AUSTIN, Texas — October 11, 2019 Emmaus Homes, a Missouri-based nonprofit providing around-the-clock services to adults with developmental disabilities, today announced the organization has increased employee engagement through its partnership with Kazoo, the all-in-one Employee Experience Platform that enables companies to build purpose-driven cultures of high engagement and high performance. 

In 2016, Emmaus came to Kazoo looking for help with their employee engagement strategy. At the time, the nonprofit had more than 700 geographically dispersed employees and was struggling with high turnover, a cumbersome manual employee recognition program, being able to connect with remote employees, and their overall recruitment efforts. In an industry with a turnover rate of more than 35%, Emmaus leadership wanted a better way to show their commitment to their culture and how the work employees do each day is both meaningful and important.

In the three years since implementing Kazoo, 88% of Emmaus employees, including the organization’s CEO, have actively engaged with the platform, sending more than 40,000 pieces of employee recognition. The organization was also able to streamline their manual employee rewards program by using the Kazoo platform, which saved its rewards budget more than $25,000 in year one alone. Emmaus has used the savings to be put back into increasing the wages for Direct Support Professionals.

“Most of our staff is geographically dispersed between our 80 community homes, which can make it challenging to ensure we’re providing the highest quality supportive care for our clients,” said Cindy Clark, President & CEO at Emmaus. “By partnering with Kazoo, we can now see in real-time the great work our team is doing on a day-to-day basis and the positive impact their work is having on our clients to help them live as independently as possible.”

Today at Emmaus, employee recognition and rewards are no longer an afterthought. To ensure employees know that they are joining a culture of appreciation, new hires are introduced to Kazoo from day one as part of the onboarding process. In addition, the organization restructured its talent management strategy to provide a formal career path program. As part of applying for this process, employees are encouraged to download their recognition reports and bring those to the internal interview process.

The nonprofit also uses Kazoo to focus on their communication efforts by reminding and incentivizing employees to check weekly communications from the CEO. The subtle nudge to reinforce their communication efforts have kept the CEO’s approval rating above 90% on Glassdoor. In addition, Emmaus is very focused on employee safety, compliance, and communication and used Kazoo’s Behavior Bonus feature to give more than 1,800 bonuses to employees as incentives for living out organizational values.

“Kazoo has helped us streamline our engagement programs by putting all our efforts on one platform,” said Steven Amrhein, Brand Manager at Emmaus.“Instead of a ton of emails related to every need from employees, we set up alerts and reminders in Kazoo. At the end of the day, these changes don’t just make my job easier — they make us look like a cutting-edge organization in the nonprofit sector. It’s something fun that sets us apart.”

Kazoo’s integrated employee experience platform increases productivity, retention, and revenue while enabling companies to build purpose-driven cultures of high engagement and high performance. To learn more about Kazoo, visit

About Emmaus: At Emmaus Homes, we know that people with developmental disabilities want to be independent. In order to do that, they need a home and a community that embraces their unique abilities. The problem is: it’s hard to live without support, which makes them feel frustrated, excluded, and powerless. We believe our clients deserve the resources they need to live independently. We understand it’s tough to manage life alone, which is why for 125 years, as a faith-based organization, we have provided high-quality services, caring for the whole person for their whole life. With Emmaus standing behind them, and the support of the community, the people we support can stop worrying about losing control of their life and instead create their own story.


While it may not seem like it on the surface, the ability to effectively give and receive feedback is the most important soft skill to have today.

Why is feedback a career gamechanger?

Having the ability to give and receive feedback – and do both well – means that you’re coachable as an employee and able to coach as a manager. In today’s modern workplace where a feedback culture reigns supreme, this can mean the difference between success and failure.

Let’s examine the value of feedback, and its ability to make or break a career, from both the employee and the manager’s perspectives.


Receiving Feedback

A productive approach to feedback means being open to receiving it and adjusting your behavior accordingly. This includes both negative and positive feedback, as well as the many different types of feedback.

Negative feedback delivered in a constructive way is incredibly valuable to employees at all levels. It creates awareness around the actions and behaviors that are negatively impacting those around them and, in turn, an employee’s career. Those who use negative feedback as an opportunity to shift their behavior can speed up their path to promotion.

But it’s not just negative feedback that helps employees grow. Positive feedback can be equally beneficial. It can help employees identify the behaviors that make them stand out from their peers in a good way. After all, it’s just as important to understand what you’re doing right alongside what you might be doing wrong.

In addition to embracing positive and negative feedback, employees should also take advantage of the numerous ways to receive it. These can include:

  • Coaching which managers do during check-ins and 1:1s, offering in-the-moment constructive criticism, encouragement, and praise.
  • Mentoring where individuals can seek advice and direction on their career goals and aspirations.
  • 360 feedback which allows employees to identify what others see as their strengths and weaknesses and collectively see trends.
  • Anonymous feedback a safe, non-threatening way to hear from others in sensitive situations.
  • Project retrospectives for instant feedback after a major project ends, so employees can apply any lessons learned immediately.
  • Peer-to-peer feedback offers employees the chance to see themselves through their co-workers’ eyes and evaluate themselves as a teammate to others in the organization.

Feedback comes in all forms. No matter where you are in your career, whether it’s your first job or you’re an experienced executive, there is always room to grow and opportunities to improve.


Giving Feedback

Whether you have any direct reports or not, every employee has valuable feedback to give to others in their organization (and plenty of opportunities to do so, based on all the ways listed above). But how exactly does giving great feedback help you succeed?

If you are a manager, you are evaluated on your ability to lead a team. Being good at giving feedback:

  • Makes your employees better, which reflects your own abilities as a manager
  • Increases your team’s potential and value to the organization
  • Highlights your skills as an effective coach

If you are an individual contributor without direct reports, your performance evaluation is based on your own achievements. Being good at giving feedback:

  • Demonstrates to your manager that you have leadership potential
  • Makes you a better peer and collaborator
  • Increases your value to the organization


Quick Tips

To better receive feedback:

  • Maintain a positive mindset where you can appreciate someone else’s perspective for what it is – a way to help you see how others see you.
  • Ask for specific ways to change or adjust your behavior. It’ll help you get even more out of the feedback.
  • Set goals for yourself to put the feedback into action. For example, if a manager encourages you to work on your relationships with clients, set a goal to schedule coffee or lunch with a new client each month.

To properly give feedback:

  • Come prepared. Think through how you plan to deliver the feedback to ensure you’re specific and constructive.
  • Be solution-minded. Telling someone what they do wrong without sharing what they can do to improve can be a waste of everyone’s time – and leave the receiver of the feedback feeling down and unmotivated.
  • Find the positive in the negative. The “sandwich” technique is a popular feedback method, where the giver of the feedback starts and ends with compliments and praise and uses the middle of the conversation to deliver constructive criticism.



Let Your Employees Give and Receive Feedback


Most people would agree that receiving extra money is a good incentive to work harder and stay motivated on the job. Maybe you offer an annual bonus but are looking for ways to reward employees for the rest of the year to keep them motivated. There are also people, however, who prefer to be recognized in a different way. The difference is employees want to be recognized, not rewarded.

Recent studies by the Incentive Research Foundation Resource Center suggests that non-cash rewards/awards are a very important component of recognition and are, in many cases, preferred over cash rewards.

There are plenty of ways to go about employee recognition without spending money. Whether you keep it simple or get creative with how you recognize those who do a good job, it’s important to be consistent.

The following is a list of ideas on how to recognize employees using non-monetary rewards:


1. Verbally Praise Employees It costs nothing but goes a long way with employees to hear how well they are doing. Practice boosting morale with words of encouragement and by catching people doing things right. Employees are used to hearing when things go wrong, but how often do you praise them for getting the job done right or meeting your expectations? Make it a daily practice to offer praise and help people feel valued.


2. Handwritten Notes go a Long Way Surprise your employee by placing a handwritten note card, sticky note, or stock thank you card on their keyboard.


3. Use Brag Boards Mention the employee’s good work on a brag board. Don’t place the board in the kitchen. Put it right as employees walk in for everyone to see. Get sparkly and add gold and silver stars to measure success. They like public recognition so everyone knows what a good job they are doing.


4. Print Certificates of Achievement Microsoft Office has a ton of certificate options that are free to download. You can create them as a yearly award. Many employees will know to expect them and will work harder to achieve their goals to get another certificate. This is a keepsake that employees can frame at their desk, office or cubicle and can hold onto for life.


5. Get Pot Lucky Provide a company luncheon to show your gratitude. Have each employee sign up to bring in a dish. It’s not even so much the food, as the camaraderie people experience at a work luncheon that makes it a hit. Socializing with management makes them feel like a valued part of the team.


6. Trust them to do Their Job For some people, the only reward they need is to feel valued and appreciated. You can show them your appreciation by allowing them some flexibility and giving them added responsibilities that you know they can handle.


7. Provide Clear and Regular Communication Be fair, objective and transparent. This can mean upper management visiting the sales team or the shop floor, for example. Be there to set clear expectations and let them know when they have met your expectations.


8. Send Ecards Thank an employee for going above and beyond with a social media post, or join an online service to offer employees unique recognition rewards.


9. Brown Bag a Picnic Take your employees out for the afternoon. Have them bring in their lunch, do business in the morning and at lunchtime, head to the nearest park. Assign someone to bring the grill, the horseshoes, and have fun.


10. Use Online Rewards Let your employees be your Facebook fans of the week and toot their horn on your page. This way, they can share their success with family and friends. Tweet the praise.


11. Make it Company News Acknowledge their efforts in your company newsletter and let it be a note from the CEO instead of the manager.


12. Lunch from the President/CEO Have the “powers that be” bring in their lunch as a nice surprise. It can be a home-cooked meal. Clear the conference room just for the achievers and have the President deliver the praise, lunch, and sit down with them to get to know more about them. All business aside! Just the thought would make them feel so appreciated.


13. Be Flexible Allow performing employees an opportunity to be more flexible with their time in order to meet family demands. Create summer hours with shorter in-office work days. Rearrange working times to an extra hour the first part of the week in exchange for lesser hours the latter of the week.


Who doesn’t like a pat on the back now and then? It doesn’t take a lot of money to show employees how much you appreciate their hard work. Use one or more of these ideas with your employees to foster a strong sense of trust and trust. These traits go a long way in satisfying employees and retaining them long-term. It doesn’t take a lot of money to run an employee recognition program. Little gestures and thank you’s are appreciated as long as they are sincere.


About the Author

Shenomenon is a company that builds brands through writing, content, and marketing while providing essential training and services that help you grow.



Your employees work hard every day – so don’t they deserve some recognition? When it comes to creating a more engaged workforce, nothing compares to a well-managed incentive and bonus program for employees. Whether your team is small or you have a large number of company divisions spread out across the globe, employees who have something to look forward to will work harder to achieve more for your organization. This improves your bottom line.

Employee Incentives for Maximum Productivity

This time of year can be the perfect time to take a closer look at your employee incentive plan and add some new perks to help maintain a high performance work environment. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Gift Programs for Employees – A nice way to say “thanks” to your employees anytime is by handing out gift cards and a personal note of gratitude often. Take the time to educate your executive team on the importance of regular recognition of employee achievements by giving them access to group discounts on gift cards and points gift programs.
  • Corporate Wellness Program – One low-cost way of giving back to employees and improving their health at the same time is through a corporate wellness program. When employees have access to wellness and spa services and support, they are more likely to participate. Employers who invest in wellness programs also help to reduce the cost of their health insurance premiums by as much as $3 for every dollar spent on wellness.
  • Certificates of Achievement – Employees beam when they receive praise from their supervisors, and especially in front of peers. Make a big deal out of achievements at work and provide printed certificates of achievement along with a photo of the employee to be displayed in their work area. Highlight these achievements at staff meetings and hand them out so that all can see how hard each employee has worked to earn this recognition.

Related Read: Total Employee Engagement and Training & Development

  • Educational Support – Oftentimes, employees are trying to grow in their careers, therefore having access to corporate educational support can become a major perk. Offer on-site classes to earn industry certifications. Provide a generous tuition reimbursement program for those who wish to earn college degrees. Make it known that this is part of your overall benefits package and encourage employees to achieve their educational dreams.
  • Free Beverages and Snacks – When employees have the nutrition they need to get through each day, they tend to be more productive. Give your employees access to healthy snacks and beverage choices, offered free as part of your wellness program. Ideas may include breakfast muffins from a local bakery, or vegetables offered mid-day.
  • Employer-Sponsored Benefits – The rising costs of health care benefits is on the minds of many employees today. You can offset these costs by offering supplemental benefits to your employees such as cancer care, vision and dental benefits, and hospital indemnity plans for employees and their families.
  • Flexible Schedules – Every employee is looking for a way to get work-life balance. Having the option to work a more flexible schedule can help make this a reality. Offer employees the choice of one day a week to work from home whenever possible, or be more lenient to when employees can arrive or go home during the week so they can be more productive.
  • Company Discounts – Your company is likely to have affiliations with leading retailers and community services that can offer corporate discounts. Why not pass those discounts along to your employees too? Create a list of company discounts and encourage employees to use this as a way to save money while supporting your vendors.
  • Celebrations and Birthdays – Every employee deserves some special treatment on their birthday. Therefore, have your company send out birthday flowers to recognize their day. Once a month, have a celebration to let your employees know how much you appreciate their hard work and efforts.
  • Updated Breakroom – It’s a great incentive for employees to have a comfortable area where they can enjoy some downtime at lunch or after a tough meeting. Set up an improved break area that includes soft seating options, a flat screen television, calming lighting, and games for blowing off steam.


Tess C. Taylor

Tess C. Taylor

Tess C. Taylor, PHR, CPC is the Founder and Managing Editor for The HR Writer blogazine, and the CEO of HR Knows – an HR Content, Coaching, and Consultancy firm in New York. Learn more at

This article is by Tess C. Taylor.

It’s no surprise that onboarding is an important topic for many Kazoo customers. A great onboarding experience sets the stage for a great employee experience. Having a process for welcoming new employees ensures a unified culture and speedy employee ramp-up.

Beyond that, including a personal letter as part of the onboarding process creates a strong entry point into a positive employee experience. It sets up a new employee to build connections with their team, company, and core values from day one. And, more importantly, it is the starting line for their relationship with their manager. According to Gallup, managers account for 70% of the variation in employee engagement. A manager’s role in welcoming new employees is critical.

Elements of a Successful Letter for Welcoming New Employees

So what should go into this personal letter? A few elements:

  • Show appreciation that they’re joining.
  • Offer connections with their manager and team.
  • Communicate the company’s core values.
  • Set expectations for success.
  • Define first steps.

With these five elements, new employees arrive on their first day with an action plan for getting up to speed and will start off with a great employee experience.

Example of a Great Welcome Letter

What should a great welcome letter look like? Here’s an example:

Dear [Employee Name],

Welcome to Kazoo. I can tell that you’re going to be a great addition to our team. We’re all looking forward to having your energy and expertise on our projects.

There’s a lot to learn as you get started in these first weeks. The volume of training and new processes we’re throwing at you may feel overwhelming. So, please take a minute right now and review our company core values: open book, create happiness, adapt or die, eyes on the prize, and leave it better. You can find descriptions of these in your onboarding packet. By living these values every day, you will be successful in this company and in your career. They should guide everything that you do here.

I’m committed to your professional growth, and want that to be part of our ongoing conversations. We also have a company goal of providing connection, appreciation, meaning, and impact as part of your daily employee experience. If you feel like any of these aren’t happening (or if you just want to celebrate because they are!) my door is always open.

The rest of your onboarding plan is attached. It includes some basic office policies and identifies teammates who will get you up to speed. We’ll review it in a one-on-one later today. But in the meantime, let me (or other team members) know if there’s anything we can do to help you navigate your first few days.

Can’t wait to get started!

[Your Manager]

A Great Approach for Welcoming New Employees

Welcoming new employees with a letter that clarifies core values, sets expectations for success, gives an introduction to the culture, and creates connections sets a new employee up to be engaged from day one. It connects them to the manager, shows them how they can make an impact, helps them understand how they can get meaning, and offers appreciation for joining the team. And that’s an important part of a great employee experience.

About Kazoo
Kazoo is the employee experience platform powered by the science of motivation and the mission of improving the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Founded in 2013, Kazoo grows company culture and improves bottom-line performance metrics through its robust engagement platform that delivers recognition, rewards, incentives, and team insights. Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017, the Austin-based SaaS company and its technology platform are built on the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact and appreciation. To request a demo, visit

One key to developing strong and effective teams is the ability to appreciate the benefits of the differences each team member presents. Those differences can confuse, frustrate and cause misunderstandings – OR – they can be illuminate, broaden our horizons, provide growth, and help us to gain new insights.

Achieving our organizational goals can often be best achieved when diversity of opinion, background, and skill are engaged.

We’ve all likely had the experience of being on a team where one or more members presented special challenges. They were negative and critical. They lacked skills or didn’t contribute. These, certainly, are all legitimate complaints, but they don’t have to lead to a negative outcome for the team.

Sometimes we can achieve a positive outcome by delving a bit deeper, gaining an understanding, and appreciating another’s point of view.

Tom Champoux of The Effectiveness Institute has shown how personal behavioral styles contributes to how we see the world, process information, and interact with others. Behavior styles are defined by how we make decisions, solve problems, and meet challenges. Each individual’s behavior tends to be consistent with their style. Unless we understand each others’ styles, we may get annoyed by how others act, or what they say.

Achieving our organizational goals can often be best achieved when diversity of opinion, background, and skill are engaged.

Some of us move fast, talk quickly, and make spontaneous decisions. Others are more deliberate and prefer to process information before making a decision. Still others are people-oriented, or perhaps more task-oriented. Some are more analytical and detail-oriented while others tend to be big-picture thinkers.

Teams that include a range of behavior styles tend to excel.

Conflicts can occur when individuals with different styles interact. A quiet person may be intimidated by someone who comes on strong. Someone who tends to hold back can frustrate a person with a more direct style. It sometimes helps to realize that the behavior is not aimed specially at the person on the receiving end; rather it is the way the other person relates to the world.

When we work through style conflicts, and value the advantages diversity brings, we maximize the quality of our team.

Kevin is decisive and takes quick action. He assesses information quickly and decides best courses of action. However, he has grown to respect a fellow teammate, Anne, who is much more methodical in her thinking. When faced with a big decision, he often seeks out Anne’s opinion because he knows she will consider factors that may not have occurred to him.

Ron used to annoy his teammates. When working on a project, he was quick to find problems. However, his teammates have developed tremendous respect for Ron because he sees things they often miss. His constant questioning is now regarded as a positive attribute. Utilizing each team members’ strengths can make for a highly effective team.

Teams that include a range of behavior styles tend to excel.

Overtly acknowledging and appreciating other teammates’ attributes will contribute to your teams’ success. When you appreciate characteristics that you admire in a teammate, you not only recognize the attribute as a benefit to the team, you also help that member see their value-add. Your acknowledgment may also serve to strengthen the quality in the person acknowledged.

As with our behavior styles, age, gender, race, cultural background, and ethnicity all affect who we are and how we interact with others. When someone behaves or speaks in a manner differently than what we’re used to, we may feel awkward or uncomfortable, or embrace the difference and gain an understanding for what we are unfamiliar with. Differences often broaden our perspectives and enrich our teams.

How do we make sense of people who behave differently from us? It helps to develop an attitude of curiosity. When we don’t take things personally, we are in a better position to gain understanding and learn from each other. If we are aware of having a negative reaction to how someone interacted with us, it’s helpful to pause and examine what just happened.

Gather the facts; eliminate the assumptions about the other person’s intent. Seek clarification. Stay engaged. It’s often the case that the person simply has a way of interacting and viewing the world different from yours.

What does your team do to benefit from differences? What can you do today to acknowledge the strengths and the value added by the diverse styles that your teammates present?

This article is by Margy Bresslour.

Quotes to Inspire Creativity and Innovation in the Workplace

Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. Innovation is the production or implementation of a creative idea. If you have ideas but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.” —Linda Naiman


Creativity is a function of leadership. It requires navigating uncharted territory and having the courage to face adversity to bring your vision into fruition.” —Linda Naiman


For innovation to flourish, organizations must create an environment that fosters creativity; bringing together multi-talented groups of people who work in close collaboration together — exchanging knowledge, ideas and shaping the direction of the future.” —Linda Naiman


The economic future of an organization depends on its ability to create wealth by fostering innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.” —Linda Naiman


(On Improv in business) “Improvisation frees us from being perfect, being in control, thinking ahead, and second guessing. It can feel like jumping into the abyss at first, but once you jump, fear turns into excitement, and your imagination kicks in.” —Linda Naiman (Fast Company Magazine Oct 2005)


Creativity is the power to create something new, to reach deep into our subconscious for that “aha” solution. Sometimes it happens in a nano second, and sometimes that solution can take a lifetime to reveal itself.” —Linda Naiman (Peopletalk Magazine Spring 2004)


Creativity has two parts: thinking, then producing. Innovation is embedded in the creative process. It is the implementation of creative inspiration.” —Linda Naiman (Peopletalk Magazine Spring 2004)

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” —Howard Aiken


The organizations of the future will increasingly depend on the creativity of their members to survive. Great Groups offer a new model in which the leader is an equal among Titans. In a truly creative collaboration, work is pleasure, and the only rules and procedures are those that advance the common cause.” —Warren Bennis


Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.” —Rita Mae Brown,  US writer, playwright


Innovation! One cannot be forever innovating. I want to create classics.” —Coco Chanel (1883 – 1971) French fashion designer


To be successful we must live from our imaginations, not from our memories.” —Steven Covey


We are not creatures of circumstance; we are creators of circumstance.” —Benjamin Disraeli


Business has only two basic functions — marketing and innovation.” —Peter Drucker


Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration. I make more mistakes than anyone else I know, and sooner or later, I patent most of them.” —Thomas Edison


Access to talented and creative people is to modern business what access to coal and iron ore was to steel-making.” —Richard Florida


The more you think, the more time you have.” —Henry Ford


The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get to the office.” —Robert Frost


I sell ideas and visions. That kind of selling requires a different set of muscles from those that you need to sell products. The challenge is to help people see things that they may not be able to see for themselves. Now, I’m not a visionary from the blinding-flash-of-light school. Instead, I base my ideas on intuition, on facts, and on specific opportunities. The greatest resistance that I encounter from people whom I’m trying to sell to is grounded in discomfort — which really comes from a lack of understanding. So a great salesperson, in effect, knows how to sell understanding.” Phil Guarascio, GM’s vice-president for advertising and corporate marketing


The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions.” Anthony Jay


If NATURE has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea… No one possesses the less, because every other possess the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.” —Thomas Jefferson


You cannot mandate productivity, you must provide the tools to let people become their best.” —Steve Jobs


Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” —Steve Jobs


Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” —Steve Jobs


Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.“—Steve Jobs


Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service. The iMac is not just the color or translucence or the shape of the shell. The essence of the iMac is to be the finest possible consumer computer in which each element plays together.” —Steve Jobs


You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” —Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech 2005


Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10.30 at night with a new idea, or because they realised something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.

And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” —Steve Jobs,  Business Week 2004


To be a successful entrepreneur one needs a vision of greatness for one’s work. If we dream extravagantly we will be inspired to forge a reality beyond the straight jacket of practicalities. There is a profound connection between art and enterprise which allows businesses to overcome the limitations of their existing visions.” —Sir Ernest Hall


Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet.” —Henry Mintzberg, author and professor at McGill University.


Those who have changed the universe have never done it by changing officials, but always by inspiring the people.” —Napoleon


Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom while discouragement often nips it at the bud.” —Alex Osborn


In the modern world of business it is useless to be a creative original thinker unless you can also sell what you create. Management cannot be expected to recognize a good idea unless it is presented to them by a good salesman.” —David M. Ogilvy, founder, Ogilvy & Mather advertising


Business isn’t some disembodied bloodless enterprise. Profit is fine — a sign that the customer honors the value of what we do. But “enterprise” ( a lovely word ) is about heart. About beauty. It’s about art. About people throwing themselves on the line. It’s about passion and the selfless pursuit of an ideal.” —Tom Peters


Written reports stifle creativity.” —Ross Perot


Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” —William Pollard


Ideas are not solutions; they are the raw material of solutions.” —Arthur VanGundy


Sometimes what we don’t know about a problem is more important than what we do know. By this I mean that we may focus on problem elements perceived to be known which may result in an unsatisfactory outcome. Problem knowledge is important, that is why it also is important to test assumptions to uncover what we ‘don’t know’ since that information can contain the keys to reframe our perspectives which, in turn, can allow potential solutions to suddenly ‘pop’ out.” —Arthur VanGundy


Focus on a few key objectives…I only have three things to do. I have to choose the right people, allocate the right number of dollars, and transmit ideas from one division to another with the speed of light. So I’m really in the business of being the gatekeeper and the transmitter of ideas.” —Jack Welch


Innovation is fostered by information gathered from new connections; from insights gained by journeys into other disciplines or places; from active, collegial networks and fluid, open boundaries. Innovation arises from ongoing circles of exchange, where information is not just accumulated or stored, but created. Knowledge is generated anew from connections that weren’t there before.” —Margaret J. Wheatley, Leadership and the New Science


The things we fear most in organizations–fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances–are the primary sources of creativity.” —Margaret J. Wheatley


Ideas won’t keep: something must be done about them.” —Alfred North Whitehead


The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.” —Alfred North Whitehead

Quote Collection:


This article is by Linda Naiman from

Linda Naiman

Linda Naiman

Linda Naiman is founder of Creativity at Work, and recognized internationally for pioneering arts-based learning as a catalyst for developing creativity, innovation, and collaborative leadership in organizations. As an innovation consultant, Linda advises senior leaders and managers on developing creativity and innovation skills in employees, and fostering an organizational culture that supports innovation.

Have you ever had a bad meeting? You know, the meetings when you can feel your soul being crushed by the dullness as you wonder if you could slip out the door unnoticed? Or maybe you begin to multitask, paying more attention to your emails than the meeting itself, yet trying not to miss important nuggets along the way.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Successful meetings and events hold a lot of meaning and build connection among your team. Introducing a little fun into the mix will give your employees more to work with. And it doesn’t take a bunch of silly staff awards to make that happen.

Injecting more fun into your meetings won’t guarantee their success, but — if you do it right — it will help build connections between teammates. In a nutshell: making meetings more enjoyable will boost the engagement and experience for every attendee. (If you want to see how to boost engagement in other areas of your company – get a tour of the Kazoo platform.)

Here are 11 different ideas for engaging attendees by upping the fun factor in your next meeting.

Set the Tone in Advance

  • If you have a larger meeting, use a top-ten list to your advantage. Send out a list of top ten reasons people should attend the meeting – and another of what they’ll miss out on if they don’t come.
  • Make the agenda interesting, fun, and attention-grabbing. Don’t make it gimmicky – but you can inject some life into the actual meeting agenda copy. If you’re having a multi-presenter meeting, encourage presenters to use some fun or impactful titles, regardless of how serious their presentation is.
  • Send people a fun “How to Survive the Meeting” tip sheet. Keep it light, but include some snippets that will help put attendees’ minds at ease.
  • Use a theme with care. Overused themes can move into the cliché category, often a turnoff. But a fresh, targeted theme can be truly memorable, inspiring, and fun. A useful catchphrase or appropriate theme can guide all your decisions about the topic. Try using a thought-provoking or unusual question for your theme and ask all the presenters and attendees to arrive at the meeting with their best answer to the question. This also gives an instant icebreaker for meeting attendees.

During the Meeting

  • Use time to your advantage. Moving quickly on an agenda shows your attendees that you respect their time and expect them to stay engaged. It doesn’t sound fun, but keeping things moving keeps everyone on task.
  • Include a fun trivia list or fun questionnaire for a larger sales or company meeting.
  • For sales, user, or annual meetings, a great emcee can keep the energy, theme and fun flowing.
  • Award a prize for whoever can provide the fastest and most accurate summary of the meeting.
  • Look for opportunities to create meeting rituals and traditions. Traditions help bond people together. It might be a ritual to have a stuffed animal or other toy to show when the meeting is going off track. Or a wand to show who has the “mike” in the meeting.

After the Meeting

  • Send out a humorous “top ten things we hope you learned from the meeting” list that intersperses funny highlights with some serious gems from the event.
  • Give your team members a contest to come up with the best summary haiku of the action items.

As you can appreciate, there are an endless number of ways to inject a bit – or a lot – of fun into your meetings, without resorting to silly employee awards. Depending on the size and nature of your meeting, some of these ideas may be too “out there” for your next event.

But with a little imagination and input from meeting attendees, there are countless simple things any meeting organizer can do to up the fun factor – while simultaneously giving employee engagement a boost, too.

About Kazoo
Kazoo is the employee experience platform powered by the science of motivation and the mission of improving the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Founded in 2013, Kazoo grows company culture and improves bottom-line performance metrics through its robust engagement platform that delivers recognition, rewards, incentives, and team insights. Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017, the Austin-based SaaS company and its technology platform are built on the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact and appreciation. To request a demo, visit