Monthly Archives: February 2013

    • Recognition for Organizations That Serve Others

      Last month I wrote about Heroes for the Homeless, the organization we are partnering with for the 1st quarter of 2013.  Each quarter we chose a new organization to work with because we believe in the Power of Recognition, and we want to recognize how people do truly amazing things to serve others.  Heroes for the Homeless serves up to 700 individuals every month, providing food, water, hygiene supplies, clothing, tents, sleeping bags, and information on how to access social services. We think that is deserving of some recognition!

      IHS Key Club making PBJs

      There are some great ways to recognize an organization like Heroes for the Homeless.  Here’s what we do.  Maybe you have some additional ideas you could share?

      Make a financial contribution to support the great work they do. We will make a donation to Heroes for the Homeless at the end of the first quarter based on the sales of specific awards.  Check out those awards here.   We have some great basketball trophies if your kids are finishing up their season soon, consider these awards to make a donation.

      Spread the word about who they are and what they do so more people can support and recognize them. We use this blog, our Facebook posts, Twitter @AwardsGuru, and more to promote the organization we partner with.  Our hope is that this will increase awareness of their cause and nudge others to support them as well.

      Join them in their efforts. If possible, our employees try to be involved with them also.  Last fall, Jessica and Janice volunteered for the Susan G Komen 3-Day Walk in Seattle. They were on hand to pass out t-shirts to the finishers. I know they felt privileged to be a part of recognizing the walkers for their accomplishments.

      Janice and Jessica at the Susan G Komen 3-Day

      And in January we hosted a PBJ party. A group of Issaquah High School Key Club volunteers, a handful of girl scouts and some of our employees got together, and with generous donations from our local community, we made 625 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Heroes for the Homeless. Our owner, Jeff Anderson, drove the sandwiches to Seattle very early the next morning so they could be distributed to the people that Heroes serve.  The kids who made the sandwiches have already asked me, ‘When can we do it again?’

      We are still collecting new, warm socks and travel-sized toothpaste, shampoo, soap and other toiletries. If you are near Issaquah and have some you’d like to donate, please drop them by our showroom between 8:30-5:00 Monday – Friday through the end of March. 1320 NW Mall St, A-2, Issaquah, WA 98027.

      Please visit the Heroes for the Homeless website.  To get a better idea of what exactly they do, watch their video, Walking With Heroes.  By the way, congrats to them for 'Spreading Love for More Than Six Years'.  They had their 100th Outreach on February 9, 2013!

      We’d love to hear about the organizations that you support.  Feel free to post comments below.

      Blessings, Anne

    • Be a Guest Blogger and Share the Power of Recognition

      At Trophies2Go and Issaquah Trophy, we love hearing the stories behind the beautiful recognition awards we make for you. Will you tell us your recognition story that we can post here in our blog?

      What should you write about?  Here are a few ideas:

      How do you use recognition in your company or organization?  What results do you see from it?

      Do you have Service Awards?  Sales Awards?  President Award? How often are they awarded?

      Besides awards, what other ways do you recognize your employees, customers, partners or volunteers?

      What’s the best recognition you have ever received and how did it make you feel?

      What’s the funniest recognition you’ve given or received?  We know it’s important to have fun in the work place.  We see some pretty funny award come through our production facility.

       Who will be reading what you write?

      Other people, just like you, looking for ideas on what’s new in recognition. Or looking for ideas on how to reward their employees, customers, partners or volunteers. It might be someone who has a lot of experience with recognition, or it may be someone brand new and needing to start from the beginning.

      How long should it be?

      However long you want it to be, but probably no longer than what can be read in a few minutes. If you’d like to include a photo of your award or even someone receiving their award, we would love that! Make sure you have permission to use the photo, please. And if the pictures are not yours, please let us know who to give credit to.

      When you’re ready, go ahead and write your blog post in a Word document. Then email it along with any pictures to [email protected] We’ll let you know when it will be posted.

      Thanks for considering being a Guest Blogger!  It’ll be fun.  You never know, you may discover something inside yourself that loves to write!

      Blessings!   Anne

    • Employee Engagement Should be a Two-Way Street

      I wrote a blog article last December called Employee Engagement – not as hard as you think.  According to a recent Gallup Poll (Oct 2011) 71% of American workers are ‘not engaged’ or are ‘actively disengaged’ in their work.  In the blog I talked about things an employer or manager can do to help their employees be more engaged.  Ever since I wrote it, I’ve been wondering if there is another, equally critical, side to this issue.

      What is Engagement?

      Just as a refresher, what is employee engagement?  There is no shortage of articles and books to read on the subject.  According to Wikipedia, an engaged employee is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about their work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization’s interests. Sounds like a great employee.

      As an employer, how do you make sure your employees are engaged?  If you search for an answer, be prepared for the avalanche of opinions. They will range from ‘listen to your employees’, to ‘make them feel valued so they deliver value’, to ‘meet individual needs’. All, and much more, are critical in helping to engage your employees.

      The Other Side

      I’m curious though.  What if we looked at employee engagement from the employee’s viewpoint? What would that look like?

      As an employee, you should ask yourself, how can I be more engaged today?  What can I do differently in my position today to make a difference in the company I work for?

      Do you feel connected to the company’s mission and values?  Do you know what they are?  If not, find them, print them out, and post them in your workspace. Figure out how to connect with them.  There has to be a way, or you wouldn’t still be in the job you’re in.

      Next, ask yourself, what motivates me? Is it salary, recognition, position, time off?  Figure it out and tell your manager. Hopefully they’ve already asked.  But if not, tell them.

      Ask your manager to help you reach your job and career goals. See that award on your co-worker’s desk from last quarter.  Ask your manager what you can do this quarter to earn that award.  Put a plan in place.  Break down the steps and go to work.  Want the corner office?  That may be a longer plan.  Even if it’s something you want 3-5 years down the road, a good manager should be able to help you identify the significant milestones you’ll need to reach in order to get there.

      Yes, good companies know they should listen to you, their employee.  And they know they should be asking what motivates you to give your best, and then helping you to do just that.  But I think engagement needs to be a two-way street.  Don’t ask how is my company going to engage me?  When do I get a raise? Why does that person always get recognized?

      What can you do today to make your company successful?

      Instead ask, what do I need to do differently? How do I engage differently so that I can reach my goals?  What can I do today to help my company reach its goals and fulfill its mission?  If you figure that out and actually do it, the payoff and the feeling of accomplishment will be incredible. As I’m sure any individual on a winning sports team will tell you, being a part of something successful is a great feeling. Knowing you played a big role in making it successful is even better.

      I’d like to repeat myself here: As an employee, ask yourself, how can I be more engaged today?  What can I do differently in my position today to make a difference in the company I work for?

      Blessings, Anne

    • Awards and Recognition Association (ARA) Trade Show

      Today we have a guest Blogger, our President and CEO, Jeff Anderson. He discusses why he attends the ARA trade show each year and the benefits. Enjoy! Here's Jeff:

      At the beginning of each year, the Awards and Recognition Association (ARA) holds its trade show in Las Vegas. While the focus of the show is on new products and innovations in the awards industry, I get more out of it than most. Don’t get me wrong, I do want to know what new products are out there, as most of our new awards selection does come from the show. I also use it as an opportunity to select new suppliers. When meeting a new vendor, I like to know their terms of service, order processing times, shipping times, guarantees, and if they offer volume pricing. I typically select 2-3 to test-drive. I feel fortunate if one of these turns out to be a long-term supplier for us.

      Jeff with the giant Oscar trophy. Jeff with the giant JDS Oscar-replica trophy at the 2013 ARA Trade Show.

      The purpose of this post, however, is to dive deeper into what I get out of the show. I feel like there are 4 additional reasons that make this trade show worthwhile, including industry trends, education, giving back, and camaraderie.

      Industry Trends

      What is happening now that is new? What are the latest and greatest products and tools? What pains suppliers and other retailers? This helps me know what others are doing successfully and what pitfalls to avoid. This affects our business by enabling us to provide leading products and services to our customers. If I didn’t attend (and a lot of people don’t), I would be doing a disservice to my customers by putting my business on cruise control and not trying to improve.


      Continuing education is also an important benefit to attending the show. Although I have attended dozens of seminars in the past, I can never get enough. There are always small nuggets of information that I get from each presenter. They also serve as a way to get to know other retailers and see how they approach business. This can be eye opening at times, since there is a wide-range of business people at the education seminars. Nevertheless, there is always something to be learned – either from the seminar or the attendees. This year, I was a panel guest at a seminar, and it was an eye opening experience being the teacher instead of the attendee.

      Giving Back

      Since the Awards and Recognition Association has provided so much for me in the past, the least I can do is give back. This year, I have been elected to serve on the ARA board and will be guiding the direction of the organization and the industry into the future. It is an honor and a humbling experience to be given this opportunity, and I look forward to giving back even more to an organization that has helped me and my business so much in the past. The ARA has also generously awarded two of my staff college scholarships for their children through the ARIEF Scholarship Program. This organization does a great job of giving back to our community, so I want to do my part to support them. I don’t know everything by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have 20+ of years in the industry. I have a lot of experience when it comes to growing an awards business, issues with employees, customer satisfaction issues, and more. To share some of these experiences with the end result helping someone else is a great honor.


      Fun, Fellowship, Friendship. Being in the company of individuals in the same industry is heart-warming. Whether on the show floor, in a seminar, or (my favorite) after-hours socialization, it is nice to spend a couple of days with people who understand what you do, how you do it, and what you go through.

      Whether you are a fellow ARA member or one of our customers, I hope you have enjoyed reading what I get out of attending the ARA trade show.  It's a great organization and I'm glad to be a part of it.

      Best, Jeff

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