Since 1995, the first Friday of March has been designated Employee Appreciation Day! Why not go the extra mile today for those who go the extra mile (or more) for your business? Here are some ideas:

  • Treat your employees to lunch
  • Take your team out for happy hour (it's Friday, after all)
  • Let them take off early - with pay
  • Hire a massage therapist, chef or yoga instructor to come into the office
  • Leave flowers, candy or a personal note on your employees’ desks
  • Sports and movie tickets and other entertainment rewards are always appreciated

Recognition is a powerful motivator, and it will mean a lot to your staff if you do something nice to thank them for all their hard work.

Who knows? Maybe they'll actually remember Boss's Day this year!

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Recognizing the Pulse of Your Office

Today marks the 60th anniversary of Administrative Professionals Day®, a noteworthy day within the workplace that began in 1952 as Professional Secretaries Day, according to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). Over the course of the last six decades, the role of the administrative assistant has grown and evolved to adapt with changing times, technology and tasks within the office setting. This particular job title has grown from the sometimes-negatively-connotated “secretary” into an indispensable role that no office can efficiently run without. As such, the theme of this year’s Administrative Professionals Week is “Admins, the pulse of the office.”

Here are some fun stats about Administrative Professionals Day according to the IAAP web site:

  • Today, Administrative Professionals Week is one of the largest workplace observances outside of employee birthdays and major holidays.
  • In the year 2000, IAAP announced a name change for Professional Secretaries Week and Professional Secretaries Day. The names were changed to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day to keep pace with changing job titles and expanding responsibilities of today’s administrative workforce.
  • There are more than 4.1 million secretaries and administrative assistants working in the United States, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, and 8.9 million people working in various administrative support roles.

Now, we know what you’re thinking. “This is all well and good, but what can I do to show my appreciation for the administrative professionals in my office?” Great question. According to IAAP members, administrative professionals prefer recognition in the form of opportunities for growth and learning. Some examples are:

  • Tuition reimbursement to attend college classes and work toward a degree
  • Membership and participation in professional organizations
  • Reimbursement for online training programs in technology, administrative and management skills
  • Registration for appropriate conferences, seminars and continuing education workshops
  • Attainment of professional certification. IAAP’s Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) or Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) programs are widely recognized standards of excellence

Remember, Administrative Professionals Week is always the last week of April, so be sure to mark your calendar for future years! Read more about Administrative Professionals Day here.

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You Can Thank Us Later

Happy March 2nd, everyone! “Why is that significant?” you ask. Well, it’s the first Friday in March, and if you ask your staff, they will remind you that it is Employee Appreciation Day! But don’t let on that you forgot. Just tell them that you were “testing them,” assure them that you have a very special surprise lined up, and then lock yourself in your office and Google “Employee Appreciation Day ideas.” You’re welcome.

Employee Appreciation Day was born in 1995 and is always the first Friday of March. According to Recognition Professionals International, one of the organization’s founding board members, in association with Workman Publishing, created the day to put the focus toward employees in all industries.

We all know that recognition is the most powerful motivator. Everyone loves cash, but it isn’t memorable as a reward and holds no trophy value – and let’s face it, it usually goes toward a bill. A kind word or unique experience creates a lasting memory and comes with a great story. “I was awarded this [insert award] from my boss for [insert good deed]” is much more interesting than “Oh yeah, I saved up and bought this [insert material possession/vacation/extravagant dinner].”

So why not recognize the hard work of your dedicated employees, without whom you may as well kiss your business goodbye. Here are some ideas we’ve already Googled for you:

·         Treat your employees to a meal

·         Take your team out for happy hour (it is Friday, after all)

·         Send them home early with pay

·         Hire a massage therapist, manicurist or yoga instructor to come into the office

·         Leave flowers, candy or a personal note on your employees’ desks

·         Gift cards, movie tickets and other entertainment rewards are always nice

Remember that you don’t need to wait until the first Friday in March to recognize your employees. Praise, surprises and small tokens of your appreciation can and should happen throughout the year. But since today is a nationally recognized day, it should not be overlooked.

Once you have your treat lined up, make sure you note “Employee Appreciation Day” on your calendar for next March and avoid the awkwardness for years to come!

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Non-Cash is the Wave of the Future! (But You Don’t Have to Take Our Word for it.)

Is it time to add more non-cash to your rewards portfolio? This is the question posed in the January/February 2012 issue of Premium Incentive Products (PIP). And the answer, in a nutshell, is “Yes.” But this is not news. What is news is that, while the topic of non-cash incentives has been hot throughout the incentives industry, big-name thought leaders such as McKinsey, Deloitte, The Harvard Business Review and PricewaterhouseCoopers are now weighing in on how non-cash incentives play into the total rewards mix.

According to the PIP article, the benefits of offering non-cash incentives to your employees are multi-fold – for the employee as well as the company. With regard to the company, non-cash offers more affordable ways for employers to reward or acknowledge employees without breaking the bank, or “do more with less,” essentially.

Regarding the employee, a non-cash incentive holds trophy value that plain-old cash does not. Furthermore, the article points to a report published by McKinsey, which states that “non-cash motivators – including praise from immediate managers – can be more effective than the three highest-rated financial incentives: cash bonuses, increased base pay and stock options.”

This is interesting as it shows that, while necessary, money is not the only motivator when it comes to work. Cash alone is basically enough to ensure that the work gets done, but praise, engagement and other non-cash incentives satisfy the employee’s need to connect, learn and feel part of something that a bi-weekly paycheck does not afford.

Cash is always going to be at the forefront of the compensation discussion. It’s the first thing that’s discussed during the hiring process and represents the initial pact between employer and employee. It’s what the employee expects every payday and what ensures his or her bills get paid. This is what motivates us to get hired somewhere in the first place. But what motivates employees beyond that? What does the employee really want to get from the job? According to Deloitte, they want “rewarding work, meaningful relationships, freedom, flexibility and acknowledgement.”

These are things that money just cannot buy.

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Why Millennials & Baby Boomers Differ in Recognition & Rewards

We've discussed how Millennials will change the recognition scene, now let's take a look at why.

According to research from Inspiring Talent, a global survey of employee attitudes based on responses from more than 4,000 employees in 14 countries, Millennial workers are much less likely than Baby Boomers to believe that working harder and taking more responsibility will get them recognized and rewarded by an organization. Human Resource Executive Online recently posted an article online that nicely highlighted the findings of this research.

The research found that 38% of older workers (ages 56 to 60) believe they will be recognized and rewarded if they work harder or take extra responsibility. Only 19% of Millennial workers (ages 18 to 25) feel the same way.

This statisitic alone shows us there is a huge generational gap in the mindset of today's workforce when it comes to recognition and rewards. Realizing this is the first step toward effective incentive programs in the workforce. The research shows that Millenials believe they will be rewarded for results, not for how much time they spent on a task or what they did to produce those results.

Steve Langerud, a workplace consultant and director of professional oppotunities at DePauw University states that Millennials are motivated by the process of work, more than just completing the assignment.

Baby Boomers tend to have loyalty to a particular company or organization and feel as though their employers should reciprocate their loyalty by rewarding their achievements and providing job stability. Millennials expect more immediate rewards and are more inclined to move when they don't get what they want.

To accomodate the generation gap, employers should be flexible when creating their recognition programs and realize that one-size-fits-all will not be as effective as a tailored approach.

What do you think? Can you spot the differences between Millennials and Baby Boomers in your workplace? Do you agree with these findings?

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How "Daily Deals for Businesses" Can Boost Engagement

As consumers, we're well aware of the massive eruption of daily deal sites on the Internet. Companies like Groupon, Living Social and Scoutmob offer discounts on everything from food, merchandise, services and activities. Now, daily deal sites are emerging that cater to a new crowd. Instead of offering deals to consumers, these new sites search for deals that cater to business markets.

Market Share was recently featured in a Fast Company article. As a new type of daily deal site, they offer things like team-building activities, flower delivery and even in-office massages. While it's only available in New York right now, they have plans to open in more cities by the end of the year.

This new type of spontaneous reward offering allows employers a convenient, hassle-free way to reward, engage and motivate employees. Without having to research, employers are able to purchase great experiences, products and merchandise for their employees.

While these type of rewards shouldn't replace an incentive program, they can be beneficial as a spontaneous addition. What do you all think? Are they a good idea? Will they rise in popularity?

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Diversify Your Incentive Plan

Any good financial advisor will tell you that diversifying your portfolio is the best way to maximize your return. The same can be said with employee incentives. Hiring managers and HR professionals need more than one way to recognize and reward employees for a job well done. In addition to base salary and insurance benefits, employees seek incentives and perks when choosing where their loyalties lie. recently published an article on their blog outlining the eight best employee incentive programs. They, like us, believe that a diversified approach is best to maintain and recruit top talent. Their list is featured below. (See article for detailed descriptions).

  1. Flexible hours and/or telecommuting
  2. Health and wellness programs
  3. Points programs
  4. Separate group and individual incentives
  5. PTO, paid holidays and relaxation
  6. Production-based bonuses
  7. Social and networking events
  8. Tuition reimbursement and learning opportunity

Employees are not all motivated by the same factors. Thus, by utilizing a diversified set of incentives, more employees are motivated. Do you agree? What would you add to this list? Would you remove any items?

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