Monthly Archives: November 2012

    • Our Recognition Program

      'AWESOME' Ribbons

      At Trophies2Go, each and every day we help companies recognize their employees.  We create meaningful awards for top performers, sales stars, employees of the month, retirees, years of service, managers – you name it, we make it.  But what do we do for our own employees?

      Our newest informal recognition program - Awesome Ribbons.

      This fall, we created a new informal recognition program called “Awesome Ribbons”.  The original goal of the program was to increase internal team-building.   If a person noticed a co-worker doing something they deemed ‘awesome’, they awarded them a ribbon.  These blue ribbons had the word 'AWESOME' on it in rainbow colors.  Each person had 10 ‘Awesome’ ribbons to give away in a month and a half.

      Instructions:

      DO: Give them to your co-worker when you notice him/her do something exceptional, either for you, another co-worker, a customer, or the overall company.  Write the date, your name, the recipient’s name, and the task that earned the ribbon on the back (stickers were provided to write this info).  Give them out before November 15, 2012.  Display the ribbons you earn at your desk or work space.  Keep the ribbons you earn – you will need them in the future.  Have fun awarding your co-workers & receiving recognition!

      DON’T:  Give them away for no reason.  These are for awesome and exceptional things only!  Give them for a petty reason, like looking nice or having a good day.  “Re-gift” a ribbon.  They only get awarded once.  Bribe others to get them.  They must be earned.

      Ribbons started circulating throughout the company within the office, at our production facility, and between the two sites.  Ribbons also started showing up at work stations – pinned to bulletin boards, taped to computers, shelves and printers.  It was fun to see everyone getting recognized for going above and beyond for the company, our customers and each other.  After some time, the Nov 15th deadline arrived and the program was ended.  Now came the important part of any recognition program - evaluating how effective the program was and if the goal of the program was attained.

      After surveying our staff about the 'Awesome Ribbons', here’s what we discovered:

      When we started the program, we weren’t exactly sure how the Awesome Ribbons would be used.  Overall feedback about the program was positive.  Our staff enjoyed giving and receiving recognition with each other.  However, this seemed most worthwhile if it wasn’t tied to a competition.  There was some confusion about what tasks were worthy of a ribbon.  This wasn’t well defined.  The majority of our staff wanted to continue the program.

      When it was all said and done, here's what we learned from our experience:

      When creating a recognition program, things may not always go as planned; what you intend to happen doesn't always occur.  This was the case for our program.   We were glad that people liked giving and receiving recognition, but didn't expect that people wouldn't want to be competitive with their ribbons.

      When evaluating a recognition program, it's important to figure out what you did well and where you can improve for the future.  That 's the best way to improve your program and reach your goal.  When evaluating our 'Awesome Ribbons' program, what we did well was communicate the program, have a defined test period, and evaluate our staffs' experiences when it was completed.  What we didn't do well was set criteria for giving a ribbon and set the expectation that this program was a competition.

      Our President, Jeff, has decided to keep the program going for now.  The original goal of team building was met, along with more recognition within our company, which is always a good thing!

      Our Other Recognition Programs for 2013

      1. Years of Service Awards

      2. 'Honey Badger of the Quarter' Award

      3. President’s Award (Unsung Hero)

      For more information about creating a Recognition Program for your organization, please contact us – we’d be happy to help you.

      Cheers,

      Jessica

    • Giving the Gift of Time—Clocks as an Award

      We see that many companies and community organizations are beginning to use beautiful clocks as a way to recognize their employees and volunteers.  And we have responded by adding a variety of options to our websites.  We offer brass, glass, crystal and rosewood clocks, in desk, mantle and wall styles. We have weather station clocks and book clocks. Clocks are not just for retirement gifts.

      One of the best appreciation gifts you can offer an employee is a beautiful clock. They can be so much more than a time piece.  They are elegant tokens of enduring appreciation. Personally, I love the clocks that have visible gears and cogs so you can actually see them working, like skeleton clocks.

      I love being able to see the inner-workings of these clocks! I love being able to see the inner-workings of these clocks!

      Clocks offer a great way to display your corporate logo along with a sentiment of thanks to an important client or recognition of an employee’s dedication and service. A clock award will remain on their desk, shelf or mantle and will be looked at, perhaps more than any other award.

      Volunteers give the gift of time to their communities because they care and they want to make a difference.  Jessica’s blog last week discussed the importance of recognizing volunteers, thanking them for what they do and the time they give.

      We have some great local examples of how volunteers are recognized.  I know because sometimes I’m lucky enough to help with the awards used in their celebrations.  The SAMMI Awards celebrate and promote community involvement in the City of Sammamish. The Issaquah Community Awards is hosted by the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and recognizes community volunteers in Issaquah. Why not thank the volunteers in your world for their gift of time with a ‘gift of time’.

      A clock with a photo frame can be a unique wedding gift. Have the wedding date and the couple’s names engraved, then add a treasured photograph from their engagement or wedding day.

      Whoever you’re recognizing and whatever the occasion, consider giving a beautiful clock to make a lasting impression.

      Blessings, Anne

    • Recognizing Volunteers

      Volunteers are people who are willing to work for free, with only the payment of knowing that they’re making a difference in the world.  Whether it’s a school, business, government or another community group, many organizations can’t afford to hire the staff they need to get the job done.  They rely on trained volunteers to fill the gaps in workload.

      Volunteer Volunteers may work for free, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve recognition just like any other employee.

      What Motivates Volunteers?

      As a former coordinator of over 300 volunteers, and having been a volunteer for various groups for over the past 20 years, I have a lot of experience of what makes volunteers tick.

      Volunteers do the work they do because they want to make a difference.  They have a vested interest in the work of the organization in order for it to be worthy of their time and effort.  For example, Anne and I have been volunteering as Girl Scout leaders together for the past 6 years.  We believe what we’re doing is helping grow confident, independent women full of courage and compassion.  Since both of our daughters are in the group, we have a vested interest in the outcome of our work.  In my former life, I coordinated volunteers who lived on lakes and took water quality samples to track lake health over time.  These citizen volunteers had a vested interest in the results of their work as it directly affected their home value, health and quality of life.  I find that most volunteers find value in giving their time and often receive more than they give.  However, that doesn’t mean that they should be ignored and go unrecognized for their time and effort.  Just like any paid employee, volunteers need recognition for a job well done.

      How Do You Recognize Volunteers?

      Unlike paid employees, volunteers aren't motivated by money.  So what's the best way to acknowledge their efforts?  Below are some ideas of what I’ve done to recognize volunteers and things I’ve received as a volunteer that has been meaningful to me.

      Anne volunteering Anne volunteering her time as a Girl Scout leader.

      Give meaningful gifts.  It doesn’t have to be big or expensive, but volunteers love thoughtful gifts related to the work they do.  For example, I’m a Master Gardener and volunteer my time answering gardening questions.  For recognition, our leader gave each of us a bouquet of dahlias with a small handwritten note; another year she gave us gardening gloves with a seed packet inside.  For girl scouts, one year each leader received an embroidered ‘Girl Scout Leader’ tote bag; another year we received a girl scout mug with themed M&Ms inside.  These small gifts were thoughtful gestures with a personal touch that I loved receiving and made me feel valued by the organization.

      Host educational events related to the work they do.  My lake volunteers were often retired and didn’t need more stuff to add to their overflowing homes.  So instead of a gift or award, I offered a yearly recognition event to thank them for their work.  One year I had a local meteorologist  lecture to my volunteers; another year I organized a private tour of the pristine watershed where our drinking water comes from.  Both of these events were related to their volunteer work (water quality) and were well attended by the volunteers.

      Feed your volunteers a meal.  Host a luncheon or dinner where you invite all of the volunteers in your organization as a thank you.  Everyone loves a free meal and a chance to visit with others in the organization.

      Recognize extraordinary service at a yearly meeting.  If a volunteer has served the organization for a long time, or has gone above or beyond for the group, they deserve special  recognition.  This recognition is most effective in front of a group of peers, either at a special meeting or at a yearly banquet.  An engraved award is an appropriate symbol of this recognition and would be very meaningful.  Just as with any other award presentation, be sure to think about what is said about the volunteer recipient, as this moment can make a big impact.

      Recognize volunteers in print.  At my daughter’s elementary school, all volunteers are listed and thanked both in the weekly school bulletin and the monthly PTA newsletter.  Why go to all that effort?  Because volunteers like to be acknowledged for the work they’ve done.  Be sure to include a thank you and list of volunteers in programs, newsletters, web sites, and other publications.

      Ask for and value their feedback.  As a volunteer coordinator, each year I would send a survey to my volunteers asking for their feedback of our program.  Volunteers have a lot to give besides just their time.  They feel valued and appreciated when their suggestions are heard.

      Even though most volunteers are donating their time as a labor of love, they still need to be recognized for their efforts.  Consider putting some thought into how to appreciate those who give so much without expecting anything in return.

      Cheers, Jessica

    • History of Loving Cup Trophies

      Presenting Cups as Symbols of Accomplishment

      Loving cup trophies are timeless and classic awards. This one is my favorite that we offer. Loving cup trophies are timeless and classic awards. This one is my favorite that we offer.

      How did this iconic trophy come to be? It’s hard to accurately pinpoint when loving cups became trophies, and the history around the origin of these awards is unclear. But what is known is rather interesting.

      Traditionally, loving cups are used in wedding ceremonies. Made of silver, these types of cups have two handles for passing from person to person. They date back to the 15th century, including the Celtic Quaich, and the French coupe de marriage. In ancient times, these cups were passed around banquets and used for toasts, and they are still used for this purpose at weddings today. Many couples share their first drink together as husband and wife from an engraved loving cup, symbolizing the joining of two families into one.

      But how did these glamorized drinking cups morph into the ideal trophy? The answer is unknown. Traditionally a “trophy” was something taken from one’s enemy – a piece of armor, a weapon, or sometimes a body part (ick!) – as a symbol of victory in battle. Cups as trophies don’t show up until the mid-18th century, but how did they raise to become the iconic symbol of achievement?

      One theory is that John Wesley (1703-1781), founder of the Methodist church, hosted ‘loving feasts’, where a cup of water was shared with everyone present. His cup had two handles making it easier to pass from person to person, hence the name ‘loving cup’. Maybe he went to a wedding for his inspiration? Who knows! But how did that loving cup become a trophy? The answer is a mystery.

      Famous Loving Cups

      Since then, a cup as a trophy is the standard of excellence.

      Stanley Cup Check out Wikipedia for more history of the Stanley Cup.

      One of the most famous cup trophies is the NHL’s Stanley Cup; it’s also the oldest professional sports trophy in North America. It was donated in 1892 by then Governor General of Canada, Lord Stanley of Preston. Awarded to the champion of the Stanley Cup Finals, this cup continues to be the highest honor in ice hockey.

      Other notable cup trophies include the African Nation’s Cup, the FIFA World Cup, the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the Cricket World Cup, the America’s Cup and the PGA Ryder Cup. It’s interesting to note that most of these awards are team awards, as it seems the original gesture of passing the cup from person to person has evolved into a symbol of team achievement.

      Our Cup Trophies

      Do you want to honor your team with a loving cup? If so, we have many sizes and prices to choose between. Click here for a large selection of cup trophies. My favorite is the Brenna Loving Cup Trophy, because it is named after my daughter Brenna. It is a pretty shiny metal cup, with a black marble base; a classic and elegant choice.

      No matter which cup you choose, know that this type award has a long and mysterious history, steeped in tradition and lore. It’s also one of the most prestigious awards you can give, sure to make any achievement even more meaningful.

      Cheers, Jessica

    • How Issaquah Observes Veterans Day

      Veterans Day

      A time to recognize and celebrate those who have served our country in the armed services. I have found a few local ‘celebrations’ of Veterans Day that I wanted to share.  If you know of more, please add them with a comment below.

      Issaquah Senior Center

      The Issaquah Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 3436, led by David Waggoner will host a Veterans Day ceremony at the Issaquah Senior Center on Monday, Nov 12th, at 11am.  There will be a Color Guard and all Veterans in attendance will be recognized.  A panel of Veterans (WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan) will answer the question, ‘What does Veterans Day mean to you?’

      There will be a presentation from the Issaquah Historical Society about Carl Albert Larson, the namesake of our local VFW post. The Veteran of the Year Award will be presented and an Honor Guard will present a 21-Gun Salute outside the Senior Center at Veterans Memorial Field.

      Issaquah Schools

      ISD Schools are closed on Monday. Many are having Veterans Day Assemblies on Friday the 9th.

      At Issaquah High School, students will participate in a program called Cell Phones for Soldiers. Encourage your student to donate any old cell phones and chargers.  In addition you can drop them off at our showroom at 1320 NW Mall Street, A-2, Issaquah. For more information go to www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.

      IHS students will also collaborate to film an all-school video to express their gratitude to Veterans. The video will be available on Friday, Nov 9th to view.  I’ll post a link to it on our Facebook page this weekend so you can see it. www.facebook.com/issaquahtrophy.

      One Young Man’s Request

      I received this email today from a friend. She was forwarding an email from a young man in our community who wants to do something special for those currently serving our country.

      Dear friends and family-

      As you may or may not know, Veterans Day is a very special holiday in our household as my dad himself was a veteran. He has many times told me how much he loved getting packages and goodies in the mail from his family and even people he did not know. I thought about all the troops overseas currently, and thought that they would enjoy packages as well. So this year, in support of Operation Support our Troops, I am collecting items to send to the troops as I feel that they deserve support as they are the defenders of our country and its freedom and other rights. I did this a few years ago and a lot of people thought it was a good way to get rid of their extra Halloween candy!

      Other things Operation Support Our Troops says that our soldiers enjoy: chewing gum, top ramen, beef jerky, nuts, powder drink mixes, hot chocolate, tuna in a pouch. Thanks for supporting our troops, Jack.

      If you have any donations you’d like Jack to pass on to our troops, we’ll collect them at Issaquah Trophy & Awards.  1320 NW Mall Street,A-2, Issaquah. For more information about Operation Support Our Troops go to http://www.osotamerica.org/.

      Happy Veterans Day!

      Blessings, Anne

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