Five Secrets to Find and Keep Top Notch Talent Without Breaking the Bank

By Mike Campion

Mike CampionDo you have employees that you constantly need to coddle, cajole, and cater to? Are their needs and wants constantly changing? Do you feel like you can’t afford to pay what it takes to get—and keep—top talent employees?

You are about to discover five actionable strategies to help you find—and keep—the best employees without spending the GDP of Uzbekistan in payroll. Fear not, none of the five strategies is about base salary, benefits, or bribing.

Think more effective and less expensive. Imagine your company as the sole provider, the sole source of something special that your employees are desperately looking for and can’t find anywhere else.

Secret #1, Build a Community, Not a Workforce: Chances are you are not hiring people for their first job. Some are even coming from a job they hate. A job that paid the bills and nothing else. Invite prospective employees to join a community- not to sign up for another less-than-fantastic job.

When you create a community of people with shared values that care about each other, the tendency to steal, quit, come in late, complain, whine, or partake in other non-superfantastic behavior decreases exponentially.

  • Typical Employee/Employer Workflow
    • Step 1: Comply with these many rules
    • Step 2: There is no step two
  • New and Improved Community Deal:
    • Step 1: Build an appealing community
    • Step 2: Invite talented amazing people into that community
    • Step 3: Reinforce what it looks like to be a good community member
    • Step 4: Live happily ever after

Secret #2, Provide a Sense of Purpose: Once you build a community, your team will have a sense of belonging. Supercharge that with a sense of purpose and your organization becomes extremely sticky to top talent. People desperately want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Something they believe in.

Your employees and potential new hires desperately want something bigger than themselves to belong to. Provide that for them and unleash the floodgates for an avalanche of talent at your doorstep.

Don’t be fooled by the old, “Sure that works for brain surgeons, but MY business is different…” nonsense. Whether you own a cleaning company, an industrial fasteners plant or any other business that doesn’t feel like you are changing the world, the only reason you are in business is that you provide value to the people you serve.

If you are categorically closed to the idea that your business changes lives, adopt a cause. Become active in your community, give to a charity- do something as a team that creates value and gives everyone a reason to bound out of bed and be excited to get to work day-in and day- out! If you aren’t careful- you just might find yourself addicted to making the world a better place.

Secret #3, Offer Experiences Over Expenses: Do you have a trip that you took as a child that you still look fondly back on? A holiday that you will never forget? A vacation years ago where everything went wrong, but you and your family still talk about it?

Salary and benefits are commodities. A sense of purpose in a community of people you care about are not. A study by Harris Group found that 72% of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things.

Shared experiences build bonds, families, communities, and companies. Don’t just hope these experiences happen- create them!

  • Have monthly events
  • Rent a bounce house
  • A dunk tank employees can dunk management in
  • Comically oversized sumo suits employees can battle to the death in…
  • Anything to help create experiences for your employees to build that community.

Don’t keep the fun to yourself. Invite employees’ families, customers, prospects, prospective employees, even vendors! All of this creates an environment your team is proud to be a part of and makes it very difficult for them to leave.

Secret #4, Appreciation: This is your secret weapon. Not only can it be had for the low, low price of zero dollars, it can be the most valuable. Even better- it can be a ton of fun.

Once you have built a community that the members are proud to be a part of, working towards a worthy goal and experiences that bond everyone together, your employees will crave recognition from you and the community.

When you have events give awards. Lots of awards. Not just the typical performance based awards—award for everything. Enjoy a few examples to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Best looking family
  • Best hair
  • Customer favorite
  • Most likely to win at arm wrestling

Small things like this make big differences in employee’s lives and their contribution to your organization. Few things are more rewarding than seeing awards given and pictures taken of you handing an employee an award proudly displayed in homes years later. Let loose, use your imagination and love on your people and you might just be surprised that you are the one that gets the most benefit.

Secret #5, Put a Bow on it With Core Values: Core values are your secret sauce to attracting top-level talent without breaking the bank. Not an old school string of meaningless words displayed on a plaque at your front office. Three to four key beliefs; summed up in a word or two each. The guiding principles that provide your company’s special brand of awesome.

Shared core values are the rules your company lives by to accomplish that community. They are a golden thread that runs throughout your company.

  • Employee hiring ads
  • Your website
  • Your interview process
  • Your employee review process
  • Your on-hold music or script for your phone system
  • Who you accept as customers, vendors and employees

Core values are the final secret that brings the first four all together and gives them power.

It is impossible to get people to act outside of their true beliefs for an extended amount of time. It is far easier (and more enjoyable) to help people live out your mutual shared beliefs and values for the benefit of a shared larger purpose.

Mike Campion is a celebrated speaker, entrepreneur and author of I’m a Freaking Genius, Why is This Business So Hard? A small business expert, Mike has built several multi-million dollar businesses, the most recent achieving $4.3 million in sales in the first eighteen months. As the host of the “Conversations with a Genius” podcast, Mike imparts his business wisdom on his listeners. For more information about bringing in Mike Campion for your next event, please visit

Transform Walking Dead Employees into Raving Fans, Without Paying More

By Mike Campion

Mike CampionHave you ever had a company outing at a golf course? Ever have one end with an “invitation” from the local authorities to vacate the premises? Would you feel that outing was a total success? Want to find out how you can do just that and have it be a total success? Here’s how:

If you’ve been tasked with hiring, developing, and keeping top quality talent on a budget for any length of time, you know engaged, committed, and talented people are crucial. You may even have dreams of talented, honest, hardworking employees ready to give their left kidney for the good of the organization. You imagine them sitting at home wishing the weekend weren’t so long so they can get back to work for your company.

More often than not, that dream ends with a Monday morning bucket of ice water to the face as you return to find the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses. Your team appears to slog through the office: mindless, uninspired, and drained of all energy. There has been no zombie apocalypse, but your entire staff seems plucked from the cast of The Walking Dead.

You know that committed, talented, engaged people are the lifeblood of your company. But how on God’s green earth do you find these unicorns and keep them fired up, committed, and on point? You are in the right place dear reader. Here are three keys to do just that:

Key #1- The right people come because of who you are, not what your compensation package looks like: It is so much easier to attract people who share your values than to hire first and convert later. Be clear about who you are and what you believe and you will attract the right people. Just as importantly, you will repel the wrong people who end up making your life miserable.

Before you can hire based on your core values, you need to define those values and communicate them in word and deed until you and your employees are saying them in your sleep. If you asked your employees “What are our core values?” today, how many different answers would you get? If that answer is anywhere north of one—keep reading.

Here are some fun ways to communicate your core values to your employees, prospects, customers, vendors, and the community at large:

  • Company parties
  • Your Interview process
  • Email signatures
  • Business cards
  • Voicemail/ phone system recordings
  • Hiring ads
  • Hiring an airplane to skywrite them over your office every other Thursday…

Too much on the last one? Good catch—back to filling your company with amazing employees.

Key #2 – Not only do you have to clearly understand your company core values, you must be able to communicate them clearly and consistently: Do your employees come to you with some questions you have answered dozens of times? Does fear of a bad decision hold you back from freeing them to be more independent? Do you want them to figure things out for themselves?

Often, employees make what seems to them a small mistake from their perspective, yet you lose your mind. Why is that? Generally, they have violated one or more of your Core Values. The problem is, they didn’t know it. Your job as the leader is to communicate those values early and often.

Next time an employee comes to you with an idea or question, don’t answer it. Ask a question instead:

  • Does this idea fit into our Core Values?
  • How can you best reflect our Core Values based on what you just told me?
  • Which Core Value comes to mind first in dealing with this?

Key #3 – You can’t just talk the core values talk. You have to live and breathe them. Even when your employees get sick of hearing them: Start consistently asking these questions instead of providing answers. Your staff will become more independent, stop asking the same questions over and over, and become better decision makers.

Imagine it was you and your company’s outing was ended abruptly by being kicked off that golf course. Imagine the ability to see that not as a bad day. To realize that you provided your employees and their families with stories for a lifetime. Arriving at work tomorrow not to find the walking dead, but to find a community. A special place in the world where your people are raving fans.

You offer something they have never had before. More than a paycheck. Community. A sense of belonging. Of purpose. Something special that none of you could have built alone.

You have the keys to the kingdom! Clarify your core values, communicate them early and often, and try not to be thrown off any golf courses.

Mike Campion is a celebrated speaker, entrepreneur and author of I’m a Freaking Genius, Why is This Business So Hard?. A small business expert, Mike has built several multi-million dollar businesses, the most recent achieving $4.3 million in sales in the first 18 months. As the host of the “Conversations with a Genius” podcast, Mike imparts his business wisdom on his listeners. For more information about bringing in Mike Campion for your next event, please visit


Are You Aligning Your Training Goals with Your Business Goals?

Four Keys to Establish Congruency

By Cordell Riley

Cordell RileyThere are really two types of training. The first and most basic centers on teaching employees to improve their performance of required skills and tasks. The second type does that too, but produces far more transformational results, because it also teaches skills and behaviors that align with larger company initiatives and goals.

A way to illustrate this point is to envision a golf caddy as a trainer. That caddy can walk the course and hand his golfer one club at a time and say, “This is the best club for this shot.” That might improve the golfer’s game. But what if the caddy added a higher level of information by giving perspective on the overall layout of the hole, the potential hazards in the path and even a strategy for playing the entire course?

Similar lessons apply in many settings. Do you want your son or daughter’s piano teacher to only teach the mechanics of pushing down a key, or to give an overview of a piece of music? If you are hiring a landscaper for your yard, do you want to discuss only one plant, or do you want to collaborate on an overall, transformational plan?

Given choices like those, of course you prefer the bigger picture. But how do you do that in planning your company’s training process? Here are four important steps to take.

  1. Define and Keep Your Most Important Objectives in Mind: Are you striving to create a company known for delivering superlative customer satisfaction? That is a great objective, but reaching it means defining specifics that can get you there—what you would like your training to achieve.For example, you could plan to train your phone reps to resolve 90% of all complaints during customers’ first calls. Or you could focus on training those reps to deliver the kind of care that gets 90% of callers to report that they are “extremely satisfied” on post-call surveys. When you define goals, you can design training that achieves them.

    Another way of stating this principle is, “begin with the end in mind.” That means understanding the bigger vision of what you would like your organization to become, then defining specific training steps that can get you there.

  1. Break Down the Silo Walls: Trainers are often brought into different company sectors and encouraged to stay in them. They might teach only skills for servicing or installing products, providing customer service, preparing food, or selling on the retail floor. But what if your trainers thought outside the silos and delivered valuable things that result in improvements across your entire organization?One way to reach this objective is to initiate discussions between your training team and the people who create marketing and advertising, manage your supply chain, oversee your online presence, and more. The more disciplines you invite into the process, the more likely your training team will find ways to make the training process more encompassing and effective.
  1. Don’t Create Training in a Vacuum: Whether your training team works in-house or you use an outside training development company, make sure to engage them in conversations regarding company collateral. This should include everything from company quarterly reports, relevant trade publications, news stories about your organization, press releases, and all other pertinent documents you can provide. Do all those materials suggest any untapped opportunities to align your training specifics with larger trends, goals, and initiatives?
  2. Tie Your Training to Measureable Metrics: It is essential to develop a set of clear metrics to measure before and after training. It is the only way to understand what your training has accomplished and how much closer you are to meeting your goals.

Here are some suggestions for developing metrics that don’t just gather data, but reveal deeper progress:

  • If your vision is to become a leader in customer service and retention, you can survey customers before and after your employees have gone through the training program. You should ask them about their overall satisfaction with their last purchase, the likelihood they will recommend you to other customers, and other factors.
  • If you want to gain maximum value from a limited-time offer and offer training to support that goal, your goal could be a certain percentage of sales improvement among employees who took the training. Measure and report on those results after the training has been delivered.
  • If you are implementing HR training in an effort to increase employee retention and become an “employer of choice” for job-seekers, you can measure retention rates before and after training and survey employees on metrics like, “I see a clear career path if I remain employed here” or, “I understand the criteria that my supervisor and company use to evaluate my performance and progress in the company.”

If you ask a group of businesspeople to define what training is, chances are that most of them will say something like, “Training is a process that teaches people the skills they need to do their jobs better.” Of course, that is true. But if you then go on to ask a series of deeper questions like, “Wouldn’t you like your training to build a workforce that builds your brand, helps your company achieve its mission, and communicates what you stand for to the world?” many of those business people should enthusiastically reply, “Yes, we would!”

As you launch new training initiatives or refine those you already have, keep those larger issues in mind. The better you can align training your business goals, the more successful you can become.

Cordell Riley is the founder and president of Tortal Training, a leading provider of training solutions in the franchise industry. Cordell is a 20-year franchise veteran and a Certified Franchise Executive. Before joining Tortal, Cordell was with Driven Brands in various Operations and Training roles with increasing levels of responsibility. He currently serves on the Educational Foundation for the International Franchise Association. For more information on Cordell Riley, please visit

Are You Sure You’re Training the Right Things?

By Dan Black

Not long ago a training consultant got a call from a sales manager who said, “We need sales training!”

The consultant answered, “Are you sure?”

The caller explained that some of their customer service reps were doing four times the volume of others. It had to be because they were better salespeople … right? So, they needed sales training!

The consultant agreed to help, but insisted on observing the company’s top performers to get a better understanding of what sales techniques they were using.

As it turned out, the top producers weren’t better salespeople at all, but rather had developed a more effective method for processing customer transactions. Once the consultant recognized that, it was easy to document their techniques and build short training interactions around them. The result was an almost instant uptick in sales across their entire customer service rep population.

The message? To get the results you want, you need to understand the reality of your situation. Here are some non-obvious, commonsense steps to help you do that and avoid wasting time and resources.

Step One: Get Real Information from the Right People: A modified version of DACUM (which stands for Developing a Curriculum) can be effectively used in situations like that one. DACUM, which was created by educators to design courses, analyzes what people really do and what they need to learn.

In stark contrast to getting only the leadership team or training department heads in a room, training designers should invite the “boots on the ground.” These are the top performers, the gurus, and the go-to people everyone in the organization knows and relies on. A facilitator leverages a process by which they can extrapolate all that delicious institutional or “tribal” knowledge that exists only in their heads.

Diversity of perspective is key here, so don’t be afraid to have a mix of people. Here’s a sample group:

  • The new person who really gets it! – That person on your team who’s been in a role for six months to a year and really seems to get it. He or she provides a fresh perspective.
  • The go-to person who has been there forever! – He or she can be described as having forgotten more about the job than most people will ever learn. They provide historical knowledge about how the role has changed over the years.
  • An adjacent collaborator role – Don’t be afraid to bring in someone who is not in the role, but “close” to it. This individual can provide an outsider’s perspective and bring knowledge and experience to a different role.
  • Key stakeholders – This group is essential because they need the results. They are often your champions who need to understand the process and often support your budget.

Step Two: Create an Occupational Definition – Prime their Minds! Get everyone in the room focused on the role and get discussions about leadership, work ethic and good communication out of the way. You can use a simple quadrant matrix to document:

  • Reporting lines – Who does the role report to up, down and laterally.
  • Critical knowledge and skills – What specific skills are essential to doing the job well?
  • “Nice to have” abilities and traits – What type of person tends to perform well?
  • Learned but wasn’t taught – What were those “a-ha moments” your group had on the job?

Step Three: Define the Body of Knowledge for Peak Performance – The Meat and Potatoes! A Duty/Task Matrix can be used to define the body of knowledge necessary to perform in the role. You only need some big post-it notes and sharpies. Get the information on the wall so everyone can see it. Put duties down the left, and tasks going across left to right. Here are the definitions and some examples:

  • Duties: This is a something that is top-of-mind for the role. It doesn’t have a beginning or an end. It is ever-present while on the job and usually ends in –ing. Some examples include restaurant manager duty: maintaining food safety and automotive maintenance manager duty: selling products and services.
  • Tasks: These are processes or procedures that have a beginning and end. They usually can have a metric associated with them. These roles fulfill duties by repeatedly completing a series of tasks, usually four or more. A defined task requires an object, verb, and qualifier. Some examples are restaurant manager task: wash hands properly and automotive maintenance manager task: write a customer-facing estimate.

When you identify all the duties and the tasks required to fulfill a role, you’ve documented the entire body of knowledge used by your experts in the room. You’ve also just blown your LT away, because they had “no idea!” your people did all this stuff!

Step Four: Understand the Gaps and Criticality: Your Duty/Task Matrix stands before you and now you need to know where the information is and what tasks have the highest impact on performance. Here are steps to follow:

  • Draft a Gap Analysis – Go task by task. Where is it documented how to perform this task? In HR? Marketing? Sales? Ops? Or is it in one of your expert’s head? Has it been passed down over time? If it’s the latter, it’s a gap!
  • Consider criticality – Everything in your Duty/Task Matrix is important … but what’s most critical? Use a simple rubric and define the impact to the business, performance, individual, or team upon failure. Ask the question: If the worker fails to perform this task, does anyone notice? Does it create some rework—possibly a lot? Will you lose a customer? Will someone get hurt?

Step Five: Build Your Plan: You now have all the information you need to build your plan. You know what the role looks like, contained in your Occupational Definition. You know the body of knowledge that needs to be learned, as described in your Duty/Task Matrix. You know what exists and what doesn’t, laid out in your Gap Analysis. And you know what information is critical to performance, as summarized in your Criticality Analysis.

You can build your Learning Maps for the role, from beginner to expert. You can start to design and develop training around the gaps that really impacts performance. You can map these duties and tasks to competencies and leverage them in cross-team training interactions, and make decisions on the right method for delivery

Now you are armed, much like a marketing department, with an analysis of your customer base and potential for results based on empirical data and not simply feelings. Now you can go to your LT with a plan that justifies a budget and will deliver results. Oh, and you’ve done it all in two days. Good luck!

Dan Black is the Chief Learning Strategist at Tortal Training. He specializes in GSD – “getting stuff done” and is recognized in the industry as a “pleasantly disruptive force” that challenges conventional thinking on training and talent development. Contact Dan at

Take the Mystery Out of Training Millennials

Decode the millennial mindset more strategically to train them more effectively

By Evan Hackel

Evan Hackel“What are the most effective ways to train millennials?” is probably the question that training professionals hear more often than any other today.

To training professionals who were born before 1980—the year when the first millennials were born—the question can seem mysterious and complex. We look at millennials and see a group of young people who seem addicted to texting on their phones, who sometimes seem skeptical about the lessons we want to teach them, and who are prone to changing jobs frequently.

That’s what we see, or what we think we see. But do those rough observations really reflect who millennials are? Do they offer useful insights on how millennials should be trained? The answer is, not really. So let’s decode the millennial mindset more strategically and see what we can learn about how to train them effectively.

Meet the Millennial Cohort: The so-called millennial generation (also called “Generation Y”) includes people born between 1980 and 1998. Many older millennials, now in their early to mid-30s, are already established in their careers. Chances are that a number of them are already working throughout the ranks of your organization. They have already taken part in your training, maybe even designed parts of your training, and chances are very good that you already understand their learning preferences better than you expect. Another factor to consider is that some of the millennials who work for you are currently training your other millennials. So while you think you don’t know or understand them at all, you probably do.

Key Traits of Younger Millennials: Let’s focus on younger working millennials—those born between about 1990 and 1995. Chances are they are the group that is causing you to feel the most uncertainty regarding training. Millennials born between those years are the younger workers who might be applying for their first “real” post-college jobs with your organization right now. They’re young and fresh-faced. If you’re a generation or two older than they are, it could be that you’ve hit some roadblocks when creating training programs that work well for them.

Although generalizations tend to be flawed, here are some attitudes that training professionals have found to be shared by significant members of this cohort.

  • An entrepreneurial mindset – They want to stake out a business identity and space for themselves, even in larger companies.
  • Risk tolerance – Many are self-confident, able to take risks, and willing to help their employers take chances too.
  • A love of technology – They tend to be highly mobile and like to access information and training on smartphones and tablets.
  • Social consciousness – They tend to be compassionate and respond positively to working for companies that embrace and support social causes and “do good in the world.”
  • Openness – Many welcome being part of diverse workforces. Furthermore, they are more welcoming of alternative lifestyles than preceding generations were.
  • Career mobility – Your assumptions that millennials are job-hoppers could be correct. Many do not hesitate to change jobs as a way to achieve personal goals and success.

Critical Steps to Take when Training Millennials: Here are some ways to make your training more compelling and effective with younger millennial workers:

  • Deliver lessons and modules in short “digestible” chunks that millennials can absorb quickly. They are generally fast-moving and can tune out as soon as training seems irrelevant.
  • Use animations, videos and other moving images to deliver key concepts. They often work better than words or text to convey important take-away concepts to millennials.
  • Deliver training on platforms that millennials prefer and already use, including smartphones and tablets. Remember, millennials grew up using mobile devices.
  • Ask for their ideas and suggestions before and during training, because millennials think like entrepreneurs, value autonomy, and like to shape the content of their jobs.
  • Express your company values in your training. You can explain, for example, that your organization is trying not just to generate profits, but to support employees and do good in the world. When younger millennials see that their work supports those objectives, they are more likely to believe in company leaders and initiatives—and more likely to experience levels of satisfaction that make them want to continue working for you in the long term.

Remember that Training Fundamentals Still Apply: Don’t let the fact that you are training millennials worry you. Even though they may differ in some ways from your other trainees, the fundamental principles of all good training still apply. That means knowing who your trainees are and what they do, understanding the results that you want to achieve, identifying metrics to measure before and after training and delivering it in empowering and interesting ways. No matter who you are training, those principles still apply. So be brave about training your millennial newcomers, go out, and get the job done.

Evan Hackel is the CEO of Tortal Training, an executive coach, speaker and author of Ingaging Leadership: A New Approach to Leading that Builds Excellence and Organizational Success. Tortal Training specializes in developing interactive eLearning solutions to make effective training easier by specializing in engagement. As CEO, Evan promotes the Ingagement philosophy, which has helped countless organizations create a culture of partnership and common purpose to drive success. For more information on Evan Hackel, or to purchase his book please visit