How to mentor and coach productive workforces

Kirk Theriot - 2019

Is middle management an outdated concept? Some theorize that the act of managing productivity is a misguided, man-made concept. Supervising, overseeing, enforcing, and other “policing” acts sets up a hostile workplace that doesn’t support our human nature.

Management should be adapted to the particular demands of the situation, the particular requirements of the people involved, and the particular challenges facing the organization.

In a landmark 2000 Harvard Business Review study on leadership, Daniel Goleman and his team completed a three-year study with over 3,000 middle-level managers. Their goal was to uncover specific leadership behaviors and determine their effect on the corporate climate and each leadership style’s effect on bottom-line profitability. The research discovered that a manager’s leadership style was responsible for 30% of the company’s bottom-line profitability… and that’s huge.

Turn managers and supervisors into mentors and coaches.

In order to help your employees reach their full potential and thus become more valuable to your organization, management needs to mentor and coach team members for success. Investing time in your employees and giving them the tools they need to develop is incredibly important for output quality, morale, and retention. You spend valuable resources training employees in order to establish a well-informed, high-performing workforce. Coaching employees will help employees master tasks and increase performance. Mentoring employees will build strong work relationships and develop individuals not only for the current task, but also future leaders and talent pool. Mentoring and coaching works for both mentor and the mentee. Kim Ades, CEO of Frame of Mind Coaching, writes that when mentoring is done with the right intention, the mentor walks “lit up, inspired, and ignited with energy.”

Four ways to make safety personal

Kirk Theriot - 2019

Behind every worker is a family who is counting on them to provide financial and emotional support. Because safety can have life-altering consequences for generations of family members, it is one of the most important decisions a company can make — both for its workers and for its bottom line.

Studies show that when people have an emotional connection to learning, they perform better on testing. When employees connect on a personal level, they are more likely to relate, retain, and apply the material for longer.

Want to know how to translate a safety lesson into a culture where employees take personal responsibility for themselves and their family’s well-being?

Effective safety training must make a clear connection between compliance and the significance of injury. Make it personal by demonstrating how a serious workplace injury can provoke a major crisis in the family with major financial burdens and substantial time demands on uninjured family members. Show how family resources may be stretched to the breaking point. Human loss and suffering are immeasurable.

Customized training tools help make a real connection with workers in a personalized way

1. Children's artwork safety calendars
Custom safety calendars featuring children’s artwork are a great addition to your company’s safety plan by encouraging employees and their family members to actively participate in good safety practices on a daily basis. Custom safety calendars make it personal because they remind employees why safety is so important—their families are counting on them to work safely. Safety calendars encourage the whole family to participate in safety at work, home, school, and at play.

2. Microlearning safety messaging and videos
Statistics show that employees trained with video perform better than other traditional training methods. Video is by far one of the most effective, cost-conscious, and versatile safety training tools. Generic or canned instruction won’t cut it. Instead, make all content relevant to specific safety policies and practices. Make it personal with exact work and job site situations.

3. Top-of-mind safety awareness
Make it personal with custom safety messaging specific to each team or employee. Consistent, targeted communications help employees comply with all safety policies and practices. Incorporating relevant and consistent safety messaging on banners, posters, and flyers can help our brains to remember or “encode” information for longer.

4. Create a buddy system to watch over each other
Make it personal by incorporating a buddy system to help co-workers follow company safety policies and practices. Keep an eye on new co-workers and make safety a part of the conversation on and off the job.

See how blank walls come to life

Kirk Theriot - 2019

The ability to transform a formerly conventional or uninspiring environment into a powerful communication tool is a remarkable asset for any business or professional.

How to drive home safety

Kirk Theriot - 2019

Custom safety calendars featuring children's artwork is a great reminder of why on-the-job safety is so important.

Everyone knows the importance of good safety practices on the job, but organizations now consider off-the-job safety just as important to managing health care costs, productivity, and profits. Custom safety calendars are a great addition to any safety plan by encouraging employees and their family members to actively participate in good safety practices on a daily basis. When whole families participate in health safety practices, it reinforces the main purpose of all workplace safety programs - returning home safe and sound.

How to stop high employee turnover

Kirk Theriot - 2019

High employee turnovers cost the industrial market millions of dollars every year. Costs associated with employee benefits, administrative and operational work, lost training efforts, and lost productivity quickly add up. But that’s not all — studies show that companies spend the equivalent of six to nine months of an employee’s wages in order to find and train their replacement. Hiring and retaining quality employees is just a start to creating a strong work force. Consistent communications, mentoring and coaching for success, and recognizing and rewarding employees are great tools to help build workforces that are actively engaged, motivated by purpose, and happy with their jobs.

Consistent Communications
Helping employees become more invested in their work begins with honest and open communications. On-going communications and messaging can transform levels of engagement, drive up productivity, and produce a rewarding work environment. Show that the company cares about the well-being of each employee. Engage in social and philanthropic causes and events to build a connected and caring workplace.

Make Work Meaningful
Most people are motivated by purpose and desire to make a connection to something good that is bigger than themselves. The science of human motivation shows that people genuinely want to have a lasting impact on their work — they just don’t know how. If an employee can first identify the impact that a project will have on the company, his or her team, and career, then that project will become much more meaningful than just busy work. Companies that figure out how to bridge this gap not only will have a workforce that knows how to impact the bottom line, but will also attract and retain quality personnel.

Recognize and Reward Achievements
Social science and behavioral economics provide a wealth of insight on motivation, recognition, and rewards. In short, employee recognition, rewards, and gratitude work extremely well. Employees who know they are valued are more likely to be happy workers. Create loyalty by offering opportunities for advancement so that employees can visualize their career path in your organization.

In today’s knowledge economy, the overall strength of most organizations is human capital — the people that make it work. Companies who are trying to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage need to attract, motivate, and retain quality people. Make employee-centric values the center of your workforce development program to attract and retain employees, enhance performance, and build a vibrant, values-based culture.

How to sell more products and services with animation

Kirk Theriot - 2019

2D and 3D animation have been mainstream for many decades — the entertainment industry has relied upon this medium to tell many legendary stories. Everyone has seen an animated movie, right?

Today, businesses big and small are also capitalizing on the benefits of 2D and 3D animation to captivate their target audiences. The greatest advantage of animation is the ability to keep audiences engaged through comprehensive and clear visual storytelling, even when the subject matter may be technical rather than entertaining. Bring intricate products to life with animation. Train students with animated scenarios that would otherwise be too dangerous to replicate any other way. Effectively demonstrate the benefits of products and services with dynamic marketing messages.

Looking to produce content that moves people to act? Consider the following:

Product or Service Launch

3D animation is, without a doubt, the most effective tool to visualize the features and benefits of a new or existing product or service. There is no substitute for a realistic portrayal in high resolution. With 3D modeling, you get digital replicas of real products. The 3D-rendered images can be used to create content displaying products from different angles and perspectives. 3D models are completely digital, making it possible to implement literally any imaginable change. Modular versions of 3D-animated products empower clients to gain a full and complete understanding of the functionality and quality of the product. 3D animations work to sell and market products and services because customers get it.

Advertising and Marketing

Make an impact with animated videos and videos with motion graphics. Animated content can increase the effectiveness of many types of marketing and sales activities such as website content, trade show displays, social media engagement, and all types of presentations and programs. Animated content can help increase web traffic and help potential customers find your products and services. Displaying technical 3D animations on your website, Vimeo, or YouTube channels will increase SEO organic searches, increase social media activity, and raise brand awareness.

Training and Education

The field of training styles and methods has captured the attention of all types of industries. It is literally a lifeline for many industrial companies focused on safety. Safety training that incorporates 3D animations can tackle sensitive subject matter that cannot be filmed like confined space, fall protection, and chemical reactions on the job. Technical animations can be used in training modules to help explain complicated topics and make education more interesting and easy to understand. Education materials that incorporate animations help decode technical topics and bring life to dull or dry material with more engaging visual content without losing the details.

5 benefits on environmental design in the workplace

Kirk Theriot - 2019

For some years now, marketers have been writing about the importance of branding — creating brands, brand management, and re-branding almost everything and everyone. We have strategically used all types of mediums to publish or deliver our branding messages and environmental graphics are no different. Graphic design is no stranger to environmental spaces — the retail market has been capitalizing on this powerful tool since the very first merchandising space. Environmental graphics or branding continue to trend as architects, interior designers, and the corporate world take notice of the wide range of benefits beyond adding a splash of color or adding the logo to the wall. Companies are re-thinking the role of the workspace to help employees truly live their brand. From wall décor and office graphics to decorative privacy film for conference room windows, interior graphics don’t just fill space — they communicate the soul of the company and impact the way employees engage with each other and guide the public experience of an organization. The workplace is constantly changing to accommodate a shifting workforce with various expectations and working styles. This accommodation is not only a trend in some workplaces, but in many, it has become a vehicle to attract and retain the best talent. Environmental graphics work hard. 

Reinforce Brand
Environmental graphics help to brand the company. Communicating the company DNA is hard to do in a mission statement, but a wall installation can reinforce company values. Having your values prominently displayed where employees encounter them frequently can be a good way to reinforce their usage in everyday work, increase organizational awareness, and establish credibility and trust within the organization. Environmental graphics give organizations an opportunity to connect with their target audience in a very public and impactful manner. Visitors are instantly engaged with visual communications that can guide, direct, and support a positive experience with the brand before any other type of media or verbal welcome.  

Increase Productivity
Environmental graphics can help employees feel engaged, valued, and connected. Finding the right balance between privacy and openness is the key to creating a productive environment. The architecture and interior design play a large role through the layout of the building and work areas, but success also relies on the experienced graphic designer to create the perfect balance of color, shape, and messaging to achieve harmony. 

In this example, branded vinyl with right balance of translucency, transparency, and opacity was used on the glass of conference rooms and boardrooms to ensure a level of privacy and productivity. This allowed the people inside the boardrooms to work undisturbed, but also not feel excluded from what was happening outside.

Connect People to Place
Environmental graphics can promote creativity. Many companies use traditional signs, directories, charts, maps, landmarks, and architectural treatments to identify buildings, levels, offices, and public spaces. However, incorporating inspired themes into non-traditional wayfinding solutions can connect people to place in innovative and exciting ways. Experienced environmental designers understand how individuals perceive and move through spaces, are adept at organizing information to communicate graphically in order to transform a dull office into a center for inspired creativity. We live in a time when the creative economy reigns supreme and most organizations view “creativity” as the most valued currency. Companies spend billions of dollars on recruiting, training, and personnel development, but spend very little on environment. 

Improve Employee Health
Environmental graphics can help improve employee health. According to a recent Gallup poll, American adults employed full-time report working an average of 47 hours per week, nearly six days a week — that’s longer than our counterparts in the world's largest economies. With the increasing number of hours spend indoors in bland, uninspired spaces, company morale and productivity can plummet and employee health can be affected. Many companies are incorporating a sense of nature and the outdoors into their interiors through biophilic environmental design.  Biophilia deals with the innate relationship between humans and nature and the basic human need of continuously being connected to a natural environment. As it has been shown to improve employee health, biophilic design works to enhance the individual’s connection with nature in the environment in which we live and work every day. Other creative environmental design decisions can also help encourage healthy behaviors by making the stairs a more attractive option than an elevator.

Impacts the Bottom Line
Environmental graphics can serve as a powerful sales tool, making it that much easier to sell a specific vision to potential clients as they walk through a space or talk through ideas. The positive visual appeal of a space can help create a profound connection between people and place and the connection between brand and success. The ability to transform a formerly conventional or uninspiring environment into a powerful communication tool is a remarkable asset for any business or professional. 

How to create compellingly effective training experiences

Kirk Theriot - 2019

Make it Entertaining
There are many types of training methodologies, strategies, and mediums, but video is the most effective training tool—if created properly. Statistics show that employees trained with video perform better than other traditional training methods. Quality training videos ensure that nothing is lost in translation and greatly reduces the overall cost of corporate orientation and training as well as safety programs. Consistency is key to training, and video is one of the most effective ways to create message continuity. Video content should be customized for each company and unique situation. Generic instruction is far less productive. Video production must be entertaining. People will not pay attention to boring mundane videos; they expect sophisticated videos and demand rich dynamic content and quality production. Mix it up with graphics, music, and animation.

Make it Short
Microlearning is the future of training in the workplace. Current research shows that study sessions are most effective in small short chunks instead of long mind-wandering sessions. Targeting 3-5 minute video lessons, a series of 20-30 minute sessions over a few weeks helps learners retain more information. This is because the brain is better at encoding information into the synapses in short, repeated sessions as opposed to one large one. Our attention span is getting shorter. Millennials have grown up with electronic devices. With the rapid delivery of digital content on electric devices, millennials expect content to be delivered in lightning speed. This new rapid demand and rapid delivery, many say, is the major cause of the human attention span decreasing by 4 seconds since 2000 – to an average of 8 seconds, according to a recent Microsoft study. Micro video learning lessons connect with audiences of all ages, creating compellingly effective training experiences.

Make it Mobile
Forget PCs -- millennials want to communicate and learn on their smartphones and tablets. This has resulted in the adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs in many organizations. Mobile learning offers unique benefits to older employees. Studies have found that the introduction of mobile technology increases older employees functionality, comfort, and overall attitude to technology. Mobile learning can offer real perks for all employees – learning flexibility, high engagement, and collaborative learning. Mobile devices are the ideal platforms for employees to view shorter, bite-sized lessons quickly and conveniently, from anywhere and at any time. Employee training needs to be convenient and responsive technology makes it possible for the same eLearning courses to be available on all devices, making it easy for employees to engage on a daily basis, from desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

How personal responsibility creates safer work places

Kirk Theriot - 2019

Companies must ensure that their employees are adequately trained to perform at their job in the safest possible way. This is not only important to the life of their workforce, but also critical to the reputation and ultimate success of the company. However, even the best training programs won’t protect employees from serious injuries if safety practices are not followed. The key to great safety training programs is the ability to train employees to embrace safety with personal responsibility.

Make it personal 
Incorporate tools that lead employees on a journey of self-reflection and realization on why safety matters to them personally. When people have an emotional connection, they are more likely to relate, retain, and apply the material for longer. Make a clear connection between compliance and the significance of injury to them personally. Demonstrate how a serious workplace injury can provoke a major crisis in them and their family. 

Create the right environment 
Employees generally fall into two different categories: self-directed and other-directed. Self-directed employees have a sense of ownership in their job and take responsibility of their behavior and work performance. Other-directed employees do what they are told and don’t feel that they have a say in the workplace. These employees often become disengaged and resist accountability. Create an environment that fosters accountability by handing over control. Employees who are trusted and given more say in how they do their jobs are more engaged, more committed, and more productive.  

Build relationships based on trust
The foundation of a personally-responsible workforce is a high level of trust throughout the organization. Supervisors and safety managers must be able to trust employees to take ownership of their jobs. Additionally, employees need to know that they will get the support they need to do their best and that mistakes will be treated as learning experiences, rather than as opportunities for blame and punishment.  

Building a culture of safety where every employee takes personal responsibility for his/her safety and the safety of his/her team members can be challenging, but by incorporating strong trust-building strategies and great support tools, any organization can achieve a zero-incident goal. 

Don't leave digital to the intern

Francelle Theriot - 2017

Why should you be interested in digital marketing?

According to, one in every 5 people in the world own a smartphone and one in every 17 own a tablet. With more than 3 billion people online, consumers are tuned in to various channels. Targeting consumers where they spend time is the most effective marketing strategy to reach your audience and ultimately, your business goals. But with all of the options out there, it’s difficult to know how your company can benefit.

Do you need help reviewing your marketplace opportunity and structuring your strategy?

Targeting new customers and keeping them engaged and loyal to your brand is a great reason to connect with 2121 Design.