Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Crowdsourcing Employee Innovation

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Innovation can be hard to come by, especially during December when everyone is counting down the days until the holiday break. Crowdsourcing ideas is one great way to help get the innovative juices flowing and build camaraderie among colleagues.

Here are 3 ways to cultivate and maintain your team’s efforts:

Be Realistic: Identify key organizational challenges and use team competitions like a “hackathon” or a full team brainstorming day to allow employees to innovate and overcome the key challenges for the organization. This gives employees ownership of their company and the competition gives the employer solutions to major issues within their organization.

Provide Basic Training: Instead of giving your employees the proverbial fish, teach them to fish. Provide enough comprehensive training to let employees’ minds run free to create constructive and innovative solutions to problems.

Be Specific: Frame employee innovation competitions around specific initiatives. Trying to solve one problem at a time focuses employee innovations and allows thoughts and ideas to be more creative. Focused initiatives also make problems seem more realistic to solve.

Employee innovation can be a powerful tool to transform your business externally and internally. For more ideas on how to cultivate employee innovation check out this article from

Employee Motivation Affects Your Bottom Line

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

thumbs upEmployees can be your greatest advocate or a horrible detriment to your customer interactions. They are face of your brand, and can create exceptional customer experiences that last in the minds of your customers or they can create bad experiences that leave a horrible bad taste in your consumers’ mouths.

Here are 3 ways that, when motivated, your employees can positively affect your bottom line.

  1. Pride: Ever had a friend who loves their job so much and it feels like they never stop talking about it? If those employees are yours and they never stop talking about your organization, their happiness will instill confidence and dedication to their business.
  2. Recognition: Motivating employees when they act as ambassadors to your brand is a great way to gain their trust and repeat behavior. From a shout out at a company meeting, to a small on-the-spot rewards, or even an extra day off, employee recognition can keep your brand ambassadors singing your praises for months and years to come.
  3. Momentum: Organizing an employee motivation program to coordinate efforts is key to building momentum. Once your workforce is motivated and your brand ambassadors have been identified, keeping the momentum going and evangelizing your organization from within will continue the momentum that helps build client relationships and builds your business.

For more information on employee motivation and how it can affect your bottom line check out this article from ClickZ.

Loyalty Rewards Trend Toward Health and Wellness

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

healthy_holiday_gift_ideasThis year Maritz Motivation is having their own “12 days of Christmas,” revealing the 12 most redeemed items from their loyalty catalog and trends in electronics buying. 42% of the recent survey respondents indicated that they will redeem loyalty points to fund holiday shopping. What these consumers are buying could indicate large buying trends for the holidays. The first 3 items have been revealed, but one of the overarching themes to seasonal electronics buying could play directly into the health and wellness programs geared toward the early part of next year.

Here are 3 seasonal trends:

  1. Wearable Technology: It seems futuristic in theory, but smart watches, fitness and activity trackers and clothing with wearable technology built in have become increasingly mainstream. This can be looked at as a great way to start 2014, geared up for fitness. It can also streamline employee health and wellness initiatives early in the year and keep people moving. Once they gauge their (in)activity the wearable tech can help them track their progress all year long.
  2. 3D Printers: It’s the new trend. Now still considered a novelty item, these printers have the potential to become more mainstream as they become more affordable and people will invest in them to keep up with the times and bring DIY to a whole new level.
  3. Smart Homes: As we become more connected on all of our mobile devices, people want to stay connected to their houses, no matter the distance. Domestic upgrades now include connecting homes to mobile devices and digitizing functions like the temperature, the lighting and security systems.

For more information on the recent survey or the 12 most redeemed items and the trends they are setting head over to Maritz Motivation Solutions.

Key Concepts to the ROI for Gift Cards

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

payment trendsGift cards are versatile and make as good an employee reward as they do a sales driver to promote your brand. First Data has released its 2014 Consumer Insights Survey, and it shows that gift cards can do as much for sales numbers as they can for motivating employees toward organizational goals.

Here are two key components from the survey.

  1. Overspending: In 2012, consumers were spending an average of $20.79 more than the value of the gift cards they were given. This year the number has increased to $23.41, that’s an 11% increase in two years. If consumers keep increasing overspend added onto gift card values, the potential for incremental sales growth is real. If you’re selling in bulk to employee rewards programs, the incremental overspend is more predictable- and scalable.
  2. Incentives: Incentives drive loyalty, loyalty drives repeat purchasing. The cyclical pattern can be a goldmine for brands. 32% of respondents to First Data’s survey indicated that they made a purchase because of an incentive, 40% spent more than planned because of an incentive. Loyal customers purchased an average of just over 2 gift cards per year, driving the cycle of incentives and gift card related additional purchasing.

First Data’s survey is full of actionable insights based on consumer opinion. But in the small sample we just reviewed, it is clear that gift cards can have a real impact on purchasing and should have a real impact on 2015 planning and strategy. Gift cards have revenue potential, and the investment will yield returns.

How To Boost Corporate Innovation

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014


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.


Evolving Past Employee Loyalty

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

loyalty-pano_20169Employee loyalty is harder and harder to come by these days. And it has been for a while. There’s no such thing as working at the same place for 30-40 years and retiring with a pension anymore. So how can employers keep employees engaged and hungry for more within their current company? You reward them.

However, the rewards are no longer for longevity. No 5, 10 or 20 years of service luncheons. Since employee loyalty is no longer a motivator, with the average junior employee holding a single position for only an average of 18 months, it’s time to evolve past employee loyalty.

Identifying desired behavior and rewarding execution and consistency is the new “loyalty.” You can’t help that careers are ever-shifting and people get restless (which is more encouraging in today’s job market). So worry about what you can control. Make your employees the best they can be, and when they are, reward them for it. Use what is beyond loyalty, short term performance, to motivate your staff toward organizational goals.

Employee loyalty doesn’t need to be paramount to run a team full of people working well together towards a common goal. If longevity isn’t in your organization’s 2015 outlook, don’t panic. Just find employee motivators you can control and look to performance, even short term, to reward employees for good work.

Gift Cards + Smartphones= Mobile Payment Adoption?

Friday, December 5th, 2014

We are about a quarter of the way through a very intense holiday shopping season. It’s time for a check in on what consumers are talking about buying, and what devices they are talking about buying them on. What consumers do this holiday season is a good indicator of how employers can and should distribute gift cards for employee rewards next year.

According to a new study from InComm, a point of sale provider, 74% of consumers are planning to buy a digital gift card this year. Even more interesting is that 90% of millenials (shoppers 18-35) indicated more interest in digital gift cards this year than in 2013.

Fun fact: Gift cards came in 2nd, topped only by clothing for the gift internet users plan to give this season. If the post-holiday numbers hold these predictions true, we could have the catalyst for the shift to mobile payments. While some of these digital cards will be used for online (desktop) purchases,  79% of millenials have interest in using gift cards on their phones.

If consumers use gift cards on their phones, it may reduce the anxiety about mobile payments. However, more immediately, it may provide a more convenient delivery method of employee rewards. Delivering gift cards directly to smartphones and tablets helps prevent lost cards and unused rewards, reducing the trophy value and lasting memory of the employer’s investment.


Employee Investment Equals Creativity in Business

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

employee investmentRemember the Market Basket protests in Massachusetts this summer? They crippled business and were a compelling modern day example of the impact employees can have on the businesses they work for. Engaged employees don’t just make happy employees, engaged employees create innovation and great business ideas.

Big employee engagement plans, like taking everyone on vacation for an tropical all-team retreat is great, but it isn’t always in the budget. Lower-cost options can still have the desired affect on your workforce. Offering perks and rewards like extra days off, or gift cards to popular retailers like Crutchfield, Whole Foods Market and CVS/pharmacy are great ways to provide off-the-cuff rewards to employees on the spot. Delivering rewards as promptly as possible using smaller, more flexible rewards is a great way to engage and appreciate employees without flying the whole team to Cancun.

Engagement is crucial, there’s a greater demand for jobs that provide perks and more diverse employment benefits. If you make an employee investment, employees will invest back in the company. They will invest their time, their brain power and their innovative ideas to make your organization more successful. As you invest in office space, new technology, don’t forget to invest in people, because without them there is no business.

3 Corporate Gift Ideas That Show Appreciation

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Last Minute Gift Ideas That Shows Appreciation

Nothing says “I didn’t think about you” like a painfully obvious last minute gift. The presents that we give to others speak a lot about our character, they offer a glimpse of how much thought and care we are willing to invest in others to make them feel valued. Corporate gift ideas are important, give yourself time to think about what your office and your clients care about. What kind of gift you give can actually move them and strengthen your professional relationship? Consider customizing their gifts with their name or initials, try to individualize them if you can or allow employees to choose for themselves from a list of similar items. You can even go so far as to listen in on some of the talk around the water fountain for ideas. You may be surprised by what you can learn when you listen. What can you do that will standout? How can you make your employees, coworkers and clients think “wow he/she put a great deal thought into this.”

Express your appreciation for those important relationships in your business with one of these three gift ideas:

The Tervis Tumbler – Quite possibly the ultimate customizable corporate gift idea. Tervis, a high quality insulated drink ware, comes in all shapes and sizes perfect for tea, water, soda, wine, or the coffee drinker. With extremely easy-to-customize options, adding your company logo, a name, monogram, date or special saying can make your design stand out. You can also get inspired by visiting the Tervis Pinterest board for gift wrapping ideas.

Succulents – Give the gift of life. Liven up the office space with easy to care for plants. Succulents are easy to find in stores or ordered online and can be tailored to fit your budget and time restraints. Plants can last a lifetime and will remind the recipient of you year round. 

Often with end of the year deadlines, holiday parties, and vacations knocking on your door, it’s difficult to spend a lot of time picking out and ordering the perfect gift for every person you work with. Here’s a last minute idea that will help you light up your office. 

Gift Cards – A gift card is a versatile and quick idea. You can make a gift card more personal by considering your recipient’s interests. If they have a favorite restaurant, department store, or hobby you can purchase a card that will compliment them. Gift cards can also be ordered in bulk for easy B2B gifts. This corporate gift idea can be done last minute, but use some strategy and creativity and you can still give a gift that says “I care.”


Gift Card Spending to Rise this Holiday Season

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

gift-card-holidayThe National Retail Federation has announced that this holiday season, if all goes according to plan, spending on gift cards will break all previous records. NRF predicts gift card spending will reach $31.74 billion, up 83% since gift card spending tracking began in 2003.

What does this mean? It’s simple. Gift cards are the perfect gift. They are easy for the giver, they are guaranteed to please the receiver, and the price is set. It fits the budget, and is easy. Could any holiday-shopping-crazed consumer ask for anything else? We don’t think so either.

The important thing to remember is that gift cards work for everyone. This means not just your friends and family, but anyone else you might need to give gifts too. Providing small gifts to employees at the end of the year is a great way to say thanks. It’s a small act of appreciation. It could be as simple as giving them a gift to a grocer to help curb the cost of their Thanksgiving or holiday dinner.

So, as everything starts to get crazy later this week, with presents and decorations and wrapping paper, keep it simple and everyone will be happy.