Workforce Learning

About Workforce Learning — Workforce Learning LLC is a leadership development company that provides managers and C-level executives with the skills and knowledge they need to build a more productive work environment. Since founding the company in 1997, owner Alice Waagen, PhD, has developed highly effective leadership programs and coaching workshops that teach the people in charge how to motivate and inspire employees. “Research shows that the single reason most organizations fail to thrive is a lack of strong people skills among those at the top,” Alice says. “We work to ensure organizations are healthy from the top down, and ultimately if an organization has happy, energized, effective employees they find it reflected in the bottom line.”

How Inkandescent PR Helped — One of our initial goals was to revamp the dated website that Alice had been using, but first we got to work on a bimonthly newsletter that she had success with. “I loved writing the newsletter, but had trouble getting it out on a regular basis,” says Alice. “I knew that if we could get that out it would help me gain some visibility and from there we’d get moving on the website.”

Success Story — Within a few months, Hope Gibbs and Alice published two e-newsletters, thanks to help from Susan Devereaux, owner of S.E.D. Services and Alice’s virtual assistant who manages her database and newsletter distribution. In September 2008, thanks to the help of web developer Max Kukoy, Alice launched her new website.

In the News: Alice Waagen featured in article, "Women Building Homes"

May 13, 2010, The Arlington Connection — In today’s newspaper, Dr. Alice Waagen of Workforce Learning put on her philanthropist hat — quite literally — as a participant in National Women Build Week (May 1-9) on behalf of her nonprofit Habitat Women Who Build, a fundraising chapter of Habitat for Humanity Northern Virginia.

Arlington Connection reporter Dalia Sava wrote:

Alice Waagen is wearing a hard hat and a tool belt and she’s covered in dust from the demolition work she is doing at the Perry Hall Condominium, the Habitat for Humanity 12-unit building on South 17th Street in Arlington. The construction project is an existing apartment building that will be converted to condominiums.

Waagen is taking part in National Women Build Week (May 1-9), an initiative by Lowe’s and Habitat for Humanity which challenges women to devote at least one day to efforts to eliminate poverty housing. This is the first Women Build event for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia.

“My female friends who knew of my work with Habitat would tell me, ‘Oh, I’d love to do that but I can’t hammer, I can’t saw, I can’t give back’ and this drove me crazy because the way that the program works — the volunteer house leaders break down every task so that it’s suitable for anybody’s size, anybody’s level of skill,” Waagen said.

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E-NEWSLETTER: April News from Workforce Learning

Hello, Powerhouse!

Women business leaders bring a powerful difference to the world of work because they tend to view life as an ongoing matrix of interconnected relationships — one that can be leveraged to achieve results.

In my experience, this constant outward focus is unique to women and their approach results in a rich environment that focuses on much more than the financial side of the business.

Yet this constant outward focus can be overplayed and become a liability.

Here’s why: For women business leaders to succeed, they need to focus inward on what brings them success. They also need to ask themselves what causes them to stumble.

In my work and in life I am a huge proponent of strategically planning personal development.

By planning, I mean more than just attending a sporadic conference or seminar. I advocate writing a clear and succinct development goal, which should be future oriented and closely linked with your business goals.

Read the entire April newsletter for useful tips on how to accomplish your goals — and stay sane.

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IN THE NEWS: Alice Waagen offers tips to Toastmaster magazine readers — "Facing an event full of strangers? Here's how to Work a Room"

February 2010, Toastmaster magazine — In this month’s issue of Toastmaster magazine, reporter Lin Grensing-Pophal writes:

“Some people seem to have a knack for automatically connecting with others in any setting. For those who don’t, learning how to interact quickly and comfortably with others is critical.”

She interviewed Dr. Alice Waagen, president of Workforce Learning, who said it is critical to have a goal in mind.

Networking should be considered a professional activity and not a casual event, says Waagen, adding that it’s important to start with the end in mind. “The most important lesson I learned early on is to establish for yourself your goal or objective before you go to the event,” she notes. “That way you keep focused and don’t get distracted by the hors d’oeuvres, the drinks or your best buddy across the room.”

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E-NEWSLETTER: February News from Workforce Learning

Are you feeling productive? If not, you aren’t alone. As we begin 2010, more and more of my clients are reporting that they are overworked, stressed, and they fear that soon their productivity will suffer.

But consider this: Just last November, in a Wall Street Journal article entitled, “Productivity Soared in Third Quarter,” reporters John Hilsenrath and Luca Di Leo wrote:

The Labor Department said the output per hour of nonfarm workers rose at an annual rate of 9.5% in the quarter, more than four times the average productivity growth rate of the past quarter-century. When taken together with the second quarter’s 6.9% rise, it was the strongest productivity growth rate over a six-month period since 1961. Click here to read the entire article.

Amazing, right? Statistically speaking, the US workforce is actually more productive than it has been in years — despite the rash of layoffs and workforce reductions we saw in 2009.

So here’s my question: Can fewer workers produce more output, and sustain it? If so, what toll will it take on their health, their lives, and ultimately their companies — not just today, but in the future?

Click here to view this month’s Anti-Burnout Guide!
And click here to buy a copy of this great Burnout poster.

Wishing you much warmth and calm.

Best regards, Alice

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In THE NEWS: Alice Waagen offers tips to Toastmaster magazine readers — "Facing an event full of strangers? Here's how to Work a Room"

February 2010, Toastmaster magazine — In this month’s issue of Toastmaster magazine, reporter Lin Grensing-Pophal writes:

“Some people seem to have a knack for automatically connecting with others in any setting. For those who don’t, learning how to interact quickly and comfortably with others is critical.”

She interviewed Dr. Alice Waagen, president of Workforce Learning, who said it is critical to have a goal in mind.

Networking should be considered a professional activity and not a casual event, says Waagen, adding that it’s important to start with the end in mind. “The most important lesson I learned early on is to establish for yourself your goal or objective before you go to the event,” she notes. “That way you keep focused and don’t get distracted by the hors d’oeuvres, the drinks or your best buddy across the room.”

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IN THE NEWS: Alice Waagen featured in article, "Watch out for signs you’re coming on too strong"

Jan. 8, 2010, The Calgary Sun — In an article today that focused on helping desperate job seekers, reporter Dawn Klingensmith interviewed Alice Waagen, president of Workforce Learning about warning signs that will alert them to the fact that they are coming on too strong.

“Some applicants send flowers or candy. This is not a date — it’s a job,” says human resources consultant Alice Waagen.

And if you don’t hear back, take the hint, Waagen advises.

“If you’ve left messages and e-mails and don’t get a response, that’s either a strong indication you’ve been rejected or that the hiring manager is a poor manager lacking basic skills,” she says. “It’s time to move on.”

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E-NEWSLETTER: December News from Workforce Learning

By Alice Waagen, president and founder
www.workforcelearning.com

In the last issue of Workforce Learning, I focused on how organizations can prepare for the growth cycle ahead in our recovering economy and offered three scenarios for how the recovery may play out. In the weeks since, I’ve done a more analytic survey and asked nearly 150 professionals from more than a dozen different DC-based organizations: “What will you do differently once the economic recovery seems to stabilize?”

A number of themes emerged in the conversations. Clearly, the dependent relationship people have had with their employers has been severely challenged during the last 12 months. In fact, large, seemingly stable organizations like county governments have been implementing forced furloughs and reductions in workforce. The old belief that large organizations offer stable future economic growth is all but gone.

But here is what raised an eyebrow. The number of people who expressed a desire to go out on their own and start their own business was staggering. This may seem counterintuitive, especially after months of economic strife. But the impetus to start ones own business is not economic – it is to gain a better control of their future. Certainly, when you are an entrepreneur, your success and failure resides on your own actions and tactics, not the actions of management far removed from your sphere of influence.

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E-NEWSLETTER: October News from Alice Waagen's Workforce Learning — THE END OF THE RECESSION?

Alice’s Challenge of the Month: What to do now if the recession may, indeed, be at its end? — Economists and media pundits are suggesting that the recession is nearing its end — and I am finally seeing signs in the metro DC area that indeed they may be right. My buddies at search firms and recruiting agencies are getting requests every day to fill more jobs, and prospective clients are looking to me to help them in their management challenges. I’m thrilled to no longer be hearing the words: “yes, we want you — but not now,” but rather, “yes, can you conduct a training session next week?”

It’s a relief to be back in the saddle, but I’m also pondering the lessons learned from this challenge. This is something that I regularly ask my clients to consider, for the exercise of reflecting on the actions that led to a success or failure can contribute to deep learning that will guide you through future peaks and valleys.

So, what lessons have you learned in the last 12 to 18 months of economic misery? How can you use this learning to shape your future? Make a list and ruminate on it, for I am confident that the things you come up with will be enlightening and useful not just today, but in the future.

I’m also in the process of thinking about the road ahead, so read on for some forecasts. You’ll also find my bi-monthly interview with an expert and this month’s profile is John White, president of JD White & Associates, Inc. He is a man I have known for decades and deeply respect for he has more than 25 years experience in Human Resource management and in his answers offers keen insights into the recovery at hand. And finally, you’ll find three of my top picks for this month’s Workforce Learning Book Club.

Wishing you a lift in your business, and a lift in your day.

Dr. Alice Waagen, President & Founder
www.workforcelearning.com

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E-NEWSLETTER: Summer News from Alice Waagen's Workforce Learning on COLLABORATION

AUGUST 2009 — Just as the London Symphony Orchestra works in harmony to play a beautiful concerto, any successful collaboration can be one of the most satisfying experiences we have as professionals, explains Dr. Alice Waagen in her July-August e-newsletter.

“That’s because when collaborative efforts click, everyone understands and values each other’s role on the project and the unique contribution each person is making,” she says. “In fact, successful collaborative efforts can often be the height of a person’s professional career.”

So, why is it often so hard to collaborate? That’s a great question, especially given the fact that nearly every project in today’s workforce requires an element of collaboration. First, I’ll assess the problem, then I’ll offer some suggestions for how you can be more effective in your collaborative efforts.

The problem with collaboration In my experience, the biggest obstacle to successful collaboration is that egos are often vying for dominance. It’s natural, given the competitive environment of the workplace. The challenge, then, is to understand it and find ways to tackle the problem from the start.

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IN THE NEWS: Alice Waagen quoted in Philadelphia Inquirer article, "Are you coming on too strong?"

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER / JOBS.COM, July 28, 2009 — In an article published today on the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jobs.com website, reporter Dawn Klingensmith interviewed Workforce Learning president Alice Waagen for an article entitled, “Are you coming on too strong?”

Alice said, yes, you might be seen as overly aggressive if:

You send more than a succinct thank-you note after an interview. “Some applicants send flowers or candy,” Alice explained. “This is not a date — it’s a job.”

You can’t take the hint. “If you’ve left messages and e-mails and don’t get a response, that’s either a strong indication you’ve been rejected or that the hiring manager is “a poor manager lacking basic skills,” Waagen said.

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In the News: Workforce Learning's Alice Waagen Featured in Human Resource Executive magazine

Human Resource Executive, January 2009 — In the HR News section of this month’s Human Resource Executive magazine, reporter Scott Westcott interviewed Dr. Alice Waagen, president of the leadership development firm Workforce Learning, for his article, “Layoff Landslide.”

Westcott wrote: “With the economy in an official recession, HR leaders unfortunately will get plenty of practice to hone their skills in presiding over reductions-in-force.”

Dr. Waagen commented: “In HR, we’ve been through this before so there should be lots of lessons learned in how to handle layoffs in a humane and dignified way. The key tenet is massive amounts of open and timely communications — both for the employees leaving and those staying.”

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In the News: Alice Waagen Featured in Ethical Human Resourcing

Ethical Human Resourcing, Nov. 13, 2008 — Alice Waagen, PhD, owner of the leadership training firm Workforce Learning, was featured prominently in an article posted Nov. 13 on the Organic Home website. She talked to reporter Scott Westcott about how HR departments are handling bleak jobless reports.

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Placed Article: Alice Waagen Writes Featured Post for Employment Crossing

EMPLOYMENT CROSSING, Nov. 1, 2008 — “Know when — and how — to hire the right staff,” is a placed article by Alice Waagen, PhD, president of Workforce Learning. It appeared as the featured HR article on the website Employment Crossing, one of the leading job-opening research companies in the world and the go-to website for executives, administrators, managers, assistants and entry-level workers, providing access to thousands of lucrative job openings in the human resources field.

Alice’s article describes the three steps to hiring success: Know when it’s time, determine what type of help you need, and decide if you should go the full-time-employee or contractor route.

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In the News: Alice Waagen featured in Washington Examiner

Washington Examiner, October 13, 2008 — Alice Waagen, PhD, president of Workforce Learning, was featured today in “Entry Level Careers,” a regular column by Washington Examiner reporter Heather Huhman about why Gen Y is experiencing more difficulty transitioning from the classroom to the workplace than previous generations. Waagen helped with tips on how to make the transition seamless.

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Press Release: Alice Waagen to speak at Women Entrepreneurs’ Expo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Herndon VA, October 1, 2008 — Leadership development expert Alice Waagen, PhD, will be a featured speaker at the Women Entrepreneurs’ Expo in Springfield, VA on Oct. 24, and will present a workshop on “Managing Growth: Knowing when and how to hire help.”

“Like many business owners, I’ve been faced with the challenge of wanting to increase revenue—but not knowing exactly how I’d pay for the additional help needed to grow my company,” explains Waagen, owner of Workforce Learning, LLC. “Rather than pull anyone on as an employee, I have contracted with nearly a dozen professionals who help me with sales and development, PR and marketing, tech support, and finance and legal issues. Their work has freed me to up to do what I do best — conduct intensive workshops that provide managers and C-level executives with the skills and knowledge they need to build a more productive work environment.”

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Website: Alice Waagen's Workforce Learning

Click image for larger view

Site and Design: Max Kukoy
Writing / Concept: Hope Katz Gibbs

Since founding this leadership development company in 1997, Alice Waagen, PhD has been providing managers and C-level executives with the skills and knowledge they need to build a more productive work environment.

Her website, launched in the fall of 2008, brings a fresh look to the great work Alice does for dozens of Fortune 500 firms and the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations.

 

e-Newsletter: Workforce Learning [Managing Growth, Fall 2008]

A Note from Alice Waagen, PhD
Newsletter: Workforce Learning
September-October 2008

Like many business owners, I’ve been faced with the challenge of wanting to increase revenue—but not knowing exactly how I’d pay for the additional help needed to grow my company. Fortunately, I took the advice I give to others in the article below, “Know when — and how — to hire the right staff.”

You’ll learn how Reston Limousine owner Kristina Bouweiri (pictured right) manages growth at her $15 million company. As for myself, rather than pull anyone on as an employee, I have contracted with nearly a dozen professionals who help me with sales and development, PR and marketing, tech support, and finance and legal issues. I also have a virtual assistant, Susan Devereaux, who makes my life so much easier.

In fact, my director of communications Hope Katz Gibbs and web developer Max Kukoy, helped me develop a new website, which I launched this month — www.workforcelearning.com. I am excited and proud to be able to present all of my articles, announce my speaking engagements, and provide access to past newsletters on this beautiful site.

In this newsletter you’ll meet:
• My colleague Bob Corlett, president of Staffing Advisors, who faced a similar dilemma a few years ago—and not only opted to increase his full-time employee roster, but developed the Results-Based Hiring Process® — a product that helped him gain control over every aspect of the staffing service. As a result, he is fully staffed and better prepared to help his clients achieve their goals. (See the Q&A in our “Ask and Expert” section.)
• Book review: The Essential HR Handbook by Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell.

Download the Newsletter in PDF format.

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e-Newsletter: Workforce Learning [A Recipe for Building Leaders, Summer 2008]

A Note from Alice Waagen, PhD
Newsletter: Workforce Learning
Summer 2008

If you were making a pizza for dinner, but left off the sauce and cheese, you’d serve a bland lump of dough for famiily and friends. The same thing happens when you provide a leadership development program without the essential ingredients: Time, variety, and a personal touch.

Consider this scenario: A 300-employee Virginia-based data analysis company that served the transportation industry for more than two decades hit a speed bump in 2005. Its legacy computer system groaned under the weight of decades of patched code and costly outages were having a toll on customer service. Although the systems were rocky the employee-base was rock-solid. Most employees were incredibly loyal to the company with the average length of service topping more than 15 years. But the new corporate leaders brought in to upgrade technology platforms had misgivings about the managerial abilities of this legacy staff. Other articles include:

• How to Create Powerful Conversations That Get Results: An interview with leadership development expert Alice Waagen and executive coach Suzi Pomerantz
• Books for Leaders: The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success

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e-Newsletter: Workforce Learning [Strategic Volunteerism, Spring 2008]

A Note from Alice Waagen, PhD
Newsletter: Workforce Learning
Spring 2008

One of the most frequently asked questions I am asked by managers is: How can I provide professional development for my staff when my organization won’t fund or support the idea? What a good question, for this is indeed a dilemma. Fortunately, one of the most overlooked ways to provide staff development is by encouraging your staff to volunteer.

In this newsletter, we focus on helping in the non-profit arena—an industry that is near and dear to my heart. Other articles include:

• Is Your Company Driving Away Talent? Try these 25 Creative Way to Reverse the Trend
• Books for Leaders: Forces For Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits
• Join me: The Emerging Leader Institute (ELITE)

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