Why Travel Incentives? Beyond the Research

I recently had a client ask me: “How do you know that Travel Incentives really work?”

There are statistics, and lots of them, proving the value of travel as a motivator and reward mechanism. See Incentive Research Foundation for more details on that.

But I could tell he wasn’t convinced with the “data” I presented. So I went about it another way. So simple, but it seemed to be effective. See if it resonates with you…

Allow your mind to picture a specific time in your life that you were happy. Think of a couple of times like this.

I would place a bet that you’ve pictured yourself somewhere with someone. As much as we also enjoy those moments alone on the couch watching TV, our best times in life are usually spent with others. And very often, they are spent somewhere special.

Did you picture a trip somewhere? A beautiful beach or exciting zip line? Maybe you pictured getting married? Having a baby? Accomplishing a goal? Playing with your kids?

When developing an Incentive or Meeting Travel Program, I always remember that we have the privileged job of designing experiences for people that involve putting them somewhere with someone. I know it’s these moments in people’s lives that have the power to stay with them and perhaps make a difference in their outlook.

I believe our industry does more than only educate, motivate, train and reward. We create memories and joy when we do it right. Now without sounding too lofty, when we take measurement of our impact on the world, I for one am proud to be part of an industry that makes people happy.

Oh . . .I can’t forget the strong close . . . .call JNR to help you create memorable travel programs!!  Really, we will make you and your participants happy.

Contact us by emailing jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com, giving us a call at 949.476.2788 or visiting the Incentive Travel section of our website here or blog titled “Incentive Travel May Be The Key to Engaged Employees” here for more information.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Vicki Kern – Vice President, Travel Planning

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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.

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

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

Two Ways to Grow Faster Than the Fortune 500

A group of businesses boasting annual growth rates of approximately double those of the Fortune 500 companies was surveyed recently, and they had some fascinating insights to share. The average annual growth rate of those included in the study was 15.3%, compared to 7.8% for the Fortune 500 companies. Improvements in the two areas highlighted below can be instrumental in helping your organization achieve similar yearly gains.

Prioritize Salesman Training and Employee Retention

Salesman coaching and employee retention topped the list of priorities for these organizations that grew so rapidly. The case for salesman coaching lies in the fact that it takes new sales representatives more than six months to start becoming productive employees. Decreasing the learning curve with improved training will lead to increased sales. The importance of employee retention can be summed up by the high attrition figures with 19-27% of the average sales force leaving the company from year to year. High attrition rates can stifle productivity and lead to increased training costs.

Improvements to your training policies and procedures in conjunction with a strong employee retention program will get you on the road to following in the footsteps of these envious organizations. Reinforcing training with employee recognition programs that utilize both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators is essential to maximizing sales performance.

Synchronize Sales and Marketing Efforts

The misalignment of sales and marketing is estimated to decrease annual revenues by over 10%. Also, 65% of companies that make sales and marketing alignment a priority state that their sales revenues are the main driver of their strategy. Ensuring that marketing collateral, sales materials, sales scripts, and discovery guides are received ahead of new product launches were the vital components that fueled sales and marketing synergy according to the study.

Enhancing communication between sales and marketing may sound like a simple objective but it’s not always that easy. It may be time to integrate both departments and share information without falling victim to inter-department politics. Both sales and marketing will benefit from knowledge sharing. Planning that ensures marketing is one step ahead of new products with quality collateral will also cure many problems.

How We Can Help

JNR incorporated has the unique tools necessary to allow you to prioritize sales training, increase employee retention and synchronize sales and marketing efforts. Our employee incentive programs include unique incentives, such as incentive travel, prepaid reward cards, merchandise, and meeting and event planning in addition to employee recognition programs. Each and every program cost effectively reinforces advances in employee education and employee retention.

We also have a full service marketing and advertising team complete with graphic design, web design, printing, purchasing, and fulfillment that makes it easy to have collateral, advertising, and communications that are delivered ahead of schedule and are effective, compelling, and aesthetically pleasing. Ask us how we took one company with 5 years of stagnant sales and engineered a 25% increase in revenues in just a few months. Feel free to visit our website at http://www.jnrcorp.com or read other blog postings at http://www.blog.jnrcorp.com for further resources.

Source: SAVO Group Ltd. White Paper “The 7 Attributes of Companies That Outpace the Fortune 500”

How to Save $57,000 in HR Costs

The Cost of Losing Employees

Losing employees is expensive for your company. This is not a new revelation. Rather, it is a harsh reality that human resource professionals live with daily.

A recent study* underscored the importance of this fact by determining the value and the amount of money lost when employees of various seniorities leave your company in search of new opportunities.

Quantifying The Loss of an Employee:

$7,000 – Cost of replacing a salaried employee

+ $10,000 – Cost of replacing a mid-level employee

+ $40,000 – Cost of replacing a senior executive

$57,000 – Total Cost of losing one employee from each seniority level

How to Increase Employee Retention

When you put it into financial terms, you can save your organization $57,000 a year by retaining one salaried employee, one mid-level employee, and one senior executive. The most effective way to achieve these savings is to make an investment in employee incentive and employee recognition programs.

Implementing a program that allows you to foster higher levels of employee engagement and recognition can be a key to your success. In addition to adequately supporting an employee’s need for growth and stimulating work, rewards and incentives for high performance are excellent ways to increase employee retention. Non-cash incentives have been shown time and time again to be more cost effective and more memorable drivers of engagement than cash bonuses.

Non-cash rewards can include:

Incurring losses of $7,000, $10,000, and $40,000 every time an employee departs is simply too costly. It’s time to get proactive and make small investments in incentive programs. Your dividends in terms of reduced training costs and increased productivity will far exceed the expenses of the program.

For more information on how to retain your employees utilizing cost-effective incentives, rewards and recognition programs, please click here or send me an email at bcoriaty@jnrcorp.com to discuss further.

*Source: Recruiting Times, U.S. Department of Labor, PricewaterhouseCoopers/Saratoga, Bureau of Labor Statistics