We’ve never loved the “e” word here at wisnet, and we work hard to avoid it. (We’re talking about the word “employee” if you’re not picking up what we’re putting down.) Despite that, conversations bounced around among team members over the last month about exactly what we could do to celebrate our awesome people today…
As we pondered the right or coolest thing to do for “employee appreciation day,” we ended up talking ourselves out of anything huge, fancy or elaborate. And here’s our reason why…
We feel fortunate to work with a team and in a culture that strives to acknowledge and appreciate each other every day. Not saying it’s easy or big actions every single day. It’s not always spoken either. But, the essence is there. In the grand scheme of things, we attribute it to collective effort to go above and beyond in making sure each person feels engaged, has the opportunity to share his/her voice and be heard – better yet, that they belong, are sincerely cared about and even celebrated. It’s often the little things … an unexpected team member’s quick ride to pick up Gilles ice cream cookies. #yum. Another’s dedication to being an ear to bend, with a friendly voice of reassurance or pep talk. Partnering on our passion projects inside and outside of office walls. Emphasis and care for staying healthy, with a focus on work/life balance, getting moving, and staying active. Hell, even St. Nick and Santa come to our office. (Some may still waiting for the Easter bunny!) Trying to plan something big for employee appreciation day is like waiting to say “I love you” only on valentines day. It just doesn’t make sense.
“Team Appreciation Day” instead = Bacon for everyone!
We love our people and see value in financially rewarding them for their talent, hard work and energy whenever we can. However, being a startup or a smaller company, like wisnet (investing in app product development) can make significant merit increases difficult. Sure, we invest in our teams’ future through their retirement saving plans with a 3% match – which 100% of our team meets or exceeds. And, while we strive to put as much of our profits back into our team members’ hands with regular bonuses, it’s SUPER important for us to support the financial wellbeing of our people even more when and where we can.<
What else could there be?!?
In 2015, we introduced the Dave Ramsey “Smart Dollar” programto our team. Smart Dollar provides a step-by-step approach to better handling one’s money with a build up series of videos and resources covering the range of how to get out of debt, on a budget, and on your way to a smarter financial future. 100% of our team members finished … and you bet a $$ incentive to finish helped, but the end results continue to put MORE money into the wallets, bank accounts and future of our team members.
Here’s what we’re seeing:
*Data shared is from 6 of our team members who have completed the SmartDollar program anywhere between 2015 and now.
Here’s some of what we heard:
Great program – easy steps!
Helped accelerate my student loan payments.
Increased retirement savings – I’m doing more monthly IRA contributing vs. end of the tax year.
Makes me think differently about all purchases!!
Paid for last car with cash – no monthly payments.
The following article was written by Josie, Marian University student and week-long extern with the geeks & creatives of wisnet. She collected her thoughts over her time experiencing various aspects of the business and how we do work. The team here will definitely miss her and can’t wait until our paths cross again.
Wednesday, January 17
I’m not quite sure what to write for this so I’ll give it my best shot. When I first came to wisnet I had a no idea of what to expect. I started right out with a tour and introducing myself to everyone, I could tell this was going to be a really awesome place to work and learn. The staff welcomed me right away and Joe Truesdale got me involved right away observing.
I am currently a freshman at Marian who’s undecided major-wise, but interested in the fields of Marketing, Graphic Design, and IT. This externship opportunity has given me some great insight into possible future careers, as well as provided me hands-on learning for programs I may encounter such as WordPress, Google Analytics, and Trello.
Being here, I’ve learned a lot. I came in with very basic, limited knowledge of what goes into creating and developing websites. New concepts to me like SSL, SEO, wireframes, and the difference between things like static and dynamic content are examples of just a few of the things I’ve gotten to learn about during the last few days.
I had the opportunity to work on an actual current project, doing work behind the scenes inputting and transferring data, which I thought was a blast. I’ve sat in on many meetings between Joe and companies where they discussed the websites being designed, and then companies had the chance to offer suggestions for possible edits.
My experiences here have been nothing but great. Whether it was sitting in on a conference call, creating forms in WordPress, or going out for tacos, everything I’ve done here at wisnet I can honestly say has been a wonderful time for me. Educationally and enjoyably.
Friday, January 19
Today is the last day of my externship, and having been here at wisnet a full week I can say I’ve encountered a lot of new possibilities. Like I said in the write up I did a few days ago, the opportunities and things I’ve gotten to work on have really given me an idea of what I may do in my future career; should I choose to follow a path in an IT, marketing, or graphic design field.
The processes in regards to designing websites, as well as developing the layout to promotional materials like catalogs, are much more of an undertaking then I ever would have known if I had not taken this externship. Learning what goes on behind the scenes has really made me think more about what and how much work goes into things like websites.
This has been an unforgettable chance for me, and I’m so glad I was placed at wisnet. I’m going to miss everyone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting over the last five days, and look forward to hopefully getting to work with them in the future.
If you need a pep talk, reach out and get it. Don’t wait for someone to come to you. If no one around you is in the position to act as your mentor, give yourself your own pep talk. Ultimately, you have to do the work—the responsibility lies with you.
– Howard Behar, “It’s not about the Coffee: Lessons on Putting People First from a Life at Starbucks”
With taking risks and stepping outside of comfort zones, comes not always having the answers and potentially a whole lot of second guessing oneself. Given the time of year, where society reminds us we should have a lot of improvements to make on ourselves and are not meeting our greatest potential, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Personally, I’ve been experiencing a bit of that perfect storm. Despite my last blog post, the fear of failure lingered in the shadows.
Coincidently, last week I was served up a sponsored Facebook ad and clicked through to an app called, “Peptalk.” “How did ‘they’ know?” I thought! This was exactly what I needed. A crazy December in the books – with a lot of self-induced stress over the holidays. On top of that, our geeks & creatives team has a lot of exciting, challenging client and personal projects lined up for 2018.
Back to the app that found me …
Again, I’m only 9 days into using the free version, but the daily reminders and audio are just the kick in the butt I need to reframe my thoughts. Here are a few samples:
The free app has some great features for daily push notifications/reminders and more audio for commutes and in between listening. Paid upgrades appear to offer expanded audio, offline access, ebooks and an elite group/community.
A bit more review-like feedback on the app:
Not sure it’ll be a long term daily use for me as the tone doesn’t quite fit my style. It’s good, but it has a very bold, “I am a champion,” and grind/hustle approach. I also have to say that frankly, I’m missing a woman’s voice in the Instant offerings, which are the daily produced compilations with multiple aspirational snippets and a super motivating & impactful music bed. That said, there are talks from women included – Sheryl Sandberg, Oprah Winfrey, to name a couple, and they sound fantastic. But it’s pretty clear it’s male dominated and I’m having to dig into the content in order to find them, rather than the app serving up voices of women as much as men. While writing this post, I did submit feedback on this concern and within the day heard back from app support with the message, “Definitely agreed! We’re working on it. Thanks a lot for your support!” Regardless of that beef, it’s still a great tool to checkout if you’re looking for a daily dose of inspiration.
THE TAKEAWAY: Ask for or give yourself a pep talk if you need it!
We’re only human. And our inner critic is a *@$%!. No complaining, no excuses. Step up to your potential and own your resolutions because no one else will. At wisnet, we like to say we help our clients go fearless into the net. Today, I’m telling you personally and professionally – go fearless into your today, tomorrow, your year … and if you need a pep talk, we’ll be here.
The geeks & creatives of wisnet had been working on a fitness app for awhile, but never figured out exactly what we wanted it to be – and so it sat unfinished. This year we decided that FABOH’s Get Up & Go Employer Challenge was the perfect excuse to jump back in and get things rolling.
The goal of our fitness tracking and competition app was to make tracking your activity easy and to help keep employees engaged and motivated through challenges.
Features we wanted to include:
- Built in timer for tracking your active minutes
- Sync functionality with Strava & Fitbit accounts
- Ability to manually enter your activity time from anywhere – desktop, tablet and/or smartphone
- Team tracking to see how the entire organization is doing
We ran the EverydayFit app project as a sprint. We had a tight deadline and needed to get things done as quickly as possible. With daily meetings we walked through tasks for the day, progress and talked through any issues and concerns we had.
We had a month to get the app designed and developed in time for the challenge (and we used every minute of it). Things were definitely not perfect and we were ok with that. We had the main features that were needed for the challenge and we continued to work through bugs and make enhancements throughout the 8 week challenge. We received some great feedback from those who helped to pilot the app and have others interested in using the app for other company challenges.
Now that the Get Up & Go Challenge is complete, we have some features and enhancements we’re working on to make our app even better. Stay tuned for an update! And in the mean time, if you’re looking for help with an app project, contact the geeks & creatives of wisnet.
A cluttered desk creates distraction. Everything laying on the surface clamors for attention. Removing the clutter helps you focus on your present task. Even if you have several on-going projects, it’s easier to “focus” if the only items in front of you belong to your current project. Decluttering your workspace can help you clear your mind and make you more efficient.
Remove the Small Stuff
Small items that are non-essential to the task at hand should be out of sight. “Items” such as pens, calendars, books, supplies, and food should be stored away in a drawer or on a shelf. But before you toss those items into your cabinet drawers, it’s probably time to clean them out first. Everyone has the catch-all drawer that contains so many items you’re not even sure what is all in there. And most of the items you don’t even need. Give unwanted items to your coworkers – they can store it in their catch-all drawer for a while. Then purchase a drawer divider so you can separate the pens from the rubber bands from the paper clips. You won’t feel so anxious opening that drawer after it is neat and organized.
You can replace framed photos by using your computer’s desktop or screensaver to view these same pictures. Consider replacing paper calendars with digital versions. Use Evernote or Google Drive to scan and store documents that come to you as paper versions. Once these documents are scanned they are much easier to share with others, and you will be less likely to lose them.
Enlarge Your Workspace
If you have a lot of important stuff that cannot be removed from your work area, that doesn’t mean your desk needs to be cluttered. It means you need a better method of storing your “daily work items”. Consider adding drawers on wheels, shelving, or a project storage system to your work area. These will remove clutter from your desk surface.
Organize your Digital Clutter
Just because the physical space looks good doesn’t mean you’re all set to go. Digital clutter can be even more distracting then the physical clutter. Take the time to organize your files. If you are having trouble finding files on your computer, it’s a sure sign that you’re not organized. Create folders for each client and store separate projects in their own folders. Create task folders within project folders so you can easily locate the correct files for each phase of your project. Give files descriptive names so they cannot be confused with other clients’ tasks or projects.
Don’t save files to your desktop. Once you start down that road, it never seems to end. Before you know it, you have columns of files extending all the way across your computer screen. Put a shortcut to the folders you use most on your desktop. That will save time working with the files you use most during the day.
Make a Commitment to Regular Decluttering
Clutter creeps in slowly while you are working. End of day cleanup is probably the best solution. Spending 5 minutes at the end of the day to put items back where they belong or create a home for newly created projects is easier than letting things pile up all week long.
Last week someone I was talking to mentioned not wanting to fail. My immediate reaction/self talk was: “Yup, right there with you… I’m seriously afraid of failure too!”
I’ve thought about that conversation and my gut reaction quite a bit since. I started wondering if I was making a mistake in my thinking and worse, in my work. And then I listened to one of my favs – a Tony Robbins podcast, which referenced mistakes as moments of opportunity. Which got me thinking… are mistakes better or worse than failures? How are they related and how are they different?
“Go ahead, fail. Try to avoid mistakes, though.” – Seth Godin
A failure is a project that doesn’t work, an initiative that teaches you something at the same time the outcome doesn’t move you directly closer to your goal.
A mistake is either a failure repeated, doing something for the second time when you should have known better, or a misguided attempt (because of carelessness, selfishness, or hubris) that hindsight reminds you is worth avoiding.
There is a lot of talk about “failing faster” as long as we learn from our actions. Because of my “achiever” nature (which I admit is a shadow when overused or misused), I do my very best to avoid mistakes and failure at all costs. Not saying mistakes don’t happen… but when they do, having the growth & learning mindset definitely softens the blow.
Mistakes will happen.
25% of positive encounters with business were actually service failures that the company responded to
In the Tony Robbins podcast I listened to, author, speaker, and professor – Dan Heath talks about the opportunities to create powerful moments … disrupting what people expect – in a good way – within our day-to-day interactions, especially in business. In all honesty, I’m sure my personal reaction will always be “$@#%, what did I do,” but there is a greater opportunity to re-frame that negativity into self talk of learning from the mistake, of course avoiding repeats, AND in my opinion, most importantly, thinking through what can be done to make this a positive experience for the person on the other side of a mistake.
“When people treat you warmly… when they react and accept your problems as their problems, it’s amazing how forgiving people can be.” – Dan Heath
So what about failing?
Let’s assign a different definition to failure… one that is not tied to self-worth or relevance at the office, at home, or in the community, and see how thoughts & feelings change around the topic. What if I told you embracing failure meant tackling the hard work first – searching for the “Achilles’ heel” (Teller, 2016 TED talk) in order to to be more efficient and effective in our work in the future. Furthermore, what if by be more willing to fail – challenging thought processes, going against the grain, finding that “heel,” and/or breaking things, we are actually being more creative, innovative, solution-driven, and perhaps a tad bit closer to success? How does failure feel now?
Need some more convincing?
What if you got a bonus for your failure?
Watch this TED talk about how failure is handled on moonshot projects at X (formerly Google X):
Timber Rattlers – to create a greater impact in the community and start to create a more significant buzz around the team.
Dock Spiders – to show Fond du Lac how the Dock Spiders can fit into the routine of the community and area.
Timber Rattlers – To continue to share the fun-loving style that fascinates children and allows adults to relax, unwind and laugh a little.
Dock Spiders – Capturing the anticipation of enjoying summer at a ballpark alongside the fishing, biking, hiking and 0ther outdoor area summer fun.
A “Rattle Your Summer” campaign for the Timber Rattlers and a “New Spin on Summer” campaign for the Dock Spiders via web, social media, billboards and radio.
OK, here’s the dream – Have you ever wanted a cool place where you can share ideas, grab an awesome burger or wrap, have a beverage, learn, mentor, do yoga, eat yogurt, get some work done, invent the next great product, or just hang out? Well, we do to!
The HUB (codename) is a coworking space concept being created to inspire, energize, attract & retain awesome brain power, and to be a starting hub to explore all the great opportunities, businesses, and services that the Fond du Lac area has to offer.
The geeks & creatives at wisnet are always on the lookout for new and used ideas that can enhance our office culture. Culture is all the little things that make an environment enjoyable and productive and, of course, a strong and collaborative culture is important for all corporations and businesses and their teams.
We have some wild and crazy ideas for the space and for driving an engaging culture (some are even realistic) (:
Here are just a few of the brainstorming ideas (in no particular order):
- Food and Beverage available
- High Speed WIFI
- Sit / Stand office space desks
- Large work surfaces for team projects
- Stage for presentations, seminars, and bands
- Shared office equipment (printers, drones, and a red stapler)
- Private conference rooms
- Bicycle friendly
- Small commercial kitchen
- Awesome HUB Burger and HUB Wrap
- Coffee – AKA survival juice
- Drive through
- Lazy river
- Micro Brewery (at least on tap – for now)
- Locally sourced pizzas
- Learn – Connect – Grow opportunities
- Regular Educations venus – speakers, seminars, learning experiences
- Starting point to get involved in other organizations in the area
- Fitness / Yoga events
So, who can benefit from a coworking space? Glad you Asked.
- Freelancers – this can be your home away from home, or your office away from office.
- Corporations / Businesses – meeting spaces and an area where their team members can ‘get out of the office’ and still be productive
- Startups – a great place to work and tap into the instant network of knowledge
- Anyone – who wants an environment that has an extra kick of energy they can call their own
Our goal is to make this a place that we look forward to coming to. And our hope is that we take ideas and conversation from the HUB and use them in other aspects of your life (both work and home).
Now you know what the dream is. Who wants to help make it real?
3 calls to action – I know it is a lot – but you can do it… (:
- Check out our brainstorm page – https://www.thehubfdl.com/
- Be inspired and share through ideas at https://www.facebook.com/hubfdl/
- Join us during Wisconsin Startup Week, Tuesday November 7th at Urban Fuel in Peebles as a test run of a coworking space and to help us brainstorm coworking for our community. This is our next step in building the coworking community which will help us define and build our coworking space.
The Commonwealth Companies’ desire to create a better and stronger connection with the people and communities they serve led them to wisnet.com to help create a strong brand identity that can be carried through all facets of the business, both internal and external.
Our goal was to educate their target audience about the goodwill they create through their projects. The company will be seen as a business full of entrepreneurial-spirited, positive difference-makers, and idealistic pragmatics. The brand personality will show it is not just about buildings; it is about people, all while being perceived and proven as a partner who will complete commitments and projects as promised.
- An updated brand identity that represents a friendlier, “people-focused” personality.
- A website that not only showcases completed projects, but educates the public and raises awareness for the positive change they can make in neighborhoods and cities across the nation.
- Printed collateral that supports their branding and message.
- Website (https://www.commonwealthco.net)
- Presentation Folder
- Information Data Sheets
- Team Biographies
- Project Display Boards