Posts tagged training

Supervisors Master the Management Essentials

Managers from across Chicagoland attended NorthStar360’s Management Seminar last month held in Munster, Ind. The two-day seminar focused on key skills like self-awareness, management traits, and creating employee engagement. Well-trained, engaging managers have a positive impact and direct impact on things like employee performance, engagement, and retention… 50 percent more productive according to a recent Gallup poll!

The program included a hands-on experience for participants who could share and learn from one-another through case studies, activities and completing a personal plan of action. Utilizing real-life examples, supervisors can more fully implement their plan of action, contributing to a stronger and more successful organization.

“Investing in your new managers today is essential to build a strong organization for the future,” says Rick Riddering, president of NorthStar360. “Providing your managers the opportunity to participate in ongoing training will pay back your organization for years to come.”

Mastering the Management Essentials is one of many community business training events. To schedule an on-site seminar or customized program, please call (219) 864-1576 or visit

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Your Organization Can Encourage Learning Transfer

We all know that employee training and development is important, crucial to an organization’s success. But how can we ensure that it is effective? How do we know if training affects actual job performance? Training professionals have coined the term learning transfer to describe the learning that takes place after the training, the kind of learning that is translated into doing.

Many experts agree that a supportive work environment can increase learning transfer. There are many things an organization can do to support learning. A few common threads include:

Encourage learners to create goals
Talk with learners about how the training will affect job performance
Explain the new skills obtained in the training will improve job performance
Learners should create goals that directly impact their job behavior

Follow-up is essential
Learning transfer occurs after the training ends, find opportunities to keep the focus top of mind
Coaching has a direct impact on learning transfer
Learning buddies help to share new knowledge in a more social atmosphere
Mentoring allows someone other than a direct supervisor to help with learning transfer
Find creative, social ways to reinforce learning – picnic lunch, bulletin board, electronic newsletter

Space out learning opportunities
Learning takes time to apply, be sure to give enough time and attention on reinforcement and integration of the material

Learning happens in the everyday interactions after the formal training workshop has occurred. Creating an environment and culture that is receptive and encouraging to the learning that happens will encourage actual learning transfer – which impacts job behavior and performance.

Preparing New Supervisors

Quite often organizations promote employees into positions of supervision because of their strong technical expertise. Suddenly these people find themselves with a whole new range of responsibilities. Not only are they new, many of them have little to do with the technical expertise that was their prior strength. With this being such a common occurrence, the question naturally arises as to what is the best way to prepare these people for these new challenges. Without the proper training during that transition process you could end up losing productivity and ultimately affecting the success of your company. These are mistakes that your business just simply cannot ignore. Take a look at these top mistakes made as well as possible responses from employees they supervise.

Top 10 Mistakes of New Supervisors

  1. Seizing power and attempting to hold onto it.
  2. Failing to solicit feedback.
  3. Delegating without authorizing.
  4. Reprimanding employees in the presence of others.
  5. Supervising everyone the same way.
  6. Keeping the interesting work for themselves.
  7. Siding with team members.
  8. Distancing themselves from those they supervise.
  9. Promoting an us versus them attitude.
  10. Engaging in illegal behaviors.

Potential Responses:

  • Low employee morale
  • Loss of respect from superiors
  • Low productivity
  • Legal ramifications
  • Poor individual performance
  • Negative career impact
  • Lack of organizational trust

In addition to the technical issues that they have already mastered, they now need some formal training to help prepare them, often times in the following areas.

  • Principles of motivation
  • Change management strategies
  • Ethics and politics in the workplace
  • Principles of planning
  • Managing their time
  • Workplace organization issues
  • Principles of delegation
  • Principles of work groups and teams
  • Staffing basics
  • Training principles
  • Equal employment opportunity (EEO) requirements
  • Counseling and supporting employees
  • Leadership principles
  • Conflict resolution and management
  • Principles behind appraisal and rewards
  • Basic labor law
  • Productivity issues
  • Managing a safe workplace

Most leaders are not born with these skills, they can be taught. Identify their strengths and weaknesses and develop plans to improve their individual competencies.

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.

Preparing New Supervisors

We have all heard the saying, “Employees don’t leave companies, they leave supervisors.” The impact that a supervisor has in today’s workplace can be either very valuable or very costly to an organization. When a worker becomes promoted to a new supervisor position, it may be new territory. How do I supervise? Motivate? Engage my employees? Without the proper training during that transition process organizations may end up losing productivity and ultimately affecting the success of the company. These are mistakes that organizations simply cannot ignore.

Take a look at these top mistakes made as well as possible responses from employees they supervise.

Top 10 Mistakes of New Supervisors

  • Seizing power and attempting to hold onto it.
  • Failing to solicit feedback.
  • Delegating without authorizing.
  • Reprimanding employees in the presence of others.
  • Supervising everyone the same way.
  • Keeping the interesting work for themselves.
  • Siding with team members.
  • Distancing themselves from those they supervise.
  • Promoting an us versus them attitude.
  • Engaging in illegal behaviors.

Potential Responses:

  • Low employee morale
  • Loss of respect from superiors
  • Low productivity
  • Legal ramifications
  • Poor individual performance
  • Negative career impact
  • Lack of organizational trust

The good news is that it can be turned around.  Most leaders are not born with these skills, they can be taught. For any supervisor, training is the key to success when it comes to delegating, motivating, delivering criticism, training new employees and organizing people, projects, and schedules. There are many new skills a supervisor must obtain in a short amount of time. A strategic supervisory training program or workshop can help address any skill gaps and identify individual strengths and weaknesses. A good boss can be a powerful catalyst in organization, providing a good work environment for employees; serving as motivators, innovators and leaders who inspire team members to achieve great things.

Riddering Attends ASTD Workshop on Breakthrough Learning

NorthStar 360’s Susan Riddering recently completed another training certification, the Learning Transfer Conference: the Six Disciplines of Learning Transfer. The accreditation was hosted by The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) in Chicago last month. Riddering explains the course bridges the gap between learning and doing by measuring the business impact. Leaders are now responsible for delivering improved results, not just learning events. A healthy learning program does just this – results reach to every department and function. Riddering explains her two most memorable “wow” moments during the training:

The first wow moment was a statistic; 56 percent of managers think employee production would be the same or better without training and development.  What?!? She was shocked to say the least! How is there such an education gap when training and development have a direct impact on issues like productivity, efficiency and retention? This was definitely a shocker and a learning experience. It is an opportunity for us in training to better connect with managers at the onset of training.

The second wow moment was a big pat on the back. Throughout this two-day training, she really put NorthStar360’s training practices to the test – and nailed it! At times Riddering admits she had impressed herself. The NorthStar360 approach and techniques are right on target, providing our clients with results-driven education. We all need a pat on the back every once in a while, this one was ours!

Assertive vs. Aggressive Salespeople

There is a huge difference between an Assertive salesperson and an Aggressive salesperson.  While both encounters can be memorable, only one can be effective.

Have you ever experienced an aggressive salesperson?  If you have, then you understand that this tactic is not the approach that is effective.  While it is a memorable encounter, it is only memorable because you remember the negative impression that was left.  All an aggressive salesperson will do is aggravate the customer and deplete their customer base.

Assertive sales encounters are another story. Assertive is far from aggressive. Assertive salespeople do not tell the customer what to do, but rather they help lead them to an educated decision by providing them all the necessary facts. They are confident in themselves and what they are selling.  They do not let pride stand in their way, if they have made a mistake they will admit their mistake and learn from it in order to move on.  Assertive salespeople are always looking to the future and preparing themselves for change.  This approach is memorable because the salesperson leaves his customer with a good impression about what he is selling.

Below are the clear differences between assertive and aggressive selling.

Assertive vs. Aggressive behavior traits:
Results focused vs. lack of focus
Enthusiastic vs. shows indifference; not excited
Honest vs. unable to trust
Courageous vs. afraid of rejection
Understanding vs. lack of empathy or compassion
Committed to growth vs. uncommitted to change or growth
Respectful vs. shows lack of respect

It takes practice to help put someone at ease. Ultimately to make the sale you need to make people feel comfortable.  Don’t over complicate the sales process.  Having an assertive sales tactic will only make you a better producer.

Administrative Assistants Day Provides Opportunity for Development

Administrative assistants may be best associated with the many clerical tasks performed throughout the day. We may forget to recognize the importance of a warm greeting, the filing of important documents or managing a busy calendar full of appointments; but these tasks have a resounding effect on the success or profitability of a business. April 25 marks this year’s Administrative Assistants Day, an annual reminder for us to say, “thank you.”

Having a right-hand gal or guy is essential to successful business growth. A strong administrative assistant has been linked to improved employee retention, financial growth and higher productivity.

The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) founded Administrative Assistants’ Day and suggests recognition go beyond the traditional Hallmark card and flowers. The IAAP suggests recognition that provides opportunities for learning and growth, including tuition reimbursement, participation in professional organizations and business workshops.

“We work with a variety of businesses that incorporate business and leadership training as a token of appreciation,” advises Susan Riddering, vice president of NorthStar360 Business Solutions. “One of the best things is to query your administrative staff and ask what areas they would like to develop.” Workshops can focus on any aspect that would improve skills and build confidence, such as High Performance, Teamwork, Time Management, Goal Settings and Customer Service.

Consider adding professional development to your plan for showing appreciation, ”But don’t forget the flowers!” advises Riddering.

Based in Dyer, Ind., NorthStar360 Business Solutions was founded to help 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. For more information on NorthStar360, please call (219) 864-1576 or visit

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.