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 khewkin@jnrcorp.com to discuss.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

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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.

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

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.

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.

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

The 7 Best Tech Companies to Work For in 2014…And Why

Early this year, Lisa Bernier, a freelance writer who has written for a number of respected publications, compiled a list of The 7 Best Tech Companies to Work for in a Mashable article that was shared over eleven thousand times.

We want to take a look into what make these companies amazing places to work for and what other companies (maybe even yours) can learn from their employee engagement policies.

So, who made the list?

  1. Elite SEM – Search engine marketing
  2. Interactive Intelligence – Global provider of call center technologies and software solutions
  3. Twitter – An introduction is probably not necessary for this online social networking and microblogging giant
  4. 360i – Digital agency specializing in search engine marketing, social media, mobile marketing, and web design and development
  5. Text100 – Digital marketing agency that creates communications campaigns
  6. Crowdtap – Social Influence Marketing platform
  7. Google – One of most admired companies in the entire world

Unless you’re in the market for a new tech job and searching for places to submit a resume, the more important takeaway here is to learn something about what it takes to create a great company.

What makes these companies great places to work?

These companies all do a remarkable job of showing their employees how much they are appreciated. By creating an environment that fosters the advancement of their employee’s careers, leading companies yield an engaged, loyal, and productive workforce. This has worked so well for Elite SEM that they have had no turnover since their inception in 2004.

The ability to maintain an engaged workforce through employees who genuinely feel appreciated and inspired can result in higher profit margins for companies.  This is due to the strong relationship that exists between the financial performance of a company and employee engagement. Higher levels of commitment from employees who feel like their work is valued tends to increase office efficiency. In addition, it creates a culture of hardworking employees who feel connected to one another.

Engaged employees have 18% higher productivity and 60% higher quality work than under-engaged employees (Insync Survey).

While excellent salaries and benefits, effective leadership, and an emphasis on work-life balance are major factors making these companies pleasant to work for, unconventional, but highly effective, incentives are also utilized heavily by these innovative companies.

Elite SEM takes its staff on an annual “Fun Week” – during which employees are treated to a seven-day vacation with recreational activities. This use of incentive travel creates memorable experiences as a reward to valued employees and is proven to be more effective at motivating employees, increasing sales and strengthening employee loyalty than cash rewards. The emotional and psychological importance employees place on non-cash rewards can be far greater and remembered much longer than cash bonuses. Merchandise awards can produce a similar effect when the budget for travel is not present.

Other notable ways these companies create happy employees include: book clubs, telecommuting options, profit sharing, flexibility in schedules, and impromptu days off when necessary. Google has become very well known for having amazing on-site facilities including sports complexes, 24/7 gyms, free food, and free laundry/dry cleaning services. Possibly the most fascinating benefit that Google extends relates to the death of employees. If an employee passes away during their employment, the company will pay 50% of the salary of that employee to their spouse or domestic partner for a full decade!

Employees that feel valued and appreciated exert greater effort, stay with companies longer and are strong brand advocates. The businesses on this list understand and leverage this power to their advantage.

For more on employee engagement, check out this fascinating study of The 10 US Cities with The Highest Levels of Employee Engagement.

By JNR Corp

Written by Stephanie Thomas