A Time for Change (Please Read this with Your Family & Friends on this Thanksgiving Holiday.)

This year Americans will consume:

  • 51 million turkeys, equaling 2,266 Statues of Liberty.
  • Eleven million pounds of potato chips, enough to cover the state of Arizona.
  • And a billion chicken wings that could stretch from Seattle Seahawks’ field to New England’s.

Now, why is it we can’t feed the hungry in America?

Facts according to PEW Research Center:

  • The United States, despite being the richest country in their survey, shows nearly a quarter of Americans (24%) say they had trouble putting food on the table in the past 12 months.
  • This is up from just 16% who reported such deprivation in 2007, the year before the Great Recession began.
  • The American reported poverty level is closer to that experienced by Indonesians and Greeks, than it is the British or the Canadians. In fact, the percentage of Americans who say they could not afford the food needed by their families at some point in the last year is three times more than in Germany, and more than twice in Italy and Canada.

Now, why is it we can’t feed the hungry in America?

More facts according to DoSomething.org

One of the largest organizations for young people and social change

Take action and teach our next generations how important it is to volunteer. Everyone can sign up for a campaign and start contributing to making our world a better place.

  1. 1 in 6 people in America face hunger.
  2. The USDA defines “food insecurity” as the lack of access, at times, to enough food for all household members. Food insecurity exists in every county in America.
  3. More than 18 million households are food insecure, causing more and more people to rely on food banks and pantries.
  4. More than 50 million Americans struggle to put food on the table – if they even have a table to put it on.
  5. In the U.S., hunger is not caused by a lack of food, but rather the continued prevalence of poverty.
  6. More than 1 in 5 children are at risk of hunger. Among African-Americans and Latinos, it is 1 in 3.
  7. Over 20 million children receive free or reduced-price lunches each school day. Less than half of them get breakfast, and only 10% have access to summer meal sites.
  8. For every 100-school lunch programs, there are only 87 breakfast sites and just 36 summer food programs.
  9. 1 in 7 people are enrolled in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Nearly half of them are children.
  10. 40% of food is thrown out in the U.S. every year, or about $165 billion worth. All of this uneaten food could feed 25 million Americans, which equates to half of those who are food insecure.
  11. These 8 states have statistically higher food insecurity rates than the U.S. national average (14.6%): Arkansas (21.2%), Mississippi (21.1%), Texas (18.0%), Tennessee (17.4%), North Carolina (17.3%), Missouri (16.9%), Georgia (16.6%), Ohio (16.0%).

Now, why is it we can’t feed the hungry in America?

Written by LuAnn Jalet, Chief Operating Officer

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom incentive 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 in 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.

Sources

Photo: “The UGM Texas BBQ 32” by Glowbal Collection is licenses by CC by 2.0

JNR Spotlight: Veteran’s Day

I would not describe myself as someone that comes from a “military family.” My grandfathers on both my maternal and paternal side served in WWII and the Korean War but that is to be expected with that generation of men. I did not have parents in the military and I really was not in contact with anyone that was deployed overseas growing up.

A few months ago a family member started really digging in to our ancestry and in celebration of Veteran’s Day began posting family members and their service records on social media. At first it was what I expected, a great, great uncle, some cousins three times removed, great grandparents etc. But as the commemorative day of Veteran’s Day neared, the relatives being honored were not so distant. In fact, several people popped up that I actually see quite often and somehow forgot that they had dedicated years of their lives to our Armed Services. Several of my uncles are decorated Officers. A beloved aunt served in the US Women’s Army Corp- the branch of the Army arguably instrumental in opening the door to females serving alongside their male counterparts. My brother for goodness sake served in the Navy while I was out of the country studying at university! The list continued to grow longer and longer and I began to second guess my direct disconnection to Veterans.

Why does it take a bank holiday to remind us that so many people in our lives have devoted their time serving our country? We should celebrate these individuals all year long and not because it sounds good, but let’s really give them the reverie they deserve. Let’s not dismiss the fact that family members endured intense training in Basic or were placed on the front lines to protect our freedoms just because they are now living a civilian life. Undoubtedly these years are times that they will never forget, we certainly should not either.

This Veteran’s Day I will take a moment to celebrate and honor all Veterans that so bravely trained, fought, left their families, suffered unbearable losses and celebrated victories with brothers and sisters, not through blood, but through a bond that most of us will never truly understand. Let’s honor our Veterans not just today but on all days. Let’s not disrespect the time they committed selflessly to our country just because they do not talk about it.   Pay attention to those around you and the honor the sacrifices they have made that benefit our lifestyle everyday. Look around your workplace; notice those that frequent your favorite coffeehouse or restaurant. Talk to your children about what it means to be a Veteran and introduce them to all of the people around you that have been a part of our Armed Services. We are all from a “military family.” Our country is a “military family” and I ask that we all stop taking that for granted.

 

Connect with one of these organizations and see how you can help, not just today but throughout the year.

American Legion
Department of Veteran’s Affairs
Veterans of Foreign Wars
USO

  1. Say “Thank You”.
  2. Visit a wounded Veteran at the hospital.
  3. Offer your skills to a Veteran or military family.
  4. Volunteer your financial, legal or career expertise via MilServe
  5. Deliver a meal or care package to Veterans or homes with family members deployed overseas.
  6. Help a Veteran family member tell their story through a project such as the Veteran’s History
    You can download a VHP field kit from the Library of Congress website.
  7. Volunteer with an organization such as K9s For Warriors or Canine Companions for Independence, that provides therapy dogs to Veterans with PTSD.
  8. Offer a Vet a ride by volunteering with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization, which provides free transportation to men and women unable to travel to VA medical facilities on their own.
  9. Visit serve.gov and use keyword “Veterans” to find more opportunities to serve our nation’s Veterans.
  10. Check these sites for many other simple ways to help our Veterans and show them you care and are thankful for their service.
    http://www.operationwearehere.com/IdeasforSoldiersCardsLetters.html
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/05/us/iyw-simple-ways-to-honor-veterans/

 

 

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Barbara Williamson

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom incentive 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 in 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.

Enhancing Workplace Rapport

For the average working American, the largest component of the day is made up of time working or doing work related activities. When you add in the 7.7 hours for sleep, this takes up 16.4 hours of their 24-hour day and does not leave much time for social interaction.  It seems intuitive that workers would use the extended time spent with coworkers to forge deeper relationships, but a recent article by Fast Company found that Americans are less likely to have friends at work than in past years.

friends at work graph

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report states that work friendships increase employee satisfaction by 50% and people with a best friend in the office are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work. Study after study shows that fostering friendships in the workplace helps with the bottom line as employees gain a common sense of purpose and a mentality of ‘we are all in-it together’.

The Atlantic states that “Those we see daily have the potential to increase our happiness as much as earning $100,000 more per year.” Closeness makes coworkers more collaborative, productive and accountable and discussing success with coworkers increases motivation of the whole team.

Reasons for the decline:

  • Shortened Job Tenures

The length that employees are staying at companies is now on average 4.6 years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics which creates a mentality of not needing to become friends with coworkers as either you or them will move on in the next few years.

  • The Rise of Social Media

High school and college friends are just a click away. Feeling connected to those that you have already established a close relationship to reduces the need to forge new friendships.

  • Increasing blur between work and personal life and the need to keep personal time

With work taking up such a large amount of time, employees strive to disconnect and recharge when they have the chance.

 

How to Foster Workplace Friendships and Increase Your Employee Satisfaction and Retention Numbers:

  • Provide a Break Room

Providing a break room and encouraging employees to take breaks throughout the day not only increase the chances for friendships to form but also increases efficiency and reduces burnout.

  • Host Office Parties

Hosting an office party during office hours gives employees a chance to mingle in a relaxed atmosphere.

  • Organize an Activity for Employees

Organizing an out-of-office activity, such as a company trip to a sporting event, is a great way to encourage friendships and allow your employees to unwind.

  • Stop the “Library-Like” Atmosphere

An article by US News  highlights the negative effect that a silent workplace has on employees and efficiency.  Silence in an office kills open communication, it kills creativity and it kills the feeling of being part of ‘a team’. An office setting that is too quiet can also make employees self-conscious and less willing to share ideas.

 

Do you have a workplace that fosters friendships? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Written by Stephanie Thomas

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom incentive 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 in 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.

 

The Realities of Travel Operations

After two prep days (and two nights of disjointed sleep due to jet lag) arrival day is finally here. Welcome packets are stuffed, room gifts wrapped and we are ready to rock and roll! As a meeting planner we spend months meticulously planning every last detail down to the pattern of china for the gala event or how to word an amenity card. On a larger scale, we have to painstakingly plan how to move 90 people (and their luggage!) from three nights in Prague to two nights in Vienna, which is not an easy feat. But with the right partnership of hotels and suppliers it can go off without a hitch and be a huge success.

Yet there are always elements out of our control such as weather or a migration of refugees through Europe. Currently I am dealing with the latter. While my heart goes out to the refugees, my ultimate concern at the moment has to be for the care and safety of my attendees. Fortunately our program moves south from Prague to Vienna, against the flow of the migration.  We are on a privately chartered train that ends at a local train station just outside Vienna and will not be arriving in a large international station flooded with refugees and heightened emotions.

My local partners have assured me that all is calm in the Vienna city center and from what I see on the news; there is nothing to contradict those statements. But I have to be proactive and plan for contingencies, first of which is concerning myself with attendees post-extending in Germany. At this moment the German borders are closed preventing train travel between Austria and Germany.  Therefore we have had to assist a few attendees in booking flights to their next destination. I am also prepared to add security in Vienna should the situation change for the worse.

While many of you only see the glamorous side of this business, there are very real realities we have to deal with that we could have never anticipated months ago. Instead, we have to be a buttoned up with the details we can control so if a situation does arise, we are ready to jump into action.

We have three more days until we travel to Vienna and are moving forward as planned. But as I sit here at 1:45 AM (thank you jet lag) watching the BBC World News, I am monitoring and planning for the unexpected.

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Written by Laurel Axelrod

JNR Spotlight: Incentive Wellness Programs

When implemented correctly, a Wellness Program can be a huge asset to a company with benefits spanning from a great Human Resources tool to happy, more productive employees.  These programs are designed to promote a healthy lifestyle while in the workplace and beyond the office doors.

A properly designed wellness program can build a sense of companionship between co-workers fostering social support, a significant component to weight loss and fitness. Healthy employees tend to be happier and more productive meaning that executing a wellness program not only will increases employees’ health, but also the company’s success. Invest in the health of your employees and the return is exponential. Here are some activities that you can put into practice in the workplace to help improve health and overall productivity in the company:

  • “Walk and Talk” meetings
  • Inter-department competitions
  • Discounted gym memberships
  • Onsite fitness classes
  • Company picnic with a “field day” component
  • Daily or weekly wellness tips
  • Offering healthy food options in vending machines
  • Allowing employees time to exercise
  • Free meals awarded to workers who make healthy food choices
  • Walking clubs

A new study led by an associate professor at the University of Rochester found that conducting healthy programs in the workplace managed to reduce employees considered “overweight” by 9%. In addition, a meta-review of 42 published studies of worksite health promotions shows:

  • 28% reduction in sick leave absences
  • 26% reduction in health costs
  • 30% reduction in workers’ compensation and disability management claims costs
  • Average $5.93 to $1 savings-to-cost ratio

So now you are convinced that you need to offer a wellness program, but how do you get your people to participate?  JNR can create a custom Incentive Program for your employees encouraging them to stay well while you are retaining valuable staff and minimizing the cost of paying for sick days, higher insurance premiums and disability leaves.

Start today and create an active workforce that benefits everyone. For more statistics and details regarding an incentive wellness program, reference the following blog. http://blog.jnrcorp.com/wellness-incentive-programs/

Be sure to sign up for updates on future JNR Spotlight blogs.  We are happy to set up a time to talk about creating an Incentive Program that fits your organization’s needs and desires while encouraging fitness and health in your workplace.


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By JNR Incorporated

Written by Tatum Dumont

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom incentive 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 in 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.