Walmart deploys Social Fit

Wal-Mart Expands Employee Sustainability Projects

BENTONVILLE, Ark., April 9, 2007 -- Wal-Mart's "Personal Sustainability Projects" will get a boost according to a new announcement by the company.

PSPs are employee-driven efforts through which Wal-Mart and Sam's Club associates develop individual goals to improve their health and wellness and the health of the environment. Throughout 2007, Wal-Mart's 1.3 million U.S. associates will learn about PSPs and have the opportunity to adopt their own personal sustainability goals.

Associates are encouraged to educate their colleagues, customers, families, and communities on personal sustainability and the impact it can have on their daily lives. Wal-Mart also plans to eventually expand the program into its international stores.

"Sustainability has become part of the Wal-Mart culture, and PSPs are one way for associates to become involved - in their stores, their communities and their daily lives," said Linda Dillman, Wal-Mart's executive vice president of risk management, benefits and sustainability. "PSPs are being created by and for associates to help make choices that can have a real impact on their personal health and happiness and on their families, neighbors, communities and the environment. We're excited about what we've seen and learned so far and about what can happen as this project grows."

In July 2006, associates in eight stores in the Denver and Indianapolis areas participated in a pilot PSP program through which they created personal sustainability projects and made a voluntary commitment to meet their goals. Associate PSPs included making healthier food choices, volunteering in their communities and using environmentally friendly products in their homes. After a successful pilot, the program was expanded in October 2006 to 130 Wal-Mart stores and Sam's Club locations in Denver, Indianapolis and Tampa test markets.

Through November 2006, associates have reported the following highlights of pilot PSP efforts:

More than 20,000 associates developed PSPs in the three test markets. In the Denver market alone, 84 percent of associates -- more than 3,400 people -- adopted PSPs.

More than 300 associates quit smoking.

In the Tampa market, 300 associates set up recycling programs in their homes. Paper recycling centers have been established in all stores in the Indianapolis market, and proceeds are donated to the local Children's Miracle Network Hospital. Overall, more than 16 tons of paper, aluminum, and plastic have been recycled as part of the pilot PSP efforts.

Collectively, associates have lost more than 2,000 pounds -- one ton -- by eating healthier and exercising more. Associates have also pledged to exercise more, and together they have walked the equivalent of two round trips between New York and Los Angeles.
As one example of a PSP, Kim Nicholson, a membership sales representative for Sam's Club, persuaded the company to offer a salad and water combination for the same price as a slice of pizza and soda in all Sam's Club Cafes. "Now associates can eat healthy at an affordable price during lunch," said Nicholson.

Throughout the year, "Captains" from the hourly and salaried levels will hold meetings to educate associates on PSPs. Associates choose their own personal sustainability goals and monitor their progress during a core time period of four to seven weeks, and are then encouraged to integrate their PSP into their daily lives on a long-term basis. In-store training and projects will help reinforce the associates' plans. Together, associates motivate and encourage one another to pursue their PSPs.

While individuals will focus on their personal goals, they will also work together at the store level to accomplish sustainability goals designed to improve the local community. For instance, some stores have developed recycling programs or are helping their local community to clean up wildlife areas.

"PSPs are about making and sustaining one simple change in life that you can be passionate about -- anything from riding a bike to work or using eco-friendly household cleaning products to eating healthy meals instead of fast food or recycling at home," said Andy Ruben, vice president for corporate strategy and sustainability. "It's about making choices that make a real difference in both your personal health and the health of the planet."

Executive Coaches Shaping Leaders

Executive coaches hired to shape leaders
By Jay MacDonald •

As the battle heats up to attract and retain the best and brightest talent available, American business is turning for help to an industry it once regarded as highly suspect: executive coaching.

Just a few years ago, when profits and top performers were plentiful, corporate giants pooh-poohed the idea of coaching as just pop psychobabble aimed at eroding their bottom line. The common refrain was, where's the ROI, return on investment? Even those more progressive companies that welcomed TQM, total quality management, and excellence seminars, based on Steven Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," placed it in the expenditures column.

Today, however, one-on-one executive coaching, not just training, is all the corporate rage. What has made companies suddenly embrace their softer side? You guessed it: ROI.

According to a 2001 MetrixGlobal study of one Fortune 500 company, executive coaching returned more than $5 for every $1 spent, 529 percent, in significant financial and intangible benefits to the company. When the financial benefits of employee retention were rolled into the mix, the ROI was nearly eight to one, 788 percent.

In the 2002 study, "The Economics of Executive Coaching," Harvard Business School Journal estimated that there were at least 10,000 coaches working in business, up from 2,000 in 1996. That figure was expected to grow to 50,000 by 2007. The International Coach Federation lists 8,461 members and more than 132 chapters in 34 countries. Companies reportedly pay fees ranging from $1,500 to $15,000 per day.

"It's certainly a hot item right now," admits Michael Markovits, vice president of global executive and organizational capability, who oversees IBM's in-house executive coaching. "We've done research to show that leadership behavior has a direct impact on climate, and climate has a direct impact on business results. We invest in leadership development because we believe we're going to be a better-performing company as a result."

"Business leaders are recognizing that good social skills are good business," says Peggy Post, great-granddaughter-in-law of etiquette pioneer Emily Post and co-author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business."

"It's not a sissy subject at all. It's a very timely business topic to help increase productivity, employee retention and client/customer retention. It just makes things run much more smoothly," she says.

Executive finishing school? In these downsized, belt-tightening times? That's right. At the new global dinner table, American business is starting to sit up straight and mind its manners.

Pumping up the EQ
Businesses rely on executive coaches in two main training areas: internally, to groom their junior executives to one day take the helm, and externally, to prepare their leaders to flawlessly represent the company when meeting, dining and socializing with customers and clients.

Executive Coaches deploy Fit Programs

April 03, 2007

Executive Coaches Help Vet Nonprofit Job Applicants
People seeking top-level nonprofit jobs can now expect to be interviewed not just by nonprofit recruiters and their potential bosses, but also by executive coaches who advise the organization's top executives, says The Wall Street Journal.

The extra step is part of an effort to reduce turnover, the newspaper says.

After interviewing candidates to help her run Family Justice, the New York charity she founded, Carol Shapiro finally found one she liked, but didn't pick the job candidate because her executive coach found the candidate lacking in managerial experience, the newspaper reports.

Another contender who won approval from the coach got the job and joined Family Justice as chief operating officer in late February.

The interview by the coach benefits not just the charity but also the job seeker "because an executive coach can describe what this new boss will really be like," says Marilyn Machlowitz, a New York recruiter who handled Ms. Shapiro's search.

What is Coaching?

What is coaching?
Coaching is a partnership designed to help you achieve success -- however you define success in your life. Each partnership is different depending on the client's goals. Coaching includes clarifying vision and purpose to addressing behaviors and tolerations that create barriers to success to problem solving and more. The relationship is strictly confidential.

As a client, your coach will help you:

Implement the plan of action, working through the inevitable changes and any obstacles
Maintain a healthy balance between your personal and professional life
Keep looking ahead to take advantage of opportunities that are just now formulating
Bring out your personal best, keeping focused on your needs, values and vision.
Why does coaching work?
Coaching works because it brings out your best. A coach believes you have the answers and is trained to bring them out (painlessly!) Specifically, this is what a coach will do with you during your coaching sessions:

Listen. A coach listens fully. You are the focus. The coach listens to what you say, what you are trying to say and what you are not saying.

Share. A coach will share ideas, thoughts and views on your situation, dilemma or opportunity, speaking the truth from her or his perspective.

Suggest. A coach wants a lot for you. A coach wants you to be healthy, happy and successful. A coach wants you to be on a strong financial track. A coach wants you to enjoy your family and friends. A coach wants you to have a life that inspires others and yourself. A coach believes in your greatness. To that end, your coach will make requests and suggestions to guide and challenge you.

A coach works with you to:
Brainstorm options for effective action
Update or expand your vision and goals
Increase your ability to see high leverage opportunities
Find balance in life between work, family and community
Improve communication and languaging skills
Develop your management and executive leadership teams
How is coaching different from consulting? Therapy? Sports coaching? A best friend?
Consulting. Coaching is not an expert model of consulting. The coach facilitates a process of reflection and action. A coach also stays with the client to help implement the new skills, changes and goals to make sure they really happen.

Therapy. Coaching is not therapy. We don't work on "issues" or get into the past or deal much with understanding human behavior. We leave that up to the client to know and figure out while we help them move forward and set personal and professional goals that will give them the life they really want.

Sports. Coaching includes several principles from sports coaching, like teamwork, going for the goal, being your best. But unlike sports coaching, most professional coaching is not competition or win/lose based. We strengthen the client's skills versus help them beat the other team. It's win/win.

Best friend. A best friend is wonderful to have. But is your best friend a professional who you will trust to advise you on the most important aspects of your life and/or business? Have a best friend and a coach.

Coaching Improves Performance
Organizational strength
Customer service
Employee retention
Cost reductions
Bottom-line profitability
Working relationships with direct reports, immediate supervisors, peers and clients
Job satisfaction
Conflict reduction
Organizational commitment
An average return on investment of 5.7 times the initial investment in a typical executive coaching assignment or a return of more than $100,000.
Maximizing the Impact of Executive Coaching, Manchester Review, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2001. Results based on a recent study of 100 executives.

Corporate Social Responsibility

What an accomplished insurance executive and strategist had to say about the value of CSR and employee engagement;
Employees want to feel good about their employer. They tend to be happier working for companies that they believe to have either a higher cause, or at least are interested in something other than solely the almighty buck. They want an employer with a conscious, and one that gives back. This helps them to feel better about what they do and who they work for, almost like they are indirectly giving back themselves.
Companies that care about things other than just their business, give the perception to their employees that they care about them too.
Happy, prideful employees are more productive.
They are less likely to call in sick unnecessarily.
They are less likely to file fraudulent Workers' Compensation claims.
As green companies usually have cleaner, brighter, more comfortable facilities with newer equipment, employees are less likely to leave.
Lower turnover saves recruiting and training dollars.
Lower turnover leads to more experienced, more productive employees.
Lower turnover leads to fewer Workers' Compensation injuries, as roughly half of all claims come from employees in their first year on the job. Less turnover means fewer employees in this first year.