What is more essential to drive employee motivation — rewards and recognition, or engagement?
Both, according to employee motivation expert Paul Herr. You don’t have to choose!
Instead, “combine the best of both worlds by extrinsically rewarding managers who become skilled at pressing the motivational ‘buttons’ (of employees)” — in short, using extrinsic rewards to turn on intrinsic rewards.
Herr explores this innovative approach to employee motivation in his recent Incentive Research Foundation paper, “Using Behavioral Economics Insights in Incentives, Rewards and Recognition: The Neuroscience.” You can download the paper here.
If your employees landed a major financial windfall tonight, would they still show up at work tomorrow?
Unfortunately for most of us, money will always be a factor in where we choose to work. But when you take money out of the equation, there are other things that might make us keep coming in day after day. When we care about what we do — and the people with whom we do it — work has its own rewards.
For a huge percentage of Americans, however, this is far from the case. According to the most recent Gallup polling data, nearly 51 percent of American workers are “not engaged” at work, while over 17 percent are “actively disengaged.”
These “not engaged” workers, Gallup says, “…show up and kill time, doing the minimum required with little extra effort to go out of their way for customers. They are less vigilant, more likely to miss work and change jobs when new opportunities arise.”
The “actively disengaged” are even worse. As Herr puts it, they hate their jobs and see their employers as “the enemy.”
A “disengagement epidemic” is plaguing American employers, Herr says. His goal as a researcher is to help businesses find the cure and boost employee motivation — for good.
Fall is here, and that means the holiday season is just around the corner. We’ve got employee appreciation ideas to help you sail through 4th Quarter — from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Year’s!
Appreciation should be an everyday workplace communication goal.
Continuous conversations and feedback are the #1 megatrend in HR and business today, according to a Globoforce white paper.
“Annual performance reviews are an outdated model — a relic of old HR processes,” the white paper states.
In the place of these annual performance reviews, HR is moving toward a model of “continuous conversations” and ongoing check-ins that “align employees behind organization priorities.”
That’s where employee appreciation comes in. It’s essential to this new model of engagement.
“There will always be the need for constructive feedback to help guide employees. But the heavier concentration for feedback should veer toward the positive, celebratory side of the spectrum, which is the proven way to elevate performance and meet employees’ high-level needs,” according to Globoforce.
That’s right — the HR experts at Globoforce are giving us license to celebrate more, share more gratitude and have more fun at work!
But if you’re in charge of planning and organizing all those activities, it may seem daunting and like … more work.
The good news: building an everyday workplace culture of employee appreciation and gratitude doesn’t have to be a grind. We’ve got tips and employee appreciation ideas to inspire you through the end of 2017 and beyond.
Commit now to ringing in 2018 with a happier, more engaged culture at your company.
gThankYou is pleased to unveil new Thanksgiving Card Designs for the 2017 holiday season!
Enclosure Cards are always free with any purchase of gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude.
Choose from dozens of holiday-themed and everyday gratitude card designs and give us your personal message for recipients along with your company logo (if desired). We create a proof for you to approve and include the cards — 3″ x 4″ and printed on high-quality card stock — with your order. And it’s all FREE!
But more importantly, a “Thank You” card is essential to sharing your Thanksgiving gratitude with employees.
Your workplace gifts need a clear, thoughtful message of “Thank You” anytime of year, but especially at Thanksgiving. Let your staff know how much you appreciate them. Thanking employees costs nothing yet means so much.
gThankYou’s Thanksgiving Enclosure Cards make it easy and convenient to send that meaningful message.
Download the new Autumn and Thanksgiving Catalog to see our new designs along with dozens of popular favorites for communicating your appreciation this holiday season. It’s the perfect accompaniment to your Turkey Gift or Turkey Or Ham Gift.
To order gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude call us at 877-620-9789 or order online.
Today is World Gratitude Day! Celebrated every Sept. 21, it’s a holiday started by the United Nations more than 40 years ago. It’s also known as the International Day of Peace.
In the workplace, World Gratitude Day is for celebrating the power of “Thank You” — from company leaders to employees, between coworkers, from employees to customers and, ultimately, as a building block for a culture of gratitude.
The scientific argument for showing more gratitude in the workplace is strong and backed by rigorous research.
Numerous studies have shown the benefits of gratitude and the ill effects of a lack of gratitude — job dissatisfaction, turnover, absenteeism, burnout, gossip, negativity and exploitation.
But one of the best arguments we’ve heard for thanking employees is actually personal.
“No, I Won’t Thank My Employees for Doing Their Job,” is a Forbes column by Liz Ryan, CEO and founder of Human Workplace and author of the Reinvention Roadmap.
The column is Ryan’s response to a manager who thinks he shouldn’t have to thank his employees because “it’s a business relationship.”
The manager tells Ryan, “Maybe I am a cynic but I don’t understand why I need to thank someone for doing their job. My employees get paid.”
“No one thanks me for doing my job. We are adults. Isn’t it appreciation enough for me to give someone a paycheck every two weeks?” he asks.
Her response is perfect.
Gratitude activities for the workplace help build a kinder, happier and more purposeful culture — and more dedicated, productive, loyal employees.
Culture is a main sticking point for companies struggling with disengagement, turnover and low morale.
“People want to work for a company that has a culture of recognizing great work effort, great workers and actions that help grow the company,” Brian Sommer, a technology services analyst, writes for Diginomica.
“This is the real recognition and reward challenge: getting a company to alter its culture and management practices to reward people who exhibit the behaviors that drive corporate success,” Sommer writes.
Fixing bad workplace culture takes a renewed focus on rewards and recognition — but not as “an afterthought or bolt-on capability.”
True cultural transformation happens when a) employee recognition is part of a greater shift toward a culture of gratitude, and b) company executives are 100 percent on-board.
“Why executives? Because cultural change is not the responsibility of HR alone and it can’t be fixed by a mandate, technology or HR. It needs the support of all executives and management,” Sommer writes.
One easy, practical way to help build a culture of gratitude is to involve employees and executives alike in a series of gratitude activities for the workplace.
What does workplace gratitude in action look like?
In the aftermath of the devastating hurricanes Harvey and Irma, it looks like employees uniting to help those in need in their community — or even thousands of miles away.
Workplace volunteerism is a powerful way to build teamwork skills, engage employees, increase generosity and make a difference. Increasingly, opportunities to engage with and give back to the community are what employees (and potential employees) expect.
People want to work for a company they can believe in, that aligns with their values.
A spirit of workplace volunteerism can only thrive in a culture of gratitude. The opposite kind of culture, where incivility and rudeness rule, takes a costly toll on employees, according to new research.
Leadership coach Tanveer Naseer believes in the benefits of expressing gratitude in the workplace, particularly as a model for more effective leadership.
Besides fueling internal motivation, gratitude is a “powerful reminder of how we need each other to succeed and thrive — that our accomplishments are not ours alone, but something to be shared and celebrated collectively,” he writes.
Best of all, it “allows us to see the best in those around us, and how they help us to do and be better.”
Next week is World Gratitude Day — Thursday, Sept. 21 — so what better time to celebrate workplace gratitude in action? We’re seeing a lot of it in the news these days as communities rally to help hurricane victims.
What goes great with your workplace Thanksgiving celebration? Turkey vouchers for employees!
A gift certificate for a turkey is an affordable yet meaningful way to share a classic employee holiday gift. And by giving vouchers instead of actual turkeys, your team avoids the hassle of handling and storing a large number of frozen birds. It’s a win for everyone!
gThankYou! Turkey Vouchers (or Turkey Or Ham Vouchers) make it easy to reward and thank your staff with a gift they’ll remember all year. Recipients love the ability to choose the turkey that’s best for their family holiday celebration — gThankYou Turkey Vouchers are redeemable for any brand of whole turkey, at virtually all major grocery stores in the U.S.
Because a turkey is the Thanksgiving meal centerpiece, it carries the symbolism of holiday gratitude and family togetherness. As a gift, it lets your employees know you care.
Plus, it’s a practical gift your employees will be able to share with family and friends.
gThankYou! Turkey Vouchers are easy to order: online or call us at 888-484-1658. They come with free personalization and free customizable ‘Thank You’ Enclosure Cards. Even better, we ship same day so you can have your order as fast as tomorrow.
Order America’s Favorite Turkey Vouchers™ today and let us take care of the logistics of your holiday appreciation so you can focus on what’s really important: thanking employees and celebrating the joy of the season together!
Engaging blue-collar workers may be one of the biggest engagement challenges facing HR today.
Hourly workers are unhappier than salaried workers in many job aspects, according to recently released Gallup poll data.
A Harvard Business Review analysis concluded, “People working blue-collar jobs report lower levels of overall happiness in every region around the world. This is the case across a variety of labor-intensive industries like construction, mining, manufacturing, transport, farming, fishing and forestry.”
Retention is a big problem, too. The “new blue-collar” industries, such as foodservice and hospitality, grapple with it on even bigger scales.
And there’s the skills gap.
The historical loss of manufacturing jobs has hurt communities across the U.S., yet currently “a significant number of manufacturing jobs remain open with not enough people to fill them,” according to HR Dive. “The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) predicts that U.S. companies will be facing two million job vacancies by 2025. And the American Welding Society contends that manufacturing industries will need 300,000 welders and welding instructors by 2020.”
One expert, Jobcase CEO Fred Goff, tells HR Dive he blames the skills gap on an “image problem.” Young people for decades have understood that the best way to a rewarding career is through a college degree and a job in finance, marketing, law, engineering or teaching.
“The ‘image problem’ that these blue-collar fields face has finally come home to roost — and employers are struggling to make up the difference,” according to HR Dive.
A workplace Thanksgiving celebration lets employees know how grateful you are for their hard work, at a time of year when gratitude is on everyone’s minds already.
Now’s the time to start planning.
Early planning for a workplace Thanksgiving celebration means that, come holiday-time, you and your management team will be able to focus on celebrating with employees.
And that’s key for any employee appreciation effort. Leadership needs to be present and engaged for a celebration to really work. Leaders set the tone.
If employees sense that company leaders don’t care, even the most dazzling party and generous gifts won’t matter.
“For supervisors, managers, business owners and other organization leaders, the Thanksgiving holiday is an excellent reminder to both remember and communicate the most valuable asset in your workplace — the people who work there,” according to Paul White, psychologist and workplace communication expert.
How a Workplace Thanksgiving Celebration Engages Employees
The Labor Day holiday celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate your workplace and have fun — especially if you have team members working on Labor Day itself or over Labor Day weekend.
Officially recognized as a federal holiday in 1894, Labor Day was born out of the rise of workers’ rights during the peak of the Industrial Revolution. To this day, we enjoy the benefits of this movement: minimum wage, overtime law, the weekend and more.
“We commemorate Labor Day because it forever changed the relationship between employer and employee,” according to a Gusto blog post.
Labor Day is traditionally celebrated with parades and picnics. But if your company has employees working on Labor Day, there are still ways to celebrate your workplace and thank employees during the workday. Read on for easy ways to share your thanks with staff helping out during the holiday.
It’s back-to-school time! Are you engaging employees with flexible workplace benefits — benefits that ease the transition from summer vacation to the demands and routines of the start of school?
Flexible workplace benefits consider employee experience in practical ways that help employees manage work-life balance.
“Employee experience” is a relatively new concept in HR. As author and futurist Jacob Morgan writes for Inc., it works best in tandem with employee engagement.
“By combining employee engagement and experience to work together, organizations can build an environment where employees feel valued,” Morgan writes.
Employee experience is about “designing an organization where people want to show up by focusing on the cultural, technological and physical environments,” according to Morgan. It goes deeper than engagement and considers “experience” as defined by employees.
Taking that experience into account leads to better, more effective engagement strategies.
As we move into the school year, consider your employees’ experience of balancing work and school to design truly effective, engaging workplace benefits.
Give employees a Thanksgiving turkey this November! There’s no better symbol of gratitude: it’s the centerpiece to a meal that celebrates giving thanks.
Need more reasons?
Check out our new page “10 Reasons to Give Employees a Thanksgiving Turkey.” Share it with coworkers and your leadership team!
Now’s the time to start planning workplace gifts for the holiday season. Be ready with all the information you need.
Our “10 Reasons” page answers all your questions about workplace turkey gifts, an American tradition going back generations.
And what’s the best way to carry on that tradition and give employees a Thanksgiving turkey?
With gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates, of course. A turkey voucher gift is convenient for giver and recipient alike. It retains the meaning and symbolism of a traditional turkey gift, with none of the hassle or pesky demands on freezer space.
Recipients of gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates get to redeem their turkey gift at the time that’s right for them, for a size and preparation of turkey that fits their family, at virtually any grocery store nationwide.
Ultimately, this is about your business and company culture. Employees who feel valued lift up your business. They’re more engaged in their work, more likely to provide outstanding customer service and more likely to stay with your company.
There’s no better time to communicate this value to employees than at Thanksgiving. It’s the holiday when we join together as a country and community to reflect on our gratitude. Don’t leave out your employees! Let them know how grateful you are for their contributions — with a meaningful, appreciated Thanksgiving turkey.
It’s time to rethink workplace exercise incentives involving cash.
New research shows money does little to motivate gym visits, even among people who have the intention of exercising more.
The experiment, conducted by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers and published in the National Bureau of Economic Research, randomized about 800 new gym members into four groups.
The control group received $30 after six weeks, unconditionally. The other groups were rewarded for going to the gym at least nine times in the first six weeks of membership — with a $30 Amazon gift card, a $60 Amazon gift card or an item of their choosing from Amazon worth about $30, respectively.
Participants who were promised rewards made just 0.14 more visits to the gym in the first six weeks, on average.
Beyond that, the financial incentives had “no effect on their subsequent visit trajectories.”
It’s actually not that surprising that money isn’t a significant motivator. HR experts have known for a long time that “cash isn’t necessarily king,” as SHRM put it in 2003.
A big problem with cash rewards is that they don’t reinforce brand loyalty, according to SHRM. And because a gift of money has no value or meaning beyond its cash value, financial rewards can quickly lose motivational effect and become an entitlement.
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely argued in his 2016 book “Payoff” that financial incentives “aren’t the be-all-end-all when it comes to motivation,” Business Insider reports.
In fact, Ariely and his colleagues conducted a study that found workers who received financial bonuses for their performance ultimately performed worse than workers who received compliments or pizza from their boss.
Targeted techniques for engaging Millennial or Gen Z employees are helpful but don’t fully reflect the reality — the need for employee appreciation for a multigenerational workforce.
“Today’s workforce is decidedly multigenerational,” according to AccountingWeb article “How to Make the Most of a Multigenerational Workforce.”
“If you walk into any office or firm, on any given day, you’ll find Baby Boomers on the cusp of retirement working side by side with Generation Xers staking out new leadership roles and Millennials eager to make their mark,” writes columnist Deanna Arteaga.
Ensuring that your employee appreciation accounts for all ages and generations helps foster a workplace-wide culture of gratitude.
It can also help avoid serious issues like agism in the workplace, an issue for older workers especially, according to Financial Times.
As one 52-year-old recalls of working in a tech start-up where the average age was 26, “I had this really big blog, I was internet famous, I had developed a TV show and worked in Hollywood, and they were like, ‘Wow, you can use Twitter?‘”
Workplace friendships used to be commonplace.
Now workplace experts say they’re beginning to make a comeback, particularly among men — and that’s good news for organizational culture.
With World Friendship Day coming up on August 6, take a moment to consider the important role of workplace friendships at your company. It’s a great time to plan low-key but engaging activities that celebrate friendships among employees and coworkers.
Workplace friendships don’t have to come at the expense of meeting work goals, according to Fast Company.
One study showed that “skipping the small talk and focusing on self-disclosure and nonwork-related topics can forge a closeness that makes coworkers more collaborative, productive, and accountable.”
Discussing success with colleagues is motivational, another study found. These are workplace conversations that can only happen in a culture that values and supports friendships.
Social and economic factors over the last 50 years have pushed Americans toward a workplace culture that devalues friendship and focuses at any cost on “getting down to business.”
The cost of this shift has left us with record-low employee engagement — still around 30 percent, according to Gallup. But there are signs the culture is shifting back. Workplace friendships could once again be the norm.
It’s one of the main reasons managers give for not thanking employees.
I just don’t have the time.
That’s a shame, because in the long run a robust employee appreciation program actually saves time. Employees who feel appreciated are more productive, and retention goes up.
This is especially true at the holidays, when time is at a premium.
Don’t let a time crunch keep your company from having a great holiday turkey gift program! Begin your planning now.
gThankYou makes it easy to share the gift of a Thanksgiving Turkey with Gift Certificates for any brand, any preparation of whole turkey, redeemable nationally at major grocery stores.
August is the ideal time to start planning your Thanksgiving turkey gifts.
If you plan now, the logistics will be taken care of — and you’ll have time to focus on what’s really important: sharing your Thanksgiving turkey gifts with a meaningful, thoughtful message of gratitude.
The sooner you have your program logistics in place, the more time you’ll have this holiday season for augmenting your holiday turkey gift program with personalized greetings, holiday parties and seasonal employee engagement activities.
And at the heart of it, you’ll be sharing a gift that evokes gratitude, family togetherness and the joy of the season. A turkey centerpiece is the perfect gift to share your workplace holiday gratitude! It’s a meaningful yet practical gift that everyone values and appreciates. Find out why turkeys have been given as employee gifts for over a century in “10 Reasons to Give Employees a Turkey for the Holidays”.
The dog days of summer are here, and your staff could use a little extra engagement. Now’s the time to bring the team back together from their summer distractions with a late-summer employee cookout.
Workplace productivity drops 20 percent during the summer months, team projects take 13 percent longer to complete and workers are 45 percent more distracted, according to Entrepreneur.
Push back against those disengagement tendencies by embracing summer fun in a way that reinforces and builds team dynamics.
“Summer barbecues are a must,” Entrepreneur’s Zeynep Ilgaz writes.
An employee cookout is affordable and straightforward to plan, and a low-investment, high-yield activity when done right.
Employees enjoy the break from routine and the chance to bond with coworkers and management in a social setting — then return to work rejuvenated and refocused. Everyone wins!
What are we really talking about when we say “employee engagement”? A workforce that shares a sense of belonging in the workplace, for starters.
This is the new evolution of engagement: really drilling down to core concepts to better understand business jargon.
“Engagement is, as I like to joke, a six-dollar word that consultants say when people like what they do and want to come to work everyday,” executive coach and educator John Baldoni writes in a Forbes column on developing engagement.
When an employee has a sense of belonging in the workplace, it “connotes ownership,” Baldoni writes.
“You belong therefore you own. Not property but something more meaningful. You own responsibility. You have a sense of autonomy that enables you to act for the good of the organization. Not because you have to, but because you want to.”
The IBM/Globoforce “Employee Engagement Index” measures belonging first among the “five key tenets” of a positive employee experience. It defines sense of belonging in the workplace as “feeling part of a team, group or organization.”
As the value of workplace gratitude gets more recognition, leaders are exploring its impact and studying how to better implement it.
The power of a positive, appreciation-driven culture is clear.
Employees at organizations with positive cultures scored significantly higher scores in leadership caring, confidence and listening, a CultureIQ poll found.
Business 2 Community’s post “10 Employee Recognition Stats You Can’t Ignore” drives home the point.
The research shows that gratitude is what employees need to thrive. In one survey, 58 percent of employees said recognition is how leaders could do more to improve engagement. In another study, 69 percent of employees say they’d work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated.
“When more than half your staff wants the same thing, you listen,” B2C’s Michael Heller writes.
Companies are listening. More and more HR departments are deploying recognition and gratitude as engagement strategies. The majority see their employee recognition programs as a worthwhile investment, according to the latest WorldAtWork research.
Emerging from all this buzz around workplace gratitude are best practices for employee appreciation and, ultimately, cultural change.
What comes first, employee gratitude or employee happiness?
We can “live for days on just a little gratitude,” as this adorable Gaping Void art illustrates.
It’s tempting to let perfectionism and “happiness-chasing” get in the way of actual workplace happiness.
Recall all the times you’ve thought to yourself, We’ll be happy as soon as we get through this project, or My team needs get better at A, B and C — then we’ll be happy!
Those parameters for happiness keep shifting away, just beyond reach. It’s a trap.
Break the cycle! Practicing gratitude is a shortcut to happiness, and it’s a practice you can start today with employees.
The secret to a happier workplace really is gratitude. Are your employees hearing frequent appreciation? Are they empowered to share their own gratitude? Is gratitude part of the company mission as well as daily life?
Read on for a primer on employee gratitude essentials. Later this week, look for a followup blog post here on the latest thinking and trends in workplace gratitude.