Spring officially begins soon! Hold on, spring weather is coming soon too.Fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer, known for her bright and sunny prints, had this advice:Despite the forecast, live like it’s spring.In the meantime, it’s the perfect time to plan your springtime employee appreciation activities. Not sure you should celebrate Easter in the workplace? Read on and learn why you should and how to take advantage of the joy of the arrival of spring and Easter to celebrate and appreciate employees and customers.
Helping your holiday ham taste its best!
Sometimes foods with distinct flavors need counterpoints to bring out the best taste combinations. Whether it’s strong coffee in barbecue sauce, a pinch of hot pepper in Mexican cocoa, or a splash of balsamic vinegar on a bowl of freshly sliced strawberries, these culinary marriages will delight your taste buds!
Such is the case with ham. . . salty, smoky, and succulent it pairs wonderfully with sour fruit (pineapple, orange, cranberries, currants, rhubarb), sweet elements (brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, even cola!) and spices (cloves, mustard, allspice, ginger, cinnamon).
Whether you are cooking an Easter Ham, a Christmas Ham or just a special ham meal, your guests will enjoy your ham with a new twist, using one of these tasty glazes. Not only will it give your ham a delicious flavor, the glaze keeps it moist and juicy while it bakes. Which one will you try first?
5 Holiday Ham Glaze Ideas
2. Rhubarb and ginger combine to give this Bon Appétit Baked Ham with Mustard-Red Currant Glaze and Rhubarb Chutney some kick! If rhubarb is difficult to find, try mango for an interesting twist.
3. The perfect blend of sweet and spicy – and so easy to make! This great recipe for Pomegranate Jalapeno Glazed Ham comes from chef Akasha Richmond of restaurant Akasha in L.A., care of Food & Wine Magazine.
Let us know what’s your favorite and if we missed one you think should be on the list! Contact us at info@gThankYou.com.
First Time Cooking Ham?
If you are new to cooking ham, be sure to download our FREE “Holiday Ham” Guide. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to cook a juicy and golden browned ham for your meal centerpiece!
You’ll learn how to choose ham, different methods of cooking and professional tips to ensure your ham centerpiece is juicy and delicious.
While some may pick the official Employee Appreciation Day to celebrate their employees’ contributions, really any day is the perfect day to thank employees for their hard work and dedication to your business! (more…)Get your calendar out and start scheduling some fun – happiness will follow! March is the ideal month to build workplace happiness – winter is dragging on and for most of us, spring seems a long way off. Luckily this month is FULL of opportunities to share workplace appreciation and inspire some easy fun.Hopefully you have already downloaded our free Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation Calendar for 2019 so these celebrations may already be on your radar. If not, click the link above and let’s get started!
We spend more of our waking hours with co-workers than we do with our significant others, so take advantage of Valentine’s Day and celebrate colleagues! If you focus on gratitude and appreciation, it’s perfectly appropriate and thoughtful to do.
Valentine’s Day in the workplace should be about celebrating workplace colleagues and a culture of kindness and compassion. Steer clear of romance and relationships. The opportunity is to communicate value for great working relationships and a culture supportive of compassion and camaraderie.With an acceptance rate under 7% and ACT scores of admitted students hovering around 32-35, the likelihood of most people having access to an Ivy League education in Yale’s hallowed halls are slim. But we can all benefit from the fascinating and completely practical information that is shared in one of that revered educational institution’s most popular courses, “Psychology and the Good Life.”Psychology Professor Laurie Santos specializes in evolution and animal cognition, but after living among undergrads when she became head of Yale’s Silliman College (think the Houses of Hogwarts), she realized just how stressed out and depressed they were. Reviewing mental health surveys from the National College Health Assessment she learned that the issues Yale students were having were similar to those of college students across the country. Students report already high and increasing rates of anxiety, depression and hopelessness.Santos set out to design a course to convey not just the science behind positive psychology research but how putting those concepts into practice could have a profound impact on students’ happiness and quality of life. Santos did not anticipate the the overwhelming interest in her course from students (1 in 4 students at Yale have taken her class), nor did she predict that it would become a sensation with articles in the New York Times, O Magazine, national television appearances and international media coverage.
We all know that New Year’s resolutions are often hard to keep. But if one of your workplace goals was to get a better handle on employee engagement planning in 2019, that resolution is now easier to keep with the use of gThankYou’s 2019 Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation Calendar!
If you are familiar with our annual calendar chock full of engagement and appreciation ideas, then you’ve probably already done the free download because you know what a valuable (and fun) tool it is.
Not familiar with it? Start by filling out the short online form and you’ll have a FREE, indispensable and inspiring guide at your fingertips. Here’s what to expect for each month in addition to meaningful, compelling (yet easy-to-read) articles on an array of topics meant to inspire your planning and workplace activities:
It’s here!! Our very popular Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation Calendar is newly updated and back for 2019!Users have told us they love the monthly and daily idea format and the updated content on how to build a loyal, happy workplace culture through engagement and gratitude. It’s our holiday gift to anyone who wants to build a better workplace.
- Key stats (in case you still need to prove to leadership how critical employee engagement and appreciation is)
- Ready-to-Go Celebration examples (so even if you think you aren’t creative you’ll have turn-key approaches to create more fun in the workplace)
- Mini-case studies (learn what’s worked for other organizations)
- Plenty of graphics (which make this ebook feel like fun, not work)
New Employee Appreciation Calendar + New Year = New Opportunities
Our annual employee celebration calendar is full of creative engagement concepts and festive year-round celebrations. It’s a wonderful resource for supporting employee engagement and recognition planning for the new year. Whether you have big budgets or need no or low-cost ideas, we have content and suggestions for you.
Every year we strive to update our calendar with the latest research and thinking about building great workplace cultures. You’ll find mini-case studies, research, and how-to’s in addition to daily and monthly celebration ideas.
Our intent is to provide a fun resource that helps workplace leaders:
- Stay current in the space of employee engagement and recognition
- Provide actionable gratitude-based engagement and celebration how-to’s for busy HR personnel
- Share new ways to engage and celebrate employees
- Spark creative thinking for building the workplace culture you want
Hanukka just ended and it’s not long until employees start taking off for the Christmas holiday and business winds down for the year.
There’s still time to choose a thoughtful holiday gift that will show employees how much you appreciate them.
Last-Minute Gift Ideas Employees Will Love
Here are five affordable employee gift ideas that are convenient enough to arrange at the last minute. Don’t forget to share your gifts with gratitude – the most meaningful gift of appreciation is free!
- A group gift.
If your time is short, consider a group outing, an upgrade to the break room, or a holiday luncheon or party (if you’re not already planning one).
- Productivity apps or tools.
Digital apps can be delivered instantly, with no physical orders or trips to the store. Poll your employees on which app will save them time or make them even better at their jobs.
No longer just for magazines, subscriptions exist nowadays for everything from streaming entertainment to socks. Subscriptions can be ordered easily online.
- Gift certificates for turkey or ham.
The workplace gift of a turkey or ham is a beloved tradition of gratitude that stretches back decades. Gift certificates eliminate the logistical difficulties of storing and distributing frozen turkeys or hams, and they give your employees the flexibility to choose the sizes and preparations they want.
- Holiday dessert.
A homemade treat is heartwarming but impractical with a large organization. Keep it easy and affordable with gThankYou Gift Certificates for pie and ice cream.
Today is #GivingTuesday. On this day of giving back, consider how sharing in the joys of charity and volunteerism at work engages employees. Gratitude-focused celebrations like #GivingTuesday help build a year-round spirit of workplace gratitude.
The gratitude we share over the holiday season isn’t a once-a-year diversion. Let it inspire an everyday culture of workplace gratitude in your company!
Gratitude “the high-octane fuel” of relationships, says psychology professor and eminent gratitude researcher Robert Emmons in a Fast Company article this week.
It’s vital to working relationships in particular.
Studies show that gratitude acts as a disinfectant against the “exploitation, complaint, entitlement, gossip and negativity” that plague companies with toxic workplace culture, according to Emmons. Gratitude sweeps away the toxicity and replaces it with positivity — it motivates employees, encourages loyalty, relieves stress and makes us all healthier and kinder.
“Gratitude is the ultimate performance-enhancing substance at work,” Emmons tells Fast Company. “Gratitude heals, energizes and transforms lives in a myriad of ways consistent with the notion that virtue is both its own reward and produces other rewards.”
Want a great workplace culture? The secret is gratitude.
Be inspired by the following quotes for your workplace celebration of #GivingTuesday and download your free eBook below on how to build a lasting workplace culture of gratitude.
This Wednesday, October 31st, isn’t just hump day — it’s Halloween! You still have time to organize a bit of spooky workplace Halloween fun to celebrate one of our favorite holidays and your employees.
The Benefits of Workplace Celebrations
Whether it’s for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or the winter holidays, celebrations at work foster team unity, spark creativity, and relieve stress. Workplace parties are seen as an expression of gratitude, which boosts employee engagement and loyalty.
Halloween checks all the boxes for a successful workplace celebration; it’s participatory by nature, creative, and the focus is on fun. We all love Halloween!
By mid-October, the supermarket checkout aisle is full of magazine covers, each boasting a glorious, burnished brown Thanksgiving turkey — so juicy and tempting, you can almost smell the savory aroma while you dig out your debit card.
And indeed, it’s not too soon to start thinking about stuffing (should it have bacon this year? Probably!), your other side dishes — and of course, the holiday centerpiece: a beautifully roasted turkey.
Before you choose a bird, check out these five tips to keep in mind as you plan your holiday meal, whether you’re serving 25 assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins or a simple Thanksgiving turkey feast for two.
1. Know What You’re Getting: Master This Basic Turkey Terminology
Turkey seems straightforward enough — but the wealth of options available today can confuse shoppers who aren’t sure what they want or what certain labels mean. Here’s a quick glossary to cover the main points*:
As Americans become more aware of the often harsh conditions in which commercial poultry are raised, many are choosing free-range turkeys over better-known name brands. Under USDA standards, free-range birds must have access to the outdoors while they are raised (instead of being crammed into overcrowded farm facilities). Along with other advocates of free-range turkeys, the regional farmers who raise them say the birds are of higher quality than their commercially processed counterparts, because their diets are more varied (improving the flavor of their meat) and they get more exercise (improving their texture).
What are heritage turkeys? These unusual breeds were once common in America, but fell out of favor as growers concentrated on the specially bred, big-breasted birds preferred by consumers (typically the Broad Breasted White turkey). Heritage varieties include Narragansett, American Bronze, Jersey Buff, and Bourbon Red.
Per the Splendid Table, heritage turkeys generally offer less breast meat and a stronger flavor than a conventional Thanksgiving turkey. As a result of the latter point, some expert cooks recommend not brining heritage birds, as doing so just wipes out their unique flavor.
By federal regulation, a turkey labeled “natural” may not contain artificial flavorings, coloring, or chemical preservatives. The natural label also means the bird hasn’t been fed animal byproducts or given growth promotants or antibiotics (except for parasite control). Forbes writer Beth Hoffman says the last point alone makes natural turkeys worth it: “If we can stop the run away use of antibiotics in raising livestock and poultry, it is worth a few extra cents a pound to do it.”
Natural turkeys must also be minimally processed, meaning they have only been handled as necessary to slaughter, clean, and make them ready for human consumption. Note that a “natural” designation doesn’t have to be free-range, and that “natural” isn’t the same as…
Organic turkeys are free-range birds that have not been treated with hormones or antibiotics, and were given pesticide-free feed. Consumer Reports agrees with Hoffman that the lack of antibiotics is in itself a good reason to go organic. Whether organic birds taste noticeably better is up for debate and presumably highly subjective; in 2011, a representative from the World Society for the Protection of Animals said that “While some studies have been conducted on the taste of meat from organically-raised turkeys versus meat from intensively raised animals, to my knowledge they have not been conclusive.” And Mic in 2017 pointed out that the “organic” label is not a guarantee that meat is healthier or was raised and processed under more humane conditions.
Quite simply, kosher turkeys are prepared under rabbinical supervision according to Jewish dietary law. While alive, these turkeys are given no antibiotics and fed a vegetarian diet, Epicurious says. Then they’re covered with kosher salt and rinsed repeatedly in cold water. This can make for a juicier, tastier bird, but, as Tablet notes, the process also means kosher turkeys are usually not entirely plucked before they’re sold, which can be a pain. The general sentiment is that you shouldn’t brine a kosher turkey, because they’re already salty enough, but Joan Nathan pushes back on that here, noting that she and her friends agree the kosher turkeys of today are less salty than they used to be.
A self-basting turkey is injected with a solution to improve the flavor and juiciness of the meat. Some manufacturers treat only the breast meat, while others inject the entire bird. The label must say “basted” or “self-basted” and must list the amount and names of the ingredients used in the basting solution. (Remember, the net weight of the turkey includes the weight added by the solution — so you could be paying more for less meat. Cook’s Info says: “The solution injected will constitute 6 to 9 % of the weight that you are paying for.”) Generally speaking, you do not need to brine a self-basting turkey yourself before cooking (which saves time). If you prefer to use your own brine solution, read the packaging closely to ensure your Thanksgiving centerpiece isn’t already basted.
As stated, a fully cooked whole turkey has been precooked and frozen by the processor. After thawing, it can be reheated (or served cold), which takes much less time than cooking a raw bird. Note, though: You can’t stuff a fully cooked turkey, as the dish isn’t in the oven long enough.
A “young” turkey is a turkey of either sex that is less than 8 months old at the time of slaughter. Most turkeys reach market maturity at 4-5 months of age. As Berkeley Wellness says, “Most of the turkeys found on the market are young and will have tender meat.”
Hen vs. tom
Turkeys weighing 8-16 pounds are usually female (hens), while larger birds are male (toms). Since supermarket turkeys are normally slaughtered young, both hens and toms should be about the same in terms of taste, juiciness, and tenderness — so don’t fret too much over the sex of your bird. (That said, Berkeley Wellness notes that some cooks claim toms are tastier, and some say you’ll get more white meat on a hen.)
As you might guess, the further you get from name-brand commercial turkeys, the more you’re likely to pay. Heritage and organic turkeys can be pricey. If you’re searching for something less expensive, consider Amish turkeys (which are generally natural and hormone-free) or free-range birds. (For a real deep dive on turkey prices, the USDA has information for you.)
*As this NPR article from 2015 makes clear, a number of these labels are not quite as clear-cut as we wish they were!
2. To Get the Right Size, Buy a Pound Per Person (or More)
Here’s a simple formula: Get 1 pound of Thanksgiving turkey for each adult you’re serving, and half a pound per child. So if you’ve got 10 adults coming and four kids, you’ll want at least a 12-pound bird. If you’re inviting big eaters or counting on plenty of leftovers, make it 1.5 pounds per adult. (For creative recipes for your excess meat, check out “Thanksgiving Leftovers: Five Fresh Ideas.”)
Once you hit the 16-pound mark, you can be less strict, as birds that big have a better ratio of meat to bone — e.g., a 20-pound turkey will serve 14 people just fine and yield plenty of leftovers.
3. For Many People, Frozen Beats Fresh
As a rule, fresh food sounds better than frozen. But turkey is different. The term “fresh” applies to raw poultry that has never been stored below 26°F. Poultry held at 0°F or below must be labeled “frozen.” (Turkeys stored between 1°F and 25°F don’t have an official name, but are often labeled “refrigerated,” “hard-chilled,” or “previously frozen.”)
In other words, “fresh” only describes a turkey’s temperature from the time it was processed. It has nothing to do with how long it’s been sitting at the store.
If you are curious about how fresh turkeys fared in an Epicurious taste test of supermarket brand turkeys, the Bell & Evans’ fresh turkey review was the most positive, earning an Epi Top Pick stamp of approval.
And while some cooks rave about a fresh Thanksgiving turkey straight from the farm, in a Cook’s Illustrated taste test, frozen turkeys were rated more moist and tender than fresh birds.
So we recommend buying a frozen Thanksgiving turkey, as long you have the time and the fridge space to thaw it safely — a 15-pound turkey will take about three full days to thaw.
4. Decide on Your Recipe Before Shopping
Your recipe’s success can depend on the type of Thanksgiving turkey you choose. For instance, if you’re experimenting with an unusual brine or exotic seasonings, you probably don’t want a self-basting bird. Or if you’re planning to grill your turkey, you’ll want to be sure it’s not too big. (You also might want to consider asking your butcher to spatchcock it — remove the backbone — for you. This is an excellent method for roasting, too.) So go in to your turkey purchase with an idea of what you’d like to do.
5. Lock Down Special Turkeys ASAP
If you want a free-range, organic, or heritage bird as your Thanksgiving turkey, it’s not a bad idea to start planning in mid-October. (If you use a digital calendar, go set an annual reminder right now!) Local co-ops and groceries often begin reserving turkeys a few weeks in advance, and family farms like to know even sooner. You’re better off checking in early than missing the rush. And even if you’re just getting a regular frozen commercial bird, make sure you buy it far enough in advance (usually 3-5 days before Thanksgiving) that it has time to thaw.
To make this year’s Thanksgiving turkey the best you’ve ever served,
download our FREE Ultimate Turkey Guide right now.Maybe your New Year’s resolution for the year was to get organized and plan ahead for employee engagement activities at your job. The year is winding down but that doesn’t mean you still can’t take advantage of the helpful tools and creative ideas to energize the holiday season in your workplace with gThankYou’s Day-to- Day Employee Celebration Calendar.
A lot of great things can happen in the next three months and this how-to guide will aid you in building an everyday culture of appreciation. Each month includes dates to celebrate and a mini-case study.
October’s focus is on fun, November includes tips on writing a meaningful Thanksgiving Letter for employees and December delves into what our employees really want for the holidays.
Fourth quarter is also a great time to plan for next year!
We’ll be launching our updated Employee Celebration Calendar soon – newly updated and full of fun ideas and inspiration for your planning. It’s the perfect supplement to building out your employee engagement plans for the new year.
Create Your Own Employee Engagement Calendar
Need inspiration to start on your new year planning?
Christina Thompson, writing for Quantum Workplace, has outlined some excellent strategies for creating a custom calendar. It’s a great way to start working through your plan thinking. She advises asking yourself questions about the following topics and consider the communication needs and timelines that come with each:
Yikes…summer flew by and it seems that we’re careening into fall. Now that we’ve cleared the hurdles of Back to School and Labor Day and are about to switch thermostats from cool to heat, wouldn’t it be a relief to actually be able to check something important off of your to do list?
If the speed in which the seasons are changing is any indication, the holidays will be upon us soon and things will only get more intense as the fourth quarter approaches.
Employee Holiday Gifts – Planning Now Is The Smart Strategy
By planning ahead, your own holidays may just be a bit brighter and less stressful. (The Mayo Clinic offers some helpful suggestions on reducing holiday stress.)
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to spend time with your own family and friends without the worry looming that you haven’t completed your employee holiday gift purchasing?
Perhaps you’ll even be able to slow down enough to curl up with a blanket and a book about hygee, the Scandinavian pursuit of coziness and the celebrating life’s simple pleasures.
(more…)Building a happy workplace is a priority for many employers. It starts with doing the fundamentals such as diversity, equality and fairness well. Embrace these and you’ll have the foundation needed for building a great workplace. Add a commitment to employee appreciation and you’ll create a happy, productive and loyal workforce.
Inequality Breeds UnhappinessWhy is that even when, in general, we are more prosperous, we are less happy? Jonathan Rauch explores this issue in-depth in a New York Times op-edIn America (and also in other countries), an impressive postwar rise in material well-being has had zero effect on personal well-being. The divergence between economic growth and subjective satisfaction began decades ago. Real per capita income has more than tripled since the late 1950s, but the percentage of people saying they are very happy has, if anything, slightly declined.Rauch, when conducting research for his book, The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50, learned that happiness is local and relative.Although moral philosophers may wish Homo sapiens were wired more rationally, we humans are walking, talking status meters, constantly judging our worth and social standing by comparing ourselves with others today and with our own prior selves.Rauch further explained, “…people will tolerate and sometimes even embrace inequality if they believe the system is fair and lets them get ahead.” He described a witticism that is often attributed to Gore Vidal, “it is not enough for me to succeed; others must fail” as being “uncomfortably accurate.” Rauch cited a striking experiment, in which certain households in Kenyan villages were the random recipients of large financial windfalls. The lucky households were happy, but their neighbors experienced increased unhappiness because they felt as they had fallen behind.
Why are people in some countries happier than others? What factors contribute to happiness and how can we improve happiness at home and in the workplace? We can apply lessons from the happiest countries in the world on how to be happy.
Listen and LearnFreakanomics recently released a podcast “How to be Happy” addresses those questions and does a deep dive into Denmark’s consistently high happiness ranking. It’s definitely worth a listen (or a read since it’s also been transcribed). It includes engaging interviews with: Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen; Jeff Sachs, economics professor at Columbia University, special adviser to the UN Secretary General on the Sustainable Development Goals and co-editor of the World Happiness Report; and Helen Russell, journalist and author.
What are the Happiest Countries?
The U.N.’s World Happiness Report, which ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels and 117 countries by the happiness of their immigrants (and also serves as an antidote to our unhealthy obsession with Gross Domestic Product), is typically topped by Nordic countries. In 2018 Finland took the top spot as the happiest country. The rest of the top ten in order of overall happiness were Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia.
The U.S. ranked 18th, dropping down four spots from last year. Sachs explained, “The U.S. happiness ranking is falling, in part because of the ongoing epidemics of obesity, substance abuse and untreated depression.”
On September 3, the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, will launch a new online course, “The Science of Happiness at Work.” Based on the center’s hugely popular free course “The Science of Happiness,” this new course will teach attendees why it matters so much to promote happiness in the workplace and how to do it. As the center puts it:
People who are happier at work are more committed to their organization, rise to positions of leadership more rapidly, are more productive and creative, and suffer fewer health problems. More and more, research is suggesting that happiness should not be an afterthought for workplaces; it should be an essential goal, entwined with the kinds of 21st century skills that are key to individual and organizational success today.
And a key element of happiness in the workplace is gratitude. In fact, gratitude is a key element of happiness anywhere, according to decades of research on the subject. As researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky — author of the bestselling The How of Happiness and The Myths of Happiness — explains in this short video, gratitude does a number of things to pave the way for happy feelings.
Thinking about building an employee wellness program?
They’re still quite popular with businesses looking for perks that will benefit both workers and leadership. Per HR Dive, in a 2017 study by Virgin Pulse, 85 percent of employers surveyed said their wellness programs were good for employee engagement, recruitment, retention, and overall company culture. More than just offering exercise- and diet-related options, these programs are increasingly incorporating mental-health components as well. That shift has proven popular with employees, 85 percent of whom say they want help managing stress.
That said, employee wellness programs are far from a magic bullet. Further research reported by HR Dive reveals that while 56 percent of employers think building an employee wellness program has made their employees healthier, only 32 percent of those employees concur with that assessment. And in another survey, 55 percent of employers claimed to offer wellness programs, but only 36 percent of employees said they were aware of those programs.
If your company is interested in building an employee wellness program, you’ll want to think hard about what kinds of wellness are most meaningful to your workers. You also want to design a program your employees will actually use and that has practical benefits for the company as a whole.
As National Friendship Day 2018 approaches on August 5th, it’s the perfect time to reflect on how companies can cultivate workplace friendships and why workplace friendships are important.
In an article about workplace friendships for L & D Daily Advisor, writer Lin Grensing-Pophal cites a Gallup Q-12 employee engagement assessment tool which asks the questions, “Do you have a best friend at work?” Why ask that question? Well, research by Gallup indicates that having a best friend in the workplace correlates with higher job satisfaction rates AND a reduction in the likelihood that an employee will depart to find a different job.
Sadly, a New York Times opinion piece by Adam Grant indicates that the number of employees who say they have a friend (not even a best friend) in the workplace is declining.