Reward & Recognition Program Quiz: 6 Questions for HR to Answer

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Reward & Recognition Program Quiz: 6 Questions for HR to Answer

1. What is the end goal of your reward and recognition program?

  1. Improve employee engagement
  2. Reduce voluntary turnover
  3. Reward top performers
  4. All of the above

This is a tough one to start with, but we start here because hopefully this question is also where your organization started when setting up the program. In the broadest sense all of these options (yes, the answer should be D) point towards one fundamental goal—motivating employees to do their best work at your organization.
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Hot Holiday Gifts for Employees & Employee Reward Gifts

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holiday gifts for employees employee reward gifts Hot Holiday Gifts & Employee Rewards in 2014

The 2014 ERC Holiday Practices Survey found that 57% of Northeast Ohio employers plan to distribute gifts to their employees in the 2014 holiday season.

For the past several years, this figure has remained largely stagnant, as has the top gift of the season: gift cards. Employers choose gift cards for many of the same reasons as individuals might, including that employers can easily purchase and distribute large quantities of these gifts no matter how large or small their organization.

In some cases employers also noted that they were able to purchase these gift cards using reward points from corporate credit cards, making them a virtually cost-free gift giving option.

Other consistently reported gifts, from most popular to least in 2014, include:

  • Cash
  • Company logo items ranging from clothing to mugs
  • A variety of foodstuffs, such as turkeys and hams (sometimes one at Thanksgiving and the other at Christmas)
  • Raffle items as gifts
  • Gift baskets, again largely made up of various foodstuffs
  • Clothing, including outerwear
  • Electronics
  • Candy

Several unique observations can be made about this 2014’s list. First, one item that was noticeably absent from this year’s list of gifts was alcohol. Although, it has been on the decline in recent years, 2014 is the first year in which no organizations reported gifting alcohol to employees. Candy has also fallen to very low levels, this year reported as the gift of choice at only 2% of organizations.

As a cost saving measure, larger items, such as electronics or more extravagant gift cards or cash are sometimes raffled off at holiday parties. However, organization choosing to raffle off larger items typically still provided smaller gift cards, etc to all employees in order to maintain some equity among the staff.

Despite the decline in popularity of some of these smaller token items, another option that employers often consider as the holidays approach is actually on the rise, i.e., the traditional holiday bonus. A nearly identical proportion of the overall participants in 2014 are giving holiday bonuses as did 2013, i.e. 30%.

However, every year since 2010, the average size of this cash holiday bonus has increased, up by over $150 since 2013 to $980 in 2014. The qualifications for receiving this bonus are primarily focused on the performance of the individual and/or the performance of the company (in terms of profitability) over the year. However, still other organization indicate that all employees receive a holiday bonus regardless of these performance measures.

View ERC's Holiday Practices and Paid Holiday Survey Results

These surveys report on which holidays Northeast Ohio organizations plan to observe as well as holiday parties, gift giving, and more ideas for the holiday season.

View the Results

9 Ways to Recognize Your Employees this Holiday Season

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9 Ways to Recognize Your Employees this Holiday Season

Employee recognition is constantly evolving in the workplace. Today, it goes way beyond the traditional financial reward for doing a great job. Though employees appreciate a financial reward, it’s a short term solution. Employees need more then constructive criticism and positive affirmation. They not only want to see they are doing a great job, but feel that they are doing a great job.

With the holidays right around the corner, here are 9 approaches to making sure your employees not only see they are succeeding at the workplace, but feel that they are succeeding at work-especially this holiday season.
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The Most Critical Trends Shaping HR

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The Most Critical Trends Shaping HR

There are so many important trends shaping HR right now that will affect employers in years to come. Here's a brief synopsis of the most critical ones that you should know heading into 2014.

1. Social Media & Mobile

Social networking platforms are changing, and will continue to change, how HR departments operate. People's lives are becoming more social networked, and nowadays, social media is no longer simply a marketing or personal tool. It is gradually becoming engrained into many aspects of the workplace.

Although social networking is primarily used for recruiting, employers are beginning to use social networking platforms for learning and development, employee communications, collaboration and innovation, and recognition.

Similarly, mobile continues to become more central to our lives, which poses both challenges and opportunities for our workplaces. Mobile can be leveraged for learning, recruiting, and other HR needs, and provides employees with greater flexibility to do their work, but it also will continue to present difficulties (e.g. productivity).

2. Big Data

Big data, or HR analytics, is increasingly guiding decisions pertaining to talent and the workplace. As technology increasingly is implemented in HR departments, people decisions are becoming more strategic and complex.

More companies will move beyond operational reporting and benchmarking, and leverage data about employees to make their HR departments more data-driven and strategic.

This includes using data to predict outcomes (e.g. hiring, performance, etc.) and conducting strategic analytics to statistically analyze problems and translate data findings into solutions.

Because research is finding that leading organizations are using big data for HR and that it is effective in delivering sound problem solving, this trend will require HR departments to hire and develop staff with big-data related skills in business acumen, consulting, data management, statistics, communication, and executive presence.

3. Generational Issues

Four generations are in many organizations right now, and they all have very different ways of working, forcing companies to put into place practices that help manage generational issues and conflicts.

The younger generation, in particular, is creating challenges for HR departments with their distinct values, forcing organizations to re-tool their talent management practices. For example, the younger generation...

  • Desires flexible work hours and work-life balance
  • Has intolerance for boredom and 'dead-end' jobs
  • Values mentoring, personal learning, and development
  • Expects rapid career progression

Because this generation brings critical skills to the table and are the future leaders of organizations, HR will need to find better ways to manage this group in order to retain them.

4. Rise of Contingent Workforce

Studies are predicting that the workforce will become more contingent in the next five years, and that by 2019, nearly half the workforce will contract their skills to multiple organizations.

There are already signs that this is happening with a rise in temporary workers, contractors, independent consultants, and freelancers. According to a report by Accenture, the most common freelance jobs include sales and marketing, IT and programming, design and multimedia, engineering and manufacturing, and writing.

The dynamics of business are changing so rapidly these days that many employers find they need an agile, "just-in-time" workforce that is more cost-effective. Contingency is attractive because work is becoming more knowledge and project-based, and increasingly reliant on specialized skills and expertise. In addition, economic fluctuations like we've seen the past few years will require more flexible staffing models.

Though contingent workers bring benefits, they will also pose challenges for HR departments in terms of how they are managed, compensated, and treated.

5. Change & Innovation

Because organizations are changing so rapidly, HR will have to take on more significant roles related to managing and communicating change initiatives and disruption within the workplace effectively. HR will need to take on a more consultative and change-management oriented role in their organizations.

Similarly, the need for innovation, risk-taking, and creative solutions is becoming more necessary. HR will be increasingly relied upon to drive this behavior through the development of culture and programs (rewards, empowerment, suggestions and ideas, employee feedback, etc.).

6. Leadership

Traditional theories of leadership are not as relevant to today's challenges, and certainly won't be in the future.

Leaders will need to demonstrate different behaviors and skills than were required in the past. Skills such as empathy, authenticity, influencing, strategic thinking, articulating, flexibility, risk taking, demonstrating integrity, leading diverse teams, collaborating, and bringing out the best in others are all being seen as more important for leaders.

While these aren't necessarily new leadership skills, more emphasis will be placed on them in the future.

7. Total Rewards

More and more, employers are faced with the issue of "there's only so much money in the bucket" and must make harder decisions about the total rewards that they offer.

For one thing, the benefits landscape is changing with the steady rise in health care costs, the uncertainty associated with how the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the changing nature of wellness in the workplace.

Likewise, modest pay increases and a performance-oriented approach to compensating employees has also been evident. Then, there are other rewards that factor into the equation like perks, recognition and rewards/staff appreciation, voluntary benefits, training and development, and more.

Employers will have to continue to make hard decisions about what total rewards will be provided to the workforce. Business strategy, performance, and the needs and interests of the workforce will all play a role in these difficult decisions.

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50 Employee Recognition Ideas

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50 Employee Recognition Ideas

Recognizing employees regularly not only increases employee engagement, motivation, and job satisfaction, but also makes your workers feel valued and appreciated in the workplace and is a great and easy way to make a positive difference and impact.

Below are 50 employee recognition ideas.
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A Toolkit for Retaining Great Employees

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Are you giving your best employees good reasons to stay at your organization? Retaining employees comes down to giving great employees a good reason to stay at your workplace over and over again, especially when they have another opportunity on the table.

Over the years, ERC has conducted a large amount of research on what makes great talent stay at their organizations and has found that retention typically boils down to four (4) key factors: relationship with the manager, challenging work/learning opportunities, a great work environment, and compensation/rewards. Based on these factors, we've developed a toolkit of checklists to help you retain great employees.
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6 Simple Ways to Boost Employee Morale

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Low employee morale can edge its way into the office from time and time, but when your workplace loses its vibrancy, lacks energy, and seems to have a noticeably different “feel” over an extended period of time, these are symptoms of an employee morale problem.

When employee morale is low, most employees don’t enjoy coming to work as much as they used to. Job dissatisfaction is more common and employees feel less connected to one another. Employees often miss the old work atmosphere and "the way things used to be." They may be absent more frequently and may not feel as invested in their work. There tends to be more workplace conflict and competition (spoken or unspoken) and less collaboration and teamwork. Eventually, the problem spirals and productivity, performance, and retention also suffer.
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10 Ways to Give Thanks to Your Employees

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This week, we commence the season of giving thanks not only with our families and friends, but also of showing gratitude to our vendors, customers, and employees.

Many of us forget to say "thank you" to all of the people that make our organizations successful, but it's important to step back and acknowledge their contributions, accomplishments, and hard work. This season, in particular, is an ideal time to show thanks to all of your employees and let them know how much you appreciate them and how valuable they are to you.

There are countless opportunities to show your thanks to others in the workplace. Here are some ideas for recognizing people during this upcoming holiday season:
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3 Tips for Recognizing Employees

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Consistently, employees say that recognition and appreciation in the workplace matters - that when they feel valued, appreciated, recognized, and rewarded for their contributions, hard work, and results, they are more likely to stay and less likely to leave their organization.

Yet when we conduct employee engagement surveys, we find that rewards and recognition programs are usually some of the weakest initiatives in the workplace. In fact, most employers that we work with struggle with rewards and recognition. They have difficulties defining what to recognize or reward, who to recognize or reward, how to do it fairly, what rewards to offer, how to track results, and how to motivate their leaders and supervisors to recognize their people.

Based on what we know about rewards and recognition programs that work, are effective, and increase employee engagement, here are 3 steps to improve rewards and recognition programs at your organization.
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