The Great Reshuffle: How to Retain Top Talent

The Great Reshuffle: How to Retain Top Talent

Guest writer Sonya Law tackles on of the challenges facing businesses today: how to retain your top talent in the face of what is being called the great reshuffle.

The great resignation: could it best be described as the great reshuffle?

It’s true that there has always been staff turnover, so the great resignation is not new, however the reasons for leaving and staying are!

So how do we retain our talent?

  1. Career discussions: We need to be proactive in talking with employees, to discuss their career aspirations or a recruiter will have this conversation for you!
  2. Training: Employees want to learn and grow.  Be prepared to invest in their personal and professional development and ask them an open question: What do you CARE about?
  3. Purpose & EVP: They want clarity on the purpose of the company and align themselves with it. We need to know what our company’s Employee Value Proposition is in order to attract and retain staff, furthermore, we need to believe it and articulate it with authenticity. Ask yourself the question: What do you CARE about?
  4. Empathy: Employees want a manager that CARES for their wellbeing. We need to have a holistic approach to the wellness of employees, both physically and mentally. This will require a budget for the investment into structured wellness programs that detects, monitor and support the wellbeing of staff. What is your financial investment into employee wellbeing?
  5. Leadership: Hiring and educating our mid-level (branch) managers – we know the top reason that employees leave is because of their manager. We need to hire managers who have good leadership skills and educate our existing managers on how to evolve and become better leaders. When was the last time you engaged in leadership training or coaching?
  6. Value: Visibility of leadership and valuing its people is critical in retaining talent, it is also having the conversation with a resigning employee, to ask the reasons why they are leaving and to ask them to stay. Try to keep them!

We are only as good as our people and our team without our employees we do not have a business.  It’s important we understand as HR and Leaders, what are the roadblocks in our businesses and where do our employees need support.  Its having a difficult conversation about an employment contract that needs to be sorted, so that we can get on with business.  All too often we get sidetracked on what it is we think we should do, what leaders DO is focus on the right things.

When, we are put in a position of leadership it is to serve, it is to understand what is needed to get business done and achieve our goals together as a team.  Gone are the days where apathy is a defense or I don’t like conflict is used as an excuse for not having uncomfortable but necessary conversations.

As leaders we need to be addressing issues and people who don’t fit or risk losing talent.

Post Pandemic, employees are looking for:

  • Autonomy about when and where they work.
  • Flexibility to do LIFE, to spend time with their partners, family, pet’s and be connected to the community in which they live.
  • Clarity on what is their passion, what gives them joy, fulfillment and align their life with it. This is the new work life, do LIFE balance!

The entrepreneurial life:

The most interesting reason, that employees are leaving is to pursue their own start up’s, creating businesses that align with their passion and are becoming entrepreneurs.

  • Forbes reported statistics that in the US, new business applications are up 95% according to the Census Bureau.
  • France is up 20% according to McKinsey.
  • Japan is up 14%, in the UK are up 30% according to National Statistical Office.

Jobs in most demand are seeing increases in salaries of up to 30-40%:

The great reshuffle has also pushed up wages because of the lack of supply of seasonal labour and good candidates, due to a candidate short market.

The industries most affected and experiencing this great re-shuffle and increase in salaries are:

  • Human Resources
  • Information technology
  • Accountancy, Legal and Finance.

Compliance is a constraint on time:

The biggest roadblock HR and leaders are facing in retaining its talent is the constraints on time to invest in these initiatives, so much of the role is about compliance due to Pandemic and Vaccinations.

We know though that if we take proactive and positive steps to engage with our employees our businesses will thrive!

“Take the time to look after your people and they will take time to look after your business.”

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Training Develops Skills That Can Be Measured

Training develops skills that can be measured.

Guest writer Natalia Dmitrenko continues to build from the foundation of last week’s blog post, “Loyal Staff” with her exploration of the skills that training develops. Each of these skills can be measured.

Any corporate training initiatives have a similar purpose: evaluation of the difference in the performance of staff before and after the training took place. That way the company gets a much better picture of all the benefits or potential drawbacks which come with any L&D training.

But if you’d look at the other side of the coin, you’d see that developing effective training mechanisms that would provide up-to-date data about the gaps in knowledge and skills within the departments can be time consuming and rather costly.

Good news is that collaboration with e-learning platforms doesn’t mean companies have to invest tons of funds in training since there are already-made training solutions available. Luckily there are some tools that provide good assistance for these kinds of compliance training. One is Grinfer for Business that offers a training platform that takes the stress out of learning. Participants can log in from anywhere and on-the-go because it’s incredibly mobile. Person can watch one course or even a lesson per day and he/she is done. It’s almost like checking your Instagram, but more informative and career related.

Grinfer for Business is not only about the value-adding L&D activities but is also about performance metrics which can be now implemented easier, thanks to online technologies. This e-learning solution effectively builds a continuous cycle of learning with easy access on-demand not just to career related courses but also to a wide library of content for “your body and soul”. Or, in other words, things that are fun to learn in your spare time.

Business teams get instant access to free live webinars and masterclasses on any topic from top instructors, 1,200+ online courses, workshops, access to authors’ blogs, personalized learning paths/curriculum, and much more. Here learning is not a part of the job, it is mixed with enjoyment of learning something new about the stuff that you love to do outside of your job.

An experience shows that whenever a company builds a continuous cycle of learning, this will not only contribute to a corporate culture across the SME. It also adds a competitive edge that encourages staff in a good way to become more productive and efficient. However, everything really depends on the type of company’s training initiative.

For example, a good showcase of such team training would be collaboration in 2021 with a middle-sized IT company called Severex. Initially, this company’s goal was to find a highly efficient e-learning solution that would work well for upskilling company’s work teams with on-demand skills upgrades, rapid upskilling, and reskilling.

Since Grinfer for Business also engages teams by continuously measuring students’ progress/learning outcomes, after about 3 months of training, Grinfer has collected feedback from the Severex learning teams about their personal learning experiences, insights, achievements, success stories, and any drawbacks that they’ve faced along the way. The survey responses indicated that learning paths correlated with employee engagement which boosted productivity and the effectiveness of teams.

At the same time, this training initiative has built a stronger team spirit and contributed to maintaining a healthy corporate culture across the business. Severex employees, who took part in team learning, have admitted that the learning experience positively influenced their overall job satisfaction. And that most of them felt like the company does a good job in taking care of their needs.

Many respondents admitted that most upgrades they received on hard and soft skills were useful and helped them find new creative outlets for scaling and accomplishing set goals more effectively. By the end of the training cycle, the overall productivity of Severex staff had ticked up to about 15%. At the same time, interaction with the Grinfer for Business platform has ramped up showing the increase of 30%.

In addition, Severex’s HRs were provided with enough data (accumulated from the Grinfer’s custom reports and learners’ engagement rates) for finding better ways to develop long-term learning paths that wouldn’t demand costly investments. And, at the same time, would increase the absorption rate, break the daily routine, and boost employees’ loyalty.

Taking into account that retention rates and employees’ loyalty to a place of hire are the two pressing issues (since the cost of employee turnovers can be high), this puts L&D training programs in a high priority list of organizational charts. And if a company’s staff is filled with people who are always up for learning – always is a good sign.

Coping with today’s already accepted “new normals”, companies start to realize that using e-learning platforms for corporate training provide many undoubtful benefits due to its incredible flexibility, mobility, and accessibility. Some companies go for external e-learning resources like LMS or eLearning marketplaces that are available now for both, individual and group training sessions.

Some prefer to stick to blended learning, which could be the best choice too since it’s also highly effective and also less costly. And saving money is what most companies want in the current realities caused by the global pandemic.

Corporate training delivered via e-learning platforms may still raise some contradictions. The main concern is that you can motivate employees with proper training and you can kill your employees’ motivation with improper ways of training. However, with the rapidly growing popularity of the eLearning industry, investing time, money, and efforts into adequate online educational resources is one of the smartest decisions that business teams can come up with today.

Find more info on how we can help at Grinfer website.

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Loyal Staff: Does Corporate Training Really Work Well for Uplifting Employees’ Skills and Boosting Loyalty?

Loyal Staff: Does Corporate Training Really Work Well for Uplifting Employees’ Skills and Boosting Loyalty?

We are pleased to introduce another new guest writer here at Learning Without Scars. Natallia Dmitrenko is a content specialist at Grinfer with a focus on content management and blog promotion. She gained experience studying at the University of Nebraska taking graduate-level classes and working for a number of companies based in the US and in Minsk, Belarus. Tonight, she writes about loyal staff, and asks the question that many of our clients have asked: does corporate training really work well for uplifting employees’ skills and boosting loyalty?

What is one of the most expensive mistakes managerial staff makes? The answer is: unsuccessful hires. Indeed, statistics indicate that a wrong hire can cost three to five times the compensation of the candidate.  On the other hand, according to Go2HR (one of the most trusted sources on HR): “40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year.” Lack of loyalty among employees?

So, how to stave people off from leaving in the first year of hire? No wonder why HRs spend a big chunk of time figuring out best ways of improving training programs for staff. In fact, an engaging corporate L&D training program can become an effective solution for boosting retention and reaching business goals.

Today, L&D online training programs have become a dynamic and almost inseparable part of any business venture. In 2022, almost 50% of L&D professionals confirmed that those employees who were engaged in corporate training were highly engaged in overall corporate processes as well. Hence, being aware of all the popular/efficient trends in the world of L&D is essential for the effective management of staff. Well, especially in the current COVID-19 realities.

Indeed, there are two types of L&D training that exist today: on-the-job training and online training. If the question arises what kind of training to give, this depends upon a multiple of factors: overall productivity and work experience of employees, particular types of hurdles faced at work, the recent work performance, etc. However, the rising tension caused by the never-ending COVID-19 epidemic is forcing companies to pay more attention to L&D training offered via the Internet. Many have already admitted that it really works!

New “work from home” practices prove that if companies engage employees into online training programs, they won’t bet on the wrong horse. Some of the main positive impacts of taking classes on e-learning platforms are:

  • E-learning boosts cooperation by enhancing such soft skills as leadership and communication. As employees work and interact in these training sessions, which helps to build stronger interpersonal soft skills, reliance, and support which ultimately leads to better cooperation.
  • The main advantage of e-learning is in its ability to convert staff into a skilled workforce while providing instant access to learning resources. And then the upskilled workforce can turn complex scenes to opportunities in more effective client-centric ways.
  • Effective online programs open more opportunities to employees to apply new skills in response to potential job challenges.
  • Less supervision required if the employees are trained well. If employees’ liability is amplified resulting from the effective online training program, more man hours can be put to good use. Plus, staff will be more worked up to take on challenging tasks at hand in the future.
  • An effective corporate training program delivered online instills values of learning, evokes creativity in staff, improves decision making skills, breaks the ice and contributes to interacting more openly. Hence, an increased self-esteem motivates employees to work better and develop a stronger sense of loyalty to a place of employment. And that’s just like having a healthy fruit in the diet – the bigger employees’ loyalty, the more companies benefit from the positive corporate culture.

Of course, corporate training programs vary depending on the company. For example, a company that lays concrete for warehouses odds are will probably need a different training program compared to a tech software company.  Still, engaging workers in online training builds a progressive company’s image, foster loyalty, and boost retention rates. Plus, a good online training program also makes any company look more progressive therefore, more attractive to new recruits.

Obviously, staff upskilling through e-learning helps employees understand their jobs and company’s policies better. Proper training contributes to higher retention rates, greater job satisfaction and, as a result, increases loyalty of staff. People feel like they work in an inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels like they can contribute. And this is a part of the retention secret sauce.

Job satisfaction is a necessary ingredient for efficient and enthusiastic job behavior of staff. And that’s the case when a proper corporate training really adds to that dish and brings the whole meal together.

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Potential Employees

How Do Potential Employees Find Careers in Today’s World?

Through the past month or so Ed Gordon has been exposing his Job Shock series. A very sobering critique of the labor market and the potential employees out there today. Most of the dealers that I talk with these days are extremely concerned with their inability of being able to find and hire qualified people for their job openings. In fact, job openings are growing and the ability to find anyone is getting very difficult.

There are elaborate, and in some cases rather exotic, “packages” being created to induce people to join a dealership. Signing bonuses and retention bonuses have almost become ordinary for technicians anymore. And what about management and succession planning? It appears that the leaders in our Industry between the ages of 55 and 75 have paid more attention to their own compensation packages than to the ability of their companies to smoothly transition to the next generation. There was, generally speaking, no succession in place.

If we go backwards to a period in the twentieth century between 1920 and 1940, we have a serious economic depression which was preceded by the “roaring” economy. From the 1950’s through the 1960’s we had a slow growth and stabilization after the world war. The “greatest generation” was frugal and family oriented. Then the 1960’s and the beginning of “laissez faire” attitudes and the slogan of “if it feels good do it.” Coincidentally, they saw the arrival of a credit card and the decoupling of monetary policy from the gold standard. The rate of change was rather gentle but a foundation was being laid for the coming years.

In those previous generations there were typically five different stages in the career of an employee. It was predictable and iterative.

  • Exploration
  • Establishment
  • Middle Career
  • Late Career

Those terms are all rather self-explanatory and the transitions from one to another were also quite simple to see and obtain. It was a matter of increasing skills and knowledge, through schooling and training and experience. If you get that done then you will have opportunities for progress in your career.

There is another change, or transition going on now. Today more and more businesses think they hire talent and that is all that is required. If there needs change the employee is let go and a new one is hired. There is no need to train their employees or send them off to schools and classes. Similarly, today’s employees think that once they get a job, they are done with the need to continue learning or improving their skills.

Think about both of those positions in the world we live in today. Consider the rate of change, which is on a very steep exponential curve. It is actually amazing to contemplate that people think that they can stay in place with your skills and knowledge and not need to be continuously learning. Similarly, for a business not to be investing in their key contributors is just as amazing. What are they both thinking about?

There is a quotation from Goethe that I appreciate. “Things that matter most should never be at the mercy of the things that matter least.”

A Skilled Workforce – the thing that matters most. Is being held hostage to Investing in Employee Development – the thing that matters least.

A Skilled Workforce, the employees I call your heroes, is required to serve your customers and satisfy your vendors. Without these heroes the dealership is in jeopardy. We have seen in the last thirty of so years a stunning level of consolidation. In part due to the need for vast amounts of capital to support the businesses. This is due, in large part, to the rapid run up prices for the equipment and products sold. There was also a need to invest in “systems” that were necessary to operate the business properly. Imagine, if you will, managing a parts inventory using a manual card system, the Kardex.

Now we are in our current market. There is a shortage of skilled people required to operate the businesses. The Universities and other education institutions are not delivering job ready skilled people as they once did. Capital Goods Dealerships are required to establish apprentice programs and mentoring or coaching new employees. Employees are having to adapt to the fact that their skills and knowledge will be measured with more precision and regularity. There is no easy path to more money or opportunity anymore. A true meritocracy is in its infancy. But make no mistake it is coming and more quickly than we can imagine today.

Learning Without Scars has responded to these changes and transitions due to the fact that we have listened to our customers. They have told us that they wanted to be able to measure the skills of their employees to determine what training is required to have the employee become more effective in their work. We have created the Job Function Skill Assessments as a result. These objective assessments have a score which determines the functional capabilities of each employee. Objectively. No opinions or favoritism or nepotism. These scores categorize the skills into four different levels; Developing, Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced. We have processed several thousand of these assessments to date, and have less than 2% of the employees in the Advanced skill level. We have found slightly more than 50% of the employees have a Beginning Skill Level. The employees were able to do the job they were taught to do. Process Orders but they didn’t know how to sell. Employees could do the repairs they were told to do but had few if any Diagnostic Skills. They could place Stock Orders that the system created but they didn’t know how to expedite for shortages, like the supply chain issues we have today. And there are as many more examples as there are tasks to perform. At Learning Without Scars we have also created Subject Specific Classes to allow each employee to overcome the “gaps” in their skills. This is the appropriate tool for skills and knowledge development for the needs of today.

Go to our Podcasts and listen to the audio explanation of the Job Specific Assessments ( as well as the Subject Specific Classes  ( That will provide you with all you need to know to be able to take advantage of these “up-to-date” business tools designed to help in the development of your employees skills and knowledge.

It is more than important for your success, that you have a skilled and trained workforce, it is critical. As they say you have to “have the right people on the bus” to get to your destination.

The time is now.

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The Woes of Unfocused Training

The Woes of Unfocused Training

This week, we continue with a guest post from Steve Day, in which he discusses with us the woes of unfocused training. Steve received a degree in Electrical Engineering and then served in the US Navy. He started with Komatsu America 1978. For the next twelve years Steve worked through various equipment sales positions before becoming the Vice President of Parts, Vice President of Service. During this period Steve sat on the board of a major distributor in the North east US as well as Hensley Industries. After twenty-five years Steve moved from the OEM side of the business to the Distribution side by joining Tractor and Equipment Company in 2003 as Vice President of Product Support.

Throughout his career Steve has learned the Industry from the ground up. This allowed him to have a very clear view of what was needed to support customers, employees and owners in their pursuit of excellence. Working at high levels in both the Manufacturing and the Distribution side of the business gave Steve some great learning opportunities and chances to develop insights.  Steve retired in January of 2020.  After spending 40 plus years in an industry we are very pleased to be able to share some of Steve’s insights with you and honored to consider Steve a friend.

Unfocused training is a waste of time and a huge waste of money!

This may not be immediately obvious but I believe that a lot of the training we give our people is unfocused.

A manufacturer tells us that they want our people to attend certain classes at the manufacturer training center or they want our trainers to be able to teach the classes.  We then usually use a very scientific method of choosing who should attend.  We call up our branch service managers and ask them who they want to send.

The day that our chosen attendee is to leave, something comes up and the manager sends somebody else.  The thing that usually comes up is that things got busy and the service manager didn’t want to send the original technician because he is too important to the branch.  The person we end up sending doesn’t learn much because they didn’t have the basic knowledge to get the most out of the class.

But, something just “came up.”

We waste money. We damage our reputation with the manufacturer and we don’t do much for the self-esteem of the tech we sent off to fail.  We also disappointed the good tech that we didn’t train. This happens more than you can imagine.

If you want to ruin your day I strongly suggest you do the following:  Go to your Training department or your HR department and ask them to give you the training record of each of your Technicians and any of your Parts people that work with customers or the Service department.

Tell them you would also like to see this year an updated copy of each of those employee’s skills assessment and this year’s training plan for each of those employees.  I only know about five distributors that won’t be disappointed.

I will continue with these reflections next week.

For focused and sound employee development training, please visit our website at

Learning and Knowledge Retention

Learning and Knowledge Retention.

Since my early days in teaching athletics first in a Country Club setting and then at University, I have always been intrigued by how people learn. In the earliest form of learning, as a parent or a preschool teacher, the tried and true methodology: – Show – Tell – Show – Try. We start by showing you what we are going to teach you. Then we will tell you what we just showed you. Telling a story is usually the best method here. Then we will show you again. Finally, you will try it yourself. Depending on risk and degree of difficulty we might even get into a “with assistance” – “to assistance” – “solo” type of structure.

It works. It has always worked. But today we have a lot more knowledge and examples of learning methods to draw upon. And they really help, if we design the learning experience properly.

Some points to start with and consider: – Chanty Hyder, an intern at Survey Anyplace provides us six high level results of their surveys.

  1. The storage capacity of the human brain is virtually unlimited.
  2. The mind needs to be exercised like any other muscle in the body.
  3. Our attention spans are getting shorter. We are bombarded with more things online.
  4. You are never too old to learn
  5. After one hour, people retain less than 50% of the information presented
  6. To learn. The brain builds on existing knowledge

I started teaching in a classroom at a very prestigious University. I was teaching students in the Physical Education Majors how to coach and teach water sports. We used seventy-five-minute lectures, followed by seventy-five minute “in the water” case examples of the lecture content. Two and a Half hours, three days a week. Tough duty. I had a class size of between 16 and 32 students, with one sometimes two teaching assistants.

At Learning Without Scars we started with a three-day classroom format, eight hours each day. That evolved to a two-day, fifteen-hour format. Within that structure we had four blocks of specific operations learning.

Then webinars arrived when everyone tried to reduce the cost of learning for equipment dealers. The webinars were first seventy-five minutes which we then shortened to one hour. I really didn’t like the webinar approach as a teacher as I could not see the students. As a teacher I rely on visual signals, facial or body language, to determine actual learning and comprehension.

Then we used a 3D camera and we broke the learning sessions down to ten to fifteen-minute increments, sometimes these increments were as short as five minutes BUT never more than fifteen minutes. At those breaks I would turn off the audio-visual presentation and appear in camera and talk to the group of students.

Today, we have Skype, and Zoom, and Microsoft with Teams and Google providing software that allows us to see each other and share screens and emulate a classroom type of experience. This has helped in the learning process.

That still requires a schedule that the students and the teachers have to fit in to their daily lives. That is where internet-based learning takes over. Learning is available when you want it and where you want it. You can fit the learning into your life and your schedule.

So back to Ms. Hyder and her points in the paper “7 Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Memory and Knowledge Retention” I referenced above. This is how we have designed and continue to refine our classes.

Each class follows a similar format. We have a Pretest to ascertain the understanding each student has about the course content before they start the class. Then we will assign reading materials, then they enter a slide show with embedded audio tracks. This segment will end or sometimes will have a film clip inserted into the segment. Then there is a short quiz. Then another segment sometimes with a quiz or perhaps a short survey or a short essay. Each segment is approximately ten to fifteen minutes in length and a class consists of eight to ten segments. Finally, there is an assessment of the learning of each student at the end of the class. We require a score of 80% in order to pass out of each class and go on to another. The student can repeat the class as many times as they want, however, they can only take the final assessment three times before we block them if they haven’t achieved the 80% score.

This is in keeping with the current “learning and retention” theory in use today. At Learning Without Scars we are constantly researching and adapting. As new techniques and methods are identified that provide better results, we adjust our programs.

I believe, more than ever, that in today’s work environment the dealership must be more involved in training. This training has to be in the most effective and efficient method possible. That way they will be able to attract more talented and motivated employees. One of my Core Beliefs is that Passionate People Perform. Your employees will make or break your business. With talented people you will prevail and provide long lasting high levels of customer service and loyal customers. Without them you won’t. It is as simple as that.

The Time is Now.   



We are constantly looking to our clients to help us determine what additional learning classes we should create. We get a lot of very good suggestions.

Recently, I was asked to create selling skills classes for service management and supervision, foremen and customer contact personnel. We are creating those classes now.

Another suggestion from our clients was regarding the management courses we offer. We have taught management and supervision now for over twenty years in the classroom, with webinars and most recently our internet-based classes. However, it was tied to the functions within the department. It was never “pure” management functions. That program is now under development.

Another learning area that was requested of us was coaching and mentoring. We were first approached with the need to help a specific individual with their management skills with their team. Communications skills were specifically requested, as well as leadership and trust. That was matched with another request to assist in the development of a new manager in a new job function.

It is always necessary to make changes in our programs based on what is needed in the “learning arena.” As our industry changes, I adapt as well.

Coaching is the subject I would like to explore more with you this week. Personal success is a common and constant pursuit for talented people, for curious people, for self-motivated individuals. Satisfaction comes form being able to tackle and overcome difficulties in our lives. As John Wooden said we he defined SUCCESS. “Success is the Peace of Mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing that you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming.”

I have been telling the story in classrooms and in talks for a long time now about the individual who at sixteen years of age, let’s call him James, is told that they have POTENTIAL. That is a wonderful thing. It holds such promise and hope. Now I would like you to imagine that James is now sixty-six years of age and is still told he has a lot of potential. Shouldn’t the next question be “what have you been doing the past fifty years?”

Coaching is vey personal. It is working with individuals and helping them to reach their potential. A good definition of coaching is that the purpose of coaching is “unleashing or unlocking the potential of another human being.” Perhaps that sounds too overpowering to you. But that is what you do if you are coaching another person. You are helping them become better at what they do.

Gallup surveys everything and coaching is one of the subjects on which they have conducted surveys. Their surveys say that 30% of the people want coaching to help them with “life, purpose, vision, creativity and integrity.” That is a real mouthful, isn’t it?

At the end of the blog last week I stated that “I think we all can do much more in our lives and in our careers.” Sometimes that challenge overwhelms us. Don’t let that happen to you. Take up the challenge. Find a coach: someone you trust, someone you respect and someone who will be honest with you. Then get started. As the US Army commercial says “be all that you can be.”

The Time is NOW.

Personal Responsibility – Part 3

Personal Responsibility – Part 3

In the last two posts, I have discussed the work of Jordan Peterson, and how it ties into education and learning.  I’ve also covered what it is to commit to learning as an adult, and the unique challenges those of use who have real-life and on-the-job experience can face when returning to a “training” program.

R. C. Sproul once said “everyone wants to leave their mark on the world.” So, what will your mark be? There is nothing more powerful than knowledge and learning. Learning is not about getting a better job, although that could happen. It is not about getting more money, and that too could be possible. It is not about power, or some other aspect of your goals and dream. It is about your ability to be able to communicate and to think and to influence. That is your power. And each individual has control of that. They can invest their time in their own development. They can pursue what is meaningful. They can take personal control of that responsibility.

 I believe deeply that everyone wants to be able to do a good job.
 Further than we can all do more than we think we can.
 Finally, though, we are all fundamentally lazy.


I believe that success is for everyone. Every person, every individual can be successful. It depends what the definition is of success. Your individual success starts with your honest understanding about who you are as a person.

Each of us has differing likes and dislikes. That allows each of us to have differing dreams and hopes. That means we can create our own paths through life. But the path is not clear and it is not easy. In fact, it is tough. The problem with many of us is that we have a clearer picture of all of this when it becomes too late. We learn wisdom with age and effort. I have not found a substitute for the aging aspect of it. Perhaps there will be people much smarter than I who can find that answer. It might already be too late for me at this point in my career.
As a younger person I was a swimmer. And I learned a lot about life from swimming. You never are competing against the other people in the pool with you. You are competing with yourself. That is a really important truth to learn about life. It is all in your control, it is all up to you.

So, stop hoping for things. My daughter likes to say, “hope is NOT a plan.” Stop wishing for things. It’s time to take an active role, instead of a passive one. Don’t stop dreaming or working through goals. Start acting on your hopes, your wishes and your dreams. Make them happen. Because I believe you can. Don’t put it off. Start.

The Time is NOW.

Talents and Skills

Learning Without Scars was created to fill a void in the Capital Goods Industries, specifically the light and heavy equipment space.

With technical schools closing at an alarming rate the markets we serve were becoming unable to find the talents and skills they required in the operational areas of the business, parts and service specifically. I have written extensively on the German trade school structures and the benefits it provides German employers. We no longer have a viable trade school preparation for the parts business.

To that end, here at LWS we have developed training programs for the parts counter job functions. We have the same for the parts office and the service office. We also have programs for the parts warehouse, for service writers and service foreman and lead hands. All of these programs were created after dealer customers had expressed a need and a desire to help employee development.

The report from Edward Gordon, a colleague, is a clear affirmation of why we are doing what we do in training.

I would like to pose a question to everyone. What are you doing to attract new employees, to retain the ones you have and to develop all of your employees to meet the needs of future job?

There is a critical need on our Industry. Without the proper number of talented and skilled employees your business is at risk.   

The Time is NOW.


Please read this Edward Gordon article.

Knowledge Shock Part V: Job Evolution Causes Skill Shortages and A Search for Solutions

Job Evolution 1970-2010

In 1970 John, whose father was a plumber, graduated from high school. He began working in a Midwestern automotive-parts factory. It had an entry-level job training program and paid him a good wage. At that time, about 66 percent of entry-level jobs in manufacturing and other employment sectors required only a high school diploma. Business management and professional positions required a college education. Also, apprenticeship completion or specific skill-training certificates were needed to qualify for some mid-skilled occupations.

 Fast forward to 1990 when John’s daughter Linda became an office file clerk after graduating from high school. She found out technologies had changed occupational skill requirements in both offices and factories. High school graduation was no longer a passport to the middle class. By 1990, 55 percent of jobs required education or training beyond high school. However, many employers offered workers on-the-job training.

John’s grandson, George, was always interested in cars. After high school graduation in 2010, George decided to seek employment in an auto-production plant. But he was surprised to discover that a largely unrecognized Fourth Industrial Revolution had radically changed entry-level jobs requirements. Robots now performed many repetitive tasks on car assembly lines. George also learned that this local auto factory only sought workers who could operated computer-controlled equipment. Working on teams, they also need needed to have the technical skills required to assemble many different auto models in smaller runs as sales orders came in from the manufacturer’s dealer network. The plant had no entry-level job training. Applicants were expected to be job ready from day one!

By 2010, low-skill jobs had declined to only 33 percent of the U.S. labor market. They were also low paying jobs. The majority of even mid-level occupations now required special career training beyond high school.

Talent Shortages by the Numbers

In 2010 there were about 97 million mid-level and higher skilled jobs across the United States. Yet only 43 million American workers met the general education and career training requisites to fill them.  U.S. businesses made up a national gap of 54 million skilled workers through increasing automation, importing skilled foreign workers, poaching workers from competitors, or exporting higher skilled jobs to overseas locations with the requisite talent pool. Only about 20 percent of U.S. businesses offered job training programs. This talent shortfall resulted in 4 million vacant jobs across the U.S. economy.

Over the next decade the skills-jobs disconnect continued to expand. By 2017 two-thirds of jobs in the U.S. labor market required workers with post-secondary specialized career training. International talent shortages had also increased, making it much more difficult for U.S. businesses to either import talent or find an off-shore location with the needed skilled workers. A global talent showdown had begun in earnest. In 2017 nine million jobs remained unfilled across the United States. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates a loss of $26,000 per vacant job in profit or productivity for a business. This represents an over $230 billion loss to the U.S. economy.

The U.S. talent shortfall is a significant part of a much broader global talent train wreck. The worldwide estimate of 2022 job vacancies range from 45 to 95 million skilled positions. Many recent surveys of American executives place this talent crisis at the top or near the top of management concerns. For example, a 2018 survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America indicated that this industry will be short two million skilled craft professionals by 2020. A recent National Association of Manufacturers survey for the first time reported  “attracting and retaining a quality workforce” as the respondents’ top business challenge.This was also the case in the February survey of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Ninety percent of businesses seeking workers reported “few or no qualified applicants” for open positions.

Two Major Skills Initiatives

Two significant approaches for confronting the escalating shortages of skilled workers are gaining momentum. The “2017 Training Industry Report” (Training, November 2017) showed that U.S. businesses made an unprecedented $23 billion increase in worker training in the past year. Total expenditures rose from $70.6 billion to $93.6 billion or 32.5 percent. The majority of these funds were invested in specific job raining programs for workers rather than in management education programs as in years past. Over the past few months there has been some increase in the labor participation rate. It is an indication that more companies are again beginning to offer job training to new hires. This is opening the possibility of employment to so called “discouraged workers” who until recently have been sitting on the U.S. labor-market sidelines because their skills were not up-to-date.

A second more comprehensive approach to tacking the current skills crisis are regional public-private partnerships focused on economic development and reforming the education-to-employment system. These Regional Talent Innovation Networks (RETAINs) offer a process for reinventing their local talent-delivery systems. In the short term, these cross-sector initiatives composed of businesses, educational institutions, unions, government agencies, and non-profit community groups focus on retraining workers and the unemployed with the skills currently needed to fill the vacant jobs of regional employers. RETAINs are of particular value to small businesses as they offer a viable way of pooling their resources to inform, attract, and prepare skilled workers to fill jobs.

In the long term, RETAINs seek to rebuild the workforce pipeline through raising K-12 educational standards and implementing career-skills preparation programs. Beginning in elementary school students need to be well grounded in reading, writing, mathematics, and verbal communication skills. To accommodate the wide diversity of students’ aptitudes and interests, a wider diversity of high school programs are needed such as STEM academies, career education programs, and pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship options. This means more students will leave high school with solid educational foundations that prepare them to successfully complete the post-secondary career education and training needed to fill today’s and tomorrow’s ever-rising job requirements. It is notable that the High School Inc. Foundation (previously profiled in  Gordon Report) has received the 2018 Citation for Career Education and Excellence from the American Association for Career Education for its leadership role in the development of six career academies at the Valley High School in Santa Ana, California. The High School Inc. Foundation is a good example of the over 1,000 RETAINs now operating across America.

More information on many local RETAIN “brands” across the United states is now available in an updated paperback edition of Future Jobs: Solving the Employment and Skills Crisis published by Praeger in March 2018. It offers many case studies of the the accomplishments of these cross-sector partnerships in updating regional training and education programs and thus reviving local economies.

The Urgent Need for Action Addressing the Skills Crisis

Unless business investments in job training are drastically increased and the RETAIN movement grows exponentially, by 2022 the skills-jobs disconnect will have a dire impact on the U.S. economy. America is facing a demographic tsunami of 30 million baby boomers retiring from the workforce. In the cohort of millennials entering the workforce, only about thirty percent have the education and skills needed for advanced technology workplaces, but at least sixty percent need to be at this level for the high tech, knowledge-based economy of 2022.

The Gordon Report “Knowledge Shook Series” has spotlighted some of the most crucial forces behind the jobs-skills crisis. We have examined how American culture across the business community, schools, unions, and parents has failed to keep pace with the significant knowledge expansion required by technology change. We have also seen how popular culture can promote addiction to social media and other internet venues that reduce cognitive development and interpersonal skill growth. Over the past decade Knowledge Shock has morphed into Job Shock as many American workers now fear that escalating technology changes have placed their jobs at great risk. Inventing technology has proved to be the easy part; changing society’s cultural willingness to place education and workforce training on steroids remains very difficult. 

As technology has continued to expand job requirements, simplistic populist solutions for protecting jobs and industries are being advanced by the extreme right and left of the U.S. political spectrum. Populists offer a new form of tribalism. By dividing society into many warring factions, they seek to attack and eliminate the “enemy” opposition rather than pursue consensus through negotiation. This tribalism is in direct opposition to the democratic beliefs and traditions upon which our great American Republic was founded and has developed over the past 242 years. We remain fundamentally opposed to this attempt to undermine U.S. society.

As we contend with this social divisiveness, the American general public needs to be made aware of the urgent need to answer the two great questions of Job Shock.     

  1. Why has technology growth clearly outpaced the knowledge development of the U.S. workforce?
  2. How can we develop a new consensus that will lead to the overall growth of a well-educated American workforce?

The answers to these social issues will define how well we make the historic employment transition that America now faces. Failure is not an option.

Edward E. Gordon is president and founder of Imperial Consulting Corporation ( His book, Future Jobs: Solving the Employment and Skills Crisis, a winner of an Independent Publishers award, is now available in an updated 2018 paperback edition. 

What Is Training? #MondayBlogs

During the economic downturn, the first budget to be slashed was the training, or employee development, budget.

When it’s time to tighten our belts, training is the first thing to go.

But it is clear that employees need to invest in your business, just as you invest in your employees.  One of the things I teach in our classes is that our procedures and methods must be understood, and agreed upon, by the team.  In other words, your employees must not only understand what they are doing and why they are doing it, but agree with the goal and the approach to that goal.

Lately, we’ve seen more room for employee development again in the budgets.  We have also seen employees taking a greater role and a more vested interest in their business’ success when they are provided with a foundation through training.

People are our greatest asset.  They are your heroes with your customers, and they help to build the relationships that give a business “customers for life.”

It is crucial that we never forget that, although our industry is equipment, it is the people who make or break it for a business.

We must make an investment in the future through providing our employees with the training and tools they need to grow in our business.  This is an investment that benefits every aspect of the business.

The time is now.