5 Ways to build Employee Engagement

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happy people

1. Milestone Mementos

When something good happens, you need to show some love.

At the end of a major project, present each member of a team with a memento that recognizes their part in successful completion of a major product release, achievement of a quality standard, the awarding of a patent, or the winning of a major contract.  These gifts or mementos need not be large, but they will serve as a permanent reminder of a specific success. When possible, tie the memento to the specific project. The memento could be a printed shirt, a desk paperweight, a coin, or a mantle showpiece.

acrylic desk pieces


2. High Standards.

In the world of quality assurance, process improvement or an emphasis on zero accident safety, it is important to incentivize and motivate the achievement of high standards. Many times achieving a high standard is its own reward, but a small token of appreciation for sustained and well directed effort goes a long way towards saying a proper thank you to those who met the goals given to them.

Art Glass Awards

3. Top Achievers.

If somebody is the best, show them! Give them a trophy to show off  to others People hang diplomas in their offices, and other certificates of achievement, to show others that they have achieved at a high level. The showpieces matter a lot to our egos. Think of all the importance place on the Oscar award, or the Emmy’s or the Grammy’s. These are prized possessions. Whatever your business, there are people who achieve the equivalent of these well known awards. Top achievers deserve no less.

sculpture awards

4. Exceeding Expectations.

Sales is a tough business. Great sales managers set high quotas and push their people, and should also make a huge deal out of those who exceed those targets. The pride of receiving an award for exceeding quota is incredible. Even more incredible is having a wall full of exceeded quota awards. But this isn’t just for sales. You can use any metric to set goals, and when people exceed goals. They deserve a memento of that super achievement.

Plaque awards

5. Start at the beginning.

Make an impression on the first day by including in your onboarding process a couple branded products that the new employee can wear or use in public and declare they are part of your organization. Products with your logo and values of your organization provides a daily reminder that the new hire is part of a vibrant team, working towards creating value in the world.  Branded apparel can serve the dual purpose of creating that feeling of a team with the employee and marketing to all the people who see them wearing it.


Corporate Culture, a new currency.

More than ever, prospective employees are looking for a corporate culture that appreciates their contribution. Money is only one measure, and since most people don’t broadcast their salary, they need symbolic ways to tell friends and co-workers they are good. That is where First Place helps you. We create gifts awards and custom apparel that you can use for congratulating and motivating your most important asset, human resources.


Crystal D awards


Pink Spots, a partner we appreciate.

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Pink spots business directory

The other day I received a call from Kevin Babeaux, who runs a media company called Rhineaux Media Corp. We decided to run an ad with his website and print magazine.  Pink Spots reaches a niche market of people who are looking for businesses friendly to the LGBTQ community. I love when people like Kevin strive to meet the needs of a small group, a niche. According to luminaries like Seth Godin, working with your “tribe” is where businesses are succeeding in today’s world.

In a day when the nation seems divided by all sorts of ideologies, political parties and other faux divisions, we like to remember that all people are basically the same. We like to be recognized and appreciated for the good that we do, and we like to feel good about our work in our jobs, communities and other endeavors. We don’t care what your particular beliefs or lifestyle is, for we love to celebrate your successes at wherever you find your passions and talents.

So next time you meet that person in the coffee shop, the bus, the grocery store, and they are maybe a little different from you, say a kind word, such as hello, smile and think of what they are good at.  I bet, somewhere, they have a trophy in their room or office that they are very proud of.

And should you have somebody that deserves recognition for a job well done, think of First Place Awards. We would love to be part of your celebrations.

First Place Awards and Recognition Listing

And, please, take the time to browse other listings on their website, and see what other businesses are reaching out with a friendly hand to the LGBTQ community.

Stay away from buying/selling commodities.

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No, this isn’t about trading pork bellies…. or rice.

This is my philosophy for how I help my clients. 

Quite often I have people asking me to quote on an item available from a brand vendor or other company. Okay, I can do that, but secretly I wonder and they have already selected the vendor they wish to purchase from  and I am just the 3rd bid to make sure they are getting a good price, or perhaps using my quote to negotiate a better price. I know that in such situations I can’t give them any value other than just a lower price than my competitor because obviously somebody else has already done the work helping them select a product. I prefer to help people who call me, find the product that actually meets their needs, in all the relevant aspects of function, design, price, and deliverability.

I’ve always admired people who sell intangible items like financial services, because they have to be very good at figuring out the real needs, hopes, desires of their clients. That takes an interview, or some skillful fact finding. I admire and therefore I do my best to emulate.

I always say I don’t care what I sell you, as long as that product meets your needs perfectly. I believe this approach is more conducive to a long term customer relationship. I find that if you find out what people want, and give it to them they will value my services more than if I just give them what is easiest for me.

How do I do it? I figure out what they are trying to accomplish. Simple as that. You need (X) product for this event, and you want it to be (G). It needs to be in (T) price range and easily ship-able, or make such and such an impression.  It will be given to these types of people, and they need to like it because of (K). Oh, and it needs to be delivered by XX/XX/XXXX.

Once I have all that information, I can give you the best product for your needs, and you will probably learn a little bit about all the options I know about that you don’t.

Experts don’t have all the answers from the get go, but they know how to correctly diagnose a problem, and once the diagnosis is correct, the answer is often plain as day. As a sales person, the idea is to become an expert. On that road to expertdom you need to ask all the pertinent questions actually solve your prospect’s problem. They will appreciate you taking the time. Trust me.

This is what I hope to do for you. Figure out the best product for you event, and I will walk you through the process to find that one thing that will be a complete success, that you didn’t even know existed.

florence eleganti blue with gold trim

The Paradox of Choice

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Have you heard of the paradox of choice? Have you watched the video?

If not, watch it here.

After watching the video, you must decide what it will mean in your life and business.  I say you have to figure out how to make every question you face a YES or NO question rather than a multiple choice question.

Let’s say you are going out to eat with a friend or loved one. You want Mexican, but don’t want to impose, so you ask the generic question of “Where do you want to eat?” Invariably, the answer is, ‘I don’t know, what do you want?’  That is because such an open ended question presents too many options to the other person.

hambugers vs tacos

A better question might be, do you want hamburgers or tacos? This narrows it down considerably, but still leaves another question.

Another more targeted question might be. “Do you wish to go to Hamburger Haven?”  Then the answer is a definite Yes/No question.  You will get either yes or no. If yes, you are done.  If the answer is “no” then you can ask, “Do you not want hamburgers?”  If the answer is no, then you can eliminate all hamburger restaurants. Then you respond, “How about tacos?” To which the answer is either yes or no. If the answer is yes, suggest a restaurant, if the answer is no, move on to Italian, or Chinese, or whatever, but eventually, by the process of elimination, you will arrive at the desired restaurant. Hopefully it doesn’t take too long, or the other person will now have a reference to go on, and the time to make a suggestion of their own.

This process will also work in the selection of your awards or apparel. Every question should be do you want this product? Yes/No.  Do you want a glass award? Yes/no. Do you want an acrylic award? Yes/no. Do you want medals? Yes/no. etc.

What does this all mean? We are binary creatures. Give me 12 options and I don’t act, because I can’t decide, give me one option, and I can always say yes or no.

Now, this may seem difficult at first glance, but if you cultivate the idea in your own mind that all questions should be yes/no questions, your decision will be easy.  People usually know what they want, they just have difficulty sorting it out because of the paradox of choice.

This is very important in a business such as ours, because we have thousands of solutions to every need. Choosing quickly is half the battle to getting the right product, in the right time frame.