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Tips for Using Social Media to Attract Employees

Tips for Using Social Media to Attract Employees


Social media is very much a part of our society.  We use this platform to connect with our friends, share our viewpoints and expand our professional connections.  But, how is social media impacting the work place?  I have heard of an increasing number of employers reviewing social media profiles of perspective employees during the hiring process.  But, what exactly does that tell an employer?

Research shows that LinkedIn is the most used social media site when it comes to professional networking while most people have a profile on Facebook or Twitter for their personal life. Both employers and employees see a distinction between professional and personal media sites.

One of the questions that arise is whether a perspective employee’s profile on a personal social media site can be used when making a hiring decision. Perspective candidates feel their personal social media site should not be review during the hiring process while some employers feel this can provide valuable insight into the candidate.

Here are some tips to consider when evaluating your use of social media during your hiring process:

  • How does your company’s social media presence appear to prospective candidates?  Is the message clear and in line with the company culture?  Or is there a disconnect between who you  are and who you portray on social media?  Attracting strong candidates is augmented by a well-rounded social media presence.
  • Using social media sites can help attract both active and passive candidates.  A well-crafted job description on your social media pages may spur interest from highly qualified candidates, even if they are not currently searching for a job.
  • Be mindful of the decision to use personal social media sites to make hiring decisions.  This could potentially expose your company to discrimination charges.  If you decide not to hire a candidate based on information gathered from these sites, make sure to document why the decision was made.
  • Social media is not a substitute for a robust hiring process.  In the end, you need to have a methodology that will help you hire the best employees that will mesh with the company culture.
The True Definition of Leadership

The True Definition of Leadership

Last week, the Investment Casting Institute hosted the 63rd Annual Technical Conference and Expo.  The key note speaker was Keni Thomas, a former Army Ranger who was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge from the United States Army.  Keni was one of our brave soliders who fought in the “Black Hawk Down” battle in Mogadishu, Somalia.

If you have seen the movie “Black Hawk Down” then you know the story, but, his talk didn’t focus on what happened during that battle as much as the importance of leadership.  He quoted the Army manual on Military Leadership’s definition of leadership: “Leadership is the process of influencing others to accomplish the mission by providing purpose, direction and motivation.”

As he points out, there is nothing in the definition that mentions rank, position or pay-grade. Leadership is about the example you set regardless of where you fall in the pecking order.

Often times when we are faced with a problem at work, we wait for some one else to fix it.  Keni’s point was that we shouldn’t wonder who is going to fix it but rather, we should just accept responsibility and get it done.

Imagine how much more we could get done if everyone adopted this philosophy. What if we spent time explaining to each team member the importance of their individual role and how it impacts the greater good? What if our organizations developed leaders rather than supervisors and managers, how much further along would the organization be?

At the end of his speech, Keni received a standing ovation.  There is no doubt that part of this was a heart felt appreciation for what the military does to keep us safe and the sacrifices they make along the way.  But, I also believe that his humble perspective of the value that every team member contributes to the greater good was a powerful wake-up call to the entire audience.

Thank you Keni Thomas.  Thank you US Military.  Thank you to those people in our lives that demonstrate leadership on a daily basis.

And The Tie Goes To…

And The Tie Goes To…

The Best Way to Improve Your Bottom Line

I recently met with a managing partner of a professional services firm.  His philosophy on how to approach his clients was simply stated, “when the ball falls on the line, the client gets the point.” He believes the customer will remember how they were valued when there is a “tie” and that will impact their long-term relationship.

What a refreshing way to approach our customers. I believe more and more businesses are forgetting the importance of taking care of the customer.  As competition increases, it becomes increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd.

Providing exceptional service is a great way to separate your business from your competitors. Have you walked into a business and felt like you have known the employees forever? Conversely, have you walked into a business and sensed no one cared if you buy from them or not?

That “vibe” comes from the internal culture. If your employees feel valued, they will value their work.  If your employees have the customer at the forefront of their daily tasks, they will make decisions that are in the best interest of the customer. But if your employees don’t feel valued, that will be reflected in their work.

A recent study completed by Gallup found that having an engaged workforce can impact profitability, productivity, turnover, employee safety, absenteeism and quality.

Want to guess what Gallup found to be the top influencer for employee engagement?  The direct manager.

So, if you want to grow your business, increase profitability or improve your safety record, then now is the time to focus on improving the quality of your management team.

The Long Route to Get the Right Answer

The Long Route to Get the Right Answer

A Long Term Strategy for Employee Motivation

I remember one of my first supervisory training classes I attended as a young engineer fresh out of college.  One of the questions from the instructor was what do you do when your team is performing at the level you desire? I don’t remember all the potential answers to this multiple choice question, but, I do remember that I got the answer wrong. The correct answer was spend time with your team and get to know them better.  I argued with the instructor and my co-workers that there was no need to get to know your team better, all people wanted was for their performance to be recognized through financial compensation, i.e. a bonus. It took me many years to realize how wrong I was and how right the instructor (and my peers) were.

What I have learned since that class is that pay is not a long term strategy for motivating your employees. Yes, short term it will motivate your employees to work hard, but, if you want consistent, high-performing employees, they need to find fulfillment in their work.  That means that they find the work challenging and rewarding, they enjoy the people they work with and for and they feel appreciated.

Yes, we do work to pay our bills (well, most of us) but work isn’t just about making money.  It is about feeling a level of satisfaction from the activity that we spend a majority of our time doing.  If we were just working to make money, imagine how difficult it would be to consistently stay focused on the details of the job. But, if our employees feel appreciated doing something that they enjoy, that creates a much more productive work environment.

So, how do we go about creating this ideal work environment?  It really does start with getting to know our employees and what they would like to accomplish. Some operators may have a desire to learn a new skill or make a different contribution to the company.  Just because an employee has been in a particular position for a long time doesn’t mean he wants to stay there forever.  Also, look for opportunities for employees to lead committees or company initiatives.  What can’t be overlooked is the importance of making your employees feel appreciated.  Sometimes appreciation can be as easy as a simple thank you.  Or maybe a gift card to a local restaurant.  Or an ice cream sundae in the heat of the summer. It has been my experience that the more spontaneous, the more it means to the employee.

When you come to work, are you feeling appreciated?  If not, your employees probably aren’t feeling it either.  Maybe it is time for a demonstration of appreciation.

For more practical tips for manufacturing professionals to attract, train and retain your hourly workforce, go to

Is Your Style Changing with the Times?

Is Your Style Changing with the Times?


Recently I was reading about the Miracle on Ice when the US Men’s Hockey Team beat the Russians in the 1980 Winter Olympics.  What I learned about this team was that the coach, Herb Brooks had to change his entire coaching philosophy in order to get a group of college rivals come together and work as a team.  So, he made a deliberate decision to change his coaching style from an easy going guy to a “drill sergeant.” He was harsh, unyielding and ruthless, i.e. making them practice in the middle of the night.  His objective was to get them to rally together due to their common hatred of their coach.  And it worked.

I started to think about how a different leadership style can have an impact on a team.  I think most managers are comfortable with situational leadership, where you adjust your leadership approach to meet the development level of an employee. But, few managers adapt their style in order to have an effect on the output of the team.

How might a change impact the performance of your team?  If you sense your team is a bit complacent, perhaps a more direct approach might help improve the performance.  Or if you sense a lot of tension among the team members, maybe a more approachable style will make team members more comfortable bringing up issues and asking for your help in resolving them.

If you do decide to make a change, make sure the reason for the change is clear in your mind along with the desired outcome. And changing things up needs to be consistent – your team will be confused if you are a drill sergeant one day and team psychologist the next day.

Who says change has to be a bad thing?  If you can improve the output of your team, it may be worth the extra effort.

For more practical tips for manufacturing professionals to attract, train and retain your hourly workforce, go to

Motivational Quotes from our Olympic Athletes

Motivational Quotes from our Olympic Athletes


The 2016 Summer Olympics are almost here! I have such respect for the hard work, determination and sacrifices that these athletes make on a daily basis.  So, in honor of the Summer Olympics, I thought I’d share some motivational quotes from our US Olympians which we can apply to our daily lives.

“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”
–Jesse Owens, USA track and field gold medalist

“I learned that the only way you are going to get anywhere in life is to work hard at it.  If you do, you’ll win.  If you don’t, you won’t.”
–Bruce Jenner, USA medalist in the decathlon

“I’m trying to do the best I can.  I’m not concerned about tomorrow, but with what goes on today.”
–Mark Spitz, USA gold medalist in swimming

“I like added pressure.  It makes me work harder.”
–Mary Lou Retton, USA gold medalist in gymnastics

“There’s always a point where you get knocked down. But I draw on what I’ve learned on the track: If you work hard, things will work out.”
–Lolo Jones, Olympic hurdler

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
–Wilma Rudolph, USA gold medalist in track and field

“Focus, discipline, hard work, goal setting and, of course, the thrill of finally achieving your goals. These are all lessons in life.”
–Kristi Yamaguchi, USA gold medalist in figure skating


Creating a Healthy Work Environment: Tips from a Novice Gardener

Creating a Healthy Work Environment: Tips from a Novice Gardener

My big project for this spring was to build a new garden.  Research told me that the key to a thriving garden is sunlight, fertilizer and water.  So, I spent quite a bit of time picking the perfect location, building raised beds and moving over 5 yards of dirt into the beds (actually, my husband did most of that). Then I fertilized the dirt with bone meal, planted my plants and then fertilized again with fish emulsion.  I even installed a drip irrigation system with a timer to make sure the garden had enough water. I did everything right this year – sun, fertilizer, water. Now, all I had to do was sit back and watch my garden produce all the vegetables I could eat.

Then I found cabbage worms in my cabbage and broccoli.

According to a master gardener, having a healthy garden is about weeding and pest control. Sure, a good foundation of sun and fertilizer is important, but, if you don’t pick the weeds and address those pests, even a garden with perfect conditions won’t thrive.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about this over the past week as I weeded my garden and tried to kill those nasty cabbage worms and what I realized is that having a healthy work environment is a lot like having a healthy garden.

You can have the perfect team in your plant.  They have the necessary skills, they are well paid and have the energy to do their jobs every day, but, if you don’t pick the weeds and deal with those nasty pests, your team won’t produce the results you desire.

Addressing pests and weeds require knowledge and skill.  Knowledge to truly examine what is causing the problem and then the skill needed to address the problem(s).  Regardless of the issue, addressing it before it over takes the whole company is critical.  This may require training in conflict resolutionmanaging change or even effective communication (click to see previous posts on each of these topics). In extreme cases, you might even need to pull out the insect ridden plant and start over, as I did with my broccoli.

A healthy workplace requires daily care and attention. Look for subtle signs that a problem might be coming to the surface so you have time to decide how best to address the problem before it overtakes the entire garden.

For more practical tips for manufacturing professionals to attract, train and retain your hourly workforce, go to

Please Don’t Judge Me!

Please Don’t Judge Me!


I’ll be honest, I’d be embarrassed if you ever saw my work shop.  I tend to be one of those people who works around my messes. I don’t normally detect how dirty my workspace is until my husband gently suggests that I might work a bit more efficiently if I cleaned up my work bench before starting on another project.

I believe we are all guilty of looking past what we see on a daily basis.  That is why audits are so important. An outside set of eyes can see areas that we may overlook.  Internal audits can be structured in a number of different ways but must include a system for follow-up. Over my time in manufacturing, I have seen audits implemented in a number of effective ways, including the following:

  • Management Gemba Walk – This can be an effective tool to demonstrate to the workforce a sense of unity within the management team. In addition, when issues are identified, all the managers can collectively decide how to address the issue.
  • Safety Audits – These are typically conducted by members of the EH&S committee and are focused on potential safety or environmental hazards. Getting employees involved in this committee can greatly enhance the effectiveness of these types of audits.
  • Layered Process Audits – LPAs are conducted on specific processes by individuals who don’t work in the department being audited.  This gives a set of eyes that may detect issues that department employees may overlook.  In addition, it provides employees exposure to other departments within the plant.
  • Quality Systems Audit – this audit can be used to make sure the quality system is being followed.  These are typically conducted by personnel trained on the Quality Measurement System and are focused on ensuring conformance to company policies and regulatory requirements.

Regardless of the type of audits that are conducted in your plant, make sure there is a mechanism in place to ensure that identified issues are addressed.  Without this, the audits may lose their intended purpose.

For more practical tips for manufacturing professionals to attract, train and retain your hourly workforce, go to

The Foundation of Operator Training

The Foundation of Operator Training


Over the past few years, I have had the pleasure of being an instructor at the Investment Casting Institute’s Process Control Class.  It was in this class that I had my first introduction to Training Within Industry.

During World War II, there was a shortage of skilled and trained workers at a time when the demand on manufacturing was very high.  As a result, Training Within Industry was developed to quickly and efficiently train operators.

There are four programs of Training Within Industry:

  1. Job Instruction (JI) – this component teaches trainers how to train
  2. Job Methods (JM) – a methodology that employees use to make their job easier
  3. Job Relations (JR) – an analytical method for addressing personnel issues
  4. Program Development (PD) –how to solve production problems that are unique to a particular organization

Each of the programs are broken into four steps and the training and implementation of these programs is very structured.  However, the organizations which followed this approach realized unbelievable results.  After the war, TWI became less common place in the United States, however, the Japanese learned about it and TWI is credited to be the foundation of Lean Manufacturing.

In the book Training Within Industry by Donald Dinero, the author states that “TWI helped lay the bases for “learning organizations,” where successful companies train their employees to question, think and solve problems. “

Can you imagine a better workforce than one that can question, think and solve problems? There are a number of resources available online to learn more about Training Within Industry.  In the upcoming articles, I’ll provide more information on each of the programs.

For more practical tips for manufacturing professionals to attract, train and retain your hourly workforce, go to