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Financial Wellness Paired With Physical Wellness

Financial Wellness

With 80% of U.S. and Puerto Rican workers under moderate or high levels of financial stress, employers are looking beyond physical wellness programs and adding a financial wellness component to employee benefits. Financial wellness programs often provide financial advice and guidance to employees with the aim to reduce financial stress and increase workplace productivity.

According to an Aon Hewitt survey, 76% of employers were interested in financial wellness initiatives in 2013, and looking to expand their efforts by 2014. Companies also observe that the more financially stressed an employee is, the more sick time they take, disrupting work flow and workplace momentum.

At Meredith Corp. employees are offered a financial wellness questionnaire and can take educational courses and other financial wellness actions to gain access to discounted healthcare options and other financial perks. Meredith is recording big results on their financial wellness program too.

  • 95% of Meredith employees fill out the initial survey
  • 80% take at least one educational class
  • 88% of those who report less money stress use no sick time

The greater continuity in the workplace is strengthening Meredith’s workforce and proving that employees don’t need to make more money to relieve financial stressors. Employer based financial literacy and aptitude resources can sometimes be enough to set employees on the right financial track. This also proves that financial wellness may be equally critical to physical wellness in terms of employer rewards.

Are you offering financial wellness incentives to employees? Tell us about them 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.

Personalizing Gift Cards

personalizing gift cards

The biggest drawback consumers (and employers) have with gift cards is that some say they are impersonal. The stigma is, when giving a gift card, you are essentially giving cold hard cash, only good at one location. However, with the mainstream advent of digital gift cards and digital gifting, personalizing gift cards is easier than ever, not to mention a big hit with recipients.

With companies like Gift Card Impressions, both consumers gifting to each other and employers gifting rewards to employees have the opportunity to personalize this $118 billion gift card industry. And with the 50% year-over-year growth shown specifically in the digital gift card industry, personalization could be key to even steeper growth and better end results for retailers.

Imagine the opportunity for employers to attach a photo, video or personal message while giving their “employee of the month” a reward for their awesome behavior and performance. It provides a lasting impression on the receiver and frankly makes the gift given look even better and more caring than if they had just given the gift alone.

Gift card personalization goes back to one of the most basic constructs of gift card incentives. Trophy value. Gift cards provide greater trophy value than cash, they leave a lasting impression. Personalizing that trophy value only increases it.

How are you giving your employee rewards? Are they personalized? Let us know 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.

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.

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.

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.

CVS/pharmacy Sweetens Valentine’s Day

CVS/pharmacyLove is in the air, or it will be tomorrow. As we prepare for a holiday full of chocolates and roses, CVS/pharmacy has both classic and non-traditional gift options available. With everything from perfumes, photo cards, razors and male grooming equipment on sale, to bonuses for ExtraCare rewards members on certain purchases and purchasing thresholds, it’s easier than ever to make your special one feel special this Valentine’s Day.

While some may view the holiday as hokey and only meant for the love birds, Valentine’s Day can be used as a unique opportunity to show gratitude and appreciation for the employees in your office. Your support staff, your junior level employees, the people in the mail room (heck, even the person who delivers the mail!) are great people to thank on Valentine’s Day.

Simple “Thank You’s,” especially during these dark, cold winter months, can be a great morale boost. Thank you gifts don’t need to be big either. A $10 gift card to retailers like CVS/pharmacy can be a great way to say thanks without breaking the bank, especially with the variety of merchandise on sale. For healthier options that can support new year’s resolutions and employee’s healthy lifestyle the CVS Select® Gift Card can help with the temptation by limiting the merchandise the card can be redeemed for (so skip the chocolate when using this gift card!).

So who do you want or need to thank this Valentines Day? Think beyond the cupid interpretation and show “love” as gratitude to the people who make your business great!

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.

Inspire Teamwork & Engagement With These Video Clips

 

Kid President's 20 Things We Should Say More Often

Kid President’s 20 Things We Should Say More Often

Inspire Teamwork With Words Of Affirmation

Words of affirmation can be the most genuine incentive in the workplace. Play this short video clip in your next staff meeting or send it to a few coworkers.

In this video: Kid President highlights 20 things we should say more often. Some examples: “please,” “thank you,” “you can do it,” “I have barbeque sauce on my shirt too,” “my team is sometimes not the best team,” and “life is tough, but so are you.”

 

 

Pay It Forward Workplace Inspiration - Gift Card Partners

Are you ready to do the world a favor?

Pay It Forward In The Workplace 

A single genuine deed can infest your team with positivity. This clip will spark serious contemplation and desire to ‘pay it forward’ amongst your colleagues. It will open up thoughts like: What does my team expect from one another? What can I do for my company that is not something they can do by themselves? How can I pay it forward to my coworkers? or How can they pay it forward to one another?

To get started: Here is advice from Trevor McKinney played by Haley Joel Osment “Its hard, you can’t plan it. You have to watch people more – to sort of keep an eye on them – to protect them. They don’t always know what they need.”

 

 

Yeild Enormous Victory in the Workplace - Gift Card Partners

Remember the Titans – Inspiration

Harness Anger and Frustration to Yield Enormous Victory

Sometimes employee incentives come in a raw form. This clip from the movie Remember the Titans will slap you with a reminder to redirect negative energy when your team is down. It will motivate you to remind your coworkers of their power and show them that uncompromised dedication and can yield enormous victory.

In the beginning of this clip, Coach Herman Boone played by Denzel Washington compares his team to a 2 year old child when they ‘throw a fit’ on the field. “[Work] is about controlling that anger,” he says, “harnessing that aggression into a team effort – to achieve perfection. When you put that uniform on…you better come to work”

 

 

Teamwork Solves Tough Challenges - Gift Card Partners

Minions Change Light Bulb – Dispicable Me

Teamwork Solves Tough Challenges

These adorable little minions will add a bit of sunshine and happiness to your day. This short clip will remind everyone at your company that teamwork is COOL – and anyone who thinks otherwise (or makes fun) will be made a fool and turned into a big shiny light bulb. That’s some serious incentive right there; no one in his or her right mind would enjoy being put on display as a big shiny light bulb, right?

Established in 2004, GiftCard Partners is an award-winning leader and outsourced solution provider for merchant B2B gift card programs through key distribution channels.

Employee Engagement Ideas to Implement Now

Do you need employee engagement ideas to start the New Year off right? 

Is your current employee engagement strategy working, or could it use a little tweaking?

Low employee engagement is not just a U.S. problem. According to Gallup’s 2014 study, only 13 % of employees worldwide are engaged at work. While the U.S. does have the highest employee engagement rating, the numbers are still troubling when looking at those who are disengaged. At the regional level, Northern America (the U.S. and Canada), has an employee engagement level of 29% but 54% of employees are considered Not Engaged, and 18% considered Actively Disengaged. Higher employee engagement increases productivity, reduces absenteeism and can decrease health care costs.  According to a 2013 report released by Gallup on the state of the American workplace, businesses are losing $450-$550 billion annually due to active disengagement.  Implementing some or all of the employee engagement ideas can help increase profits for your organization, all while having a happy, engaged workforce.

Here are a few employee engagement ideas:

  1. Encourage Employees to Speak Up!  –  Keeping an “open-door” policy is essential.  When people don’t feel as if they can speak up, they could be holding back valuable ideas and solutions that can help your organization grow.  When you have an open, safe space for employees to speak up, it’s more likely that your employees will bring great ideas to the table.
  2. Help Employees Get to Know Each Other Better – The bigger a company gets, the more of a chance there will be a disconnect and employees will go through their days without knowing their coworkers.  It’s important for employees to get to know each other in order to build camaraderie and have a better, and more comfortable, work environment.  A great way to create this kind of work atmosphere is by playing office games, or plan a happy hour at the end of the workweek (which is also a good way for employees to unwind in general).  Always allow the staff to interact both inside and outside of work in a worry-free and non-judgmental way.
  3. Be a Mentor – As a manager you can improve employee engagement by being a mentor for employees facing issues.  Offer your help even if it means you have to drop what you are doing for a while.  Helping someone that is struggling with his or her job or personally can go a long way.
  4. Reward Employees for a Job Well Done –  Pay close attention to the progress your employees are making; let them know why you are choosing to reward them.  But don’t reward any and all employees for no reason as this can actually hurt employee performance and they will grow to just expect rewards.
  5. Collaborate and Work Together – Collaboration can help improve ideas, cut down on time wasted and can improve employee engagement.  There are different types of social business software on the market that employees can work off of – this can be used as a tool for employees to branch out and work closely with their colleagues.

Click here for 44 more great employee engagement ideas from Axero Solutions!

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.

How To Boost Corporate Innovation

 

G R O W  Y O U RB U S I N E S S  W I T (1)

Surprisingly, we’ve found that fixed pay (salary) and individual performance pay have little affect on innovation, while variable group pay and indirect pay (employee benefits) have a much stronger impact.

In the most recent Human Resource Management Journal, the effects of innovation in the workplace is tested from 7 years of compiled data. The study reveals the declining effects of traditional incentives, such as a raise in salary, and shows the increasing importance of a complex employee motivation strategy to boost corporate innovation. “You can pay employees to innovate if you do it properly. But be aware that individual incentives really are not going to help,” says Bruce Curran, a co-author of the research, and a doctoral student at the University of Toronto.

With the rise of globalization, diversity in the workplace, and the e-business boom, jobs today require a substantial innovation component. Managers are faced with a new set of problems that challenge them to be more flexible and creative when nurturing employee innovation and ideas. A dynamic innovative culture employs freedom, humor, playfulness, trust and time to share ideas in the workplace. (click to tweet) 

The Human Resource Management Journal shows that group or team bonuses, profit-sharing plans and indirect pay, such as robust employee benefits, relates directly to higher creativity and better problem-solving at work. Rewarding teams may allow workers to take more short-term risks because their own pay isn’t necessarily on the line. “If you go down a blind alley, you aren’t going to be punished for that,” says Curran.

In other words, the results of this study suggest that encouraging and motivating employee innovation is possible, provided that you select the right compensation incentives.

 

Established in 2004, GiftCard Partners is an award-winning leader and outsourced solution provider for merchant B2B gift card programs through key distribution channels.