who is affiliated with Doctoral and Graduate
Studies Programs at University of Phoenix and Embry Riddle Aeronautical


What Women Want in the Workplace | Navigator #179

The Navigator is published by Greg Smith,
Lead Navigator and Captain of the Ship
Chart Your Course International Inc.

View this newsletter and see photos on our website:

See the bottom of this newsletter to subscribe or to unsubscribe. ########################################

I plan on taking vacation time this month and heading to the beach to enjoy some fun and relaxation with my family. My granddaughter, Eliza, is going with us. If you recall, she is the sole survivor of triplets and weighed 1 lb. 4 oz. when she was born. She is now up to a whopping 12 lbs. She was the fourth smallest baby born at Duke University Hospital last year. I am happy to say, she is doing great and is a living miracle.


We are on a global search for innovative ways to keep people motivated and engaged. Submitters will receive a copy of all the tips we receive.





Controlling Turnover and Addressing Disengagement with a Complete System

retention of top talent is impacted most by the ability to provide meaningful work and a culture where people are passionate about what they do

–Matthew W. Schuyler, Hiltons CHRO

Turnover alone may be costing millions, but what about the employees you still have? Is their disengagement costing even more?

Fortunately, turnover and disengagement stem from job fit, and you can reduce costs associated with both by using a complete hiring system. With a process that looks at hiring from beginning to end, you can consider the job, the talent, professional development and performance management.

However, with reduced budgets and overwhelming responses to job ads, many companies are finding themselves skipping a system all together. Unfortunately, a move like comes with a hefty cost, as doing nothing to ensure job fit will cost you more than implementing a complete hiring system to start controlling turnover and disengagement costs now.

With a solution for future turnover and disengagement costs, lets turn our focus to the disengaged employees on your payroll now. Can you determine the underlying issue? It may be decreased morale, lack of direction, little job satisfaction or no motivation. Whatever the case, you need to start by using the same complete system. Assess job fit by comparing the job and talent, ensure each person is on a professional development plan, and then manage their performance with specific motivation, communication and responsibilities that fit their unique personal style and skills.

A dip in the economy could mean you lose track of the very asset that will turn your company around. Remember, now is the time to invest in your people.

TTI Newsletter
HRE Jan/Feb 2011


Many businesses fail to understand the diversity in the demographics that comprise their workforce. What attracts, retains and creates job satisfaction for each demographic group is different. What motivates male hourly employees varies significantly from what motivates top performing female executives. Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author of Top Talent and Harvard University professor, specifically studied top performing female executives, those in the top 6% of the earning bracket.

Her research focused on how the work environment has changed since the economic downturn and the affects it has had on top talent in some of the nations leading organizations. The downturn, along with cut backs and downsizings, has alienated many people turning businesses into hostile, stressful and less caring places to work. Many people have felt betrayed and distrust runs rampant. These changes have affected men and women differently. Her research is important and worthy of further examination.

She compared the dissimilarities between top earning male and female executives. They are strikingly different. Financial rewards are less important to women while respect and recognition are more important. Failure to understand these differences will lead to higher turnover rates among senior level women. Hewlett also notes the flight risk among top female executives is twice as high as men. Any business that cannot attract and retain female brain power faces major consequences. Here is a list of what top performing female executives want from their work environment.

1. Association with people they respect–82%
2. Be themselves at work–79%
3. Flexible work arrangements–64%
4. Collaborate with others and be part of a team–61%
5. Give back to society through the work they do–56%
6. Recognition–51%
7. Financial rewards–42%


Come hear Greg speak at the following events:

June 21 | 1:00pm – 2:00pm
SHRM Atlanta Strategic HR Conference
Atlanta Marriott Century Center
Managing Change in Turbulent Times: How to Keep Your Employees Engaged & Motivated

June 28
SHRM 2011 Annual Conference & Exposition
Las Vegas, Nevada
Here Today or Gone Tomorrow: Proven Ways to Attract, Engage and Retain Your Workforce

August 2
Texas Petroleum Marketers
San Antonio, Texas
Transforming Workers to Winners

September 29
Iowa SHRM State Conference
Proven Ways to Engage, Retain and Motivate Your Top Talent /Using Assessments to Hire, Develop and Retain Top Talent


DISC Certification Group Coaching Training Program
(Over the phone/web)

Upon successful completion of the training, you may teach and conduct workshops in your organization or training practice. Limited to five people per class.

June Class:
June 15, June 20, June 22
3:00-4:30 p.m. ET

July Class:
July 11, July 13, July 20
3:00-4:30 p.m. ET

Cost: $795

Two-day Master DISC Certified Behavioral Strategist Program (Atlanta)

Participants will learn how to communicate using the DISC language as a way of understanding themselves and others. The workshop incorporates a behavioral assessment to give a more complete understanding of what DISC is and how to use it to interact with others and to appreciate others behavioral styles.

Class dates:

June 16-17
July 20-21

Cost: $1950

For more information:


We have added a new crew member to our team. Gail Fulford is an author, professor, educator and professional speaker. She brings a rich diversity of experience on such topics as team building, stress analysis and reduction and understanding the personalities of people. High-energy and funny, entertaining and educational, powerful and poignant” are the words most often used to describe Gails presentations. Dedication to making a difference in the lives of others is what Gail is all about. With a tremendous ability to make people laugh and excellent speaking skills, Gail will make a difference in your organization. She provides that message in a way that will promote peak performance and positive results.

For more information:


DISC Training Program on CD

Become an expert on DISC from the comfort of your home or office. This program teaches you how to use and interpret DISC assessments. There is no time limituse them as often as you like. These are audio/video recordings of my live webseminar DISC training program. The program includes the package of 5 CDs. Each CD is approximately one hour long. One CD teaches you how to conduct your own DISC workshop. The 5th CD is a bonus containing two additional classes. Cost: $295

60 Team Building Tips

Here are some simple and practical ideas to get your team motivated and working effectively together. Learn how to reward, recognize and keep your team communicating in a high performance manner.

16 pages
Instant download

Customer Service Training Video Library

Train your entire workforce in the art of exceptional customer service. The Service First Video Library is a powerful video-based training system making it easy to train any number of employees – with no limits and with immediate results. The program includes 12 videos, slides, facilitator guide and handouts. The videos are appropriate for any industry.

Includes free shipping globally


If you find our information interesting, please send it to your friends. The Navigator Newsletter is received by over 35,000 subscribers in 60 countries.

Click here to join the Navigator

Copyright 2011, CYC International Inc.

Published by Greg Smith
Chart Your Course International Inc.
Phone: 770-860-9464/800-821-2487
Address: 2814 Hwy 212, Conyers, GA. 30094


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