Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Lower Salaries & Better Employee Benefits: Part 2

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Lower company healthcare costs with incentives

Last week on the blog, we covered how employee recognition can help employers lower salary costs. Well this week, we take a less optimistic (but equally useful!) approach to the issue. As employers struggle to raise salaries, they need to keep in mind that employee benefits are part of compensation as well. Going beyond the “expected” benefits like health insurance, boosting an employee benefits program can be more cost effective and lead to employee satisfaction in the case of financial limitations.

Adding benefits like a commuter program to help curb the cost of commuting or parking, or an organizational health and wellness initiative, or a company-wide employee recognition program that is well communication and used often can all be great ways for employers to boost benefits packages without boosting salaries. Adding these types of additional benefits allows employees to feel like they are getting something extra from their employers, while employers can apply fixed costs to these programs.

Commuter programs can put a dent in employees’ cost of commute. Health and wellness programs are a great way to motivate employees toward healthy behavior and maintain their own personal healthcare by offering preventative health screenings. Employee recognition programs are another way to provide non-cash bonuses in the form of a gift card or some extra time off that allow employees to indulge. Since all of these can be applied to an annual budget and used incrementally throughout the year it can put much less financial strain on the organization’s total budget.

For more information on maintaining employee satisfaction through employee benefits check out Employee Benefits News.

Use Employee Wellness Programs to Combat Absences

Friday, July 25th, 2014

According to a recent Aon Hewitt survey, most employers do not measure the cost of employee absence in their business. Employee absence and the costs associated can add up to almost 8% of their total payroll in benefits payouts, lost productivity and temporary employee salary. Since most employers see these as a “cost of doing business,” those employers are missing the opportunity to combat the issue head-on.

Employee wellness programs, such as a quarterly weight loss challenge, biometric screenings or a lunchtime walking club can be an easy way to promote wellness in the workplace and avoid employee sick days. Keeping employees focused on their health is, in a way, keeping employees focused on the health of the business and the culture of your organization. Minimizing work stoppage and maintaining continuity are important in maintaining productivity.

When introducing an employee wellness program to a potentially skeptical staff, be sure to communicate the goals and parameters of the program clearly. Adding small rewards like gift cards to healthy retailers like Nutrisystem, GNC and CVS/pharmacy can go a long way in boosting employee participation and bringing co-workers together to focus on employee wellness across the organization. Absences can hurt your business, minimize them by focusing on employee wellness.

Get Social with Employee Engagement

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Social media has become and integral part of all of our lives, whether we like it or not. Using social media to engage employees can be a great tool, it’s become a staple for many Americans in their day to day routine and requires voluntary participation by definition. Here are four great ways to use social media to stimulate employee engagement, no matter your organizations size.

  1. Solicit Feedback: Use social tools to solicit feedback from your employees. It doesn’t have to be public or identifiable to any one employee. Sending out an anonymous survey where employees can track the results in real time can make them feel like their voice is being heard and gives you the chance to see where the majority public opinion lies.
  2. Respect Privacy: Not all employees are social, or will want to use social outlets for certain topics. For employees who aren’t comfortable using these channels, make sure you provide private outlets to engage in a way that works for them. No two employees will engage exactly the same way, listen to your people and give them what they want.
  3. Score Yourself: Set goals for employee engagement, and adjust your program as you go. If it falls flat in the first iteration, follow up with engaged employees offline and find out what’s going on. An employee engagement program can’t be successful without the employees’ buy in. Be flexible, make adjustments and optimize.
  4. Reward Participation: When employees engage in the program you’ve outlined, reward them! If one employee sees another get a gift card to a popular retailer like AutoZone, Crutchfield or CVS/pharmacy, it’s safe to assume the desired behavior will be repeated.

For more information on how to make your employee engagement program social, check out Incentive Magazine’s guide.

Employee Recognition= Lower Salaries: Part 1

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

thank youAccording to recent studies in the U.K., employees would rather be recognized for their professional accomplishments and have a solid benefits package then get paid a higher wage. Is it possible that our neighbors across the pond are on to something we can apply here?

We can all agree that it feels great to get recognized by your boss for a job well done, almost more than getting that paycheck we all expect twice a month, however, could it be true that we might all pass up a raise for some good old fashion employee recognition.

These numbers seem to indicate that if Americans are anything like Brits, we would:

  •  71% of employees would sacrifice a higher salary for a solid benefits package and employee recognition component.
  • 68% of respondents indicated they would be more loyal to their employers if they were thanked regularly.
  • Likewise, 34% indicated they would be highly unlikely to leave a position if employee recognition were practiced regularly.

The One4All study highlights the universal importance of showing regular employee recognition. The incentive of positive reinforcement drives employee productivity, motivation and loyalty to an organization. Without it retention rates fall, employees are unhappy and employers have a harder time managing teams. Employee recognition should be part of any HR strategic plan.

The Business of Gamification

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Gamification is a booming business, and it helps businesses boom. It has become a great tool for giving simple rewards, like getting a free game for hitting a high score, to an industry that does everything from track your workouts and push you harder, to serve you special offers for becoming the “mayor” of your favorite coffee shop. Gamification helps drive business forward, and for employers it helps drive employees to the next level. The infographic below from Click Software, notes that by next year 40% of the top 1,000 companies by market share will be using gamification as their primary lever to make operational changes.

Gartner notes that 70% of companies that try to make large scale operational changes fail due to lack of adoption within the organization. Gamification combats this issue by working within your organization to motivate employees towards organizational goals and values. Rewarding employees for reaching certain goals and milestones builds camaraderie, relationships and drives a unified organization towards company goals.

Gamification-of-Business_28121

Effective Employee Recognition

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Employee recognition is a great tool to engage and motivate employees. Ensuring that employee recognition programs are effective is the key to ensuring that the ROI desired when making the investment is met. Here are three tips for making sure your employee recognition program is on track, especially as summer peaks and employees lose focus amid vacations and nice weather.

  1. Communicate Often: Set goals, create clear milestones that recognition will be rewarded, and make sure communication is consistent. Communication informs employees of the structure of the program and allows them to understand what the end goals to earn recognition are.
  2. Deliver Spot Rewards: The element of surprise (or spontaneity) can go a long way in creating lasting, meaningful employee recognition. Small rewards like low denomination gift cards to CVS/pharmacy, Boston Market or Whole Foods Market are great ways to put instant gratification into an employee recognition program and boost satisfaction and motivation levels across the staff.
  3. Seek Feedback: Keeping a constant feedback loop allows employees to voice their opinion about the recognition program and can open a line of communication for general employee feedback. Feedback keeps employee morale and motivation high as employees value being able to contribute to the overall wellbeing of the organization.

For more information on how to ensure the effectiveness of your employee recognition program head over to Incentive Magazine.

Health and Wellness Benefits On the Rise

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

As certain benefit costs shift from employer to employee, there are key benefits that will have a high impact on satisfaction improvements. Health and wellness benefits are expected from employees and they assume that employers are going to cover a significant portion of the costs, regardless of the rising cost of healthcare. Well employers are taking note, 45% are offering HSA’s in 2014, compared to 33% in 2010.

Other benefits like tuition support or a personal car subsidy benefit have been on the decline since 2010, down 13% and 17% respectively. These are benefits less expected by employees and therefore have a lower impact on employee benefit satisfaction. Health and wellness benefits have endured for employees as an expected benefit.

Investing in preventative healthcare checks like blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI measurements for employees can allow employers to maintain health and wellness benefits without exceeding budgets. Implementing employee health and wellness benefit reward programs can also motivate employees towards health and wellness goals by using small spot rewards to encourage employees who have reached health and wellness milestones.

For more information on how to maintain the level of health and wellness benefits your employees expect, check out the latest SHRM Employee benefits report, and this article from Associations Now.

The ROI of Employee Retention

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Employee retention is a hot topic in a job market where there’s no such thing as a “company man” anymore, and changing positions every 2 years has become the norm. For employers, employee retention should be a top priority for any HR staff because frankly, new employees are expensive. Between onboarding, training, manager’s time lost, break in team rhythm and potential costs of signing bonuses, relocation or travel and new employee socialization taking on new employees are expensive. Check out the infographic below for a full breakdown of why making employee retention a priority can help keep your organization in the black for the back half of the year.

Employee rewards programs can often fall victim to budget cuts, or not get approved at all due to lack of executive buy-in. However, make smaller investments in employee rewards like gift cards or extra time off can actually provide ROI, not only in the saved cost of employee retention but also in increased productivity and further employee motivation across your entire workforce. Positioning employee rewards programs as promoting employee retention, and even the “lesser of two evils” can help any executive see the benefits of employee retention vs. employee onboarding.

Can Employee Engagement Breed Leadership?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

A new study released by Performance Improvement Council suggests that implementing an employee engagement program can breed a culture of leadership within your organization. The premise of the study implies that engaged employees are more motivated to advance their careers within that organization and thus step up to challenges and additional workload. 72% of survey respondents cited the combination of strong results and strong social skills as keys to being a great leader. Engaged employees are driven to results, and thus make better, more cooperative team members.

Employee engagement programs need to work for your employees if they are going to have an impact on the level of leadership within your organization. They need to be focused on results, and just as important, the rewards given when those results are reached. Using flexible rewards, like gift cards to popular retailers like Whole Foods Market, Reebok and The Cheesecake Factory allow employers a fixed cost, while allowing a potentially diverse workforce the flexibility to choose a reward they will use and that will have a lasting impact.

So why not cash? Avoiding cash rewards is key because cash can roll into bill payments, pocket change and lose the trophy value that will have an enduring effect on employee engagement. Gifts that last, and stand on their own will affect employee engagement and pave the way for a culture of leadership to form at your organization.

Partner Spotlight: The Cheesecake Factory

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
Photograph by Virgil Bastos for Fortune

Photograph by Virgil Bastos for Fortune

The Cheesecake Factory has been raising the bar for the upscale casual dining industry, seeing 17 consecutive quarters of increased same store sales. This is a very important metric in the dining industry. The CEO, David Overton, of the now 169 location chain, recently sat down with Fortune 500 as they kicked off the relaunch of fortune.com.

One of the biggest food trends in general is a push for healthier eating. Examining exactly where food is coming from, using antibiotic free farmers, and having better food overall. The Cheesecake Factory understands this movement for healthier eating and has started acting on it by adding kale, quinoa, and even beets to their menu.

The Cheesecake Factory has also been quite successful with store openings. In the past they would only look at 10,000 square foot restaurants, but recently they have seen much success in opening smaller units in smaller cities. The demand in those smaller cities for The Cheesecake Factory is vast, and they are doing incredibly well. Mall locations have also had sales growth of about 2%.  Many large name department stores will wait to sign on with a mall location until they know The Cheesecake Factory is on-board as well. The Cheesecake Factory is usually the #1 restaurant choice of mall owners!

Read more of David Overton’s interview here at Fortune.com!

Now is the perfect time to add The Cheesecake Factory to your corporate program! The Cheesecake Factory gift cards can be used at any of their restaurants nationwide, making them the perfect offer for corporate rewards and employee incentive programs, customer loyalty rewards and incentives, and fundraising programs. Volume discounts are also available, click here to learn more!