Posts tagged northwest indiana

Thon Joins NorthStar360 Team


Long time NWI leader and educator Bill Thon and Dyer-based training and development company, NorthStar360, are proud to announce a strategic partnership.

Thon is no stranger to training and, in fact, spent more than eight years as the Executive Director of the Corporate College for Ivy Tech Community College/ Northwest. Additionally, he served 17 years in various Manufacturing, Human Resources and Training roles at Rieter Automotive. He’s eager to use this experience and know-how to help area businesses better their organization and achieve key business goals.

“I’m very proud of the work I’ve done throughout my career and I’m thrilled I can use my experience to help more businesses in Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland with developing their employees. Working more intimately with organizations and helping them achieve results is exactly where I want to be,” explains Thon.

NorthStar360 helps businesses maximize their success through comprehensive hiring practices and in-depth employee development programs. The company customizes its training and tailors its development programs to meet the specific business goals of its clients.

“NorthStar360 is thrilled for this new partnership with Bill Thon. His knowledge and areas of expertise will be invaluable for our clients and for new clients. His expertise really supplements what we’re already doing so I can’t wait to see some of the new, great things we’ll be working on as a result of our partnership,” said Rick Riddering, president of NorthStar360.

Emotional and Social Intelligence Event Oct 22

NorthStar360 to host complimentary workshop to discover the benefits of utilizing EI/ SI in the workplace

Emotional and Social Intelligence is “all the buzz” in employee development these days. But what exactly does it mean? How can it benefit my employees? What impact does it have on our business? For any business that would like to see increases in productivity and efficiency, more engaged employees, more creative teams and more nimble management—read on.

It’s proven that employees with high Emotional Intelligence have higher job satisfaction and will out-perform their peers. They’re better leaders, too. And, a workforce with high Social Intelligence will be more productive and engaged than a group of employees who are just “doing time.” Have we piqued your interest for expanding your understanding of these things or looking for pointers for how to incorporate them into your organization?

Then join us, Tuesday, October 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Glenwoodie Golf Club in Glenwood, Ill. for a FREE one-day Lunch and Learn Workshop about Emotional and Social Intelligence and how it plays an important role in every business. And, while there is no cost to attend the workshop, but plenty to gain from the instruction, discussion, and reflection that it’ll offer business executives looking to become more savvy about this very important topic.

We hope that the time of this event is conducive to your workday, too.  However, presenters will be available at the end of the workshop for folks who are interested in speaking more specifically about challenges their organization may be facing with employee and organizational development.

Please keep in mind that seating is limited for this event so please R.S.V.P. now by clicking here.


Team Coaching Scores Big Results

A great team is made up of people with complementary skills and strengths. A great team has synergy, collaboration, and energy. A great team doesn’t happen by accident, it takes practice, instruction, change .. it takes coaching!

Coaching can help teams communicate, problem solve and create a shared purpose. “Team coaching provides a dedicated time and coach to help teams work through specific business challenges. All members on the team can contribute and share their experience and together develop a plan to overcome that challenge,” explains Susan Riddering, vice president of NorthStar360.

Often times teams may reveal other business challenges that can be impeding an organization’s growth and success. It may be lack of communication from management or lack workflow with other departments. The solutions can be simple and many times zero-cost to implement.

Team coaching is effective for a variety of industries and roles within an organization including managers, sales reps., customer service, systems, marketing, finances, work spaces, equipment, safety, compliance, training, personal development, opportunities, planning and communication. All these roles are interdependent in providing a product or service to customers. Team coaching not only improves the team environment; it also advances how a particular team or department works with other departments.

“It’s amazing to see the team transform even after one coaching session. Everyone is invested in their team and works together to enact positive changes,” states Riddering. “And the improvement is contagious. It brings a whole new energy and sense of excitement to an organization.”

School’s In Session … For Your Employees

Stores are stocking shelves with back to school items; folders, pink erasers and glue sticks galore. This time of year is a great reminder of the importance of preparing for education; although this reminder should not end with your kids back packs. Education should extend long beyond those yellow school bus days. Organizations that incorporate education and training into the workplace are more successful and profitable, and their employees are happier.

In a recent study of 550 U.S. CEOs, 25 percent identified the need for workplace education programs as a top challenge. Research shows that improving employee skills creates employees who work smarter and better cope with change in the workplace, management relations and result in higher profitability. When employees learn that high-quality work is crucial to the success of the organization and to their own job security, they are more meticulous. Understanding how their efforts fit into the big picture, and then receive the skills to meet those demands, the quality of their work generally rises.

This leads to a host of direct economic benefits for the employer, including increased production of products and services, reduced time per task, reduced error rate, a better health and safety record, reduced waste in production of goods and services, increased customer retention and increased employee retention. It also produces a variety of indirect economic benefits, such as improved quality of work, better team performance, improved capacity to cope with change in the workplace and improved capacity to use new technology. These indirect economic benefits, although less tangible and more difficult to measure precisely than the direct benefits, have an important impact on organizational performance.

Organizations can take baby steps to get started. An important first step is assessing the education needs at your company. Understanding what skills and learning gaps exist is essential to designing a well-founded program. Education and training partners like NorthStar360 can help design and implement a survey tool to help the management team assess and prioritize these training needs. Next comes the training and then an assessment tool to see quantitative results. The qualitative results are evident in the new found confidence of your employees and new energy in the hallways.

Auto Recycler Drives Growth with Assessments and Employee Development

“When it comes to businesses our size, you hear consultant and you think $60,000. Six months later, you’re broke and the consultant wasn’t much help,” describes Steve Dykstra, owner of Metro Recycling and Metro Auto.

Griffith, Ind. based Metro Recycling and Metro Auto Recyclers are your typical growing small businesses. With humble beginnings, this family-owned recycling buy-back center and auto scrap service has achieved steady growth, carving out a very specialized niche in Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland. In Ind., the company also has locations in Valparaiso and Indianapolis in addition to its location in Blue Island, Ill.

But Dykstra wanted more. After much discussion and deliberation, the management team decided to bring in … that’s right, a consultant.

The consultant team worked with Dykstra to identify key business goals that were impeding growth. Susan Riddering, vice president for NorthStar360 Business Solutions, LLC, explains Employee Assessments are a smart first step for organizations. It helps them take a snapshot of where their company and employees are, and identify specific, measurable goals for the future.

The team agreed the employee assessments were the best first step. For Dykstra, the assessment process helped to accomplish two things: 1. Measure current employees’ strengths and areas for development and 2. Ensure new hires were a great fit for the position. Current employees have learned about their strengths and what they bring to Metro. For managers, skill gaps have been identified and they attend concept-based workshops designed to bridge those specific gaps. After each seminar, managers work with a business coach to talk about how they have implemented those new skills and concepts at Metro.

“The coaching requires follow-up and holds each person accountable. They have to think about what they learned and how to apply it day to day. It’s really a key component of the learning,” advocates Dykstra.

The pre-employment assessment is a useful tool for Metro as well and is now an integral part of the hiring process. When used in combination with the application and interview, the assessment helps identify candidates that are a good fit for a particular job.

“It is nice to have a tool that identifies candidates who are a good fit. It’s not just a gut-check anymore for us,” explains Dykstra. “The process also shows prospective candidates that our team is prepared and focused.”

Dykstra said the results for Metro have been business-changing, increasing employee productivity, retention and morale. Employees are happier and more fulfilled. “Our people see we’re trying to develop them so we can grow to new levels. We care about them, and we have created more credibility as a company,” he explained.

As for the bottom line, there are direct savings from decreased turn-over. “We all know turnover costs money; in searching for a candidate, training and day to day turmoil from having a vacant position,” said Dykstra. In addition, there are savings from indirect costs like productivity, retention and morale.

Metro owner Dykstra and CEO Neil Samahon are confident, the growth they have experienced would not have happened as seamlessly without hiring NorthStar360. “Two years ago I wouldn’t have wanted to grow to this extent. Now owners and upper management are ready. All the work we’ve done gives us the confidence to plan for growth,” cites Dykstra.

Dykstra admits; hiring a consultant can be scary because businesses associate it with a high cost. But for this family owned business, it was exactly what he needed to launch ahead, and Dykstra assures businesses there is a great return on investment. He recommends companies research area consultants. For Metro, NorthStar360 specializes in growing small to mid-size businesses with a niche for companies with 50-500 people, a perfect fit for Metro. “Rick and Susan at NorthStar360 are our experts,” said Dykstra.

Keeping Your Talent in Your Company

You’ve spent significant time and money hiring and training good employees. Now how do you keep them? If you are happy to have them, your competition would be too, especially since you made the initial and often costly investments of taking them from the “maybe” group to the “proven” stage.

Before you look up to see your treasured performer standing in front of you with resignation in hand you may want to ask yourself a few serious questions.

1). Would I want to work for me?
2). Do my employees feel appreciated?
3). Am I paying enough?
4). Do the people here feel they are part of a community?
5). Do my people feel they make a difference?
6). Are my employees proud to be part of my organization?
7). Would I want to work in this environment?
8). Does everyone here believe they have a future?
9). What am I not seeing?
10).Is the existing orientation process working?

People that are thrown into unfamiliar situations without clear expectations and understanding may never even begin the process of becoming part of your company.

Many times we fall into the rut of thinking that the way things worked yesterday will be fine for tomorrow. Meanwhile the people that want to take our spot in the marketplace are searching high and low for that added edge. Keeping the people we need to perform our tasks at maximum efficiency may be as easy as asking ourselves, “What would keep me here?”

Employment Assessments Identify Strategies for Accomplishing Business Goals

Employment assessments are a useful tool in business, it helps quickly measure and identify specific traits that can be used to accomplish business goals. For example, employment assessments can help companies during the hiring process, identifying the candidate who is the best fit for the job. Organizations can also use assessments to measure employee engagement, sales aptitude and management skills. Assessments are a great first step in accomplishing business goals because the data they generate are used to develop a strategy to accomplish those goals. The strategy is a custom-fit to the organization. When used in combination with a training and development program, organizations may see an increase in productivity, sales, accomplishment of goals and even a decrease in turnover.

Try it out. NorthStar360 offers a complimentary personality profile on their website. After completing this three-minute questionnaire, respondents will receive their results via their company email account. This assessment measures 17 personality traits and provides respondents with a snapshot and score in a variety of areas like time management, creativity and sensitivity. Click here and try it for yourself. It takes less than 3 minutes.

NorthStar360 offers a multitude of assessments, each is customized to fit the business’ specific business goals. Over 23 years of research and development have gone into this employment assessment system to ensure that organizations have fast, accurate, cost effective and EEOC compliant results.

Northstar360 in the News

Susan Riddering, vice president of Northstar360 Business Solutions, LLC, recently presented at the 360Solutions Learning Conference in Austin, Texas. The Dyer native was invited to talk about her strategy and success in launching Northstar360 Business Solutions, a management and leadership training firm.

This two-day international conference attracted business owners and training professionals from as far as Indonesia to learn about best practices for training employees, building organizational leaders and innovative training methodologies.

“I was honored to be selected as a speaker at this prestigious conference and I was humbled they wanted to hear our story,” said Riddering.  “This honor also helped me understand even more clearly how NorthStar360 is really affecting the growth and development of employees at companies in our service area.  And, that’s really why we started our company in the first place.”

Riddering was recognized for launching Northstar360 in the Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland markets and for providing employee training and development programs for several local companies and organizations, including: Metro Recycling, Catholic Charities, Providence Bank, and Centro, the recipient of Crain’s Chicago Business 2011 Number One Best Place to Work.

A 14-year veteran to the staffing and recruiting industry, Riddering understands the unique needs of each business. Through customized assessments and personality profiles, Northstar360 determines the individual needs for each organization. Training may include leadership development, business strategy, employee education and/or sales training.

Read the article coverage here.

Be an Empowered Leader

Current day organizations look for leaders who can empower teams, not control them. So, what factors differentiate these two categories of leaders? Recent studies have identified five qualities expected of an empowering leader:

* Vision. The empowering leader has a vision and the ability to develop and a share it for the entire team. They are driven by a strong motivation and passion for the shared vision.

* Rapport. The empowering leader is able to establish high levels of rapport and trust among the team members, under this leadership the team achieves organizational goals and objectives.

*Enthusiasm. The empowering leader avoids controlling and coercing team members and is able to induce a high degree of enthusiasm and zeal from the team members toward the committed goals.

* Positive. The empowering leader believes in all team members and demonstrates a positive, nurturing quality in all interactions which result in a work atmosphere that is conducive to synergy and achievement.

* Take Charge. The empowering leader is able to take charge of the needs and aspirations of the team members and ultimately, shapes the organizational climate and growth.

Excerpt taken from 360Solutions, LLC. Read the entire whitepaper here.

Compass Series Explores Leadership

The next workshop in this series will investigate the Five High Performance Leadership Roles. In this workshop, participants will develop an understanding of three core elements of team effectiveness, the five roles of leadership and the need to balance the five roles.  Additionally, learners will become aware of tactics for “leading from the balcony” and identify a set of diagnostic questions to utilize within their leadership style. Attendees will apply these leadership principles directly to their workplace experience.

This half-day workshop takes place from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Providence Bank in Schererville and is designed to develop productive employees, an essential characteristic for those who are supervisors and managers. Space is limited. Contact Susan Riddering at (219) 864-1576 or e-mail at for complete details and pricing.

This workshop is part of the Compass Series workshop program, composed of 11 topics designed to increase personal effectiveness. These training materials have been used by several Fortune 500 companies including: AT&T, BP, Ford Motor Company and Hewlett Packard. Each workshop consists of a mixture of facilitated lectures and discussions and high-energy, interactive exercises to help participants internalize the principles and apply the lessons to workplace experience.

Three workshops remain for the 2011-2012 series, including:

The Five High Performance Leadership Roles, Feb. 9

The Role of Trust, March 8

The Integrity Model, April 12

Businesses can participate in all three programs or select a specific workshop. Contact Susan to reserve your space.