A Story about Charlie – Employee Training that goes beyond Learning!

I wanted to share a story about Charlie, a 62 year old technician from a large Fortune 20 telecom company.  At the time, Charlie told me he couldn’t retire soon because he recently took custody of his grandson.  So Charlie signed up for a Community College certification course through his company that was customized program to help install, troubleshoot and connect computers onto the company’s new fiber-optic network.  This was a 16 week class, meeting 2 days week for 3 hours per session.  It was both a theory and hands-on based class.

 

I met Charlie when he registered for the program and I constantly checked in on the class to see how the class was going and how Charlie was doing. Well, Charlie loved the course and his instructor told me Charlie was the best performer in the class, always arrived early and most of the time took all of his computer equipment home with him.  Also, his positive enthusiasm towards learning actually was infectious throughout the whole class.  In fact, the instructor wished he had his on-going energy and positive outlook!

 

At the end of the training, the college would celebrate with a small graduate ceremony.  We would invite both the college’s senior staff and the client’s staff to congratulate the technicians for the successful completion of the program.  Each person would come to the podium to receive their certificate of achievement.

 

When Charlie’s name was mentioned, Charlie walked up to the podium and asked if he could speak a few words to the audience.  Charlie spoke about his grandson being in and out of juvenile detention centers, nobody caring for him, always in trouble and never was interested in anything.  When Charlie was bringing his books and equipment home, he noticed his son started to take an interest in what he was doing.  He started learning about computer hardware, operating systems and networking with Charlie.  He stopped going out and started to work with Charlie in repairing and maintaining computers…

 

In registering for this course, Charlie, never in his wildest dreams thought his grandson would have any interest in computers and he was so proud of how a course like this helped to create a wonderful bond at this stage of his life!  This meant more to him than the actual training and certificate he received.

 

Today, Charlie is semi-retired and works for his grandson who owns a computer repair and maintenance store in Tampa, FL…

 

www.thelearningstrategy.com

September 2016 College – Workforce Development Benchmark Results – AIDA

Here’s a summary of the AIDA Survey and Benchmark Results – Executive Summary of the groundbreaking research done by The Learning Strategy, Inc.

College and Customer gap analysis that includes Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action (AIDA) in the degree and workforce development area.

Please contact The Learning Strategy, Inc for the full report and scheduling any pre-conference workshops on this topic.

 

Putting the Puzzle Together – Higher Education and Customer Engagement

Our colleges play an important role in educating our students and adult learners.  There are four (4) groups of people that higher education positively impact:

  1. Young people who are coming out of school looking for good jobs.
  2. Unemployed people that have learned a new skill and are looking for good jobs.
  3. Under skilled people who have improved their credentials and are looking for good jobs.
  4. Incumbent workers who are currently employed and are trying to grow into a better job.

All four (4) of these conditions revolve around the student, higher education providers and the hiring customer (i.e. employers, organizations). It’s sort of the “build great programs, educate students and employers will come.”

We found out in some cases this is true, however in most cases it is not.  In today’s competitive environment, students and adult learners are being consulted by colleges and workforce agencies about the degrees and certifications that will lead to more or better jobs with employers.  Yet employers are not participating in the process and many aren’t even aware about the talent that is available.  This could more of a marketing problem than it is a talent problem.

For example, when we get the opportunity to talk with employers or organizations, most of them aren’t aware of the college’s capabilities and how they can help them achieve their company goals and objectives.   Below are some of these capabilities that employers are excited to meet about:

  • Workforce Development – Only 24% of the employers we surveyed in 2016 are familiar with workforce development, contract training and continuing education programs. They want to know more….
  • Online Programming – Larger enterprise employers are constantly looking for cutting-edge, interactive online programs – programs they can license with and make available on their Learning Management System (LMS). They want to know more….
  • Co-Branded, Instructional Design and Curriculum Development – Employer’s need good curriculum designers especially for new, state-of-the-art products and services. They want to know more….
  • Foundations – What a great way for employers to get involved and contribute to a great cause – Educational Scholarships! They want to know more….
  • Job Recruiting – Believe it or not, most employers we talk with are not aware of things like job fairs, employer recruitment pools and who to contact. They want to know more….
  • Employer Tuition Assistance – For those employers who have tuition assistance programs, many colleges and universities are not participating and many are not aware that non degree certificates may be part of these programs. They want colleges to participate…
  • Federal, State or Local Workforce Training Grants – For employers or students that need assistance, most are not aware of what is available to them and how to apply.
  • Events – When we talk with employers about college hosted events, many want to participate and sponsor. They want to know more….

Put the power of your college to work and ask us how we’re helping some of the world’s most successful employers and organizations engage with their colleges and universities – and how we can help to do the same for you.

General Dynamics, NYC Department of Corrections, Interactive One, Verizon Safety and Environmental Health, Nestle Waters, The Highlands, Regional Transportation Authorities, Foursquare, Equinox, B-Reel, CPXI, Coca-Cola, Avtron Aerospace, Hyland Software, Jergens, Vitamix Corp,  Forum Energy Technologies, Lasco Enterprises, Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., Valero Energy, CST Brands and many, many more….

The brutal truth about today’s hiring process…

The brutal truth is 75% of resume applicants are reviewed.  Most resume content fail to meet the criteria needed get in the hands of decision makers, i.e. networking directly with the company you’re applying too.

You have likely applied to and uploaded dozens of resumes only to hear nothing back.  Recruiters generally refer to this as the “Resume Black Hole” Lots of resumes go in and most never come back.

First it is important to understand how the process works. At the center of the “Resume Black Hole” problem is a piece of technology called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  The ATS was designed to streamline the flow of applicants for companies.  If you are applying to jobs online and uploading your resume, it is surely landing in an ATS.

ATS’s are inaccurate.  25% to 33% of all resumes are imported with errors and inaccurate information.  ATS screen and rank your resume against open positions.  If you are missing keywords or have a low “Skill to Keyword Ratio” you will be avoided.

Resumes that pass the ATS screen are generally sent to a gatekeeper, the first “human” who looks at your resume.  He or she spends about 30 seconds reading the resume before they decide to move it along to a Company Recruiter or Hiring Manager.  So getting your resume directly in the hands of the Hiring Manager or Recruiter is a desired outcome but requires a significant amount of preparation and accuracy in meeting the front end of this highly digital screening process.

Community Colleges: If You Want To Engage with Employers, Rethink Your Marketing Strategy and Business Outreach Efforts.

When employers think of a Community College, they usually think of a place for a student to receive a quality two year education at an affordable price.  My experience talking with business executives about colleges in their local community is almost always favorable – “I received my 2-year degree at a community college or my son or daughter received their 2 year degree.” Employers know what community colleges do in benefiting a student’s academic needs in the communities they serve.

What many students and employers are not aware of are how community colleges can directly impact their career development and business performance.   Community college capabilities include customized employee training programs, continuing education, lifelong learning, access to business grants, tuition assistance planning, co-sponsoring events, being a foundation board member, participating in student – employer pools, career fairs and many other value-added partnership programs.  All of the above help employers improve efficiencies, employee morale, exposure in the community and most importantly, their bottom-line.

Marketing budgets can be a challenge and resources can be limited for community colleges, however below are eight (8) cost effective tips to rethink your marketing and business outreach efforts:

Testing and Analytics – Stop guessing if you need a new website or if you can improve your existing website.  Employer and student first impression of you website can ultimately impact engagement and conversion.  Always test and analyze your design structure and navigational flow of information.  The benefit of continuous testing and monitoring is more practical and less expensive rather that making major overhauls.

 LMS Analysis – If you want to make an employer feel like a strategic partner, they must feel that way across all departments in the college.  For example, if they invested in your foundation, you better make sure you treat them well if they’re interested in Contract Training.  This builds positive employer awareness of the college and you’ll see more of an investment in other programs and services that you provide.  Analyze the feasibility of communicating between your website – automation – LMS.

Make it easy to reach you – If an employer is viewing your website about something they’re interested in, automate their interests to the right person or department.  I remember one employer accessed our main website who wanted a corporate group leadership program and it took 4-5 attempts until they found the right sub domain address….  Also, if they send you a lead form, return their request by the end of the day.

Be proactive – Don’t wait for an employer to contact you.  Be proactive, send 4-5 blogs, videos, campaigns, events, sponsorships and or news every week.  In today’s competitive market, you can’t wait until someone contacts you.  Take advantage of your good reputation, you are special and employers love to hear from your college and learn about what’s new and how you can work together.

Get employers involved, for free – Ask them to volunteer for events like Kids College Day, Lunch n Learns, Advisory Councils, Speaking engagements.  Employers enjoy giving back to the community and sharing a day with college students and faculty.

Brainstorm with Employers – Brainstorm and think of cross promotional ideas to present to the community.  Finding that synergy between business and education that really taps into community trust and involvement.

Reporting and Measurements – Are you effectively driving SEO traffic to your website, are you converting that traffic, are you registering more students?  During your requirements gathering, your goals need to be identified, measured and reported.

Go Mobile – More and more students (Gen Z & Y) and employers are going mobile in their interactions and expect the same from their educational partners.  Make it easy for employers and students to connect, register and learn through mobile applications.

Community colleges need a flexible website that will allow them to attract more employers and students, update content easily, provide a great mobile experience and give them insights behind their course registrations, enrollments, campaigns and events.

The Learning Strategy has been working with colleges and employers for 15 years and we look forward in using our experience in optimizing community college websites, coordinating and building partnerships between our colleges, businesses and the workforce investment system – creating pathways in workforce improvement, student internships and job placement.

 

bHarmony – Happy Valentine’s Day!

bHarmony – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I only thought it to be appropriate to discuss the bHarmony concept – a service concept within the business industry to combine a scientific and human approach connecting colleges, businesses and non-profits together.  The bHarmony idea is based on both the buyer’s and seller’s interest.

Traditional Internet search can be challenging for organizations who are looking for customized solutions.  But bHarmony is not just a technology platform.  It should be converged with your human network in meeting and contracting with organizations who want and many times are excited to meet with you!  What does that mean?

 Japan calls it a “keiretsu” a family of businesses and organizations. These families may include a college, a manufacturing company, a bank, a transportation company and distribution companies that develop plans to conduct business with one another. Keiretsu  strategic partnerships among several companies and organizations rather than between just two.  We help to bridge those relationships together.   Jeff Roth, President

The bHarmony concept are organizations that are committed to find, select and approach new customers every day…   With over one hundred thousand businesses, colleges and non-profits, we are confident there are plenty of needs and wants.

bHarmony starts by narrowing the field of thousands of leads to determine a select group of potential ideal customers with whom you can build a quality relationship.

Establishing bHarmony is more comprehensive that just a leads database or CRM system, and we believe our success speaks for itself.  When you define and select student and/or prospect characteristics and match them to your ideal customer profile, you will increase those relationships using targeted valid business reasoning, applying thought provoking content/creative and digital marketing by standing out in the “eyes of the beholder.”  Sounds simple, but it’s harder than you think.

So on Valentine’s Day start finding, selecting and meeting with someone who you want to develop long term relationships with.

The Admissions Perspective

The Admissions Perspective: How Academic Leaders Are Facing a Continuously Changing State Of Admissions is based on the survey results of enrollment leaders at four-year, not-for-profit Higher Educational Institutions. These fall into a selected group of classifications developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement Teaching. Maguire Associates, of Concord, Mass. invited random samples of enrollment leaders, and in both 2014 and 2015, 15 percent responded. The data collection took place in July 2014 and May 2015.  College Enrollments

How concerned are you in improving your admissions process and the value of your institution?  What are the top challenges facing your admission officers and enrollment managers?

These are serious questions that are identified in the study and can greatly impact the engagement, enrollment and retention of student (especially Gen Z & Y) services.

See www.myccmajors.com (community colleges) and www.mymajors.com/privatelabel (universities and colleges).  Take the Challenge!

Famous “Thought Leadership” Quotes I enjoyed reading in 2016. Happy New Year!

“The absolute justice of the system of things is as clear to me as any scientific fact. The gravitation of sin to sorrow is as certain as that of the earth to the sun, and more so–for experimental proof of the fact is within reach of us all–nay, is before us all in our own lives, if we had but the eyes to see it.” H. Huxley in a Letter of reply to Charles Kingsley (23 September 1860), who had offered him consolation after Huxley’s young son had died some days earlier.

“The smallest good act today is the strategic point from which, months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of.” S. Lewis

“Time, like a snowflake, disappears while we’re trying to decide what to do with it.” Frank A Clarke

 “You probably can’t do more, faster. You certainly could do less, sooner.” Tim Ottinger (@tottinge)

“Around computers it is difficult to find the correct unit of time to measure progress. Some cathedrals took a century to complete. Can you imagine the grandeur and scope of a program that would take as long?”

“A client with a blank check kills creativity.” Mokokoma Mokhonoana in “Confessions of a Misfit

“I have observed some common traits in creative people. They are able to totally focus on the problem or issue while at the same time suspending their judgment about it, or what may constitute a good solution. They tend to view the world as a wonderfully complex palette of grays rather than seeing it in black and white terms. They place no time pressure on their need to be creative even though their boss or client may have set very specific deadlines for them. They have a deep and unwavering faith that the answer, or answers, will reveal itself/themselves to them, rather than having an ego-centric view of themselves as being creative. Many view themselves as a conduit rather than a source.” Tom Stirr

“Consensus is no longer adequate for predicting the truth and bureaucracies are no longer capable of enforcing them.  This makes echo chambers inherently unstable without some form of interaffinity group cross fertilization and trading of ideas to keep them from become inbred and decadent. So who wants an echo chamber unless it is an open one?  Who wants an affinity group unless there is a door that club members can use to exit and enter?”  Richard Fernandezin “Suppose It Is a Black Swan

“When all think alike, no one thinks very much.” Walter Lippmann

“The more a feller thinks he knows the less money he seems to make.” Kin Hubbard in “Abe Martin’s Almanack” (1911)

“An Englishman’s mind works best when it is almost too late.” Edgar Vincent,Lord D’Abernon

“It’s ineffably sad that today ‘that’s academic’ often means ‘that’s irrelevant.’”  Nicolas Kristof in “The Dangers of Echo Chambers on Campus

“To preserve mental resources, make low-stakes decisions quickly.” Thought Unfinished (@unfinishthought)

“Decentralization is not the goal. It’s just a tool we use to achieve censorship resistance.  Censorship resistance is the goal.”  Roger Ver (@rogerkver)

“There is a need for organized abandonment: the systematic withdrawal of resources–money, but above all, people–from yesterday’s efforts.” Peter F. Drucker in “Managing in Turbulent Times

The time to ask questions and act upon the answers is not when the institution is in trouble. It is while it is successful. For then it is most likely to have resources allocated to the past, to things that didproduce, to goals that did challenge, to needs that were”  Peter F. Drucker in “Managing in Turbulent Times

“No one respects the flame quite like the fool who’s badly burned. From all this you’d imagine that there must be something learned.  Recriminations fester and the past can never change.”  Pete Townshend “Slit Skirts”

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment.” Romans 12:2-3

Winners say, “There ought to be a better way”. Losers say, “That’s the way it’s always been.”  Sydney J. Harris in “Winners and Losers

“He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade-stand.” Elbert Hubbard

“You can learn many things from children.  How much patience you have, for instance.” Franklin P. Jones

“The way out of a rut is small wins” Thought Unfinished (@unfinishthought)

“Honesty consists of the unwillingness to lie to others; maturity, which is equally hard to attain, consists of the unwillingness to lie to oneself.” Sydney J. Harris

“Look up and not down, look forward and not back, look out and not in, and lend a hand!”  Edward Everett Hale in “Ten Times One is Ten” (1870)

“A genuinely creative career is like a milking stool stand on three legs. There must be accident, there must be sweat, there must be dissatisfaction.” Robert Ardrey in “Plays of Three Decades: Thunder Rock / Jeb / Shadow of Heroes”(1968)

“Hope is more patient than despair and so outlasts it.” Yahia Lababidi in “Aphorisms on Art, Morality, Spirit

“It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not.” “Thus we return once more to the destroying of the Ring,” said Erestor, “and yet we come no nearer. What strength have we for the finding of the Fire in which it was made? That is the path of despair. Of folly I would say, if the long wisdom of Elrond did not forbid me.”

“Despair, or folly?” said Gandalf. “It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of reckoning.”

“At least for a while,” said Elrond. “The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is often the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.”

“It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope.” R.R. Tolkien in The Fellowship of the Ring

“Whoever is abandoned by hope has also been abandoned by fear; this is the meaning of the word ‘desperate’.”  Alfred Schopenhauer in “Parerga and Paralipomena” (1851)

“We can be fully conscious of our failings, without being humiliated at the thought.”  Vauvenargues in “Reflections and Maxims” (1746) [Archive.org]

“Most of the good things that have happened to me, happened by accident when I was trying to help someone else.”  Frank A Clarke

“Shooting a bear doesn’t make you a badass. Feeding a polar bear while her cub humps your leg makes you a badass.” >  You Had One Job (@_youhadonejob1)

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” Andy Rooney

“When all you are trying to do is the right thing, it isn’t hard to act, for you have no distractions.”  William Stafford

“Epiphanies often take the form of a sudden realization that things you once took for granted are on the brink of extinction.” Richard Fernandez in “The Last Headline of 2016

“The things we fear most in organizations—fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances—are the primary sources of creativity.” Margaret Wheatley

“Certain lessons cannot be taught, only learned.” Greg Norminton in “The Lost Art of Losing

“Few people complete their experience of an event until they have talked about it.” Martin Langford

 “Education is an admirable thing. But it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” Oscar Wilde

“Measurement is at the intersection of goals and reality: agreeing on what to measure and comparing notes on what is measured is an excellent mechanism for building trust.” Sean Murphy

“The best way to persuade someone of your new approach is to begin with three agreements:

 We agree on the goals. We both want the same outcomes, we’re just trying different ways to get there.

We agree on reality. The world is not flat. Facts are actually in evidence. Statistics, repeatable experiments and clear evidence of causation are worth using as tools.

We agree on measurement. Because we’ve agreed on goals and reality, we agree on what success looks like as well.

All three allow us to enroll on the same journey, and to hold each other accountable for our work. Any other approach disrespects your partners and leaves you in a corner, without allies.”

Seth Godin in “Shared Reality, Shared Goals

Collections from jeffroth@tlstrategy.com.