• Make Employee Appreciation a Daily Habit: Digital Feedback Platforms

    Employee Appreciation Really Matters - Digital Feedback Platforms can help make it a workplace habit.If you’re reading this blog post, it’s probably because you care about employee appreciation and you may be wondering how digital feedback platforms can help (and which ones could be a good fit for your company).

    Why Employee Appreciation Matters

    In a Workplace article on Gallup’s website examining the impact of employee recognition, writers Annamarie Mann and Nate Dvorak point out:

    Beyond communicating appreciation and providing motivation to the recognized employee, the act of recognition also sends messages to other employees about what success looks like. In this way, recognition is both a tool for personal reward and an opportunity to reinforce the desired culture of the organization to other employees

    Three words are key when it comes to employee appreciation according to Gallup’s results:  honest, authentic and individualized. Read on to learn how digital feedback platforms can help make employee appreciation a daily work habit.
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  • 9 Easy Ideas for Halloween Team Building

    Carving pumpkins is a great halloween team building project!

    A pumpkin-carving party is a fun, affordable Halloween activity for workplace team building.

    A fantastic opportunity for easy team building is….Halloween.
    If the extent of your company’s Halloween celebration is a dish of candy corn and a few streamers, you’re missing out.
    Engagement, not passive entertainment, is key to successful team building. Halloween is one of the easiest holidays to engage employees in fun activities that everyone will enjoy and that don’t need to break your budget.
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  • 8 Frightfully Easy Halloween Employee Engagement Ideas

    Build employee engagement this Halloween!

    Your workplace Halloween celebration is a key holiday for employee engagement. (Adapted via torbakhopper, Flickr)

    Halloween is a great opportunity to foster employee engagement and workplace camaraderie — are you taking advantage of it?
    Here’s what makes Halloween such a standout engagement time:
    It’s popular. According to a 2015 Harris Poll, Halloween ranks third among U.S. adults for favorite holiday. Only Christmas and Thanksgiving rank higher! Halloween outranks the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and even “my birthday.”
    It’s participatory. From pumpkins and costume parades to trick-or-treating, Halloween gets people moving, talking and connecting with one another.
    It’s creative. Nearly everything we do to celebrate Halloween encourages creativity, from carving the perfect pumpkin to sewing a one-of-a-kind costume.
    It’s fun! Yes, a little fun plays an important role at work! Regular opportunities for play in the workplace break down barriers, boost creativity and optimism, lower stress and increase motivation.
    Read on for quick employee engagement ideas for a successful workplace Halloween!
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  • Everyday Employee Thank You Ideas

    Any time is a good time to say thank you to employees! Workers who feel valued and appreciated will be happier, more productive and more loyal.

    The transition from spring to summer presents a wide variety of established opportunities to show appreciation that naturally fit into this season, but don’t lose sight of the impact of saying thank you and showing gratitude any day of the year.

    As American philosopher and psychologist Williams James astutely observed:
    “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
    Saying thanks in the workplace matters really does matter to the success of your business!  Check out these numbers from O.C. Tanner’s “The Business Case for Recognition”:
    • O.C. Tanner revealed that 94% of regularly recognized employees said it motivates them to do great work
    • WorkHuman shared that 89% of regularly recognized employees are highly engaged
    • The Wall Street Journal reported that 81% of employees say they work harder for a grateful manager
    • Glassdoor disclosed that 53% would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss

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  • Secrets to Being a Great Place to Work

    An insightful Forbes article described culture as the backbone of a happy workforce.  That’s a great metaphor because a positive company culture favorably impacts recruitment, increases job satisfaction, inspires collaboration, boosts morale and reduces stress.  It’s the secret to being a great place to work. A referenced Deloitte study examining core beliefs and culture revealed there’s a link between employees who say they are “happy at work” and feel “valued by their company” and those who say their organization has a clearly articulated and lived culture.
    Speaking of culture, cultureIQ gathered their “favorite culture and employee engagement statistics” into one handy spot.  Their statement about the impact of culture is a strong reminder that:
    Culture impacts every corner of your business. Leadership stays on the same page. Employees are happier and, therefore, more engaged and productive. Prospective employees are more interested in joining and staying with your company. Perhaps most importantly, all these components work together to give your company its competitive advantage.
    In today’s extremely tight labor market, you need every competitive advantage that you can get!
    Beyond the data they share, the team at cultureIQ has a free downloadable guide of 60+ culture tips – don’t miss it!

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  • The #1 Best Tasting Way to Prepare Ham

    Delicous, juicy sliced ham

    A nicely cooked ham is beautiful to behold. But how do you prepare the absolute, #1 Best Tasting Ham?

    Borrowing advice from the ham-savvy Serious Eats Food Lab, it’s easy:
    1) Buy the right ham, and
    2) Don’t screw it up.
    Fair enough.
    But, seriously, ham needn’t be a complex dish. With these simple tips, you’re guaranteed to have success. 

    Know your ham

    Many are probably unaware of the different types of ham available. Most of the hams sold in grocery stores are of the city ham variety (there are also country hams and fresh hams). You’ll recognize them filling chilled meat cases everywhere you look this month as people shop for their Holiday Ham. City hams are brined then either smoked or boiled to be moist and tender. Most are partially or fully cooked and come in a variety of choices – bone in, spiral cut, etc.

    What to buy

    Since most people in the U.S. choose city hams, we’ll focus on them here. There are many fine city hams to choose. One absolute: bone-in hams are more flavorful. Period. Plus, the bone makes a great soup stock.
    What’s the word on water content? The more water added to the product, the less your ham will taste like a ham and it will have less of a meat-like texture. Aim for the highest protein to water ratio that you can afford, and remember this is the season for great ham deals at many markets.

    Cook it right

    You might think there’s little to cooking a ham. You’re mostly right, but a couple simple tips will help you nail it perfectly the first time. Note that regardless whether you choose a fully or partially cooked ham, cooking it is essential. For the former, it will enhance its flavor and juiciness. For the latter, it’s necessary.
    Baking your ham is the hands-down best way to prepare it. Wrap your ham in aluminum foil, and place it in an oven bag cut side down inside a roasting pan. This method helps prevent you from inadvertently drying out your ham and is worth the effort.
    If it’s a spiral-cut ham, it’s particularly important to place the ham in your roasting pan facing cut side down so the cut slices do not flop apart, dry and ruin your dish.
    A partially cooked ham will need to cook 20 minutes per pound at about 350 degrees (175 celsius).A fully cooked ham will take less time, about 10 minutes per pound, to heat through.
    Since ovens and hams vary, use a meat thermometer to gauge exactly when the ham is done. For accuracy, it’s important to know exactly where to insert the thermometer probe in your ham. Choose the center of the thickest part of your ham avoiding the bone. I usually go in at an angle from above,
    You’ll know your ham is ready to come out of the oven when your thermometer reads about 140-degrees. It will continue to cook while it rests and stopping at this point will keep your ham juicy. The recommended rest period is 30 minutes, tented under foil, prior to slicing and serving.

    Answers to Some Frequently Asked Ham Questions

    To help you calm any other jitters and concerns about ham here are some FAQs.

    Can you cook ham in an aluminum pan?

    Yes! Just make sure that the disposable foil pan is up to the job.

    Reynolds Kitchens’ website (the company behind Reynolds Wrap foil) mentions that their disposable roasting pans “make classic holiday recipes like Thanksgiving turkey and Easter ham easy and let you spend more time with your loved ones” and can handle up to 24 lbs total.

    Reynolds Kitchens’ even shares some ham recipes online and suggest specific size pans from their line.

    Do you put water in pan when cooking ham?

    Cooking experts disagree on this issue.

    Many cooks recommend adding a little liquid (about ½ cup typically) to the bottom of the pan, whether that is water, wine, fruit juice, stock or combo of those liquids to keep the ham from sticking to the pan.

    Mashed advises against it in an article about the mistakes made when cooking ham because “The fat from the ham will melt during cooking, keeping the meat plenty moist. If there’s too much liquid in your pan, your ham will boil instead of baking… and that’s not what we’re going for here.”  

    Either way, don’t go overboard with the liquid.

    How do I cook a precooked ham?

    Did you know that you don’t need to cook a precooked ham? That’s right, the ham can be sliced cold or at room temperature and served. It doesn’t need to be reheated.

    If you prefer warm ham, you can heat it. Be sure to have a meat thermometer handy to avoid overcooking your ham and drying it out.

    If you would like to add a homemade glaze, you’ll need several hours in a low temperature oven to make a delicious caramelized exterior.

    The helpful people at Southern Living provided these tips:

    • Put the ham cut side down in a heavy duty foil lined pan and sit at room temp for 30 minutes.  
    • Brush glaze over the ham and set an over rack at the lowest position.  
    • Preheat oven to 350˚F. Bake uncovered for 2.5 to 3 hours — or until the meat thermometer reads 140° when inserted into thickest portion.  
    • Baste every 30 minutes with an additional ½ cup of glaze.  
    • When you remove from oven, spoon drippings from the pan over the ham.  
    • Let the ham stand for 10 minutes prior to slicing and serving.

    That’s it! With these few simple steps you can choose, cook and serve the perfect Holiday Ham or Ham dinner any time. Share your tips with us here.

    Download gThankYou’s “Ultimate Holiday Ham Guide” for FREE!

    Check out our FREE “Holiday Ham Guide” and start planning your special ham dinner today. You and your guests will be delighted!

     

    The Ultimate Holiday Ham Cooking Guide by gThankYou

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  • Why You Should Celebrate Easter in the Workplace

    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.

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  • 5 Holiday Ham Glazes to Delight Your Taste Buds

    Just Cooked Holiday Ham

    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

    1. Honey gives glazes a sweet base.  Try these interesting varieties such as Honey Balsamic Fig or Pineapple Honey Adobo (right) from The Nibble.

    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.

    4. A gThankYou! favorite from Minnesota’s own Lucia Watson; Cider-Soaked and Brown Sugar Glazed ham from her cookbook, Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland.

    5. Hard to beat, Emeril Lagasse’sSugarcane Baked Ham with Spiced Apples and Pears.  (Thanks to FoodNetwork.com.)  This glaze gets its sweet notes from molasses, corn syrup and sugar cane!

    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.

    Why wait? Download your free Holiday Ham Cookbook now!

    The Ultimate Holiday Ham Cooking Guide by gThankYou

     

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  • Every Day Can Be Employee Appreciation Day

    Employee Appreciation Day

    A sweet employee thank you! Via Flickr: CleverCupca

    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…)

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  • March: Time to Build Workplace Happiness!

    It's easy to build workplace happiness with gThankYou's Employee Celebration Calendar.

    Check out gThankYou’s free 2019 Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar! Every month is full of great ideas for sharing appreciation in the workplace.

    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!

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  • Making the Most of Valentine's Day in the Workplace

    Fun, easy and affordable ideas for celebrating Valentine's Day in the workplace

    Our favorite candy heart saying is “ur kind” but “you rock” is always welcome!  Check out this Reader’s Digest article if you’re curious about conversation heart messages.
    Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

    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.

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  • Let's Make February Workplace Kindness Month!

    February is Kindness Month – Share Yours!

    Acts of kindness are one of the most powerful ways we have to connect with others.
    February is the perfect month to share workplace kindness  – with Random Acts of Kindness Day (17th) and Week (February 17th though the 22nd), and Valentine’s Day! Take advantage of these dates and inspire kindness in your workplace.

    Planting seeds of kindness yields improved moods and productivity. Better yet, it’s contagious. Share a little kindness and see how it ripples through your office.

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  • How A Yale Class Can Help Your Employees Be Happier

    Help employees be happier with these practical, science based recommendationsWith 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.

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  • 2019 Employee Engagement Planning – A Resolution You Can Keep

    Start your 2019 employee engagement planning with gThankYou's free Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Guide to inspire and make planning a breeze!

    New year…new plans for building employee engagement and sharing appreciation!

    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:

    • 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)

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  • Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation Calendar for 2019

    Download your free copy of our 2019 Employee Appreciation Calendar and share with collegues!

    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.

    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.
    This month to month Calendar highlights easy opporunities to share your thanks with your workplace.
    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

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  • Last-Minute Gift Ideas Employees Will Love

    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!For gift ideas employees will love check out the infographic from gThankYou!

    • 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.
    • 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.

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  • 11 Quotes to Inspire Workplace Gratitude on #GivingTuesday

    Giving Tuesday Official Logo

    It’s #GivingTuesday! How will you be spreading workplace gratitude today? (Logo via GivingTuesday.org)

    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.
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  • It's Not Too Late To Create Workplace Halloween Fun

    Have some workplace Halloween fun by providing a spread of Halloween treats everyone will enjoy!

    Workplace Halloween fun is easy with as spread of Halloween themed treats!


    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!
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  • 5 Tips to Find Your Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

    Tips on finding the perfect Thanksgiving turkey by "Living" MagazineBy 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*:

    Free-range turkeys from Bell Evans

    Free-range turkeys from Bell & Evans, a brand widely available east of the Mississippi, scored best in an Epicurious taste test. Photo from Serious Eats.

    Free-Range
    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).

    Heritage
    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.
    Natural
    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
    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.
    Kosher
    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.
    Self-basting
    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.
    Fully cooked
    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.
    Young
    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)

    Traditional Thanksgiving holiday in the USA, with family preparing turkey and gathering around the table.

    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

    Plan ahead to leave enough time to defrost your frozen Thanksgiving turkeyIf 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.

    Craft your perfect Thanksgiving meal with the gThankYou! Ultimate Thanksgiving Turkey Guide!
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  • Build Your Own Employee Engagement Calendar

    There is plenty of time to engage your employees this year! Download gThankYou's annual Employee Engagment Calendar and be inspired!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:

    (more…)

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How gThankYou Certificates Work

Step 1

Order Certificates

Choose the gThankYou Certificates you want and order them online or by telephone.

Step 2

Ship directly to your business

Your order is delivered by UPS. Nearly all orders ship the day received. Overnight shipping is available.

Step 3

Distribute to your employees

Personalize your gThankYou Certificates with Recipient and Giver names (optional) and give them to employees.

Step 4

Redeem at any grocery store

Recipients redeem Certificates at major U.S. grocery stores and select the items they want.