It’s back-to-school time! Are you engaging employees with flexible workplace benefits — benefits that ease the transition from summer vacation to the demands and routines of the start of school?
Flexible workplace benefits consider employee experience in practical ways that help employees manage work-life balance.
“Employee experience” is a relatively new concept in HR. As author and futurist Jacob Morgan writes for Inc., it works best in tandem with employee engagement.
“By combining employee engagement and experience to work together, organizations can build an environment where employees feel valued,” Morgan writes.
Employee experience is about “designing an organization where people want to show up by focusing on the cultural, technological and physical environments,” according to Morgan. It goes deeper than engagement and considers “experience” as defined by employees.
Taking that experience into account leads to better, more effective engagement strategies.
As we move into the school year, consider your employees’ experience of balancing work and school to design truly effective, engaging workplace benefits.
Give employees a Thanksgiving turkey this November! There’s no better symbol of gratitude: it’s the centerpiece to a meal that celebrates giving thanks.
Need more reasons?
Check out our new page “10 Reasons to Give Employees a Thanksgiving Turkey.” Share it with coworkers and your leadership team!
Now’s the time to start planning workplace gifts for the holiday season. Be ready with all the information you need.
Our “10 Reasons” page answers all your questions about workplace turkey gifts, an American tradition going back generations.
And what’s the best way to carry on that tradition and give employees a Thanksgiving turkey?
With gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates, of course. A turkey voucher gift is convenient for giver and recipient alike. It retains the meaning and symbolism of a traditional turkey gift, with none of the hassle or pesky demands on freezer space.
Recipients of gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates get to redeem their turkey gift at the time that’s right for them, for a size and preparation of turkey that fits their family, at virtually any grocery store nationwide.
Ultimately, this is about your business and company culture. Employees who feel valued lift up your business. They’re more engaged in their work, more likely to provide outstanding customer service and more likely to stay with your company.
There’s no better time to communicate this value to employees than at Thanksgiving. It’s the holiday when we join together as a country and community to reflect on our gratitude. Don’t leave out your employees! Let them know how grateful you are for their contributions — with a meaningful, appreciated Thanksgiving turkey.
It’s time to rethink workplace exercise incentives involving cash.
New research shows money does little to motivate gym visits, even among people who have the intention of exercising more.
The experiment, conducted by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers and published in the National Bureau of Economic Research, randomized about 800 new gym members into four groups.
The control group received $30 after six weeks, unconditionally. The other groups were rewarded for going to the gym at least nine times in the first six weeks of membership — with a $30 Amazon gift card, a $60 Amazon gift card or an item of their choosing from Amazon worth about $30, respectively.
Participants who were promised rewards made just 0.14 more visits to the gym in the first six weeks, on average.
Beyond that, the financial incentives had “no effect on their subsequent visit trajectories.”
It’s actually not that surprising that money isn’t a significant motivator. HR experts have known for a long time that “cash isn’t necessarily king,” as SHRM put it in 2003.
A big problem with cash rewards is that they don’t reinforce brand loyalty, according to SHRM. And because a gift of money has no value or meaning beyond its cash value, financial rewards can quickly lose motivational effect and become an entitlement.
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely argued in his 2016 book “Payoff” that financial incentives “aren’t the be-all-end-all when it comes to motivation,” Business Insider reports.
In fact, Ariely and his colleagues conducted a study that found workers who received financial bonuses for their performance ultimately performed worse than workers who received compliments or pizza from their boss.
Targeted techniques for engaging Millennial or Gen Z employees are helpful but don’t fully reflect the reality — the need for employee appreciation for a multigenerational workforce.
“Today’s workforce is decidedly multigenerational,” according to AccountingWeb article “How to Make the Most of a Multigenerational Workforce.”
“If you walk into any office or firm, on any given day, you’ll find Baby Boomers on the cusp of retirement working side by side with Generation Xers staking out new leadership roles and Millennials eager to make their mark,” writes columnist Deanna Arteaga.
Ensuring that your employee appreciation accounts for all ages and generations helps foster a workplace-wide culture of gratitude.
It can also help avoid serious issues like agism in the workplace, an issue for older workers especially, according to Financial Times.
As one 52-year-old recalls of working in a tech start-up where the average age was 26, “I had this really big blog, I was internet famous, I had developed a TV show and worked in Hollywood, and they were like, ‘Wow, you can use Twitter?‘”
Workplace friendships used to be commonplace.
Now workplace experts say they’re beginning to make a comeback, particularly among men — and that’s good news for organizational culture.
With World Friendship Day coming up on August 6, take a moment to consider the important role of workplace friendships at your company. It’s a great time to plan low-key but engaging activities that celebrate friendships among employees and coworkers.
Workplace friendships don’t have to come at the expense of meeting work goals, according to Fast Company.
One study showed that “skipping the small talk and focusing on self-disclosure and nonwork-related topics can forge a closeness that makes coworkers more collaborative, productive, and accountable.”
Discussing success with colleagues is motivational, another study found. These are workplace conversations that can only happen in a culture that values and supports friendships.
Social and economic factors over the last 50 years have pushed Americans toward a workplace culture that devalues friendship and focuses at any cost on “getting down to business.”
The cost of this shift has left us with record-low employee engagement — still around 30 percent, according to Gallup. But there are signs the culture is shifting back. Workplace friendships could once again be the norm.
It’s one of the main reasons managers give for not thanking employees.
I just don’t have the time.
That’s a shame, because in the long run a robust employee appreciation program actually saves time. Employees who feel appreciated are more productive, and retention goes up.
This is especially true at the holidays, when time is at a premium.
Don’t let a time crunch keep your company from having a great holiday turkey gift program! Begin your planning now.
gThankYou makes it easy to share the gift of a Thanksgiving Turkey with Gift Certificates for any brand, any preparation of whole turkey, redeemable nationally at major grocery stores.
August is the ideal time to start planning your Thanksgiving turkey gifts.
If you plan now, the logistics will be taken care of — and you’ll have time to focus on what’s really important: sharing your Thanksgiving turkey gifts with a meaningful, thoughtful message of gratitude.
The sooner you have your program logistics in place, the more time you’ll have this holiday season for augmenting your holiday turkey gift program with personalized greetings, holiday parties and seasonal employee engagement activities.
And at the heart of it, you’ll be sharing a gift that evokes gratitude, family togetherness and the joy of the season. A turkey centerpiece is the perfect gift to share your workplace holiday gratitude! It’s a meaningful yet practical gift that everyone values and appreciates. Find out why turkeys have been given as employee gifts for over a century in “10 Reasons to Give Employees a Turkey for the Holidays”.
The dog days of summer are here, and your staff could use a little extra engagement. Now’s the time to bring the team back together from their summer distractions with a late-summer employee cookout.
Workplace productivity drops 20 percent during the summer months, team projects take 13 percent longer to complete and workers are 45 percent more distracted, according to Entrepreneur.
Push back against those disengagement tendencies by embracing summer fun in a way that reinforces and builds team dynamics.
“Summer barbecues are a must,” Entrepreneur’s Zeynep Ilgaz writes.
An employee cookout is affordable and straightforward to plan, and a low-investment, high-yield activity when done right.
Employees enjoy the break from routine and the chance to bond with coworkers and management in a social setting — then return to work rejuvenated and refocused. Everyone wins!
As the value of workplace gratitude gets more recognition, leaders are exploring its impact and studying how to better implement it.
The power of a positive, appreciation-driven culture is clear.
Employees at organizations with positive cultures scored significantly higher scores in leadership caring, confidence and listening, a CultureIQ poll found.
Business 2 Community’s post “10 Employee Recognition Stats You Can’t Ignore” drives home the point.
The research shows that gratitude is what employees need to thrive. In one survey, 58 percent of employees said recognition is how leaders could do more to improve engagement. In another study, 69 percent of employees say they’d work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated.
“When more than half your staff wants the same thing, you listen,” B2C’s Michael Heller writes.
Companies are listening. More and more HR departments are deploying recognition and gratitude as engagement strategies. The majority see their employee recognition programs as a worthwhile investment, according to the latest WorldAtWork research.
Emerging from all this buzz around workplace gratitude are best practices for employee appreciation and, ultimately, cultural change.
What comes first, employee gratitude or employee happiness?
We can “live for days on just a little gratitude,” as this adorable Gaping Void art illustrates.
It’s tempting to let perfectionism and “happiness-chasing” get in the way of actual workplace happiness.
Recall all the times you’ve thought to yourself, We’ll be happy as soon as we get through this project, or My team needs get better at A, B and C — then we’ll be happy!
Those parameters for happiness keep shifting away, just beyond reach. It’s a trap.
Break the cycle! Practicing gratitude is a shortcut to happiness, and it’s a practice you can start today with employees.
The secret to a happier workplace really is gratitude. Are your employees hearing frequent appreciation? Are they empowered to share their own gratitude? Is gratitude part of the company mission as well as daily life?
Read on for a primer on employee gratitude essentials. Later this week, look for a followup blog post here on the latest thinking and trends in workplace gratitude.
Training managers in employee appreciation ensures the success of your workplace recognition efforts and protects your business. It also solves a common organizational problem: employees who don’t understand manager directives.
“Simply put, almost two-thirds of all employees are 33 percent as productive as they can be because they don’t understand what they are now asked to do,” according to a survey of 50,000 employees.
Understanding and appreciation are codependent.
“Training and educating employees in company values and objectives in a way that makes sense to them — through their daily work — is a mission-critical goal for organizations today,” Derek Irvine writes for Training Industry.
“Strategic employee recognition is the most effective method for achieving that goal,” he adds.
And it goes beyond simply thanking employees at the annual office party. Truly effective employee appreciation is not always self-explanatory or obvious. It’s a learned skill.
The best appreciation combines clear, mission-driven communication, smart analytics, year-round development and strategic gifts and praise.
Training managers in this level of employee appreciation isn’t just good for employees and productivity. It’s good for managers. It shows the company is willing to invest in their development.
National Ice Cream Day is this Sunday, July 16! What better time to share an ice cream gift with your employees?
Bring a little summer into your workplace with an ice cream gift employees will appreciate and enjoy sharing with friends and family.
gThankYou! Ice Cream Gift Certificates allow you to share a fun, cool treat with staff anytime! Share an unexpected gift of appreciation, stock up your “on-the-spot” reward supplies, or throw and ice cream party and send virtual workers ice cream gift certificates so they can participate in the fun too!
An ice cream gift voucher by gThankYou is redeemable at virtually all chain grocery stores nationwide for any brand, flavor or style of ice cream or frozen novelty.
That means your recipients get to enjoy exactly the kind of ice cream they like best: chocolate chip cookie dough, Neapolitan, coffee, pistachio, good old vanilla, perhaps a dairy-free frozen treat, or one of the trending ice creams that are hot this summer.
Or they can take the “What Ice Cream Flavor Are You?” quiz for inspiration — a very scientific inquiry, naturally.
National Ice Cream Day is always the third Sunday in July. If one day of the year just isn’t enough to do justice to your team’s love of ice cream, no worries. You have all month to celebrate, because July is National Ice Cream Month!
Every generation in the workplace appreciates employee Thank You gifts, and Generation Z is no exception — in fact, showing appreciation is even more crucial to engaging these young people.
Several characteristics are emerging in the generation born after 1995: they have high expectations, they’re practical and they’re in a position to influence the workplace for years.
The oldest members of Generation Z are graduating college now, so this is the year “Generation Z starts flooding workplaces,” according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and it’s happening “at the same time that there is a tight labor force.”
Like Millennials, the Generation Z cohort cares about the environment and wants to have a passion for work.
But today’s recent college graduates also saw, at an impressionable age, the effects of the Great Recession on their families.
According to social scientists who study generational patterns, experiencing the recession at a young age created a generation of young people with entrepreneurial spirit and a practical appreciation of pay, benefits and mentoring possibilities.
And there’s a lot of them.
“Gen Z is larger than Generation Y, which has already made workplaces more entrepreneurial and pushed work/life flexibility issues more than ever before,” the Star Tribune’s Catherine Roberts writes. “That means these young adults will have an outsized influence on workplace culture for years to come.”
What does this mean for your company’s approach to employee appreciation and employee Thank You gifts? You’ll need a strong appreciation program to usher them into the workplace and keep them engaged. As your organization begins to hire interns and new employees from Generation Z, be prepared!
Some of the most effective, easy ways to thank employees can be done on the fly, or with just a few days’ notice – just remember to keep the message of gratitude in mind!
Try it! You have your chance coming up with a holiday that’s easy to celebrate in the workplace: the 4th of July.
Independence Day has themes that bring people together — patriotism, community, family — plus it has traditions everyone loves: fireworks and sparklers, fun parades, neighborhood barbecues and children’s games like the cakewalk and egg toss.
Some businesses shut down over the 4th of July weekend, giving their employees the time off.
But many companies have no choice but to stay open, particularly those in the service industry, like health care, hospitality, entertainment and retail.
If you have employees working on 4th of July or over the 4th of July weekend, take the opportunity to acknowledge that they’re working over a popular holiday and let them know how much you appreciate their valuable time.
Summertime appreciation gifts keep employees engaged through the distractions of the season.
“Savvy companies maintain staff productivity and morale by embracing summer in the workplace,” says Brandi Britton of staffing firm OfficeTeam, which recently released survey results on what employees want most for summer engagement.
The ability to leave the office early on Friday afternoons — “summer Fridays” — is a popular perk for employees this year.
But showing appreciation with schedule flexibility just doesn’t work in all businesses and industries.
“For those in the hospitality, construction, recreation and outdoor industries, the summer is actually a very busy season, so these workers have no time to be distracted by the lure of lazy summer days,” according to the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah.
Many manufacturers, mom-and-pop shops and other small business owners must work nonstop through the summer months, too.
So what’s the best way to thank busy employees in the summer?
A dental clinic office manager tells the Daily Herald says she boosts employee morale with little treats throughout the season.
“It can be as simple as bringing my team lunch one day, or having a candy bar for an employee who is having a tough time. I like to do those little things as pick-me-ups,” she says.
Ice cream gift certificates from gThankYou fit the bill perfectly as employee “pick-me-ups”! Everyone loves the cool treat of ice cream in the summer months, and gThankYou! Ice Cream Gift Certificates make it convenient and affordable to share this summertime token of appreciation.
gThankYou! Ice Cream Gift Certificates can be redeemed for any brand of ice cream at major grocery chain stores in the U.S. Read on for why an ice cream gift is such a favorite summertime choice in the workplace!
Data, numbers, graphs and percentages only go so far in engaging with employees and customers. Organizational storytelling fills in the gaps and actually connects with people. It provides the emotional context for why the organization does what it does.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos, has “a mental pantry of stories at his ready” to explain his company and business philosophies, according to Chief Executive magazine.
“It’s possible for a leader to have a grand vision, but it’s not possible to turn that vision into reality unless countless others adopt it as their own and work tirelessly in concert to achieve it,” Chief Executive’s Bill Baker writes.
Inspiring others requires good storytelling. You can watch Hsieh in this video clip telling a story of extraordinary customer service at Zappos.
He could have just rolled out a bunch of numbers — customer satisfaction ratings, employee satisfaction figures — instead, he gives a moving example of a Zappos service rep sending flowers to a customer whose husband had just died.
Support your stories with data when necessary, of course. Data is an essential resource. But six months from now, what people will remember most clearly is the story, not the data.
“When just about every fact on the planet is but one mouse click away, stories take on new importance in every business enterprise. From leadership to team building to branding to knowledge management, narrative has become a powerful — and essential — tool,” Daniel Pink writes in his New York Times bestseller, “A Whole New Mind.”
Building great workplace culture doesn’t just happen inside the workplace. Sometimes going out into the community with your team is the best way to strengthen company culture.
The United Nations’ Public Service Day is June 23, and it’s an opportunity for this kind of culture-building community outreach.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon describes Public Service Day as a celebration of the individuals and organizations dedicated to “serving people and improving the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable.”
What does serving the public good have to do with building great workplace culture? A lot, it turns out.
A 2017 study from Deloitte revealed that employers who encourage and promote volunteering have better morale, workplace atmosphere and brand perception.
Community involvement and public service are what employees want.
Among the 1,000 employees Deloitte surveyed, 70 percent believe volunteer activities are more likely to boost staff morale than company-sponsored happy hours. More than three-quarters say volunteering is essential to employee wellbeing.
Yet, according to Deloitte, most companies aren’t cashing in on these potential benefits. Less than 40 percent of employees surveyed said their employers provide access to company-sponsored or coordinated volunteer programs.
“Employers have an opportunity to build on their volunteerism programs by creating a culture that celebrates volunteering and empowers volunteers to be more active,” Deloitte’s Doug Marshall tells Business News Daily.
Start now on Public Service Day! Workplace volunteerism and showing gratitude to public servants are well-recognized for building great workplace culture.
Employee appreciation gifts for the 4th of July are the perfect summertime “Thank You.” Delight the whole family with gift certificates for ice cream, pie, or turkey or ham from gThankYou.
It’s the perfect way to augment this summer’s hottest employee perk.
“Summer Fridays” are all the rage this year, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek article.
One manager tells Businessweek she decided to join the trend and formally give her employees Friday afternoons off all summer because it just makes sense.
“In the summer, we’re so happy to get out early and enjoy an ice cream. It’s not life changing but it’s so much fun to be able to get out of the office at 2 p.m.,” she says.
Giving employees a gift certificate for that ice cream — or for a turkey or ham to grill over the weekend, or pie to bring to their family 4th of July picnic — is an added token of gratitude they’ll love.
gThankYou Gift Certificates make it easy, convenient and affordable to share grocery treats with employees this summer!
And it’s not too late to order in time for the 4th of July.
Employee welcome gifts for new hires and interns send a message from day one that your company values and appreciates its staff.
Welcome gifts show your company is ready and excited for their contributions.
At the San Francisco office of ad agency DDB, new employees on their first day are chauffeured to work in a Town Car. Flowers, a hoodie and a water bottle greet them at their desk.
Plus, all new hires at DDB get a gift card to a local coffee shop where they can get to know their new coworkers.
From the get-go, DDB is sending a welcoming message: We’re glad you’re here. Come and join us!
First days on the job are nerve-wracking. Make it easier on your new hires with employee welcome gifts. And don’t forget your summer interns — give them the very best first impression of the “real world” and why they should consider working for you.
Sharing appreciation couldn’t be sweeter — share a doughnut today with colleagues, customers and friends! It’s National Doughnut Day — always the first Friday of June.
There’s a doughnut for everybody. Doughnuts are the most “craveable” treat in America.
Give your employee appreciation program a little boost to kick off the summer season — bring in doughnuts to share with your team.
Or turn the day into a fun opportunity for community outreach. Doughnut shops like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts always give away freebies on National Doughnut Day, so why not bring the celebration to those who are homebound and hand out doughnuts with your team at a local nursing home?
Be sure to post photos of your celebration to company social media accounts using the hashtags #NationalDoughnutDay and #GivingIsSweet.
Not that we need a reason to celebrate National Doughnut Day, but it turns out that among the unofficial food holidays we love, it’s “one of the more legitimate food holidays out there.”
The history behind National Doughnut Day is pretty interesting, too.
Workplace gratitude spreads through small, everyday acts of kindness. Spread workplace gratitude in your place of work June 1 to celebrate Say Something Nice Day! It’s an easy opportunity to take time to engage with staff and share your appreciation.
Saying something nice to employees (and doing it well) isn’t a squishy soft skill without hard benefits. It’s a critical aspect of leadership and business success.
Even a quick look at recent headlines shows that civility, positivity and gratitude are sorely lacking in the workplace today.
“Does HR Have a ‘Humanity’ Problem?” — that was the question an HR Dive headline posed earlier this week. It was prompted in part by the BackChannel essay, “Human Resources Isn’t About Humans.”
The title of the BackChannel essay is tongue-in-cheek. In fact, author Karen Wickre argues, HR is about humans — or it should be. She makes suggestions for how HR professionals can cultivate a more humane workplace.
She calls for an investment in emotional intelligence training and managers who consistently lead by example day in and day out. All employees need to get the message “that their culture rewards empathy and social skills.”
“People who are empathetic, inclusive and employ people skills to good effect should be recognized for progress and victories when they occur, and this recognition should matter for promotions and new assignments,” she writes.
HR Dive’s Ryan Golden agrees. Employees need to be acknowledged for doing the right thing, he says: “In the scramble of the day-to-day, good deeds and Good Samaritans often get lost in the sauce. Executives who are serious about creating a pro-social culture won’t shy away from seeking out those stories. Thank You notes are awesome!”
Thank You notes are awesome, and so is simply saying something nice!
Sounds great, but you may be wondering … what does “nice” mean in this context? And are some compliments more effective than others?