The Battle to Attract and Retain Top Talent is Intensifying

Job market conditions are improving and there have been encouraging gains in hiring rates, job fill rates and salaries. From the standpoint of the prospective job seeker, this is great news. According to a study published last month by talent acquisition and recruitment agency 24 Seven, a whopping 66% of those surveyed felt that they were in demand in the marketplace. Individuals who feel this way are more likely to seek employment elsewhere and negotiate higher salaries from their current employer (72% had received an increase in compensation in 2014). A career move is anticipated in the next year by 70% of respondents, with salary being the top reason for the decision (45% were unhappy with their current salary). With 81% of executives reporting steady or increasing hiring rates, those seeking new career options are in the market at a prime time.

On the flip side, a job market that so heavily favors employees poses a challenge to employers and their companies. Top talent is more difficult to attract during this time in the economy. Alarmingly, only 30% felt that their company invested a sufficient amount of resources into talent acquisition. An astounding 85% of executives felt that the pressure to attract talent was increasing due to the fact that the appropriate talent is paramount to their company’s success. Sales, Design and Creative, Marketing, Product Development, Management and Digital were all cited as the most difficult to recruit according to executives.

Attracting talent is only the beginning however. Retraining and engaging these individuals should be the main focus to sustain long-term success. An employee who is happy and content with their job is a nice start, but an engaged employee is much more valuable. Employee engagement was a new metric in the 2014 edition of this report and refers to the degree to which employees are likely to be inspired to go above and beyond the expectations of the job.

24 Seven’s study found that increasing employee engagement has a direct positive impact on employee loyalty, job satisfaction, career outlook perception, likelihood to promote/refer company, and team/manager connection – all impactors on an employee’s likelihood to seek other employment.“

Engaged employees also tend to be more efficient, productive, innovative and willing to take on new responsibilities. These individuals are deeply invested in the company’s success.

Unfortunately, only 47% of employees surveyed said they would categorize themselves as “engaged”.

So, the next question you might ask is: “How do I engage my employees?”

There is no simple, short answer to this burning question. Engaging an employee is not as easy as offering them a great salary and cushy benefits. A deep connection between the company and employee must be formed.

A clearly defined employer brand was found to be a strong determinant of employee engagement. Credible, relevant, honest and distinctive are characteristics often used to describe the identity of companies with a strong employer brand.

After medical insurance, a “time perk” was the second most valued benefit by employees and something to consider when improving employee engagement. This includes: flex time, telecommuting, comp days and summer hours. Over half (60%) of talented workers stated that their companies offered some of these benefits. Executives also listed flexible schedules, better growth opportunities and clearly defined career paths as top ways to lure talent.

Showing appreciation for the efforts of your employees more frequently is another way to improve engagement.  By offering employee incentives such as incentive travel, merchandise or reward cards you are thanking your employees for their hard work and continuous efforts.

Meetings and conferences that align employees with the goals of the company are excellent ways to help inspire them to strive for greatness. These events can provide a perfect forum to communicate vision, welcome new ideas, foster creativity and build excitement.

Do you feel that there are improvements that could be made in the ways in which your company attracts talent?

What is your strategy for increasing employee engagement and retaining employees once you attract them?

Please share your thoughts below or send me an email at to discuss.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin


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.

*All figures and statistics are courtesy of the following study conducted by 24 Seven

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

Emotional Connection Marketing Makes Sense


This “new” term is taking me full-circle, as ever since I can remember, talking, listening and emotionally connecting on both personal and professional levels has been important to me. I have cultivated relationships and have always gathered and kept information on my family, friends and co-workers, as well as my clients, prospective clients, vendors, industry-related associates and anyone else I want to stay in touch with.

In the beginning of my career, I kept paper “Profile Sheets” that contained past, current and future client program facts, info on each person’s unique likes and dislikes, important dates for that person, spouse/significant other and their children, such as birthdays and anniversaries, info about their pets, causes they support, and any other relevant information that I needed to remember to communicate effectively and develop and improve relationships and friendships.

In today’s world, we are using technology to better connect. I believe it’s key to combine both the old and the new connection techniques and tools. There’s no better way to emotionally connect than to speak with someone “live” in person–have a meeting, pick up the phone or even skype. However, now, we can also get to know each other by using the unbelievable online and social media tools at our fingertips.

Every conversation offers a way to make a positive emotional connection. How we make others feel determines how they feel about us, which leads to trusting in us, and our products and services. It’s most important to be honest and respectful, and engage in a personal way, which will lead to developing strong, positive and memorable bonds. People are loyal because they are emotionally attached, and they will work with and buy from those they know, as well as re-purchase and refer. It’s important to have a genuine emotional connection to sustain relationships and retain business over the long term.

At JNR, we have always valued the importance of the connections developed through strategic partnerships with our employees, as well as with existing and prospective clients, suppliers, industry-related associates, charitable and community organization representatives, and all others we interface with in our daily business lives. So, to me emotional connections are the norm, but maybe when you throw the word “marketing” into the mix, there is a new, fairly untapped opportunity that moves us past the promotion attraction mindset and into the emotional connection arena.

Over 30 years ago, we opened JNR to provide exceptional quality and service to people and companies in support of their business performance objectives. Inspired by trust and driven by a commitment to excellence, we have established distinctive relationships and emotional connections with corporate buyers, marketing professionals, meeting planners and agencies, as well as program participants. By delivering memorable experiences, we are proud to have delighted many, and through our personnel connections, we have motivated people to be advocates for our brand.

With targeted marketing and defined strategies, we sell products and services to develop solutions and deliver successful programs in these specific arenas: Motivation; recognition and rewards; incentive travel; Prepaid Mastercard™ Reward Cards; meetings and conferences; events and entertainment; promotions and merchandise.

Now, we’ll combine all of our efforts and initiate a more Emotional Connection Marketing strategy. Why not? By adding Emotional Connection Marketing, we can build on connecting with products and services according to actual wants and needs, and we can ensure that we are providing what our clients need.

I read somewhere that over 50% of buyers make their decisions based on emotions. Of course, they employ a rational approach and analyze features, functional factors and financials, but a number like 50% should not be taken lightly. Think of the last time you made a purchase…What drove your decision and behavior…rationale or emotions? See! I think most people are influenced by their emotions, even though they may not realize this.

How employees, clients and associates care about our products and services has a very concrete impact on our business, and emotional connections determine the strength and length of each relationship. Emotions drive passion, loyalty and advocacy. I’ve always thought it wise to pursue a marketing strategy focused on the human side of service — and to make a conscious choice to strengthen emotional connections.

We must engage on an emotional level and optimize our connections to outperform our competition. Emotionally engaged people, who are treated with respect and honesty, will recommend us and repurchase, and they will be less likely to shop around in the future. We want our brand to stand for fairness, high quality, best service and impressive financial return. Every day, we underscore these core values through our efforts.

JNR’s success with Emotional Connection Marketing will rely on our dedicated team of employees who demonstrate professionalism, knowledge, and experience, and who are diligent in providing top quality and exceptional service. Our key service differentiators are how much our team members empathize and care for other people’s experiences, feelings and expectations. They recognize and manage emotions in a way that builds relationships and upholds confidence.

We listen to everyone for validation or inconsistencies with our brand image, and then we review this essential information to drive satisfaction and foster improvement. In doing so, we make others feel welcome, comfortable and important in every interaction. We demonstrate understanding and respect, which creates stronger emotional connections, which yield success. We deliver on our promises, and if something does go wrong, we apologize and fix the issues right way. We are continually examining and improving our processes, procedures, technologies and communications, as we want to be a great company, not just a good one. We listen, we care, we help…we are emotionally connected and sincerely invested!

The future belongs to those who engage in Emotional Connection Marketing. I’m sold, are you?

Feel free to email your feedback to me at:

LuAnn Jalet
COO, JNR Incorporated

360° Loyalty = The Best Kind


Loyalty is one of the most admirable character traits that a person can have, and there are many great examples of loyalty. When a person is faithful, no matter what the challenge or sacrifice, they maintain loyal relationships.

Now, more than ever, business leaders, should show their loyalty by inspiring people at all levels–whether employees, customers, consumers, representatives, partners or stakeholders. Motivating, recognizing and rewarding all those who contribute to business success will ensure that those same people will trust in the promises made by the company’s executive, marketing and sales communications teams and respond in positive fashion.

I believe that now is the time to establish and maintain confidence in one another. By offering incentive programs that will engage, appreciate and reward people, companies can show their gratitude and receive loyalty in return. This loyalty to your company’s brand will lead to cost savings through customer and employee retention, as well as generating improved financial results for all concerned, which will in turn stimulate personal, business and economic growth.

Employees are the face of your company. They interact with each other, management, clients, vendors and others, on a daily basis by phone, texting, email, social media or face-to-face. They will project their happiness and loyalty on to everyone that they come in contact with. Loyal employees are enthusiastic and they encourage others to feel the same way toward you and your company. People need to be on a gratifying path to stay motivated and invested, to do well, and to make others feel good by showing their appreciation through increased productivity and loyalty.

It’s important to establish high, attainable expectations that make people feel more positive about themselves as well as about your business. Give positive feedback and be more productive after receiving it, be open to change and work with others to improve your business. Inspire by example. Treat people as individuals and look for ways to foster solid relationships that develop into long-term, loyal bonds.

To grow your business, you must also earn loyal customers and consumers, as they are the best source of new business referrals, repeat business, and positive comments. You have to show your customers that you truly care about the relationships you have built with them.

By communicating your company’s direction, ideas and decisions, and by encouraging and rewarding best practices, you will engage people to work together and achieve results that give them a stake in success. In business, those who understand your goals and objectives are more likely to trust and invest in your company, which translates into improved performance, growth and increased financial return.

Adopting a loyalty initiative will improve the experiences of your employees, your customers, your suppliers, your resellers–virtually anyone you come in contact with. By inspiring and rewarding loyalty, you can improve everyone’s attitude, enhance your company’s growth and profitability, and create a positive, healthy work environment that will allow the loyalty continuum to thrive.

JNR Incorporated will help you develop and manage loyalty incentive programs that produce measurable business results and increase revenue by identifying your objectives and target audience; developing a strategic communication campaign to keep people motivated; track and measure results through dynamic technology platforms; recognize and reward achievement at various levels; coordinate fulfillment; and measure return on investment.

Contact JNR today to see how loyalty can lead to greater business success.

LuAnn Jalet
COO , JNR Incorporated
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