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  • 18/06/2014

    How Employee Recognition Awards Can Help Small Businesses

    According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a psychological theory that has gained widespread acceptance, two of the most important needs we all share as human beings are the need to be respected by others and the need to belong. These twin desires are present at all stages of our lives, from grade school to college and even into our working years. It is no wonder then that most leaders understand how critical it is to motivate and engage their team.Maslow

    With annual revenues in the tens of billions of dollars, the market for employee recognition awards (plaques, trophies, certificates, etc.) has never been hotter. Though most of the orders come from medium to large companies, studies show that small businesses can actually benefit most from these often inexpensive programs.

    Getting Started

    Even though many of their employees are unaware of their existence, most large companies have expensive rewards programs. Why is this? The number one reason is that they reward people simply for sticking around. These tenure-based rewards programs are not only perfunctory and old-fashioned, they also create little or no value because they aren't based on actual performance. As a result, they do not satisfy the nearly universal need for earned and deserved recognition and respect.

    Narrow Your Focus

    Small business owners would be well advised to avoid the mistakes of their much larger competitors by developing programs that reward specific accomplishments and behaviors.  For example, don't just give someone a certificate for being the "employee of the month." Present them with an award for completing a specific project, winning a sales contest or delivering outstanding customer service over a certain period. Always remember that the objective is to reward specific behavior that you would like to encourage in other employees.

    Types of awards

    Recognizing employees on a regular basis can help your small business in all sorts of ways, from increasing attendance and improving worker retention to raising productivity and worker morale. All of this can and often must be done on the cheap. The good news for employers is that workers rarely care about the price of prize because they simply want to be recognized for their work – in this case, it’s truly the thought that counts. With that in mind, here are a few simple ideas that won't cost you an arm and a leg.

    • Extra Time Off:  With the exception of handing them a bonus check, giving a deserving Employee of Monthemployee a day or two off each year with pay is a cost-effective way of saying "Thank you!" for a job well done. It should also serve as motivation for other members of your staff to work a bit harder to earn the prize the next time around.
    • VIP Parking Space: One again, it won't cost you much, if anything, but a prime parking spot for the Employee of the Month winner is a prize most workers will fight for.
    • Plaque, Trophies & Certificates: A personalized award is a great way to thank or reward an employee for an outstanding accomplishment. Not only do they receive the recognition they crave when presented with it, but workers also have something tangible that reminds them of the benefit of hard work for a long time to come.

    Whichever awards you decide to give out, make certain they are tied to a specific accomplishment that you believe the recipient should be celebrated for. This will show your entire staff that you value and appreciate their best efforts.

  • 18/06/2014

    How to Attract & Retain Millenial Talent with Corporate Awards

    Whether it's simply human nature or society or both, older generations have always had a penchant for criticizing younger ones. It could be the length of their hair, their music, or even theirMillenials 1 attitude that they object to. But seldom has a generation been so unanimously maligned for one specific characteristic as Generation Y. The so-called Millennials have earned consistently low marks for loyalty from employers, as they have embraced job hopping as a legitimate career strategy.

    What is It?

    Countless studies have confirmed that Millennials spend an average of just two years at each job before they jump ship and hop to another one. By comparison, the generations that preceded them, Generation X and the Baby Boomers, spent 5 years and 7 year respectively at each of their early jobs. What does this new reality mean for modern employers?

    For starters, it means that they are having a much harder time retaining new workers than they did in the past; a fact that weighs on the minds of managers and corporate recruiters alike. The problem is so severe that it's actually measured in two ways: direct and indirect costs.  Direct costs include the time and money it takes to recruit, interview, and train a new employee, while indirect costs include loses in efficiency and employee morale that inevitably attend high worker turnover.

    How to Improve Retention Rates

    Even if we believe that Millennials are, on average, less loyal to their employers than earlier generations, they almost always have a reason for leaving one company for another. Now, you might assume that that reason is always monetary in nature, but you'd be wrong!

    According to numerous surveys, younger workers want a positive, inspiring working environment that gives them the opportunity to spread their wings. And as for loyalty, Millennials are no different than previous generations in that most of them want to be a part of a group or team that focuses on something much larger than themselves. However, they also want their bosses to recognize and Millenials 2reward their hard work and dedication.  This can be accomplished quite easily in one simple step.

    Create a Reward & Recognition Program

    No matter which generation we belong to, we all have a basic human need to feel appreciated and thusly proud of the work we do. Employee recognition and incentive programs are an effective, often inexpensive way for bosses to show young workers that their hard work has not gone unnoticed.  What the reward is makes no difference - a plastic trophy, a wooden plaque, or a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant are all valuable in the eyes of employees looking for recognition.

    The point of these programs is to let employees know that what they do matters and will be rewarded on a regular basis.  This is especially important for those who have only recently entered the work force and are looking for affirmation that they’re on the right track.

    Recognition and reward programs also have the extra added benefit of fostering healthy competition between employees. Because the prizes are often quite small, workers are unlikely to resort to underhanded tactics just to secure a victory, but will rather compete because they want the recognition that comes with the award.

    It is no wonder younger workers often excel in competitions that give them an opportunity to earn their spurs and prove to older employees that they have what it takes to make it in the business.

  • 12/05/2014

    How to Keep Your Staff from Jumping Ship

    As the U.S. job market continues its slow and steady recovery, employers are growing increasingly worried about rising turnover rates.  Even Fortune 500 companies like Amazon and Google are having a tough time hanging onto employees for more than one year!  Employee Turnover

    The days when a worker would pledge undying loyalty to his/her employer have long since come and gone. It seems that job hopping is here to stay, which could spell trouble for companies of all sizes.  If you have valued employees that you’d like to hang onto, however, read on for some helpful tips.

    Why it Hurts

    No matter the business, on-the-job training is almost always required for new staff members. Depending on the industry, that initial investment might range from hundreds to thousands of dollars; an investment that is obviously lost when a worker leaves.

    Then, you must consider the cost it takes to replace that employee through recruiting, interviews, and retraining. Last but not least, high-performing workers are more likely to leave than low-performing ones, since they often have more career options. These skilled and highly competent team members are much more expensive and difficult to replace.

    How to Keep Them

    Money may be the main reason most workers leave, but there are often other motivating factors at play.  Employees that feel unappreciated and/or interchangeable almost always have much lower levels of job satisfaction. This can have a huge effect on their performance and even on the morale of the entire office.

    For obvious reasons, it can be difficult to keep everyone happy all the time; and really, that's not a boss's job. However, there are little things nearly any leader can do to motivate his/her troops.  Here are three simple tips.

    1. Make work fun and rewarding

    Nobody wants to leave a warm bed early in the morning to work at a place they hate for eight-plus hours a day. Yet for some strange, unknown reason, bosses consistently underestimate the value of a positive working environment. How do we define our ideal workplace?

    First and most importantly, every employee, no matter their title or pay should treat each other with respect. Secondly, teamwork should be encouraged, rather than constant, take-no-prisoners competition. That may have worked in the 1980s, but it's simply not the best way to build a strong, effective team in the modern age. Lastly, it is important for Accepting Awardbosses to recognize individual achievements as often as possible in several different ways.

    2. Give Awards

    Easily the most popular individual prize given at companies around the world is the Employee of the Month (EOM) award. Whether it involves a plaque and a picture, a gift certificate, or a slight bump in pay, this program can help create a positive working environment that encourages healthy competition. How? Instead of backbiting and infighting, ambitious employees often try to learn from previous EOM winners, which actually helps foster dialogue and teamwork through competition.

    3. Give Informal Praise

    Because not everyone can win a big monthly award, it is often a good idea to send the other members of your staff short messages of praise, when deserved. A simple email congratulating them for a job well done is generally well received by modern workers, most of whom crave positive feedback and encouragement from their bosses.

    Following these three simple tips can help nearly any business reduce employee turnover. Best of all, they hardly cost a thing!

  • 01/05/2014

    5 of Our Most Jaw-Dropping Crystal Awards

    Just as with our children, we can’t possibly say that we have favorites amongst our awards …but we must admit that we’re pretty partial to our crystal collection.    

    The only thing we don’t like about crystal is the fact that its beauty can’t possibly be captured in a Ancona Vasestill photograph, which doesn’t show the gorgeous way that it catches and reflects light.  If you’ve seen our new video, then you understand just how stunning these awards are in real life.

    Well, we decided to take a bit of time to highlight some of the crystal awards that we’re most proud to offer our customers.  Enjoy perusing these light-catching beauties and let us know which ones you love.

    1.  The Ancona Trophy Vase

         What’s great about this award is that it’s equally lovely as a stand-          alone award and as a functional flower vase.  The swooping cuts into      the base create depth and interest, as well as reflections that change Continuous Circleswith the angles of the light.  The etching option allows you to truly make this a personal honor for any recipient.

    2.  The Continuous Circle

    We love our awards that double as modern sculpture.  This one is simple, elegant and fascinating to look at.  It’s a perfect, minimalist piece for those who prefer not to display anything too showy or ostentatious.  Having this prominently displayed on your desk would be a subtle way to demonstrate your accomplishments.  The etching and included color option lets you make it unique to each recipient.

    Etched Eagle

    3.  The Etched Eagle

    This eagle, along with all of our etched crystal awards, looks beautiful in a photograph, but it’s almost mesmerizing in person.  The deep internal etching appears 3-D and life-like, and it allows you to appreciate a different, interesting view from every angle.  This artfully designed award sits atop a solid wooden base that features a customizable metal plate for the recipient’s name and the title of the honor they’ve received.

                                              4.  Ilumachrome Malibu

    Illumachrone MalibuOur Illumachrome collection is the perfect way to incorporate a striking, full-color image into your crystal award.  The unique Illumachrome process sets the photo behind clear crystal, which gives the image depth and really makes vibrant colors come alive.  Your choice of image and text style make it a completely customizable piece as the award takes on a completely different form with the image you choose.  Any Illumachrome design will certainly be a conversation piece on any desk in any office.

    5.  Phoenix

    As I said, we don’t like to play favorites around here, but the Phoenix colored crystal award always takes my breath away.  PhoenixThe intricate design will continue to steal your gaze, time after time.  The overlapping strips of blue and clear crystal are an optical masterpiece.  And the resulting blue and rainbow-colored reflections that the piece will throw all around the room are just an added bonus.  The whole thing sits upon a walnut wood base with a customizable plate.

    This handful of remarkable awards is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our crystal collection.  No matter what the honor or what the style of the recipient is, you’ll find the right fit.  Peruse the huge variety to find the perfect piece or reach out to seek our expert input.

  • 28/03/2014

    Leadership Lessons from Winnie the Pooh: What Leaders Can Learn from a Fictional Bear

    Created by English author A.A. Milne in 1926, Winnie the Pooh is not only a beloved children's book character, but also a noted philosopher. No, it's true! The teddy bear with a taste for honey has been the subject of several serious books that examine the deeper meaning of his simple sayings and ideas. One author even concluded that Pooh has a lot to teach us about leadership. Pooh

    Published in 2011, Winnie-the-Pooh on Management was written by Roger E. Allen as a primer for business leaders. Why them? According to the author, failure to master or even grasp the basics of management is the ultimate undoing of most businesses. Using our favorite bear's simple, homespun phrases, he is able to cut through the jargon and establish clear objectives, which are the hallmarks of strong leadership. What does Winnie have to teach us? We're glad you asked!

    Attitude is Everything

    Why do people follow their bosses in the business world? Believe it or not, it's not only because they sign their paychecks. A good leader has the uncanny ability to get the most out of those who work under them, often because they have a positive attitude that's downright infectious. And as we will see from this brief exchange between Winnie the Pooh and his best pal Piglet, he had it too:

    “When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

    “What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

    “I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

    Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

    “It’s the same thing,” he said.

    He might not be as introspective or articulate as his friend, but Pooh is a consummate optimist who takes life as it comes. He is seldom nervous or apprehensive about anything, which is his defining character trait. Business leaders would be prudent to follow his fine example, since a positive attitude can go a long way at the office.

    Listening is Imperative

    The wisest character in the Pooh books is Owl, a friend who often gives Winnie good advice. Here is one popular passage that speaks volumes about Winnie's mindset:

     Pooh Quote“Well, said Owl, “the customary procedure in such cases is as follows.”

    “What does Crustimoney Proseedcake mean?” said Pooh.  “For I am a Bear of Very Little Brain and long words Bother me.”

    “It means the Thing to Do.”

    “As long as it means that, I don’t mind,” said Pooh humbly.

    As you may have noticed, Winnie is not threatened by the fact that Owl knows more than him--just as bosses should not be threatened when their workers have a greater grasp of a certain subject. Instead, they should use that knowledge for the benefit of the team, rather than letting their ego get in the way of a golden opportunity. At the end of the day, leaders must realize, like Pooh, that they don't and can't possibly know everything. That's why they have employees!

    The above was but a brief sampling of the sage advice and modest wisdom of one of the world's most famous bears. There are, of course, many more kernels of truth hidden within the pages of his books. We invite and encourage you to look examine them all.

  • 07/03/2014

    The Team that Volunteers Together Stays Together: 3 Ways Your Workplace Can Give Back

    Ask any human resources manager what their single biggest challenge is and they're sure to say it's keeping their staff intact.  In the age of job-hopping, when the average worker stays with a company for only a few years, employee retention has become a critical issue. The never-ending cycle of losing and replacing workers not only hurts efficiency and the bottom line, it also can damage employee morale. What are business leaders to do?Volunteering

    Altruism to the Rescue

    It might surprise you to learn that most job applicants want to work for companies with a reputation for community service and engagement. Even the youngest generation in the workforce, the so-called Millennials, say that volunteering at work is important to them. In fact, a recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 88% of Millennials gravitate toward companies that have good corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Here are 3 ways your business can help itself while helping others.

    Click for Charity

    The easiest and most efficient way to give back is to go online and donate directly to the charity of your choice. Websites like let users search for and contribute to both local and national charities. The main advantage of this virtual strategy is efficiency, since you can give as much as you like, as often as you like, in a matter of minutes.Charity Navigator

    Although this method should make your staff feel better about the work they do because it helps those in need, it will not provide the meaningful one-on-one interactions and experiences that come with donating time rather than money. However, this is a great option for larger companies that want to give money to multiple charities across the nation and around the world.


    Philanthropic organizations are always in need of fundraising sponsors for the events they coordinate. While most businesses donate because they believe in the cause, they also receive good press when their company's name is attached to a charity or fund-raising event. This can go a long way on the local level and should serve as a source of pride for your entire staff.

    Although most sponsorships are one-time, short-term commitments, it is possible to partner with a charity that shares your values for a much longer period of time. Depending on the arrangement, this may allow your workers to take a more active role in the philanthropic organization, including volunteering and organizational assignments.

    In-Kind Contributions

    You don't always have to give money to contribute to a charity. An in-kind contribution is defined as a non-cash donation that involves goods, services, and non-monetary transactions. Here are a few common examples of in-kind donations:

    • Loaning out company space for charity auctions, fundraising, or special events
    • Devising a marketing plan for a philanthropic organization, free of charge
    • Allowing a charity to use your office equipment, supplies, and space at no cost

    In-kind contributions are great for local businesses that want to give back to their community without having to donate large sums of money. It is no wonder they are extremely popular with small businesses that want to get involved but can't write huge checks like the major corporations.

    No matter which option you choose, donating time and/or money can help improve job satisfaction by keeping employees interested, engaged and connected with their colleagues in a shared effort to help others. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving to all involved.

  • 11/02/2014

    6 Spontaneous Ways to Boost Morale: How to Inject Your Work with Fun

    You spend 1/3 of your life working and, if you’re lucky, 1/3 of it sleeping.  Between all the things you have to do in the other 8 hours, you probably find yourself having little time to fit in fun.

    PizzaWorkplaces tend to fall into routines that leave you feeling a bit like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day.”  Don’t despair though; we’re here to offer you some ideas that will help you liven up your team and bring a little sunshine to the daily drill.

    1.  Pizza Party

    Never underestimate the value of pizza.  Though the idea of a pizza party may seem juvenile, we challenge you to just try to think of a time free pizza wasn’t a welcomed sight.  If spirits are dragging, surprise your team with some hot, delicious pies for no reason at all.

    To sweeten the deal, encourage everyone to hang out and enjoy lunch together instead of retreating back to their desks.  It’s a fun way to take a quick break while also expressing your appreciation for everyone’s work.

    2.      Quote Board

    If your workplace is anything like ours, people say some pretty quote-worthy things from time to time.  For whatever reason, everyone in the vicinity breaks down in giggles and someone even posts it on Facebook.

    SO, why not go old school with a dry erase quote board? Keep it in a high-traffic spot (like the coffee machine) and encourage people to write down funny comments they say and hear.  It’ll provide a laugh as you mix your cream and sugar, while also strengthening team bonds.

     3.  SEAL

    Stop Everything and Laugh.  If things are too quiet and it seems like everyone needs a lift, call a mandatory SEAL.  Send out a link to a funny video and take a few minutes to watch it together.  It may take 5 minutes out of your day, but it will leave a smile on faces all day.

     4.  Fee Compliments

    During your next weekly meeting, take 20 minutes to give everyone a personal morale boost.  It’s easier than it sounds – just tape a large piece of paper with each person’s name on it around the room.  Ask everyone to walk around, silently and leave an anonymous compliment on each poster.  At the end, you all walk out with a lovely reminder of why your team values you.  Chances are, you’ll see them displayed proudlyBreakfast near many people’s desks.

     5.  Breakfast Club

    Start a weekly breakfast club by inviting the whole group to sign up, on a volunteer basis.  Put everyone in pairs or small groups, assign each group a date and have them bring breakfast for the rest of the club on their designated morning.  You’d be surprised how much it can brighten your Wednesday morning to walk into a kitchen filled with free breakfast.

    6.  Awards Show

    Without announcing it beforehand, the next time you have everyone together, present funny paper awards.  They don’t even have to be related to work performance.  Try categories like, “Best Homemade Lunches,” “Funniest One Liners,” or “Best Copy Machine Fixer.”  You can even make it a weekly or monthly tradition if you need to build in time for fun.

    The people with whom you work often end up becoming your second family, and some of your best friends, so it’s important to make sure that environment remains healthy and happy.  The best surefire way to do that is to consistently make time for laughter, bonding and fun.

  • 23/01/2014

    The Argument for Delegation: Why Great Leaders are Master Delegators

    Behind every great leader is a great team.

    That may not be a common saying, but it ought to be.

    Even the most capable, intelligent and experienced leaders cannot accomplish much on their own; from the person who makes the coffee all the way up to the boss’s right hand man, everyone helps get the job done.Leader

    When leaders fail, it’s often because of a failure to properly delegate and manage their team.  The best leaders know how and when to tap the skills and strengths of those around them.  These are the golden rules when it comes to doing it well.

    #1:  Plan, Plan, Plan

    Master delegators take a big job and break it up into reasonably-sized pieces, which then get distributed amongst the team.  When some people hear the word, “Delegation,” they think it’s just a fancy way to say that you’re passing off your work to someone else when you can’t handle it.  Not so.

    Skilled leaders don’t just delegate as needed; it’s part of the plan from the start.  As soon as a large task comes down the pipeline, they start their attack plan.  The first step is breaking it down and creating realistic deadlines for each piece.  This big picture overview is crucial before diving down into details.

    #2:  Know Your People

    When delegating, you don’t just grab the arm of the person closest to you and shove a file in their face.  No, this is panic-driven delegating and it’s not recommended.  Good leaders know how to best utilize all of their employees.  This starts with really knowing them well – both their personalities and their professional skills.

    Consider carefully how your team works with deadlines, the types of tasks they like and are best at, and whether they work best individually or in groups.  This is the benefit of a diverse team:  each person plays to their strengths, which results in the best possible outcome for everyone.

    #3:  Seek Support

    Pretending to be strong all the time is actually a weakness.  When leaders take on more than they’re capable of, failure is inevitable.  Certainly, it’s great to push and challenge yourself to do more, but know your limits.  And, as soon as you discover that your eyes may have been bigger than your proverbial stomach, get down to delegating. Team

    Putting on a façade of complete control, when it’s all crumbling beneath you, is a surefire way to communicate ineptitude.  Plus, it tends to become a harmful cycle.  The longer you go without admitting that you need help, the more scared you feel about reaching out or delegating.  Eventually, however, it will all come to light and you’ll regret not involving the capable people around you before things got out of hand.

    #4:  Check Early, Check Often

    You never delegate it and forget it.  If you are the one who assigned a task, you should also be the one who checks up on its progress.  Your first check should be done soon after the task is assigned; make sure everyone is getting off on the right foot and understands the expectations in the early stages.

    Coming up with a check-in schedule will help you to manage the tasks you’ve delegated.  Keep notes on what each person is working on and when they should be finished.  This way, even though you don’t have your hand in every pot, you have a view of the big picture.

    Some natural-born leaders have a hard time relinquishing total control.  They may feel that delegating means diminished power or a show of weakness.  When done well, however, delegation helps leaders accomplish much more than they could on their own.

    The next time you wonder how you’ll possibly get it all done, stop wondering and start delegating.

  • 10/12/2013

    10 Awards that Make Great Holiday Gifts: Why You Should Award Your Loved Ones This Year

    Teacher award

    You may be lucky enough to have a family full of people who are easy to shop for – they love everything, so your only problem is deciding which great gift idea to go with.

    What’s more likely is that you’ve got several people on your list who are impossible to shop for – you struggle every year trying to find something they’ll like that they don’t already have.

    This year, instead of falling back on a generic gift certificate, choose a beautiful, customized award that shows how much thought you put into their gift.

    Here are 10 awards that would make perfect presents for the award-worthy members of your inner circle.

    1.  The Teacher

    If you have any teachers in your life, you know just how hard they work, and how rarely they may feel recognized.  Show your child’s favorite teacher that you see and appreciate what they do with a personalized crystal apple, or this vibrant apple paperweight.

    2.  The SpitfireFire Award

    Who is the spicy spitfire in your family?  You know the one:  the person who always plays devil’s advocate, attends local protests and sparks debates around the dinner table.  Give your family’s
    firebrand this striking blaze of an art glass sculpture that stands in contrast to its black marble base.

    3.  The Graduate

    I don’t know about you, but when I pictured my first post-college job, I imagined having a fancy desk with an equally fancy nameplate.  That’s what travel awardit looked like in the movies!  Though your favorite graduate might just be working in a tiny cubicle,
    you can make it feel a little more special by giving this beautiful glass nameplate, which will surely
    be displayed with pride.


    4.  The Traveler

    Most of us have at least one wanderlust-filled world traveler in our midst.  You know the type – always just returning from or about to head to some exotic locale they can’t wait to see.  Show your admiration and respect for their globetrotting lifestyle with this elegant globe atop a stately column.

    5.  The Artist

    The art world may not award its best as much as the corporate world does, but that doesn’t mean you can’t award your family’s resident artist yourself.  Regardless of their medium, they will love thisArtist Award unique, asymmetrical metal sculpture that speaks of design and balance.

    6. The #1 Mom/Dad/Aunt/Uncle/Grandparent

    Does anyone tire of being told that they’re #1?  That’s a rhetorical question – the answer is “no.”  Surely, you have a family member who is super-committed to their role as a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle.  Make it clear that you think the world of them by presenting this simple, glass number one award.

    7.  The Musician

    Maybe your nephew is a budding guitarist, or your sister is a moonlighting violinist.  Whoever your favorite local musician is, they’d appreciate this sophisticated fluted crystal award that resembles an old-fashioned gramophone.

    8.  The Craft Beer Connoisseur

    Beer aficionados have become as ubiquitous as wine lovers these days.  Get big gift points this Beer Glassesyear by giving your favorite beer enthusiast a set of personalized beer glasses that double as shot glasses and candle holders.

    9.  The Athlete

    The beauty of this stylish crystal sports award is that it’s just as fitting for your 10-year-old, baseball-obsessed nephew as it is for your tennis-loving sister-in-law.  It references athletics while still being an elegant display piece for any room.

    10.     The Family Historian

    Our custom artwork makes a big statement – you decide what you want it to say.  Several types make great gifts for the family member who loves delving into family trees.  Deco casting is a perfect way to immortalize an influential ancestor.  And our water jet technology allows you to have a family home set in stone…or glass or crystal or several other materials.Custom Art

    Sometimes the best gifts are those that show how well we know the recipient and how much thought we put in to finding the perfect thing.

    These are just a few of the hundreds of awards that can be customized to fit the unique qualities of your friends and family members this holiday season.

  • 03/12/2013

    Leadership Lessons from the YouTube Job Quitter: What You Can Learn from a Very Public Resignation

    Leaving a job is never easy, no matter how it happens.  It can involve awkward conversations, intense emotions, and a lot of uncertainty.  Marina Shifrin, however, made quitting fun.

    A couple of months ago, she posted a YouTube video in which she dances to a Kanye West song while subtitles explain her reasons for leaving, most of which involve the Taiwanese animation company’s failure to recognize her efforts or value her free time.  To date, the video has gotten nearly 17 million views.  Obviously, she hit a nerve and lots of other people relate.

    Though this is obviously an exaggerated and all-too-public way to express displeasure with an employer, Shifrin does make some valid points that could teach all business leaders a thing or two.

    1.  Reasonable Hours

    Shifrin created the video at her employer’s office at 4:30am, just after the rest of her fellow employees had left the office.  There are very few professionals who should be working at such an hour.  Of course, we realize that working after hours is sometimes necessary in order to get the job done, but your employees shouldn’t feel that working into the wee hours is expected.

    We all know those workaholic perfectionists who will keep working if you don’t kick them out of the office.  Kick them out.  If you want productive, healthy employees then you sometimes need to be the one who tells them it’s OK to stop, go home and get some R & R.

    2.  Respect Personal Lives

    One of the first subtitles that appears on the screen says that Shifrin sacrificed relationships, time and energy for her job.  While it’s normal for professionals to make occasional personal sacrifices for their job, it shouldn’t become a routine.  If work requires so much time and energy that employees are unable to see friends and family or do personally-fulfilling activities outside of work, there’s a problem.

    More than likely, one of the reasons you hired your employees was their personalities – the unique experience and perspective that they brought.  This probably included a positive outlook.  As you probably know firsthand, the more we neglect personal relationships and the things that make us happy, the less we embody our true selves and the less joy we bring to what we do at work.  Become a guardian of your team’s personal lives by encouraging them to leave work at a decent hour and by genuinely inquiring about their lives outside of the office.

     3.  Quantity vs. Quality

    Shifrin worked at a company that produced videos.  According to her own video, the company valued the number of views each video got much more than the quality of the videos (we’d be willing to bet that hers got more than any of the videos the company created). Most business leaders can probably somewhat relate to her numbers-driven managers.  In the majority of industries, measurable indicators of success are pretty important.

    The key here, however, is balance.  While employees’ performance must be measured and assessed with some form of data, it’s important not to forget the real people behind the numbers.  Some jobs may take longer than others, some employees may work more slowly but create very good work, and some forms of success just can’t be measured in numbers.

     4.  Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

    Though Shifrin didn’t mention her employers by name, it didn’t take long for people to do a bit of internet research to find out where she worked.  This could have been a PR bomb for that company, but it wasn’t.

    Instead of making a public apology or cowering quietly, they created a spoof of Shifrin’s video, in which they delivered a light-hearted response to her complaints and ended by telling viewers that, incidentally, they were hiring.

    Marina Shifrin was smart to know when enough was enough.  She used her creativity to send a message to her employers, and this resulted in overnight fame and a whole host of job offers from companies who prize unconventional thinking and risk-taking.

    Make sure that you hold onto intelligent, inventive employees by rewarding their success and by making it clear that you see them as whole people who exist outside of the four walls of your company.

    Make sure that you hold onto intelligent, inventive employees by rewarding their success and by making it clear that you see them as whole people who exist outside of the four walls of your company.