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 today if you have any questions.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

Spanish Spotlight: The Top Ten Cities to Visit

Our March expedition through Spain began with a fabulous Catalan Stuffed Peppers recipe to give you a taste of the traditional cuisine. Then we offered a peek into the Las Fallas Festival to give you some perspective on their customs. Now we want to give you an overview of the top ten cities to visit in Spain according to TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice. While the cities that top the list may seem obvious, we hope that you will come across a few lesser-known locales that may have never crossed your mind before!

10. Benidorm, Spain

Location: Western Mediterranean seaside city located in the Province of Alicante on the Costa Blanca.

Claims to Fame: Benidorm boasts four miles of golden beaches, access to Mediterranean Sea recreation including scuba diving and waterskiing and a historic city center with blue-domed 18th-century churches and alleyways.

Top Attractions: Levante Beach, Balcon del Mediterraneo, Placa del Castell

9. Salamanca, Spain

Location: Northwestern capital city of the Province of Salamanca located alongside the border with Portugal.

Claims to Fame: Salamanca is referred to as Spain’s “golden city” and is rich in architectural, religious and gastronomic culture. Renaissance and Gothic style architecture are prominent in both the old and new cathedrals.

Top Attractions: Salmanca’s Plaza Mayor, St. Stephen’s Convent (St. Convento de San Esteban), Casa Lis (Museum of Art Nouveau and Art Deco)

8. Marbella, Spain

Location: Southern coastal city in the Province of Malaga on the Mediterranean Sea.

Claims to Fame: Marbella is a sunny beach town with plenty of modern-day resort amenities. The city is famous for La Fontanilla Beach, theme parks, wildlife parks and a historic quarter filled with whitewashed buildings and remnants of a ninth-century Arab fortress.

Top Attractions: Marbella Old Quarter, Iglesia Mayor de la Encarnacion, Puerto Banus Marina

7. Malaga, Spain

Location: The capital of the Province of Malaga lies on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) of the Mediterranean Sea.

Claims to Fame: Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the entire world, founded in the 8th Century by the Phoenicians. The city is rich in art of all kinds including glass, crystal, contemporary installations and the works of Picasso, who was born in Malaga.

Top Attractions: Museum of Glass and Crystal, Alcazaba, Kelipe Centro de Arte Flamenco

6. Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Location: The capital city of the Province of Balearic Islands is situated on the south coast of the island on the Bay of Palma.

Claims to Fame: Palma de Mallorca is often considered the economic and cultural hub of Majorca and a great place to experience the island’s many gold and white beaches. This city was once a Moorish casbah, or walled city, and has a maze of narrow streets that can be quite fun to explore on foot.

Top Attractions: Soller Railway, Cathedral (Le Seu), Bellver Castle (Castell de Bellver)

5. Valencia, Spain

Location: The capital city of the Province of Valencia is located on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula facing the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea.

Claims to Fame: Valencia is home to many monuments, City of Arts and Sciences, a highly modern complex of museums, cinemas and theaters. The local food, namely the paella, is also something that every visitor should experience!

Top Attractions: Bioparc Valencia, Oceanografic, Palacia del Marques de Dos Aguas

4. Granada, Spain

Location: Capital of the Province of Granada located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and at the confluence of four major rivers. The Southern Spanish city is just one hour from the Mediterranean Coast by car.

Claims to Fame: The Alhambra citadel, a Moorish fortress with epic archways and ornamental mosaics, one of the most famous buildings in the nation is located in Granada. The nightlife is also quite vibrant with the bars of Calle Elvira being the most notable hotspot.

Top Attractions: The Alhambra, Carrerra del Darro, Generalife

3. Seville, Spain

Location: The capital and largest city in Province of Seville, located on the plain of the River Guadalquivir.

Claims to Fame: Seville was founded as a Roman City and is the home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Alcazar palace complex, Cathedral where Christopher Columbus was buried and Metropol Parasol are just a few of the amazing sites that ooze with antique charm.

Top Attractions: Alcazar, Plaza de Espana, Giralda Tower

2. Madrid, Spain

Location: Spain’s capital and largest city is located on the Manzanares river in the center of both the country and Community of Madrid.

Claims to Fame: Many of Madrid’s buildings are so grand that they appear to be castles straight out of classic fairytales. The architecture here is quite impressive and the splendid sites like Retiro Park and numerous museums make it one of the most interesting places to visit in Spain.

Top Attractions: Prado Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza), Royal Palace of Madrid

1. Barcelona, Spain

Location: This capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia within the Province of Barcelona is located on the eastern coast at the mouths of the Llobregat and Besos rivers to the west near the Serra de Collserola mountain range.

Claims to Fame: Famous residents included Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali and Spanish Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, who designed several of the city’s architectural amazing buildings. Park Guell, street performers and numerous tapas bars make Barcelona a great place to spend a leisurely day.

Top Attractions: Guell Palace, St. Mary of the Sea Cathedral (Iglesia de Santa Maria del Mar), Camp Nou

Are you overwhelmed with all that Spain has to offer yet? I know that my “bucket list” grew quite a bit after composing this blog.

If you’re looking to book an incentive travel trip or meeting in Spain, or simply need some advice about what to see and do while in Spain, please send us an email at

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin


Optimizing Travel Program Success with Gift Items

Here at JNR Incorporated we are consistently reviewing the steps necessary to deliver amazing travel programs that possess a “WOW” factor for the participants. Rewarding and motivating top sales dealership personnel with meetings and conferences, engaging and inspiring employees with individual and group travel and incentivizing advertisers to spend more money with “bucket list” trips are the three primary objectives that we achieve with these programs. Obvious determinants of success include: destination, accommodations, activities, cuisine and on-site customer service. A slightly less obvious factor that can optimize the effectiveness of these programs is the gift choices given to attendees pre-trip, during the trip and post-trip.

There are two types of gifts given to program participants that enhance the effectiveness and power of these excursions.

1)    Dimensional Teasers

These typically inexpensive trinkets are essentially a creative extension of your marketing collateral. They are a great compliment to and serve a similar purpose to that of a more traditional brochure or email blast. The purpose of these teasers is to excite participants about the destination by leaving them with a little take-away reminder of the program. The goal can either encourage the participant to increase their performance and compete to win the grand prize, or simply to get the winners amped up for the upcoming trip they have already won.

These gifts are usually location-specific. For example, your group is going to South Africa to see a wildlife refuge, an elephant sculpture that was hand painted in Cape Town would be an excellent option. Usually three to four mailers are sent out to increase touch points and memorability in your marketing campaign. The strategic number of teasers to send and when to send them are both very important decisions.  Sometimes the first two items are sent to all eligible participants while the contest is ongoing in an attempt to increase performance. The final gift is sent only to those who have won, after the eligibility period is over, to excite and congratulate them on the trip.

An added benefit of sending small, token gifts is that they are often placed on office desks and in homes creating trophy value. These items are seen by others and serve as a constant reminder of the kindness demonstrated by the issuing company and a source of pride for the winner. Branding these items with the program logo is often a wise option because it puts your company logo in front of others.

2)    Room Gifts

Offerings awarded in the form a room gift differs from teasers in that these items are given on-site once the program has begun and they are usually higher in value. Surprising a participant with a room gift is a great way to complement the activities and destination while the program is underway. Room gifts are often kept long after the program has concluded to remind the participants of their great experience and increase goodwill and loyalty for the company and individuals that rewarded them with this trip.

Again the amount of gifts to award, times of delivery, and value of each gift are all important strategic decisions to make. Destination-specific gifts such as a unique coffee grown in that region are great reminders of the experience. The hottest tech items that can have a practical use on-site or designer luggage are other great ideas. Branding with program logos can cheapen these items though and is generally not recommended.

Tailoring the Product to Your Target Audience:

It is important to understand your target audience before purchasing room gifts or promotional trinkets. Age, gender, location of residence, income level, and general preferences are huge factors to take into consideration. It becomes a bit more complicated when you operate programs where the demographics are very diverse. Outsourcing gift purchasing to a professional with experience is often the appropriate option because you need someone who is on the pulse of trends and understands how demographics dictate gift choice. Buying a gift for a multi-millionaire is probably one of the most difficult purchases to make unless you have industry insight and experience.

Tailoring the Product to Your Destination and Program Activities:

The climate, location, activities and customs of the destination must mesh with the item that you are offering as a dimensional teaser or room gift. If your group will be golfing in The Bahamas during the warm season, it might be a good idea to go with some nice golf shorts and a divot tool. It is also important to ensure that the product is actually authentic for the particular nation and not mistakenly gift something more traditional for a neighboring country.

Tailoring the Products to Your Company:

Gifting items that weave into the culture of your employees and company is a fundamental way to form a deeper connection with your audience. If your company is tech savvy, providing cutting-edge electronics will be very well received among participants. Conversely, offering a tequila room gift may be inappropriate if your organization is more conservative and traditional.

Selecting the Correct Procurement Provider: 

Outsourcing these decisions to a company that has the experience and know how is often a wise decision when you begin to understand all the considerations that must be taken in to account for gift giving to support corporate travel. Aside from the critical pieces above, the actual procurement, price negotiation and delivery specifics can be detrimental oversights for those not well versed in the industry.

ASI certified suppliers like JNR can take items once thought of as unaffordable and make them fit into your budget seamlessly. Products can be procured and shipped to your destination for less than retail in the majority of cases! Handling the price negotiations, procurement and shipping logistics are just a few of the major strengths that JNR will bring to your organization. We can write a book on the complications that occur when you decide to ship these gifts internationally without industry knowledge!

Send me an email at today if you have any questions or comment below to give us your input on the subject. To understand why incentive travel may be the key to engaged employees, click here for supplemental reading.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

Spanish Spotlight: Pebrots Farcits (Catalan Stuffed Peppers) Recipe

February’s Russian Spotlight marked the beginning of our “JNR Shows You the World” series. Join us as we now head west to Spain.

Luckily our tour brings us here in March and we find ourselves visiting Spain while the Las Fallas Festival is taking place. Unique and crazy are a few words that describe the festival that involves creation and destruction of massive cardboard, wood, paper mache, and plaster statues. This week we will take a look at Spain’s second largest city, Barcelona, where JNR has organized many enjoyable incentive trips for clients.

Barcelona, the capital city of Catalonia, Spain, is rich in culture, beauty and history. It is a bilingual city with both Spanish and Catalan being official languages and has much to offer in the form of entertainment, media, fashion, the arts and food, all within a beautiful seaside setting.

Barcelona is situated in the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, facing the Mediterranean Sea and has a subtropical climate with mild humid winters and warm, dry summers. It is a pedestrian-friendly city and the sights can be enjoyed on foot almost year-round. The perfect place to start is La Rambla, where talented street performers, vendors and chic cafes all meet in a tree-lined pedestrian mall. The Gothic Quarter begins next to La Rambla and it is worth exploring its charming, twisting streets and medieval buildings on the way to the famous Picasso Museum.

If it is art that interests you, then you cannot pass up the opportunity to see Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí’s magnificent works, both within the city. Venturing through Barcelona you will come across the outstanding architecture of Antoni Gaudí, whose distinctive style, based on nature and religion, earned him seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Park Güell, in particular, is worth spending time at as you can discover his individual style while enjoying unparalleled views of the city.

Sport is a huge part of Catalonian culture and explains why the largest stadium in Europe resides in Barcelona. Park Nou was opened in 1957, has a capacity of 100,000 and is home to the much loved  FC Barcelona. Seeing a football game here is a must for all sports enthusiasts. Barcelona was home to the 1992 Summer Olympics and many of the venues are open for tourists to explore throughout the year.

Eating is an important social activity in Catalonia and restaurants range from contemporary, molecular cuisine to traditional Spanish food with a twist of Catalonian influence. The food in Barcelona is a fusion of different cuisines including a combination of sweet and savory from Arabic cuisines, traditional Iberian and Greek influences as well the location dictating that seafood play a major role in mealtimes.

As the food in Barcelona is renowned worldwide, we thought it would be nice to share this Pebrots Farcits (Catalan Stuffed Peppers) recipe with you. This dish is found throughout Spain and it very popular in Barcelona. You will note the Catalonian influence with the addition of Hazelnuts.

Total Time:     1 hr 5 min

Prep:     15

Cook:    50

Yield:    4 servings

Level:    Medium


  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 Garlic Clove (finely chopped)
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 4 Bell Peppers
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 ½ cup Vegetable or Chicken stock
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • ½ cup Hazelnuts (chopped)
  • Manchego Cheese (Mozzarella can work as a substitute)
  • Salt to Taste
  • Black Pepper to Taste


Preheat oven to 390°F. Half and de-seed the bell peppers. Brush lightly with olive oil and place on a baking tray in the oven for 35 minutes.

Pour vegetable or chicken stock into a saucepan, bring to simmer and add paprika, bay leaf and oregano. Season with salt and pepper.

Place a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Fry the onion and garlic until soft but not browned, add the hazelnuts and stir well. Stir in the tomato puree to create a paste. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to loosen the paste and stir in the dry rice. Spread the mixture evenly across the bottom of the frying pan and pour in the simmering stock. Stir well and then cover the pan and reduce to the lowest heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, take off lid and cover with a clean tea-towel. Place the lid back over the tea-towel and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

Remove the peppers from the oven, stuff with the rice mixture and top with grated cheese. Return to oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is lightly brown. Dust with paprika and serve.

JNR has created many magical journeys in this dynamic city with participants enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of this dashing city. If you want more information on how to organize an incentive trip to Barcelona through JNR that will dazzle attendees and produce significant return on investment for your company, please contact

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

8 Financial Services Industry Workplace Trends to Leverage

Dan Schawbel is a leader in Gen Y workforce trajectory and founder of Millennial Branding. Forbes recently published his article “The 8 Workplace Trends in the Financial Services Industry” where he does an excellent job at taking the pulse of this sector of the economy and what is to be expected with the influx of Gen Y and Millennial job prospects. For those of us currently recruiting for or working within financial services, it will be advantageous to take note. More importantly, by acknowledging the shift in the industry you can leverage these insights and explore ways to improve your own workplace, company, and profitability.

Let’s explore the list first to understand where the industry is headed.

  1. Internet Engagement Will Be Preferred – Millennial employees require the freedom to utilize mobile phones and social networks in their day to day communication. They are put off by companies with strict regulations which has been the norm in financial services. The industry may need to make adjustments or see top talent seek employment in other industries.
  2. High Turnover Will Be Present – The stark reality is that millennial employees are rarely interested in sticking at their current jobs long-term and are often open to new opportunities.
  3. The Talent Gap Will Increase – Our country has faced a skills gap for the past several years. Lack of talent to fill open positions is a common detriment to the growth of companies in this industry. Almost half of CEOs report that they are unable to find talent with the right skills and we are not seeing any reprieve.
  4. A Negative Perception of the Industry Will Detract Candidates– The recent financial collapse has tarnished the reputation of this industry to put it lightly. Investors are more skeptical than older generations have been and many career prospects are avoiding employment in this industry altogether.
  5. Increasing Diversity at Work Will Be Necessary – A lack of diversity among employees in the financial industry is causing many companies to reconsider recruitment strategies. Attracting talented candidates from different ethnic backgrounds should be the focus.
  6. Workplace Flexibility Will Be Demanded – Millennial employees hope to keep a family and social life balanced with their employer’s demands at work. This can be difficult in financial services due to long hours in the office being a requisite for the job and the lack of an option to work from home.
  7. Salary Will Remain Important – In general, younger employees have a tendency to prioritize meaningful work over money. This is not quite as true in this industry. A high salary and cash bonuses are the driving force behind a millennial’s choice to work in financial services today.
  8. Office Rules Will Become Less Strict – Increasingly, financial companies are ditching strict dress codes in favor of business casual attire. This is appealing to millennial employees who do not want to wear a suit and tie each day to work.

Bottom line is that many of these tendencies highlight the importance of examining your workplace culture. By knowing the trending expectations of newcomers in the financial I industry you have the tools to leverage the trends and succeed in spite of others who insist on remaining stagnant.

Is your company desirable to qualified candidates? Is your company a place that employees want to stay at long-term? If the answer is no to either question, making changes to your company culture may result in a very positive change.

Here are 8 recommendations for improving your corporate workplace culture beyond salary and benefits:

  • Implement an incentive program to motivate, reward, and engage existing employees
  • Reexamine cell phone and social media usage policies. Are the consistent with today’s mobile dependence?
  • Remain flexible with work schedules
  • Consider allowing employees to work from home
  • Use overtime sparingly to prevent burnout
  • Align employees with the long-term vision of the company, both financially and ideologically
  • Reward hard work and encourage employee camaraderie with fun office events after an especially stressful deadline
  • Give out service awards to increase customer loyalty and retention

If you’re interested in more information on effective ways to implement incentive programs in this ever-challenging recruiting and retention environment, check out our guide here. Increased productivity, strengthened employee loyalty, and heightened morale will result with these programs. In addition, they will give you the chance to create an appealing financial services company that new talent will view as a viable career opportunity.

By JNR Corp

Written by Kristopher Hewkin