A Message from Michael Arkes, CEO of Hinda

It’s no secret that some manufacturers in Asia and other parts of the world have come under scrutiny due to workplace conditions and the questionable treatment of their employees. Most of us who hear these types of stories assume that the exploitation of workers is an unacceptable business practice that is only occurring in under-developed or developing economies. Unfortunately, many will be surprised to learn that the same kinds of conditions and treatment can be found right here in the United States.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I came across the Mother Jones article “I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave” – an expose by reporter Mac McClelland, who worked at fulfillment warehouses last holiday season in order to report on the conditions there. It is a 14-page article, but like any gripping story, you will not want to put it down.

But why is this on a blog focused on the incentive industry? How does this apply to us? While we at Hinda ship about 92 percent of our orders from our own warehouse, this is not the norm. Most of our competitors ship few of their orders from their own facilities, and some don’t ship any at all.

This means that the fine, upstanding corporation with the impeccable reputation might actually be having its award orders fulfilled by a “warehouse wage slave.” I’m suggesting that sometime in the future, corporations will not want their award orders fulfilled by fulfillment companies that blatantly exploit their workers. They will not want to be associated with these companies.

Fortunately, there are award fulfillment companies like Hinda that appreciate how important every team member is to delivering quality service to both our customers and their program participant. This past December, instead of abusing our employees in an effort to get them to perform, we provided them with an incentive for coming in to work every day during this short, busy season. We have created a culture where everyone wins – the program participant, the customer, our employee and our company.

We are a socially responsible award provider for your socially responsible corporate customers. Again, here is the link to the article “I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave.” Let us know your reaction.

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Motivate This: How Will Gen Y Change the Recognition Scene?

Generation Y. Millenials. Young whipper-snappers. Call them what you will but this generation is creeping into the workforce while trying to change the way we work. If our workplaces start evolving, shouldn't recognition programs follow suit? This article found here  talks about how recognition programs should be kept current. Let's take a brief look at how the workforce's next generation will change how we work and what it may take to motivate them.

The latest Kiplinger report talks almost exclusively about Generation Y and what to expect down the road. As a whole, this generation will have a greater percentage of college educated workers, more culturally aware due to study abroad opportunities, and most importantly - more technological savvy. They've grown up using computers, internet and adapt much quicker to shifts in technological advances. They expect to be able to leverage technology in their work in ways to make their work better and more efficient. However, this reliance on technology for communication has potential to result in a lack of conventional, face-to-face communication skills. 

What attitudes do they bring to the table. First off, according to Kiplinger, Gen Yers expect work to be meaningful and fun. They will not stick with a job for the sole purpose of earning a paycheck and over 67% of those workers expect to change employers at some point in their lives. In addition, time is a more valuable commodity to Millenials than base salary. Some younger workers are willing to take a job offering less pay if it gives more flexible scheduling options such as telecommuting or compressed work weeks. 

Knowing what we know about the attitudes and needs of the up and coming generation of employees, how will recognition programs shift?  Since enterprises that are involved in socially responsible activities are more attractive to Gen Yers, maybe companies will provide incentives for workers who give back to the community in addition to rewarding hard work. Another option may include rewarding based on teambuilding efforts, since most Millenials have grown up learning to work cooperatively in groups. 

Those are just a couple of ideas. Now the ball is in your court.

What changes do you all see for incentive programs to keep this younger generation engaged at work?

How will Generation Y shift the incentive industry as a whole (if at all)?

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