09 10th, 2015

non cash

According to a recent edition of Incentive Magazine,

Incentive Research Foundation’s (IRF) Participant Study is groundbreaking research that will prove crucial to effectively demonstrating the value of non-cash incentive awards.”

It found that four-fifths of the program participants surveyed preferred non-cash awards as part of a total awards experience.

Past research conducted by the IRF found that vast majority of all incentive users showed that gift cards were the one award used in more incentive programs than any other award.  Considering all the potential problems incentive users can face when using cash, gift cards have become the perfect alternative.

One of the reasons that gift cards are more effective than cash is that gift cards actually provide for guilt-free buying.  With cash, studies show that the majority of participants actually pay bills with it and the value of the cash award is diminished, is not memorable and lacks any type of or trophy value.

When your average award in your recognition or incentive efforts is under $100, it just makes sense to use gift cards.  They provide ultimate choice and dollar for dollar value in awards.

Gift card systems are prevalent in today’s award industry.  For a quick review of the features and benefits of one of them, the Award of Choice, please click here.


unhappy emp 5

Has your recognition program gone a little stale?  Does it need a kick start?  Is it achieving the results you want?

Like everything else in the HR world, recognition programs need to be looked at and updated from time to time. If you think it’s about time that you take a look at yours, here are some tips that might make that job a little easier.

  • Recheck to see that you still have senior leadership commitment to the program’s success.
  • Find out how many recognition programs are in place in your organization, and toward what goal are the directed.  You might be surprised that some may even be at odds with the others.
  • Ask yourself what you want the program to accomplish, what results you want
  • See if you have put the measurement systems in place to measure those results
  • Have you set forth a clear written strategy for your program?
  • Determine which programs produce tangible results and compare the ROI of these programs
  • If your program is outdated or unproductive, get rid of it and replace it with one more suited your present situation.
  • Make sure that the program is aligned with business goals, especially in a fast moving company where business goals can change rapidly.
  • If you are using training within the program for managers, determine if it is effective, and if not makes steps to change it.
  • If you haven’t already done so, set up a recognition team to help manage the program and if you already have one consider changing the players to get fresh ideas.
  • Make sure you have the processes in place to hold management accountable for results.
  • If you don’t already have one, implement a peer to peer effort to add a new dimension.

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.


As long as we have corporate executives that think they need to thank someone every month for being the “best”, you will always have the ubiquitous “Employee of the Month” program.  Unfortunately they are wrong, they don’t work, they die on the vine of complacency and far often do more harm than good.

But they’re still here, and whenever we get into a conversation about employee recognition it is almost always the first type of program mentioned. Hey, “everyone’s got one,” they must be good right?  Wrong!

Employee of the month awards are more often than not popularity contests or “pass around” events where most (if not all) employees will win if they wait around long enough.

Here are three good reasons not to implement one of these programs:

  1. Criteria is rarely communicated or understood by the employees.  They don’t know why they received the award.
  2. Most companies fail to use measurable criteria, this happens consistently in these programs
  3. The award is subjective and never allows for all who deserve it to receive it.

The culprit that drives these unsuccessful programs is normally lack of budget and limited expertise in the planning phase.   They are never funded properly; management gives them lip service, a plaque and a pat on the back and thinks they are doing justice by their employees.

You should be looking every day for ways to recognize your employees!  You shouldn’t be meeting once a month to try to find just the right employee that month.  And of course you can’t recognize Jane or John again because they  have already been picked this year.

As Aubrey Daniels, the noted behavioral psychologist and one of the most sought after speakers and writers in the business management arena put it this way in his book “Bringing Out the Best in People”:

“Unfortunately EOM programs violate practically every known principle of effective recognition and positive reinforcement.”

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.

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.


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.

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