Employee Investment is an Investment in Your Brand

employee investmentEmployees are your brand. They are the ultimate liaison between you and your customers. No customers, no business, so it’s critical to make an employee investment and consider it an investment in your brand. In order to ensure your employees are the strongest representation of your brand you must create a culture of employee engagement. Here are three ways to do that.

  1. Knowledge: Empower employees with knowledge. Ensure they have a full knowledge of products in inventory, how to procure products that may be out of stock, and other key information to enhance the customer experience. Retail employees who work on the floor are your brand ambassadors. Make sure they have all the tools they need to succeed.
  2. Communication: Teach employees how to tell your brand story. Polite bubbly personalities are great but when employees understand your brand’s narrative at the highest most corporate level it will help them immerse themselves in that story and craft it for each individual interaction they have. Better consumer experiences mean a stronger brand and business case.
  3. Commitment: Commit your organization to your employees. Professional commitment needs to go both ways. Employees commit to working hard for you, and you have to commit to professional development, training and perks for them. Commit to your employees and they will commit themselves to organizational goals.

For more information on employee investment or how employees represent your brand, check out this article from Retail Customer Experience.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.
employee motivation

3 Employee Motivation Tactics That Work

Employee motivation has gone way beyond the traditional cash bonus or employee of the month trophy. Employees want motivation programs that really dedicate them to their work and their peers.

Here are three employee motivations tactics from B2BNewsNetwork to help you revamp your program.

  1. Unlimited Vacation and Sick Days: This seems like it could turn into a runaway train, but giving employees unlimited PTO  can actually be a great motivator. Since they can choose to not be at work at any time, the time they are at work is more productive. Additionally, from a long-term loyalty standpoint, employees feel that their employer is giving them incredible freedom and they feel the responsibility to remain dedicated and loyal to the organization as a result.
  2. Peer-to-Peer Recognition: Rewards and recognition shouldn’t always come from management. Allowing peer-to-peer recognition to either take place publicly or privately is a great way to build camaraderie across teams in your organization and empower employees to go above and beyond their regular job responsibilities. If you allow employees to give each other rewards, make them small, like a small denomination gift card to a favorite retailer or restaurant. Just a small thank you from someone other than their boss can give employees a great boost.
  3. Giving Back: Creating a culture of community service is a cool and innovative way to motivate staff. Showing and including employees in corporate social responsibility initiations makes employees proud to be a part of their organization, and can give employee motivation in day-to-day responsibilities a big boost.

Have any other favorite employee motivation tactics that you like to use? Leave us a note in the comments!

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Optimize a Successful Wellness Rewards Program

wellness rewards program

Nearly 90% of employers offer wellness incentives, or financial rewards or prizes, as a means to engage their employees in creating and sustaining a more health conscious lifestyle, according to a recent survey from Fidelity. Rewards offered today are growing from $260 per employee to an average of $521 per employee. That’s an increase of 57% from 2009.

Learn How Your Company Can Optimize a Successful Wellness Rewards Program

Thursday, March 26
1pm EDT | 12pm CDT | 10am PDT

wellness rewards program

Attend this webinar and learn how your company can optimize the success of a wellness rewards program and create sustainable health for employees and organization.

The Corporate Health & Wellness Association, in partnership with CVS/pharmacy and GiftCard Partners would like to invite you to join this educational webinar.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Why gift cards provide the most return on wellness investments
  • How to retain and encourage employees after initial participation
  • Which wellness activities typically have higher participation rates when incentivized
  • Different incentive programs and models
  • Tax implications of incentives based on the Affordable Care Act
  • The importance of changing up the incentive design – variety is key

Meet the speakers!

corporate rewards program

Lauren is the Marketing Specialist here at GiftCard Partners. She enjoys all things marketing and design related. Learning about the newest trends and technologies in the b2b gift card world and seeing how we can use them to develop the best experience for our audience and reader base is our goal.

Employee Development Builds Great Future Leaders

Employee DevelopmentEmployee development is an important responsibility for both employees and employers.  Good managers continuously prepare their employees for future leadership roles.  Doing so increases employee engagement and productivity and makes employee transition into leadership roles as seamless as possible.

Here are three helpful strategies that are vital to developing employee leadership skills:

  1. Encourage Networking – Networking is fun and essential to individual growth and business development.  Encourage networking within the work place during lunch hours, during after-work events, and outside of the company.  Have employees attend industry events with upper management to give them a clear idea of how to conduct themselves so they can attend future events on their own.  Employees who attend industry events on their own time could also be a sign of a potential great leader.
  2. Assign a Mentor – Mentor/mentee relationships develop when employees grow and advance their skills.  Mentorship programs are beneficial for assimilating new hires and are a great tool for cross-training current employees.  Cross-training can affordably boost employee performance and motivation and it prepares employees for expanded roles within the company.
  3. Provide Opportunities to Grow – Provide employees with opportunities so they can grow to one day pursue a leadership role within the company.  Opportunities for growth could include paying for formal education, internal and external training, lunch-and-learn programs, and more.  Set up a calendar with upcoming events and trainings to keep employees organized and help them attend on their own time if need be.

Employees are your company’s biggest asset, make sure to properly invest in them. Read more on How to Turn Good Employees Into Great Leaders here!

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

Top 4 Traits of Front-Line Retail Employees

Flower girl

Your front line retail associates are often overlooked. The store associates are the people who interact with consumers the most and ultimately have the greatest influence on your brand representation. That’s why it’s critical for you to make the investment in training and education so your employees are representing your brand  as it should be. There are a handful of traits that can make truly great retail employees. Here are my 4 favorite traits that create real leaders on your brand’s front line.

  1. Confidence: Retail employees need to be confident in their course of action and their ability to meet consumer needs. Empower them with the tools they need to be effective and independent.
  2. Patience: This is critical. Whether it’s a disgruntled customer or a regular who expects white glove treatment, if your front-line employees lose their cool, you could lose loyal consumers.
  3. Ability to Multitask: Often retail store associates need to be able to do multiple things at once. The ability to keep cool when things are hectic can be make or break the outcome, especially for managers.
  4. Positivity: If your front-line employees aren’t warm and welcoming to your customers, it could come off as cold or unprofessional. Keeping an upbeat attitude keeps customers comfortable and happy.

These traits distinguish leaders from the rest of the pack and it is important to reward that behavior. Whether it’s a free night out at The Cheesecake Factory, a shopping spree at The Limited, or free gas from Speedway, gift cards are great spot rewards to give employees that are really going above and beyond. Don’t let it go unnoticed.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Boost Employee Productivity Through Feedback

Anonymous feedback can boost employee productivity.

New research has shown that stressed out or unhappy employees are 10% less productive than happy employees who feel able to manage their stress and responsibilities. So how do you help your employees manage stress and boost general employee productivity? Feedback.

Obtaining this feedback can be as simple as a suggestion box. Providing anonymous forums within your office structure where employees feel confident that their message will be received but also won’t be targeted as a result is crucial to obtaining honest feedback and thus improving your organization. The more channels you can open up for feedback in your organization, the more ways you can improve and make your organization best for everyone. When employees feel more comfortable and supported, productivity peaks and the best work gets done.

It’s no secret that the best workplaces produce the best work. Providing avenues for feedback allows your organization to remain agile and flexible to employee needs. As you grow or shift demographics, anonymous feedback allows your organization to maximize employee productivity and support.

You need to know what your consumers want so you can deliver. Similarly, you need to know what your employees want to make them the best they can be.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

3 Ways to Transform Employee Performance

Multi-Ethnic Group of People in a Meeting Looking Up

Employee performance should be a main focus for any management and HR team. If your employees succeed it is great for morale, continuity and productivity. High employee performance will yield higher profits for your business and greater success all around. Low performers not only drag themselves down but can really drag their whole team down with them.

Here are three ways to transform low performing employees to boost employee performance in your organization.

  1. Identify low performers: Know your staff. Identifying low performers shouldn’t be a humiliation ritual, it simply allows HR teams and management to understand who to focus their transformative efforts on. Some employees may need more coaching or a more structured path to success. Know who they are so you can single them out for help before it’s too late.
  2. Create Clear Expectations: Identify exactly what an employee’s weak spots are and what they (and you) can do to turn their performance around. If you are not specific in your requests employees are likely to get stressed about their sub-par performance rather than focus on how they can turn it around and do better.
  3. Adjust Your Incentive Program: Instead of creating an incentive and bonus structure where employees are rewarded no matter what, or are rewarded based on whole company goals, think about creating an incentive program designed around individual performance. Performance-linked bonuses are a great way to boost employee productivity, especially in relation to specific and clear deliverable expectations. Offering professional development opportunities and management recognition are also great ways to incent employees around specific individual performance while giving them an opportunity to improve.

Looking for more ideas? Entrepreneur.com has you covered.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

2015 Workplace Wellness Trends Survey Released

Workplace wellness trends have been a hot topic over the last few months.  Recently, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, released Workplace Wellness Trends: 2015, an in depth survey conducted last October which uncovered the most prevalent types of initiatives, wellness offerings and trends, wellness outcomes and ROI, as well as incentives and strategies.  78% of the survey findings were from US organizations while 22% were from Canadian organizations.  The glaring difference between the US and Canada was the focus on the healthcare system.  The Affordable Care Act’s influence has most US organizations focusing more on controlling health-related costs while Canadian organizations were more likely to focus on investing in employee health and engagement.

Here are some other notable survey findings:

  • 81.6% of organizations offer one or more wellness initiatives.
  • 58.6% offer wellness to increase employee health and engagement, while 41.4% primarily aim to reduce health-related costs.
  • 36% of organizations survey their employees about desired wellness programs and changes.
  • 7 years is the average amount of time organizations have had their wellness efforts in place.
  • 54.7% of organizations have budgets devoted to wellness and 62.1% expect their budgets to increase in the next two years.
  • Lack of time, dispersed worker populations and difficulty keeping momentum going are the top three barriers organizations have encountered when incorporating wellness initiatives.

Check out the infographic below to see more details about workplace incentives.

Workplace Wellness Trends

 

Check out the full Workplace Wellness Trends survey here!

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

3 Ways to Kill Employee Motivation & How to Avoid Them

Employee Motivation

Employee motivation is the lifeblood of an organization- and particularly important this time of year while parts of the country are facing brutal temperatures, buried under several feet of snow or getting drenched with rain. So how do you keep employee motivation from freezing up with the rest of the country?

Here are three things that can kill employee motivation, and some important strategies to help overcome those pitfalls.

  1. Toxic People: Not everyone is going to be happy in every employment situation. If employees are constantly unhappy and projecting those negative vibes to fellow co-workers, your best options may be to let them go. Unhappy employees can “poison the well” for other impressionable employees and create an atmosphere of hostility that can impede your team’s level of engagement and productivity.
  2. Lack of Appreciation: When employees don’t feel appreciated they lose the fire in the belly that drives them forward to be the most productive and successful employees they can be. Using spot rewards like gift cards to encourage great behavior can be a budget-friendly appreciation tool.
  3. No Communication: Lack of communication between management and tactical employees can drag any workforce down. Ensure that your executive team clearly communications goals, objectives and priorities to the whole staff on a regular basis.

 

To learn about more pitfalls to employee motivation and how to combat them, head over to Inc.com.

 

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Employee Learning and Constructive Criticism

No one likes hearing they are wrong or that they have made a mistake. It can cause you to lose confidence or want to give up. This is the last feeling employers should want to instill in their employees but at the same time it’s their job to provide feedback, yes and on some occasions constructive criticism. So let’s focus on the key word here, constructive. Without clearly identifying what you are looking for and more importantly why you are looking for it, this term can quickly be lost and leave employees feeling bad about something they put time and energy into. While it may be difficult to navigate, here are some helpful recommendations.

  1. Give feedback at the moment something is happening: Engage employees in feedback on an ad-hoc basis. Don’t wait until review cycles to give feedback, positive or negative. If employees need to be corrected or commended, do it in a timely manner.
  2. Get employees back on the “bike”: Encourage employees to try new skills or make adjustments immediately. The way feedback should be ad-hoc, employee adjustments should be as well. This mitigates the risk of employees losing confidence due to negative feedback.
  3. Reinforce positive change and behavior: Reinforce positive change! Make sure employees feel recognized for their good work. Gift cards are one great way to accomplish some small monetary recognition.

For more information on improving employee learning check out this helpful article from Retail Customer Experience.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.