Vital Tips for Employee Recognition

The Applied Companies was invited to write an article in 2011 for a Northern Nevada Business Weekly marketing publication. NNBW graciously allowed us to reprint the article on our blog.

The month of March is designated Employee Spirit Month with the first Friday selected for National Employee Appreciation Day. Start planning now for March 2, 2012 to celebrate a company’s most vital asset. Better yet, develop a reward and recognition system for use throughout the year.   

Productivity, engagement, and retention result when employees receive constructive and meaningful appreciation. How can you be effective with limited resources? Here are some tips from our human resource professionals:

            Do set a standard and example from the top to create a company culture that reflects encouragement, courtesy, and gratitude. Get involved in recognition programs and festivities.

            Don’t expect employee morale to improve when owners, managers, and supervisors elect not to participate. Leaders must show support to the team. The company can take a break. It isn’t stopping production; it’s increasing productivity.

            Do establish criteria for recognition based on company goals. All employees must be eligible. Provide details on what behavior or actions are rewarded.

            Don’t ignore an employee’s desire to feel like a part of the company. Awareness of expectations combined with belief and acceptance of the values and goals of an organization is a powerful motivator. 

            Do set up a company gift box or treasure chest. Fill it with wrapped $5 gift cards. Food, gasoline, dollar stores and Walmart/Target cards are popular choices.

            Don’t assume you know the staff. Ask what motivates them – what makes them proud. Take time to listen for their likes. Create a simple poll where they can describe how they would like to be recognized.

            Do offer sincere, honest praise. Describe why the employee is receiving recognition. A verbal “well done” concerning a specific task, project, or customer service is great. A handwritten note or thank you card is better. Let them draw from the gift box. Copy the thank you and put it in a drawing for more substantial rewards during Appreciation Day 2012.

            Don’t flatter. It’s insincere and shallow. Dale Carnegie likens flattery to counterfeit money – it will eventually get you into trouble if you pass it on.

            Do set budget and time commitments. Clear boundaries avoid the frustration of wasted time and hard work or false promises and grand ideas that never come to fruition.

            Don’t go it alone. Create a “Happy Company” team to help generate ideas, schedule activities and purchase supplies.

            Do present ribbons, certificates, balloons, plants and small toys. A daisy always puts a smile on someone’s face. Put together a “Treat Cart” that rolls out to employees. Let them pick from a variety of fun items – cupcakes, bagels, vegetables/dips, toys, books and DVD’s.

            Don’t underestimate the power of the potluck. Appreciation Day can be as simple as the company purchasing sandwich makings with a sign-up sheet for employees to bring salads, chips and desserts. Top management can briefly thank everyone; present awards, then introduce a game(s). For instance, post a list of employees’ names and baby pictures (brought in earlier) – guess the correct match.

            Do offer events at random times during the year. Combine monthly birthday/anniversary celebrations with each employee receiving their own card signed by management and co-workers. Casual Day, Brunch Day (bagels/orange juice), 15 minute stress busting massages during work hours, trivia games and contests like “Pumpkin Decorating” break up routines.

            Don’t hold dancing, Karaoke, or arm-wrestling type contests that could put employees in embarrassing or inappropriate situations.

Strategize, embrace the uncomplicated and generate surprises. Employees will appreciate your efforts and so will you!

Written by Susan Fix, The Applied Companies Community Liaison Partner with input from the 2011 Applied Business Solutions Human Resource Team. Fix has worked 15 years in staffing services performing outside sales, recruiting, permanent and temporary placement coordination, career counseling, customer service and social media/business.

King Tut Has Arrived in Reno, Nevada

Okay, King Tutankhamun himself is not in Reno.  However, the spirit of his reign has been captured by the Wilbur D. May Museum where more than 130 replicas of artifacts found in King Tut’s tomb are on display. We recently posted the “Why I Love Reno” video on our website and we’ve found “Wonderful Things” from the Pharaoh’s Tomb is our newest reason to love Reno.

Anubis_Shrine_Websize_2-5-12.jpgWe were graciously allowed to photograph the Anubis Shrine and the Golden Canopic Shrine & Tutelary Goddesses for this blog. The Anubis Shrine, mounted on a carrying sledge, was found at the entrance to the treasury of Tutankhamun’s tomb. The shrine contained the pharaoh’s ritual embalming equipment. The Golden Canopic Shrine housed an alabaster canopic chest containing the embalmed viscera of the young pharaoh.

The original treasures are rarely, if ever, seen outside of Egypt. Save yourself a plane ticket to the Valley of the Kings and experience the wonder of one of the world’s most famous discoveries in this kid-friendly exhibit. The bejeweled royal mummy elicited exclamations of, “Ewww, how cool is that?” from excited children.

Artisans from the Pharaonic Village in Giza, Egypt spent over ten years creating reproductions of many of the Pharaoh’s sacred and personal belongings. The replicas are dead on accurate when compared to photos of the original relics. In addition to the mummy and shrines, visitors will see the famous funerary mask, a chariot, beds, thrones, statues and jewelry. A video, detailing British archaeologist Howard Carter’s extraordinary find, is enjoyed inside an area set up like a tent in the desert.

For hours, admission and more information visit the Washoe County/The Wilbur D. May Center website. Plan your excursion now – King Tut departs May 23, 2012. 

Written by Susan Fix, The Applied Companies Community Liaison Partner. Fix has worked 15 years in staffing services performing outside sales, recruiting, permanent and temporary placement coordination, career counseling, customer service and social media/business.

Resolution Revolution

According to Wikipedia, the ancient Babylonians were the first to record kicking the year off with resolutions by making promises to their gods. The Romans continued the tradition by making promises to their god, Janus (for whom the month of January is named.) Making resolutions at the fresh start of a year continued during the medieval era and by, the end of the Great Depression about a quarter of American adults practiced the custom.

Surveys and studies confirm a very low success rate for those who set New Year’s resolutions. We often find the same people setting the same goals year after year and still failing. We browbeat ourselves and our peers with discouragement like, “Where’s your willpower? Toughen up, force yourself to do better!” We grit our teeth, tighten our spines and slug our way through the obligation. If we succeed, we are not always happy and sometimes find the success short-lived.

Habits and impulses do not change and are not conquered by determined resolutions, promises or bullying. When our commitments or goals feel like a fight or a battle, then we set ourselves up for internal hostility, conflict and loss.

Time for a revolution! Change the focus of force by “willpower” to “I will power.” Switch from “I won’t” to “I will.” Substitute the positive for the negative. Commit to a goal because you will find joy in the journey and love the reward.

Recognize that attaining a goal is a process of hard work. Face it and accept that when you try to change your ethics, a lifestyle or life-long habits, there are no miracles, quick fixes or phone applications that will get you an end result without effort and action.  

Soul search and know that your goal is truly your goal. Own it. Create your resolution by discerning whether it originates from your desire or someone else. Where does your choice come from and what pressures are giving rise to change? What good will result from sticking with a plan to succeed?

No matter what your goal, take small bites and chew slowly. Avoid the trap of working on all your issues with all your energy at once. Think Thoroughbred vs. Quarter Horse. A quarter horse mentality will expend too much effort in the first stretch, leaving you depleted and wishing you had paced yourself like a thoroughbred that has stamina and endurance to get to the finish line.

Timing is everything. When you are ready to make a commitment, you will find the desire, the strength and the “I will power” to take the steps needed that guide you to achievement. Fresh starts are not exclusive to a new year; they can begin anytime, anywhere, and any place, even today.

Written by Susan Fix, The Applied Companies Community Liaison Partner. Fix has worked 15 years in staffing services performing outside sales, recruiting, permanent and temporary placement coordination, career counseling, customer service and social media/business.

Jim Annis: Unemployment Rates, A Reality Check

Click here to view Jim Annis’ RGJ article

Jim Annis: Are You Leaking and Don’t Know It?

Click here to view Jim Annis’ RGJ article

Captains of Industry: Staffing Company Owner Annis is Reno’s People Person

Click here to view the RGJ article about Jim Annis, President/CEO The Applied Companies

Happy 2012!

Kietzke_Staff_12-2-11_Websize.jpgThe Applied Companies wishes you and yours a very Happy New Year! Plans are in the works for an exciting 2012. We are looking forward to partnering with our friends, family and clients to make this a time of growth, joy and triumph. 

Patriot_Staff_12-1-11.jpgBe on the watch for fun events you can participate in throughout the year, as Applied Staffing Solutions celebrates its Tenth Anniversary! 












Jim Annis: Workplace Wellness? There’s an App for That

Click here to view Jim Annis’ RGJ article

Jim Annis: A Day in the Life of Online Training

Click here to view Jim Annis’ RGJ article

The Toy Santa Refused to Deliver

In the early 1970’s Santa received countless letters from children requesting Clackers for Christmas. The workshop did not create the toy, so the Big Guy asked the elves to find samples and test the product. They discovered Clackers were two hard glass-looking balls about one to two inches in diameter hanging from a long durable string. Holding the top of the string and using an up and down motion they were able to build enough momentum to get the balls to swing and knock together above and below the hand.

The elves were addicted. With dexterity and rhythm, the balls “clacked” faster and faster, blending into a cracking melody. Unfortunately, a failed attempt hurled the balls onto the user’s forearm, causing severe bruises and broken bones. Snapped strings and shattered balls resulted in dozens of injuries to elves, as well as reindeer, who by the way, claimed to be simply observing. Production slowed. Chaos reigned. Santa declared no Clackers would be delivered.

I’m happy to report that an updated – safer – version is now being distributed from the North Pole. Here are some tips from the world’s largest factory and its master toymaker on how he makes decisions regarding what to produce and deliver:


Be open to input. Managers, supervisors and front line workers may have different and valuable perspectives. Bring in knowledgeable reputable resources. Create or find samples where needed. 


Gather the facts. What do you already know? What do you need to know? What research needs to be done? Factor in all the variables and choose the best alternatives. Analyze the risks and consequences. What is the legal, financial, physical and emotional impact?

Examine & Test

Hold the potential decision up to the light and think out of the box. Examine it from all sides and viewpoints. Discover every potential scenario. Test with an unbiased audience. Think in three’s regarding their comments. If one person says something, pay attention. If two people say the same thing, pay close attention and consider adjusting. If three people say it, change or tweak the product or service.


There are times when we have an “inner knowing” about an issue, yet we can’t rationally explain it. Have the courage to bring that inner voice to the table for consideration. How many times have we acted against our instincts and regretted it?

Final Call

Know who will make the final decision. An individual? A team? Communicate the decision, set a deadline and take action.

Using these tips should help your company avoid chaos, injuries, slowed production and not knowing if your product or service is naughty or nice.

Written by Susan Fix, The Applied Companies Community Liaison Partner. Fix has worked 15 years in staffing services performing outside sales, recruiting, permanent and temporary placement coordination, career counseling, customer service and social media/business.