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Employee Recognition Programs Reflect Company Values

Employee Recognition Programs

Last year at this time employers were stressed out about employee engagement. Now the focus is on employee retention and turnover.

The solution for both?

Employee recognition programs that reflect and embody company values. Standard employee recognition programs aren’t effective if they don’t reflect the communicated organizational values.

A new study from the Society for Human Resource Management, or SHRM, compared employee recognition programs that are closely aligned to an organization’s company values, with employee recognition programs that are not, or could seem more “random” in distribution. Here are some of the critical results you need to know to ensure your employee recognition program’s success.

In value-based employee recognition programs, organizations observed:

  • Increased employee happiness: 86% vs. 70%
  • Added a human element to work: 85% vs. 70%
  • Improved peer-to-peer professional relationships: 84% vs. 66%
  • Helped reinforce corporate values in its employees: 88% vs. 42%

When employees can be recognized for exhibited behaviors that exemplify organizational values they are apt to take the values more seriously. One other key point for value-based employee recognition programs: peer-to-peer recognition. 74% of surveyed companies implemented a policy of peer-to-peer recognition at any and all levels. This is key because it allows good behavior to be called out and rewarded across the organization. Whether the office manager or a senior executive is encompassing company values, an employee recognition program should be enabled.

What are the best practices for your employee recognition programs?  The Young Entrepreneurs Council, which consists of some of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs, contributed to these 8 Best Practices for Your Employee Recognition Programs.  One of the valuable tips: Don’t Overthink it!

“We created a really awesome, but elaborate point system, only to discover that it was too much for people to keep track of and actually deterred them from doing their job. The system that’s used to track employees for recognition is far less important than just having something in place to recognize those who have done well. People love to be recognized in front of their peers.”

— ANDERSON SCHOENROCK of ScanDigital

Do you have a value-based reward program? If so, do you allow peers to recognize each other across seniority levels? Tell us more about your value-based employee recognition programs 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.

Time for Employee Recognition

employee-recognition
According to Incentive Magazine, the number one reason employers and managers give for not practicing employee recognition is time. They don’t have time, they can’t find the right time, it’s not effective if you do it too much or too little. There are a million reasons. But the reality is, employee recognition shouldn’t take a lot of time, and with some planning and scheduling employee recognition can extend the time employees remain loyal to their organization.

1). Timely Employee Recognition- If an employee does something worth recognizing, make sure you execute on employee recognition in a timely manner. If you wait too long the recognition becomes stale and ineffective. Ensure ROI and trophy value for rewards by recognizing employees as soon as possible.

2). Doesn’t Need to Take A Lot of Time- There’s a misconception in the market that employee recognition is time consuming. However, if you have a regular recognition program, and rewards on site, recognition only needs to take a few minutes. Whether it’s public or private employee recognition, it doesn’t need to be a time suck.

3). Deliberate Frequency- Make employee recognition programmatic. That way employee expectations around recognition and rewards are set and can be met and/or exceeded. From a time perspective, deliberate recognition builds recognition into your calendar, rather than being disruptive.

Making time for employee recognition will ensure ROI into any program that is approved and endorsed by management.

 


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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 Rewards They Really Want

employee-rewards

Ever wondered what employee rewards your staff really want? While you know they may appreciate the sentiment of the reward, and even find the rewards fun, have you ever wondered, if they could pick anything, what the general employee response would be? In a recent study done by The Voucher Shop these hard-to-come-by desires are revealed. Even though these are results from across the pond, there’s a lot to be gleaned applicable for American employees and households as well.

Here are the top categories employees want to see in rewards from their employers:

  • Food and grocery shopping vouchers (47.8%)
  • Department store vouchers (14.9%)
  • Holiday vouchers (12.4%)
  • Leisure or family day out vouchers (9.2%)
  • Eating out (8.7%)
  • Clothing vouchers (5.8%)
  • Do-it-yourself or home improvement voucher (0.8%)

These results reveal a lot about what employees want and need. Rewards should provide trophy value for employees and allow them to afford things they won’t necessarily deem a necessity. The fact that things like groceries, department stores and holiday rewards top this list shows the continued financial strain on working families.

On one hand, it’s great that added rewards can help fill gaps in employees’ financial needs but on the other hand, employers need to aim to balance giving rewards with the trophy value they aim to provide. In either case, this study sheds light on what employees really want in rewards and will help guide employers to providing rewards that will have the maximum impact on their workforce.


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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.

Why Employers Often Fail at Employee Recognition

employee recognitionA recent survey by OfficeTeam revealed that 89% of employers think they are doing a good job with employee recognition for outstanding efforts at work. That would be great, except only 70% of employees tend to agree with that statement. The divide between employee and employer opinions is significant. If employees don’t have confidence or agree that their employers are doing well recognizing their efforts, then employers get no return on what is often a significant investment.

There are many reasons why employers can fail at delivering employee recognition. Sometimes it’s a lack of effort, communication or application of a program. Here are three reasons we find most common- and how to overcome them.

  1. No Purpose: If your employee recognition program is too ad-hoc it can seem like there is no clear purpose or direction. Before handing out rewards or recognizing employees publicly, the leader/administrator of the program should be able to set out specific purposes and goals of the program. This will provide guidance and direction to keep the program focused and clearly laid out for employees.
  2. No Feedback: Every employee recognition program starts with “employee.” Don’t lose sight of that. Solicit feedback from employees on where, when, how and why they want to be recognized. Keep it meaningful not just for your management team but for the people you aim to acknowledge.
  3. No Learning: Great employers help their employees grow. Employee recognition should be about learning. Employees should be recognized for both learning and personal growth, just as much as working hard to further company goals.

A lot of factors can come into play when an employee recognition program isn’t successful. But the important thing is how companies and employers understand and meet those challenges in order to overcome them. Here are more examples and solutions in Incentive Magazine’s article, Top 10 Reasons Why Companies Fail at Employer Recognition.

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.

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.