“Don’t Clap, Throw Money”: Misadventures in Employee Engagement

Is your glass half empty or half full?

Vince Cyboran is a professor in the graduate program in Training and Development of Roosevelt University.

Vince Cyboran is a professor in the graduate program in Training and Development of Roosevelt University.

Having been asked this seemingly innocuous — but heavily coded — question several times over the years at employee workshops, I’ve developed a standard response: “You have a glass?” This generally stops the conversation.

At one organization in which upper management realized that low-employee morale was rampant (after three years without staff raises, hefty annual increases in health insurance contributions, etc.), an outside consultant was brought in to conduct a mandatory, full-day workshop. After a rather long self-introduction, he proceeded to walk around the room, pointing directly at random people, and pointedly asking: “What could you being do better?” We then formed small groups to make lists of ways in which each of us—through personal improvement (that means, at no cost to the organization)—could better contribute to the bottom-line of the organization. I left midway through the list-making process, returning my free copy of the book authored by the consultant on the way out, and mumbling that I was coming down with something. Luckily, there is always “something going around.”

Before engaging expensive outside consultants, sending out another employee survey, or painting the walls in motivational tones, it’s a good idea to take an inexpensive but enlightening look at what’s happening inside of your organization, albeit at a high level. One way to do this is to examine your environment through the lens provided by Frederick Herzberg.

Based on his workplace research, Herzberg introduced the Hygiene-Motivation—or Two-Factor–Model of Workplace Motivation in his 1959 book The Motivation to Work. Herzberg identified two sets of factors that could lead either to dissatisfaction or to satisfaction at work. The following table contains lists of the two sets.

Lead to dissatisfaction
when removed
Lead to satisfaction
when added
Organization policies·SupervisionInterpersonal relationships with boss/supervisor and with colleagues

Work conditions


Achievement·RecognitionWork itself




Figure based upon that of NetMBA:  Business Knowledge Center.

Hygiene factors don’t motivate employees.  For example, employees don’t generally accept jobs based on the variety of coffees offered in the break rooms or the cleanliness of the restrooms.  However, hygiene factors must be viewed as at least acceptable by employees, or dissatisfaction will set in. Keeping both sets of lists in mind and adjusting items as necessary is required to create a healthy workplace in which employees can thrive. The goal is to achieve both high hygiene and high satisfaction.

To increase employee motivation, Herzberg recommends techniques such as job enrichment and job rotation. Both of these techniques touch upon multiple motivational factors.

Because the model was introduced so long ago, much of what Herzberg discovered is now taken for granted. Most of us have heard formally or informally that salary doesn’t truly motivate employees. Unfortunately, it is the detailed distinction of dissatisfiers vs. satisfiers that has often been forgotten in favor of newer models. Much like the ADDIE instructional design model, the Two-Factor Model itself does not—for some critics–provide enough detailed guidance on how to achieve the proper balance of factors in the workplace. That’s what the newer models are for.

What workplace experiences have you had that address either ‘hygiene’ or ‘motivation’ factors? Were the initiatives successful?

Brenner, V. C., Carmack, C. W. & M. Weinsten (1971). An Empirical Test of the Motivation-Hygiene Theory. Journal of Accounting Research 9(2): 359-366.
Herzberg, F., Mausner, B., & Snyderman, B. (1959). The Motivation to Work (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley.
Herzberg, F. (January–February 1968). “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?”. Harvard Business Review 46 (1): pp. 53–62.
Schultz, D. & Schultz, S. E (2010). Psychology and Work Today: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology (10th ed.). New York City: Prentice Hall. pp. 38–39.
Posted in Careers, Human Performance Improvement, Organizational Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Use Storytelling to Increase Your Participants’ Retention Ratios

By Guest Author Diana DiMeo,  2014  Graduate, M.A. Training & Development

By Guest Author Diana DiMeo,
2014 Graduate, M.A. Training & Development

When was the last time you remembered exactly where the numerical tables were located in your textbook? If you are like me, you may struggle to recall previously learned data. That’s because our brains do not easily recall data–especially in terms of the constant onslaught of information we’re bombarded with. Yet, if I asked you to recall the gripping story of the talented trainer who taught trapped victims of the Oklahoma bombing how to escape before the next bomb hit, you would likely remember many details. That’s because learners remember stories more than factual data. This is good news for learning professionals because adding stories to our training sessions is an easy way to increase our participants’ retention rates.

A good engaging story makes training sessions exciting. Stories grab participants’ attention quickly. However, the entertainment value of a story is less important than managing learners’ working memories. Stories give participants’ brains an opportunity to attach new information to their prior knowledge; and this attachment facilitates long-term memory storage. In his book, “The Art of Changing the Brain,” Zull (2002) indicated that learning is deeper and more effective when we engage all parts of the brain. Stories are a useful vehicle for brain-based learning.

How can we best use stories in learning environments? Every story should begin with a common point of reference so participants can relate it to their prior knowledge. To tell a good story is to make it memorable and easily accessible for recall. Tension must mount as the story is told or it should contain an emotional component. Think of building a crescendo to the climax of your story or adding an emotional personal hook. Relevant stories about incidents that actually happened to you are a great place to start. Ellis (2014) states, “experiments show that character-driven stories with emotional content result in a better understanding of the key points a trainer or facilitator is trying to make and enable better recall of these points weeks later. In other words, effective storytelling can lead to a higher transfer of learning and changes in behavior and performance.” So the next time you need to ensure retention and job transfer of your training material make sure you tell a good story.

Questions: Do you use stories when you are conducting instructor lead training or designing courses? What are some examples of the effective stories you have used or heard in learning settings? How can you add an emotional hook to your stories to make them more memorable?

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Linking Leadership Education in Higher Education to TRDV and HPI: A Conversation that Introduces Theory and Raises Practical Questions

Hello Roosevelt’s TRDV/HPI(T) students and alums.

Daniel Collier is a graduate of Roosevelt University’s Human Performance Improvement program. He is currently working as a Research and Teaching Assistant for the University of Illinois’ College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences within the Agriculture Education Program.   Daniel conducts research that explores students’ beliefs on leadership and investigates outcomes associated to leadership education experiences. Daniel also helps facilitate leadership education courses and workshops at UIUC

Daniel Collier is a graduate of Roosevelt University’s Human Performance Improvement program. He is currently working as a Research and Teaching Assistant for the University of Illinois’ College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences within the Agriculture Education Program. Daniel conducts research that explores students’ beliefs on leadership and investigates outcomes associated to leadership education experiences. Daniel also helps facilitate leadership education courses and workshops at UIUC

Today, I write to you about Leadership, a topic that is rather messy and often misunderstood. Specifically, I am writing this blog post from a leadership education in higher education perspective. Leadership education is a field that is expanding and gaining in influence across higher education (inside the US and beyond). In fact, leadership education is becoming so popular that there are now entire leadership centers, leadership minors, graduate degrees, and leadership education journals. The field has also experienced growth within higher education national conferences (AERA and ASHE) and has carved space in prominent human resources and business oriented associations, such as the International Leadership Association and journals like the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies. In short, leadership education in higher education is expected to continue to expand.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “How is this important to me in my TRDV or HPI positions?” I propose that TRDV and HPI professionals are the individuals who should most clearly understand the general frameworks, concepts and skills that dominate leadership education, because we are generally the professionals who introduce new college graduates to our respective organizations, coach team leaders, work on projects aimed at retaining quality human capital and assist in identifying high performing individuals. Additionally, by introducing the TRDV/HPI concepts to leadership education scholars and practitioners can bridge gaps and come to understand how these concepts transfer into post-college professional experiences. Plainly speaking, I believe there is opportunity there for you to develop a niche skill-set in higher education leadership.

The Myth of the Born Leader

Recently, Astin & Astin indicated that in order to evolve with contemporary challenges, higher education must move people from beliefs that leaders are born great people who have authority and title via position toward a belief system where leadership is a values-based, relationship focused and centered on change; not defined only through position (be it birth or title). The leadership paradigms were developed by Rost where hierarchically, title based leadership is identified as industrial, and the relationship based paradigm as post-industrial. In response, contemporary leadership education programs in higher education overwhelmingly operate within post-industrial frameworks.

Within the post-industrial model, leaders are expected to adapt to group needs, encourage contribution through team processes, and develop environments of shared responsibility. Essentially, post-industrial leadership conceptualizations are designed to break down myths that only special people lead and that the agenda set forth by “leaders” is the only agenda that matters. In order to transition students from preconceived and socio-culturally reinforced industrial leadership beliefs toward internalization of post-industrial beliefs, leadership educators must help students acquire soft-skills associated to team-based processes, these skills include but are not limited to: (1) critical thinking and problem solving, (2) development of interpersonal communication, and (3) the ability to influence others to work toward a common goal. Many of these skills are highly desired by employers in their new college hires.

Even though the post-industrial paradigm is dominant in higher education leadership education programs, outcomes of leadership education are mixed. Moving students to a post-industrial leadership belief system is difficult due to pre-existing industrial beliefs, socio-cultural reinforcement of industrial leadership and the self-belief many students hold that they are born to lead. This struggle had led leadership educators to question methods and has been influential in developing the Leadership Identity Development Model [LID]. LID gives leadership educators a framework to gauge how students may move from industrial leadership identities to a predominantly post-industrial leadership identity. Within LID there is one rather important process that leadership educators are placing increasing focus on, The Key Transition. Within this potential purgatory, students are adopting post-industrial conceptualizations as they also hold industrial beliefs, thus resulting in internal struggles and contradictions as students “play” with new leadership identities.

The Key Transition is important for TRDV/HPI professionals to understand because without proper mentorship, support and experience, students may never emerge from this process and by the time they seek employment, they may still be “playing” with their identities. I believe that many students are often stuck within this transition as they are hired for their first professional positions and that the contradictions students hold regarding leadership beliefs could explain why Millennials seek other professional opportunities so quickly after gaining employment. Employees may now believe they should be part of a flatter structure, allowing for their immediate inclusion of their ideas and access to employees with organizational power; however, these students may also believe they are unique leaders who should control agendas and assume the benefits of hierarchically based power, which sometimes leads to unethical behavior. As new employees may be stuck within this zone, TRDV/HPI professionals have the potential to develop processes to ensure new employees appropriately navigate their internal dissonance and internalize post-industrial leadership concepts.

Mentoring and Self-reflection

Arguably, the way to emerge from The Key Transition is through mentoring processes that encourage self-reflection. Organizations must develop mentorship programs that explicitly cultivate the beliefs and skills associated with the post-industrial model. Integrated within mentorship programs should be opportunities that encourage new employees to: (1) critically examine what effective leadership entails, (2) reflect on how new employees should act in their current and aspired future roles when making complex leadership decisions, and (3) critically examine recent self-action. Through this type of mentoring, I believe that new employees could more easily emerge from the transition, resulting in the type of employee organizations claim to want.

As I wrap up, I encourage you to click on some of the hyperlinks provided. Please, explore what is happening on campuses from a leadership education perspective and take a deeper look at the models provided. After you have more deeply explored, I would encourage you to again ask yourself, “How is this important to me in my TRDV or HPI positions?”

Finally, I believe that while leadership education in higher education develops the beliefs and skills claimed to be desirable, I also believe that leadership educators are unsure whether these beliefs and skills actually help or hinder organizations from the TRDV/ HPI perspectives. As someone who straddles both worlds, this is a notion that I consistently consider. However, there is not much published research on whether leadership education in higher education develops quality organizational talent and if it does, where this occurs in the career phase. Since leadership education within higher education is not expected to retract, this is a question that may affect your future ability to hire and promote the right talent. With that, I would encourage you to participate and seek answers to these questions.

If you would like to further converse, please contact me. I wish you all an excellent 2015 and great luck recruiting, training and retaining your new employees.

Daniel A. Collier, MAHPI
PhD Student, Education Organization and Leadership
The University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign

Posted in academic studies, andragogy, Careers, Coaching, Guest Student Post, Human Performance Improvement, Learning Theory, Mentoring, Training | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

8 Ways to Accelerate Trust in the Online Classroom

Guest Author Jenn Patrick is a 2014 Graduate of the of the Master of Arts in Training & Development Program.

Guest Author Jenn Patrick is a 2014 Graduate of the of the Master of Arts in Training & Development Program.

By Guest Author: Jenn Patrick

Recently, an interviewer asked how I build trust within my workgroup. While answering, I had one of those realizations that tend to surface at the apex of interview mania, copious research and over caffeination: I need to create trust with my students! But how do you develop trust in the often accelerated and asynchronous classroom?

With workplace trust being a popular ongoing issue, I suspected I was not the first person to ask about instructor trust in the online environment. I was correct; many researchers have written articles in the last several years regarding trust in the virtual world.

But I wanted some simple and practical behaviors that would cultivate a relationship of trust when time is short. With some online courses lasting as few as 5 weeks, trust creation must be much swifter than the old adage, “trust takes time.” And so I turned to Stephen M. Covey’s work The Speed of Trust to use as a springboard.

Swift Trust in Online Learning

Below are some suggested strategies any instructor can use to quickly build trust in the online classroom. They, in themselves, are not revelatory. Some are techniques you may already use because they are just good pedagogical practice; some are from the research; some are just extrapolations from what I read. I do, however, think they all contribute to building an environment of trust in the short time you have with your students.

  1. Keep Your Commitments – Do what you say you are going to do and within the time frame that you specify. This is usually one of the quickest ways to build trust. In fact, Sheridan and Kelly (2010) identified that keeping commitments was one of the top ten most important teacher behaviors according to online students. So that means that you really do need to check your email as often as you indicate in your syllabus!
  2. Clarify Expectations – Provide as much detail as possible so students can manage their time accordingly. Sheridan and Kelly (2010) found that half of the most important indicators of instructor presence were related to clarity of course requirements. Be specific about your expectations so they can meet them. Include rubrics and exemplars whenever possible so they can see exactly how to achieve success. Open all of the modules at the beginning of the course so they can look or work ahead. Document page numbers, not just chapters, so they can easily plan how much time they will need to read.
  3. Communicate Early, Frequently, Enthusiastically and Qualitatively – Be the first person to post in the forum and follow up regularly. Be positive and excited about the students and the topics. Present substantive responses and detailed experiences to engage students and confirm your dedication. Be the communication role model. Much of the research suggests that trust in virtual teams depends on the frequency and quality of communication (Clark, Clark, & Crossley, 2010; Jarvenpaa & Leidner, 1999).
  4. Share Personal Stories and Experiences – Discuss your hobbies, activities, and your work background. Jarvenpaa and Leidner found that building this rapport in the beginning “appeared to foster trust” (1999). Aragon suggests that sharing your work history helps to build credibility and legitimacy, as well as letting students know that you have traveled the path they may want to pursue (2003).
  5. Provide Honest and Timely Feedback – Be honest in your assessment of the student’s performance. It takes more effort to provide constructive feedback than to award all of the points just for submission. And it takes diligence to grade the work immediately after the due date. But nothing erodes student trust faster than when they feel you aren’t putting in the same effort and care that they are.  Students prefer timely feedback so they know how to improve their next assignment before it’s due (Sheridan & Kelly, 2010).
  6. Be Diligent – Make your very best effort to do things correctly the first time. Proofread your communications. Verify the integrity of the documents that you post. Double check the students’ work and ensure you are correctly assigning points to the right students. Try to minimize the number of errors that students see. Note that I said minimize, because errors are inevitable.
  7. Right Wrongs – Admit when you are wrong and resolve it. Don’t let your ego get in the way and don’t spend time justifying why it happened. If it is a situation where you can make restitution in some way, do that as well. For example, if you accidentally provide an incomplete article for the students, give them extra time to read it once you remedy the problem.
  8. Demonstrate Respect and Show Loyalty – Speak of both individuals and groups respectfully and loyally. Don’t talk negatively with students about other instructors. Don’t speak negatively with one student about another. If one student presents a concern about another, acknowledge the concern and let them know it will be addressed, but don’t discuss it beyond the facts. Give credit where it is due by acknowledging the contributions others make.

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, but it does include some important highlights.

What other ways can we help build trust with our students in our online classrooms?


Aragon, S. (November 03, 2003). Creating Social Presence in Online Environments. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2003, 100, 57-68.

Clark, W. R., Clark, L. A., & Crossley, K. (2010). Developing multidimensional trust without touch in virtual teams. Marketing Management Journal, 20(1), 177-193.

Covey, S. M. (2006). The speed of trust: The one thing that changes everything. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Jarvenpaa, S. L., & Leidner, D. E. (December 01, 1999). Communication and Trust in Global Virtual Teams. Organization Science, 10, 6, 791-815.

Sheridan, K., & Kelly, M. A. (2010). The indicators of instructor presence that are important to students in online courses. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6(4), 767-779.


Posted in assumptions, Coaching, E-Learning, Guest Student Post, Learning at Roosevelt, Learning Theory, Mentoring, online learning, Technology, Training, virtual classroom | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Advantages of Working for Free

Guest author Lynda Hurwitz is a 2014 graduate with a M.A. in Training and Development

Guest author Lynda Hurwitz is a 2014 graduate with a M.A. in Training and Development

Recently I listened to a podcast about a young man who had graduated from college just about the time of the market collapse in 2008.

He and his classmates could not find jobs. He was told that the best way to get
a job was to get an internship, but in his view, internships often mean menial work from 9-5. He decided that instead of starting out with an internship, he would work
for free.

At first I thought he sounded a little crazy, BUT he pointed out that working for free meant that HE got to pick the jobs! He offered his services to small companies and then larger ones and then added these experiences to his resume and portfolio. Within six months he landed a job doing what HE wanted to do.

My daughter had the same experience. She graduated in 2010 with a B.A. in graphic design and then went to work for special effects make up. (Yep, there is a school for that). As you can imagine, the competition for work is steep. Week after week, I called her and she told me about all the FREE work she was doing. (She was working a waitressing job to pay her bills and almost never slept!) I was VERY
UPSET and thought she was getting taken advantage of, (which she was and knew it, but kept “volunteering” anyway). After nearly a year of “working for free” she landed a job at Universal Studios. Would she have gotten a job there anyway? We’ll never know for sure, but one of the reasons she landed the job was because for someone with “no experience,” she had an extensive portfolio.

It made me think of my own situation. I have a lot of experience in elementary education and some limited experience in facilitation and training, but no experience as an Instructional Designer in eLearning, which is where I want to end up. So I picked up the phone and called an old acquaintance of mine who just happens to be the executive director of an education foundation and asked him if I could develop an eLearning class for him, FOR FREE, in return for letting me use the project for my portfolio and using him as a reference. He agreed.
I don’t know if the work will pay off. I guess I will find out after graduation.

I think that in most ways, working for free is very much like an internship in that it offers on-the-job training and experiential learning for those just entering the job market. I realize that some of you would consider this a luxury (after all, don’t we all have bills to pay?). I don’t think you have to do ‘free work” FULL TIME. In the T&D field, it can be done a few hours a week as freelance work. Even a little bit of work adds up over time and pumps up that ever-important portfolio.

Share your stories. What lengths have you gone to in order to land the job you wanted?


Ted Radio Hour (Producer). (2013, September 6). Is There A Better Way To Find
Work? (Audio podcast)

Posted in academic studies, Careers, E-Learning, Guest Student Post, Instructional Design, Mentoring, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Virtual Trainer: From the classroom to the virtual world

Guest Author Amy Lyons 2014 MATD graduate and currently Corporate Training Specialist at Wonderlic, Inc.

Guest Author Amy Lyons 2014 MATD graduate and currently Corporate Training Specialist at Wonderlic, Inc.

At a recent networking event, I introduced myself to another student as a Virtual Instructor. “Now that’s what I want to do,” she smiled “train from home!” The biggest misconception about Virtual Instructor Led Training (VILT) is that we simply take classroom materials and put them in the online classroom.

Think back to the last time Hollywood turned a TV series into a movie. You didn’t show up at the theater and watch 120 minutes of TV episodes, did you? The creative people behind the scenes understand that movies and television are two very different delivery systems. So why do we, as trainers, take materials from a live classroom and try to push it out to a virtual classroom?

Below I’ve listed some best practices for Virtual Instructor Led Training. Try incorporating some of these into your next session.

  • ID still rules. Big blocks of text, overly complicated graphics and an abundance of images fly in the face of Cognitive Load Theory and can send your learner into sensory overload. Create a solid and consistent design that enhances the learning experience. Be creative, but not at the expense of the content.
  • Practice makes perfect. Many people underestimate the skill it takes to conduct training while clicking buttons, reading the screen and making sure everything is running smoothly. There was likely a learning curve when you began speaking in front of groups, expect the same virtually.
  • Know your tools. Many of the platforms today are filled with options to create interactivity. Options such as annotation tools, polls, breakout rooms and white boards can enhance each stage of Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction. Reimagine live activities with your new tools. In a 2010 survey, VILT instructors who rated their programs very effective used more engagement tools during and after training than those rating their programs as slightly or less than effective. Used properly, they can be really effective.
  • Realize that your competition is steep and keep it moving. As I’m writing this, I have 8 programs open on my tool bar, not including the 7 unique windows open in my browser. In a live classroom, most learners won’t be rude enough to pull out their phone or computer and start doing something different (you hope). But the social stigma attached to those actions doesn’t occur in the virtual world. If you’re not keeping their attention, something else probably is.
  • Continue Learning. Our industry is filled with incredibly creative people willing to share their experiences and best practices. The folks at Mondo Learning have a great blog (blog.mondolearning.com) covering a variety of VILT topics. For great articles and a host of amazing resources, check out the website for Cindy Huggett (cindyhuggett.com). I use a couple of her checklists all the time.

What techniques have you seen used effectively in VILT? What missed the mark? Do you have your own best practices to add to the list?

General Physics Corporation and TrainingIndustry, Inc. (2010). Survey results: Delivering virtual instructor-led training (VILT). Retrieved from http://www.salt.org/weblink/industry/gp_trainingindustry_survey_results.pdf

Posted in assumptions, Careers, E-Learning, Guest Student Post, Instructional Design, Learning Theory, online learning, Technology, Training, virtual classroom | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Graduation and Spring 2015


The Graduate Program in Training and Development is proud to announce the following fall 2015 graduates:

  • Elizabeth Ball
  • Maya Beaudette
  • Diana DiMeo
  • Maxine Garcia
  • Lynda Hurwitz
  • Debra Knight
  • Amy Lyonsthefuture2014
  • Paulina Merino
  • Kellie Mount
  • Jenny Patrick
  • Courtney Paretzkin
  • Gina Passanante
  • Fraser Smith
  • Winter Viverette
  • Rhonda White
  • Kandis Williams
  • Maureen Yacovac

 Back to class

We are excited to welcome new and returning students alike to spring 2015 semester. We hope you had a wonderful holiday season. As we move ahead please keep these things in mind.

-apply for graduation by January 16th http://www.roosevelt.edu/Registrar/Graduation.aspx

-important dates for the semester such as withdraw dates, start and end dates and grade due dates http://www.roosevelt.edu/Registrar/ImportantDates.aspx.

Learning in action

It’s always interesting to see how our graduates will go on to use their master’s degrees. One fall graduate, Dr. Fraser Smith, has been applying what he learned to his role as associate professor and assistant dean at the National University of Health Sciences. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Master’s in Training and Development Program, he now has the tools he needs to make learning in the Naturopathic Medicine Program he oversees more interesting, accessible and cutting edge. Learn more about the new graduate here


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