Human Resources Spotlight: Employee Engagement

There is the smell of coffee in the air and the rustling of briefcases as you hear the familiar ding of the elevator being called to whisk everyone up to work. As you enter, there are shouts of different floors as people jostle to allow room, and when you ask for floor seven, there is a resounding understanding that you are from the ‘fun floor’.

The title of the ‘fun floor’ is aptly named as JNR is renowned for a high level of employee engagement, garnered through recognition rewards, office parties, birthday surprises and Fun Fridays just to name a few.

Here at JNR, there are small, but significant recognitions known as a ‘Caught in the Act’. These are given out when employees are seen going the extra mile without being asked or expected to do so. This effort can range anywhere from emptying a full dishwasher to helping lift a heavy item and taking it down to storage. No action is left unrecognized, and it is a reward that fosters a cohesive and team oriented work environment, which has always been one of the most coveted qualities to bolster employee engagement.

Being known as the ‘fun floor’ in Newport Gateway is due in large part to JNR celebrating holidays and hosting parties to rejuvenate the workforce. Whether it is putting on your spookiest costume for Halloween, decorating the office for the most wonderful time of the year at Christmas, or bringing the 80’s back for JNR’s anniversary, JNR never fails to ensure that everyone is involved in making the office a place that all employees feel welcome, comfortable, and happy to come to each day.

Last but not least, it is no surprise when someone has a birthday at JNR. As one rounds the corner on their special day, they are met with an office full of streamers, balloons and cupcakes as the birthday fairies strike again. While this is just a small gesture, it is one that has proven to make a huge impression as it shows each employee at JNR that they are valued.

Employee engagement is one aspect that cannot be overlooked in the workplace, as it is the element of corporate environments that keeps morale elevated while providing a feeling of worth for employees. Simply showing that a small act is appreciated or making someone’s birthday the most special day of the year goes a long way in raising employee engagement. This is a priceless concept that comes at a low cost to employers, but leaves an enormous impact on employees.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristy Shaw and Andy Tallon


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.

Motivating Millennials: Traditional Engagement Is Not The Answer

Watch out Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, the Millennials are on their way! The demographics of business are changing, and with it, the environment in which employees can best harness their talents. Gone are the days where communication is handwritten and hierarchy is strictly structured, and with this change comes new strategies that employers must understand to capitalize on the value of the increasingly younger workforce.

The rigidity of various firms established decades ago leaves executives struggling to ‘engage’ the youth moving into their careers without looking upon them as entitled or self-centered. However, in recent studies, this is where the problem may lie – engagement is not the standard protocol, as it is so widely believed, to keep younger employees stimulated. Employers are gradually using more resources to further engage Millennials, when this is actually unnecessary.  Younger workers for the most part have actively sought out the position within their company.  This speaks to this generation’s goal oriented nature, proving that they are highly determined and productive when given autonomy and a clear purpose.

Highlighted in a recent article from Forbes, one of the largest catalysts to the progressive alterations in business demographics is the difference in education between each generation. The Millennials, or Gen Y have grown up in a world with technological advances at every step of their life.  In return, they are the most tech savvy generation and as a result, can better exploit these skills to be more efficient in learning and producing results than their Gen X or Baby Boomer counterparts. The influx of networking and social media have created a unique dynamic of the Millennials, they work well both independently or in social or group task setting, to the benefit of any organization in the 21st century.

So, how does a company successfully incorporate and promote Gen Y into its workforce? According to Talented Heads, here are some simple methods that have the potential to encourage the Millennials to positively harness their energy for their respective jobs:

  • Millennials are deeply drawn to work that promises self-direction and an individual’s own creative control.
  • Millennials thrive under leaders who are accessible and provide a comprehensible narrative about the organization’s direction.
  • Millennials desire a voice in the company to share their opinions and to challenge themselves to become better problem solvers.
  • Millennials provide their best results when they are able to directly interact with their work in hands on experiences.
  • Millennials most powerful incentive is a flexible work-life balance, where basic needs are met and time both inside and outside of work is enjoyable.

Even though the times are changing at a rapid rate, companies should look at this as an excellent opportunity rather than an unavoidable conundrum. The Millennials are here to stay, so it is of the utmost importance to make their transition into any organization a smooth one. The generation of the future will undoubtedly provide great benefits if a company is willing to support the newest additions to the real world to keep retention high and employees motivated.

For more information on how JNR can help you to engage your Millennial employees contact

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Andy Tallon



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.


Pharmaceutical Sales Incentives: A Case Study

The Pharmaceutical Industry is big business. Companies like Pfizer, Amgen and Sanofi have market capitalizations well over $50 billion with steady growth expected. Contrary to what you may think, even groundbreaking prescription drugs do not just sell themselves. The success of these companies rests largely on the performance of their Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives. Let’s learn a bit about who these individuals are and how to inspire them.

The position of Pharmaceutical Sales Representative boasted its way onto the top 100 “Best Jobs in America” list compiled by CNN Money in 2012. Several factors were considered for this ranking including a median pay of roughly $97,000 per year and 16.4% expected job growth over the next ten years. With over 400,000 jobs reported in the field at the time of the study, there is no shortage of opportunity for people wanting to join this industry. The position is very fast-paced and high turnover rates are common. Assertive, persistent and knowledgeable are a few of the most common adjectives used to describe successful Pharmaceutical Sales Reps. The majority of their time is spent on the road traveling to meetings with pharmacists, hospital personnel, doctors and others who have the ability to connect them to potential customers

Engaging a sales team to perform and stay motivated in this high paced atmosphere requires a strategic approach that goes beyond expected compensation. This is where a strong sales incentive program utilizing non-cash incentives comes in to play.

Pharmaceutical Sales Incentive Programs can produce massive gains in terms of incremental sales revenues when implemented and managed properly. In addition to cash commissions and bonuses, effective programs also use non-cash incentives, training opportunities and contests to motivate. Non-cash incentives can include travel prizes, merchandise rewards and recognition awards from management. These incentives are awarded not only for those who win sales contests but also for those who complete training portals to increase their product knowledge.

Participants that frequently receive progress reports and standings updates naturally exhibit higher levels of competition and are more driven to sell. It is also important to make sure that the program rules are clear, fair and easy to understand with effective communication plans to support the initiative.

These Sales Incentive Programs are particularly vital when new drugs are introduced into the market, when existing drug sales are falling or when sales reps need to be reinvigorated due to declining performance.

Situation: Novo Nordisk Uses a Sales Incentive Program to Introduce New Non-Insulin Medication Victoza

Incentive Magazine shared a fascinating case study about Danish health care company Novo Nordisk and their recent sales incentive program that introduced Victoza, a non-insulin medication for adults with Type 2 diabetes. Their goal was to engage more than 2,000 sales reps with this campaign and encourage them to sell Victoza.

An online-based five-day incentive program called “Welcome to Club V” was introduced and themed around an exclusive nightclub incorporating a virtual red carpet and VIP experiences. This virtual “nightclub” made it easy to access training portals, progress reports, contest rules and the award shopping mall. The award shopping mall allowed participants to select prizes of their choosing based on various achievements.

Essentially, participants were awarded with prizes in exchange for the completion of training portals and victories in sales contests.

Results: 100% Participating in Competitions, 95% Taking Daily Quizzes

The program was quite engaging to say the least. An astounding 95% of the sales force took daily quizzes and every participant competed in the individual and team sales competitions. The program rewarded these Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives for doing what they already did, but for doing it better by encouraging continuous growth in their job knowledge.

Jamie Jones, senior director for Novo Nordisk strongly believes that sales reps become tired of selling a product after just six to eight weeks no matter what the product is. Incentives are the only way to keep them engaged in selling.

This “club” took the rather dull experience of learning about and selling medications and turned it into a fun, competitive and exciting way to earn prizes. The representatives received incentives. The company enjoyed the results of more educated employees and increased sales revenues. Everybody was victorious here.

The Keys to the Success of This Program

The rewards were selected to match the objective of the program and target demographic. Choosing interesting rewards for Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives can be difficult, but experienced gift buyers will have the answers at the right price. Large rewards can include exquisitely planned trips to exotic locales and activities that are not commonly open to the public. Smaller awards can include luxury name-brand gifts that resonate with your target audience.

Many touch points were present. Communication, training, measurement and reinforcement were articulately designed. It is essential that participants know the value of offered incentives and how they are able to win them. Keeping the competitive spirit of participants alive with constant reminders is also vital. Email blasts, printed collateral, meetings, online standings websites and even teaser gift items are effective in this area.

If you are looking to create or revamp your pharmaceutical sales incentive program, give us a call at 949.476.2788 or email us at We understand your target demographic and what drives them, the communications necessary to get them to participate, the metrics to demonstrate value to executive management and even ways to increase your corporate social responsibility in the process.

To learn more about the important role that marketing communications play in sales incentive programs, please click here.

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.

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.


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.

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