Archive for the 'Employee Engagement Programs' Category

unengaged ppl

Many many employees will head out over the next few months for some well-deserved R&R with their families.

Did you know that one of the periods of lowest engagement at work is after a return from time off?  So if you subscribe to the belief that low engagement equals low performance, you’ll understand the importance of keeping your employees excited and sustaining the belief that they are valued and appreciated.

And remember, losing an employee that you’ve spent time to hire, train, and onboard is significant.  The cost of replacing an employee who leaves is at least 30% of that employee’s annual salary.  To put that in perspective, with a $150M annual payroll, just a 20% turnover would cost that company $9M a year!

Employees leave most often due to a LACK OF APPRECIATION AND PRAISE – not money!  A lack of something as simple as an unexpected “you did a great job” –  or “we couldn’t have done it without you.”

So jump on the summer bandwagon and foster a CULTURE OF RECOGNITION.  We make it easy to say thanks – Award of Choice offers each recipient his/her choice of over 500 gift card brands with no fees, no expiration, no minimums, and no contracts.




According to Incentive magazines “Safety and Wellness IQ,” almost 50% of companies today have some sort of employee wellness program in place.  The biggest difference today is that most CEOs while eager to invest in wellness efforts, are demanding a better return on these investments.  Healthcare costs and healthcare insurance are high, too high, and companies are looking for everything they can do to reduce them.  With an aging workforce these numbers may only get higher.

A study conducted by the Global Wellness Institute, “2016 Future of Wellness at Work”, states the economic enormity of worker health is approaching 10-15% of global economic output.  Some economist’s estimate this can amount to over $2 trillion each year.  According to the research company Gallup, the cost to U.S. employers is $153 billion a year just counting workdays missed.  Whether these global estimations are pertinent to your company or not, unhealthy workers have been a persistently growing problem.

Wellness efforts of the past amounted to websites with articles about exercise and nutrition with links to other resources; and wellness coaches and or company nurses who did health risk assessments (HRA).  This communication effort often left it up to the worker to motivate them to “get healthy”.  Today, doing an HRA is just the starting point, the admission ticket to the program.  From a push using incentives to get employees involved by taking the HRA, today the effort is on participating, doing something to improve your health.  Programs goals have changed from getting employees to join to improving health and fitness and thus reducing costs.

Participative Goals
Another change in programs is not just focusing on people who are unhealthy, but getting to the rest of the employee base to ensure they don’t fall into chronic health conditions in the future.  Today it’s about what your programs stress, what you want your employees to do.  Incentives “2016 Safety & Wellness IQ” survey showed the top activities a program encourages are:


Activity Included in Programs
Physical fitness (walking, running, cycling, swimming, ets. 68.5%
Regular Medical Checkups 64.4%
HRA Survey 56.3%
Smoking cessation 54.8%
Monitoring Health Issues (hypertension, diabetes, etc.) 49.3%
Gym, Fitness Classes 41.1%
Obesity Reduction 39.7%

As all of these goals have specific and easy to obtain measurement are participative and outcomes based, awards can be easily used to achieve thems.  By using a wellness portal with video to  provide advice and material on all of these objectives, you  can appeal to your entire workforce, especially millennials.  Challeng goals and team objectives can also add to the interest because you can have groups supporting each other.

What Awards to Use

Incentives “Safety & Wellness IQ” survey, the top rewards in wellness programs are:


Award Type Included in Program
Retail & Bank Gift Cards 58.9%
Merchandise 41.2%
Cash 27.9%
Insurance Premium Reduction 25.5%
Individual Travel 10.3%
Experiential Awards (Spa treatments, etc.) 7.4%
Group Travel 4.4%

It’s no surprise that gift cards are the number one award group as the vast majority of individual budgets for these types of achievable objectives are less $50 to $100 ea.  And gift cards are by far the best value in that denomination of award especially considering the high margins on merchandise that tends to deflate the value and group or individual travel awards that are quite expensive.

Communications and Technology Are Key

 Communicating the range and complexity of health services can present a challenge. Individual motivation or apathy, sensitive health issues, and the cultural, geographic and demographic differences in your organization can all pose problems that need to be addressed when deciding on the communication strategy. Intranet portals, email campaigns, mobile devices, well thought out promotional items and the use of a host of Technology apps that speak to fitness can all help to make your program a success.

Activity trackers and wearable devises such as FitBit and smart watches are simple ways for employees to measure performance against goals.  The American Council on Exercise reports that “people are 30 to 40 percent more likely to be active just by wearing a fitness tracker.” By using gift cards redeemable for Amazon and other online suppliers you can help offset the cost of activity trackers that can be expensive. Two top apps that unlock this ability for iPhones and Android devices are Argus and Pacer, both free, as are a host of others..

Safety programs for years have used triggers to motivate intended behaviors to avoid accidents.  Wearables are a great trigger.  The device on your wrist, the blinking light and vibration are physical reminders to change your behavior. 

The Future

When you add financial planning, life style education, stress management and life-stage management to the equation, you move into the future from the wellness of the past to the entire well-being of the employee in the future.  With a wellness program designed to change every day habits and reinforce improvement, these holistic well-being programs can help improve business outcomes like productivity and employee engagement, essentially the health of the business.

Companies that have seen measurable success know that these wellness programs take time to show results.  They are long term objectives with very positive long term consequences.

There is abundant evidence to support the return on investment evident in the wellness programs of today.  A quick search of the net will provide many.  How is your wellness effort going?

If you are considering a Wellness program or looking for an award system that will enhance and strengthen the one you already have, you may want to consider taking a look at the Award of Choice,  It allows your employees to choose virtually any gift card they want.

def incentives

The assumption by many is that these two types of activities will change behavior and produce results equally.  The reality is that they are not interchangeable with regard to producing results.  Don’t expect a high degree of behavior change for the majority of your participants when they know that only a handful of them will be recognized or rewarded.

One of the most common misconceptions in the employee award industry is that an incentive or performance improvement program is the same as a recognition program.  And a company that provides one can provide the other.  But that’s just not the case.

This if often overlooked by recognition planners as they try to design their award programs.  The easiest way to differentiate the two is with the budget.  For long term programs do you have enough budget set aside to issue awards to upwards of 60% of your employee base with @ 5% of their income?  If it’s not even close to this number you should be planning a recognition program that requires far less per person cost.


09 16th, 2014

thank you

A “Thank You Habit” lets everyone in the organization know you want to acknowledge good work. Executives want to be informed when good work happens, so they can personally say thank you.  This in itself builds good will, and a helps build a culture of trust.

Set aside time every week to acknowledge people’s good work.

  • Handwrite thank-you notes whenever you can. The personal touch matters in the digital age.
  • Punish in private; praise in public. Make the public praise timely and specific.
  • Remember to cc people’s supervisors. “Don’t tell me. Tell my boss.”
  • Foster a culture of gratitude. It’s a game changer for sustainably better performance.

Create a process for recognition

All you need to do is create a simple process for any individual in any location to feed a suggestion for recognition of a peer up the management chain

Make it personal

Commit that when a thank you request comes in, an executive will personally say thank you to the individual, whether that is by a drop-in, a phone call, or a handwritten note, not and email. 

It costs nothing 

Many organizations over-engineer their recognition programs.  Make a genuine connection with someone who has done something you appreciate and let them know.

If you’re interested in learning about a high value, low cost gift card recognition system that is easy to implement please contact us above.

08 19th, 2014


The human brain remembers negative things more than positive things simply because it was hard-wired that way.  It was hard wired for survival.  In the “survival of the fittest” context, negative experience s can harm you.  Positive experiences are nice, but they are not of life and death importance.

We’ve all experienced this phenomenon in personal ways, as spouses, parents, managers even within friendships.  Trust is one of the most important ingredients (arguably the most important) in any relationship.  AS David Lee, an internationally recognized authority on organizational and managerial practices mentions in his seminars…

The ability to remember that a particular patterned snake is poisonous is a life or death issue. Remembering that a particularly patterned bird has an enjoyable song is a quality of life issue. While quality of life is important, it is not as important at a primal level as your survival. Thus, our brains notice and remember what’s wrong, bad, and dangerous more effectively than what’s right, positive, and pleasurable.”

His list of the ten employee perceptions you can’t afford to have in your organization are:

  1. “You want us to care about you, but you don’t care about us.”
  2. “You want us to show interest in your business goals, but you keep us in the dark.”
  3. “You make it hard to do the kind of job I can feel proud of.”
  4.  “You have no clue about what it’s like for us in the trenches.”
  5. “You make decisions that affect us, but you don’t have the decency or commonsense to ask for our input.”
  6. “You allow slacking off, poor performance, and bad behavior slide.”
  7. “You take me for granted.”
  8. “You don’t let me know how I’m doing, and you don’t let me know what I’m doing well.”
  9. “You take advantage of your power.”
  10. “You want me to be more motivated, yet you’re not inspired — or inspiring.”

Employee recognition is certainly not a cure-all for the above but can be used to offset and impact many of these perceptions.

If you’re interested in learning about a high value, low cost gift card recognition system that is easy to implement please contact us above.