Let’s Do This: Work Place Motivation

I enjoy slogans. Let’s do this, just like the taglines of the world’s most beloved brands, inspires movement and activity. Don’t believe me? Take a look:

AppleWhat will your verse be?     Kaiser PermanenteThrive

NikeJust Do It     Bank of AmericaLife’s Better When We’re Connected

StaplesMake More Happen     FordGo Further

I want to ask you a personal question: What is your workplace motivation? Is it the promise of a reward? Is it security? Is it the annual Holiday Party or Company Travel Program? If we do not like our jobs or do not feel like we are appreciated, it is easy to become disgruntled. We have all been at a point where we believe “we deserve more” or “we deserve better”. We complain, we cause dissention, we become complacent, we affect the attitudes of our peers and our job performance declines. One bad apple slowly causes the entire tree to rot.

Why does it seem like the incentives our employers offer to us for our work are never enough? Our health benefits, our 401k accounts, the potlucks, the parties, the travel programs, and a number of other motivators are provided to boost morale and to create loyalty, and we still complain, cause dissention, and provide less than satisfactory output. We sometimes focus all day on how a company can better motivate its employees, but I believe that motivation is a team effort where employee and employer give 100%, and unless an employee first takes ownership of his or her job and success, rewards and benefits are going to fall short. Look back up at the company taglines again. What will push you to change your workplace outlook?

I am no brown-noser, but I feel incredibly lucky that I enjoy my job at JNR. Why do I like my job? I get to travel vicariously through the programs I help to develop! That in and of itself is rewarding. How do I motivate myself to do my best job?

1)    I am grateful for my job. Not everyone is fortunate to have a job, and I try never to take this for granted.

2)    Utilizing tools from a time management course I took when I first started, I prioritize my day. This allows me to feel in control of the tasks that I complete, and I feel less anxious and overwhelmed.

3)    Have Fun. I enjoy working with all of my colleagues, and I enjoy investing in their lives.

It is important to know what motivates you. Have you honestly ever sat down and thought about why you work? I encourage you to do so because it will help you better understand how workplace motivation succeeds or fails.

Employer: how will you better motivate your staff? Will it be a reward card program, a keynote speaker, headline entertainment, an “iChoose” merchandise and travel concierge program, or a luxury travel program? When you’re ready to move forward with your program of choice, call us first! Just look at our website. With over 34 years of experience in travel and recognition incentives, we have the tools behind us to create an unforgettable experience that will truly WOW! your participants.

I will close with how Let’s Do This came to be:  Once upon a time, my husband was an avid gamer, and anyone who knows MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) recognizes the name Leeroy Jenkins. He even has his own YouTube video. Check it out. And no, this is not an advertisement for World of Warcraft. In the video, Leeroy Jenkins is preparing to invade enemy territory. While on comm with several other players, “Leeroy’s” voice is heard over the channel shouting, “Let’s do this…Leeroy Jenkins”. Then with gusto and passion, Leeroy enters enemy territory and begins to fight.

I am sad to have to say that Leeroy and his teammates fail miserably at their task, and his YouTube video became a world-wide spoof of what not to do. “Leeroy” had all the passion and gusto to go in solo, but he didn’t work together with his team to get the job done. However, I can guarantee you that Leeroy did not quit playing World of Warcraft from his one failure, nor did his teammates quit playing the game with him. They both worked together to get through the task and move on to the next. It took both parties to be successful.

The bottom line? You can change your workplace. Let’s Do This.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Katharine Heinz

Katharine Heinz has been with JNR for nine years, first as a Desktop Publisher and now as a Business Administrator, Travel Planning. When she is not researching the next hot destination or hotel, she can be found at home enjoying her family.

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Southeast Asian Spotlight: Chicken Satay Recipe

After rounding off our adventure through Spain with an in-depth look at the unique life and works of Pablo Picasso, we are now headed to Southeast Asia which has gained a reputation as one of the hottest travel destinations, and for good reason. This dynamic and stunning area has much to offer and JNR is excited to voyage to this region for a sales incentive program in the coming months. This group of eleven Countries boasts white sandy beaches, pristine warm water and beautiful cultures unique to each region.  Along with the scattering of World Heritage Sites throughout the land, you may also encounter some of the rare wildlife that inhabits the areas including orangutans, Asian elephants and komodo dragons.

Southeast Asia is made up of Mainland Southeast Asia (Indochina), which includes: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand and Vietnam, and Maritime Southeast Asia, comprised of Brunei, Malaysia, East Timor, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore.

A trip to Southeast Asia can involve hiking emerald green mountains, snorkeling through vibrant coral reefs, shopping for tailor-made garments at the silk markets and exploring ancient Buddhist temples.

The people from these regions have gained a reputation as some of the most hospitable in the world. They are always willing to share their rich cultural heritage, whether through an inspiring and elegant dance performance or inviting you into their homes for a feast of enjoyable local delicacies.

Amazing architecture is spread throughout these countries and marks the history of each location. Ancient villages sit atop mountains and fragrant spices waft down busy city streets.

Speaking of spices, we thought we would share this delicious Chicken Satay Recipe with you. This dish utilizes the delicious spices and flavors of star anise, curcuma, kaffir leaves and lemon grass – all local to the regions of Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Total Time:    1 hr 30 min

Prep:     1 hr 15 min

Cook:    15 min approx.

Yield:    4 servings

Level:    Medium

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut into small strip)
  • 4 tbl Peanut Oil
  • 2 tbl Dry Sherry
  • 2 tsp Lemongrass Powder
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tbl Curry Powder
  • 2 tsp Satay Powder
  • ½ tsp Minced Dry Red Chili Pepper (or a few shakes of chili powder)
  • 2 tbl Brown Sugar

Directions

  • In a food processor or blender, combine the oil, sherry, lemongrass powder, garlic, curry powder, satay powder, chili pepper and brown sugar.
  • Process until smooth.
  • Pour mixture over chicken strips, toss gently to coat the pieces, and marinate for 1 hour or longer in the refrigerator.
  • Soak 16 wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes.
  • Carefully insert skewers into chicken lengthwise.
  • Oil the grill.
  • On a closed grill over medium hot coals, grill chicken, turning once until cooked through. Serve immediately.

If you would like more information on how to experience the wonders and delights of Southeast Asia through an incentive program with JNR Incorporated please email jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com. We cannot wait to send our team and clients to this region for the trip of a lifetime.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Four Ways to Motivate Employees (According to a Behavioral Psychologist)

The best leaders in the world are the ones most adept at motivating their employees to perform to the fullest extent of their abilities. Increased productivity, improved sales, reduced waste and optimized efficiency are all byproducts of a strong leadership group.

If you ask an employee what would inspire them to work harder and more diligently, their response would likely be something like “SHOW ME THE MONEY!” Offering a monetary raise and cash bonus is not always the most effective or possible solution for your company however. Strong coaching and even noncash incentives (like trips, merchandise or awards) can yield a greater return on investment, and therefore be a more effective use of resources.

Since writing a check is not always the appropriate solution for motivating employees, Susan Weinschenk (“The Brain Lady”) of Weinschenk Institute, LLC, a professional with a Ph.D in Psychology and over 30 years of experience as a behavioral psychologist decided to use her vast knowledge of the human brain to learn more about what really motivates people. She summarized her years of research and analysis into a simple and easily digestible guide titled “Four Ways to Motivate Employees.”

1. Give People Autonomy

Granting your employees autonomy, the ability to have freedom over their actions, is an excellent way to stimulate their desire to master a subject. It is logical that people who have control over their actions will strive to master their craft. Allowing employees to be independent goes hand in hand with increasing their autonomy and therefore makes them more productive. On the converse, people who feel that they have little to no control or autonomy will become apathetic and lose their desire to master a task.

2. Connect People as Part of a Team

If your team feels connected, they tend to be more motivated to work together. Gregory Walton, a professor at Stanford, studied the feelings associated with belonging to a group and its effect on behavior. In one study, he discovered a higher level of inspiration present when college students believed they shared a birthday with another student in the group. Even minimal connections with others, like a common day of birth, can lead to an increase in drive and pursuit of goals.

3. Know When to Reward

It is widely accepted that rewards are powerful tools for reinforcing desired behaviors. When and how often to administer these rewards may be the more important decision here. To establish a new behavior, Weinschenk recommends rewarding every time a preferred action is carried out. For example, an employer issues a popular retail gift card every time an employee reports a safety issue on a new form.

After the advocated behavior has been established, adjustment to the reward schedule is necessary. B.F. Skinner researched reward schedules in the 1950s and the findings are still relevant today. Skinner found that varying the reward schedule was the only way to sustain a desired behavior in the long run. Now that gift card is only awarded after three safety issues are reported, then after five and finally, after seven safety reports.. This variation of the reinforcement schedule allows the motivation level to remain high but prevents predictability. Lower incentive costs will also result due to the fact that fewer rewards are needed.

The type of reward and value further enforce behaviors. Rewards with monetary value can include: gift cards, merchandise, awards and travel. Non-financial incentives might include leaving work early, comp days and public recognition from management.

4. Give Appropriate Feedback

Praise can be used as a reward to sustain desired behavior, but will not always lead to a desire for mastery. Giving feedback without praise is a more appropriate way to promote this quest to be the best within an individual. Feedback can be largely positive, but should also pinpoint areas where improvement is needed. Logically an individual who is praised without constructive criticism may assume they do not need to improve.

Weinschenk took 30 years of learnings in behavioral psychology and identified knowing when to reward as one of the four most important ways to motivate employees. At JNR, we have dedicated our own 30 years to mastering the keys to employee motivation. This has resulted in a keen expertise of understanding the appropriate times to reward, type of rewards to utilize, ways to communicate reward programs and most cost-effective ways to administer rewards. Incentives utilized by JNR include: travel, reward cards and merchandise. Whether you are looking for the appropriate reward to reinforce small behaviors such as cleaning up the company kitchen or large endeavors like reaching multi-million dollar sales targets, we have the tools to ensure that all of your employees desire mastery of their craft.

Check out “8 Steps to Effectively Implement Employee Incentive Programs” here or send us an email at jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com today if you have any questions.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

Prepaid Debit Cards Are Effective Incentive and Reward Options

Prepaid debit cards are a specific type of gift card pre-loaded with a fixed monetary amount. In 2012 alone, $77 billion worth of transactions took place using these rectangular pieces of plastic. It is not surprising that businesses of all types are reaching out to reward both consumers and employees with prepaid cards and their popularity continues to soar. Curtis Arnold of Forbes cites 9 creative ways to use prepaid debit cards in a recent article including: door prizes, employee incentives, event attendance, blog giveaways, and tax refund payments. We want to focus on the effectiveness of these cards in the recognition of not only employees, but also customers, dealers and channel sales personnel.

Over half of the companies that give out non-cash rewards utilize some type of gift card. There are three basic categories. The first type is a debit card offered by credit card companies or banks that can be spent virtually anywhere credit cards are accepted. It is usually pre-loaded with a fixed amount, but sometimes able to be recharged. The second is a retail or manufacturer gift card offered by household name retailers, hotels, airlines, and restaurants. These are typically valid for face value and customizable with company logos or specific product imagery. The third type is a debit credit card. These cards appear to be a standard credit card issued in the user’s name. There is a fixed amount deposited toward the card balance initially and can be spent anywhere credit cards are accepted.

There is an ease of use and flexibility that comes with prepaid cards that benefit the recipient as well as the issuer. Aside from the more obvious sense of appreciation that comes with receiving a gift of material worth, a less obvious response is now being recognized as well. Confidence is an underlying form of appreciation when someone is given a card in his or her name that, due to the economy’s impact over the last seven years, may not have the opportunity to use a credit card otherwise. This provides a level of self-assurance that cannot be replicated with cash rewards and in return, loyalty.

On the issuer’s side, a prepaid card comes with straightforward shipping, customizability, the simplicity of recharging a card without incurring the cost of a new card each time, and an inimitable display of gratification for one’s patronage. Prepaid cards can be used in a multitude of programs at all levels producing a sense of fulfillment and motivation across the spectrum from sales incentives to non-profit event attendance motivators.

The pros of gift cards include:

  • A Plethora of Options – Nearly every retailer and many consumer product manufacturers and travel-related companies offer gift cards.
  • Wallet Power – Unlike cash, these cards will often stay in the wallet of the recipient for an extended period of time, serving as a constant reminder of the generosity from the issuer on the branded card.
  • Ease of Distribution – Shipping a card in the mail is extremely quick, easy and inexpensive.
  • Ease of Use – A majority of cards can be used online or at retail outlets.
  • Popularity – Prepaid cards are the most common gift for recipients. An impressive 44% of IRF survey respondents said that prepaid cards were their favorite type of award. When given the choice between a prepaid card or cash equivalent, five times as many respondents chose the prepaid card. Further, over 71% of respondents said that gift cards are either the “best of all gifts/rewards” or “a good gift/reward” while only 8.47% said they would rather have cash.

When you break it down, the pros of prepaid cards make it a worthy investment for any company or organization.

The prepaid debit card industry is booming for good reason and you need an expert in the field to walk you through the process of effectively using cards and effectively growing your ROI. If you are interested in learning more about a JNR Incorporated prepaid debit card program, please send us an email at jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com. We will fill you in on how we have been leveraging our relationship with MasterCard® rewarding the employees, customers, and channel personnel of our Fortune 500 clients to consistently exceed their expectations.

To read more on prepaid debit cards, check out our research here.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

Was Sochi the Birthplace of Incentive Travel?

Although most of us first heard of Sochi when it was announced that Russia had won their bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, it has long held the title of Russia’s largest resort town. However, Sochi may be the holder of another title – the birthplace of incentive travel.

The mild weather and coastal location are just a two of the reasons that Sochi is referred to as the “Russian Riviera” and make it a perfect destination for Russian employees to get a little rest and relaxation. Situated between the warm waters of the Black Sea and the picturesque Caucasus Mountains, this city has waterfalls, botanical gardens and even a year-round circus, but it is its sanatoriums that have caught our eye.

Although sanatoriums have different meanings and uses throughout the world, in Russia and particularly Sochi, these establishments are designed as health retreats.  Built in the early 1900s for Russia’s elite, it was Joseph Stalin who made Sochi a popular and fashionable summer destination. In the mid 20th century, sanatoriums were created for those in high Soviet society. By the late 1950s and early 1960s, sanatoriums had opened their doors to workers and peasants who received vouchers, ‘Putyovkas’, for all-inclusive trips to Sochi as a reward for their hard work.  Was this the birth of incentive travel?

Much like the incentive trips of today, these vouchers for up to 24 days in Sochi, were highly prized and not only viewed as a reward for those who worked hard, but were also implemented to increase productivity. Participants and their families would travel from all over Russia and utilize the sanatorium that aligned with their industry, whether they were metalworkers, miners or party elite.

This tradition of incentivizing employees with travel has continued into modern day with hundreds of thousands of Russians visiting Sochi each year on programs organized by municipalities, factories, employers, government bodies or unions. These trips are usually all-inclusive with all transportation, accommodation, meals, film screenings, activities and health treatments included.

It’s interesting to note that the Society for Incentive Travel Executives (SITE), among the most trusted and well respected organization in the industry, did not even hold its first meeting until 1973. This is over a decade after the sanatoriums of Sochi were first used as reward destinations for employees.

Based on three different empirical studies and a review of research in the field, this system of sanatoriums and health resorts seems to be beneficial, both for the people and for the national economy – much like how incentive travel benefits the employees that participate and the company that runs the programs.

If you have any thoughts on the subject, please feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email at sthomas@jnrcorp.com. You can also explore more of the benefits (including 4:1 return on investment) of engaging employees with incentive travel by reading this blog.

By JNR Corp

Written by Stephanie Thomas