JNR Spotlight: Caught in the Act

Do your employees seem to get stuck in a routine day after day and lack the enthusiasm to perform at their best? It is extremely important to implement small incentives internally to keep the excitement and company-wide engagement at high levels for overall company success.

Here at JNR, “Caught in the Act” is a small incentive where we encourage employees to acknowledge their peers that go above and beyond without being asked to do so. Giving a rewarding compliment to a co-worker is a small act that goes a long way. A company should aim to build their brand through external and internal efforts. It is a significant advantage for a workplace to transpire a warm, welcoming environment where employees feel comfortable and are driven to excel in their work. Some additional small activities you can put into practice include:

• Acknowledging birthdays with a signed card from everyone in the office.
• Throwing office parties for special occasions like work anniversaries.
• Embellishing the office during festive holidays like Halloween.
• Recognizing and celebrating employee achievements publicly.
• Encouraging employees to be active on the company’s social media sites.
• Introduce a Wellness Program where positives actions towards a healthier life are rewarded

Engaged employees create positive business results for employers and these small acts are just a couple ways of doing so. A study by Workplace Research Foundation reveals that increasing employee engagement investments by 10% can increase profits by $2,400 per employee, per year. In addition, highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above average productivity. These minor internal activities come at a fairly low cost, but very high return.

Remember, the simplest of gestures can provide a feeling of worth for employees and will create a positive impact on the company in general. Engaged employees work harder and go the extra mile because they know they are valued in their organization. At JNR, employee engagement is not overlooked and has become an important element that creates close-knit friendships and an enjoyable environment for everyone that steps foot in the office.

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By JNR Incorporated

Written by Tatum Dumont
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

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

America’s Top CEO’s Reveal How They Motivate Employees


The number one “secret” to success according to the CEO’s of the top companies in America: Motivate your people.

Forbes Magazine surveyed a wide variety of leaders from their 2013 “America’s Best Small Companies” list, and rewarding, motivating, and engaging employees was a dominant response.

Anyone interested in improving the performance of their most valuable resource (their employees), should listen, process, and learn from these innovative individuals.

Don Bailey of Questor (QCOR) Pharmaceuticals, Behrooz Adbi of InvenSense (INVN), Mike Fifer of Sturm, Ruger (RGR), and Steve Frederickson of Portfolio Recovery Associated (PRAA) were just a few of those surveyed.

Bailey feels that the key to motivating employees is to treat them as equals, listen to and respect them, and understand their personalities.

Stressing the importance of clearly communicating the vision and empowering the team to successfully work towards a common goal is what makes the team of InvenSense excel, according to Adbi.

More strategic in nature, Fifer utilizes profit sharing, 15% of pretax profits every quarter, as a way to inspire his team. Employees are naturally more concerned with performing well when they know they will directly benefit financially. More than 30% of pay now comes from this profit sharing initiative and a culture of innovation has been created.

Portfolio Recover Associated CEO Frederickson believes the best way to drive performance is to challenge employees with difficult tasks and see how they respond. With appropriate resources, close monitoring and reporting, and fair rewards in place, he feels unbelievable results can be achieved due to the fierce competition that ensues.

Incorporating some of these ideas into the culture and inter-workings of your company could yield dramatic improvements. The companies listed are some of the most admired in the world and their ability to optimize the performance of people was key to their success.

For more tips on how to engage your employees, increase productivity, generate sales, and improve employee retention and loyalty, please feel free to send me an email at khewkin@jnrcorp.com today or visit our website at http://www.jnrcorp.com.

Comment below if you’d like to add some insight or strike up a conversation on this topic.

Written by Kristopher Hewkin