Turkey or Ham gift vouchers from gThankYou are the perfect way to reward employees during summer BBQ season.
Memorial Day is almost here — ’tis the season for family cookouts, employee picnics and other opportunities for summer barbecuing fun.
gThankYou! Turkey or Ham Gift Vouchers allow recipients the freedom to choose any brand or preparation of whole turkey or whole or half ham, at virtually any major grocery store nationwide.
A turkey or ham centerpiece to a special meal is a meaningful, appreciated gift that employees can enjoy with family and friends. It’s always appropriate and always valued.
Turkey or Ham gifts are convenient for your company, too! Ordering is easy either online or by calling 888-484-1658. Receive your Turkey or Ham vouchers as soon as the next business day — we ship same day on nearly all orders!
And, all gThankYou gift certificates come with free customizable “Thank You” Enclosure Cards to fit any season or occasion.
Need a large number of vouchers or have a distributed workforce? We can help! Not only do we offer volume pricing, we can create custom online ordering for your distributed workplace. Call us at 888-484-1658 to learn more.
The software company Epic Systems proves you don’t have to be located in Silicon Valley to attract tech talent or have a vibrant culture of “epic” employee engagement.
Epic attracts employees from far and wide to its campus situated amid farm fields outside Madison, WI. The company has mushroomed in recent years and now employs more than 9,000.
Epic has a reputation for good pay, great culture and a quirky, fun-filled campus that provides many on-site amenities to employees.
A rare interview with Epic founder and CEO Judy Faulkner last month is an insightful look at her unique approach to employee engagement, development and management.
Read on for takeaways from this interview on Epic’s strong employee engagement ethic.
Wellness incentives help reward and encourage healthy employee choices like regular exercise, annual checkups, smoking cessation and nutritious cooking.
If your company isn’t already using wellness incentives, now’s a great time to start!
May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, with Employee Health and Fitness Day celebrated the third Wednesday of the month — this year on May 17.
All month, organizations across the country are raising awareness about the benefits of a healthy workplace.
Healthy employees are better employees.
A study of more than 20,000 employees at three large, geographically dispersed U.S. companies found that employees who exercised more and ate more fruits and vegetables had better performance and much lower absenteeism than their less health-conscious coworkers.
This month, help equip your employees with the knowledge and tools they need to improve their wellbeing — and help them develop habits that will last year-round! Incentivizing healthy choices is a great way to reinforce the benefits and encourage longterm lifestyle changes.
Your organization doesn’t have to be a school to celebrate teacher appreciation in the workplace this week!
This is the week to thank all teachers, from classroom teachers to your employee development leaders — anyone who spreads the joy of learning and sharing knowledge in your organization and community.
Teacher Appreciation Week is underway and continues through Friday, and National Teacher Day is Tuesday, May 9.
Engage all employees in showing gratitude to teachers this week and celebrating the gift of learning!
In today’s demanding and fast-paced business culture, “leaders would be wise to develop a strong learning environment at the workplace,” Naphtali Hoff writes in a HuffPo article, “Build a Team of Workplace Teachers.”
He quotes the celebrated CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch: “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.”
“But learning alone is not enough,” Hoff continues. “Leaders that want to stay ahead must make sure that their companies also place a premium on teaching.”
You don’t have to break the budget to show heartfelt receptionist appreciation!
National Receptionists Day is always the second Wednesday in May.
First launched in 1991, National Receptionists Day celebrates the role of professional receptionists. It’s a day set aside to recognize and appreciate all the work that receptionists do to help organizations run smoothly.
Why receptionists? They’re the face of your company. Receptionists are usually the first (and sometimes only) company representative your customers or clients interact with. Often, they’re the first to explain your company’s products or services, or hear feedback.
And they’re doing all that while fielding phone calls, coordinating schedules and handling deliveries!
Great receptionists are knowledgeable, friendly and fast.
Making sure your receptionists feel appreciated and included in your company culture is key to promoting a positive company image. Your gratitude makes the difference. Read on for 10 receptionist appreciation ideas that won’t break your budget!
New research analysis by Gallup shows only two in 10 employees “strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.” Are you sure your management team’s employee development skills are working effectively?
Even if your company is above average at employee development, there’s an “immediate disruption” happening in the workplace that is a game changer for everyone.
That’s according to Gallup’s new research paper Re-Engineering Performance Management. The old ways of handling employee development and recognition simply aren’t working, the paper explains, and it’s time for HR to reevaluate and overhaul.
It starts with management developing a new outlook and new skills.
In other words, if you want employee development that drives results, your team needs to be willing to develop, too!
Ultimately what we all want is the same: a happy, creative, productive and dedicated workforce in which employees feel recognized and appreciated for their work and have a sense of belonging to the company culture.
What Happened, and Why Is Change Necessary?
Time for a reality check.
Just 20 percent of employees “strongly agree” that their company’s performance management system motivates them.
Meanwhile, organizations are making overly confident assumptions about the effectiveness of their employee development and management systems — and wasting “tens of thousands of hours and tens of millions of dollars on activities that not only don’t work but also drive out top talent,” Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist, writes in the latest Gallup paper.
Moreover, Harter writes, “the future of work is being shaped by extraordinary changes in technology, globalization and overwhelming information flow.”
In this climate, employee development is more effective than employee management, Carter explains:
“Workers are asking for something different. They want a coach, not a boss. They want clear expectations, accountability, a rich purpose, and especially ongoing feedback and coaching.”
The price tag for not pursuing what workers want is steep. Gallup estimates that poor management and lost productivity among disengaged employees costs between $960 billion and $1.2 trillion per year.
So what’s the solution? Gallup has some answers. Their valuable Re-Engineering Performance Management report “presents our best analytics and advice for our clients or anyone considering transforming their performance management system.”
Let’s take a look.
Nurse appreciation is the focus of National Nurses Week, which begins May 6. Plan your Nurses Week celebrations now!
Nurses could use more appreciation, according to an informal poll on the professional networking and discussion site Mighty Nurse. The poll asked “Do you feel appreciated?” — and more than three-quarters of respondents answered, “Not really.”
According to Gallup, nursing is among the most highly regarded and trusted professions, ranking higher than military personnel, doctors and teachers.
So why aren’t nurses feeling the appreciation?
One major factor could be the overall lack of employee recognition across all industries. General respect and trust for a profession doesn’t automatically translate into concrete acts of appreciation.
A Gallup analysis found that only one in three U.S. workers “strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days.”
Worse yet, “it’s not uncommon for employees to feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored,” Gallup’s Annamarie Mann and Nate Dvorak write.
First Step: Raise Awareness
In the fast-paced, hectic environments nurses work in — hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care, hospice — appreciation can get lost in the shuffle, or be reserved for doctors.
In his HuffPo article “Why Every Week Should Be Nurse Appreciation Week,” Brian Secemsky, M.D., writes, “Throughout history, the culture of medicine has revered the role of a physician as the core to patient care and medical recovery. Yet in my personal work experience, absolutely no care would be delivered without the critical role of a nurse.” Engaging nurses is good for everyone!
Simply raising awareness of the special job nurses have is a big part of nurse appreciation.
“Nurses are often quick to say, ‘I am just doing my job,’ and to some degree that is correct,” Mary Jo Andre, chief nursing officer at Texas Children’s Hospital tells the Houston Chronicle. “However, it is not the task of passing medications that makes their role special. Their role is special because they are in the position of being present with (and for) our patients and their families when they are experiencing their most challenging times.”
Nurse Appreciation Week continues May 6 through May 12.
Read on for nurse appreciation ideas to inspire your workplace celebration. Even if your organization doesn’t have nurses on staff, Nurse Appreciation Week is a great opportunity to engage employees in community outreach and gratitude-building!
Happy Administrative Professionals Week! Administrative Professionals Day is April 26, but many businesses celebrate all week. Be sure to thank administrative professionals in your organization; even if it’s just a personal “Thank You,” you’ll make admins feel valued and appreciated.
According to the International Association for Administrative Professionals (IAAP), there are more than 22 million administrative and office support professionals in the United States.
“Administrative Professionals Week celebrates and sheds light on administrative professionals’ devoted, valued work,” the IAAP states.
Chances are, your organization depends on the organizational help of admins to run smoothly — or run at all!
Your Administrative Professionals Week celebration doesn’t need to be fancy. Your gratitude for employees is what counts.
At Ridge Crest Elementary in Idaho this week, for example, the school’s administrative staff was honored with cake and Thank You gifts. But the school principal’s public announcement of appreciation was the most important part of the celebration.
“The school secretaries have the most important job in a school … [their] welcoming smiles communicate to parents and students that Ridge Crest is a place of love and respect. I could not ask for better help in the front office. They are the heart and soul of my school,” he said.
Earth Day is April 22 — did it sneak up on you? No worries, we’ve got last-minute ideas for fun, easy employee activities for Earth Day!
Everyday employee engagement is built through rewarding, everyday activities. Even the simplest team-building activities can energize and bring people together.
And celebrating Earth Day in the workplace isn’t just good for the planet, it’s good for people, too — and your business, according to USA Today columnist Steve Strauss, a lawyer specializing in small business and entrepreneurship.
Some benefits are obvious, as Strauss writes in a recent USA Today column.
Reusing and recycling are money-savers, there are tax benefits for going green, and green practices are good branding and popular with consumers.
But there are other benefits that are more behind-the-scenes.
“Healthier work environments work better,” Strauss writes. “According to the Green Business Bureau, there is a 20 percent decrease in number of sick days for companies that actively promote a healthier workplace.”
Last but not least, “going green will boost employee morale,” he writes. “Having a green workplace is increasingly an important consideration for employees. In-demand millennials especially will appreciate your efforts.”
Read on for employee activities for Earth Day that are fun for your staff and easy for you to coordinate. You may even be inspired to make Earth Day every day!
Just like I’ll fight (nicely, of course) the other cooks at the Thanksgiving table for possession of that flavorful turkey carcass — such a great way to make stock — I do the same at Easter for the leftover ham bone.
These rainy April days are the perfect time to take that ham bone out of the freezer and put it to good use for some great tasting and heart warming comfort food.
Bean soups especially benefit from a long simmer with a leftover ham bone, whether or not there’s much meat left on it. If there is, that’s just a bonus; slice it off at the end and add it to the soup.
Allow at least two hours for each of these home cooked soups, and know that they’re just as good reheated for lunch.
Ham Bone Soup Recipes
SPLIT PEA SOUP
One of my favorite spring soups is split pea, that hearty staple, even better when it’s studded with bits of ham. Ina Garten’s recipe for split pea soup, taken from the original Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, is a simple and delicious way to start.
To use your ham bone in this recipe, submerge it in the soup during the last 40 minutes of cooking. Depending how much meat comes off the bone, you may be able to reuse it if you refrigerate it between uses. Salt and pepper the recipe to taste.
NEW ORLEANS RED BEANS AND RICE
John Besh’s beautiful, coffee table-worthy cookbook, “My New Orleans,” is 384 engaging pages of stories, recipes and Southern inspiration.
I first made this fragrant pot of red beans and rice on Super Bowl Sunday, with the justification that the game was being played in New Orleans, and so red beans and rice were perfectly appropriate.
This simple recipe starts with the trinity (green pepper, celery, onion) and gets flavor not only from smoked ham hocks, but also from bacon fat, cayenne pepper and, of course, Louisiana-made Tabasco sauce. The red beans freeze well, too.
HAM BONE SOUP
Everything is better with bacon, and that includes Melissa Clark’s simple ham bone soup, adapted from an old Junior League cookbook. According to Clark’s piece in The New York Times, “The soup was simple: boil a bone with beans and a bay leaf, and dinner was done.” This one’s a good choice for using a slow cooker if you prefer. Add a green salad and some crusty bread and you have a wonderful meal to share and savor!
FREE Ham Cookbook
For everything to know about buying, cooking, serving and storing ham, be sure to download our FREE “Ultimate Holiday Ham Guide”. Inside you’ll also find recipes, resources and expert cooking tips for serving a juicy, delicious ham centerpiece for a special meal.
Click the image below to download your free cookbook from gThankYou now!
Joy isn’t an emotion we typically associate with the workplace — but it should be! Cultivating a joyful employee experience is the kind of investment that results in long-term engagement.
Focusing on employee experience is gaining traction as the new, more sustainable way to tackle low engagement.
“Inside of most organizations around the world, employee engagement has simply become a way to force employees to work in outdated workplace practices while giving them perks to make them happy,” author Jacob Morgan writes for Inc.
A perks-focused strategy is “a short-term adrenaline shot designed to boost the annual employee engagement scores,” but it won’t have lasting impact without a more holistic approach.
“Instead,” Morgan writes, “organizations are shifting to employee experience, which is the long-term organizational design that creates new workplace practices around people.”
Base your employee experience on building, creating and choosing joy. A joyful employee experience is key to a productive and happy workplace culture.
In a commencement speech to 4,700 students at the University of California at Berkeley last year, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg brought up the practice of joy. It’s vital to resilience and overcoming failure, she said.
“In the face of any challenge — you can choose joy and meaning,” she said. “You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it … In that process you will figure out who you really are — and you just might become the very best version of yourself.”
Want to build a better workplace culture? Join the club. The way we work is changing, and companies are scrambling to catch up.
“The necessity of workplace culture is a recent phenomenon,” according to a column in The Commentator. “It’s clear that in order to attract, retain and engage the modern workforce, companies must intensify their focus on improving company culture.”
That’s because employees in all industries now are expecting work that is meaningful and engaging — and to be appreciated for it, beyond a paycheck.
Employees are also “pushing employers to forego traditional structures,” according to Gallup research.
But change isn’t happening fast enough for most workers. Two-thirds of U.S. workers still aren’t engaged at work, a figure that hasn’t budged much in years.
Don’t be discouraged! Watch these TED Talks for fresh ideas and new perspectives on building a better workplace culture through better leadership, motivation, appreciation, mindfulness, creativity and more. You’ll feel re-engaged and inspired to share and cultivate improvements to your workplace. Rediscover how easy it is to make a difference.
Walk to Work Day and other regular health-focused celebrations help promote employee wellbeing year-round in the workplace.
Held every year on April 7, Walk to Work Day is an easy opportunity to educate employees on the benefits of regular exercise. (It’s also World Health Day!)
Walking to work has environmental benefits, too.
“The heart of Walk to Work Day isn’t just based in our physical and emotional health, but actually concerns itself with the health of the planet as a whole. Prevention magazine promoted this holiday in 2004 and it was quickly picked up by the US Department of Health and Human Services,” according to DaysOfTheYear.com.
Walking to work — even part-way, for employees who commute long distances — has benefits that can directly boost employee wellbeing and build workplace productivity, performance and culture.
Benefits of a walking habit include better mood and increased creativity, metabolism, mindfulness and motivation, according to the Prevention article “7 Incredible Results You’ll Get From Walking 30 Minutes a Day.”
Walk to Work Day is just one of many unofficial holidays throughout the year that are perfect for promoting employee wellbeing. HR experts are calling 2017 “the year for wellness” — read on for more health-focused holidays and to find out what makes a high-value employee wellbeing program.
Start a conversation with employees to mark World Health Day in the workplace this week.
Held every year on April 7, World Health Day is an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.
The 2017 theme is combating depression, with the slogan “Let’s Talk.”
Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life and in all countries, according to WHO’s free campaign essentials for World Health Day. Depression creates fallout in all aspects of a person’s life, even on the job.
“It causes mental anguish and impacts people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living,” according to WHO.
The goal of World Health Day 2017 is to promote a better understanding of what depression is and how it can be prevented and treated, as well as reduce stigma associated with the condition.
Celebrating World Health Day is an opportunity to help your workforce be more mindful of depression in the workplace. It’s a chance to connect with your team, start a conversation on employee wellbeing, and do activities together for better mental and emotional health. World Health Day also fits well with another awareness-raising initiative happening in April, Stress Awareness Month.
A mindful workplace is your buffer against the kind of employee stress that disrupts productivity, drains happiness and drives high turnover.
With Stress Awareness Month coming up in April, now’s the time to plan workplace activities focused on stress awareness — and to give employees the tools they need to handle stress before it takes over.
The first step toward busting stress is mindfulness.
“This is why April is Stress Awareness Month. The key to minimizing unhelpful stress is to first become aware of it. We cannot change what we cannot see,” author Melissa Heisler writes in her HuffPo article, “Make the Most of Stress Awareness Month.”
Ultimately, stress itself is not the issue. Stress is an inevitable part of life! It’s how we handle stressors that makes the difference between healthy and dysfunctional.
Workplace leaders set the tone for how to handle workplace stress.
In an un-mindful workplace where leaders feed stress, employees are more likely to react to stress with anger, ingratitude, burnout, overwork or disengagement. Actuarial research shows that self-medicating with unhealthy habits like smoking and binge drinking are also common outcomes of unmanaged workplace stress. The results can be disastrous for your company culture and business, as disengaged employees “check out” from doing their best work.
In today’s workplace, “it’s unlikely the pace or intensity of work will change much anytime soon,” according to the Harvard Business Review.
But “there’s a growing body of research that suggests certain types of development activities can effectively build the capacity for resilience,” Wisdom Labs co-founder Rich Fernandez writes for HBR. Investing in employee personal growth and development “is the first step in unleashing creativity, enabling potential and supporting sustainable productivity.”
Start the process in April with a week (or more!) devoted to building a more mindful workplace. Read on for Stress Awareness Month activity ideas.
Surprise your staff with employee appreciation gifts from gThankYou to celebrate Easter and the joys of spring!
gThankYou Gift Certificates make it easy, affordable and meaningful to thank employees at the holidays or anytime.
Available in a range of values from $5 to $30, gThankYou Gift Certificates allow recipients to choose any Brand of merchandise from virtually any chain Grocery Store in the U.S.
Your employees will appreciate the freedom to choose the brands they like, when and where they would like to shop. gThankYou Certificates are Manufacturer Coupons that are redeemed at checkout just like other cents-off coupons.
gThankYou Gift Certificates are also convenient for you. They’re just the right size to include in a payroll or quarterly mailing, tuck into an Easter gift basket, or share in person with a big smile, firm handshake and sincere “Thanks!”
Plus, all gThankYou Gift Certificates come with free personalization and your choice of free, custom Enclosure Cards — including card designs to accompany Easter, Spring and Summer employee appreciation gifts!
Order today online or by calling 855-407-9025. Nearly all gThankYou orders ship the day they are received, with delivery as soon as the next business day. Interested in large-volume discounts or worried about making a specific deadline? Call 855-407-9025.
Read on for employee appreciation gifts of gThankYou Gift Certificates to fit every occasion this spring.
Do you and your team need a workplace happiness boost? Time to find new ways to strengthen and grow workplace happiness!
Today is International Day of Happiness! In celebration, make a commitment to increase the happiness levels at your company this spring.
We spend at least a third of our lives at work, according to Lifehack, and “this can be a scary fact for some to face.”
“Because so much of your life is spent at work, a huge deciding factor in your wellbeing is whether or not you’re happy at work,” Lifehack’s Matt Valentine writes.
With the right conditions and practices, we all should be able to derive a sense of joy from our work, feel connected to it and believe that we’re making a positive impact on some portion of the world, however small.
But, as Gallup research continues to reveal, this isn’t the reality for most Americans. The majority of American workers aren’t engaged in or committed to their work.
“Gallup research shows that for a few select managers, naturally engaging their teams to be their best every day comes so instinctively they don’t even realize they’re doing it,” according to a Gallup blog post on creating everyday engagement.
“But there is hope for the rest of us,” Gallup’s Jake Herway and Jeremy Pietrocini write. And it’s worth pursuing: “Top teams that address engagement needs in their everyday work outperform bottom teams by an average 20 percent in sales and 10 percent in customer engagement.”
Growing everyday workplace happiness takes some effort — it means asking the right questions, empowering employees to do their best and taking time daily to engage and appreciate employees. Read on for easy tips to inspire your own workplace happiness transformation.
Fred Rogers delighted children for decades on television, but even as adults we can learn and be inspired by his legacy for better workplace leadership and building employee happiness.
Employee happiness is on our minds these days because International Day of Happiness is this Monday, March 20.
It’s also Mister Rogers Day — or “Sweater Day,” an effort to get people everywhere to wear Rogers’ trademark cardigan in honor of the beloved children’s entertainer and his show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Rogers would have turned 89 this March 20.
Generations of children grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood from 1963 to 2001. Watch the show intro and see if that music (written by Rogers, by the way) brings back a wave of nostalgia.
“He spoke to children like grown-ups, and helped them tackle topics such as anger, trust, honesty, courage and sadness,” Jonathan Merritt wrote in a posthumous profile of Rogers in The Atlantic.
“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood pushed beyond surface-level entertainment and instilled children with a sense of joy, peace and kindness. Researchers who compared viewers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood with viewers of Sesame Street even found that Fred’s fans developed a greater level of patience.”
Mister Rogers, Won’t You Be My Boss?
Rogers was also, unsurprisingly, a thoughtful boss.
If you’re looking for the secret to happier employees, a reliable place to look first is Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.
Fortune recently published its 2017 list, with familiar names like Google, Salesforce and Quicken Loans in the Top 10.
But coming in at #2 is a company most Americans won’t recognize — unless they live in a handful of northeastern states, or they pay attention to Fortune’s annual “Best Companies” list.
Wegmans is a small grocery-store chain with locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia. This is Wegmans’ 20th year on Fortune’s list.
How does Wegmans manage to have happier employees in an industry known for low wages and high turnover? The secret may be in the company’s family-friendly employee recognition practices, according to an article in Quartz.
Wegmans employees continually praise the company’s family-like work environment on employer-review sites like Glassdoor.
It’s good for business.
“All that employee love is paying off,” Quartz’s Oliver Staley writes. “Wegmans is growing rapidly, expanding from its northeast base to add stores in Virginia (there are now 92 stores in six states), and revenues reportedly climbed to $7.9 billion in 2015 from $6.2 billion in 2011.”
Across the board, family-friendly workplaces are winning at engagement, with happier and more productive employees and a good reputation in the community. Forbes contributor Freek Vermeulen calls it “happiness for free” — family-friendly practices can be costly, but they essentially pay for themselves.
At a time when the majority of Americans are “open” to leaving their current jobs, we should all be following the lead of family-friendly workplaces for happier employees and better retention. Listen to what Wegmans employees say themselves in the company video below called “Be Wegmans Happy”, and keep reading for ways to create your workplace family through a family-friendly approach. Well done, Wegmans!
Celebrating National Pi Day in the workplace is the perfect way to engage employees, have fun together and, of course, eat tasty slices of pie. Get ready: it’s tomorrow, March 14!
National Pi Day — not to be confused with National Pie Day, our other favorite excuse to enjoy pie — is the holiday made up by math geeks to celebrate the irrational number that describes the ratio of a circle’s diameter to its circumference.
That number is 3.14, or March 14. And 3.14 backwards is … you guessed it, PIE.
“Pi Day is a holiday for math (and pie) enthusiasts to celebrate their love of numbers,” according to PBS.
There are contests to see who can recite the most digits of pi by heart, popular songs remade with pi lyrics, and lots and lots and lots of pies, from chicken pot pie to key lime pie.
NASA even put together a “Pi in the Sky” infographic to explain to the rest of us how scientists use pi in space.
Pi Day in the Workplace: A Celebration of Pie and Teamwork