Ideas: Encourage Personal Growth And Development

This idea is excerpted from Barbara’s book ” Balancing Acts – More Than 250 Guiltfree, Creative Ideas to Blend your Work and your Life” (Dearborn 2003). 

  • Provide various kinds of workshops for employees that will impact their personal lives. Some suggestions would be to schedule workshops to improve home-time management, communication, dealing with guilt, marriage seminars, and financial planning.  As you help employees feel better about themselves and their lives outside of work, they will have more positive energy to spend on the job.
  • EPCOR, a large Canadian utilities company, believes in career development and pays for courses, including getting a university degree.  They have a turnover rate of 5% and are such a popular company to work for that it won’t take unsolicited resumes.
  • In 1999 the United Auto Workers focused primarily on work/life issues when negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with Ford Motor Company and Visteon Corporation, an independent auto parts manufacturer.  UAW officials chose “Bargaining for Families” as the theme of the negotiations.  The final contract agreement created a program called the Family Service and Learning Centers which will offer programs in more than 30 U.S. locations in three categories:  Family education and services; Early childhood education services; and Community service education and outreach.  Their intention is to provide cutting edge opportunities for personal growth and development for their members.
  • A banker recently invited his department to a career management seminar.  In doing so, he told them, “You’ve given us a significant investment of your time.  Now it’s time to invest in yourself.  Take this day to think about your work and your life and how you can be as satisfied and meaningfully engaged as possible.”
  • Start book clubs in your office.  Invite coworkers to read the same book and then get together once a month to discuss what you read. Citizen’s Trust has a monthly reading group to discuss works of fiction.  Citizens covers half the cost of the books, buys pizza, and provides a “relaxation room” for the group to meet after work hours.
  • Begin a mentoring program.  One of the best ways to create a unified spirit in your workplace is to provide coaches and guides for newer employees.

Focus on working fathers.  James Levine, the director of the Father hood Project at the Families and Work Institute, says, “We’ve focused for the last two decades on working mothers, but we haven’t even developed a concept of the working father.”  Marriott International has launched two initiatives to teach fathers from different parts of the company how to lead richer lives with their families.  One is “Effective Fathering,” a course aimed at frontline employees.  The other is “Daddy Stress / Daddy Success,” a seminar that targets executives. Both raise questions that every working father should ask himself:

Do you pass the Fatherhood test?  This is a test to measure just how  connected you are:

  1. Who are your child’s three closet friends?
  2. What does your child like to do with each of those friends?  Have you met them? What are the names of their parents?
  3. Do you know who your child’s doctor is?  Does your child’s doctor know who you are?
  4. Do you know who your child’s principal is?  Does the principal know you?
  5. Can you honestly say, “I know that encourages my child the most,” or “I know when my child is disappointed.”?

Do you know what your kids want?  Levine’s group conducted in-depth research on what children want from working parents.  “We suspected that what kids wanted was more time, but what they actually wanted was for their parents to be less stressed”—even if that meant the parents spent less time with them.  “You can’t help your kids unless you help yourself,” Levine argues.

Do you have the tools of the trade?Little things count for a lot!

Marriott’s program is wildly popular.  They have had a greater demand for these courses than they have had for any other.

Barbara Glanz Biography

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at and

Home | About | Hiring Barbara | Programs | Video FAQ | Videos | Products | Articles & Ideas | Blog | Contact