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We have moved to Wordpress! Posted by Jason Links to this post The Recruiting Front Lines has evolved. At the beginning of the year, I changed jobs within my company, moving away from Outreach and Education, and into my new role as Director of Business Development. While I remain closely involved with our field activity, I am now more focused on strategic partnerships, social media, and the world of internet recruitment resources. As I have made this change, the focus of my blog content has also changed. Recently, I began to feel that many of the ideas I had for blog posts would not fit within the framework of The Recruiting Front Lines. This was a cause of some frustration, as I felt that I was either misrepresenting my content with the title of my blog, or that I was stifling my writing because I felt it didn't fit. To rectify this situation, I have created a new blog home, now on WordPress. I am still ironing out the wrinkles, but feel that it is far enough along that I can move all my past content, and begin posting all new content, at the new address. I would like to formally welcome everyone to come check out my new home at I can't wait to hear what you think! Best Regards, and Thank you for your time and attention over the past 18 months. Jason

Feb 13, 2009

RFL:Guest Author Julie Poland Discusses Staff Development Pt.2

Part two of guest author Julie Poland's "The Down-Market Case for Staff Development", in which she discusses Retention of Talent and Quantifying the Value of Training, Coaching, and Development. In part one of this two-part series, Julie discussed Retention of Talent and Managing When One Shoe Has Already Dropped. Click here to view part one.

The Down-Market Case for Staff Development

Part 2 of 2

By Julie Poland, Certified Business Coach

The Impact of Attitudes

Attitudes can be defined as assumptions and habits of thought. They are extremely important in any market condition because they determine the extent to which skills and knowledge are applied effectively, or at all. In a down market the role of attitudes can be compounded. For instance, if an employee assumes he or she is going to be downsized no matter how well they perform they are not likely to be at their productive and innovative best. If defeatist attitudes get the best of them they’re likely to create the very performance that makes them the best choice not to survive the next downsizing.

Compounding this issue is the stream of conversation and media attention heaping bad news on top of bad. It’s not exactly an environment that breeds a “can-do” way of thinking or a willingness to take risks in order to progress. Employees can really benefit in the attitude department when their development process includes information on how attitudes are formed, how they change, and what steps to take to maintain one that’s beneficial to peace of mind and productivity.

Quantifying the Value of Training, Coaching, and Development

Lack of an evident return on investment is one of the reasons why training efforts are considered by many to be an expense rather than an investment. When an outside provider is involved and hard dollar investment is needed the potential ROI becomes a more consistent part of the conversation.

If you want to be able to better quantify the value of proposed training, coaching, or other development you should be working with your in-house customers (usually line managers) and finding out:

· What are the specific outcomes (in terms of results and behaviors) that you want to see?

· What will be the benefits of those outcomes?

· What will be the ramifications if you don’t get the results you want and/or need?

· How will you measure success?

Decision makers who don’t have the answers to these questions will often decide not to do training because they won’t be conscious about looking at the return. This is not the time when they will want to involve people in training because it’s “nice to do.” They will have to be able to see a business case for doing so.

Last, there has to be a link between training and the “real world” of the job. Implementation of skills and knowledge is necessary. This usually means involving the manager overseeing the participants to “double team” with the trainer, coach or facilitator to ensure on-the-job implementation of content learned and to measure actual results.

Julie Poland, CBC, is a business and personal coach with 19 years of experience working with all levels of leaders and employees, from Mom and/or Pop firms to international corporations. Find more information at

Julie Poland

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If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.
- Michael Jordan

Feb 11, 2009

RFL: SHRM, Employment Branding, and Trade Mixer

In the last 24 hours, I participated in a board meeting for the Granite State HR Conference, Exhibited at the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association mixer, attended the monthly Monadnock SHRM meeting, and met with the Director of Organizational Development and Training at The Main Street America Group in Keene, NH, to learn about their employment brand practices. While exhausting, it's great to get out to so many events in a short time because it truly gives me a vivid snapshot of what's going on at the Recruiting Front Lines and JobsInNH. Here's what I've learned in the last day:

GSHRC Board Meeting
We have been tirelessly focused on building the value within the annual state conference for 2009. The programs we've chosen will help all business managers, not just HR professionals, become more valuable to their businesses. We have programs on developing sustainability practices, efficient use of technology, recruiting more effectively, and many more. Having attended these conferences in ME and NH for the past 5 years, I find it very disappointing that many businesses still don't understand the value of professional development in regard to human capital. During this meeting, however, I was happy to hear we're off to a tremendous start, and believe the continued buzz we're creating will lead to a record attendance. I'm very glad to be part of this.

NHLRA Member Mixer
JobsInNH was one of 5 or 6 companies on display at the February member mixer held at the Radisson in Nashua. A good turnout of around 60 or so folks, mostly vendors for restaurants and hotels. It was great to connect with the director of NH Businesses for Social Responsibility, and hear how they're getting their message out.
As an aside, there are some that say that socially responsible companies have an upper hand in recruiting top talent. People are more and more focused on the culture of their environment. The bottom line is this: If you're not developing socially or environmentally responsible programs at your workplace, start. If you are, be sure to scream it from the top of the mountains to leverage your work into attracting great talent.
It also became apparent through discussions with members and with our JobsInNH Outreach Consultant Caleb Wolfe, that one business segment seems to be doing very well in this economy... at least for now. As all businesses are looking to "do more with less", they are looking for ways to cut their overhead. This is leading to business for smaller vendors that operate in larger markets. Telecommunications, Internet Service Providers, Insurance Providers, Computer Networking, Consulting, Credit Unions and other businesses that normally compete for the scraps left by large corporations, are beginning to see an increase in business as people bargain hunt and look for local stability.

Monadnock SHRM
I attended the monthly meeting and heard a great deal about the oddly named Employee Free Choice Act that has passed through the House in Washington DC, and is being looked at by the Senate. It was an interesting presentation from Mark Broth, and attorney with Devine Millimet. He was outlining the concerns and issues that are built into this act that would do away with private ballots in the process to organize a labor union. I'll write an entirely separate post on the EFCA, so will refrain from getting too far into it. The meeting was fairly well attended, by the usual group, and provided a great opportunity to connect with HR friends. The Chapter President, Priscilla Brisson (also Director of Human Resources for Monadnock Developmental Services), was gracious enough to let me plug the HR Conference and solicit nominations for the HR Hero Award. No one indicated any hiring or growth from this group.

Meeting with Deb Jansen at Main Street America
Deb Jansen volunteered her lunch to meet with me and Caleb to talk about the employment brand that MSA has developed. We are exploring the world of Employment Branding, and Deb happily agreed to share what works for them and give feedback about what we're promoting. They have a turnover rate below the industry average, have an amazing average tenure, and make concerted efforts to bring people in and make them feel part of something. We discussed the value of presenting your business as a career move, right from the first interview, instead of a place to work. They have done an excellent job in ongoing development and training programs, and regularly review their practices. One thing that really stood out was that their CEO makes an effort to regularly and formally solicit input/feedback/suggestions from employees in a collegial setting. They are doing a great job if internal branding, and are having success spreading their message through word of mouth. Keene is a very small town, after all.

I've accepted a new role with JobsInTheUS | JobsInME | JobsInNH | JobsInVT | JobsInRI, as Director of Business Development. As we seek out new programs and initiatives to reinforce our service to job seekers and employers, these types of activities help me understand the needs and wants that are out there. I'm glad to be part of a business that believes in the "feet on the street" philosophy, and supports efforts to build knowledge and expand expertise. In these troubled economic times, a focus on building and growign, even if only in our intelligence and understanding, helps to keep focus and sustain optimism.

That's how it looks today from the Recruiting Front Lines!

Feb 9, 2009

RFL: Letter of Support for Employers and Job Seekers

Twenty thousand business leaders and managers in ME, NH, VT, and RI will arrive to work on Tuesday to find a letter of support from the leading recruiting resource in those states: JobsInME, JobsInNH, JobsInVT, and JobsInRI.

I am proud of the initiative that we have taken to support employers and employees who will be among the workforce reductions in 2009. I am proud that JobsInTheUS is willing to support such an endeavor, and our willingness to accept short term costs to provide a free service to the communities in which we operate. As the old saying goes, we believe we will do well by doing good.

Here's an early look at the letter hitting email inboxes on Tuesday morning:

Dear Business Leaders and Managers,

While I am hopeful this note finds you all well - happy, healthy, and prosperous - I understand that our current economic condition has many of you ill at ease. In the past few months, the state and national economies have seen a drastic decline. It seems clear now that the ripple effect of the global financial crisis is reaching all corners of our lives.

In times like these, as business leaders we must evaluate ourselves and our organizations. While we are all wondering what we can do to help, many are facing the solemn reality of staffing reductions and layoffs. We understand the difficulty and burden that these decisions bring, and today we offer our support to those facing this hardship.

If you are forced to reduce your staff this year, will provide a free workshop to your employees that have been laid off. These workshops will present internet job hunting skills and education about creating effective e-resumes. The staff at has worked with thousands of job seekers, and presented this workshop at numerous state and college career centers over the years.

We feel confident that we understand the world of internet job-hunting here in Maine better than anyone else, and we believe we can help.

For more information, please contact me at or
toll-free at 877-374-1088 x2069.

Respectfully Yours,
Jason C. Blais
Director of Business Development
Your Recruiting Partner
8jbl77-374-1088 x 2069


RFL: Guest Author Julie Poland Discusses Professional Development

Today on the Recruiting Front Lines, another terrific guest author! Follow this two part article from Julie Poland of Summit HRD, discussing professional development in a down economy!

The Down-Market Case for Staff Development

Part 1 of 2

By Julie Poland, Certified Business Coach

Right now in some organizations training is viewed as a luxury, one of the first things to be cut out of the budget out of a view toward cutting costs. That, however, is a shortsighted approach. Now, more than ever, is the time to be investing in developing leaders and employees.

Retention of Talent

Everyone feels a bit insecure during down markets – vendors get a little bit worried about whether order levels will stay at last year’s levels, and when things get really ugly employees at every level wonder whether they will be able to keep their jobs.

The challenge to your company is that your best and brightest employees and leaders have the best opportunities to jump out of what they fear is a threatened role and into a new one in a different company. They might be thinking about it right now, when you need their contributions to keep your ship on the right course. If you choose to develop them during times of challenge you’re not only helping to keep them interested and growing, you’re demonstrating to them that they are a valued player on the team.

Even mid-level performers and fence-sitters have a new motivation to perform at a higher level when outside opportunities may be scarce. While fear is not an effective motivator over the long term, it may provide just the level of openness needed for them to learn new skills or new habits of behavior.

Managing When One Shoe Has Already Dropped

Perhaps your company has already downsized somewhat due to current market conditions. The people who are remaining are feeling the fear mentioned above, and are also most likely feeling some survivor guilt. Both factors can interfere with productivity. Keeping training, coaching, and development functions active can help your employees stay focused and ultimately help the organization accomplish more with fewer resources.

Stay Tuned for Part II which will post later this week, including "The Impact of Attitudes" and "Quantifying the Value of Training, Coaching, and Development"

Julie Poland, CBC, is a business and personal coach with 19 years of experience working with all levels of leaders and employees, from Mom and/or Pop firms to international corporations. Find more information at

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