Archive for the ‘Employee Incentives & Engagement’ Category

Employee Engagement Reaches New High

Monday, August 18th, 2014

iStock_000021022342LargeAccording to a study released last week, employee engagement has reached levels that it has not experienced since 2009. 68% of employees are now engaged based on the survey of 400,000 employees at nearly 5,000 various organizations. The average increase over the last 3 years has been about .43%. If this rate continues, employee engagement could be back to 2007 levels, which was 70.6%.

Throughout the past 7 years the same top three items have had the greatest impact on employee engagement:

  1. Committed Leadership – those leaders who show they are committed in making their organization a great place to work.
  2. Trust – Employees trust the leadership and feel that their leaders are setting their organization on the right course. Trust helps solidarity in achieving common organizational goals.
  3. Future Success – Employees truly feel their organization will be successful in the future. Employees are confident in their future with an organization and gain a sense of security and trust.

Now let’s discuss in more detail…

Committed leadership helps employees build confidence in their leaders and in turn, their organization. Leaders should maintain regular communication with their employees, follow through on plans and promises, listen to employee feedback, demonstrate their commitment to the success of their organization, and cultivate a work environment that employees genuinely enjoy.

Valuing employees leads to trust. Prepare employees with the tools they need for success and the power to accomplish their jobs effectively, incorporate a recognition program to ensure that all employees are being recognized properly as well as giving the employees the power to recognize one another, and foster employee growth and development by providing promotional opportunities when available.

When it comes to the future, regularly communicate your organizations plans, include employees on any goal setting processes, make sure to follow through and communicate when goals are achieved, share market and industry trends, and also share any competitor insight with employees.

In addition, over the last three years, companies with more engaged employees also had improved employee retention rates. Employees at companies where retention improved responded more favorably than those at companies where retention either stayed the same or decreased.  This supports the ongoing fact that there is a direct correlation between employee engagement and employee retention. Also, profits have been higher in companies with higher employee engagement and employee retention. As engagement increases, businesses become more successful, more employees become engaged, profits increase, engagement becomes even more successful, etc…the process is amazingly cyclical!

You can download the Quantum Workplace 2014 Employee Engagement Trends report here and read all the great details!

3 Points in Favor of Employee Wellness Programs

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Employee Wellness ProgramEmployee wellness programs work well for a lot of reasons. While they may not be the most scientifically measurable, metrics-based programs, there’s still a lot left to learn about employee wellness programs? These programs are relatively new in the space of human resources and employee benefits and while we don’t claim to know everything, here’s some great points you may find useful:

  1. Healthy employees take fewer sick days. According to the CDC, a healthy weight man misses 3 days of work a year due to illness, where an obese man misses 5. Does 2 days annually make or break a career? Probably not, but if I were a business owner and I knew that employees at a healthy weight were more consistently attendant at work, I would work to help them achieve their weight goals.
  2. People like wellness programs. Access to exercise, convenient health screenings and support or work-out groups bring people together and are seen as an employee perk. Providing access to and support for the tools employees need to get healthy and maintain an healthy lifestyle are a great way to boost morale. Give the people what they want, because the comparative cost can be high.
  3. Measurable benefits do exist. One meta-analysis of a 42 program set of employee wellness programs revealed that at the onset of the wellness programs the organizations experienced a 25% reduction in absenteeism and health costs as well as a 32% drop in worker’s comp and disability claims. These results help to prove the point, employee wellness programs are here to stay and can make a positive impact on your workforce.

If you still need convincing about why employee wellness programs work (or some more skepticism about what we still don’t know) check out this article from Fast Company.

The Downside to Financial Incentives

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Financial incentives have become an organizational norm.  Paying employees based on their contributions has become a fairly standard practice in every business.  It has also become something that employees have grown to expect, especially high level executives.  But how can an employee trust a incentive plan where executives are achieving financial rewards while lower-level employees have gone without pay raises for significant periods of time?

Employees that do not trust a financial incentive plan, or the way the plan is run, will be unhappy with it no matter how much the plan pays out.  Incentive plans that have no link to performance can have an extremely negative impact on a corporation.  An incentive can only work if the person who is receiving the incentive can affect their performance.

To make things simple, Hay Group has distilled all the research they’ve done around incentive pay into the table below:

Financial Incentives

Table Courtesy of:

GiftCard Partners, Inc. provides many different gift cards to help support your non-cash incentive plans, including CVS/pharmacy®, Whole Foods Market, AutoZone, and more!

Invest in Employee Training

Friday, August 8th, 2014

The title pretty much covers it for this one, so if you have to stop here (which we at GiftCard Partners DON’T recommend) you’ve gotten (part of) the point. For most organizations, employees are the biggest and greatest asset. Invest in them! Employees matter, and employee training produces ROI like any other investment.

Here are three ways to invest in your employees.

  • Superior quality output translates to your clients. Training your employees to do their absolute best will mean that your workforce will provide the absolute best to your clients.
  • Optimize your biggest investments. You spend a lot of money paying employees and training them, making sure they do their best. Provide professional development opportunities like internal training or external conferences. This ensures your best investment is at the top of their game and have all the latest knowledge related to your industry.
  • Reduce downtime. Ensure employees are busy and challenged. When employees are pushed to their limits, they set new limits, which makes your business better. Rewarding employees for working hard with small denomination gift cards to popular retailers like The Limited or The Children’s Place is a great way to let your employees know you recognize their effort.

Train employees to translate your success to the long-term. Increasing the quality of your output will be noticed by clients, and the investment you put in will raise employee retention and loyalty.

Employee Motivation Key to Employee Satisfaction

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

We all learned in Psych 101 about Maslow’s hierarchy. The same way that you can’t worry about your safety if you can’t breathe, employees can’t focus on their work if there is no employee motivation. When employees become stagnant in their positions they start to focus on everything but the task at hand, not to mention focusing on finding other more motivating job opportunities.

Below are Brian Ward’s, co-founder of Affinity Consulting and Training Inc., seven key motivators. Employee motivation fits these criteria in a unique way.

LinkedIn Employee Motivators

Brian Ward, What Motivates People?


Apply these seven key motivators to the design of your team’s work structure. For example, give employees control over the way projects get done, as long as deadlines are met on time. Ensure the output of employee effort is meaningful to the employee and their goals. Provide opportunities for advancement. Ensure that you’re giving appropriate praise and rewards for a job well done. These relatively small adjustments in the way your team gets their jobs done will not only harvest employee motivation that will lead to greater productivity, it will also ensure that employees remain satisfied with their positions and loyal to your organization. Employee motivation leads to satisfaction and employee loyalty.

Employee Activism: Encouraging Employees to Become Brand Ambassadors

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Employee activism is a new movement that goes beyond customer satisfaction and employee engagement, and is becoming an underlying foundation in successful companies.  Many employees are defending their employers from criticism and acting as brand ambassadors for their companies, both online and offline.

It all begins with social media.  Many companies are intrigued about ways to enhance employee engagement, but highly concerned about an employee’s use of social media, especially during the work day.  But rather than limiting an employee’s media usage, companies should be promoting the benefits and encouraging their employees to become activists for the brand they represent.

Many companies still remain somewhat skeptical, and not without reason. Reasons for caution include valid concerns about privacy, cybersecurity, productivity, and actions by rogue employees that could go viral. This behavior is the exception to the rule and most companies already take a lot of care in building their culture with people they can trust , so why not trust them to advocate as well?

Here are some tips to successfully build employee activism:

  1. Start with your own internal communications – having “sharing” buttons on articles and announcements that are delivered to employees demonstrates a trust that these articles can be shared, while also providing employees with an easy way to share it.
  2. Strong leadership -  Employee engagement starts at the top.  In order to have strong employee engagement, employers need to articulate what their company stands for.
  3. Content is king – Compelling and engaging content is what employees are looking to share.  Infographics, video, and print can bring media to life.  Today, every company is a “media” company and every employee can be a storyteller.
  4. Rules of engagement – create a social media policy and make it a part of the employee orientation process.  That way employees are clear on what is and what is not allowed.  Make your guidelines clear so that employees will have the confidence in being corporately responsible both online and off.

Research is showing that those companies that allow access to social media, as opposed to having strict restrictions on usage, are viewed more positively by their employees in social media outlets.  Building employee activists when business is good forms a solid foundation of ambassadors ready to defend your company when times get tough.  The real risk is not empowering your employees to speak positively on your behalf.

Read Employees Rising: Seizing the Opportunity in Employee Activism from Weber Shandwick here!

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.

Improving Employee Engagement with Technology

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

A company’s most valuable asset is their top performing employees. Employee engagement and keeping those employees happy are the easiest way to retain those top performers. Most companies focus on finding and hiring the best talent, but the goal shouldn’t stop there.  Employee engagement, keeping employees motivated and invested in the company culture, and the strategy behind it all is equally important.  Management must do more than just the “given” benefits, such as compensations, vacation, and paid lunches.

Here are five tips for using technology to help boost employee engagement:

1. Changing the status quo – Using social style employee engagement software, as opposed to just using annual employee surveys, can offer real-time performance reviews, and provide faster company analytics and employee recognition, creating a more engaging environment.

2. Motivate with instant feedback – Reviewing annually is not often enough to maintain employee engagement. Using a platform that can collect employee input and provide instant feedback can suggest improvements directly to management and quickly improve employee engagement.

3. Encourage peer recognition – Encourage an environment where employees are free to recognize other employees. Recognition platforms can allow employees to track their own achievements while also being able to recognize their coworkers. Employees can thank each other publicly for going the extra mile. Management can also easily identify the top performers and further recognize and incent those employees.

4. Provide tangible rewards – In addition to recognizing, supplementing this approach with creative and meaningful rewards can add even more value. Rewards, such as e-gift cards, which can provide instant gratification, reinforces employer appreciation and can increase employee engagement.

5. Think big picture – With a cohesive culture and values, a company can present a clear, consistent message to their employees. Employee goals can be aligned with business priorities. Employee recognition platforms also provide a means for management to define their company culture and how the company is performing in relation to their objectives.

Both long and short term maintenance of employee engagement is one of the biggest challenges facing management today. It’s imperative to create an environment in which employees feel motivated and invested.  Employee engagement software can provide the means to achieve these goals and create a positive work environment.  Read more here from Razor Suleman founder of Achievers.

Adding gift cards to your employee engagement platform is easy. Click here to learn more about the brands GiftCard Partners offers!

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.