Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving Thanks: It is Not Seasonal Ya Know?

'Tis the season of gift giving. Family and friends are gearing up for the holidays and the gift lists are growing. We’ll start our season of thanks here with that traditional Thanksgiving meal. There is much to be thankful for. Following that Thursday meal is the “Black Friday” shopping. The mind-set is initiated with the thoughts of those special gifts for those special in our lives.

How is corporate recognition any different from holiday giving? It feels good to give and it feels good to receive. I think there is lots of emphasis on the receiving end that is miss-guided. We all know employee morale is enhanced by recognition. Everyone wants the pat on the back for a job well done. It is an age-old adage applied to recognition whether you are giving bonuses or incentive trips, watches or luggage. Huh? Sounds like a Christmas list?

But, what about the giving part? Why isn’t there more emphasis on helping managers want to give recognition? Managers, does it just feel like work to follow up and follow through with that pat on the back? Is it just another management box to check to recognize your workforce? If it feels good to receive then why doesn’t it feel good to give?

An employee recognition program needs to have that element of “feel good” in both giving and receiving. It should feel good to give! Ask yourself why it does not. And then ask yourself how to fix that. What you give and how you give makes it fun and enjoyable. So maybe your employee recognition program needs to have more of a holiday attitude to promote the “feel good”. Just as the holidays are anticipated as a season of giving thanks and appreciation, your employee recognition program should be too!

Make it a party. Celebrate. And may you have a fabulous year of giving!

Turkey image provided by:FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, November 09, 2009

The History of Bacon & HR

Post-HRevolution Un-Conference and I have not stopped thinking about this conference experience. Yes, it was a small conference, a gathering of visionary HR bloggers and HR social media enthusiasts in Louisville, KY. The heart of the discussion was how social media can influence HR’s place in business and to paraphrase Trish McFarlane’s Fox News interview… to drive the business strategy … be leaders in our companies that bring in new tools and technologies…”

Meeting these HR professionals in person and being actively involved in the discussions that have been going on online for months was a thrill. The energy and intellectual discussions were fluid and filled with the collaborative spirit that seemed all too familiar in many ways. Oddly familiar since I had only talked on the phone to Steve Boese a few times and met Crystal Peterson at KYSHRM a month ago. I had never met any of these people before outside of Twitter and their blogs. But, I knew their voices, their point of view and their businesses. It met all expectations for me. My role was to add value by tweets, questions, cookies and bacon buttons. I hope it inspired HR visionaries to DO something beyond the talk.

The one question that was asked repeatedly to me… “Why bacon buttons?”

So I felt I owed it to everyone to share “The History of Bacon and HR.” I must preface by saying that bacon is a common theme in social networking because of the “Kevin Bacon, Six Degrees of Separation.” In HR there is also the food component centering around Lance Haun’s family butcher history and this rock'n guest post he did on Punk Rock HR here and Steve Boese love of BBQ that birthed HRevolution here and another Steve bacon reference here. Throw in Mark Bennett’s blog post here on Talented Apps that ties it all together, we now have a string of bacon blogging themes that run through tweets and blog comments that just made a bacon button meaningful to me to give to you. If I missed some other good blog posts on bacon please share the links in the comments. If you missed getting a bacon button, DM me. @awardframes. Now I hope bacon is meaningful to you and symbolizes that personal aspect of social media that makes us all real. I sure enjoyed meeting the “real you” at HRevolution.

Thanks again to Steve Boese, Crystal Peterson, Ben Eubanks and Trish McFarlane and a special shout out to the event sponsors and session leaders. We appreciate being involved and sponsoring this cutting edge experience. Bacon Button photo courtesy of zazzle.com

Monday, November 02, 2009

See You at HRevolution Friday

The lead-up to this conference has been a social media example I continue to learn from. Lots of topic hype online! Session topics will start with: “Is HR Dead” and wrap up with “Future of HR & Role of Social Media.” This un-conference is going to resuscitate HR discussion that has been flying all over the HR blog-o-sphere and bring it to life in these sessions! What is also interesting are the sessions scheduled in the middle of the day which center around the impact of technology and blogging.

Will you write the answers to HR’s issues of identity crisis in your blog? Will you define and lead your expertise into social media for everyone to read? There is a hungry audience out there. Many attending are already doing this. For those who aren't (like me) we win when the Rock Stars show up.


Wikipedia’s definition: “Blogs, either used internally to enhance the communication and culture in a corporation or externally for marketing branding or public relations purposes are called a corporate blog.


You can’t change the world if you don’t talk about it and get as many people as possible on board talking about it too.

What happens when marketing strategy is applied to HR blogs? Fran Melmed blogged about this. And Lance Haun touched on this in the last “HR Happy Hour” episode 16 . And I think they are right on! Blogs, tweets and writing are marketing "outreach" delivering a message to help companies and employees "get it" and understand the value HR adds to the bottom line. Marketing is the power. How can we all better understand and empower our individual voices and HR messages?

What else do I look forward to at HRevolution? Meeting all you bloggers, Rock Stars and HR Happy Hour fans will be the real highlight. And there will be milestones! Raise a beer toast. It will be the first time Shauna Moerke and Steve Boese will meet in person. And we will all be there to witness the magic and bring alive all of our online connections!

Berkeley Tandem and Fusion Frames is proud to be an HRevolution sponsor and I thank Ben Eubanks (Upstart HR), Trisha McFarlane (blog: HR Ringleader), Steve Boese (blog: HR Happy Hour and HR Tech) and Crystal Peterson for making HRevolution possible! And lets not forget the simplicity of a good conversation over a beer and BBQ. See you Friday. – Lyn Hoyt @designtwit @awardframes

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day Post

This is Fusion Frames' second year to participate in Blog Action Day. This years' theme is Climate Change. And awareness is half the battle as we all look to reduce our carbon footprint and help make the world a cleaner, more environmentally stable place.

Action Day is on" October 24. The International Day of Climate Action will cover almost every country on earth, the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet’s history.

There will be big rallies in big cities, and incredible creative actions across the globe: mountain climbers on our highest peaks with banners, underwater demonstrations in island nations threatened by sea level rise, churches and mosques and synagogues and ashrams engaged in symbolic action, star athletes organizing mass bike rides—and hundreds upon hundreds of community events to raise awareness of the need for urgent action." This comes from the website 360 which profiles the "Day of Climate Action" and the cumulative world voice calling for help to change the course of human contribution to global warming.

Fusion Frames' customers run the length of political belief. Recognition and certificate frame buying does not draw a left or right line in the sand. Some customers are hard-core recyclers and stewards of the environment. Others are skeptical global warming exists. The world is full of opinions.

At Fusion Frames and Berkeley Tandem, Inc. our opinion is that business practices which fight global warming are also good for the bottom line. To quote Patty Calkins, Xerox's global VP of Environment, Health & Safety, "Firms can indeed implement sustainability policies and strategies and see their efforts positively affect bottom line results." Patty's profile page on the Xerox website is awesome. She has a video and white pages. It is an excellent reference for any company looking to take action for more sustainable business practices. We look to Xerox as a model since we use printed paper & wood products. This is not politics for Fusion Frames. It is good business and the important benefit is leaving the earth for our children to enjoy as we have.

I hope this post can raise awareness and move business toward green operational practices that are no longer seen a political choice but accepted practice for better business and a better world. Happy Blog Action Day.

Monday, October 05, 2009

HRevolution Anticipation: Part A

HRevolution is a no-profit event for HR bloggers and aspiring bloggers being held in Louisville November 6-7. Fusion Frames is a committed sponsor of this HR tech event and I'll be attending. This un-conference is a bit of a paradigm shift for me. I have my company wondering what in the world I am doing and how this will translate to sales? And I could care less if I make a sale. I may show up with postcards to put in bags, maybe a poster or sign? But, I'm tempted to show with nothing but my sponsorship check, a smile, and a listening ear.

This has been an incredible journey to become involved with this online group of HR professionals. The appeal is broad sweeping. And it all started with a twitter connection to guest blog in order for me to jump-start blogging about HR and employee recognition. I stumbled on Steve Boese and he was gracious enough to let me participate in a blog post swap. My blog has yet to really flourish but, my connection to my HR customer base has grown in ways I never expected.

The bigger connection is what takes place beyond twitter, on blogs and at conferences, conversations about how technology is transforming how people connect, find common ground and move beyond surface introductions. These people I will meet with in Louisville are online friends. I know about their families, what food they like, what beer they drink. The camaraderie and HR team building fundamentals are all right here online. Now facilitated by an HRevolution handshake, eye contact and making this cyber-tribe real.

I hope to find my blogging voice in Louisville. And I look forward to collaborating, learning and sharing perspective on what I feel is going to be THE cutting-edge HR tech conference of the year. People coming out of this conference WILL be the ones spreading the social media seeds throughout the HR profession, changing the way HR and business thinks about social media.

I feel like I'm gonna be sitting in on something big. A break through. Kinda like I felt several years ago when I was asked to design a platinum record award frame for this band I had only recently heard about called... Rascal Flatts. See you in Louisville!

SHRM Attendees Reminder

If you visited our booth and picked up a postcard at your Middle Tennessee or Kentucky SHRM conference be sure to sign up for your complimentary frame. Information about how to apply is printed on the conference postcard. We hope you will take advantage of this *free* offer. Expires November 1, 2009.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SHRM Conference Season

This week we exhibit in our own backyard at the Middle Tennessee - SHRM Conference at the Opryland Hotel. Look for us at Booth #803.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Did you See us at KYSHRM in Louisville?

Thanks for coming by our booth at KYSHRM. With and no minimums on our EOM and Certificate Frames and small quantity availability on award frames, anyone can give our products a try. You may find, like many of our customers, that our frames are the perfect addition to your recognition program. Did you pick up a post card at our booth? Then follow the instructions and order your free sample today. Thank you again for considering Fusion Frames for your recognition program.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

See us at KYSHRM Booth#438

We are pleased to be exhibiting at the KYSHRM in Louisville this week. The samples are coming together. To touch and to feel what you get for the price is the big reason for getting product out to experience live and in-person. The post card is printed. You'll have a chance to register for free samples! So come by booth #438.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The History of Plaque Mentality

Award giving dates back centuries tied to bravery or valor while serving in war. Decorations and awards have been known since ancient times. Celts and Romans wore a torc, Dayaks wore and still wear tattoos, etc. Necklaces and bracelets were given during the early Middle Ages, evolving into richly jewelled big necklaces, often with a pendant (commonly a medal) attached. The Ancient Greeks used the word Thymos expressing the concept of "spiritedness". The word was also used to express the human desire for recognition. Homer even described Thymos as a permanent possession of living man, to which his thinking and feeling belonged. Belonging, tribal in nature, is the core reason for humans to recognize something well done.

We all now recognize a plaque as a plate of metal, ceramic, stone, wood, or other material, typically attached to a wall, stone, or other vertical surface, and bearing text in memory of an important figure or event. A common trophy shop wall plaque configuration takes the metal plate to a personal size, yet signifying similar aesthetics to public bronze monuments or plaques. These aesthetic histories become part of the collective recognition culture. There seems to be a certain expectation or "plaque mentality" when it comes to giving or getting a plaque award.

As a designer and manufacturer of certificate frames with "plaque mentality" I know several features that cannot be ignored: wood grain, metal, shiny decoration, gold or silver accents all give way to the perception signifying achievement or award. To this date, elements of pendants, celtic knots and stars are all part of that image history seen on certificates, pins, military uniforms, scout badges, university insignias to name a few. More modern representations of big necklaces used in hip-hop style can even trace its roots back to the middle ages as a sign of distinction, power and belonging.

How can you make "plaque mentality" work for you and give your business or organization's award program a sense of distinction, power and belonging? When tapping this rich aesthetic and psychologically historical direction for any award program rely on historical symbolism, build in your corporate brand symbolism, then channel that Thymos!

Sources: def; in Wikipedia, plaque, Thymos, decoration, commemoration

Of course we'd like to think our certificate frames can hold that special bling of Thymos in the digital age with a modern twist! Because everyone wants to belong.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thinking Out of the Plaque Box

With all the new technology around makes mementos for an employee’s wall is not so daunting anymore. While the engraved plaque is the standard, and somewhat expected… try the unexpected with a certificate frame. A certificate can be designed to carry corporate branding along with unlimited appreciation text at no extra cost. Add a photo and you have something that is way more personal than a plaque.

If you make a mistake on the inscription, re-print and replace. Most certificate programs can be set up to work with MSWord. And the mail merge option through your award recipient spread sheet makes multiple award inscription a snap. While there are many wood style and metal style frames on the market today, you can always fall back on the plaque base with the certificate slide-in.

Consider the cost of a framed certificate is 25-50% less than an engraved plaque, the certificate frame is worth a 2nd look.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Recognition Does Not Have to Be Predictable

The dull wall plaque is out and colorful promotion with great copy writing is in. I love that graphic and product design is catching on and is carrying more importance in recognition as a way to carry a unique personal message.

Where our frame products break away from this revived emphasis on design is our product's ability to flex graphically on the mat and certificate. If you can foil it or print it our designers can develop a unique award message for your certificate frame that matches your corporate message. Using stock sizes gets you the price break you need to keep your costs in line. You cannot beat the affordability of paper material as well as the environmentally conscientious choice.

One great example of “recognition design gone wild” is Baudville’s new branding initiative “Exclamations Line” which is awesome. Saw some great things come out of SHRM09. Why does recognition need to be predictable? Well done Baudville! We love their certificates too. They look great in our frames.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Made to Order

Our certificate frames center around the 8 1/2 x 11 page. Dictated by the digital age, the piece of paper we all know and love will forever shape the proportions of our products. We do offer frames to fit the traditional 8 x 10 certificate size, but 8 1/2 x 11 far out-paces the 8 x 10 / A4 tradition.

With size in mind, the options are limitless for certificate design. I wish more companies or organizations would think about vertical orientation, layering color graphics and including foils in their printed certificate shells. Foil accents can feed through your office printer. And color reinforces your brand as a symbol for team.

Another consideration is variable data printing which is common-place for large volume certificate reproduction. A simple spread sheet organization of names and inscriptions can give you the personal wording worthy of each of your certificates.

Here is a link to variable data printing if you are interested in learning more.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Knowledge Sharing and Recognition: a Guest Blog Post by "Steve’s HR Technology Blog"

This Guest Post authored by Steve Boese is part of the HR Blog Exchange, a fun project that was cooked up a couple of weeks ago on Twitter, details on the project are here.

Employee collaboration, the capture of tacit or implicit knowledge, and fostering a culture of continuous learning and development are pressing issues for many organizations today. Factors such as looming retirements of the Baby Boom generation of workers, increased competitive pressures, globalization, and the rapid pace of change alone or in combination, conspire to make the ‘knowledge sharing’, the ability of an organization to encourage and support individual employees to willingly and effectively share their expertise with others, and with the organization overall a critical imperative in 2009.

Organizations realize they must try to stem the loss of knowledge and expertise, develop more effective and thorough repositories of institutional knowledge, and ensure that employees are able and willing to contribute to the organizational knowledge. This is a complex problem however, and one that has many challenging elements. Some of the issues that organizations must address when trying to build an effective knowledge sharing environment are identification of the business issues that can be addressed with better employee knowledge sharing and collaboration, determining the structure and format of the knowledge sharing platform (there are literally hundreds of competing technologies in this space), and creating an environment where employees are willing and able to easily share knowledge, and actually create the information repository. The specific technology implemented (wiki, internal social network, portal, forum, etc.) is important as it supports the business goals, but not the most important consideration when analyzing motivations and barriers to participation.

In my HR Technology Class, we utilize collaborative platforms, and discuss some of the research on the most effective enablers of information sharing, (sometimes referred to as ‘Community Participation’). We also examine some of the barriers that have been identified that inhibit or reduce community participation. Although it may seem that these kind of platforms and information repositories are very recent developments, in fact, there has been a fairly significant amount of research as to their use in organizations, and in particular the enablers and barriers to employee community participation.

One of the main drivers or enablers of increased and effective community participation are so-called ‘Personal Benefits’, things like the achievement of status, self-esteem, ability to contribute, career advancement, and material gain (monetary and other compensation). In particular, research has shown that status and recognition to be powerful drivers of participation and knowledge-sharing, even indicating these types of ‘soft’ rewards to be more effective than tangible rewards like cash or bonuses. In the workplace, as in many ‘social’ organizations, achieving status, becoming a recognized expert or thought leader can be a powerful motivator, and encourage and inspire employees to contribute their knowledge to the organization’s knowledge repository.

In a modern, knowledge-sharing platform, or information repository like a wiki, or an internal social network, electronic recognition could take many forms. Many of these platforms have tools to ‘rate’ contributions as helpful, or to mark a particular contribution as a ‘favorite’. Employees that have accumulated the highest ratings or the most ‘favorites’ are seen as ‘experts’ and new members to the organization can view these expert employees profiles when they are adapting and learning about the organization’s culture and processes. The organization could also develop and implement a recognition program, where employees are rewarded for making a specified amount of contributions to the knowledge-base (articles, blog posts, helpful answers, etc.). An organization could create the electronic version of the ‘recognition certificate’ that could be attached to the employee’s profile, indicating that employee has demonstrated achievements and value to the organization’s knowledge base.

Recognition is still important in the knowledge-sharing, information overload environment. It could be that the mechanisms of delivery are changing, but the fundamental idea of recognizing achievement and contribution by employees is still important, and still an effective driver for organization success.

Steve Boese is an HR Technology Instructor and Consultant that publishes "Steve's HR Technology" a blog about the intersection of HR and technology. Steve can be contacted at steveboese@gmail.com, and can be found on Twitter at sbjet.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

NEW DEMO VIDEO for Icon Certificate Frames

Check out our new demo video showing all the features and benefits of using our ICON certificate frames.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Guest Blogging HR

I am very excited about participating in an HR blog exchange the coming weeks. I will be paired up with fellow blogger and twitter friend Steve Boese. Steve is an HR technology consultant with experience in both telecommunications and higher ed. You can read his blog http://steveboese.squarespace.com/

To quote Lisa Rosendahl at HR Thoughts "A blog exchange is a simple idea where two bloggers are paired up with each other, and each submits a 'guest post' to their partner's blog, hopefully done in more of less the style and using the 'normal' subject matter of the host blog. So each blogger gets a chance to stretch a bit, potentially writing about something new, and perhaps altering their style a bit, and hopefully most of all having some fun."

Being involved in this exchange, to me, is a great example of the power of social networking. Steve and I will collaborate on our blog post subject matter adding a new perspective to each others point of view and with hope adding rich content for our blog readers as well as other audience members of the exchange. That is the idea, gain a collaborative audience, work up some interesting material and tap the wonderful resources social networking seems to reveal every day. We will see what interest it sparks. We will tweet and blog about it. Makes me want to "fluff" my blog a bit eh?

All of the participants are:

Steve Boese - Steve Boese's HR Technology Blog - Twitter user name - sbjet

Lisa Rosendahl - HR Thoughts - Twitter user name - lisarosendahl

The HR Maven - HR Maven - Twitter user name - thehrmaven (The Maven really knows how to brand)

Trish McFarlane - hr ringleader's blog - Twitter user name - Trish_HR

designtwit -Fusion Frames- Twitter user name designtwit (this is me)

Steve Urquhart - Talent for the 21st Century - Twitter user name workforce101 and Talent421

Beth Carvin - Nobscot's Weblog - Twitter user name bncarvin

ImJustAGoyle - ImJustAGoyle - Twitter user name imjustagoyle

Margaret Murphy - MYFUTURE MYSELF - Twitter user name murphymargaret

Lois Melbourne - Aquire Blog - Twitter user name loismelbourne

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shop for ONLY Certificate Frames

Our new site has finally launched. Award Certificate Frames website has been created to target the traditional Fusion Frames customer and present the EXACT product you are searching for online. No extras. No add-ons. Just certificate frames. By targeting a product line niche we can add efficient measures of production and delivery that add value and cut costs. The Award certificate Frames site features a broader selection of styles, prices and colors for 8 1/2 x 11 and 8 x 10 certificates.

We hope your buying experience on our new site is reflected in the customer service and web support you receive while shopping with us. You want certificate frames for your 8 1/2 x 11 or 8 x 10 standard certificate? Then look no further. Corporate buyers welcome. Place your order today and it will ship within 48 hours.

Award Certificate Frames is a division of Berkeley Tandem Inc. home of FusionFrames.com

Berkeley Tandem, Inc. has been producing awards and recognition products since 1995.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Our DSA (Direct Selling Association) Membership

We are excited to be supplier members of the Direct Selling Association. This is a membership that puts us in touch with a long list of famous direct selling companies like Amway and Mary Kay. We have a long-standing relationship with DSA member Southwestern Great American, a sales school for college and university students. Students come from all over the world to participate in Southwestern’s summer program. From these students, companies are started using the capital, support and resources of the SWGA business incubator. From that relationship it was suggested we offer our certificate frames and framed awards to the broader DSA market.

These DSA companies are the ultimate cheerleaders. Sales recognition is king. These organizations are no longer the “door-to-door” sales people of the past. They are sophisticated marketers with the goal to shake a hand and build personal relationships that endear their products to their customers. Whether it is home selling or Internet marketing, the goal is to reach customers on a personal level and affect lives doing it through the products they produce.

We feel Berkeley Tandem & Fusion Frames is a perfect DSA fit, offering the opportunity to customize certificates and frames to recognize sales performance and achievement. Adding that special, personal touch to an award is a hallmark of recognition. The ideal is to capture the DSA market by retaining program customers and developing custom framed product lines that fit recognition goals. We are pleased to be a part of an organization whose philosophy of personal selling is aligned with ours.

If you are a DSA member look for our booth at the national conference end of May and first of June in National Harbor, MD. We are on the waiting list for a spot. DSA is in high demand!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Social Networking Our Way Out of Recession

Twitter, Blogger, Digger? Where is the recognition market online? As part of our marketing plan I spend a few hours a day reading blogs on recognition and I'm always looking at what products are being offered in the recognition industry. I love reading HR blogs that talk about recognition, what works, what does not. I love looking at marketing ideas in other industries to see how they might apply to us. Many within management at Fusion Frames question how valuable my time is surfing the net, commenting on blogs, adding our URL like fairy dust around the world wide web.

My thought is this: if I can use my market research time online to help create conversation with vendors or marketing experts or EVEN CUSTOMERS then I am gaining ground in our online presence and learning ahead of the curve. The specialty product future is online. So you better be building your brand and carving your niche. You want certificate frames? Google us! We are THERE.

Who are my online idols? Who is serving their niche well?
And of course:

I think we can be way better in the certificate frame niche. And we need to work on our other major key words to move our way organically into those markets. I'll be announcing how in the months to come. In the meantime I get to twitter around on the internet and call it work.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Macintosh will be 25 on 1/24/09

My first memories of Mac was in college in 1986. The art department at Memphis State purchased their first Macs. Mac Classics I suppose or maybe SEs? I know the entire operating system fit on a floppy disk. Our graphic design work became this typography hybrid where we would make text, print it and then do paste-up with it to get our typography right. The typography on the first Macs lacked the finesse and sophistication of Service Bureau type. But, as students we loved the cheap, immediate results that we could xerox, cut-up and manipulate into beautiful work. April Greiman was my hero.

By the time I reached grad school at NC State in 1988 we had a Mac lab that was full of the first Mac IIci's. And yes, we had to sign-up and share the lab with everyone in the design program. We were still producing student work in a hybrid of Pagemaker and Photoshop layouts, stat machine, xerox, chromatex (sp?) to get color, marker comps and colored paper. Color out-put was pricey and saved for final portfolio. The work was no-less beautiful though.

At my first agency job we had a couple of Quadra 650's that we shared. It was with Quark Xpress that I was trained to see the entire project digitally, in its final typographic form to the printer, in color, transforming the printing industry forever.

Today, my job would not be possible without my Macintosh computer and iPhone. The Mac platform is how I have been trained and how my business and design skills have evolved for 20+ years.

Leave your own first Mac story at http://mac25.org/