Hinda’s Own Stacey Wilson Talks to Premium Incentive Products about Employee Engagement

The latest issue of Premium Incentive Products magazine features an Employee Engagement Roundtable moderated by associate editor Deborah L. Vence which focuses on game components, social media and mobile as leading industry trends. Vence starts off by raising the point that having engaged employees leads to better service, customer satisfaction and overall profits. Hinda vice president, client services Stacey Wilson offered her input on employee engagement from the Hinda perspective.

Wilson begins by offering her observations of some of the trends taking place in employee engagement programs, namely that they are re-emerging after having dropped off somewhat during the Great Recession. “I think employers are feeling vulnerable to losing their good employees, and they need to get back to developing incentive programs that generate engagement,” she says. “Hinda is seeing a comeback of those mid-sized programs that were cut a few years back.”

She adds that she sees the trend leaning toward social media, gamification and mobile, and that it’s through these avenues that engagement will see a boost, but she mentions that “we are still trying to identify how well these initiatives will ‘stick’ in the industry.”

Wilson notes that the key is understanding that you need your employees to help build your business. Incentivizing both veteran and newcomer employees as the job market improves is imperative in order to make your business grow and prosper as opposed to flatlining.

She also points to social media as having an increasing role in the company, especially when it comes to employees who work from home and those with flex schedules. “Social media has been a key initiative in maintaining engagement among employees as well as engaging off-site workers,” she says. “The key in any engagement program is to ensure that off-site workers are receiving the same benefits as on-site. Off-site workers need to be self-motivated but need to feel as part of the team, as well.”

As a final thought, when asked about the outlook of employee engagement over the next few years, Wilson says, “I think it is important that the focus remain on the employee. The quality of your team is what is truly important.” Now that’s a concept we can all get behind!

Read the full article here.

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They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted: Hinda’s Official Social Media Week Wrap-Up - Part II

Miss Part I? Read it here.

A particularly interesting and lively session I attended was a keynote by Jay Baer, social media speaker, coach and co-author of “The NOW Revolution: How to Make your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social” (also the title of this session). His blog, Convince&Convert, is ranked number three in the social media world and he’s consulted for 29 of the Fortune 500.

Baer pointed to social media as being the single most transformative of any technological development in the business world, as it has fundamentally changed the relationship between the business and the customer. Businesses are constantly changing to adapt to social media and the power is no longer in the business itself or in its branding – it’s in its network of connections.

Baer talked about social media as your early warning detection system when it comes to buzz about your company, and if you’re not paying attention to what your customers and potentials are saying about your brand, you won’t succeed as a business. Adopting the words “Thank you” and I’m sorry” will go miles when it comes to customer service in the social world, and companies looking to be more social would do well to incorporate these simple but powerful tools.

Finally, Baer brought up the point that social media is becoming a skill as opposed to a job – perhaps to the chagrin of the room full of social media professionals. He said that every person in the company needs to be doing social media and interacting with his or her clients, and it is not the responsibility of just one person or one department.

My favorite session was “Read Anything Good Lately? How WOM, Social Media and Recommendations Drive Media Consumption.” The panel consisted of Stacey Ballis, Carrie Goldman Segall and Nicole Knepper, three sassy, brassy women who all blog and have published books that became known largely due to social media. The panel talked a lot about how to use social media to your advantage as a new blogger or a self-published author.

Takeaways from this session include being a real person and maintaining authenticity on social media. The panel agreed that social media should be “95 percent social and 5 percent media.” Communicate with your followers, comment on others’ blogs and maintain a consistent sense of self.

Also, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Social media is important but it isn’t real life. Don’t become so involved with your fans online that you forget to walk the dog, and conversely, don’t ignore what’s going on in the social media world when it comes to your readers and fans – especially if you’re trying to sell something or promote your brand. And, as in life, you don’t need a million followers, you just need the right ones.

Another key is to write what’s in your heart and be true to yourself. Knepper, who’s blog and Facebook page are titled Moms Who Drink and Swear and who tweets @queenofcussin, probably put it best when she said, “Don’t compare yourselves to others. You will be miserable.” This is a great lesson when it comes to blogging and other forms of social media as well as out in the real world.

All three of the panelists were real, down-to-earth and hilarious. It was a fun session, and I wished it could have gone on much longer. But, all good things (including this post) must come to an end. I really enjoyed my Social Media Week experience, I learned a TON and I can’t wait for next year!

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They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted: Hinda’s Official Social Media Week Wrap-Up - Part I

They say the best way to learn about something is to immerse yourself in it, and that’s exactly what over 16,000 social media professionals did as they descended upon Chicago the week of September 24. This year’s Social Media Week consisted of about 95 sessions featuring 250 speakers at 40 different venues around the city.

Personally, I represented Hinda at 12, which felt like a pretty full schedule considering the amount of information that was packed into each session, while still managing to pop into the office for a few hours in between.

I won’t get into the gory details of each session here, but I do want to point out a few highlights from what was a terrifically informative, fun and free week of social media madness.

One factor about social media that makes a lot of sense but that many people (including yours truly) probably don’t think about are the legal implications of hosting contests, sweepstakes or other online promotions that involve rules, regulations and privacy concerns.

At “Pinning and Winning: Activating Social Contests,” we heard from Linda Goldstein, Partner and Chair of the Advertising, Marketing and Media Division of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, who talked about the legal risks involved in hosting online contests, specifically compliance with lottery laws, disclosure of rules and privacy policies and intellectual property liability for content use.

“The FTC says that limited real estate is no excuse for lack of disclosure,” Goldstein said, with regard to specifically Twitter-based promotions and the fact that a tweet is limited to 140 characters. “Rules are your best defense. You don’t need to police each and every entry, but makes sure your rules are prominent and easy to read.”

(Full disclosure: I’ve spent a few years working in the legal field, so perhaps this part of the wrap-up isn’t as interesting to some readers, but it’s important nonetheless!)

Stay tuned for Part II of our Social Media Week wrap-up this Friday!

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Your Monthly Check-Up: Work Wellness Programs, Incentives and Social Media

Wellness incentives and workplace health initiatives are all the rage right now, with more and more companies adopting wellness programs and offering incentives to employees who commit to embarking on a healthier lifestyle. Workforce.com writer Michelle V. Rafter covers this topic in her recent article, titled “Can Social Media Produce Wellness Results?” In the article, Rafter focuses on New Jersey’s Chilton’s Hospital, which, in March 2011, entered a countrywide fitness challenge after trying for years to get its employees to better monitor their health.

According to the article, employees formed teams of six in competition with other local businesses to see who could eat the healthiest, walk the most or lose the most weight. During the 100-day challenge, participants used a private, Facebook-like social network to share results, cheer each other on and get involved socially. As an incentive to participate, Chilton Hospital offered $150 to each member of the winning team and $500 to the employee who lost the most weight. But it wasn’t necessarily the money that was driving would-be participants to sign up. “People wanted to be on the winning team,” says Julie McGovern, Chilton’s VP of Administration and HR.

The argument can be made that it’s now easier and perhaps more fun to be a part of a work-related wellness challenge or health initiative that has a social networking aspect attached to it. People spend so much of their time on Facebook, Twitter and similar sites during the day anyway, why not appeal to this interest and turn their social networking time into something a bit more productive, not to mention good for helping keep employee health care costs down.

While it’s certainly not necessary to incorporate social media into your wellness program, it is a good way for participants to interact, share results and track their goals. And as more employees are bringing their smartphones to work, it becomes easier for participants to stay connected to games and social media either on their own or in conjunction with their company’s wellness program.

With regard to the Chilton Hospital 100-day challenge, the 336 participants use an online game platform to track losing a total of 1,230 pounds, eating an additional 8,918 servings of fruit and vegetables and putting in 1,274 extra days of exercise, according to McGovern. “It wasn’t just exercise and eating better,” she says, as quoted in Rafter’s article, “People made a commitment to stop smoking, take stress management classes and control ongoing disease.”

Some companies are already reaping the benefits of employing healthier workers in the form of lower healthcare costs and fewer medical claims. According to the article, Sprint Nextel Corp. estimates it saved $1.1 million through a companywide fitness challenge launched in 2011. Read the Workforce.com article here and get more ideas about how your employees can benefit from developing a wellness program.

PS: June is Great Outdoors Month! Why not get outside and enjoy the weather and the free exercise opportunities while they last? Plan a hike, fly a kite with your kids or bike your local riverfront or shoreline trail!

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Our Social Media Footprint

A lot of our readers and subscribers are loyal fans via our blog. However, our social media footprint expands beyond just our blog. You may have noticed the links on the right of the page...if you click through to the website. If you're a subscriber, these links may have been lost on you. Below are a few other ways to connect with Hinda online.


You can find us as @hinda_incentive on this microblogging site. We are fairly active on here and actually like to engage in conversation with others. It's a great conversational tool for us and we love to chat with anyone willing. This is also a venue where we post new videos, blog posts, and even a few fun photos from inside our own office.


More of a LinkedIn fan? We can relate. There's a growing audience on LinkedIn. Though there isn't much opportunity for engagement from a brand perspective, anyone can follow our activity online. Simply click here or on the LinkedIn icon on the left of the page to follow us on LinkedIn. On our page you can see our new hires, most recent tweets and blog posts, and even learn (and recommend) some of our services like Custom Packaging or the Warehouse Dash.


Want to get a more visual representation of who we are and what we do? Our YouTube page is a great start. The incentives industry has a habit of being hard to understand and our role in it isn't the easiest for many to wrap their heads around. These professionally produced videos tell viewers more about the Warehouse Dash, Custom Packaging, and other better information about Hinda in general. Click here to view our YouTube channel. If you're a registered user, subscribing to our channel would also be a pretty good start :)


We've not done a lot on Facebook until recently but now like to hang out here online as well. Recently, we've created a new Welcome splash page for new visitors. The Welcome page shows off how to contact us via QR code, info and links to more info about the Warehouse Dash and Custom Packaging, along with some fun photos. In addition, our Fan Page is where we show off photos from inside the walls of our company, host all of our YouTube videos, and even post content straight from this blog. We've also integrated our Fan Page with our Places page. That way, if you ever have the pleasure of checking-in at our office, you'll link right to our fan page.

QR Codes

Using a service called JumpScan, we've made contacting us through mobile devices even easier. Using a scanner application on your smartphone, you can simply scan the 2D barcode on the right of our home page (will need to click through to see it) and pull up ways to contact us via phone, email and social stream with the simple touch of a button. Doesn't get much easier than that.

Want us to connect with you? Shoot some contact information in the comments below, drop a note through the contact page or send us a message via one of the above social channels. We'd love to hear from you!

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A More "Social" 2010 Motivation Show

Our booth in actionWhat a whirlwind of a week last week was.

Participating yet again in the Motivation Show at McCormick Place, we brought not one but two booths to the show this year. In addition to our recognizable conference area seen at the show the last couple of years, we also brought to the table a merchandise booth, showing off some of the hottest new trends in merchandise programs this year.

We also had the good fortune of being able to be positioned near Helping Hand Rewards, a socially responsible initiative founded by our current CEO Michael Arkes. Michael has done a lot of great work getting HHR off the ground the last couple of years, so it was a thrill to see him recognized by the IMA with a Circle of Excellence 'Social Responsibility' Award. Running HHR as a completely separate entity from Hinda, he's done a lot using his business know-how to help positively impact those less fortunate. Paul Hebert, managing director of I2I, even featured HHR on his monthly Influence Insiders monthly podcast. 

Social at the Show

We blogged a couple of weeks ago here about seeing social media at the show. In comparison to lastGiving the legs a breather year, there was definitely a great increase in participation through social channels and the Twitter hashtag #moti. Us along with Helping Hand Rewards initiated a geolocation effort, setting up Foursquare check-ins for our respective booths. Others also used Foursquare to check into the Motivation Show itself, resulting in a fierce competition for mayorship between @drewhawkins and @incentintel.

This year we tried to emphasize more sharing than marketing. We shared pictures of the show on Twitter and Helping Hand Rewards even uploaded some viral video of the show through YouTube, marking each video with the #moti hashtag. Others even shared learnings from keynotes and sessions on Twitter for those of us who may not have been able to attend. Though there were probably only around 20 people actively sharing, it showed a giant leap in our industry's adaptation of social media.

All in all we had a great time at the show this year. Of those of you that attended, what did you think of the show?

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How "Social" Will The Motivation Show 2010 Be?

The Motivation Show will see a lot of huge displays on hand from some of the heavy players in the incentives business (including ourselves of course). BUT - what will the display of social media look like during that week?

So many conferences are almost as easily followed via a Twitter hashtag as they are by physically attending them. People who either can't make it to certain seminars because of being in another one or not being able to attend the event period are able to catch some of the highlights through social sharing. The social media is losing its buzz but not because of a lack of importance - because it is becoming mainstream enough to lose "buzzworthiness." It's transitioning from a "new shiny tool" to a true communication medium for businesses and the people who run them.

How will we see social being used at the show?

Using Twitter, a hashtag has evolved for the show using #moti. For those not completely familiar with Twitter, a hashtag is an easy way to filter out conversations around an event. One would be able to save a Twitter search for #moti and see only tweets with this hashtag. Hear something noteworthy in a presentation? Quote it and tag it with #moti at the end. See something worth talking about at a certain booth? Tell everyone about it - adding #moti at the end.

You get the picture right?

The Motivation Show itself is active on social media this year. In addition to their website, they have set up a group on LinkedIn filled with discussions and updates about the show and its attendees. The Motivation Show is also active on Twitter (see @MotivationShow), helping retweet and promote attendees out in the Twittersphere talking about the show and also adopting the #moti show hashtag.

Others have even started a discussion on the show, even suggesting having a tweetup for the active social media participants (initially sparked by @kmillersmith I believe). Aside from promoting booths and presentaions, other people plan on taking other initiatives outside of Twitter. Some will write up blog posts about their experiences. Viral video will most likely be a result of the show as well, as interviews and recaps will begin to appear on YouTube following the show. Paul Hebert of i2i spoke on his blog of streaming live video from the show and possibly even broadcasting his monthly podcast "Influence Insiders" from the show floor.

Into geolocation? Be prepared to see some interesting useage of applications like Foursquare, Gowalla and/or SCVNGR while walking the floor.

What will we we doing?

Us along with Helping Hand Rewards will be active in the above mentioned activities. We'll be jumping in on discussions about the show through Twitter hashtags. If you take a look in the right column of this page, you'll see a constant stream of #moti tweets (under Motivation Show Convo). If anything else, keep coming back to this page and see what attendees are saying in the stream. 

Along with some post-show blog reflections (found here and on HHR's blog as well) you may see some other tricks up our sleeve (potentially viral video, geolocation fun etc). Keep your eye on this blog and Twitter (@hinda_incentive) to see what's happening!

Those are just some of the emerging technologies to keep an eye out for whether you're browsing the show floor or watching from afar online.

Who else will be jumping in the social media pool with us? What other technologies do you see being used during show week?

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