• Best Workplace Gifts: When? (Part I)

    My Grandfather worked for a railroad company in Northern Minnesota for much of my young life. It was considered a very good job. The stories of Poppy’s railroad work remain a legendary part of our family’s oral history.
    He retired after 25+ years on the job. Along the way, he was given traditional service awards. Treasured were his gold pocket watch, and bronzed locomotive plaque.
    Times, of course, have changed. Gone are the service awards of my Poppy’s day. Often by choice, employees don’t stay with one company long enough to earn a reward based on years and years of service. The next generation of workers in a recent survey from I Love Rewards says they really don’t plan on sticking with one job that long:

    “The average job seeker according to the survey wants to stay with their first employer for 8.9 years, but the reality is that students only stay an average of 1.5 years according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employers have a real opportunity to save money in the long term by investing in robust retention strategies in order to keep this group engaged,” says I Love Rewards CEO and founder Razor Suleman.

    This survey indicates that employees today need rewards early and often:

    “…they don’t care about years-of-service awards, which 91 per cent of companies offer.”

    Companies have a real opportunity to create a new paradigm in their employee reward (and retention) programs. Here’s a blueprint to get you started:

    • Implement and keep a program that reflects your company’s values. In her Work with Me column,  Detroit Free Press workplace reporter Patricia Montemurri recently wrote on the decline of company recognition programs. Victims of tough economic times, these programs hold real value. Don’t cut, experts say.
    • Establish rewards that are given regular intervals. Earlier is better, according to Montemurri’s column:

    “Instead of waiting decades to recognize employees,  it’s becoming more popular to acknowledge an employee’s one-year anniversary — perhaps with a token gift such as a titanium flashlight or a pen and pencil set. If you keep somebody and train them well, and recognize them during the first year, you’ve got a better chance of keeping them on the second year,” according to Anthony Luciano of TharpeRobbin

    • In addition to these regularly scheduled rewards, it’s a real motivational boost to recognize special effort of teams of employees or individuals with tokens that are meaningful.

    Employers may not get much chance to hand out gold pocket watches any more, but there is ample opportunity and reason to recognize achievement and service in the workplace. Your company’s success may depend on it.

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  • Green Eggs and Ham

    Don’t prefer standard Irish dishes like Corned Beef and Cabbage, Guinness Pie, or Bangers and Mash? There’s another option for St. Patrick’s Day dining you may have overlooked
    This week’s recipe: Green Eggs and Ham.  It’s become our favorite way to celebrate St. Patty’s since we started  marking the birthday of children’s literary limerick genius, Dr. Seuss. While Theodor Geisel’s birthday is actually earlier in March, schools, libraries and literacy groups across the country mark the occasion throughout the month with reading activities. It’s a natural tie-in to cook up some Seuss’ most famous food.
    Green Eggs and Ham can be dressed down or made into a special concoction served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. gThankYou for all these variations on the theme:

    Enjoy a bit o’ these types of green with your ham this year. And if you need a Seuss fix, check out this fun Dr. Seuss site.

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  • The Best way to Bake a Ham

    The top-rated recipe each time I visited Epicurious a while back was — seriously — How to Boil Water. Certainly this was a spoof at Conde Nast’s mega food site populated with recipes from its Bon Appetit and now-defunct Gourmet magazines. Just the same, it reminds me of this week’s Recipe of the Week topic: Baking a Ham.
    Many Hams come pre-cooked and, really, need no cooking at all. But most Hams will benefit from baking. And if you don’t make big roasts that much (like me), you may need some reminders and tips.  Why bake? It brings out the natural juices and allows you to customize with a glaze, if you choose, to fit your dinner.
    For a primer on Ham (the USDA recognizes four distinct classifications of Ham based on water to protein ratio), view this video from Alton Brown’s Food Network show, Good Eats.
    After you’ve decided on which type you want to serve — city or country, fresh, bone-in, spiral sliced, etc. – follow these simple steps for the Best Baked Ham Dinner.

    1. Buy a quality Ham: Choose well by knowing what you’re buying. Alton Brown does a good job explaining it.
    2. Read the package: Most Hams you buy in your grocer’s case will come with some basic guidelines and instructions for cooking right on the label.
    3. Decide on a glaze: To glaze or not to glaze is a matter of personal taste (and some intense debate). Options range from fruity peach and pineapple, to adventurous honey mustard and hoisin sauce. Experiment with recipes from CDKitchen and Recipetips.com or go with a family favorite.
    4. Bake and check for doneness: One of my favorite kitchen tools is a digital probe thermometer. It is readable from outside the oven and alerts me when food is done.
    5. Enjoy! Slice and serve with your favorite sides. That’s another post, but please share your top picks with us.

    While not exactly a no-brainer, it is easy to make a memorable Ham Dinner, whether it be holiday-related or for Sunday supper.

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  • NEWS RELEASE: New Season, New Designs Say Thank You with Employee Gifts at gThankYou

    This spring, it’s easier than ever to celebrate your company’s success with a fresh-picked gift from Corporate America’s favorite employee gift seller, gThankYou. A number of new spring card designs, each conveying appreciation for a job well done, are now available for easy distribution with Ham, Grocery or Turkey Gift Certificates from gThankYou.
    “Workplace gifts have been shown to boost company success,” according to Rick Kiley, President of gThankYou. “To keep ROI high, it’s essential to engage employees. There’s no better way to do that than with a thoughtful, and useful gift.”
    HR Managers and executives can add a personal touch to Employee Gift Certificates that recipients can redeem at any grocery store for a Ham, Groceries or Turkey of their choice. Choose cards that feature a cheerful Singing Bird, a Field of Flowers, Tulips, and a Lamb with Ewe. They make these employee gifts memorable and creates a reward program that gets results.

    Convenience tops the list of reasons employers choose gThankYou Gift Certificates. Personalization – an added service used by most employers at no additional charge – includes a card design of your choice plus your company name and the recipient’s name printed on the Gift Card.
    Order Ham Gift Certificates, Grocery or Turkey Gift Certificates easily online at www.gthankyou.com in $5 denominations from $10 to $30. Certificates are also simple to give, and are often distributed with payroll. Redeeming Certificates is easy, too. Employees can redeem Certificates at any grocery store for the Ham, Groceries or Turkey of their choice.
    gThankYou Gift Certificates are the ideal workplace gift. They’re meaningful, affordable and appreciated by the entire family. They also offer the perfect opportunity for leaders to recognize workplace success. Most gThankYou customers give Company Gift Certificates to all employees in the company, division or workgroup at holiday times or the conclusion of a successful project, month or quarter. Learn more at www.gThankYou.com or by calling 888-484-1658.
    About gThankYou, LLC

    Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.
    gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.
    gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
    Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
    Join the Conversation @gThankYou
    Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.
    “G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

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  • Comfort in a Pot

    While the days are getting longer, winter drags on (and on) in February. But you can cook up plenty of warming comfort with a few simple ingredients from your grocer’s shelves. This week, gThankYou starts its Recipe of the Week. This week’s pick: Delicious and nutritious soups made with cabbage and ham hocks.
    First, a couple of notes on ingredients.
    Cabbage has been called one of the world’s healthiest foods. It’s also cheap, plentiful, economical, and versatile, as demonstrated in cabbage-based dishes  from about every cuisine (kimchi anyone?). Cabbage has become among our favorite ingredients for satisfying winter meals, with availability at its peak during the colder months.
    Ham hocks are fabulous flavor boosters, often added to enhance soups and to make substantial stocks. They’re smoky and rich, and according to Recipezaar come from the lower part of a pig’s hind leg.
    gThankYou for these recipes:

    An added benefit: Making these soups can be as rewarding as eating them. Enjoy!

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  • Engage to Rebuild Your Workforce

    Economic uncertainty seems to remain in the air, but it’s also clear that the job picture must be improving, at least in the macro, from some recent things I’ve been reading on certain career-focused Web sites.
    This recent post from Career Builder advises companies how to attract and win over ideal job candidates. The list includes lots of perks that range widely:

    • Offering a healthy work/life balance
    • Having flexible or alternative work schedules
    • Corporate volunteering groups and efforts
    • Cross-training opportunities
    • A “Green” facility
    • Tuition reimbursement
    • Health benefits for an employee and his/her family
    • Casual dress
    • Dogs in the office
    • Employee trips
    • Candy at the reception desk
    • Free yoga
    • In-house massage
    • Learning opportunities
    • Fun contests to promote recognition
    • 15 days off during the holiday season
    • Profit sharing

    Missing from this list, arguably, is the key strategy of engaging current employees and offering them a tangible system that helps them set, achieve and celebrate goals. Employees under your roof now are your greatest asset, and best advertising tool to boost your ranks with top-performing people. Best to start the year right by setting a policy and agenda toward employee engagement for a sustainable organization.
    As discussed in this recent post from Jo Confino, executive at the London-based Guardian, employee engagement is not really rocket science, but more a matter of communication. Says Jo:

    “We are delighted that our most recent employee survey has shown that our staff engagement programme has led to a dramatic uplift in the scores on sustainability, compared with the same survey the previous year.”

    According to Career Builder, the job forecast for the upcoming period is improving. It’s probably a good time  to shore up employee engagement to build a truly sustainable and productive workforce.

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  • How to use your gThankYou! Certificate

    To the fortunate many who received gThankYou! Ham, Turkey or Grocery Gift Certificates recently, congratulations! Yours is a thoughtful and useful reward for a job well done!
    To help you through the process of using your gThankYou certificate, I’ve created this handy primer designed to answer any questions. Since I, too, was the recent recipient of my first gThankYou Turkey Gift Certificate, I thought there no better way to help than to share my own experience
    Told that my gThankYou Turkey Gift Certificate would cover $20 toward the purchase of any Turkey of my choice from any grocer, I went shopping. Here’s how it worked.
    After settling on the exact Turkey I wanted – Kosher this year – I planned where to shop for the perfect size Turkey at a good price. I found the perfect bird at Trader Joe’s, a national specialty food retail chain that caters to the foodie crowd. The bird fit my criteria, and those spelled out on the certificate (it needed to cost at least $20).
    Certificate in hand, I advanced toward the check-out. After I presented the certificate, my checker examined it and began reading the instructions. He was a first-timer too, having never seen a Certificate from gThankYou. A manager responded, and after he read the certificate instructions, completed my transaction.
    After hardly the bat of an eye, I was done. It worked just like a coupon presented during the check out process. But this was better, because I was fulfilling a reward.
    A few tips:

    1. Pay attention to the specifics. Details on your certificate will tell you what the gift covers: Turkey, Ham or Groceries and for how much.
    2. Certificates will have a good-through date. Use the certificate by this day to ensure you receive the full benefit of your gift.
    3. Expect to wait a minute or two for verification from a store manager. Shopping during a slower time of day on a slower store traffic day will minimize your wait.
    4. If you run into stores with questions, there’s a toll-free number on the certificate that managers or clerks can call on the spot.
    5. Rest assured that the certificates are usable for any specified item at any store, even if they’ve never (as was my experience) processed a gThankYou certificate. It’s the real deal.

    It was truly an unexpected thrill to receive a gThankYou Gift Certificate. I felt proud using it, and enjoyed serving the Turkey I purchased with it, which this year had more of a story. Share your experience getting and using gThankYou certificates, and serving the resulting meals.

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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.