Category Archives: Emotional Health

8 Simple Ways To Recognize Your Employees

Employee recognition programs are designed to make it easier for managers to acknowledge staff successes. By praising accomplishments, these programs aim to retain employees. When someone leaves a job, it costs the business between 16-200% of the employee’s salary to fill the vacancy.  These replacement costs are tied to the employee’s salary, which means that the highest earners are harder to replace.  Since recognition is a helpful way to minimize turnover, here are some ideas to help managers recognize their employees.

  1. Ask new employees how they prefer to be recognized and what they like to do outside of work. Record this information in their employee file.When it is time to recognize this employee, choose a method that’s consistent with what they originally told you.Other options—while appreciated—may be less impactful.
  2. Verbal recognition:  Simply saying thank you is a great start.  Then take the time to specifically describe the positive impact of their work.
  3. Verbal recognition with an audience:  If an employee’s actions positively impacted the larger organization, announce their success at a meeting.
  4. Written recognition:  Writing a card or email to an employee gives them the opportunity to revisit the kind words later.
  5. Gift:  There are a lot of possibilities here.  Some managers have gift cards and movie tickets.  Other organizations offer branded items (like reusable shopping bags and water bottles) for managers to give away for recognition reasons. If recognition items are not provided by an employee recognition program, there may be room in the budget to purchase items to have on hand.
  6. Time off: People love getting extra time off, whether it’s the day or simply the afternoon.
  7. Free meal:  Everyone loves a free meal.  Before offering this option, determine the employee has any dietary restrictions.  Pick an appropriate place and take your employee to lunch.
  8. Meetings with executive level managers: This option can only be offered if the organization’s highest leaders are dedicated to spending time with employees.  Since this is not true for many leaders, it is important to determine this prior to offering to an employee.

Recognition programs were created to foster an appreciative workplace that celebrates successes.  After all, retaining employees is easier than replacing them.  There are countless ways to recognize employees.  Use these 8 ideas as inspiration.  Take what works, and feel free to leave disregard the rest.

Merhar, Christina.  Employee Retention: The Real Cost of Losing An Employee. Zane Benefits, 2016 February 4, Accessed March 25, 2017.
Recognizing And Rewarding Your Staff. Harvard University Faculty of Arts & Sciences Human Resources Department, Accessed March 25, 2017.

Mental Health: The Next ‘Inconvenient Truth’


Could be a friend, relative, or another shooting. Might be hereditary, or from disease, substance abuse, head trauma, PTSD, or some other cause. Regardless of the who and the why, mental health care can no longer be pushed aside. [It reminds me of the debates around the impact of second hand smoke and dental health.]

The financial impact is huge, requiring both new facilities and staffing, so the need to legislate mental health treatment is not a surprise. The #Affordable Care Act was instrumental in legislating insurance coverage. State laws are inconsistent, but most have three forms of court-ordered treatment: (CLICK HERE for state specific info):

    1. Emergency hospitalization for evaluation (aka “psychiatric hold” or “pick-up”)
    2. Civil commitment – inpatient
    3. Civil commitment – outpatient

#Healthcare employment is already stretched thin from decreasing supply (retiring professionals) and increasing demand (aging population). Adding Mental Health positions will exacerbate the problem as employers seek #Registered Nurses, psychologists and clinicians specializing in psychiatric, mental health, behavioral health, chemical dependency, and addiction, as well as counselors, social workers, chaplains and parish nurses. Proving once again that healthcare is #1 for people seeking a long term career with growth opportunities and variety.

To learn more, check out these national professional associations (and Washington State chapters):

To see current job openings in Washington state:


Job Seekers: How Much Do You Want to Make?

Job Seekers: Balancing the 3 legged stool: Where, What, and How Much?

A quality of life discussion that each person (or couple) needs to decide for themselves:

  1. Where do you want to live?
  2. What do you want to do?
  3. How much do you want to make?


How much do you want to make?

The classic answer is still the best. Take 3 sheets of paper and label them: Needs;  Wants; Desires. It’s a simple and difficult exercise at the same time. Even more so if you have a partner participating. The answers at the end are fascinating. Do it again in 4-6 months and see how they change.

  • Need: is based on fixed costs. Examples include rent, car payments, school loans, health issues and child support. These are easy to accumulate.
  • Want: is driven by quality of life issues such as: getting your  own apartment, or buying a condo.
  • Desire is driven by high quality of life issues such as: buy house in a safe area for a family with a good commute distance; retiring at 50.


  • Transportation: I need to get to work. I want a car. I desire a new car.
  • Living: I need a place to live. I want to rent. My desire is to buy a house.

In the end, the question of ‘How much’ pretty much answers itself. That is, until you get to the real question which is, ‘How much is enough?’ No patient on their death bed says, ‘If only I’d made more money.’

Finding a balance is where true happiness is found. For example, #Physicians#Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants all treat patients and prescribe medication. With the #Affordable Care Act Physicians are becoming employees. The ‘good old days’ of autonomy, freedom, power and money are gone. But the sacrifice of time and school debt remain. 




Health Insurance and Financial Planning

Wealth without worry is a beautiful thing. We all know there are countless lottery jackpot winners who go bankrupt &/or get divorced. I got out of the stock market 30 years ago when I realized my demeanor’s fluctuations matched the stock price. Rental property, with an income stream on an appreciating asset, would be perfect if it weren’t for the renters. Locking it up in T-bills avoids impulse buying, since most of us can only look at a pile of money in liquid accounts for so long before we have to spend it on something.

So how much is enough? Hoarding and fear of the future isn’t the answer. But not having health insurance when we know we’ll get sick is foolish too. Obamacare may not be the answer. But hopefully we’ve gone far enough down this road that the principles won’t be thrown out if this specific legislation is repealed.

There are a few timeless principles:

  • Don’t play with the rent (only buy stocks with money you can afford to lose)
  • Pay off your house (debt-free retirement is a LOT easier)
  • Get basic insurance (before one ‘oops’ wipes out everything)
  • Lockup any windfalls (ie. inheritance) in a one year T-bill (protection from friends and family)

We now agree that Dental health has a direct impact on our physical health. Did you know pain management therapists deal with chronic pain by focusing on emotional health? The body is a miraculous thing.

So peace is good. Worry is not. Do what you can. Let go of what you can’t change.  Reminds me of the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”