Author Archives: Liz King

We’ve Come A Long Way Since ‘Mad Men’: The History of Administrative Professionals Day

Mad Men Logo:  Administrative Professionals Day No spoiler alert is needed for the observation that a lot of secretaries — “girls” — were unceremoniously shuffled between desks in the latest episode of AMC’s Mad Men. It certainly wasn’t a first on the show. The period drama centers around a New York ad agency in the 1960s and is a fascinating glimpse into just how far we’ve come as a society since then in treating and utilizing administrative staff (and women).

Today, April 23, we celebrate Administrative Professionals Day by recognizing the hard work of secretaries, receptionists, administrative assistants, office managers and other support professionals. It’s an opportunity to show gratitude to your administrative staff, and depending on the culture and size of your company, this can mean taking an assistant out for lunch or sharing gifts with a team of administrators.

The role of administrative workers in the past century has had an interesting progression, and Mad Men captures one of the biggest turning points. (In fact, it’s a telling indicator of this progression to see how fictional secretaries have been portrayed in television and film over the years — from Dolly Parton as Doralee Rhodes in 9 to 5 to Maulik Pancholy as Jonathan in 30 Rock.)

Let’s take a look at the 100-year-old history of the administrative profession.

From Office Worker to ‘Office Wife’

Before World War I, most administrative work was done by men. When men started going off to war in great numbers, women stepped into these roles at offices back home — and stayed.

This changed the dynamic of the work, according to a Corp! Magazine interview with Susan Fenner, the education and professional development manager of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).

It went from being an office worker to being almost an office wife. A secretary was almost a perk of a position. You didn’t have a secretary until you became a vice president or whatever. That person went along with that title. That’s when they started doing everything from picking up dry cleaning to doing the coffee or sending out Christmas cards.”

Professionalization and Certification

But soon secretaries became indispensable office partners, half of a secretary-manager team that worked together up the corporate ladder. Fenner’s organization, the IAAP, was founded in 1942. “Secretaries Day” became a recognized holiday a decade later, when the U.S. Commerce Department gave its official blessing to an entire week of recognition for the employees who keep offices running smoothly.

Mad Men Secretarial Pool: Administrative Professionals DayIn the period covered by Mad Men, administrative work increasingly demanded advanced technical and managerial skills. The industry responded by giving administrative professionals more and more opportunities for education and certification.

The IAAP was the first to offer secretarial certification in 1951. On its website, the organization states that the program “set a high bar, and it established that our members were not merely support players. They were and are full, professional members of their office teams. Certification made it clear that being an administrative professional is a career, not just a job.”

Broader Language, More Variety

In 2001, the name of this week’s celebration was changed to Administrative Professionals Day to recognize an increasingly wide range of support professionals.

The word “secretary” had come to sound old-fashioned, harkening back to the coffee-fetching “girls” of the 1950s, and a survey of IAAP membership at the time revealed most of its members did not have “secretary” in their titles anymore. This still holds true, but the trend may be reversing in recent years, possibly a Mad Men effect” stoked by “a certain nostalgia for the 1950s-era classic image of the American corporate secretary,” according to the IAAP.

Language trends come and go, but the importance of administrative work is lasting. Forbes contributor Lilit Marcus, in an ode to Administrative Professionals Day, describes admins as “the backbone of any company.”

“When an executive signs a multimillion-dollar contract, the executive gets acknowledgment of the work they put into the deal. But without the help of assistants who coordinate schedules and make sure phone calls get returned, most of those big deals wouldn’t happen. It’s fun to get to sign the big contracts and cash the big checks, but someone has to do the legwork.”

How will you be celebrating Administrative Professionals Day this year?

For ideas for sharing your workplace gratitude this week and all year long, download our FREE “Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift-Giving” by clicking the link below.

Free eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift Giving

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact: Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Celebrating the Promise of Earth Day

Today we celebrate Earth Day (founded in 1970), a turning point in the modern environmental movement and born on the heels of popular protests spurred by Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.” Earth Day was the brainstorm of  Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson after an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. He saw it as an opportunity to raise awareness about environmental protection and forge political alliances.

Gaylord Nelson: Founder of Earth Day

Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson

Rachel Carson and Gaylord Nelson’s work also laid the groundwork for creation of the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Most people don’t associate Richard Nixon with environmentalism, however he was critical to ensuring these landmark bills passed.  Earth Day has evolved into a powerful flash point for people who are committed to protecting the environment, and many employers find it’s an opportunity to build engagement and community.

Campbell Soup Company has an ambitious goal of 100% employee participation in environmental sustainability efforts.  The company achieves this through rewarding sustainability innovation whether its “greening” a commercial shoot or finding ways to reduce water consumption, individual performance metrics, wellness activities and volunteering.

Celebrate the promise of Earth Day at your company by helping colleagues become more environmentally focused and savvy. Involve employees in finding ways to reduce consumption of water, green house gases or promote the use of green technologies such as solar. Take Campbell Soup’s lead and reward for real innovation.  Providing opportunities to volunteer in ways that help the environment is an easy way to promote sustainability efforts and community building.

This year’s Earth Day theme is “Green Cities“, check out the link for more ideas and dozens of success stories on how you and your company can make a difference.

Some of our favorite activities include the following.  What are yours?  What does your company do to promote environmental sustainability?

  • Bike-Sharing
  • Planting Trees
  • Urban Community Gardens
  • Educating & Inspiring School Students
  • Going Solar – Start with Outdoor Lights!

Best wishes for a great Earth Day and a renewed commitment to environmental sustainability!





About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

 

 

Keeping Employee Engagement Fresh

Keeping Employee Engagement Fresh with Plant GiftBusiness leaders understand recognition and rewards are vital components for successful employee engagement and a productive, happy workplace.  Keeping recognition and rewards fresh, engaging and motivating can however be a challenge.  One way is to employ peer-to-peer and on-the-spot recognition programs which are easy to keep dynamic, fresh and fun based on what employees like, current work goals and what motivates best.

In “1501 Ways to Reward Employees,” Bob Nelson advises employers that relying on just one type of recognition no longer works in our challenging economy and global marketplace. Springtime is a perfect opportunity to take a fresh approach to capturing employees’ heart, health and happiness. Update your current awards to take advantage of the warmer weather – your employees will be grateful! Add in plants/gardening supplies, grilling gift certificates, CSA’s, exercise opportunities or even American flag rewards to keep things interesting, engaging and motivating.

And, by all means, if you don’t support peer-to-peer recognition or on-the-spot rewards, there’s no better time than now to start!

Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Peer-to-peer recognition supports camaraderie, develops a sense of ownership, and encourages leadership. It benefits the giver as much as the recipient and serves to forge bonds and improve working relationships in ways that other recognition methods can’t. Peer-to-peer recognition is effective as a stand-along program or as part of a wider recognition effort. Mobile apps, social media, and instant access make it easy to implement and administer peer-to-peer recognition.

Nelson describes various ways companies implement peer-to-peer recognition in his book. Here are some examples for inspiration:

  • Royal Victoria Hospital in Ontario has a special voicemail line for employees to leave anonymous messages about their co-workers’ good performance, which are then written on cards and given to the complemented employee’s manager for individual recognition.
  • Chicago aircraft manufacturer Boeing has an online employee peer-to-peer recognition system for employees to enter coworker recognition. The system then automatically sends emails notifying the giver’s and recipient’s managers and enters points into employees’ electronic cards for redeeming merchandise.
  • ComDoc in Ohio utilizes employee emails to HR that are then distributed company-wide to recognize and share news of accomplishments.
  • Toronto Scotiabank has an award-winning comprehensive peer-to-peer recognition program that enables and encourages employees to recognize each other for living the company’s values.
  • Wells Fargo’s electronic peer-to-peer recognition program utilizes e-cards, e-wards, and “Ride the Wave” annual awards to make it fun and easy for employees to recognize each others’ performance to organizational values.

On-The-Spot Recognition

Writing for Forbes, TalentCulture Consulting Group CEO Meghan Biro describes effective employee recognition as “in the moment” and “in context.

Recognition at the time desired behavior or results occurs creates an immediate and memorable impact on employees. It shows the company pays attention to the business results employees work hard to produce. That encourages more of the same, and goes a long way toward motivating workers to keep up the good performance. Research also shows it motivates the entire workplace, not just the individual being recognized. Managers choose what behavior or results they want to recognize so it can be customized to a company’s unique goals and values.

This instant recognition is especially important to Millennials according to business futurists Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia. They report that Millennial workers are invested in technology and used to the instant interconnectedness it brings. They desire constant feedback such as on-the-spot recognition. Herman and Gioia recommend rewarding only the behaviors that fit the criteria of top performance standards to protect the impact of the rewards.

Remember, on-the-spot recognition isn’t just for Millennial employees. It works for employees of all ages across all industries as an easy, affordable, highly visible and immediate motivator.

Looking for more ways to update your engagement efforts? Download our free eBook, “The Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift Giving” for more ideas.





About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

How Does Your Company Say ‘Thank You’?

company thank you

via Flickr, meddygarnet

When it comes to individuals, sharing gratitude is pretty straight-forward and ideally a personal gesture such as a handwritten note, a small gift or public recognition. So how does a company as a whole say “thank you”? A company thank you is a group effort that takes more coordination and planning than individual-to-individual gratitude, but the result is good for business and will be appreciated by an entire community of people.

Charitable Giving

One way many companies say thank you is through donations to charity. Each summer the Chronicle of Philanthropy releases the results of a major survey on corporate giving among the largest U.S. companies. The latest data is for 2012, and you can explore it here. When evaluating this data, Forbes writer Susan Adams says it’s more meaningful to take into account the percentage of profits donated, not the total cash amount.

“We think the list that shows giving as a percentage of profits is the most meaningful, because it demonstrates what share of its fortune a company is willing to put into doing good, while the cash list is in some measure based on the size of the company. For instance, ExxonMobil, the nation’s largest company by revenues, is number three on the cash giving list, but gives away only 0.4% of its pre-tax profits,” she writes.

Beyond doing good in the world, charitable giving is an opportunity to involve and engage employees. Don Fornes, cofounder and CEO of Austin-based Software Advice, writes in his company blog A Million Little Wins about a charitable giving campaign that brought his employees closer. His reflection on the experience, “It’s Not Every Day You Get to Save a Five-year-old’s Life,” sheds light on how charitable giving can bring fresh meaning to the concept of a company “thank you.” company thank you

Software Advice employees raised $28,400 to sponsor a 5-year-old Nigerian girl who needed a life-saving heart surgery. But this was no simple “donation box” scenario. The girl, named Confidence, actually traveled to Austin with her mother and stayed with Fornes and his family while she prepared for and recovered from her surgery . Employees donated time, too, to visit Confidence at the hospital and at the Fornes’ home. The experience, organized by the HeartGift Foundation and coordinated with Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, had a lasting impact, Fornes says.

The effect the experience had on my family and my employees proved much more powerful than the financial contribution. [...] It changed the way we look at our daily lives, and made us feel lucky for all the little ways in which we are privileged. But perhaps most importantly, it taught us how transformative it can be to truly help another person. While it was an emotional challenge to let her go, knowing that we were able to give Confidence the gift of a long life was fulfilling.

In the end, Fornes says, the experience taught him how to give his staff a sense of purpose: “Even if the work they do day-to-day isn’t saving the world, our employees can see that the revenue their efforts are generating is funding good things that truly help people. No matter how we get there, we’re making other peoples’ lives better through our company’s success.”

Community Outreach

Another way companies can maximize charitable giving is by building a full-fledged community outreach campaign that encourages partnership, education and public input. Let’s look at two major American businesses that are doing the company thank you right, Culver’s and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

company thank you

Culver’s “Thank You Farmers” campaign is targeted at the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Organization and aims to give back to the farmers who make the ingredients Culver’s uses, while at the same time educating the public about what FFA is and providing a forum where people can donate and say thank you to farmers, too.

Culver’s describes the campaign on its website as a natural progression “from gratitude to full-fledged support.”

“Culver’s wouldn’t be what it is today without the family farms that grow and produce the wholesome, delicious food we so proudly serve. From the cattle ranches of the Great Plains to the dairy farms of Wisconsin and south to Georgia’s chicken country, it’s important to us to make sure farm families across the nation clearly see how thankful we are for their hard work and dedication.”

Another company giving back in a big way is Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Enterprise released its “50 Million Thanks” commercial, voiced by actor Tom Selleck. The ad describes Enterprise’s commitment to plant 50 million trees in U.S. national forests to honor the company’s 50th anniversary, in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service. This amounts to a new Central Park every 10 days for the next 50 years.

Selleck’s voiceover in the ad touches on the very dilemma many companies face: “You can see a thank you in a smile, you can feel it in a handshake. But how does a company say ‘thank you’?” Like the Culver’s “Thank You Farmers” campaign, “50 Million Thanks” provides avenues for public input. You can read more about restoration and tree-planting efforts and make your own donation on the Arbor Day Foundation website. (Find out here when your state celebrates Arbor Day.)

What do the Culver’s and Enterprise “thank you” campaigns and Software Advice’s sponsorship of Confidence have in common? They’re not quick, one-hit efforts. They’re designed to be longterm and self-sustaining, plus they invite as many people as possible to join in the gratitude.

How does your company share its gratitude with employees and with the public? For more ideas on growing gratitude within your organization, download our free guide to “Workplace Gratitude” and start sharing your gratitude today!

company thank you

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

The Profoundly Positive Change Workplace Gratitude Brings Employees, Your Company & You

Photo via Richard Foster, Flickr

Photo via Richard Foster, Flickr

Workplace gratitude is the answer to many common challenges in workforce management, but the profoundly positive ripple effect it has across all aspects of a company is often underestimated. Research shows again and again that a simple “thank you,” as part of an overall attitude of gratitude, has the power to transform careers, boost morale, keep employees around longer and create a happy company culture that sustains itself from within.

Let’s look at how workplace gratitude sparks positive change in business, from employee satisfaction to successful management to overall company well-being.

It’s Good for Employees

Dr. Daneen Skube, executive coach, calls gratitude “one of the most effective workplace power tools.” In her syndicated advice column, she tells a person hoping to move ahead in a company to put together a “gratitude action plan” to thank all the people who helped along the way. She recommends sharing consistent and personalized thank you’s with past coworkers, current coworkers, bosses and other career-shaping associates.

“No one gets ahead without a network that is invested in seeing you succeed. Learn to put gratitude into the banks of those who invest in you, and watch the dividends of success roll in,” Skube writes.

Unfortunately, giving thanks — a common courtesy elsewhere in daily life — is actually pretty rare in today’s workplace, according to Skube.

“Surprisingly, in today’s self-centered business world, gratitude is also one of the most underutilized career tools. Even Oprah (who has launched more careers than anyone) was quoted as observing that she can count the people who have thanked her on one hand,” Skube writes.

It’s the Key to Successful Management

Gratitude means more than saying “thank you” to the people around you. It’s an entire attitude toward life, as Forbes contributor Jerry Bowyer illustrates in his column, “To Grow In Business and In Life, Show Gratitude and Appreciation.” He gives example after example of businesses — startups, established companies, even his own business — that stagnated or fell apart because the people running them weren’t grateful for what they had and wasted resources by siphoning off their best employees to work on the next shiny new project. He also uses an example from his personal life, a lesson he taught his children growing up.

When one of my children was about 10, I bought a little plastic toy frog for him. While we were driving home from the store together he started complaining about it. “Let me see it,” I said. I took it, looked it over and said, “You’re right, not good enough for you,” and I threw it out the car window. In our house, I told him, when you complain about something, you lose it.

The lesson here isn’t to shut up and be happy with what you’ve got, but to approach a situation with a holistic sense of gratitude before diving in to make changes. Any needed improvement will flow more easily from a place of gratitude, not frustration. Bowyer concludes that the “foundation of asset management is gratitude. [...] If you show appreciation for the assets under your care, they’ll probably return the favor and show appreciation for you.”

It Shapes Companies

A fascinating irony emerges from gratitude research: even though practically everyone enjoys being thanked and enjoys thanking others, they rarely do it while on the job. The University of California at Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center interprets this as an attitude problem based on our culturally accepted perception of work:

Americans actively suppress gratitude on the job, even to the point of robbing themselves of happiness. Why? It may be because in theory, no one gives away anything at work; every exchange is fundamentally economic. You don’t deliver that memo to your boss at three o’clock sharp out of the goodness of your heart, but because that is what you’re being paid to do. Your ‘thanks’ is a paycheck.

In the end, showing gratitude is an “acknowledgment of interdependency that makes us feel vulnerable.”

It’s time to change that perception and become comfortable with a little vulnerability, because the benefits are just too good to give up. Workplace gratitude has a spillover effect that positively changes the fundamental and collective outlook of a company. Data analysis by the Greater Good Science Center shows the benefits of gratitude “go beyond a sense of self-worth, self-efficacy and trust between employees.” Other benefits demonstrated include increased happiness, greater satisfaction with life, higher resilience to stress and fewer headaches and illnesses.

Collectively these benefits shape your company image, culture and success. So, what are you waiting for? For ideas on how to increase your company gratitude today, check out “Why Sharing Gratitude Makes Everyone Happy” and “5 Ways Random Acts of Kindness Build Workplace Gratitude.”

To learn more about cultivating engagement, gratitude and happiness in your workplace, download our FREE eBook by clicking the link below.

Free eBook: Workplace Gratitude

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Smile! 5 Ways to Have Fun with Workplace Wellness This Week

Veggie Smile for Workplace Wellness Week

Photo via Nina Matthews, Flickr

Get moving, get healthy and get happy this week by promoting workplace wellness activities for your coworkers and employees! This week, March 31 through April 4, is Workplace Wellness Week. Along the way, celebrate International Fun at Work Day (April 1, aka April Fools’ Day) and National Walk to Work Day (April 4).

It’s difficult to estimate the tremendous asset a healthy, happy workforce has on corporate wellbeing, but it’s clear the cumulative costs of workforce illness take a huge toll on the U.S. economy. One estimate, from the nonprofit research organization Integrated Benefits Institute, puts the cost to the economy at more than a half a trillion dollars each year. This includes lost productivity from employee absenteeism, as well as what the researchers called “presenteeism,” when sick employees report for work but are unable to perform at their best. Employees who are sick at work also deplete morale and put their coworkers at risk.

A company dedicated to workplace wellness can help eliminate those unnecessary sick days by strengthening the mind-body connection. Forbes contributor Jackie MacLeod writes, “Emphasizing wellness allows us to operate more energetically. We work better because we’re there, in body and mind. If we are allowed to be truly present when we are at work, companies can say goodbye to unnecessary absenteeism.”

Spring is in the air, so there’s no better time to inspire your workplace to practice good eating and exercise habits. Here are five ways to get started this week.

1. Check the Health of Your Workplace Wellness Program

Promoting workplace wellness should be a fun, inspired and, most of all, effective. But a new book, “Surviving Workplace Wellness With Your Dignity, Finances and (Major) Organs Intact,” suggests that not all workplace wellness programs are created equal. The authors, Al Lewis and Vik Khanna, discuss evidence that some ill-conceived programs instead of inspiring healthy habits actually alienate employees and have no discernible effect on workforce health. Forbes contributor Leah Binder reviewed the book recently in her article “Three Surprising Hazards of Workplace Wellness Programs.” Like a tune-up for a car, use this week to review your company’s wellness program and check it for any potential weaknesses.

2. Give Thirsty Thursdays a New Meaning

Take a cue from Utah State University, which runs a wellness program with fun activities slated each day this week, and promote healthy water-drinking habits. Challenge employees to ditch caffeine- and sugar-packed soda for a day and drink nothing but water at work.

3. Celebrate National Walk to Work Day

Started in 2004 and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Podiatric Medical Association, National Walk to Work Day is celebrated the first Friday in April. Why not organize a chance for employees to walk together, and encourage employees to share their walking progress publicly (in distance or minutes)?  The American Heart Association has more ideas for walking activities and promotion.

4. Dance-Off in the Break Room!

Bring in a licensed dance instructor to teach a Zumba class over lunch, or break out a boombox, clear a dance floor and invite employees to bring in their favorite dance tunes for a fun lunch-hour diversion. If no one wants to dance – start a limbo contest to get juices flowing. Just a half hour of dancing will get everyone moving, laughing and invigorated to go back to work, happy and focused.

5. Eat Your Colors

Help employees add color to their meals — and no, that doesn’t mean platters of pink-frosted cookies and bowls of blue punch. Promote a colorful diet rich in fruits and vegetables by making it fun or collaborative. Here are two easy ways:

  • Encourage group participation in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program that allows employees to split a share of produce from a local farm or farm collective. Look up what’s available in your area by searching the directory of Local Harvest, a national organization that connects farmers and consumers via CSA programs.
  • Share gThankYou Fruit & Vegetable Gift Certificates. Easily redeemable at grocery stores, gThankYou gift certificates for fruits and vegetables give recipients the freedom to pick the produce they want, whenever they need it and wherever they like to shop.

To learn more about increasing employee happiness (and health) in your workplace by building a culture of gratitude, download our free guide to “Workplace Gratitude” and start sharing your gratitude today!

Free eBook: Workplace Gratitude
About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

How to Share Your Employee Thank You

employee thank you

Image via woodleywonderworks, Flickr

We talk a lot on gThankYou’s Celebrating Work blog about why sharing gratitude and showing appreciation are so essential in the workplace, but what about the how? What are the best practices for sharing your employee thank you?

The basics of are the same, whether you’re emailing an employee who recently stood out, throwing a recognition party, coordinating handwritten notes to accompany gifts that celebrate a recent company achievement, or overseeing a workplace-wide employee recognition program.

Gratitude can take many forms (here are a few of our recent ideas), but the message should be consistent. Consider the following Dos and Don’ts  as you start planning how to word and share your employee thank you.

DON’T be vague. “Thanks for all your hard work!” may be a well-intentioned and sincere sentiment, but it could apply to any employee who worked hard — and hopefully that’s everybody. It sends the message, “You’re just like everyone else, and anyone could do your job.” Make the recipient feel special by praising him or her for a specific project, idea, action or quality (speed, thoroughness, brilliant problem-solving). If you’re unsure of specifics, ask those who do know, such as a shift manager, team leader or close coworker. A little footwork for specifics could go along way in helping your workforce feel appreciated.

DO consider employee personality in your “thank you” and empower each person accordingly. “Leadership is about empowering others to realize their own abilities. Communicate your belief in your people, and watch them rise to meet your expectations,” writes Geil Browning, founder of Emergenetics International, for Inc. Browning shares her research-based tips for recognizing and praising a variety of personality types, from the gregarious to the analytical. For example, an assertive person will appreciate hearing, “Thank you for keeping the momentum going!”, while a more laid-back person would like to hear, “Thank you for helping keep the peace.” The takeaway? It takes all kinds. Each of us, no matter our personality or style, has a valuable quality to contribute in the workplace. Honor this in your employee “thank you.”

DON’T wait to share your gratitude. Every day you wait, the likelihood grows that your employees will feel ignored. Lack of recognition drives turnover, as revealed by this great JobScience infographic and article, “10 Ways to Thank Your Employees to Boost Productivity.” The research and data overwhelmingly show that a praised employee is a productive and committed employee.

DO balance gratitude between individuals and teams. After all, teamwork plays a major role in workplace performance. For consistency, Snowfly founder Dr. Brooks Mitchell recommends that employers follow a 75/25 rule when administering incentive programs. “A well-balanced performance-reward program consists of 75 percent emphasis on individual behavior and 25 percent emphasis on team behavior,” Mitchell writes in his white paper “Individual vs. Team Rewards.”

DO go out of your way to learn about an employee’s family, hobby and weekend plans. “Your genuine interest — as opposed to being nosey — causes people to feel valued and cared about,” writes Susan M. Heathfield for About.com Human Resources. Additionally, if you know an employee well enough, you’ll be better equipped to occasionally and spontaneously show your gratitude by sharing an appropriate small gift. A thoughtful, unexpected gift will certainly brighten the employee’s day.  But sharing your sincere and specific thanks will make the most difference.

For more on building a culture of appreciation in your workplace, download our FREE Guide to Workplace Gratitude. Click the image below and start sharing your gratitude today!

employee thank you

employee thank you

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog – “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Easy Employee Recognition with gThankYou! Turkey or Ham Gift Certificates

Turkey or Ham Gift Certificate by gThankYou!Any day is a good day to share your thanks and appreciation with hard-working employees and colleagues.  The spring holidays, Passover (14th to 22nd) and Easter (20th) are an especially good time to celebrate employees with a thoughtful gift of a Turkey or Ham Gift Certificate by gThankYou!  A meaningful yet affordable gift that can be shared with families to enjoy for the holidays.

The coming month, April, is full of celebrations so if honoring the spring holidays isn’t the right thing for your company, take advantage of any of the other fun occasions to engage employees and celebrate in your workplace.  Spring is a great time to make a break from the grey overhang of winter and celebrate the potential of the year ahead.

Why not consider celebrating National Walk to Work Day (4th), Volunteer Recognition Day (20th), Earth Day (22nd), Administrative Professionals Day (23rd) or Take Your Daughter to Work Day (24th), to name just a few? Peruse the less established, unique or for-fun holidays and you’ll find even more opportunities to create fun in the workplace, such as International Moment of Laughter Day (14th), Reach As High As You Can Day (15th) and National High-Five Day (17th).

Holidays are vital to honoring tradition and sharing what’s meaningful to us, of course, but when it comes to the workplace the most important celebration is the everyday culture of gratitude you create for employees all year-long.

A company loses out when it makes a big show of celebrating employees only during the obligatory times, like Thanksgiving. Research into workplace retention repeatedly shows that when employees don’t feel appreciated, they’re more likely to look elsewhere for employment.

Remember the children’s story about the tortoise and the hare? The hare brags about being the fastest runner around, but in the end, the tortoise ends up beating him in a race by staying focused and consistent. Workplace gratitude is similar — a big splashy holiday party is fun, but soon forgotten if your overall employee recognition program isn’t a consistent and everyday aspect of your company’s culture.

Gratitude is so engrained in our society in other ways — what are the “magic words” we teach toddlers as soon as they can talk? — but it’s often neglected in the workplace. Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project, writes in an article for the Harvard Business Review “Why Appreciation Matters So Much”:

…we’re not fluent in the language of positive emotions in the workplace. We’re so unaccustomed to sharing them that we don’t feel comfortable doing so. Heartfelt appreciation is a muscle we’ve not spent much time building, or felt encouraged to build.

Fortunately, resources abound for managers looking to improve their fluency in the language of positive emotions like gratitude. Sharpen your skills by practicing random acts of kindness in your workplace (never underestimate the power of goodwill!) or trying one of our 6 Simple Steps to Building Employee Happiness.

Free "Thank You" Card from gThankYou!Holidays come and go, but a culture of gratitude is forever.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude provide leaders with affordable, meaningful and convenient ways to share your workplace gratitude any day. This spring, delight employees with an unexpected treat of a Turkey or Ham Gift Certificate or one of our other popular gift certificate varieties. Be sure to choose one of our free new spring “thank you” card designs to personalize your appreciation.

To learn more about building a culture of appreciation and gratitude, download our free guide to Workplace Gratitude and start sharing your thanks today!





About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Your Employees Just Want to Be Loved

Your Employees Just Want to be Loved

Via Roona-MBH

The talk at the coffee station or in the lunchroom doesn’t often center on the words or feelings called “love,” but love is the invisible hand in business operations and success. In their Harvard Business Review article “Employees Who Feel Love Perform Better,” Sigal Barsade and Oliia O’Neill differentiate between compassionate love and passion, saying the former has a huge influence on performance and satisfaction. Building an emotional culture is not often the focus of management, but it’s smart business. Barsade and O’Neill’s studies found that employees who felt loved and able to express love and caring at work are more accountable, more committed, and more satisfied with their jobs.

Expressions of Love and Caring at Work

Various research from The Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism shows compassion is the key to expressing workplace love and caring. In their longitudinal study, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”, Barsade and O’Neill find showing compassion to colleagues makes them feel loved and builds a company’s emotional culture.  Expressing compassionate affection includes such things as lending a sympathetic ear, writing a kind note, pitching in when someone needs help and flashing a warm, sincere smile as some of the small moments that make people feel loved and cared about by their co-workers and managers.

Love is the Next Step

In “The Happy Manifesto: Making Your Organization  a Great Workplace,” Henry Stewart mentions Gallup’s research identifying core elements of employee engagement and improving performance that include having a manager who cares about you at work. He revisits Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, reminding us that belonging and safety, two feelings supported and improved by feeling loved and cared about, are needs that precede self-esteem and self-actualization. As people learn more, take more calculated risks, and work harder when they feel loved and secure. Stewart says that once basic needs for salary and tools to do the job are met, the next step is a culture of love and security so people are motivated and enabled to be more productive.

Workplace Mistakes and Love

Henry Stewart tells the story of a trainer who felt bad about not preparing well for one of his first courses that ended in disaster. He got a hug and some commiseration from a co-worker, who told him it was “one to celebrate.” When you approach mistakes at work with compassion and understanding rather that rules and penalties, people are freed up to learn and grow, and are motivated to do better and work harder. Stewart is careful to explain the difference between loving the mistake-makers and tolerating poor work or under-performers. When a mistake is acknowledged and responsibility is accepted, people can learn and grow from it. An encouraging reaction to mistakes rather than a punitive one makes people feel supported, reduces stress, and enables better work to follow.

Whether you’re building a culture of recognition or just encouraging a paradigm shift from a disgruntled workforce to practicing employee appreciation, remember that your employees just want to be loved. Show, support and recognize acts of compassion and you’ll create happy, loyal and hard-working employees.  Now that’s good for your business.

For more on building a culture of respect, compassion and recognition in your workplace, download our FREE Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift-Giving. Click the image below to get started.

Loved

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog – “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

6 Simple Steps to Building Employee Happiness

happy employeesHappy International Happiness Day! The U.N. designated March 20 as a celebration of happiness back in 2012, to bring attention to “the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world.” Today we’re looking at how happiness fits in the workplace. Happiness ultimately derives from an individual’s attitude — unfortunately you can’t force someone to be happy — but there are ways you can help boost employee happiness by creating a culture in which happiness is valued and shared.

Here are six simple steps to get you started today in boosting employee happiness.

1. Let your employees know you support their friendships.

Working with friends breeds happiness, a 2010 study found, but many employees surveyed mistakenly assume their managers disapprove of such relationships. Of the managers surveyed, 49 percent said they support or encourage the development of friendships in the workplace. Meanwhile, only 29 percent of non-managers felt their workplace supported these relationships. See the disconnect? By encouraging employees to form friendships, you may very well be changing false perceptions or stopping employees from feeling the need to “hide” their behavior. The result: you help build overall employee happiness.

2. Challenge “positive thinking.”

Srikumar Rao, author of the book “Happiness At Work: Be Resilient, Motivated and Successful — No Matter What,” tells Forbes writer Jacquelyn Smith that “positive thinking” doesn’t always lead to happiness. Instead, he advises employing a neutral attitude that challenges the status quo. Companies are better off encouraging a culture in which there are no “bad” or “good” events, Rao says: “‘When life gives you a lemon, make lemonade’ assumes that you have been given a lemon and that a lemon is bad for you. I’m saying, first of all, if you’ve been given a lemon, is that a bad thing? You can train yourself to say, ‘OK, this happened,’ rather than label it as bad.”

3. Banish the “If/Then” model of ambition in your workplace.

Don’t hinge your happiness on a specific result, Rao says. We get ourselves in trouble with the “if/then” model of ambition: “If I get the promotion, then I will be happy.” (And if you don’t get the promotion?) Instead, Rao proposes that a healthier and happier perspective is to think, “‘I have a grand vision and I will try my best to make it work. If I succeed, wonderful. If not, wonderful. My purpose is to give it the best I’ve got.’” In other words, help colleagues and employees understand the joy is in the journey (together), and not necessarily the destination.

4. Build a sense of ownership.

Employees who feel they have a stake in their company care more and work harder. Leonard J. Glick, professor of management and organizational development at Boston’s Northeastern University, tells Forbes’ Karsten Strauss that building that sense of ownership begins with increased employee involvement: “One way to inspire that feeling is to have each member of a team become familiar with what other team members are doing, allowing them to bring their ideas for improvement to the table and have input in the whole process. If the roles are not too specialized, have your people rotate responsibilities from time to time.” By encouraging involvement, you’re also building trust, deepening engagement and making employees feel valued.

5. Don’t emulate “The Apprentice.”

Donald Trump’s TV show may be wildly popular, but its cut-throat portrayal of workplace culture is neither realistic nor a successful model for business leaders. Research proves this through “numerous psychological studies,” according to Ray B. Williams’ Psychology Today article “How Workplace Happiness Can Boost Productivity.” The show “is a prime example of how the media portrays workplace culture and the behavior of those in it, emphasizing that business is a tough game to play and getting ahead requires putting your interests above others and capitalizing on the misfortune of fellow workers.” In actuality, positive relationships do matter. Experts have found that “personal feelings toward an individual are more significant in the formation of productive collective work than is a person’s competence.”

6. Play mind games (the good kind!).

This can be as simple as five minutes daily to consider and write down what you’re grateful for, or taking 10 minutes to meditate over lunch, or making a promise to each morning email a different employee a “thank you” note. Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage” and “Before Happiness,” discusses his research in a Harvard Business Review blog post on the transformative ways that small steps toward happiness pay “great dividends.” It’s a mind game, literally: the steps he describes are intended to “change the pattern through which your brain views work.” Take the step to train managers and colleagues to do the same and your collective impact on worker happiness will be powerful.

smileyLooking for more inspiration? Take a few minutes today to enjoy singer Pharrell Williams’ collaboration with the U.N., 24 Hours of Happy, a website where people around the world share videos of themselves dancing to his song “Happy.”

To learn more about increasing employee happiness in your workplace by building a culture of gratitude, download our free guide to “Workplace Gratitude” and start sharing your gratitude today!

Free eBook: Workplace Gratitude

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.